I've gathered on this page all the threads from Jordan O'Connor related to SEO. It's way more practical to have everything on a single page. Much gratitude for Jordan for sharing this. You can buy his course Rank To Sell if you want the full experience.
- 1. Why SEO is so valuable? (thread)
- 2. Getting started with SEO 101 (thread)
- 3. Free SEO course (thread)
1. Why SEO is so valuable? (thread)
SEO helped me generate over $350K in the last three years (over $200K in 2020 alone). Indiehackers that focus on SEO tend to have more success than those who don't. I'll break down what makes it so valuable. Source.
1.1. Demonstrated Demand 🗣
If people are searching for a solution to the problem they have, there's demand for a product that solves that problem. There's no guessing. You can see the search volume for different markets to determine its size. People want what you're selling. Source.
1.2. Search Intent 🔍
SEO is so different from social media, simply because the people typing in keywords are warmer leads. If you're on Facebook and see a promotion, it's mildly annoying. If you're on Google, you're looking for that thing anyways. They're ready to buy something. Source.
1.3. Ownership 👑
You hear it all the time. People say to write on your own blog, host your own email list, etc. SEO allows you to do just that. It drives traffic to the most valuable assets you have. You don't need other platforms. You can do whatever you want on your website. Source.
1.4. Traffic Value 💰
I pay ~$2.5K/month for 3K clicks using Google search ads. I also get an average of 250 clicks/day through SEO, working out to be 10,500 clicks/month. That's ~$8750 in free traffic every month. Source.
1.5. Targeted Traffic 🎯
You don't need a ton of people on your website to make good money. Just the right people. SEO allows you to double down on the traffic that is generating most of your revenue. Other forms of marketing draw in users that just want to poke around, not buy. Source.
1.6. Long-term Actions 🛣
You have to think about what's most valuable for the customer, and write content that is actually valuable. This allows you to build your business sustainably, instead of trying a bunch of short-term marketing hacks. This builds real businesses. Source.
1.7. Build once, sell twice.
h/t: @jackbutcher. Using SEO, you don't have to constantly churn out new content if your content is incredible. I built my entire business in the first few years based on ~4 targeted blog posts. Make something valuable and it will serve you for years. Source.
1.8. It's Competitive 👨👩👧👧
And that's a good thing. That means it's valuable. That means real businesses are investing in it. It's real, valuable work. Not just vanity metrics. You're getting real people to your business. If you're good at SEO, you're good at something valuable. Source.
1.9. Syphon Audiences 🧪
It doesn't matter who has the biggest audience, if there's people, they're searching things they're interested in on Google. Because of this, you can get people from any audience into your front door. You can start building your own. Source.
1.10. The Best Wins 🏆
Black hat SEO is mostly a thing of the past. You can't game SEO anymore. Only the best content, the most relevant results, and the websites that actually help customers will win. If you're the best, you can win. Big time. Source.
1.11. It's Wide Open 📈
Every day new queries are searched on Google, and the algorithms are generating relevant results for the traffic. Even the most competitive niches and markets have incredible amounts of long-tail opportunity. Start small. Start specific. Build value. Source.
1.12. Automation Is King 🤴
SEO lets you focus on systems, rather than day-to-day tasks that take up all of your time. Automated traffic. Automated free trials. Automated customers. Automated growth. Use new content to build momentum for your automation machine. Source.
1.13. It's Not Rocket Science 🚀
Simplest SEO strategy for Indiehackers:
- Answer the internet's questions with your product being the solution.
- Write the best content for keywords your customers are typing into Google.
1.14. SEO Will Be Around Forever ⏳
Search engines are part of what makes the internet so powerful. Search engines need to algorithmically bring up the best content/results, and you can be that result. People will always be looking for solutions to their problems. Source.
1.15. SEO Compounds ⤴️
When you first start, not much will happen. As you provide more and more value, Google will notice. People will notice. The more people click on your results, the more Google trusts your content. New content ranks faster. Old content ranks higher. Source.
1.16. SEO Is Consistent 🍯
You don't have to worry about where your traffic will come from. You don't have to figure out how to generate traffic today. You can make reliable predictions about the future of your business. New customers will show up on your website every day. Source.
1.17. SEO Works For All Types Of Businesses 🌐
It doesn't matter what you're selling or who you're selling to. Maybe you're selling vidalia onions on the internet like @searchbound. If people are searching for it, and it's something they can buy, SEO works for you. Source.
1.18. SEO Is Free 🆓
Okay, it's not "free". It requires time. It's the perfect investment for an Indiehacker that doesn't have any capital to spend. Invest your time into writing well, producing great content, and over time you can convert your time into capital. Source.
