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How to Make Money Online

The Ultimate Free Guide, by Gary Simon

Beneath, you will find a very elaborate guide (22,000 words) I personally wrote about making money online. I wrote it with the anticipation of selling it, but because I'm so giving, I decided to make it free (the same day I launched the version that cost money.)

So if you really want to learn how to make money online and quit your lame job, just read my guide and you will have a very good understanding of where and how to begin.

Table of Contents

How to Make Money Online

SEO: Keyword Analysis

    Keyword analysis is the very first step in effective SEO.  It is the process of choosing which keywords (search-terms) you want a given page to rank for.  Choosing the right keywords is absolutely crucial to the success of your website.  It's very easy to choose keywords that you *assume* people are searching for but aren't, and it's also very easy to choose keywords that are too broad and too competitive.  The goal is to choose keywords that will maximize the amount of targeted traffic you can receive.


How it Works

    Let's say for example you're a software developer and you want to sell a simple application that helps people manage their day in a calendar format.  You decide to register a domain name based around the name of the application: SimonsToDo.com.  The entire purpose of the website (especially the home page) is to intrigue visitors to purchase the application.  You obviously want relevant traffic from your website so you will want to target keywords that are likely to bring visitors who will purchase your type of application.

    For every page you want to SEO, including the home page, you need a primary keyword along with several other secondary keywords.  The primary keyword should be the most important keyword, the one you want your website to rank for the most.  The other secondary keywords will be different, but related search terms that you will attempt to rank for.  In order to choose the best possible primary and secondary keywords, you first need to perform some keyword analysis (AKA keyword research).


How to Conduct Keyword Research

    There is no set standard when it comes to keyword research.  The following methods below are the methods that I and others have used with great success.

  • Google Search Results
    Usually the first thing I do when choosing which keywords I want to target is simply perform a search in Google for keywords I think might be common to the page I want to rank.  Using our application example above, type in the keyword "Time Management Software".  As you can see, there are quite a few results which specifically have chosen this keyword as a part of their title.  There are also (at the time of writing this), 176 million results, which is a decent number.  One way to know whether or not a keyword is worth targeting is if some of the results are linking to domains only (and not specific pages).  The first result for me is rescuetime.com, and mentions that keyword in the title alone.  This is a good indicator that this keyword is a decent choice for our software.

    Another tactic is to see what the other keywords your competition is targeting in the title.  You can also visit each of the top 10-20 results, view the page source, and see what keywords they're targeting specifically in the meta keywords and meta description tags (HTML tags are explained in the next section).

    Looking at the top 10 results still, I see a few other potential keywords I could use.  "Task Management Software", if you do a search for this keyword, you will see there are 38.3 million results, significantly less than the 176 million results for the first keyword.  When the difference is this big, it's reasonable to conclude that there is more traffic for the result with the higher results.  You can also try searching for "Project Management Software", which returns 94.7 million results. These 2 keywords would probably be good secondary keyword choices.

  • Google Keyword Suggestions
    Visit the homepage of Google.com and begin typing some letters.  You will see an automatic list dropdown with 10 of the most popular keywords based on what you've typed.  This is a great way to also gain initial ideas for keyword choices.  For example if you type "Time", the first suggestion is "Time management software".  This is a good indication that there is a lot of search demand for that keyword.  Same thing with "Project" and "Task".  If you browse the 10 suggested results for each of those keywords, you will find other potentially good secondary keyword choices.

  • Google Keyword Tool
    The Google Keyword Tool (if this link is broken, simply type "Google Keyword Tool" in Google) provides a more intuitive environment for finding keywords.  Type in "time management" and click "Get Keyword Ideas".  It will provide you with a list of keywords containing "Time Management" along with advertiser competition, local search volume of the last 12 months, and the global monthly search volume.  "Time management software" has a high local search volume, which is a good indicator it receives a lot of traffic.  The other keywords listed also provide ideas for secondary target keywords.

  • Google Trends
    Google trends is my personal favorite. Visit the site, you can enter multiple keywords separated by comma.  Try searching for: "time management software, task management software" and hit "Search Trends".  The result is a line graph which compares the two keywords.  The bottom measures time (per year), and the Y axis measures search volume.  As you can see, time management software is searched for a lot more than task management software.  You can use google trends to quite accurately gauge how much search volume a given keyword has against others.

  • Google Adwords
    Google Adwords is Google's PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising system.  You can join for free, and start your own campaigns that are keyword targeted.  The ads you create are the sponsored results that show up on the top and right side of the Google results page.  So if you specify a specific keyword [time management software], link it to a quick page (it doesn't have to even be ready), give it a title and a description, and then bid high enough for the Maximum CPC (Cost Per Click) to remain on the first page in the top 8 sponsored results, you will know exactly how many people search for that keyword within a given time frame.  Google will let you know how many "impressions" your ad received.  Each impression is basically a person who searched for that keyword.  Google Adwords is covered in a later section in this guide.

    There are other 3rd party services, like Wordtracker.com, but the above results is all you need if you learn how to use each tool correctly and efficiently.


Keyword Competition Considerations

    Using our example above, you might ask yourself "Why not target a keyword like 'Time Management'?"  Good question, but there are two reasons.  Assuming you're starting with a brand new site, targeting a keyword that is so broad and competitive, will take you a long time to rank top 10.  For some keywords it can take half a year to several years to rank competitively.  One reason is because new domains aren't "trusted".  You're automatically penalized by being new.  So if you try to target broad competitive keywords initially, you won't receive hardly any traffic for a long time.

    The best approach is to stick with initially targeting keywords that aren't too competitive, but will also bring enough decent traffic once ranked for.  As your domain builds age and you build backlinks (discussed in a near section), then you can go onto target more ambitious keywords.



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