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Bare Bones SEO- How to do SEO When You Don’t Have Money to Invest?

Here on Enstine’s awesome blog, I wanna show you how to do SEO when you don’t have any money to invest. I know the craft well because that’s the situation I was in- once.

Now?

My site is on the rise, that’s all I’ll say:)

So, being broke didn’t stop me at all, but instead fueled my creativity and desire to push on no matter what.  And I hope this post does the same to you you deserve to have your affiliate blog rank high in Google.

Enjoy:)

Being Relevant and Authoritative- Google Ranking factors that really matter

Google has the famous 200 ranking factors in their secret algo.

Want to know the real truth?

They have many, MANY more than that. Each ranking factor has dozens of variations that play out in different scenarios, so in reality, Google has more than 10 000 ranking factors.

So it’s impossible for you or anyone else to cover all of them (nor is it really necessary).

So, what to do then?

Well, all those ranking factors are divided into two batches:

  • Relevance
  • Authority

Really, that’s it.

If you can make your article hyper-relevant to Google for the keyword you’re targeting, and if you have at least some authority to you site’s name, you will rank for at least some keyword phrases.

And you know what- that’s a great start for you.

Because, once you start getting that initial traffic, Google suddenly starts to rank you much faster, and you finally earn a bit of money from your affiliate links.

And then you invest that money and you’re on your way to success.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Relevance and authority; very easy stuff to boost, and here’s how.

#1- Relevance- Do your on-page perfectly

And by perfectly I mean follow Yoast plugin’s suggestions.

Just to be clear- I don’t think Yoast is perfect and you don’t need to have all green lights to rank.

To be honest, I never pay attention to it, and it hasn’t stopped me one bit.

However, if you’re a newbie it pays to pay attention because their recommendations are solid and following them will make your site more relevant to Google, thus you’ll be ranking much easier.

Now, let’s break it down real quick.

How to optimize an article with Yoast SEO plugin

For this tutorial, We’ll use my Wealthy Affiliate Review.

Enstine is a member so he knows what Wealthy Affiliate is, but in case you don’t know, they’re a training center for newbie affiliates. They can teach you how to start, build and monetize an affiliate site.

Before we begin you need to specify a target key phrase for the article. For my article the target keyword is “Wealthy Affiliate Review”

Yoast good results

#1- External and internal links

External followed links help Google see what your article is relevant to. So link out abundantly and always stay on topic.

Internal links send authority and relevance to other parts of the site. Make sure you have a couple in every post.

#2- Keyphrase and meta description length

Keyphrase length is basic stuff- is your keyword something people actively search for?

If it is- you’re set.

Meta description length is whether your meta d. is over 160 characters long. If it is not, good. It won’t be cut off in the SERPS.

Also, have your keyword in the meta description. Because Google will bold it in the search when people search for the exact phrase..

#3- Previously used keyphrase

This is important because of keyword cannibalization You want to have only one article on your site targeting a specific keyword.

If you have two targeting the same phrase, Google will be confused and probably filter both.

#4- Keyphrase in subheading

Each subheading is your way to reinforce the topic of the article. In my case, each subheading has the words “Wealthy Affiliate” in it. That is great as it lets Google know that my post is about WA.

#5- Image alt attributes

The image alt attribute is an easy way for you to sneak in a few extra keywords. Just make sure that you also describe the image; and also that you don’t keyword stuff.

Because Google’s algo is really smart and can see that you’re stuffing keywords.

Then you’ll be penalized.

#6-Text length

Yoast recommends above 300 words per post and I agree. Unless the article really requires you to go brief for example “when was Michael Jackson born”?

You should go all out and try to give a definite answer to the searcher’s query.

#7- Keyphrase in the title and SEO title width

Keyword in SEO title is the number one on-page SEO factor. Get it right with a well placed keyword and get an immediate and large boost.

And make sure your SEO title is less than 60 characters long. Then your result will be shown in full and won’t be cut off.

