When people think about monetizing their blog, they think of Google AdSense, banner advertising, creating aBlog product and selling it on the page, selling subscriptions for a membership site, affiliate marketing, sponsored reviews, sponsored content, or some other way to make money online.

This works, of course, but it’s better if you first set the foundation for a blog that ranks high for most of its pages. If you can achieve that through the most basic search engine optimization technique – creating high quality content – then making an income from your blog and diversifying your income streams becomes pretty easy to do.

Write high quality content

Whoa! Haven’t we heard all this before? Isn’t that what everyone says?

Well, yes, but you need to know exactly what Google likes when it comes to content. When you know that, and you start implementing it, your blog posts will naturally rise to the top, and then it becomes almost impossible to not monetize your blog.

Let’s dive in…

I’ll bet you’ve heard of LSI, and you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, those synonyms and alternative meanings that Google likes.” Well, yes and no. Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, is actually the technology that Google uses to discover the keywords. It isn’t really the keywords themselves.

Google bought the technology from a company called Applied Semantics back in 2003. The technology achieves semantic text processing, which is a bit like how the human mind works. It’s really a case of a robotic system (LSI) emulating the human mind so that people using a search engine can be served a result they feel comfortable with, because it mimics the way they think.

The old way of optimizing content

We used to write articles or blog posts around a single main keyword. We’d use it in the title, the first paragraph and last paragraph, and throw it in a few more times too. We’d then check the keyword density, and smile if came in around 5%.

That doesn’t work any more, and hasn’t worked for a long time now. You need to theme your content if you want to consistently gain top rankings in the search engines these days. Yes, you’ll still have a main keyword, or topic, for your blog post, but you also want to gather and use a bunch of theme words and theme phrases too.

The best way of optimizing your content

If you examine the top 10 results in Google for any given keyword or keyword phrase, you’ll quickly discover a pattern. You’ll notice that many of the same words and phrases are repeated across all 10 of the results. Google has noticed this too. Their technology, latent semantic indexing, or LSI, does that for them, and that’s why those results are ranked in the top 10.

Examine the results from number 100 to 110 for the same keyword. You’ll find the same set of essential core theme words and phrases, but there won’t be as many of them. The content won’t be nearly as well themed.

Examine the results from number 200 to 210 for the same keyword and things will have deteriorated considerably. But you will still find some of the essential core theme words.

What does this tell you? Simple! If you extract the main theme words and theme phrases for your main topic keyword from the top 10 results in Google, and use them in your blog posts, you will leap-frog over all the mediocre content out there. Your blog posts will immediately be loved by Google, because it will be high quality content. If you also add a few good back links to the post, well, you just can’t fail to be successful!

Most people don’t realize that Google has a set of results for every keyword or keyword phrase that it considers really relevant, its properly themed set. Take “dog training,” for example. A quick search in Google.com for that phrase (at the time of writing) returns 776,000,000 results. But Google doesn’t really value all 776,000,000 of these results. It only values 254 results.

Confused? Try this…

Set your browser so it returns 100 results each time, instead of the usual 10. It will make this exercise a lot easier. Type in “dog training,” without the quotation marks, in Google.com, and go through the results, one page at a time. After 254 results (at the time of writing), you will find this message displayed from Google:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 254 already displayed.”

In other words, Google only really values 254 results for the keyword phrase, “dog training.” This is Google’s properly themed set, the results that include all, or at least most, of the core theme words and phrases that Google’s latent semantic indexing has considered to be the relevant semantically related terms.

The results close to the top of Google’s index for “dog training” contain a richer mix of these terms than the results close to the 254 mark. Now, I don’t suppose you’re a rocket scientist, but you don’t need to be one to see that using a rich mix of the semantically related terms of a main keyword in a blog post is arguably THE key to getting top rankings in Google.

What’s more, as you can see in this example, you don’t need to beat 776,000,000 results to rank #1 for “dog training” – you only need to beat a mere 254. Now, isn’t that good news? If you produce blog posts with a good mix of theme words and phrases, they will be included in Google’s properly themed set.

I should of course add that there are other factors that affect rankings in Google. These include factors like the number and quality of backlinks and social signals, among other things. However, using the best theme words and phrases for your chosen topic will seriously boost your blog post or article, and when you add the other necessary factors, things can really take off!

How can I find the best theme words and theme phrases to use?

I thought you’d never ask… You can do it the hard way, or there’s an easy way.

The hard way:
This involves opening up each of the top 10 results in Google for your main keyword, scanning through all the text on the page and writing down any words or phrases that seem relevant.

You’re looking for synonyms, alternative meanings and related terms. For example, if your blog post is about “dog training,” then include words like “canine,” “leash,” “obedience,” “behaviour,” “clicker” and “kennel.” Also include phrases like “puppy biting,” “canine psychology” and “behavioural problems,” and of course, lots more as well.

The easy way:
Luckily, there’s a much better way. The good people over at http://lsikeywords.com/ have an excellent free online tool you can use. It takes your keyword and searches through all the words in the top results for that keyword in Google. Then it returns all the semantically related terms it finds, and lists them in words, two-word phrases and three-word phrases.

Go through the lists and pick out all the words and phrases that seem relevant in some way. If your blog post is around 1,000 words, and to be honest, high quality content shouldn’t be any shorter, then aim to gather around 30 to 50 words and 15 to 20 phrases from the results you get from http://lsikeywords.com/.

Keyword stuffing!

I bet that’s what you’re thinking. It’s rolling around in your mind, “If I stuff 40 keywords and 20 keyword phrases into my blog post, it’s going to read like crap!”

You’re wrong. The absolute opposite is the case. Keyword stuffing is when you take one keyword and shove it into the content as often as possible. It certainly does read like crap. Something like: Dog training is good for your dog. I practice dog training every day. My dog training efforts have paid off, because I understand proper dog training techniques, …” and so on, reads badly. That’s keyword stuffing.

When you use theme words and phrases, they fit in naturally, a bit like the way you’d have to use these words and phrases if you were talking on the subject. There’s no forcing involved. In fact, I’ve done it in this very post you’re reading.

The blog post needs the words and phrases to properly describe the topic, and when you add them in a natural way, Google does cartwheels. The folks at Google Central light fireworks. They bring in the brass bands and start waving flags – that’s how delighted Google is to find content that is properly themed!

In no time at all, your blog ranks very well indeed for most of its pages, and monetizing your blog becomes as easy as a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.