One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last decade that I’ve been doing SEO is having a game plan. It’s not enough to possess the knowledge you must apply it regularly to have the results you desire.
In an effort to simplify the game plan and help you succeed, this chapter spells out the plan for applying the techniques you’ve learned. The good news is that getting started is easy to do and I’m personally taking the guesswork out of this entire process by laying out the plan to get you started.

On-page Optimization

Begin with keyword research. This is one of the most important things you can do to amplify your organic results. By finding the most targeted, highly trafficked keywords with the least amount of organic traffic, you can quickly and dramatically improve organic rankings. With improved rankings comes more website traffic and sales. Don’t short change yourself by skipping keyword research. For details, re-read the section on keyword research and develop a list of 10 – 20 target keyword phrases and consider long-tail keywords for best results.
Once you’ve done your keyword research, begin with on-page optimization. If you want the quickest and easiest path to on-page optimization, sign up for a free crawl with MOZ or SEMrush . Let the technology crawl your website and return “errors” based on SEO best practices. I have used, and continue to use, both of these services to save hours of time evaluating websites. Once you receive an SEO optimization report, slowly and methodically begin making changes to your site focusing on your most important keywords. By eliminating crawl errors, improving site accessibility, and remediating all on-page issues, you’ll make a significant and positive impact on organic results. Keep in mind that your priority should be optimizing your home page and top-level pages, followed by your secondary pages.
If there are optimizations you’re not able to implement, including those requiring code changes, find a freelancer to do the work for you. Use a site like UpWork to find a qualified freelancer who knows something about SEO and the platform your website is hosted on. You can find an expert in pretty much anything so it doesn’t really matter what platform you’re using, whether it’s a custom CMS or WordPress site.
After changes have been implemented, run another SEO report. If you subscribe to Moz or SEMrush, you can set up monthly or weekly crawl reports to ensure that changes have addressed the most salient SEO factors. If SEO software isn’t in your budget, consider paying for a single website crawl or signing up for a month and then cancelling. Remember, it’s not enough to simply identify SEO issues, you need to address them and do a final review to ensure everything has been properly optimized. On a go forward basis, as you build additional pages, implement best practices you have learned from SEO Made Simpleand the software program you’re using to crawl your website on an ongoing basis. This ensures compliance with best practices and gives website pages the best chances of attaining top organic placements.

Google Connection

After you’ve completed your on-page changes, the next step is get your site re-indexed and connected with Google. Here are two very easy and powerful ways to get started.
  1. Sign up for Google My Business . It takes about 5 minutes to sign up and register your company/site with Google. As you add information about your website or business to your Google My Business profile, fill out as much information as possible and post regularly. The more information you provide, the more Google will want to show you in search results.
  2. Sign up for Google Console . Once registered, Google will ask you to verify your account. If you are not clear on verification methods, watch a YouTube video on how to do so or hire a freelancer. After verification, upload an xml-sitemap to your Google Webmasters Account. You can create an xml-sitemap for free at It’s incredibly easy to do so dive right in.
By submitting your business and/or website to Google My Business , registering for Google Webmaster Tools , and uploading your sitemap, you’re 70% ahead of the majority of website owners when it comes to optimization. The reason I encourage the “Google Connection” after implementing on-site changes is because Google will be crawling an optimized website as opposed to one filled with errors. This provides a higher trust ranking and therefore improved search results.
Now that you’ve got all of the on-page optimization and Google notifications out of the way, it’s time to start with content creation. By developing targeted, value-added content, we will be building up website authority and developing more inbound link opportunities.

