Backlinko http://backlinko.com Tue, 24 May 2016 13:52:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page (2016 Update) http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 13:00:36 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=1126 When it comes to on-page SEO, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about meta tags and keyword density for one lifetime. If you’re looking for some practical strategies that you can use on your site today, then you’ll love this infographic. It’s a simple checklist that will bring in more search engine traffic from every piece... Read more »

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When it comes to on-page SEO, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about meta tags and keyword density for one lifetime.

If you’re looking for some practical strategies that you can use on your site today, then you’ll love this infographic.

It’s a simple checklist that will bring in more search engine traffic from every piece of content that you publish:


on page seo infographic version 3

Here’s my take on the on-page SEO insights from the infographic:


1. Use SEO-Friendly URLs

Google has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight.

So make your URLs short and sweet.

And always include your target keyword in your URL.

In other words:

Avoid ugly URLs: backlinko.com/p=123
Or long URLs: backlinko.com/8/6/16/cat=SEO/on-page-seo-is-so-amazing-omg-its-the-best

Brian's take

Click “play” to see the tip:

 

2. Start Title With Keyword

Your title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor.

In general, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines.

keyword in title tag
Brian's take

You don’t always need to start your title tag with your target keyword. But if there’s a keyword that you’re gunning for, try to put it towards the beginning of your title.

3. Add Modifiers To Your Title

Using modifiers like “2016”, “best”, “guide”, and “review” can help you rank for long tail versions of your target keyword.

Brian's take

Click “play” to see the tip:

 

4. Wrap Your Blog Post Title in an H1 Tag

The H1 tag is your “headline tag”. Most CMS’s (like WordPress) automatically add the H1 tag to your blog post title. If that’s the case, you’re all set.

But some themes override this setting. Check your site’s code to make sure your title gets the H1 love it deserves.

Brian's take

I used to assume that WordPress hooked up my post titles with H1 tags…until I actually looked at my site’s code.

Then I realized that WordPress themes sometimes use H1 tags to increase text size. As an example, my email opt-in area used to be wrapped in an H1 tag:

H1 Tag

It’s worth checking out your site’s code to make sure you only have one H1 tag per page. And that H1 tag should contain your target keyword.


5. Dazzle with Multimedia

Text can only take your content so far. Engaging images, videos and diagrams can reduce bounce rate and increase time on site: two critical user interaction ranking factors.

Brian's take

You probably notice that I use a lot of images, diagrams, and screenshots here at Backlinko.

image use in online content

That’s because I firmly believe that it makes my content straight up better.

But it has a nice SEO benefit to boot: multimedia helps you boost those user-interaction signals that Google has been paying more attention to.

And it increases the perceived value of your content –which means that people are more likely to link to it.

6. Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags

Include your target keyword in at least once subheading…and wrap it in an H2 tag.

Brian's take

This definitely won’t make or break your on-page SEO efforts. But my tests have shown me that wrapping your target keyword in an H2 tag can make a dent.

Here’s an example of this strategy in action (target keyword=”SEO strategy”):

h2 tag example

7. Drop Keyword in First 100 Words

Your keyword should appear in the first 100-150 words of your article.

example of using keyword in first 100 words
Brian's take

This is something that you probably do naturally.

But a lot of people start their posts off with a long, meandering intro…and use their keyword for the first time MUCH later.

Instead, drop your keyword somewhere in the first 100 words or so. This helps Google understand what your page is all about.

8. Use Responsive Design

Google started penalizing mobile unfriendly sites in 2015. And they’re likely crack down even more in the future. If you want to make your site mobile-friendly, I recommend Responsive Design.

Brian's take

I’d be surprised if your site isn’t mobile-friendly yet. But if it isn’t, maybe the incentive of more search engine traffic will push you to take the leap.

And if you’re going to make your site mobile-friendly, I HIGHLY recommend responsive design. In my opinion, it’s ideal for user experience. Plus Google prefers it.


9. Use Outbound Links

This is an easy, white hat SEO strategy to get more traffic.

Outbound links to related pages helps Google figure out your page’s topic. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info.

Brian's take

Not linking out might be the #1 on-page SEO mistake that I see people make. I try to use 2-4x outbound links per 1000 words. That’s a good rule of thumb for most sites.

Keep in mind that the sites you link out to reflect on you. So make sure to link out to authority sites whenever possible.

10. Use Internal Links

Internal linking is SO money. Use 2-3 in every post.

Brian's take

If you want to see a great example of how to internal link on your site, check out Wikipedia.

They add keyword-rich internal links to every entry:

wikipedia internal linking

Obviously, they can get away with 50+ internal links per page because they’re Wikipedia. I recommend a simpler (and safer) approach: link to 2-5 older posts whenever you publish a new one.

11. Boost Site Speed

Google has stated on the record that page loading speed is an SEO ranking signal. You can boost your site speed by using a CDN, compressing images, and switching to faster hosting.

Make sure your site doesn’t take more than 4 seconds to load: MunchWeb found that 75% of users wouldn’t re-visit a site that took longer than 4 seconds to load.

You can easily check your site’s loading speed using the excellent GTMetrix.com:

page loading speed report
Brian's take

CDNs and cache plugins are nice, but investing in premium hosting is the #1 thing you can do to make your site faster.

$5/month hosts are decent for the money you’re paying. But they don’t hook you up with serious speed.

I’ve literally dropped load times from 6 seconds to less than 2 seconds by switching from a $5 shared hosting plan to a top-notch host (I use Synthesis Hosting here at Backlinko).

From a conversion and SEO standpoint, the ROI of premium hosting can’t be beat.

12. Sprinkle LSI Keywords

LSI keywords are synonyms that Google uses to determine a page’s relevancy (and possibly quality). Sprinkle them into every post.

Brian's take

I don’t go nuts about LSI keywords because I usually write REALLY long content.

(Long content increases the odds that you’ll naturally use LSI keywords).

But if you want to make 100% sure that you’re using LSI keywords, search for your keyword in Google and scroll down to the “Searches Related to…” area at the bottom of the page:

searches related lsi keywords

Toss one or two of these into your post.

13. Image Optimization

Make sure at least one image file name includes your target keyword (for example, on_page_SEO.png) and that your target keyword is part of your image Alt Text.

image optimization
Brian's take

Another reason to optimize your images for SEO: it gives search engines another clue of what your page is about…which can help it rank in organic search.

When Google sees images with alt text “blue widgets” and “green widgets” it tells them: “this page is about widgets”.

14. Use Social Sharing Buttons

Social signals may not play a direct role in ranking your site. But social shares generate more eyeballs on your content.

And the more eyeballs you get, the more likely someone is to link to you. So don’t be shy about placing social sharing buttons prominently on your site.

In fact, a study by BrightEdge found that prominent social sharing buttons can increase social sharing by 700%.

Brian's take

Social signals aren’t an important part of the Google algorithm. But social shares on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ may give you an indirect rankings boost.


15. Post Long Content

The SEO adage “length is strength” was supported by our industry study which found that longer content tends to rank significantly higher on Google’s first page.

02_Content Total Word Count_line

Aim for at least 1900 words for every piece of content that you publish.

Brian's take

As a rule, I make sure all of my articles have 1000+ words of meaty, useful content.

Longer content helps you rank better for your target keyword and brings in more long tail traffic…a win-win!


16. Boost Dwell Time

If someone hits their back button immediately after landing on a page, it tells Google in black-and-white: this is low quality page.

That’s why Google uses “dwell time” to size up your content’s quality. Increase your average dwell time by writing long, engaging content that keeps people reading.

Brian's take

Want to improve your dwell time (FAST)? Use the tactics from my SEO copywriting guide (especially bucket brigades):

examples of bucket brigades

Here are a few more important on-page SEO factors that I didn’t have room to include in the infographic:

Quality Content: I know that you’re sick and tired of hearing about “quality content”.

Even though search engines have no direct way of determining quality, they have plenty of indirect methods, such as:

  • Repeat visitors
  • Chrome bookmarks
  • Time on site
  • Dwell time
  • Google searches for your brand

In other words, great content definitely won’t hurt you. So there’s no reason NOT to publish awesome stuff every single time.

Encourage Blog Comments: I’ve long suspected that sites with lots of high-quality blog comments get a slight edge in Google’s search results.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Google said that having a thriving community on your site can help “a lot” with rankings:

google employee tweet

That’s why it’s smart to encourage people to comment on your blog posts.

Maximize Organic CTR: There’s no doubt in my mind that Google uses organic click-through-rate as a ranking signal.

And even if they don’t, you STILL want to optimize your Google listing for CTR.

(More clicks=more traffic)

This video will show you exactly how to do it:

Now It’s Your Turn

Now that you’ve seen all of my best on-page SEO strategies, I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the strategies from this guide are you going to try first?

Or maybe you have a question about something from this guide.

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment right now.

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Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide http://backlinko.com/ecommerce-seo http://backlinko.com/ecommerce-seo#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:03:30 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=3486 This is the most comprehensive guide to Ecommerce SEO online. In this expert-written guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about optimizing your Ecommerce site, from keyword research to technical SEO to link building. Check out the new guide:

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Ecommerce SEO Case Study: White Hat Link Building Without Any ContentThis is the most comprehensive guide to Ecommerce SEO online.

In this expert-written guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about optimizing your Ecommerce site, from keyword research to technical SEO to link building.

Check out the new guide:

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21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now (Updated) http://backlinko.com/seo-techniques http://backlinko.com/seo-techniques#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:18:10 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=782 People that succeed with SEO do two things very well: First, they identify SEO techniques that get them results. Second, they put 100% of their resources into executing and scaling those techniques. But you’re probably wondering: “How do I find SEO strategies that actually work?” Well today I’m going to make it easy for you.... Read more »

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21 Actionable SEO Techniques imagePeople that succeed with SEO do two things very well:

First, they identify SEO techniques that get them results.

Second, they put 100% of their resources into executing and scaling those techniques.

But you’re probably wondering:

“How do I find SEO strategies that actually work?”

Well today I’m going to make it easy for you.

All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle one of the 21 white hat SEO techniques below.

Free PDF Download: Get access to the free bonus checklist that will show you how to quickly execute these strategies. Includes 2 bonus techniques not found in this post.

1. Find Broken Link Building Opportunities on Wikipedia

Broken link building has it all…

Scalable.

White hat.

Powerful.

There’s only one problem: finding broken links is a HUGE pain.

That is, unless you know about a little-known wrinkle in Wikipedia’s editing system.

You see, when a Wikipedia editor stumbles on a dead link, they don’t delete the link right away.

Instead, they add a footnote next to the link that says “dead link”:

wikipedia dead link

This footnote gives other editors a chance to confirm that the link is actually dead before removing it.