1.19. SEO Is Inevitable ♼
Google HAS to serve results for just about any keyword users search for. When you put out content, and index it, Google will start showing your content to test it's quality. You get exposed to new traffic you never even thought of exploring. Source.
1.20. SEO Is First In Line 🥇
A quick Google is one of the first ways many people start to address problems they're solving. This is how you can beat out legacy products in your space. People don't know about the competitors, but they see your product, and it works for them. Source
1.21. It Helps You Make Good Decisions ❓
If people aren't searching for it, it probably doesn't matter. There's obvious exceptions, but it's a good rule to follow. Make products people are searching for. Solve problems people actually have. Write content that matters. Source.
1.22. SEO Is Anonymous 🎭
It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, or what you look like. If you put out the best content, Google will bring you traffic. You do need skills. You don't need credentials. Permissionless leverage. h/t: @naval. Source.
1.23. SEO Establishes Trust 🔐
A well written piece of content builds trust. If you show up in the top 10 results, you're seen as trustworthy. If you deliver on your promise, people will trust you and follow your call-to-action (CTA). More trust = more sales. Source.
1.24. SEO Tells You What To Do Next ⏩
When you start to grow your organic content through SEO, you'll find hidden keywords and niches not found in keyword research tools. And because you already rank for those keywords, you can double down on them and find new ones. Win win. Source.
1.25. You Can Do It Yourself 💃
If you can write, you can rank. It doesn't require teams. You don't need to outsource it. A little bit every day compounds over time. You become a one person content machine. Source.
1.26. SEO Can Start From Nothing 0️⃣
No existing audience required. No existing network required. No social media required. The business mentioned in the first tweet does nothing on social media. I basically reserved the usernames, that's it. When you have nothing, SEO is great. Source.
1.27. SEO Example ☕️
One of my favorite examples of the power of SEO comes from @nateliason over at @growthmachine__ . This case study documents going from 0 to 150,000 visitors/month in 8 months. Four posts per week. Great keyword research. Source.
1.28. SEO Is Well Understood 🧠
There are many more people who are much more qualified than me to talk about SEO. They write incredible guides to get you started. One of my favorite resources for learning SEO is Backlinko. Learn the basics of SEO. Source.
2. Getting started with SEO 101 (thread)
If you to start getting some organic traffic from Google, but don't know where to start, here's how I recommend getting started. I'll outline:
- On Site SEO.
- Basic Keyword Research.
- Longtail Traffic.
- Content Approach.
Let's go. Source.
2.1. SEO is about trust
Everything stems from trust. If Google trusts your site, it will promote you to searchers. If people trust your title(s), they'll click your links. If people trust the content they are reading, they'll share & give backlinks. Trust signaling is the goal. Source.
2.2. How do you signal trust to Google?
- Fast page loads.
- Great user experience.
- Natural, human generated content.
- Bot readable content.
- Good schema structure.
- Long page dwell times.
Basically, providing great content and a great experience gives you a leg-up. Source.
2.3. Signals tracked by Google
In search results, Google keeps track of these signals:
- CTR (Click Through Rate) - When people see your titles, do they click them?
- Bounce Rate - Do people immediately leave after clicking the link?
- Page Dwell Time + Scroll Distance - Do people read your content?
Here's what you want:
- High CTR.
- Low Bounce Rate.
- High Dwell + Scroll.
- ✅ People are attracted to your titles.
- ✅ They actually make it to your fast-loading site.
- ✅ They stick around and read the content.
Check these boxes and you'll have a great foundation. Source.
2.5. Domain name
Before you buy a domain name, some considerations. Luckily, the domain you pick doesn't really matter. anything.com is recommended. People trust .com websites. Short, readable domains are recommended. Semantically, people will tend to click on sites that seem trustworthy. Source.
When writing content, form your URL as follows: https://yourwebsite.com/your-exact-keyword. This URL structure appears cleaner in search results, and having content closer to the root domain gives it more authority. Tip: don't put your blog on a subdomain. Source.
2.7. Site schema
Now, about your site schema.
Having a filled-out schema is a shortcut for Google to understand what is on your web page.
It could be a blog post, or a landing page, or even a video.
The schema for your site is located in the
<head></head> portion of your HTML.
2.8. Test your schema
There's a specific structure that needs to be followed in order for it to be understood by an indexing bot. Typically, this is managed by your website generator (WordPress, webflow, etc.). You can test your schema. Source.
2.9. More website SEO tips
- Make sure your text is readable (font-size, line height, contrast).
