When a niche marketer embarks on the journey of building an online business, at the forefront of his or her mind is how they’re going to monetize their efforts. Usually, they focus on product creation, affiliate income and list building.
But soon, they realize traffic is a major source of whether or not they’re capable of succeeding, and since most don’t have deep pockets to invest in paid ads, they have to scramble to try to rank high with search engines for targeted, organic traffic.
This isn’t something you can do overnight, but by carrying out a steady stream of beneficial changes to your site, you can start seeing the results of your efforts. You’ll beat out the competition and see your site consistently ranking for targeted keywords and phrases.
The plan below allows you to choose one simple task to implement each day for an entire month. This will allow you to start enjoying free traffic so that you can build a list and see your income start rising, too.
Day 1: Check the History of the Domain Name You’re About to Buy
The first thing you want to do, which may or may not be too late by the time you’re reading this, is make sure that the domain URL you’re buying doesn’t have any bad history associated with it.
For example, if someone owned the domain before you and acted with blackhat tactics and spammed individuals and sites, then your domain might have an ongoing penalty associated with it that could hinder your efforts to rank well.
You want your website free and clear of any trouble. If you’ve already registered a domain and discover it has a shady past, then you might want to take the content you’ve created and migrate it to a new domain that has a clean slate.
Even if the previous owner simply did a bad job of creating content and serving their audience, you’ll have your work cut out for you in the future trying to dig yourself out of a hole.
People typically think of old domains as beneficial for SEO (search engine optimization), since they have longevity in their corner. But if the domain owner wasn’t above board, it will act as an anchor weighing your site down in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Also, in terms of achieving that longevity that can benefit you with SEO, make sure you aren’t changing domains every time you happen to think of a better one. It’s best to stick with one and grow it for the future rather than change course, as long as your domain doesn’t have an unsavory past.
You can use a tool like http://web.archive.org to see the history of the domain. This is an Internet archive that will show you what the site was doing through the years, if anything.
Day 2: Create and Submit a Sitemap for Search Engines
When your site is chosen and you’re beginning to build it, make sure you’re employing the use of a sitemap. This gives Google (and other search engines) a clear navigation expectation of how their search bots can effectively crawl your site.
Some people have considered an HTML sitemap outdated, while others continue to use it. Most people use an XML sitemap, and you can find plugins that will help you do this automatically, making the entire process a breeze.
There are some like the Google XML Sitemap Generator you can use that are open source tools. It automatically goes to your site and looks at the traffic logs, files and URLs and makes sure everything’s up to date for the search engines.
Officially, there are different sitemaps you can use – in addition to the XML sitemap. The others include an image sitemap, video sitemap, and news sitemap (if you want to get your blog included on Google News).
Day 3: Secure Your Site with an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is a security layer of protection called Secure Sockets Layer that helps people avoid landing on unsecured networks that could harm their computer files. You want consumers to feel safe accessing your site, so their personal information won’t be stolen.
An SSL certificate prevents a warning from showing up that makes your site look as if it’s been infected or is dangerous, even if it hasn’t. You can have your hosting company or domain registrar add an SSL certificate to your site.
Some hosts charge you extra for this, while others will include it in the price of your plan, or give it to their customers free of charge. If you opt to go for a higher level of security, then it will cost more, but most niche marketers don’t need this.
Day 4: Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
Many people bypass their laptop and PC and use their smart phone to access information on the world wide web. You want to make sure your site is compatible with smart technology so that Google doesn’t bury you in the SERPs for being non-compliant.
Start by checking to see if the blog theme you’ve chosen to use is mobile-responsive. You might have only checked using your own smart phone, but remember, not everyone uses the same kind.
Go to Google and see if your site is mobile friendly using their tool here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. You’ll enter your URL and it will take a minute to give you your results.
They will tell you what issues your mobile readers may have, such as text being too small to read, incompatible plugin usage, screen dimensions not adjusted properly, and so on.