And that simple footnote makes finding broken links dead simple.

Here’s how:

First, use this simple search string:

site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “dead link”

For example, if you were in the investing space you’d search for something like this:

google search string

Next, visit a page in the search results that’s relevant to your site:

wikipedia entry in google

Hit ctrl + f and search for “dead link”:

browser search ctrl f

Your browser will jump to any dead links in the references section:

wikipedia dead link 2

Pro Tip: Wikipedia actually has a list of articles with dead links. This makes finding dead links in Wikipedia even easier.

wikipedia dead links page

OK. So once you’ve found a dead link, now what?

Well you could re-create that dead resource on your site and replace the dead link in Wikipedia with yours.

But that would only land you a single link (and a nofollow link at that).

Instead, I recommend tapping into The Moving Man Method.

This post will show you everything you need to know:

backlinko blog post

Now for our next SEO technique…

2. Discover Untapped Keywords on Reddit

Hit the play button to see how it’s done:

 

3. Update, Upgrade and Republish Old Blog Posts (This Increased My Traffic by 111.37%)

Last year I get an email out of the blue:

emils email

Turns out Emil used The Skyscraper Technique to achieve these impressive results.

Not only that, but Emil wanted to share his case study with the Backlinko community.

That’s when I had an idea:

Instead of writing a new post for Emil’s case study, why don’t I add it to an existing post?

So that’s what I did.

Specifically, I added Emil’s case study to this old post:

white hat seo case study

(I also updated the images and added some new tips)

The final result?

A new and improved version of the post:

backlinko white hat seo case study post

To make sure the new post got the attention it deserved, I re-promoted it by sending an email to the Backlinko community:

newsletter email

I also shared it on social media:

blog post tweet

The result?

A 111.37% increase in organic traffic to that page.

organic traffic increase

Pretty cool, right?

4. Copy Adwords Ads to Make Killer Title and Description Tags

It’s no secret that compelling title and description tags get more clicks in the SERPS.

(In fact, REALLY good copy can actually steal traffic from the top 3 results)

Question is: How do you know what people want to click on?

That’s easy: look at that keyword’s Adwords ads.

You see, the Adwords ads that you see for competitive keywords are the result of hundreds (if not thousands) of split tests.

Split tests to maximize clicks.

And you can use copy from these ads to turn your title and description tags into click magnets.

For example, let’s say you were going to publish a blog post optimized around the keyword “glass water bottles”.

First, take a look at the Adwords ads for that keyword:

Adwords Ads

Keep an eye out for interesting copy from the ads that you can work into your title and description. In our “glass water bottles” example, we have phrases like:

  • BPA-free
  • Keep you hydrated
  • Durable
  • Reusable

Here’s how your title and description tags might look:

yoast title and description tag

As you can see, these tags include words that are proven to generate clicks.

5. Find A+ Link Prospects on AllTop

What if there was an up-to-date list of blogs in your niche that you could use to find quality link opportunities?

I have good news. There is.

And it’s called AllTop.

AllTop is a modern day directory that curates the best blogs in every industry under the sun.

To find blogs in your niche, just go to the AllTop homepage and search for a keyword:

alltop search

Next, find a category that fits with your site’s topic:

alltop search results

And AllTop will show you their hand-picked list of quality blogs in that category:

alltop fitness page

Now you have a long list of some of the best blogs in your industry. And these bloggers are the exact people that you want to start building relationships with.

6. Use Benefit-Focused Content Curation

Let’s face it: Most content curation is pretty weak.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’ve read enough “top 100 posts you need to read” lists for one lifetime.

So how can you make your content curation stand out?

By tapping into Benefit-Focused Content Curation.

Benefit-Focused Content Curation is similar to most other types of curation, with one huge difference: it focuses on the outcomes that your audience wants.

I’m sure you’d like to see an example.

Here you go:

link building definitive guide

This is a guide I put together a while back called, Link Building: The Definitive Guide.

This guide has generated over 116,000 visitors from social media, forums, blogs and search engines:

overall traffic to a page in google analytics

(I should point out that the guide’s design and promotion contributed to its success. But it all started with how the content itself was organized)

What makes this guide’s curation unique is that it’s organized by benefits, not topics.

For example, Chapter 2 is called “How to Get Top Notch Links Using Content Marketing”:

link building guide chapter 2

Note that the title isn’t: “Chapter 2: Content Marketing”. And most of the other chapters follow the same benefit-driven formula.

Why is this so important?

When someone sees a list of curated links they immediately ask themselves “what’s in it for me?”.

And when you organize your content around outcomes and benefits, that answer becomes really, really obvious.

In other words, answering “what’s in it for me?” makes the perceived value of your content MUCH higher than a list of 100 random resources.

7. Link Out to Authority Sites

With all the talk about Hummingbirds and Penguins it’s easy to forget about an important Google algorithm update from 2003 called Hilltop.

hilltop algorithm entry in wikipedia

Despite being over ten years old, Hilltop still plays a major role in today’s search engine landscape.

Hilltop is essentially an on-page SEO signal way that tells Google whether or not a page is a “hub” of information.

So: How does Google know which pages are hubs?

It’s simple: Hubs are determined by the quality and relevancy of that page’s outbound links.

This makes total sense if you think about it…

The pages you link out to tend to reflect the topic of your page.

And pages that link to helpful resources also tend to be higher-quality than pages that only link to their own stuff.

In other words, pages that link out to awesome resources establish themselves as hubs of helpful content in the eyes of Big G.

In fact, a recent industry study found a correlation between outbound links and Google rankings.

outbound link study

Bottom line:

Link to at least 3 quality, relevant resources in every piece of content that you publish.

That will show Google that your page is a Hilltop Hub.

8. Send Juice to Pages Sitting on Page 2 or 3

I’m not sure how else to say this: If you’re on page 2 or 3 of Google’s search results…you might as well be on page 58.

So how can you give those pages a boost so they hit the first page?

Use one of my all-time favorite SEO techniques: throw some internal links their way!

send pagerank internal links

Here’s the 3-step process:

Step #1: Use Google Search Console to find keywords where you rank on the 2nd or 3rd page.

To find them, log in to your Google Search Console account and click on Search Traffic –> Search Analytics:

google search console search analytics

Make sure to check “position”. That way you’ll see the average ranking for each keyword.

search console position

Then, sort the results by “Position”:

search analytics sort by position

Next, look for keywords with an average position of 11-30.

If you’re getting clicks from a keyword on page 2 or 3, you can be pretty sure that it’s a keyword with some decent search volume.

For example, this page from Backlinko is ranking #12 for the keyword “SEO checklist”.

Even though I’m on the second page, I still get 24 clicks and 2,792 impressions per month for that keyword:

keyword in google webmaster tools

Sure enough, according to the GKP, that keyword gets 720 monthly searches with a suggested bid of almost $5.00

google keyword planner data

Step #2: Identify authoritative pages on your site.

You can easily find the pages on your site with the most juice to pass around using ahrefs.

Just enter your homepage URL into the tool and click “Search”:

ahrefs homepage search

Then click on “Top Pages” in the right-hand sidebar:

ahrefs top pages

That will show you the most authoritative pages on your site:

pages with most authority

Step #3: Go to those pages and add internal links.

Finally, add internal links from those authoritative pages to the page that needs a boost.

9. Add This One Word to Your Outreach Email…and Increase Your Response Rate by 45

When someone sees an email pop into their inbox, two questions enter their mind:

“Who is this person?” and “What do they want?”

The faster you answer these questions in your outreach emails, the better your response rate will be.

But how can you do that?

It’s easy: Use the word “because” very early in your email.

Believe it or not, the word “because” has surprisingly powerful effects on human psychology.

Research by Dr. Scott Key of Northern Illinois University tested whether people waiting in line to use a copy machine would let a stranger cut in front of them.

When the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you?”, only 61% people said “yes”.

But when the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you because I’m in a rush?”, 89% said yes.

(That’s a 45% increase!)

Why such a huge difference?

It turns out that the word “because” makes a request — ANY request — seem more legitimate.

In the world of outreach, legit messages get better responses.

(Just look at all those lame guest post pitches that flood your inbox. If they actually took the time to look legit, they’d perform a lot better)

Here’s an example blogger outreach pitch that leverages the word “because” early on:

example outreach email

The person receiving that message knows why I’m emailing them after two seconds of reading.

But more importantly, the word “because” cements my reason for reaching out as more legit.

10. Write Mini Blog Posts for YouTube Descriptions

I don’t need to tell you that YouTube video results are dominating Google’s first page.

And considering that Google owns the popular video site, it’s a trend that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Here’s the best part:

There’s a dead-simple technique that can get your YouTube videos to rank for competitive keywords in both YouTube and Google?

Well there is: write 200+ word video descriptions.

When most people upload a video to YouTube, they mindlessly toss a few words into the description box:

youtube description

That’s a HUGE mistake.

Remember that Google can’t watch or listen to your video content.

Instead, they rely on your video’s text-based title and description to determine what your video is about.

And this extra text content can help you rank for your target keyword.

For example, check out the description for one of my recent YouTube videos:

long youtube video description

That’s a high-quality, 200-word description.

And this description is one reason that my video rocketed to the first page of YouTube for the keyword “link building”:

youtube video ranking

If you want to learn more about YouTube SEO, check out this step-by-step guide.

11. Reverse Engineer the Results on Page 6

Fun fact: Reverse engineering pages 2-10 will often hook you up with top-notch link opportunities…

…opportunities that you’d miss when you only reverse engineer Google’s first page.

But you’re probably wondering: “Is there really anything good to reverse engineer on page 6?”

The short answer: yes.

The idea that pages 3-10 are littered with low-quality sites is a myth.

In fact, a lot of the results on Google’s inner pages are made up of people that started cool sites…

but eventually gave up when things didn’t work out the way they planned.

Here’s the thing: before they moved on to the next project, they published some awesome resources.

Because these resources tend to be neglected, you can easily improve them and steal their links using The Skyscraper Technique.

For example, I did a quick search for “weight loss tips”.

Sure enough, I found this heavily linked-to resource on the 6th page:

example of old content

As you can probably see from the screenshot, this site has A LOT of room for improvement.

However, because the author of this page used to care about his site, he was able to land links to his site from authority sites like Livestrong:

example backlink

Think you could take the content from this old site and make it better?

I know you can 🙂

12. Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags

Here’s the deal:

If you only include one keyword in your title tag you’re leaving A LOT of search engine traffic on the table (And no, I’m not talking about keyword stuffing).

I’ll explain: I recently published a post called “White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking“.

backlinko white hat seo case study post

My target keyword for that post was, “white hat SEO”.

So I included the keyword “white hat SEO” in the post’s title.