- Have a mobile first approach (Google likes that).
- Add videos + pictures to boost dwell time. Charts are great for this.
- If your site loads fast, people won't bounce immediately.
2.10. Fast load times
2.11. Keyword research 1
Let's get into Keyword Research. This is arguably the most important part of SEO, but also the part where people get lost in the weeds. You'll find the best keyword research is to find what competing sites are ranking for in your niche. I use Ahrefs. Source.
2.12. Keyword research 2
I typically recommend targeting medium-difficulty intent-based keywords. What are intent-based keywords? The people are looking to take action. Buy something. Solve a problem. Use a tool. Etc. These traffic sources are good for actually selling something online. Source.
2.13. Keyword research 3
I recommend medium-difficulty (say 30/100 on Ahrefs) not because you'll rank for that term, but typically you'll rank for a lot of the long-tail traffic that is generated around that topic. Eventually, given enough trust signals, you might even rank for that term as well. Source.
2.14. Keyword research 4
Medium-difficulty terms typically allow you to write longer, more comprehensive content, which has been proven to rank better on Google. To rank for long-tail terms, use terms as H2 headers in subtopics in your content. I've had massive success with this keyword expansion. Source.
2.15. Keyword research 5
Using a tool like Ahrefs, you can see what other sites rank for and can begin gathering a list of keywords that are relevant to your niche. From that list, Ahrefs can generate similar keywords. Filter the list to be less than 30 difficulty, and more than 500/month traffic. Source.
2.16. Keyword research 6
This gives you keywords that are easy-ish to rank for, but are also typically more valuable traffic. You can also judge the value of the traffic by looking at the CPC (cost per click of an ad). Get more ideas on how to generate keywords. Source.
2.17. Content 1
As far as writing content, you want to write in a way that is helpful to the reader. You don't want to push a product on them immediately. You want to help solve their problem. Empathize with the reader, and get to the point quickly and accurately. Talk to them personally. Source.
2.18. Content 2
Some other tips for writing helpful content:
- Include navigation links for a long piece.
- Highlight/bold important information.
- Make a TL/DR at the top.
- Get straight into the content, without the fluff.
- Include charts and infographics (shareable stuff).
2.19. Content 3
As far as the content you should be writing, here's one of the most important things to know about SEO: write content that people who link to content will link to. So many people only think about customers, but to build backlinks your content needs to be incredible. Source.
2.20. Content 4
And not only does it need to be incredible, it needs to be content other people who publish content will backlink to it as a reference in their own content. Sometimes you can write things specifically for customers (and not to build links), but backlinks signal trust to Google. Source.
I personally have never gone on a hunt for backlinks. I approach it like this so backlinks come naturally. Less labor for you. The more links your site gets naturally, the higher your collective rankings will be for all of your content. Source.
Titles are the most important piece for getting a high CTR. You don't want to click-bait people, but you also want to make it inticing. To be short, numbers, and special characters are more attractive: "Basic SEO Tips", "39 Essential SEO Tips [In 2020]". Source.
2.23. Index your site
Oh, and something that most people forget to mention (even me). You need to index your site to get Google to put it in search results. Same for Bing, and other search engines. You can submit your sitemap to Google. Source.
3. Free SEO course (thread)
3.1. Find keywords
One of the easiest ways to find low-competition, high traffic, high value keywords for your niche: video.
3.2. The value of SEO
SEO is the best marketing channel if you have lots of time, but not a lot of money. With SEO, you have the potential to get $thousands per month in free traffic. Here's how to calculate the value of ranking for a keyword on Google: video.
Notes from the video
1. If you don't use SEO to get traffic to your site, the alternative is to use advertising. Platforms charge advertisers per click on their ads. This is called cost per click, or CPC. In the US:
- Google ads search CPC: $0.67.
- Google ads display CPC: $2.32.
- Facebook ads CPC: $1.35.
- Instagram ads CPC: $3.56.
- Twitter ads CPC: $0.38.
The average cost per click is around $1. That's a lot. 1000 clicks in Google search would be ~$670. 1000 clicks on Instagram would be ~$3560.
2. Ranking on Google with SEO gives you valuable clicks for free. Even if your website only gets 1000 clicks per month, that's roughly $1000 you would have had to spend on ads. More competitive keywords tend to have higher CPC. However, it's more difficult to rank with SEO then it is to run ads.
3. Here is the formula to calculate the estimated vlaue of a keyword: keyword value = CPC x Position CTR x clicks/month.
Here is the CTR of each position on Google:
- 0.43 (43%).
- 0.37 (37%).