Editorial Calendar

Begin your content develop program by creating and Editorial Calendar. Simply thinking through the needs and preferences of your market, and the types of information that are most valuable to them can eliminate hard work that goes unanswered. When you are producing content that matters, people will engage, interact, and share. These are the measures of an effective content development program.
About 70 – 80% of your content should be evergreen, the rest seasonal. Evergreen content can be produced once and remains relevant for years to come. Develop a topic for each month and then break it down into a couple pieces of evergreen content and then one or more seasonal pieces – targeting long tail keywords. An example of this from my perspective would be a marketer creating evergreen content regarding branding but in the same month (assuming it’s the holiday season), adding something like, how to avoid shopping cart abandonment during the holidays. As you produce more content, you’ll learn a lot about what subjects resonate with your audience and how to create messages that consumers engage with.
The next step is to package and post your content. Begin by publishing content on your website first whenever possible. Think about ways to take one piece of content and leverage it by using different types of media. For example, if you write and article, can you repackage as a quick video? How about a Power Point presentation? Perhaps a PDF summary of what you’ve written? Today’s leading webmasters are able to take a single piece of content and re-package it in multiple ways. By learning to do so, you can originate less content but produce more digital assets for your website and distribution.
Once you’ve produced new content, the next step is to distribute it. Let’s assume for a moment that you’ve produced new content, posted it on your site, and optimized it (keyword in file name, meta data, body copy, etc.). Now what? Well, let’s start with social media. Assuming you’ve registered and optimized your profile on Facebook and Twitter, share your content on those channels, pointing back to the content’s location on your own website. Also, integrate AddThis share buttons on your site near the top of your content so visitors who do consume it can share with others. Always make sure to share your content on Google My Business in addition to other popular social media channels. This ensures a Google crawl and indexing of your content.
Do this consistently for the next few months. Even if you’re only producing a couple pieces of content: new web page, blog post, uploading images, videos, PDFs, slides, it’s essential to do this on a consistent basis. Get in the habit of sharing across social media channels and encouraging others to share, repost, and engage with. After a few months, consider outsourcing this process but always focus on quality, original content that’s well optimized and based on your editorial calendar.
Now that you’ve optimized your site and begun producing content, it’s time to start building some links.


After you’ve created a strong foundation for your site through keyword research and on page optimization, and established yourself with Google by registering for Google My Places , Google Console , and building some valuable content for distribution, the next and final step is to begin a link building process slowly over time.
Even after spending days in workshops teaching people on-page optimization skills, there’s always an added interest and desire for more information on how to tackle link building. I don’t know why this has such an appeal, but it has always been a focal point for those learning the art of search engine optimization.
Based on the information you’ve read so far, you understand the importance of slow and steady link building. In fact, link-building cowboys are out there every day trying to get hundreds or thousands of links to their sites through services and shortcuts only to find that Google slaps them with a big penalty—setting their SEO back weeks or even months.
I’ve experimented with tons of paid link building services to support my search engine optimization efforts. Most of the time they either can’t deliver what’s promised or worse yet, have a negative impact on search results (ex: website submission services). To help manage the workload, I’ve used freelancers to help with the manual process of building quality inbound links slowly over time. This includes key directories and resource sites as well as niche sites focused on my particular client industries.
In this section I’m going to reveal the exact link-building system I’ve applied to achieve number one rankings for many of my websites and blogs. The first place to being is by focusing on your competition. No fancy software is needed, although using a tool like Link Explorer can greatly minimize the time and effort required to complete this task.
Begin by identifying the websites ranking in the first, second, and third spots of search results for one of your target keywords. The next step is to see who is linking to these top ranked sites. You can use an automated tool like Link Explorer, or the “link: ” command in a Google search box. Once you’ve aggregated your list of target web sites, and prioritized based on those with the most authority, visit each one to see if you can acquire a link to your own website. To see which sites have the greatest authority, use and SEO tool or browser plugin that shows you site authority, strength, or number of inbound links. You obviously want to target the most authoritative sites for link building purposes.
Keep in mind that it’s virtually impossible to get a link on every site that your competitors have received links from. This is due to many factors including the reality they may own some of those sites. But don’t despair. Work to acquire links from as many of the websites you’ve identified as you can. This may require outreach to the site owner, a guest article or post, maybe even a comment on their blog or in their community. Spend some time or hire a freelancer to research these authoritative sites and develop a strategy for obtaining a link – this increases your chances of success. This link building methodology provides a strong foundation for improving your rankings and beginning a regular link building process.
The “modeling” strategy we just described here is one of the most powerful and should command a good deal of your focus. By targeting the sites giving your competitors a boost you simultaneously improve your rankings while diminishing the value of their inbound links. After exhausting your target list of sites for strategic link building, it’s time to implement your monthly link building program. And it all begins with a very simple spreadsheet.