But I didn’t stop there…

I realized that the keyword “SEO case study” also got a decent amount of searches every month:

monthly searches in the GKP

So I decided to embed that long tail keyword into the blog post title:

embedded keyword in title tag

And I hit the #2 for spot for “SEO case study” in a few short weeks:

ranking for seo case study

As you might expect, the keyword “SEO case study” is MUCH less competitive than “white hat SEO”.

Because of that, I got traffic almost instantly from the keyword “SEO case study”.

And as that page has accumulated links, it’s made its way onto the first page for “white hat SEO” as well.

ranking for white hat seo

If I had only optimized for “white hat SEO”, I wouldn’t have received ANY traffic until I hit the first page for that term.

Fortunately, my embedded long tail keyword “SEO case study” hooked me up with traffic right away.

Bottom line:

Find long tails that you can embed into your titles.

You’ll get search engine traffic faster… and eventually rank the page for more than one term.

13. Hack Wikipedia for Keyword and Topic Ideas

Want to find untapped keywords that your competition doesn’t know about?

Then stop using the Google Keyword Planner and use this SEO technique instead.

Sure, The Keyword Planner is nice for monthly search volume info…but it’s HORRIBLE at generating new keyword ideas.

Why?

Well, the Keyword Planner only gives you VERY close variations of the keywords of your seed keywords.

So if you enter a seed keyword like “weight loss”, it will spit out VERY similar keywords, like this:

google keyword planner results

If you want to find keywords that are closely related to your seed keyword — but not straight-up variations — you need a human mind.

Or better yet, the thousands of human minds that contribute to Wikipedia.

Here’s how:

Head over to Wikipedia and enter a keyword (I’m going to use the keyword “insurance” in this example):

wikipedia search

Next, keep an eye out for sections on the Wikipedia entry that display closely related keywords and topics.

These sections are… The “Contents” box:

wikipedia table of contents

Callouts and sidebars:

wikipedia sidebar

Internal links:

wikipedia internal links

And “See Also” sections:

see also

You’ll usually come away with fistfuls of keyword and topic ideas from a single Wikipedia entry.

If you want to find even more keyword ideas, click on an internal link.

Then simply follow the same process for that Wikipedia entry.

Rinse and repeat.

14. Use “Best of” Lists to Find Awesome Link Targets

This is one of my favorite SEO tips of all time.

If you do a lot of link building, you know that a list of high-quality, niche-relevant blogs is like money in the bank.

What you may not realize is that bloggers in your niche create these lists for you in the form of “best of” blog posts.

“Best of” blog posts are simply hand curated lists of the best blogs in a specific industry.

How can you find these “best of” blog posts?

Use these search strings:

  • “[keyword] blogs to follow”
  • “best [keyword] posts 2016”
  • “top [keyword] blogs to follow” + “2016”

For example, I just did a quick search for “fitness blogs to follow”:

google search

I found this list of 25 awesome blogs in the fitness space after about ten seconds of searching:

blogs to follow list

These 25 blogs are PERFECT places to reach out to the next time you want to promote a piece of content or build a long-term relationship.

15. Publish Content With At Least 1,800Words

There’s no denying it: longer content CRUSHES short 300-word blog posts.

In fact, our study of 1 million Google search results found that the average word count of a first page Google results was 1,890 words.

02_Content Total Word Count_line

Why do long posts work? First off, long posts show Google that you’re providing in-depth information for searchers.

But that’s not all:

In-depth content flips an important emotional switch that pushes people to share online content: awe.

University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Jonah Berger found that content that elicited awe made people 30% more likely to share it.

As you may expect, it’s REALLY hard to trigger a feeling of awe from a 350-word article…

…but in-depth pieces work like a charm.

16. Remember the “First Link Priority Rule”

Here’s an SEO mistake I see A LOT of people make:

Let’s say you have two links pointing to a page on your site… and both of those links are on same page.

Which anchor text does Google pay attention to? The first one? The second one? Both?

According to the First Link Priority Rule, only the first link.

Why is this important?

Let’s say you have a navigation bar on your site, like this:

example nav menu

Because your navigation is at the top of the page, Google sees those links first.

Here’s where things get tricky:

Let’s say that you drop a link to your “Recipe Index” page in a blog post.

And that link has the anchor text: “healthy recipes”.

example anchor text

Unfortunately, the “healthy recipes” anchor text is ignored by Big G.

Google only counts the anchor text it saw first: “Recipe Index”.

first_link_v1-01

Important Takeaway:

Use keyword-rich anchors in your site’s navigation.

As you just learned, the keyword-rich internal links below them don’t count.

17. Create Your Own Keywords

This is one of the best pieces of SEO advice you’re ever going to hear:

You always rank #1 for keywords that you create.

What am I talking about?

When you create something truly original — like a brand, product, or a step-by-step system — you’re the only person optimizing for that term.

(After all, you made it up)

And if your creation becomes popular, you’ll suddenly find yourself ranking #1 for a high-volume keyword.

Let me show you an example:

A while back I published a post called: Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days.

skyscraper technique post

Now I could have optimized my post around a keyword like: “link building strategy”.

Instead, I decided to create my own keyword: “The Skyscraper Technique“.

Today, I get a steady stream of organic traffic from people searching for that keyword that I created.

google trends

How can you do the same thing?

The next time that you write about a technique that you created — whether it’s a diet tip, productivity hack or system for growing tomatoes — name it.

18. Find Undiscovered Keywords With This Little-Known Tool.

If you’ve been in the SEO game for a while you know that a keyword tool is only as good as the seed keywords you put into it.

In other words:

If you use the same seed keywords as your competition, you’re going to see the same keywords they do.

Fortunately, there’s a little-known tool that helps you get around this problem: SeedKeywords.com.

seed keywords homepage

Here’s how to use it:

First, head over to Seed Keywords and create a scenario.

(A scenario is what someone would use to find your business online).

query

Hit “create my scenario” and you’ll get a special link.

special URL

Send this link to friends, family and target customers to see what keywords they would use:

scenario answer

And you’ll get a list of outside-the-box seed keywords that you can pop into the Google Keyword Planner.

seed keyword ideas

Now it’s time for our next actionable SEO technique…

19. Use Expert Roundups to Generate Links and Social Shares on Autopilot

You may have seen Expert Roundups — blog posts that collect insights from a group of experts — blowing up around the web.

For example, here are some recent roundups from several different industries that have done really well:

expert roundup example 1

(Web development niche: 580 shares)

expert roundup example 2

(Singing niche: 765 shares)

expert roundup example 3

(Socializing niche: 911 shares)

You get the idea 🙂

Here’s why expert roundups are crushing it right now:

Expert roundups are one of the few pieces of content that have built-in promotion.

Think about it:

The experts that you feature in your roundup will naturally want to share your content with their audience.

Which means that — if you get influential people to contribute — you’ll get boatloads of traffic and social shares minutes after you hit “publish”.

Here’s how you can do the same thing:

Step #1:

Collect the top blogs and websites in your niche (you can find them using SEO Technique #14 from this post:”Use Best of Lists to Find Awesome Link Targets”).

Collect their name, blog, social media and contact information in a spreadsheet:

outreach list for roundup post

Step # 2:

Come up with a topic in your niche that a group experts could shed some light on.

Pro Tip:

A topic that your target audience struggles with is ideal.

For example, in the automotive space there’s a lot of confusion about how to find the right car.

google number of results

Hundreds of factors — from price to safety to resale value — go into buying a new car.

That’s a topic where a group of experts could add a ton of value.

Step #3:

Email the experts on your list.

Remember that the experts you reach out to are probably busy. So make sure that you make it EXTREMELY easy for them to respond.

Here’s an email template that would work well in our car Expert Roundup example:

expert roundup outreach email example

Step #4:

Publish the roundup and email your contributors to let them know that it’s live:

expert followup

And watch the social shares and links roll in 🙂

20. Find Niche-Specific Link Building Opportunities Using Flippa

There’s no doubt about it:

Google is putting more and more weight on the relevancy of the links pointing to your site.

But where can you find link building opportunities that are specific to your niche? Flippa.com.

flippa homepage

Flippa is like eBay for websites.

And it’s one of the best places on the web to find untapped link building opportunities.

Why?

Because people that sell their site on Flippa give away every detail about how they built their site.

That means they’ll often show you their keywords, content strategy, (and of course) link sources.

It’s like a downloadable marketing plan.

Here’s how to do it:

Head over to Flippa and click on Websites –>All:

flippa websites

Next, enter a keyword that describes your site’s broad niche (I’m going to use travel in this example).

flippa search

You also want to set the monthly users to at least 500 per month.

monthly users

Here’s a good one:

search results

The owner of this site actually gives a list of places where he landed editorial links:

editorial link list

Not only does he show you where he got his links from…but HOW he was able to get them:

PR sentence

(Many Flippa sellers are just as forthcoming)

Now you know that they acquired those quality links using PR.

That means you have a list of journalists that are open to covering sites in the travel space.

Can you say jackpot?

21. Use Facebook Ads for Keyword Research

Click “play” to see how to do it (step-by-step):

 

Here’s The Next Step…

Are you ready to use the one of the 21 SEO techniques from this post?

If so, then I recommend grabbing the free checklist I made just for this blog post.

The checklist holds you by the hand and show you how to use all 21 of the strategies listed here…

plus 2 bonus techniques that I didn’t have room for in today’s post.

Click the image below and enter your email to access the checklist.

21 SEO Techniques Checklist

The post 21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now (Updated) appeared first on Backlinko.

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We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO http://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking http://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 15:58:25 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=8914 We recently analyzed 1 million Google search results to answer the question: Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings? We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at site speed. With the help of Eric Van Buskirk and our data partners1, we uncovered some interesting findings. And today I’m going... Read more »

The post We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO appeared first on Backlinko.

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We recently analyzed 1 million Google search results to answer the question:

Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings?

We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at site speed.

With the help of Eric Van Buskirk and our data partners1, we uncovered some interesting findings.

And today I’m going to share what we found with you.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.

2. Our data also shows that a site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher rankings.

3. We discovered that content rated as “topically relevant” (via MarketMuse), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth. Therefore, publishing focused content that covers a single topic may help with rankings.

4. Based on SERP data from SEMRush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.

5. HTTPS had a reasonably strong correlation with first page Google rankings. This wasn’t surprising as Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal.

6. Despite the buzz around Schema, our data shows that use of Schema markup doesn’t correlate with higher rankings.

7. Content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images. However, we didn’t find that adding additional images influenced rankings.

8. We found a very small relationship between title tag keyword optimization and ranking. This correlation was significantly smaller than we expected, which may reflect Google’s move to Semantic Search.