- 0.28 (28%).
- 0.19 (19%).
- 0.11 (11%)
If you rank in the 3rd spot for a keyword that gets 5K searches per month and has a CPC of $2, that's $2990 per month in free traffic.
To get the CPC and the search volume of a keyword, you use the Keyword Explorer of Ahrefs.
3.3. Starting with SEO
The very first thing you need to do if you're just getting started with SEO (important!): video.
Notes from the video
The first thing you need to do is add your website to the Google Search Console. Add the URL of the sitemap of your website. After a few weeks You get useful insights about how your website is performing in SEO.
3.4. Different types of SEO?
Did you know there are different types of SEO? Some websites want a ton of traffic to sell ads, and some are only interested in getting visitors who are potential customers. In this video, I go over how to filter SEO advice you find, and how it changes based on what you sell: video.
Notes from the video
1. When I got started with SEO, I wish someone explained this to me. Most SEO advice is about volume, but not quality. This will help you filter advice before you take action on it.
2. There are different types of SEO:
- Volume-based SEO.
- Intent-based SEO.
- Programmatic SEO.
- Local SEO.
- Platform SEO.
3. Volume-based SEO. This is what most SEO advice is about. Types of businesses that should use volume-based SEO: news, recipes, product reviews. These businesses make money by selling ads and getting affiliate commissions. The goal is to optimize for volume, not quality of traffic.
4. Intent-based SEO. Types of businesses that should use intent-based SEO: businesses that sell products and services. The goal is to optimize for quality of traffic before volume and to make money by converting traffic into customers.
5. Programmatic SEO. It is very similar to intent-based SEO, but focused on long-tail traffic. It is for businesses that make money by converting traffic into customers. The goal is to optimize for specific traffic and volume through the quantity of pages on the website.
6. Local SEO. This is for businesses with physical locations. It is very different from the other types of SEO. The most important optimization: Google Business Profile. The ranking factors are:
- Proximty to searcher.
- Google Business Profile accuracy and completeness.
- Consistency of name, address, phone number across the internet.
7. Platform SEO. This is ranking in the App store, in podcast stores, browser extensions stores, Amazon, YouTube, etc. It is heavily influenced by keywords and (good) reviews. It is slighty different for each platform.
3.5. The "Rank To Sell" framework
How to produce content that ranks on Google and turns traffic into customers (The "Rank To Sell" framework): video.
3.6. Case study: James Clear
How James Clear built a multi million dollar newsletter using an advanced SEO secret hidden in plain sight: video.
3.7. Structure your content
How to structure your content to have a better chance at ranking for keywords you're targeting? video.
How to increase click-through rate by improving your titles? video.
3.9. Syphon traffic
Some of the highest traffic, lowest competition keywords on Google are brand searches. People don't search for "shoes" or "laptops". They search for "Nike shoes", or "Apple laptops". Here's how to syphon a competitor's traffic to build your own audience or business: video.
3.10. Hosting platform
The website hosting platform you choose for your content can dramatically impact your SEO performance. Here are my recommended hosting platforms:
- Static sites
Watch the video to learn more about what's important when choosing a hosting platform: video.
3.11. Case study: ShipBob
Three ways ShipBob evolved their SEO strategy to increase their organic traffic 500% in the last two years (over 600K+/month in customer traffic) and how you can do the same: video.
3.12. Ranking factors
Page speed doesn't matter. Word count doesn't matter. Putting your keyword in your title doesn't matter. Here's 4 ranking factors that *actually* correlate with higher rankings on Google: video.
3.13. People-first content
Google search is dead. SEO has ruined everything. Everyone just appends "reddit" to the end of their search queries. Right? In today's video, I talk about why you should write people-first content, and why trying to game the system with SEO 'tactics' ruins everything. Video.
3.14. Content production
How to produce content that converts traffic into customers?
- Write for beginners.
- Take them from beginner to expert.
- Use your product or service as the solution.
Watch to learn why this works, and see a few examples: video.
3.15. Google update case study
Google's recent helpful content update and spam update hammered lots of websites' organic traffic. It's clear. Google want's people first content. Today I'll show you how one website was downranked, how another was upranked, and the single meaningful difference between them: video.
3.16. Refresh your content
Two simple ways you can refresh your existing content to increase your rankings and your click-through rate on Google: video (This tip increased my traffic 50% in a few days).
3.17. Refresh your content (2023)
It's 2023 and you want to boost your SEO traffic. Don't create new content - refresh what you already have! I made a video that shows my exact steps for refreshing existing content to rank higher for keywords I already rank for (huge value for businesses): video.