Day 5: Check to See If Your Site Loads Quickly
Google typically wants your website to load in under 3 seconds. Anything over that and they may ding you in the search engines for a slow load time. That’s because users will often click out and go elsewhere.
The site has to load on both desktops and mobile technology, so make sure when you’re checking your site, that you check both. You can use a tool like https://pagespeed.web.dev to check both.
Just enter your URL and click the Analyze button. It will first analyze mobile, and then you can choose desktop, too. It will show you opportunities to improve load times on your site in the audit, so you can make changes that will benefit you.
Day 6: Examine Your Site on All Browsers and Gadgets
While Google Chrome is the most widely used browser on the Internet, it’s not the only one. You want to make sure your website shows properly on all browsers, different gadgets (like smart phones, iPads, Mac computers and more).
There are certain tools like CrossBrowserTesting.com, that you can use to check to see how your site looks on various browsers, or you can do it manually. You want to definitely check Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
Day 7: Categorize Your Posts for Easy Navigation
Every time you create a post for your blog, it will default to Uncategorized, unless you specifically put it in a category. These categories are important for navigation both by search bots and human visitors alike.
You want to create a hierarchy of categorization to help everyone understand the site content better. You can have parent categories and child categories that fall under each one.
So for example, if you have a site on weight loss, your parent categories might be diet plans, exercise, and mindset. Under the diet plans, your child categories might be calorie deficit, keto, and other types of diets.
Day 8: Put Keywords in the Post Titles and Tags
Keywords are very important to the optimization of your niche site. You’ll be using these in many places, but to start, make sure they’re in the post titles and tags of each piece of content you create.
The post title itself should have a keyword-rich word or phrase in it, as should the headings or subheadings in the content. When you go to publish the post, in addition to selecting a category, you can add keyword tags to the post.
Day 9: Use Strategic Keywords in Your Content
Keywords will come in handy with your content creation, too. Make sure you spend some time carefully collecting and organizing the keywords and phrases you want to use for your site rankings.
Never buy into the outdated hype that stuffing your content with keywords will benefit you. In fact, overuse of keywords can sabotage the very goal you’re trying to achieve. You will have an easier time ranking for long-tail keywords than broad ones.
For example, you’d rank easier for weight loss for over 40 women than you would for the phrase weight loss by itself. That’s because there’s more competition targeting the broader keywords.
In each piece of content, try using a variety of words and phrases that relate to your post so that you bring in visitors who go about searching for the same topic in a variety of ways with slightly differing language.
Day 10: Utilize Alt Text to Your Advantage
Most bloggers insert images into their site without ever maximizing them for SEO. Your images can help you bring in traffic. You want to use the Alt Text to your advantage whenever you include visuals.
What you’re basically doing is including a text-based reference for whatever the image is. So for example, if you have a picture of a bird, your alt text would be <img src=“bird.jpg” alt=“blue bird perched on a tree branch” title=“bird identification”>.
The title will be what users see when they hover over your image. The alt description is very important to the optimization of your image, so write it carefully and include keywords while making sure it relates to the text in your post.
Day 11: Get More Clicks with Effective Meta Descriptions
If you go to Google right now and type in a topic, you’ll see the results page pop up with a list of links. Below each link title, you’ll see a brief snippet of what the site is about. That’s what your meta description does for you.
And while it may not be a direct SEO bump indicator, search engines will take notice if more people are clicking through and staying on your site due to the relevancy of your content to their needs.
You have a code that looks like this: <meta name= description content=> which is an HTML tag you can use for up to 160 characters or less that will show up under your listing to help people understand what the site or page is about.
Day 12: Start Creating Value-Packed Posts
For a long time, SEO experts have said not to worry about the length of your blog post. This was primarily because newbie bloggers would pump a lot of fluff and filler content into the post and it was deemed useless.