#8- keyphrase in slug

Keyword in URL is a weak ranking signal for Google. Make sure you have it, not so much for the ranking benefits, but because it is a strong relevancy signal. A high-level sign that explicitly tells Google your page is about “X keyword”

In my case the keyword is “Wealthy Affiliate Review”, so my slug is simply wealthy-affiliate-review.

Things I messed up

Yoast Bad Results

 

#1- Keyphrase in the introduction

Keyword in the first 100 words is a strong signal to Google what your page is about. And it makes sense when you think about it.

It’d be weird to write an article about, for example, internal linking and only mention internal links in the word 2000.

Still, don’t expect miracles to happen and this mistake won’t cost you dearly.

#2- Keyword density

This is an outdated metric. Keyword density doesn’t matter. What matters is that you don’t stuff keywords, but have them fit naturally throughout your post.

#3- Keypharse in the meta description

Like I mentioned earlier keyword in the meta description is not a ranking factor, but when the searcher looks for something in Google, if you have the keyword in your description it’ll be shown in bold thus increasing your CTR.

That’s what makes meta description valuable to you.

#2- Authority-How to boost you site’s strength for free

The other big part of the ranking equation is funneling authority to a brand new affiliate site.

I want to show you two methods that are insanely easy and newbie-friendly, and most important of all- free.

Why just two?

Because link building is  demanding stuff, both mentally and mechanically as you’ll need to send a tonne of emails.

Don’t want you to burn out and feel overwhelmed.

Link to influencers and let them know about it

This one is my favorite. It’s the tactic that got me my first real white hat links and the one that eased me into the exciting, but difficult world of link building.

What is it?

Oh, it’s simple,

You write an article on your site or you guest post somewhere, and then within the article, you link to select choice of influencers.

And then you let them know about it. Simple as that. And effective too.

Why does it work?

It works because professional bloggers know that links are everything when it comes to ranking highly. If you don’t have links, you are not going to rank.

So when they see you linking to them out of the blue, they ARE going to remember you, and they ARE going to return the favor sometimes in the future.

But remember this, and it’s crucial- this is not a tit-for-tat game.

Don’t expect to link to someone, and then immediately get a link in return.

It doesn’t work like that.

Instead, expects to spend several months:

  • linking to them
  • sharing their stuff; engaging on Twitter and Facebook,
  • commenting on their blogs.

Remember– you’re building blogger bonds that’ll serve you far beyond getting a single backlink to your site.

You’re helping others succeed so you can succeed too, and backlinks are a by-product of you co-operating with fellow bloggers

Note:

Here’s my patented email template you can use:

Hi “name”

How are you doing today?

This is a quick email, just to let you know that I linked to you from a guest post I did over at “siteexample.com”

Here’s the address “link” and the anchor text is “anchor text”

Hope you like it!

Cheers!

Your name

And here’s my template in action, working its magic on my buddy Enstine here:

Outreach email- connecting with an influencer

b) Join MyBlogU

MyBlogU is an online community led by famous marketer Ann Smarty. There people post interview suggestions and content ideas all blogger members can collaborate on.

It’s great to get your beak wet into link building because you can score some easy links.

For example, here’s a roundup invitation from Janice Wald about best marketing tactics.

So, you click and respond and you’re rewarded with a a sweet homepage link from a powerful domain.

Easy peasy, and totally white hat.

Easy link from being active in MyBlogU

Note: the one thing you must know about doing SEO with no money

You CAN do SEO with a $0 budget, but you need to realize that your success will come from 3 intertwined factors.

These are:

  • Article volume. You will need to bulk up your site quite a bit and thus build topical authority in Google
  • Article quality– All articles will need to be well written and answer search intent completely
  • Link foundation– you don’t need a tonne of links to rank for long tail keywords, but you will need some. So please don’t focus on content only and eschew link building completely. It will bite you in the ass if you do.

And there’s a fourth factor I left for last:

Time.