3.18. Trustworthiness > Tactics
Black hats will tout their ability to rank quickly and gain traffic, but it's all just temporary. If you want to have longterm, consistent results with your SEO efforts, your goal should be to increase trustworthiness. Trustworthiness takes time. Video.
3.19. Internal links
Internal links: do they help you rank higher in search results? Internal links are NOT a direct ranking factor on Google. But, they can impact several different ranking factors and boost rankings if used correctly. Video.
3.20. Case study: The Verge
The Verge just showed everyone that content distribution and link baiting > "SEO optimized content"
- ✅ Useful content (people first).
- ✅ Catchy title (increase CTR).
- ✅ Virality component (massive distribution).
- ✅ Lots of backlinks (increased trust).
The perfect SEO storm. Video.
3.21. What is results intent SEO?
Keyword research and content that drives more traffic from Google and more customers for your business.
Results intent SEO is a keyword research and content production method used by companies trying to bring potential customers to their website.
Results intent means the searcher is looking for a specific result. This could be "more", "better", "less", "how to", etc. For example:
- Make more
- Spend less
- Grow faster
- Best way
- How to start
It's similar to informational intent, but it adds a layer of complexity and orchestration that produces a specific result that the searcher would like.
Rather than simply answering questions, results intent content leads a reader through steps and ideas that will generate results they want.
It adds more context, more structure, and adds more information that might be helpful in leading the reader towards a desirable goal.
A primer on search query intention
When people search for things on Google, there are a handful of reasons why.
Maybe they're trying to buy something Maybe they're looking for information. Maybe they're looking for a specific website. Maybe they're looking for comparisons and reviews.
These are the most common "intents" that SEOs focus on. Transactional, informational, navigational, and commercial.
When someone is looking to buy something right now they're not looking for an article reviewing the product. They want a product checkout page.
When someone wants to find comparisons and reviews of a product they're not looking to buy right now. They want to find expert reviews and insight.
The useful thing about query intention is it allows you to produce the right piece of content for the right intention.
If you target every intention with a blog post, you might do okay, but it's not always the ideal user experience.
It's important to adjust the type of content based on the intent that you're targeting.
The problem with search intentions
Because search intentions are so well defined, Google has optimized search results to match the user's intention.
Instead of simply providing links to content, Google presents rich information or links that leads to less clicks to websites.
For transactional intent, there's Google shopping (or ads). For commercial intent, there's ads. For informational intent, there's snippets. For navigational intent there's the obvious number 1 result.
All of these Google search enhancements mean it's harder to stand out for traditional search intents.
And with the introduction of generative AI, it's only going to get harder to drive traffic to your website using organic content.
So, how can you drive traffic from the right searchers to your website that leads to more customers?
How results intent SEO is better for your business
Results intent SEO is better for your business because it's content that is highly specific (relevant to the searcher), but also too complex to fit in a featured snippet.
It's also a method that's not highly competitive, because there aren't many ads running on results intent keywords.
Because of this, it's one of the few methods of generating organic traffic from Google that can target your potential customers without much impedance from Google.
It's also better for your business because it allows you to present your product as part of the path to the reader's desired results.
Rather than simply giving the reader more information, you can present your product as a solution to their problem.
Your product isn't the only solution to achieving desired results, and you don't have to make it seem that way, but you can let the reader know that their problems will be solved if they use your product or service.
This builds trust with the reader, generating more customers for your business. People that aren't interested in the product simply move on, but it still builds trust with them because you gave them valuable information.
Trust is the ultimate transactional currency on the internet.
Once you have a reader's attention, and you can generate trust with them, you have a much better chance they will become a customer of your business.
The Rank To Sell course shows you exactly how to find results intent keywords, and produce results intent content, so you can get more customers for your business using SEO.
3.22. Should you buy a website for the links?
There's three things to consider:
- Quality of links
- Context of links
- Branded traffic
You want high-quality links from high-domain-authority sites. You don't want excessive links from spam sites. The context of the links matter:
- Branded anchor texts shouldn't simply be redirected back to your website.
- Links pointing to content should be redirected to content.
If the purchased website has a lot of branded traffic (people searching for the brand) then it might not be the best choice to redirect the website to your website. Hopefully this video helps you grow your business using SEO. Video.
3.23. Keyword difficulty
How to determine the true difficulty of a keyword? Video.
3.24. Long tail keywords
The secret to growing your business with SEO is not getting the most traffic, but getting the right traffic. Producing content for long tail keywords can not only help you grow your business with SEO, but also get you ranking in the first place. The benefits of long-tail SEO: video.