This is a tutorial that won't teach you technical SEO or ranking methods but. This is aimed mostly on strategy and ROI. And it's a white hat, corporate approach aimed at legit businesses or webmasters that don't want penalties. I've developed this method for my e-commerce clients as a better way of getting ROI through SEO and I've taken an Adwords approach on things. This tutorial/method can be twisted for content OR services websites. Let's say you have an e-commerce that sells electronics and it's either fairly new or doesn't have rankings yet. Targeting short tail, high volume, competitive kw's is not an option for you because: 1) The costs will be high, ROI will most likely fly out the window. 2) Ranking will take a long time (take in consideration the fact that you'll be doing white hat SEO) What to do? Let's look at it from a fat man's perspective. He get's bored and suddenly wants to climb Everest. He probably won't even get to base camp. Instead of climbing the Everest, he should be looking at taking on all the small hills and building stamina first. In SEO this means you'll have authority and relevance. This doesn't mean you won't take those high volume short tails into consideration, this only means you'll set them as long term SEO goals. To exemplify, if you rank on a lot of long tails (keywords with a more pronounced buying intent, or "buying" keywords, you know, all the small hills we've been talking about) related to/or in the same group as the short tail, it will be easier for you to rank on the short tail term eventually. It all sounds good but... How do we do it?! The most important aspect is to set goals or ask the client what his goals are, what he wants to achieve. Again, don't think this strategy is only for SEO clients and only for e-commerce websites. The client could be YOU, in which case, the process of figuring this out will be faster and much more effective. Let's get back to the subject. What are the goals? Well, doesn't matter which way you look, the primare goal is getting money. You can disguise this as better conversions, better traffic, better rankings, they all lead to money. With the goals set out of the way, second step is to understand the business. If you don't understand the client's business and the way it works, you can't create a working strategy. Let's say you know the business, what's next? Now we get to the most important part, the customers. Without customers, you can't achieve the goals and you can't make money, everybody knows that. To get to the customers, you must know your customers, and know how they think. Are they online? How do they find what they're looking for? Do they use the search engines? Do they rely on social media, review sites, or word of mouth to find what they need? Do they look for certain benefits? What do they respond to, smaller prices or other benefits (24 hour delivery, great customer support, good warranty service)? To find out the answers you must do research. Regarding SEO alone, keyword research (the next step) will give you an answer if they're online or using the search engines. For the other questions, they're all answered based on the niche of the e-commerce website. Let's presume the e-commerce is in the electronics niche and sells laptops. The customers will be, most likely, looking at warranty, fast delivery and the cheapest price (with the balance strongly leaning to the cheapest price). We know all of this now, we're ready to do the keyword research, which will be a deal maker or deal breaker. Let's say you want to sell laptops. What are the laptops that bring you most profit? Let's say Dell laptops. Ranking on "dell laptops" is the Everest (you don't want that just yet). Remember we're looking for "buying" keywords. So, if someone is searching for "dell inspiron laptop", would't it be a more buying oriented keyword? How about "dell inspiron n5010"? Won't that be even more obvious that the searcher is looking to buy with a greater intent that when he's searching for "Dell laptop"? What about "dell inspiron n5010 price" or "dell inspiron n5010 discount" or "Dell inspiron n5010 offer"? I think we all can agree that the buying intent is obvious for those kw's. So now, we must analyze the competition regardind they're price because if your prices are higher, you won't have conversions. Think about this, if you're looking for a mobile phone, you've done your research, found a product and now you're looking for the best price. You look in the SERP's and see the site on the first position has a price of 400$ for that product, the second site has a price of 325$, probably the next sites will be information and review sites, and site 8 has the price of 300$. Who will you go with?! Of course, site 8, IF site 1 or 2 don't offer free accessories (memory cards, casings, headphones...) or other perks (better customer support, better warranty service) that will sway you on your