Ongoing Link Building

Remember I said we would create a link building plan for you? Well, having a formula to follow for link building is the best and easiest way to build website authority over the long term. You want staying power. The best way to do so is applying a slow, steady, and consistent approach to acquiring links. Here’s a snapshot of your plan.
Site Name - Month
2 - 5 articles published to website/blog MM/DD/YY
2 - 4 blog submissions/comments MM/DD/YY
5 forum submissions MM/DD/YY
10 authority profile submissions MM/DD/YY
1 press releases MM/DD/YY
30 social media posts MM/DD/YY
1 video uploads MM/DD/YY
3 local search engine profiles MM/DD/YY
From my perspective, link building is a monthly process that you can effectively manage. Build links too quickly and you’ll be penalized or perhaps achieve top rankings for only a short while (e.g., press releases). Build links too slowly and your competition may outrank you. Striking the perfect balance takes some experience and experimentation but is well within reach. I’ve spent a decade creating a link-building process that produces consistent results and simplified for you in this section. The only variable is the competitiveness of your niche, which impacts the rate of link building, and target link acquisition websites.
Recently I completed an SEO job for a well-known trucking company who wanted top rankings for a particular keyword phrase. This competitive phrase got nearly thirty thousand searches a month and had some very stiff competition. Although the company knew it would take a long time to achieve results they understood the value in achieving a top ranking for this term and decided to move forward. We applied the necessary SEO techniques and got the result they were looking for—but it took almost nine months. This is because the term was very competitive and other sites that were in the top positions had been there for a very long time. This is why doing the keyword research up-front, to find less competitive terms, is so important. Keep in mind that long tail keywords, those including 3 or more words, are easier to rank for and more aligned with how people actually search for things.
Once you have developed a website or blog, identified the keyword phrases you want to rank well for, and implemented on-page optimization techniques we’ve shared in this guide, the next step is to have a link-building plan to apply on a regular basis. After developing a comprehensive list of sites linking into the top few results for the keyword phrase you’re targeting and systematically work through all those links and trying to acquire links back to your own site, it’s time for a disciplined link-building program. The best way to manage your activity is by creating a spreadsheet like the one above that allows you to track and manage your activity. The previous image is a summary level but you should also create tabs on your spreadsheet that capture the sites you use for submission and additional techniques you use. This allows you to come back to authoritative sites on a monthly basis and reuse them for link submissions.
Your plan should be as follows:

1. Begin by developing an article or some type of original content for your website.  

Google thrives on original content, large websites, and authority. The best and fastest way to get there is with original content and an ever developing website. Begin your SEO campaign with a commitment to continually evolve your own website with new content. Make sure it is related to the theme of your website and grows steadily over time by adding two to five per month.

2. Do follow blog submissions . 

Each month, focus on making quality submissions to “do follow” blogs in your niche based on competitor backlink profiles. If you are unable to find do follow blogs in your niche, focus on high authority blogs of any kind. By taking the time to read posts and make value-added comments you can get the attention of the blog owner. When reaching out to blog owners to request a guest post to be genuine. Submit an article/post you’ve already written or a well thought through idea that is relevant for the blog audience. One way to improve your acceptance rate is to provide credentials or samples of your work. I also like to inform the blog owner that when he publishes my content I will share a link to the post via my large social network. Think about creating value and your chances of being accepted will grow exponentially.

3. Do follow blog comments . 

Leaving meaningful comments on do follow blogs, if implemented correctly, is a great source of authoritative links. I recommend no more than ten to twenty quality blog comments in a given month. Assuming you have a list of ten quality blogs, making a couple of comments on each should be easy. This also keeps things manageable. With most blogs there is moderation. As a result, your comments may take some time to appear live or may be rejected. Stay the course and you’ll find more and more of your comments being accepted.

4. Forum submissions. 

As discussed previously forum submissions are a great resource for one-way links. On many forums you may need to make a minimum of ten posts before you are allowed to display your signature block including links back to your website. Register on a number of forums that you can go to on a monthly basis to post and display your signature. I suggest anywhere around twenty forum posts per month on average. The reason is that forum posting, much like blog posting, takes time to do correctly. If you’re aggressive you could certainly use forum posting much more. I’d shoot for as much as fifty posts in a month if it’s something you enjoy but it’s not necessary. You may be asking why you would do so much with forums especially due to the fact that all you need is a single link from a forum to make it worthwhile. The reason is that social media now weighs very heavily into the success of forum marketing for optimization purposes. The more active you are, producing meaningful content, the more your posts will be shared – driving traffic and building authority to your profile and inbound links. This is definitely one of those tasks I’d consider outsourcing once you’ve established yourself on some targeted forums for your niche and have a means for producing quality content.

5. Profile submissions. 

Each month I use a freelancer to post on high-profile websites. Although Angela’s packet offers around thirty potential links each month, invariably the list boils down to around twenty or so sites where you can easily place a one-way link back to your website. I use this list for all of the sites I’m optimizing and have even developed my own list of high-profile sites. If you are just starting out, try for about ten high authority profile submissions for your site each month. If more advanced and you have supplemented the sites provided on Angela’s list, you can post up to twenty five over the course of a month. Once you’ve posted your link for a particular site on one of the suggested profile sites, do not post again until the following month. Duplicate links created at the same time won’t help your link-building efforts.