9. Site speed matters. Based on data from Alexa, pages on fast-loading sites rank significantly higher than pages on slow-loading sites.

10. Despite Google’s many Penguin updates, exact match anchor text appears to have a strong influence on rankings.

11. Using data from SimilarWeb, we found that low bounce rate was associated with higher Google rankings.

We have detailed data and information of our findings below.

New Bonus Section: Get access to a free search engine ranking factors bonus section. This section includes a PDF checklist, a step-by-step case study, in-depth tutorials, and more. Click here to get access to the bonus section.

The Number of Referring Domains Has a Very Strong Influence on Rankings

You may have heard that getting backlinks from the same domain has diminishing returns.

In other words, it’s better to get 10 links from 10 different sites than 10 links from the same domain.

According to our analysis, this appears to be the case. We found that domain diversity has a substantial impact on rankings.

05_Number of Referring Domains_line

Google wants to see several different sites endorsing your page. And the more domains that link to you, the more endorsements you have in the eyes of Google.

In fact, the number of unique referring domains was the strongest correlation in our entire study.

Key Takeaway: Getting links from a diverse group of domains is extremely important for SEO.

Authoritative Domains Tend to Rank Higher in Google’s Search Results

Not surprisingly, we found that a website’s overall link authority (measured using Ahrefs Domain Rating) was strongly tied to Google rankings:

08_Domain Link Authority (AHREFs Domain Rating)_line

In fact, a website’s overall authority had a stronger correlation to rankings than the authority of the page.

In other words, the domain that your page lives on is more important than the page itself.

Key Takeaway: Increasing the number of links to your site may improve rankings for other pages on your site.

Publishing Comprehensive, In-Depth Topical Content May Improve Rankings

In the early days of SEO, Google would determine a page’s topic by looking strictly at the keywords that appeared on the page.

If the keyword appeared on the page X number of times, Google would determine that the page was about that keyword. Today, thanks largely to the Hummingbird Algorithm, Google now understands the topic of every page.

For example, when you search for “who was the director of back to the future”…

google search for hummingbird

…Google doesn’t look for pages that contain the keyword “who was the director of Back to the Future”.

Instead, it understands the meaning of the question, and provides an answer:

google knowledge graph

As you might expect, this has a significant impact on how we optimize our content for SEO. In theory, Google should prefer content that covers a single topic in-depth.

But does the data agree with that assumption?

To find out we used MarketMuse to analyze 10,000 of the URLs from our data set for “Topical Authority”.

And we discovered that comprehensive content significantly outperformed shallow content.

07_Content Topic Authority (MarketMuse Data)_line

This is interesting. But how do you write content that Google considers comprehensive?

Let’s look at two examples from our data set to find out.

First, we have this article on the Daily Press about the Busch Gardens fun card:

example of page with low topical authority

This page has many of the traditional metrics that result in first page rankings. For example, the page uses the keyword in the title tag and the H1 tag. Also, the domain (Dailypress.com) is very authoritative (Ahrefs Domain Rating of 64).

However, this page ranks only #10 for the keyword: “Busch Gardens fun card”.

google ranking number 10 on first page

This low ranking is partly due to the fact the content on the page has a very low Topical Authority score.

On the flip side, we have this page about making Balinese satay sauce.

comprehensive topic content

This page provides a wealth of information on satay sauce. This piece of content covers the history of satay sauce in Indonesia, how the sauce is used, a recipe, and even provides nutrition facts.

Even though this page doesn’t use the term “Indonesian Satay Sauce” anywhere on the page, it ranks on the first page for that keyword:

google hummingbird ranking

Part of the explanation for that ranking is that this page has a high Topical Authority for the topic: “Indonesian Satay Sauce”.

Key Takeaway: Writing comprehensive, in-depth content can help you rank higher in Google.

Long-Form Ranks Higher in Google’s Search Results Than Short-Form Content

Does long-form content outperform short, 200-word blog posts?

We turned to our data set to find out.

After removing outliers from our data (pages that contained fewer than 51 words and more than 9999 words), we discovered that pages with longer content ranked significantly better than short content.

02_Content Total Word Count_line

In fact, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.

Previous search engine ranking factors studies found that longer content performed better in Google.

This correlation could be due to the fact that longer content generates significantly more social shares. Or it could be an inherent preference in Google for longer articles.

Another theory is that longer content boosts your page’s topical relevancy, which gives Google a deeper understanding of your content’s topic.

Also, long-form content’s ranking advantage could simply reflect site owners that care about publishing excellent content. This being a correlation study, it’s impossible for us to pinpoint why longer content performs so well in terms of search engine rankings.

However, when you combine our data with what’s already out there, it paints a clear picture that long-form content is best for SEO.

Key Takeaway: Long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.

HTTPS is Moderately Correlated with Higher Rankings

Last year Google called on webmasters to switch their sites over to secure HTTPS. They even called HTTPS a “ranking signal“.

What does our data say?

Although not a super-strong correlation, we did find that HTTPS correlated with higher rankings on Google’s first page.

Use of HTTPS_line

Does this mean you should make the switch to HTTPS today? Obviously, the decision is yours. But switching your site to HTTPS is a serious project that can cause serious technical headaches.

Before you make the plunge to HTTPS, check out these guidelines from Google.

Key Takeaway: Because the association between HTTPS and ranking wasn’t especially strong — and the fact that switching to HTTPS is a resource-intensive project — we don’t recommend switching to HTTPS solely for SEO. But if you’re launching a new site, you want to have HTTPS in place on day one.

There is No Correlation Between Schema Markup and Rankings

There’s been a lot of buzz about Schema markup and SEO.

The theory goes something like this:

Schema markup gives search engines a better understanding of what your content means. This deeper understanding will encourage them to show your site to more people.

For example, you can use the <name> structured data tag to let Google know that when you use the word “Star Wars”, you’re referring to the original movie title…not the franchise in general:

schema markup example 2

Or you can use Schema to show ratings for products on your ecommerce site:

schema star ratings

All of these things should help with your rankings. In fact, Google’s John Mueller hinted that they might use structured data as a ranking signal in the future.

However, according to our analysis, the presence of structured data had no relationship with Google rankings.

Presense-of-Schema-Markup_line

Key Takeaway: Feel free to use structured data on your site. But don’t expect it to have an impact on your rankings.

Shorter URLs Tend to Rank Better than Long URLs

I typically recommended that people use short URLs for the sake of better on-page SEO.

Why?

There are two reasons:

First, a short URL like backlinko.com/my-post is easier for Google to understand than backlinko.com/1/12/2016/blog/category/this-is-the-title-of-my-blog-post.

In fact, according to Google’s Matt Cutts, after 5 words in your URL:

“[Google] algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.”

And our data supports the use of shorter URLs.

URL Length_line

Fortunately, this guideline is easy to put into practice. Whenever you publish a new piece of content, make the URL short and sweet.

If you use WordPress, you can set your permalink structure to “post name”:

wordpress URL permalinks

Then, whenever you write a post, modify the URL to include a few words:

changing the url

Quick word of warning: make sure the new permalinks only apply to future posts. If you change the permalinks for older posts it can cause serious SEO-related issues.

For example, the URL for my post: 21 Actionable SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now is simply my target keyword:

google url

Second, a long URL tends to point to a page that’s several clicks from the homepage. That usually means that there’s less authority flowing to that page. Less authority means lower rankings.

For example, this URL to an iPad product page on BestBuy.com represents a page that’s far removed from the site’s authoritative homepage:

long url

Key Takeaway: Use short URLs whenever possible as they may give Google a better understanding about your page’s true topic.

Content With At Least One Image Ranks Higher Than Content That Lacks an Image
(But Using Lots of Images Doesn’t Make a Difference)

Industry studies have found that image-rich pages tend to generate more total views and social shares.

This suggests that including lots of images in your content can boost shares, which should therefore improve Google rankings.

To measure the impact of image use on rankings we looked at the presence or absence of an image in the body of the page (in other words, in the content of the page).

According to our data, using at least one image in your content is significantly better than having no image at all.

Content Contains At Least 1 Image_line

However, when we looked at the link between the total number of images and rankings, we didn’t find any correlation.

This suggests that there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to image usage and rankings.

Key Takeaway: Using a single image is clearly better than zero images. Including lots of images doesn’t seem to have an impact on search engine rankings.

Using An (Exact) Keyword in Your Page’s Title Tag Has a Small Correlation With Rankings

Since the early days of search engines the title tag has been (by far) the most important on-page SEO element.

Because your title tag gives people (and search engines) an overview of your page’s overall topic, the words that appear in your title tag have long had a significant impact on rankings.

However, we wanted to see whether or not Google’s move towards Semantic Search has made the title tag any less important.

We found that title tag keyword usage still slightly correlates with rankings. However, it had a much smaller relationship than we anticipated.

Keyword-Appears-in-Title-Tag-(Exact-Match)_line

This finding suggests that Google doesn’t need to see the exact keyword in your title tag to understand your page’s topic.

For example, here are the top six results for the keyword “list building”.

google top 6 results 1

Note how three of the top six results (including the #1 result) don’t contain the exact keyword “list building” in their title tag.

google top 6 results

This is a reflection of Google moving away from exact keyword usage to Semantic Search.

Key Takeaway: Including your target keyword in your title tag may help with rankings for that keyword. However, because of Semantic Search, the impact doesn’t appear to be nearly as great as it once was.

Pages On Fast-Loading Websites Rank Significantly Higher than Pages On Slow-Loading Websites

Since 2010, Google has used site speed as an official ranking signal.

But we were curious:

How much does site speed impact rankings?

We used Alexa’s domain speed to analyze the median load time of 1 million domains from our data set. In other words, we didn’t directly measure the loading speed of the individual pages in our data set. We simply looked at the average loading speed across the entire domain.

And we found a strong correlation between site speed and Google rankings:

Average Page Load Spead (for URL's domain)_line

Again, this is simply a correlation. Could it be that site owners that optimize for speed also optimize for SEO? Sure.

But having a fast-loading site certainty won’t hurt your SEO. So it makes sense to speed things up.

Key Takeaway: Fast-loading websites are significantly more likely to rank in Google.

More Total Backlinks = Higher Rankings

There’s been a lot of buzz about new ranking signals (like social signals) that search engines use today. Many have even gone on to say that backlinks are becoming less important.

We were curious to see whether or not Google still used the sheer number of backlinks as an algorithmic ranking signal.

To measure this, we used the Ahrefs API to determine the total number of backlinks pointing to each page in our data set.

We found that pages with the highest number total backlinks tended to rank best in Google.

13_Total-External-Backlinks_line

Even though Google continues to add diversity to its algorithm, it appears that backlinks remain a critical ranking signal.