decision regarding the smaller price vs larger price + freebies (amounting to more than the 100$ difference, freebies you'll most likely need anyway). So in conclusion you must either have smaller prices, better perks (discounts for accessories, gift accessories, and so on..). That's the best scenario. You can also have similar prices and accept a smaller conversion rate and think about the long term benefits of that new client. Most marketers don't think about this. They calculate the cost of acquisition of that client based on only one purchase, when in fact it's not accurate. If the client is happy he'll come back to you and purchase again, which results in a smaller cost of acquisition over time. And there's nothing stopping you to cross-sale the client with relevant products for his purchase, up-sale him when the new line of dell inspiron laptops hit the market and offer him a discount for a guaranteed increase in conversions. You can retarget that client as you wish or as you can/know how for better profits. Anyway, this is a discussion on it's own, I plan on writing a tutorial for increasing profits from existing clients and product retargeting. So back to the subject in hand. What if I can't offer better prices or perks than the competition? Then this kw won't convert and you'll lose money on promoting that product, in which case, it's a deal breaker and you must rinse and repeat until you find a product with all the needed elements present. Assuming you have that, the next step should be to make a list of all those kw's and their search volume, don't worry that the kw's have small volumes, they'll add up pretty quick. Let's say "Dell inspiron n5010 offer" has 1000 exact monthly searches, "dell inspiron n5010 discount" has 1500 exact monthly searches, "dell inspiron n5010" has 20k monthly searches, "dell inspiron n5010 price" has 5k montly's. Now we need to pan them out by looking on the competition and the ranking difficulty. There are lots of tools out there that do this (Market Samurai, Majestic, etc.). Use whichever you fancy. While looking at the ranking difficulty you notice that "dell inspiron n5010" has a crazy difficulty of ranking. Of course you'll take that kw out of the ecuation. You'll be left with 1000+1500+5000=7500 very targeted searches. Now, Majestic has a nice feature, if you add your google analytics to the app it will offer you predictions regarding the possible traffic you'll have on that group of kw's if you're on top 3, top 5 or top10. You should set your goals to top 5, anything over will be overdelivery. Also, based on your website's general conversion rate, you'll be able to work out a possible revenue, and that's just a minimum of sales, remember you now have the best offer on the market, or a very competitive one, you're targeting only users with a big buying intent so the conversion rate will be higher. You can also make the calculus old fashioned, 80% of the clicks are on the first results page, top3 gets around 30-40%, you calculate the traffic, you take your global conversion rate (if you're not a mindless donkey and you have that info) and you figure out what revenue you might have. And remember, that will be a minimim of what you can get in terms of revenue. If subtracting the SEO costs you won't be left with any possible profits, then it's time to rinse and repeat, that's why it's important to choose products with a great profit margin to begin with. Next step is to rank and say "YEAH, those other people are morons, SEO isn't dead" And of course, no one stops you to upscale this technique for all your site's products eventually. This smart SEO, combined with usability and cross-selling+up-selling sitewide, combined with email retargeting, combined with adwords and Social Media (if applicable) will result in a successful business for you or your client. All done in the smart way, with no real risks and unkowns. As a note, nothing stops the competition seeing what you do and offering a better deal for that product, but it's only ONE product, you still have lots of other products you promote this way. And trust me when I say this, it's highly improbable to happen, almost no business out there will think why their products are not selling, if they're doing adwords on them they'll just remove the poor performing kw's and if they're doing SEO they won't investigate further as to why isn't the product selling. They'll worry about usability issues on their sites and miss the obvious, their offer is shit! So to conclude, the steps are: 1) Set the goals 2) Know the business 3) Know the customer 4) Do the kw research 5) Do the competitor research 6) Do the costs calculation 7) Bank hard That was my smart way of doing SEO. I hope/wish you guys found this tutorial helpful and I really hope I helped some BHW fellow members with this information. If there are any questions, I'll answer them in this thread. Cheers, Radu.