Yes, with the passage of time, as your site and content matures you will see your rankings naturally improve. That’s normal as the longer a site is indexed, the more Google inherently trust it.

(Because spammers tend to fizzle out on their own rather quickly)

Of course, age alone is not enough to rank, but content quality and quantity combined with the smart link building I talked about here will give you the results you want.

And once you start ranking and are earning a steady income, push that money back in your business.

Investing in your business is the best thing you can do early on.

For example, you could get Ahrefs for backlink research. Over time you will be able to build links quicker and better because now you will have a premium tool to work with.

Or you can invest in SEMRush, for proper keyword research. Choosing the right keywords is a prerequisite for any ranking success in Google.

Of course, SemRush is much more that just a simple keyword tool I won’t talk about it here because I know Enstine has a whole guide dedicated to it.

Take a look:

 

 

Conclusion- bare bones SEO is better than no SEO at all; and better than waiting around

It really is.

Don’t wait until you have money to invest. It will likely never happen for you and you’re just deluding yourself and finding excuses.

Instead, be proactive and start doing what you can, right now.

And simple and effective steps I’ve shown you today will get you far, that’s a promise.

I wanna thank Enstine for publishing my article and I hope you leave me a comment or two to let me know what you think.

See ya:)

Web Hosting Siteground Wins the race. Make no mistakes about it !

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Nikola Roza
 

Hi ladies; hello gentlemen. My name is Nikola Roza and I blog at nikolaroza.com, yet another generic WordPress SEO blog. Kidding! On my website I focus on giving actionable and creative strategies that move the Google needle in the right direction. Is it easy to rank? NO. Is it hard work? YES. Is it rewarding? OH YEAH! SEO and Affiliate Marketing go hand in hand- learn one to master the other. Let's go!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 19 comments
Vishwajeet Kumar

Hello Nikola,

Great and very informative post. Yoast SEO is an amazing SEO plugin and I really love to use it. It helps me to create a post SEO friendly that ranks better in search engines. Following its guidelines can help you to make your post more SEO friendly. Interlinking is also good on-page SEO practice. Thanks for writing this awesome post.

Regards,
Vishwajeet

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Vishwajeet,
    yeah, Yoast is awesome. It was the first plugin that taught me the basics of on-page SEO and that’s why I use it too, even today.
    Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    Reply
Lisa Sicard

Hi Nikola and Enstine, I love your tips here. I use Yoast Premium for SEO and love it but like you say I don’t go by everything in it but try to make the green lights happen 🙂 One thing Yoast says often to me is: “Keyphrase distribution: Uneven. Some parts of your text do not contain the keyphrase or its synonyms. Distribute them more evenly.”
I seem to get that a lot, do you know why? Thank you Nikola. I hope you and Enstine have a great upcoming weekend!

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Lisa,
    you need not worry about it.

    Google is smart enough to know what key-phrase you’re targeting and there’s no need to obsess about distributing your keyword evenly.
    Instead focus on more high value activity, like engaging people on Twitter, getting links mentions shares and all the good stuff.
    Thanks for stopping by to comment, means a lot to me:)

    Reply
akwowe

Honestly, this is very powerful stuff. It came at the nick of time because I am about to start my website come ending September. And these tips on SEO optimization will help define my direction in this wide and complex aspect of online startup.

I may have to come back to this site again to update my knowledge on this before registering and hosting my website.
And if I may ask, what is your view on paid ads especially on social media?

I seize this opportunity to thank you very much for this very highly informative and valuable post.

Again, I thank Mr. ENSTINE MUKI of enstinemuki.com, who generously allowed his platform to be used for the general good. Enstine is my BROTHER from another mother.

Wishing all a fulfilling weekend.
GEORGE

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Thank you for your comment,
    ads on social media channels, especially on Facebook are very cheap and it’s worth testing it out. But be prepared for testing a lot and for low-engaged traffic.
    Because people on FB are there to have fun, not necessarily to click on ads and buy.
    But it’s wotrh testing it out.