Key Takeaway: Pages with more backlinks tend to rank higher than pages with fewer backlinks.

Google Rankings Are Closely Tied to a Page’s Overall Link Authority

In addition to total backlinks, we wanted to answer the question:

Does a page’s overall authority influence rankings?

Most SEOs agree that backlink quality is just as important as backlink quantity.

In other words, it’s typically better to get a single link from an authoritative page than 100 links from 100 low-quality pages.

And our data supports this:

Webpage Link Authority (Ahrefs URL Rating)_line

According to Ahrefs’s measure of link authority (URL Rating), authoritative pages outrank pages with little link authority. However, this correlation wasn’t as strong as the impact of the total amount of referring domains.

Key Takeaway: The overall link authority of your page matters.

Exact Match Anchor Text Significantly Correlates With Rankings

Since Google released its Penguin update in 2012, many SEO professionals have advised against building backlinks with exact match anchor text. However, several search engine ranking studies have found that anchor text is still important.

That’s why we wanted to investigate whether or not anchor text remained an important ranking signal.

Our research shows that exact match anchor text strongly correlates with rankings.

In the early days of SEO, building backlinks with exact match anchor text was a very effective approach. For example, if you wanted to rank for the keyword “online flower delivery” you would make sure your links had anchor text like this:

example of exact match anchor text

However, Google has likely cracked down on this practice, starting with the initial Penguin update. For that reason, we don’t recommend building links that use exact match anchor text, despite the fact that it appears to have a strong impact on rankings.

Key Takeaway: Backlinks with exact match anchor text robustly correlate with rankings. However, because of the risk in exact match anchor text links, we don’t advise utilizing exact match anchor text as an SEO tactic.

Low Bounce Rates Are Strongly Associated With Higher Google Rankings

Many people in the SEO world have speculated that Google uses “user experience signals” (like bounce rate, time on site and SERP click-through-rate) as ranking factors.

To test this theory, we pulled 100,000 websites from our data set and analyzed them in SimilarWeb.

Specifically, we analyzed three user experience signals: bounce rate, time on site and SERP CTR.

We discovered that websites with low average bounce rates are strongly correlated with higher rankings.

Bounce-Rate_line

Please keep in mind that we aren’t suggesting that low bounce rates cause higher rankings.

Google may use bounce rate as a ranking signal (although they have previously denied it). Or it may be the fact that high-quality content keeps people more engaged. Therefore lower bounce rate is a byproduct of high-quality content, which Google does measure.

As this is a correlation study, it’s impossible to determine from our data alone.

Key Takeaway: Google may use bounce rate as a ranking signal. Or it may be a case of a correlation not equaling causation.

Conclusion

Special thanks to our data partners: SEMRush, Ahrefs, MarketMuse and SimilarWeb for making this study possible.

I also want to thank Eric Van Buskirk of ClickStream (Project Director), Zach Russell (Lead Developer), and Qi Zhao (Head Data Scientist) for their contributions.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about how we collected and analyzed our data, here is a link to our study methods.

And if you want help implementing these findings, then make sure to get access to the free search engine ranking factors bonus section.

Click the image below and enter your email to get access:

search engine ranking bonus section

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White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 13:02:00 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=2604 Today you’re going to learn how Emil rocketed his site to the #1 spot in Google. (You’ll also see how he turned this #1 ranking into $100k in monthly recurring revenue) But wait, there’s more 🙂 I’ll ALSO show you how Richard boosted his organic traffic by 348%…in 7 days. And in this post I’ll... Read more »

The post White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking appeared first on Backlinko.

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white hat seo case study imageToday you’re going to learn how Emil rocketed his site to the #1 spot in Google.

(You’ll also see how he turned this #1 ranking into $100k in monthly recurring revenue)

But wait, there’s more 🙂

I’ll ALSO show you how Richard boosted his organic traffic by 348%…in 7 days.

And in this post I’ll walk you through the exact white hat SEO strategy that they used, step-by-step.

Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that will show you exactly how to execute the strategy from this post. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF

How Emil Used The Skyscraper Technique to Generate 41,992 Pageviews, a #1 Ranking and $100k In Monthly Recurring Revenue

Emil’s Skyscraper content went live in April.

But he didn’t eat Doritos on his couch and hope that his post hit the first page.

Instead, he promoted his post using email outreach (more on that later).

And that email outreach directly led to…

41,992 pageviews:

google analytics pageviews

645 social shares:

social share count

(Including Tweets from peeps with thousands of followers):
influencer tweetAnd most important of all, fistfuls of high-quality backlinks:

contextual backlink link in a blog post

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

“Shares and Pageviews are nice and all…but what about the long-term ROI?”

Even though Emil’s post came out over 7 months ago, his post continues to generate traffic, leads and sales.

How?

Gool ol’ fashioned white hat SEO.

His newly minted backlinks skyrocketed his site to the #1 spot for his target keyword, “wellness program ideas”.

number one ranking

That #1 ranking (and traffic from social media) brings in 10,000+ Pageviews per month…like clockwork:

monthly pageviews

And because Emil’s post attracts high-quality organic traffic, a good chunk of his visitors convert into leads:

email subscribers

But most important of all, this guide helped boost Emil’s homepage traffic by 59%.

pageview increase

Here’s why this is so important:

Because Emil’s homepage converts so well, this traffic boost drives over $100k in monthly recurring revenue.

revenue graph

How Emil Turned a “Blah Blog” Into an Online Sales Machine

OK so who is this Emil guy?

Emil Shour runs content marketing and SEO at SnackNation, a healthy snack delivery service.

emil shour

On Emil’s first day his boss sat him down and said: “get us some backlinks”.

Now:

At this point, Snack Nation’s SEO strategy was scattershot.

They were publishing generic posts like, “3 ways to do X”and “5 tips for Y”.

Here’s an example:

older blog post

These posts didn’t move the needle…despite the fact that they referenced Office Space 🙂

(I LOVE that movie)

In fact, most of their posts generated only a handful of shares:

total social shares

In Emil’s own words:

“When we first started out, the blog had a couple of okay posts. We weren’t going after keywords that were outside of our really tiny niche. There’s only so many things people are looking for in terms of office snack delivery.

Emil Shour

Emil quickly realized that his “get us some backlinks” mandate wasn’t going to work if they kept pumping out content like this.

Like most people do in a tight spot, Emil started Googling…

How a Random Encounter Changed Everything…

Emil’s search led him to a blog post at Backlinko, “Content Strategy Case Study: 36,282 Readers + 1,000 Email Subscribers“.

older case study

In that post I wrote about Jimmy Daly…

…and how he used The Skyscraper Technique to generate 4,865 Pageviews in a week:

first week pageviews

When Emil saw this post, a light bulb went off:

“I read that post maybe ten times because I was just amazed. I was like ‘holy crap. I have to do this.’ And I just modeled it completely after that.

Emil Shour

I already showed you the impressive results that Emil achieved thanks to The Skyscraper Technique.

Now it’s time to show you exactly how he did it.

Step #0: Find an Awesome Keyword

Emil kicked things off with keyword research.

It didn’t take Emil long to figure out that VERY few people searched for healthy office snacks.

For example, a keyword like “healthy office snack ideas” gets only 20 searches per month.

keyword search volume

But here’s the interesting part:

Emil realized that people interested in healthy office snacks are ALSO interested in the broad topic: “employee wellness”.

So he popped “employee wellness” into the Google Keyword Planner

GKP search

…and voila! — he found this gem of a keyword:

google keyword planner keyword

Now:

This is a keyword that Emil’s customers search for every day…which is great.

But here’s the important thing to keep in mind:

This keyword has a $7 suggested bid…

suggested bid

….and a ton of Adwords ads on the first page.

adwords ads

All that Adwords action told Emil: “there’s strong commercial intent behind this keyword.”

In other words:

People that search for that keyword AREN’T a bunch of tire kickers.

These are people that are going to buy from you.

Brian's pro tip:3 Advanced Keyword Research Strategies
 

OK, let’s get Back to Emil’s story…

Now that Emil had a keyword in-hand, it was time to size up the first page competition.

Step #1: Find Content That Already Ranks for That Keyword

Once you’ve found a keyword, it’s time to get a feel for what’s already out there…

…so you can destroy it.

(Yes, I let out an evil laugh when I wrote that 😀 )

So:

How do you find content that’s already done well?

A simple Google search.

Simply search for your target keyword (and a few closely-related keywords), and see what comes up.

For example:

Emil Googled “employee wellness program ideas”, “wellness programs” and “corporate wellness programs”:

example google search

And he noticed a few trends in the results:

First, most of the first page results were lists of different wellness program ideas.

list post

Second, Emil noticed that the first page results had some major flaws.

For example, 4 of the top 10 results were PDFs.

pdfs in google search results

Needless to say, PDFs aren’t very user friendly.

Emil also took note of the fact that these lists lacked important details. Some were literally just lists of ideas:

content thats a huge list

(As you know, it’s hard to take action on a piece of content that leaves out meaty details)

Emil also saw that the first page lacked visual content…like images, videos, charts and screenshots.

text based content

Content with at least one image generates an average of 43% more social shares than pure text-based content.

social share graph

Last but not least, Emil noticed that the content on the first page was BORING.

Obviously, “employee wellness programs” isn’t the most exciting topic on planet Earth.

But that’s no excuse to write stiff, dull copy like this:

boring copy

As you’ll see in a minute, Emil went the extra mile to make his topic fun and interesting.

But first, we need to dive into step #2…

Step #2: Create Something That Deserves To Be #1

Here’s the truth:

First page rankings have NOTHING to do with “keeping your site updated with fresh, quality content”.

(Yes, really)

Instead, your ability to hit the first page depends on two things:

Thing #1: Creating something that deserves to rank #1.

Thing #2: Promoting that content.

Seriously, that’s it.

Question is:

How do you create content that deserves to be the best?

Let me answer that by showing you EXACTLY how Emil did it.

1. Emil’s post listed more wellness program ideas than any other guide.

Most of the content that Emil found listed 5-10 wellness program ideas:

blog post example

And a few authors went crazy and wrote 50+ ideas:

huge list post

But even the craziest authors weren’t as crazy as Emil…

…because Emil set out to list out a whopping 120 ideas (!).

There was only one problem:

Emil got stuck at idea #50.

So he asked everyone in the office to chip in with ideas. That got him to 60 total ideas.

60 is good…but not good enough.

Emil had hit a brick wall. How the heck was he going to rank #1 with only 60 ideas?

That’s when he had an idea…

2. Emil asked experts to contribute ideas

Emil realized that he was sitting on top of a GOLDMINE of employee wellness program ideas.

I’ll explain.

SnackNation partners with dozens of healthy snack companies.