But now, Google is definitely placing an emphasis on in-depth content. You want long, but valuable pieces that are comprehensive in nature. So instead of just writing a short, 300-word blog post about something very specific, where there’s not much to say, see how much broader you can get and make that one topic a section of an overall, bigger blog post.
Day 13: Spend a Day Updating Outdated Information on Your Site
Outdated information on your site can be very damaging when it comes to search engine optimization. If Google and other search bots see old information, they won’t want to send their users to your site.
Sometimes, facts and data have changed. Other times, you might have old examples used in content that are clearly outdated. All you need to do is go in and refresh whatever portions are outdated.
You don’t want to totally redo the piece (unless it needs it). You also shouldn’t delete it completely and write a new one. Just log into your dashboard, look for posts that could have old information in them, and tweak them to be up to date before republishing.
Day 14: Have a Good Balance of Outbound, Inbound and Internal Links
Links can be important elements in whether or not your site makes it to the top of the SERPs. Sites that have many people pointing to them as an authority site are bound to get more organic traffic than those who have only a handful (or none).
You don’t want to involve yourself in shady, blackhat tactics that try to get you backlinks because those are often exposed and then sites using them are penalized. Instead, stick to creating value-packed content that will have sites naturally linking to your pages for the expertise and insight they share.
Not only do you want inbound links showing that you’re an authority site, but you want to prove to Google that the places you link out to are good resources, too. And you also want to periodically have internal links from one of your pages to another page (posts) – but none of this should be excessive.
Day 15: Compress and Resize Your Images
When images take too long to load, you’ll lose visitors and search engines will bury your site in the SERPs. Before uploading images to your blog, make sure you optimize them for performance.
Basically, you want to reduce the file size. There are different ways to do this. First, start with a good file format. PNG images, for example, might look slightly better, but they’re larger than a JPG.
You can take your images and process them with a tool like https://imageresizer.com/image-compressor to help you get the best compression and quality for your various formats.
Day 16: Find Ways to Create Sticky Content
Search engines want to be the go-to tool people us to find information. They know, when they send someone to a site and that person immediately clicks away, that it was not the best site to show to searchers.
So you want to make sure your site is sticky. That means when people land, they stick around for awhile. The longer, the better. There are different ways to create a sticky site, but nothing works better than delivering stellar content.
The pillar blogs successful bloggers publish can help with stickiness by being comprehensive content pieces people simply don’t want to click away from. You can also use multimedia formats like video to ensure people stay longer.
Day 17: Start Publishing More Frequently
Fresh, up-to-date blogs often enjoy a higher spot in the SERPs than those who publish new content infrequently. You want to be publishing as often as it makes sense for you to post, while maintaining the same level of quality needed to beat the competition.
Never adopt a quantity over quality mentality for SEO just because you want to publish more often. It’s better to publish three value-packed posts per week than seven flimsy content pieces – one for each day of the week.
By publishing more often, you’ll be training search bots to come back to your site quicker and index your content. If you only publish once every week, that’s how often they’ll come.
But you can train bots to index your site within hours if you’re frequently publishing, and this can help you grow your business strategically. Some niches work better for this than others, such as niches where the information is constantly being refreshed, like the stock market, for example.
Day 18: Embrace Google’s EAT Guidelines
Google is always putting out algorithm advice for their ever-evolving changes. You should know that some are evergreen, while others get deactivated eventually. With the EAT guidelines, they’re looking for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
Your site can achieve a positive expertise ranking by providing links to reputable sources and getting links from other authority sites pointing back to you. You can become an authority site through the use of stellar content, having ample information about your credentials, securing positive reviews or testimonials and more.
The trust they’re looking for is in how your visitors will experience your site. Having the SSL certificate is a good start. Make sure your visitors can safely and effectively navigate your domain, too.
Day 19: Use Social Media as an Inroad to Better SEO
Social media doesn’t directly impact your search engine optimization, but there’s a definite connection between building awareness about a brand and social media sites, and when you can have more people talking about your brand, they’ll be creating links to your site.