    Reply
Joy Healey

Hello Nikola and Enstine,

Thanks for that article on SEO with no money. I’ve put my money into good hosting, because bad hosting was what was causing me the most stress and time, so little left for other tools.

However, I do follow Yoast traffic lights as much as I can. I mostly get a green light but I’ve stopped worrying too much about the occasional orange.

Appreciate the other tips of tools to use when I have more spare cash.

Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Thanks for stopping by to comment Joy. Yeah, Yoast is fine and all, but no need to obsess over it.

    Those recommendation are ancient and Google is smart now, so you don’t have to feed it keywords by the spoon.

    Reply
Janice Wald

Hi Nikola and Enstine,
You mention following these tips to boost your affiliate marketing efforts. I think these are great strategies for everyone whether or not you’re an affiliate marketer.
I appreciate the mention in this post! Exciting to see! Tweeted!
Janice

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Thanks Janice!
    You deserve the mention as you blog is a wonderful resource for newbie and pro bloggers alike.
    Keep rocking it, Janice!

    Reply
Lawrence

Nice shot at the various relevant SEO tactics for a newbie like me.

The better part I loved most in this article is “Previously used keyphrase”.

I could remember Yoast always highlighting and discouraging this practice.

And this has been given my website some hope of getting to the heights of the World rated Blogging Gurus like Enstine Muki! Who has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to blogging

Reply
Moss Clement

Hi Nikola,
Your tips are breathtaking, bro. Especially using your keyword in the introduction. That is why the Yoast SEO tool is a game-changer in this respect. It tells you where to add your keyword, including the opening. And from my research, I discover that keyword density is no part of Google ranking factors.
So it makes sense to use keywords strategically in your content to improve visibility and traffic. I couldn’t have written this post any better.
Thanks for sharing.

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Moss,
    thanks for complimenting my article. You’re right too with keyword density part. It’s useless to think of it now, and too many keyword can make the article unreadable.
    But there’s also the thing of keyword frequency.
    It simply means that your chosen keyword should be the keyword most used on the page.
    Google counts every instance of the keyword in verbatim

    Reply
Anil Agarwal

Hi Nikola,

Excellent post indeed. SEO definitely involves in money. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars on an agency or SEO expert to get better results.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can use ultimate tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz etc as they help you with everything from competitor analysis to keyword research, backlink analysis, site audits and so on.

Although you can do it for free as there are enough free tools out there but it takes time to grow your traffic with free tools as they don’t really offer you accurate and extensive data which is extremely important.

I’ve been spending a ton of money on content marketing and SEO so I know what really works and I’m also using a premium tool like SEMrush for more than 3 years now. What I learned so far is that SEO takes time and you need to focus on building authoritative content as you mentioned in the article.

Thanks for the guest post. Keep up the great work!

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Anil,
    thanks for your awesome comment. You’re right SEMrush is great and a whole suite of tool. Using just it can get you really far.

    I admit I don’t have plenty of experience with it, as my focus was elsewhere.
    But it’s my number #1 tool to get and master, priority amongst priorities.

    Reply
Chekumbe

This is really good, I have seen another plugin known as Rank Math, It is good and has some features that are only available for Yoast Premium. Have you seen it and can you recommend it?

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Chekumbe,
    yeah I heard of RankMath. And I plan to try it out as some big SEO names, for example Matthew Woodward, call it the best SEO plugin there is.
    But I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t tell you anything else.

    Reply
Alison Wolf

I found Yoast great when I started blogging as it helped me create content that was easier to read by using headings and an active voice. Although now I have been blogging for quite a few years now, it is not any real use to me.

Now I am looking at different SEO plugins to help my blog.

Reply
    Nikola Roza

    Hi Alison,
    Yoast is pretty basic. It’s great for newbies, but once you’re a bit advanced, it pays to look elsewhere for something more advanced. I hear Rank Math is great, though I haven’t tested it, yet.

    Reply

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