And Emil guessed that these health-focused offices would be happy to share the wellness programs they used.

And he was right.

Emil got his sales team to ask their partners to send creative ideas:

expert contribution email

And these partners were happy to lend a hand:

expert answer

Emil also asked a few bloggers that write about employee wellness to contribute an idea or two:

asking for a contribution

Again, they gladly sent some amazing ideas his way:

expert answer 2

(As you’ll see in a minute, these expert contributions generated LOTS of bonus traffic to Emil’s post)

Thanks to contributions from a handful of experts, Emil finally had 120 ideas.

(And a post that was 4979 words long)

total word count

Now it was time to take his content to the next level.

3. Emil split up his content into sections.

Let’s face it:

Sifting through 121 items on a list is a chore.

Despite that fact, many of the articles ranking in Google didn’t organize their ideas into sections:

list of ideas

That’s why Emil decided to organize his list of ideas into 7 categories:

blog post categories

Not only do these sections make Emil’s content easier to skim, but they got him nifty sitelinks in Google:

SERP sitelinks

In my experience sitelinks can significantly boost your CTR…

…and therefore, your organic traffic.

4. Emil added multimedia to make his content more visually appealing.

Like I mentioned earlier, most of the articles ranking on page 1 had zero images:

a text blog post

That’s why Emil peppered his post with eye-catching images…

blog post image

…and helpful videos:

blog post video

5. Finally, Emil made his copy fun and interesting.

Here’s the deal:

Whether you write about life insurance or life hacking, your writing CANNOT be boring.

Seriously.

If you bore people, they’re going to click over to YouTube faster than you can say “cute cats”.

That’s why Emil made sure his writing was upbeat and engaging:

upbeat writing

Once Emil made his content more compelling than the competition — bada bing, bada boom — his draft was good to go.

content draft

And after a few tweaks, Emil’s kick butt post was live: “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas For Your Office“.

emils blog post

Now that Emil’s post was live, it was time to celebrate right?

Wrong.

I probably don’t need to tell you that hitting “publish” is just the beginning.

That’s why I want to show you the 6 content promotion strategies that Emil used to get the word out about his new guide.

Step #3: Promote Your Epic Content

Despite what you may have heard, there’s A LOT more to white hat SEO than “posting great content.”

Sure, awesome content makes link building easier…

…but it’s just the first step.

That’s because there are 2 million blog posts published every day (source).

wordpress publishing stats

And from launching several sites since 2010, I learned the hard way that if you really want to rank, you need to get out there and build links.

With that, here are the 6 promotional strategies that Emil used to get the word out.

1. Emil got influencers on board with “Pre-Outreach”

Once Emil put the finishing touches on his post, he knew he had something special.

That’s why he decided to promote his post…

…before he even published it.

(This is known as “Pre-Outreach”)

Here’s how it went down:

First, Emil found blogs that wrote about employee wellness. And he sent them this message:

pre outreach email

Because he didn’t beg for a link, they were happy to hear from him:

email outreach response 1

Then Emil sent a link to the post when it went live:

sending the content

And that led to a nice contextual backlink:

contextual backlink

I recently used pre-outreach to promote my SEO tools guide.

email outreach exampke

2. Use “Weak Ties” to generate early buzz

You may not realize it, but you have “weak ties” that will happily promote your content for you.

Question is:

What are “weak ties”?

And how can they help you with content promotion?

I’ll explain with an example:

“Weak ties” are people in your professional network that you’re acquaintances with (for example, old colleagues or people that work in other departments).

After Emil’s post went live he asked the entire SnackNation team to share his new post:

weak ties promotion

Even though most of Emil’s coworkers don’t work in the marketing department (and were therefore “weak ties”), they were more than happy to lend a hand:

facebook share

And these shares from weak ties got Emil some early buzz.

“We had thirty people in our office. And if you have LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook – if everyone’s sharing, it already gives us some social proof. That’s like eighty shares right off the bat. And people like sharing their friends’ stuff. So it just gave us a lot of social proof, gave us some amplification.

Emil Shour

Because this is so easy and works so well, I reach out to my “weak ties” to promote every post at Backlinko:

email outreach content promotion

These may not be people that I have beers with every weekend, but I know them well enough to gently ask for a share.

3. Emil used “The Content Roadshow”

Next, Emil promoted his content with “The Content Roadshow”.

Let me show you how The Content Roadshow works:

First, Emil searched for bloggers that wrote about employee wellness, human resources and other related topics.

google search

And when he found a high-quality piece of content like this one…

quality content example

…he emailed the author:

blog content promotion email

In this case, Kristi asked Emil to submit his content to her roundup:

email outreach reply

He did…and got a sweet DA49 backlink in return:

roundup backlink

4. Next, Emil emailed brands that he mentioned in the post

Next, Emil emailed the other companies that he referenced in his post.

For example, Emil mentioned Authority Nutrition here:

brand mention

And sent them a message to let them know that they’ve been featured:

youve been featured email

As you can see, these brands happily shared his post:

reaching out to people mentioned

5. Then it was time for Emil to let his expert contributors know that they were live

Remember when Emil asked a bunch of workplace wellness experts to contribute a quote?

(Here’s an example:)

expert quote

Well, when the post went live, Emil let the experts know that they featured their wellness idea:

expert outreach

Not only were the experts happy to share the post on social media, but one of them even linked to Emil’s post:

backlink example

This is yet another content promotion strategy that I recently used to promote my SEO tools guide (that guide now has over 3,500 shares from social media).

social share buttons

I personally emailed the people behind all of the tools that I mentioned…

emailing people mentioned

…and most of them were PUMPED to share my guide.

email reply outreach email that resulted in a tweet 2

At this point Emil’s outreach racked up a bunch of social shares and traffic.

(It even generated quite a few comments — a first for the SnackNation blog)

blog comments

Comments and shares are nice…

…but they’re not going to get you to Google’s first page.

To do that, you need lots of high-quality backlinks.

Which leads us to our last promotional strategy…

6. Finally, Emil reached out people that linked to the content Emil found in step #1

Now that Emil had some social proof going, it was time to get down and dirty with link building.

Here’s the exact process that Emil used:

First, he searched for his target keyword in Google…

searching target keyword

…and popped the top 50 results into a spreadsheet:

outreach list
Brian's pro tip:Scraper Extension
Use the free Chrome Extension Scraper to quickly export Google results into a spreadsheet.

Here’s how:

Just search for a keyword and right click on any of the results.

google result

Then choose “Scrape Similar…”

linkclump extension

Then pick “Export to Google Docs…”export search results

And just like that you’ll have the results added to a spreadsheet.

link prospects

Next, Emil found out who linked to the top 50 results.

He popped each URL into a backlink analysis tool:

backlink analysis search

And went one-by-one through the results.

backlinks to a page

Then he emailed each of those people to let them know about his new, superior resource.

Let’s take a look at a real life example of Emil’s outreach in action…

Here’s his first email:

first email

Her response:

reply

His second email (with a link to his content)

the pitch

Boom! A link:

contextual backlink

And these backlinks pushed Emil’s guide above his competitors.

number one ranking

Sure, a ranking #1 in Google is great.

But last I checked you can’t pay your mortgage with a first page ranking.

In other words:

For your SEO to pay off, your content needs to generate leads and sales for your business.

And that’s where this bonus step comes into play…

Bonus Step: Generate Leads With The Content Upgrade

Now that Emil’s #1 ranking was secured it was time to turn this targeted traffic into revenue.

Here’s how he did it:

At first, Emil pitched a generic ebook to everyone that visited his post.

Even though his post was about employee wellness, the ebook was about employee engagement.

original popup

And that pitch generated around 20 new subscribers per week.

email subscribers before the content upgrade

20 subscribers a week isn’t bad. But it could be better.

So Emil decided to swap out the generic ebook with a laser targeted Content Upgrade.

Specifically, Emil created a PDF version of his post:

pdf version of the post

(His PDF also contained 10 bonus ideas that weren’t found in the post)

bonus ideas

And to pitch his Content Upgrade, Emil embedded a CTA at the top of his content:

pdf version cta

How well did The Content Upgrade work?

Instead of 20 subscribers per week…

…the Content Upgrade blasted that rate up to 59 per week.

email subscribers after

(That’s a 195% increase)

Backlinko Update: Did Richard’s Traffic Blast Stand The Test of Time?

Back in 2013 I revealed how Richard Marriot used The Skyscraper Technique to boost his organic traffic by 348% in 7 days.

Traffic Spike

Question is:

Did Richard’s results last?

Or did his site slip to page 2?

Let’s find out…

Here’s How Richard Marriot Used White Hat SEO to Skyrocket His Search Engine Traffic

As an SEO newbie, Richard wanted to know which white hat SEO tools the experts used (in other words, not automated black hat tools).

So Richard searched in Google for things like “SEO tools”, “white hat SEO tools” and “link building tools”:

google first page results

And he noticed that the results didn’t answer the fundamental question: “Which SEO tools should I use?”

That’s when he decided to create something that did answer that question.

How?

He asked SEO experts which link building tools they used.

In total, he emailed 115 influential people in the SEO space…and got 47 replies (that’s a 41% conversion rate).

Even though he didn’t have any connections and only a few followers on Twitter, he was able to get contributions from ballers like Neil Patel.White Hat SEO Experts

The end result is Richard’s expert roundup post, 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favorite Link Building Tools:

clambr post

Now:

Once Richard’s guide was live, he built links to his guide with email outreach.

First, he found pages with broken links. And he sent the author of that page this script:

Broken Link Building Outreach Email

When they replied saying “What’s the broken link?”, he sent them this email:

Broken Link Followup Email

And he was rewarded with a handful of high quality backlinks:

Broken Link Success

Including links from:

  • SearchEngineLand.com (DA92)
  • A PR2 resource page
  • A PR6 digital marketing firm blog

So:

Where does Richard rank today for his target keyword (“link building tools”)?

#1 baby!

richards #1 ranking

Here’s What to Do Next…

If you enjoyed this case study, I want you do one thing:

Download the free checklist that I put together just for this post. Click the image below to get the PDF checklist.

Skyscraper Technique Checklist

The post White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking appeared first on Backlinko.

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SEO Tools: The Complete List (153 Free and Paid Tools) http://backlinko.com/seo-tools http://backlinko.com/seo-tools#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:16:40 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=7700 If you want to see the best SEO tools in one place, then you’ll LOVE this guide. I personally tested and reviewed over 150 free and paid tools. And you can filter through the list to find the best SEO software for you. Check it out: New Bonus PDF: Get access to a free PDF... Read more »

The post SEO Tools: The Complete List (153 Free and Paid Tools) appeared first on Backlinko.