It’s the links coming into your domain that will serve you well. The key is to build a brand that meets the needs of your audience, which means creating innovative, informative and entertaining content that gets shared and engaged with online.
Day 20: Cater to Voice Searches
Voice searches are being used by more individuals on a daily basis. While people used to type things into search engines, they can use their voice on the go or while multitasking instead.
Whether they’re asking Siri on their smart phone, or Alexa on their smart speaker, their voice is what’s commanding the information and results that Google provides to them. So you need to cater to this technology.
In order to do this, you have to start understanding what your customers are verbalizing. This may be different from what they would type in. For example, they might type in something like best diet fast, while they would verbally say, “Hey Siri – what’s the best diet plan for fast weight loss?”
These long-tail keyword phrases need to be used in your site content to cater to the ever-increasing usage of voice searches. You want to use the questions in your post titles, and thoroughly answer them so that any follow-up questions are handled.
Remember, searchers using voice often start with a query word like who, what, when, where, why or how. Use these to make sure you fully answer the question. So if you want to write a post about the best diet for fast weight loss, think about who would be using this and why (like an upcoming wedding or event).
Talk about what they need to do to implement it, how it works and when they can expect results – two weeks or a month, for example. Address where they can do to get more information or buy the product, too.
Day 21: Watch for Bounce Pages and Fix Whatever’s Wrong
If there’s one thing Google and other search engines have an eagle eye out for, it your bounce rate. Sending traffic to a site where people instantly leave reflects poorly on them.
You can watch your analytics to see how fast people are bouncing from your site and where it’s happening. If you see people largely leaving one page of your domain, then go in and fix it as quickly as possible.
It could be a technical issue like a page loading too slow – or it could be a content issue, where the visitor immediately realizes your site isn’t about what they thought it would be about.
Day 22: Pay Attention to Sudden Drops in Traffic
When you’re going through the motions of building a site with good authority and reputation, and you’re pleased with the traffic, you never want to rest on your laurels. Now is the time to stay one step ahead to ensure you don’t lose momentum.
There have been many website owners who were thrilled with their organic searches, only to wake up one day and realize their site’s been buried in the SERPs and they now only have a trickle of visitors coming from search engines.
This can happen for many reasons, but one is that Google or another search engine has created an algorithm update and you’re simply a victim of it. For example, think of the people who relied on keyword stuffing or link farms to help rank their site, only to realize the practice is now frowned upon, so all of their content is useless.
If you suddenly experience a drop in traffic (or you want to prevent this from happening), make sure you’re staying abreast of all of the updates happening in the world of SEO. Sometimes, a change can benefit you as it buries others who were doing something wrong and inadvertently bumps you up.
But if you know a change is coming, it can help you make alterations to your site and how you do things in the near future to stave off disaster and enjoy the benefits that come with simple awareness.
Day 23: Use People Also Ask to Create Thorough Content
Because of Google and other search engines giving preferential treatment to comprehensive posts, you want to work with what are known as topic clusters. Think of a keyword cloud or mind map where topics closely related to one main idea are all housed together.
When you go to Google and type in a topic, if you scroll down the page, you’ll see an area called People Also Ask. For example, if you type in best diet for over 40, you’ll see things in the People Also Ask area such as: what foods should you avoid at age 40, how can a 40 year old lose weight fast, and how can a woman lose 10 pounds in a month over 40?
Those are all topics you could weave into one post for comprehensive coverage. You can also go down to the Related Searches area and find more – such as: best diet for over 40 male, how to reduce belly fat after 40 female, hormones and weight gain after 40, and more.
Day 24: Give People Options If You’re Reviewing Products
Google MUM is an SEO update that has many primary issues, such as providing answers to queries, multi-language multimedia content and more. But one thing you want to do as a niche marketer in particular if you’re reviewing products is make sure all of your posts have multiple options on where someone can buy something.
