Congratulations! You have found one of those threads which actually might change how you do Internet marketing. So.. I suspect you are doing SEO and you are looking for that "secret method" which will rank you fast and easy on monetizable keyword phrases? Ok, let's start by looking what you are up against... In March 2011, consulting firm Universum released data that Google ranks the first on list of ideal employers by nearly 25 percent chosen from more than 10,000 young professionals asked. As you can imagine, Google can pick who to employ with great care and that's exactly what they does. Somewhere between 1500 and 2000 PhDs (or international equivalent) work at Google and they mostly hire people from top universities (top 5 being Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and UCLA). So.. now we have established our first truth. Truth Number 1. The people working at Google are some of the most well-educated people in the world! So.. all of this smart people all work towards one goal - to create the best search engine for their users. What kind of resources do they have? Money: They are backed by a net worth of about $200 billion Data: They have access to data from over one billion search queries per day from people around the globe in 181 countries and 146 languages. Google analytics is used on 57% of the top 10,000 websites. They have access to 146 million Gmail users emails. Over 270,000 words a minute are written on their Blogger service. Server power: To scrape and use the data above, the Google employees have over 900.000 servers at their disposal. Truth Number 2. Google have crazy assets at their disposal and they are using all of those to keep the best websites on top of their search results. So what am I saying? That SEO is dead after the Penguin update? No of course not and Black Hat SEO is not dead either. Clever people will always find ways to outsmart an algorithm but the question is - is it really worth it for most of us? By not following the Google Guidelines you are fighting a constant battle with a giant company. Every larger algorithm update might lead to a personal disaster for you. So.. I will now give you my suggestions for how to succeed with SEO and make some nice cash. First of all, I only recommend free tools. Why? Because I think you should reinvest your earnings later on when you know what you need, not just spend unneccessary cash on tools because I think they look fancy. I will also start all over from the basics. Some of you might think this is stupid since you already been hanging out here for quite some time reading all sorts of information but then I will retorically ask you - why have you even bother to read a thread aimed to people who doesn't bank. Obviously you are doing something wrong, right? 1. Make sure to make a game plan. Just browsing around for hours and hours without a goal is just stupid and will not get you anywhere. Instead, make sure to make a list of what you want to do in terms of IM. I usually make lists based on months, weeks and days. (an awesome tool which I can highly recommend for this is Wunderlist which works all on bloody platforms and mobiles you can imagine. 2. Start by reading the official Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide 3. Read the SEOMOZ Beginners Guide To SEO and check out my beginner flowchart 4. Read the popular beginner threads here at BHW on topics such as KW research and onsite optimization. The idea is for you to learn the fundamentals such as how to choose the right url structure, siloing and WordPress Optimization (you can't imagine how many professional SEO'ers who still can't do stuff like this right). 5. Go through the lessons for Google Analytics and the lessons for Google Adwords. 6. Learn how to use Excel for SEO. There is a pretty cool Excel add-in named SeoTools which I can highly recommend. It adds a bunch of useful functions for working with SEO and other web metrics directly in Excel. If you search on SEOMoz or on Google, I am sure you can find a number of other cool posts about how to use Excel for SEO. 7. Learn how to use the other tools I recommend in my thread An Overdose of Awesome Free SEO Tools! 8. Now I think it is time for you to start your first WordPress site. Make sure to target a niche where you can use evergreen content and make sure only to post quality content (I am sure you know how to make it good both for Google and your users by now). Decide if you should go for Adsense, affiliate or whatever (you should know how to pick by now). Some advanced WordPress SEO optimization might be good for your site before making it go online. You might want to speed up WordPress as much as possible. Done? Make a Technical Site Audit just to be sure. Okay.. now you got your first site up and running and I will not hold your hand anymore because now you should be more than capable to beat 99 % of all people here at BHW in the serp. You don't believe me? Then try to take the SEO Expert Quiz and see that I am right. If you want to improve even more (which you want of course) you should find skilled BHW members to follow around the forum. Feel free to stalk them, that's what I do Read books. These are a couple which I think is really good right now (and you can probably find them for free online). You can find a lot more by browsing through blogs over at Distilled, seomoz, Search Engine Land etc. Google+ by Chris Brogan SEO ROI by Gabriel Goldenberg (a pretty advanced book but damn good) All the content from Econsultancy All the content from MarketingSherpa Once you make some cash, I suggest you buy something like a SEOMoz Pro account, A Majestic SEO package or an IM platform such as Raven Tools. Okay.. now I got spasms in my hands by writing.. If you follow this guide, I'll see you in the top of the serps for highly competitive keywords in 6 months or so Best of luck!