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If you want to see the best SEO tools in one place, then you’ll LOVE this guide.

I personally tested and reviewed over 150 free and paid tools.

And you can filter through the list to find the best SEO software for you.

Check it out:

New Bonus PDF: Get access to a free PDF version of this guide. Includes all 150+ tools, recommendations and resources. Click here to download the PDF.


I want SEO tools that help with:


  1. Link Building
  2. Technical SEO
  3. Keyword Research
  4. Rank Tracking
  5. Content Optimization
  6. Backlink analysis

I want tools that are:


  1. Free
  2. Paid
  3. Freemium

Show only Brian's favorite tools:


  1. Yes
  2. No

AuthoritySpy

Link BuildingPaidNo

AuthoritySpy is designed to help you find the top influencers in your space. It discovers these movers and shakers by searching in places like AllTop, Twitter and Followerwonk.

authority spy screenshot 2

official website:
http://authorityspy.com/

Buzzstream

Link BuildingPaidYes

If you do outreach at scale or with a team, you NEED a tool like Buzzstream. Why? Buzzstream makes the messy job of email outreach and link building streamlined and organized. Make sure to check out their new prospecting and email-finding features.

buzzstream screenshot

official website:
http://buzzstream.com

Check My Links

Link BuildingFreeNo

If you do Broken Link Building (or The Moving Man Method), then you’ll love Check My Links. With a click of a button, this Chrome extension quickly checks any webpage for broken links.

check my links chrome extension

official website:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/check-my-links/ojkcdipcgfaekbeaelaapakgnjflfglf?hl=en-GB

Citation Labs' Broken Link Finder

Link BuildingPaidNo

Instead of hunting for broken links page-by-page, The Broken Link Finder proactively searches the web for them. Just search for a keyword and the tool will scour the internet for broken links…and hand them to you on a silver platter. Then you can hit up the Wayback Machine to see what the content was (and create something similar/better).

Cool feature: You can sort your results by how many people link to the broken link.

citation labs broken link finder

official website:
http://www.brokenlinkbuilding.com/

Citation Labs' Link Prospector

Link BuildingPaidNo

A industrial-level link opportunity finder. Link Prospector scans the web for link building opportunities like resource pages, guest posts, blogs, news sites and more.

link prospector tool

official website:
http://linkprospector.citationlabs.com/

Content Marketer

Link BuildingPaidYes

An excellent tool that finds contact information (ie. emails) and helps you reach out to those people. I’ve found that the contact info it spits out is pretty darn accurate.

Cool Feature: Content Marketer provides email templates you can use for outreach. They have templates for guest post requests, LinkedIn outreach and more.
content marketer screenshot


official website:
https://contentmarketer.io/

Domain Hunter Plus

Link BuildingFreeNo

Domain Hunter Plus is similar to Check My Links. But this tool also checks to see if the broken link’s domain is available for registration. Cool feature in theory…but I rarely find any free domain names with this tool. That’s because authoritative domains tend to get scooped up pretty quickly. Still a helpful tool for broken link building or The Moving Man Method though.

domain hunter plus

official website:
http://netvantagemarketing.com/about/domain-hunter-plus

Free Broken Link Checker

Link BuildingFreemiumNo

This tool checks a website for broken links. Helpful for broken link building.
Free Broken Link Checker


official website:
http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/

GroupHigh

Link BuildingPaidNo

GroupHigh is advanced blogger outreach software.

Despite the laundry list of features, it’s pretty darn easy to use. Just enter a few keywords to find blogs in your industry. Then filter by Domain Authority and last post date to whittle down the list to bloggers that are worth reaching out to. You can also reach out to them (and track your results) within the platform.

grouphigh screenshot

official website:
http://www.grouphigh.com/

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Link BuildingFreemiumYes

Want to get backlinks from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal? You can hire a pricey PR firm…or you can use HARO. HARO is a “dating service” that connects journaists with sources. If you hook a journaist up with a nice quote or stat, they’ll reward you up with a mention or link. Takes a bit of grinding to get a single mention, but the links you get can be solid gold.
HARO


official website:
http://www.helpareporter.com/

Inky Bee

Link BuildingPaidNo

A decent blogger outreach tool. Just enter a keyword and Inky Bee shows you bloggers in that industry. Inky Bee allows you to sort by Domain Authority/Page Authority. That way you focus on the big shots in your industry.
inkybee screenshot


official website:
http://www.inkybee.com/

Linkbird

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

LinkBird is a keyword research/rank tracking/backlink analysis/link building hybrid tool. Fires off email alerts when it finds a new backlink pointing to your site.

linkbird

official website:
https://www.linkbird.com/en/

LinkMiner

Link BuildingFreeYes

Check My Links on steroids. Like many tools, LinkMiner check for broken links on a page. But this free Chrome extension also shows you how many links the broken link has pointing to it. Uber helpful for broken link building.

Cool Feature: LinkMiner shows you how many outbound links a page has…on a Google SERP. That way you can zero-in on pages with lots of outbound links (and therefore, broken link building opportunities).

linkminer serp feature

official website:
http://pointblankseo.com/linkminer

Linkody

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Linkody lets you know you when you get (or lose) a backlink. It also provides info on your new backlinks (like Mozrank and anchor text). Cool Feature: Linkody emails you when a competitor gets a new backlink. That way you can swoop in and try to get the same one for yourself.

linkody screenshot 2

official website:
https://www.linkody.com/

Linkstant

Link BuildingPaidNo

Linkstant you an email alert every time you get a new link. Why is this helpful?

Well you can turn that one link into multiple links (and a relationship) with a quick “hey, thanks for linking to me” email. It also helps you identify reputation management issues quickly so you can nip them in the bud before they blow up.

linkstant alert

official website:
http://www.linkstant.com/

Muck Rack

Link BuildingPaidYes

If you want to get mentions (and backlinks) from sites like The New York Times and Forbes, you need to start rubbing elbows with journalists. And Muck Rack is an impressive PR tool that helps you quickly find journalists that cover your site’s industry.

Cool Feature: The “Journalist Directory” is a hand-curated list of journalists at over 500 media outlets. Includes their latest tweets, columns and up-to-date contact information.

muckrack screenshot 2

official website:
http://muckrack.com/

Ninja Outreach

Link BuildingPaidNo

Ninja Outreach is an impressive new blogger outreach tool. Search for influential peeps and reach out to them…all from within the tool. Includes outreach templates.

ninja outreach screenshot 2

official website:
http://ninjaoutreach.com/

Ontolo

Link BuildingFreemiumNo

If you eat, sleep and breathe link building, then Ontolo is a tool I recommend checking out. It’s designed to do one thing: show you lots of link opportunities. Just enter a few keywords, tell Ontolo what types of links you want to get (for example:”links from blogs”), and Ontolo will hand you a list of results as an Excel spreadsheet.

ontolo search

official website:
http://ontolo.com/

Outreachr

Link BuildingPaidNo

A pretty nifty content promotion tool. Enter a few keywords and Outreachr will scour the web for websites that cover those topics. Comes packed with tons of sorting features (like Domain Authority and Citation Flow) so that you can focus on reaching out to ballers.

outreachr screenshot

official website:
http://www.outreachr.com

Pitchbox

Link BuildingPaidYes

PitchBox is an all-in-one link prospecting and outreach tool.

Unlike many outreach platforms that are clunky and confusing, PitchBox is a breeze to use. Just enter a few keywords and the tool scans the web for people to promote to (and automatically grabs their contact info). Then reach out to them and track your results.

pitchbox screenshot 2

official website:
http://pitchbox.com/

Quick URL Opener (Just Added)

Link BuildingFreeNo

If you do a lot of link building you’ll NEED to use a tool that opens a big ol’ list of URLs at once. And the Quick URL Opener is one of the best (if not THE best) free SEO tools out there.

quickurl opener

official website:
http://quickurlopener.com/

Remove'em

Link BuildingPaidNo

Remove’em is a pro-level link removal tool. This comes in hand if you got hit by Google Penguin or a Manual “Unnatural Links” penalty.

Cool Feature: “R-Score” evaluates all of your backlinks to let you know which ones are harmful. This makes sorting through thousands of links 10x easier.

removem screenshot

official website:
https://www.removeem.com/

Rmoov

Link BuildingFreemiumYes

Rmoov is one of the best link removal tools on the market. It comes packed with helpful features (like finding a site owner’s contact info and auto-generated link removal templates).
rmoov tool


official website:
https://www.rmoov.com/index.php

ScrapeBox

Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaidNo

ScrapeBox is the self-proclaimed “Swiss army knife of SEO”. Even though this tool was built for black hat SEO, you can use ScrapeBox for white hat link building tasks (like link prospecting, finding contact information and even keyword research).

scrapebox screenshot

official website:
http://www.scrapebox.com/

Siege Media Embed Code Generator

Link BuildingFreeYes

My favorite infographic embed code generator. I really like how you can specify the dimensions of the embed code box.

siege media embed code generator

official website:
http://www.siegemedia.com/embed-code-generator

Technical SEO tools

All in One SEO Pack

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

An alternative to the Yoast SEO plugin.

The All In One SEO Pack has a few unique features that make it different than yoast, like auto-generated description tags, canonical tag support and a “bad bot” blocker.

all in one seo pack

official website:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

Bing Webmaster Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFreeNo

As you might expect from Bing, Bing Webmaster Tools is good…but not nearly as good as Google Search Console.

But if Bing is important to you, this tool tells you everything you need to know about your site’s visibility in Bing. Cool Feature: Bing has a surprisingly good keyword research tool (see image below). And it can hand you keywords that the GKP will NEVER reveal.

bing webmaster tools screenshot

official website:
http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

Bright Local

Technical SEO, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Bright Local is an excellent tool that does insanely comprehensive local SEO site audits.

Cool Feature: Find duplicate or incorrect citations that are floating around online. Helpful if you recently changed address or just want to make sure your NAP citations are consistent around the web.

bright local screenshot 1

official website:
https://www.brightlocal.com/

Browseo

Technical SEOFreeNo

A nifty tool that reveals how a search engines spider sees your site. If you check out the screenshot below you’ll notice that search engine spiders get a very different view of our websites than us humans do.

browseo screenshot

official website:
http://www.browseo.net/

DareBoost (Just Added)

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

Dareboost is a robust website performance testing tool. Not only does the tool size up your site’s loading speed, but it tells you EXACTLY how you can fix issues that are slowing things down.

dareboost site performance tool

official website:
https://www.dareboost.com/en/home

DeepCrawl

Technical SEOPaidNo

Deep Crawl lives up to its name. It scans every page on your site and gives you a comprehensive report that lists out you how many H1 tags you have on each page, noindexed pages, broken internal links, broken external links etc. Heck, it even tells you if your Twitter Card descriptions are too long. deep crawl seo tool report


official website:
https://www.deepcrawl.com/

Google Analytics

Technical SEOFreeYes

If you’re serious about SEO, you need to use Google Analytics. Enough said.

