Mastering SEO is not easier than you think
SEO is a crossbreed discipline of engineering, psychology, data, and some finger-licking content.
You can’t have one without everything else. Ranking, organic traffic, and other stuff won’t just fall out of the sky if you use less passive voice (I swear this was a discussion on Reddit).
For me, I’m a founder at MADX. We’re a digital marketing agency that helps SaaS companies attract more organic traffic, stay top of mind, and convert leads in exchange for 6-figure retainers.
Before we tear down some of the wildest SEO advice out there, let’s take a quick look at the SEO market right now.
With Apple’s turn on privacy measures — and not letting Facebook track your every step — pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is getting hammered.
Strick privacy measures mean that SEO is taking the lead in the world of digital marketing.
However, PPC is not going away anytime soon. As a matter of fact, SEO could skyrocket your PPC campaign into the stratosphere. (We can get to that another time.)
“SEO’s popularity has far outpaced other digital channels,” according to Web Almanac.
SEO is also an $80-billion business, bigger than the music industry or the Global Box office. Why? Because it works.
So, let’s tear down the most common snake oil advice of search engine optimizations.
1. “SEO is easy stuff”
Seriously, if someone tells you how easy SEO is a piece of cake, they either:
- Are scammers
- Or lack SEO knowledge
Not sure if there’s a third option, but you get the gist of it. SEO is hard labor.
Proper SEOs have to navigate user intent, competition, landing pages, organic traffic, and much more. Web optimization requires a lot of upfront research.
We sometimes need a full month of discovery research before we start working with a client. Some agencies take between 6–8 weeks and charge over $2 million for creating an SEO-optimized website.
Is this too expensive? Not if the clients blast past their target profits.
Companies are happy to pay $100k+ a year to SEO agencies because hiring in-house professionals would be much more expensive.
For an individual content creator? Yeah, you don’t need an expensive website.
However, your blog has to be digestible for readers and search engines. Your website needs authority, backlinks, and social presence before it hits the top of search engine result pages (SERPS).
2. “SEO is not worth the trouble on Medium or social-writing platforms”
Many writers deem writing should be about ranking on search engines.
If you solely want to write about your experience, and your favorite platform has a wicked discovery system, then hell yeah, write your heart out and don’t look sideways! Medium used to be like this.
The platform was not self-sustainable. So, they started rewarding writers that bring new members to the platform.
Medium writers receive $2,27 for every referred member, almost half the member’s contribution. If 1,000 people subscribe to Medium after reading your content, you’ll bring $2,270 in monthly recurring income. Not bad.
So, Where do all these new users come from?
Mostly search engines! And some can discover Medium through social media like Facebook or LinkedIn.
Writing SEO content for Medium has never been more lucrative.
3. “Free SEO tools are enough to find your keywords”
Google AdWords, UberSuggest, and Keyword Surfer offer great free tools.
SEMrush is another tool with a freemium model with the occasional glimpse of the platform’s full potential. Ahrefs also offers a few free tools but keeps most of its cards close to the chest. No pay, no play.
You can take a crack at finding some topics and matching keywords without paying a dime.
However, you’ll probably compete with a gazillion other writers, marketers, and SEOs.
You could rank high on some informational-intent keywords if your website is a bang for the buck. On Medium, you could do the same, because the platform has a decent domain rating. Informational-intent words can get you some traffic, but it’s probably going to be nothing more than a pretty number on the screen.
Paying $179 a month for Ahrefs makes sense when you’re trying to figure out keywords and topics that carry transactional intent. These are the audiences that are willing to pay for your product, subscribe to your service, or start following your work across platforms. Transactional individuals don’t need to flock to your website in massive numbers to make it profitable.
Kevin Kelly is famous for saying that you only need 1,000 true fans. Your blog can be a full-on business with a few thousand visitors a month that are willing to pay for your content, services, or products.
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