So if you’re an affiliate promoting survival food buckets, for example, you’d want to link out to Amazon, Walmart, and anywhere else buyers could find the product. This isn’t bad for you because you know buyers have purchasing preferences and it gives you more opportunities to earn commissions, even if it takes a bit longer to initially gather your links.
Day 25: Improve Your Content’s Readability
Search engines are looking for pristine content, but not in a traditional way. Instead of content that reads like an encyclopedia, they want consumer-friendly, conversational content that’s easy to read and absorb.
In addition to the tone and style, you want to make sure there’s plenty of white space by breaking up long blocks of text with images and making paragraphs shorter and easier to devour.
Go through and edit your content to ensure it’s free of typos and spelling errors, overly long sentences and other issues. If and when you can, use bulletpoints so people can skim and include a hyperlinked table of contents so they can get to whatever topic they want to quickly and easily.
Day 26: Include Visual Elements to Your Text-Based Content
One thing search engines are putting a big emphasis on these days is the user experience, also known as UX. The way a persona experiences a website results in positive or negative feelings.
For example, if the navigation is off, they get flustered. If the site loads slow, or the content is poorly written, it’s a waste of time. Another thing people want is for the content to consist of more than just text.
To optimize your site for search engines, make sure you’re utilizing a healthy mix of all media formats you feel comfortable with – including things like infographics, gifs, images like quote posters, video and even audio.
Day 27: Find and Fix Broken Links to Improve User Experience
There are many reasons Google will ding your site when it comes to search engine optimization, and one is if your domain is full of broken links. The bots they send to your site to crawl and index the content will follow the links you have listed, so they all need to be in working order.
You can use Google Analytics or other tools to show you what links are leading to a 404 page (an error page). Then, you’ll need to go into the blog post or page and either update the link so that it works or remove the link completely.
Day 28: Capitalize on Your Ability to Rank for Trending Topics
Trending topics will usually have a lot of people searching for them, and fewer sites competing for their attention. That’s primarily because most bloggers are late to the party when it comes to writing content about breaking news or trends.
Whatever your niche is, try to stay abreast of news or trends you see forming so that you can capture the lion’s share of traffic from search engines. For example, if you’re in the health niche and there’s a trend to use keto to control blood sugar – or news breaks about a new treatment, stop whatever it is you’re doing and create a valuable post detailing what people need to know about it.
Day 29: Leverage Your Subscriber List for Backlinks and Social Shares
If you need to build backlinks and show that you have people visiting (and sticking around) on your site, be sure to send your email subscribers to your blog whenever you publish new content.
Many people focus on getting people on their list to only promote products to them, but they can be a fantastic source of engagement – which includes sharing your links, reviewing your work, and giving you backlinks as an authority figure from their own site.
Day 30: Learn How to Curate, Not Copy Content
Because outgoing and incoming links are an importance piece of your SEO strategy, you want to learn how to curate content the right way. Curation is when you gather snippets, quotes and links or media from other sources and create one post that highlights them all around a theme.
For example, you might be working on a blog post for diabetes nutrition. You can include a quote from an expert, embed a video from someone who explains a concept well, or summarize a strategy in a sentence or two that is shared in depth on another blog – and add your thoughts about what is being shared to the post.
You will not copy all of their content – just a small amount, with a link back to the original post or site so that readers can follow it and get more information. You’re giving credit to the source, and they will see the link to your post in their own analytics.
When they realize they’re being used as an authority figure or expert, they will often share the link to your piece with their own blog and social media followers as well as their email subscribers.
This helps you get an incoming link from their authority site, and wider engagement as a brand. Like a museum curator, your job will be to gather an exhibit of the best ideas for the overall topic and share them with your audience, along with your own interpretation.
If you’ve already been working on building a content site for quite a bit of time, don’t worry. Start implementing good SEO habits from this point on, and slowly but surely, work through your older content to tweak it so that it’s strategically in line with today’s search engine requirements and preferences.