6. Press Release Submission. 

Each month you should be distributing at least one press release per website. A release should be more than 350 words and have some type of “news”. This could be something as simple as a new feature added to your website, a new customer, or a new service that you are launching. Then, make submissions to a few PR sites (e.g., Pr-inside, etc.). Once you have submitted to a press release distribution site, the news is distributed to hundreds of additional websites, news sites, and blogs. This is a great way to build quality links from many different sources. After each release is posted, share it on social media. This will increase the page authority of the page that carries the release which ultimately ties right back to your website.

7. Social Media Posts and Links. 

Social media is an important resource for communicating with others and posting links to your website and blog. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and the like, are common social media sites that you should include your profile and be resources you post to on a regular basis. Include a link to your site in actual social media posts each month.
Develop an editorial calendar that focuses on topics related to your audience. Each week, generate 5 – 7 new posts that point to relevant information on your website or other high authority resources. As users see value in what you’re sharing, they will share with others. Don’t feel like all the content needs to be your own. Much of the content should reside on your site but it’s unrealistic to always create the content. That’s okay. As long as you are developing a following, providing value, and encouraging engagement, you’re building your website authority. The links in your profile combined with additional links on your “Wall” and “Tweets” can build link equity that propels your search rankings. Encourage followers to redistribute your content whenever and wherever possible.

8. Video Submissions . 

I used to have video submissions and social media tied together for link-building purposes, and to a large extent, they are very much connected. YouTube is really one of today’s largest social media sites and promoting video is necessary to gain full SEO benefit. Videos appear in search results and also carry authority that can be attributed to your websites. A good goal is to produce one to two new videos every month and post on video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Once posted, be sure to encourage views, ratings, and sharing via social media like Facebook and Twitter. Videos are commonplace and easy to distribute. Additionally, universal search results are picking up and displaying videos in search result listings. Always make sure to include a link to your site in the beginning of your video’s description when submitting to video sites and use your keywords I the first 25 words of dialog. The most important thing is to be okay with self-created videos. People aren’t looking for big scale video productions in high definition. Rather, create videos using your mobile device that cover an important topics for your audience. At the end of the day it’s less about production quality and more about substance.

10. Local Search Engine Profiles. 

With the advent of local search comes dozens if not hundreds of websites designed for small businesses to list information about their company, products, and services. Seek out yellow page type listing sites and register for a free profile on each of them. Many of these sites ask for premier listing fees but a free listing is adequate in most cases. A number of these sites have become quite large and are a great place to acquire links. When completing your business profile, provide as much information as possible. Sites like Citysearch allow for 5 photos to be added to your account and provide additional features like connections to social media accounts. Name files with keywords and optimize the business profile. Seek out and add your site to as many as five business profile sites each month. Business profiles are a great way to expand your reach and acquire links from high authority websites. Again, consider using a data aggregator like Moz Local to properly optimize and distribute your information on a monthly basis. This can save you time and produce better results.
There you have it. This is the exact schedule, with minor tweaks from time to time, that I use on a monthly basis to optimize my own websites and blogs. I suggest that you spend the first few month of your SEO campaign working through each of the submission types on your own. Once you have a strong understanding and foundation for link-building strategies, find an outsource partner that can help with different aspects of the process. Before long, you’ll be able to reduce the time spent with repetitive tasks and be able to focus on the next big search engine optimization project!
Increasing your ranking on Google and other search engines isn’t complex, but it does take some time and effort. If you want to increase website rankings on a search engine results pages, begin by implementing the on-page optimization and the off-page optimization techniques you’ve learned in this book.
One question I seem to get quite often is, “How long does it take?” This is a difficult question to answer because it’s relative. If you’re trying to optimize for a keyword phrase like “eating blueberries on a Sunday afternoon,” it will happen quickly, requiring simple on-page optimization and just a few articles with links back to your website using a proper link profile. On the other hand, if you are trying to optimize for a competitive term, and the top-ranked website has hundreds or thousands of incoming links, it can take a number of months to reach number one on Google. I can tell you from experience that more often than not, you’ll put in a lot of effort and it will appear as nothing is happening or only small shifts are occurring. But stay focused and consistent. All of a sudden…wham! Your site will jump up in the search results unexpectedly. Stay the course and I guarantee you’ll see results. Many fail because they give up too soon.
Regardless of where you’re starting from, the key is persistence. These are the same techniques I’ve used to achieve top positions on Google for almost every keyword and keyword phrase that is important to my websites. Visualize your goal and take deliberate steps toward improving your search engine result placements daily and before long you will be exactly where you want to be—dominating the world’s largest search engine.
To simplify your journey toward the number one position on Google, don’t hesitate to use effective SEO tools and resources and continue learning about SEO. Although search tools, including outsourcing, aren’t required for achieving top search engine placements, they can help you achieve your goal more quickly than manually implementing particular SEO techniques.


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