Cool Feature: Go to “Acquisition” –>”Search Engine Optimization”–> Landing Pages. This will bring up the pages on your site that get the most impressions and clicks from Google. Look at the CTR field to see your pages that get the best click-through-rate. Finally, apply elements from those title and description tags to pages that get a bad CTR. And watch your organic traffic move on up 🙂

google analytics search engine optimization

official website:
http://www.google.com/analytics/

Google Analytics Referrer Spam Killer

Technical SEOFreeNo

When you link your Google Analytics to this free spam killer tool, it will add filters to your account that remove over 100 know spammy referrer websites from your list of referring domains. That way your GA data will be squeaky clean.

google analytics referrer spam killer

official website:
https://www.adwordsrobot.com/en/tools/ga-referrer-spam-killer

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Technical SEOFreeNo

Google recently started to downrank sites that aren’t mobile friendly.

But how do you know if a page on your site is up to snuff? Just enter the URL into the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool…and you’ll get a simple “yes/no” answer from Big G.

google mobile friendly tool 2

official website:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Google PageSpeed Insights

Technical SEOFreeNo

You know Google uses your site’s loading speed as a ranking factor.

Well Google PageSpeed insights tells you whether or not Google sees your site as lightning-fast or snail-slow. It also hands you actionable suggestions that you (or your web developer) can use to speed things up.

google pagespeed insights 2

 


official website:
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Google Search Console

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeYes

Google Search Console is a suite of helpful tools straight from Google. You can see if you have duplicate meta data, how many pages you have indexed, security issues and more.

Cool feature: Go to “Search Traffic”—>”Search Analytics” to get a list of keywords that you currently rank for. Sort by “Position” so that your #1 rankings are at the top. Then scroll down until you find where you rank #10-#25 in Google’s search results. These are pages that you can sometimes push to page 1 with some extra SEO love (for example, pointing a few internal links to that page).

google search console

official website:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

Google XML Sitemaps

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

A WordPress plugin that creates an SEO-friendly sitemap of your site automatically. However, if you already use the Yoast SEO Plugin, you don’t need this as Yoast does the same exact thing.
google xml sitemaps plugin


official website:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

GTmetrix

Technical SEOFreeNo

Google Page Speed Insights checks your site’s code. GTmetrix actually loads your site.

When I want to judge my site’s real loading speed, I always defer to GTmetrix. It also gives you recommendations for getting your site up to speed (literally).

gtmetrix screenshot

official website:
https://gtmetrix.com/

LinkPatrol

Technical SEOPaidNo

LinkPatrol is an interesting WordPress plugin that shows you all of your site’s external links.

Cool Feature: If you need to remove or nofollow a bunch of links on your site, LinkPatrol makes it easy. Just choose a domain you want to remove or nofollow, and LinkPatrol will take care of them.

linkpatrol screenshot

official website:
https://linkpatrolwp.com/

Lipperhey

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

Lipperhey analyzes your site for technical SEO issues and provides a basic SEO content analysis.

lipperhey technical seo tool screenshot

official website:
https://www.lipperhey.com/en/

Map Broker XML Sitemap Validator

Technical SEOFreeNo

A helpful (free) tool that makes sure you have a valid sitemap. The XML Sitemap Validator also double checks that the links in your sitemap work.

xml sitemap validator

 


official website:
http://ipullrank.com/tools/map-broker/

Microdata Generator

Technical SEOFreeNo

The Microdata Generator makes creating local SEO schema markup a breeze. This is perfect if you’re a local business (or have local SEO clients).

Just enter your basic biz info (like address, phone number, opening hours etc.) and you’re set.
microdata generator


official website:
http://microdatagenerator.org/

Open SEO Stats

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

A nifty Chrome extension that gives you fistfuls of helpful info with the push of a button. You can see a site’s Alexa ranking, indexed pages, page speed, whois, on page SEO…the list goes on and on. open seo stats


official website:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/open-seo-statsformerly-pa/hbdkkfheckcdppiaiabobmennhijkknn

Panguin Tool

Technical SEOFreeYes

Wondering if your site got dinged by Panda, Penguin or another Google penalty? The outstanding Panguin Tool will help you get to the bottom of it. Just link up Panguin with your Google Analytics and the tool will show if your organic traffic dip happened at the same time as a major Google update.

panguin tool

official website:
http://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk/panguin-tool/

Plugin SEO

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

A fast and free on-page SEO analysis tool. Provides recommendations to patch up any issues your page has.

plugin seo

official website:
https://www.pluginseo.com/

Raven Tools

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

A pro-level tools suite designed for digital marketing agencies. Raven Tools probably has the best site auditor tool I’ve ever used. And unlike most site audit tools, Raven shows you EXACTLY what you need to do to fix any SEO issues that your site has.

Cool Feature: “Thin content” reveals content that might put you at risk for a Google Panda penalty.

raven tools software

official website:
http://raventools.com/

Referral Ghost Spam Removal Tool

Technical SEOFreeNo

Is referral “ghost spam” messing up your Google Analytics data? Well this free tool quickly filters out spam bots by creating a segment in GA that ignores traffic from spammy websites.

loganix ghost spam filter

official website:
https://loganix.net/rst-lander/

Rel Nofollow Checkbox

Technical SEOFreeNo

This WordPress plugin lets you easily set links on your site as “nofollow”.

rel nofollow checkbox

official website:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/rel-nofollow-checkbox/

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

Screaming Frog is the first technical SEO tool that I ever used. And it still holds up today. Great for quickly identifying technical issues that’s holding your site back from the first page. Free version works well. But to get really down-and-dirty, you definitely want to splurge for the full paid version.

screaming frog screenshot

official website:
http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/

SEO & Website Analysis (WooRank)

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

This free Chrome extension gives you important SEO info from within your browser.

Just click a button and the SEO & Website Analysis by WooRank analyzes your page’s basic SEO metrics (like title tags that are too long). But the tool also hooks you up with other helpful info (like whether your site is mobile optimized and how fast it loads).

Yes, you can use this extension for your own site. But in experience this tool is even better for competitor analysis because it shows you the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages, what technology they’re using on their site, and traffic estimates…all from within your browser.

woorank SEO & Website Analysis

official website:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/seo-website-analysis/hlngmmdolgbdnnimbmblfhhndibdipaf?hl=en

SEO Friendly Images

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

Have a bunch of images on your site that are missing alt text and titles? Well you COULD add that info one-by-one…or you could use this helpful plugin. SEO Friendly Images WordPress grabs the file name of your image and turns it into the image’s alt text and title.

For example, let’s say you have an image called “redsox.jpeg”. SEO Friendly Images will automatically turn that file name into “red sox” for image’s alt text and title.

SEO friendly images

official website:
http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/wordpress-plugins/seo-friendly-images/

SEO Monitor

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingPaidYes

SEO Monitor is a one-stop dashboard for your SEO performance.

Cool Feature: SEO Monitor takes Google Analytic’s data, mashes it together with your rankings, and helps solve the “(not provided)” issue. This is SUPER helpful for discovering keywords that convert well for you. That way you can put more SEO muscle behind those keywords.

seomonitor screenshot

official website:
http://seomonitor.com/

SEO Site Checkup

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

A very easy-to-use SEO audit tool. Also includes backlink analysis data, uptime reports and site speed recommendations. The white label reports for digital marketing agencies look really sharp.

seo site checkup 2

official website:
http://seositecheckup.com/

SEO-Browser

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

Simple tool for seeing your site from the eyes of a search engine spider.

seo browser screenshot

official website:
http://seo-browser.com/

SERPmetrics

Technical SEOPaidNo

SERPmetrics answers the question: “Has everybody’s rankings changed…or is it just me?”. Just head over to this tool to see how volatile Google has been over the last 30 days.

serpmetrics flux screenshot

official website:
http://serpmetrics.com/flux/

Site Analyzer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Site Analyzer a high-quality site audit tool. Yes, $10 for a 100 page scan is a little steep. But the tool hooks you up with a lot of helpful information, especially when it comes to page optimization.

site analyzer screenshot

official website:
https://www.site-analyzer.com/

Site Condor

Technical SEOPaidNo

A VERY in-depth site audit tool. If there’s a potential SEO issue with your site (like a broken link or a title tag that’s too long), Site Condor will identify it. Even I was a bit overwhelmed with the issues it found at first. Fortunately, the tool comes packed with a “View Recommendations” button that tells you how to fix any problems that it finds.

Cool Feature: “Site Graph” visualizes your site’s link structure. This is perfect for seeing how  authority (aka PageRank) flows through your site.

site condor site graph

official website:
https://www.sitecondor.com/

Varvy SEO Tool

Technical SEOFreeNo

A clean and easy-to-use site audit tool. You just need to a URL and Varvy spits out a bunch of helpful info in seconds. Specifically, you’ll see your site’s technical SEO issues, social shares, recent Twitter and Facebook mentions, external links and more.

varvy seo tool

official website:
https://varvy.com/tools/

Webbee SEO Spider Tool (Just Added)

Technical SEOFreeNo

This free piece of SEO software gives you a lot of in-depth info into your site’s technical SEO health. Similar to Screaming Frog but with a few extra features (like graphs and the ability to filter results).

webbee site crawler

official website:
https://www.eebew.com/spider/

Website Penalty Indicator

Technical SEOFreeYes

Wondering whether or not you got slapped by a Google Penalty? Well Website Penalty Indicator can give you some much-needed insight. The tool lines up your organic traffic with dates of Google penalties…like “Mobilegeddon” and the Phantom update.

website penalty indicator

official website:
http://feinternational.com/website-penalty-indicator/

Whitespark

Link Building, Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidYes

If you do local SEO for clients, you need to have Whitespark in your arsenal. You can easily find hundreds of NAP citations with a few clicks…and reverse engineer your competitor’s citations with ease.

Cool Feature: Offline Tracking turns “how did you hear about us?” into online data you can use to double down on what works. Integrates with Google Analytics.

whitespark screenshot 3

official website:
http://www.whitespark.ca/

Woorank

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Top-notch website analysis tool that tells you everything you need to know about your website’s SEO health.

woorank screenshot

official website:
https://www.woorank.com/

Yoast SEO Plugin

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

Yoast is the #1 SEO WordPress plugin for one simple reason: it works. It’s also the SEO plugin that we use here at Backlinko.

Cool Feature: “Bulk Editor” lets you edit dozens of pages with a click. Uber helpful if you ever have duplicate content issues on your site.

yoast seo plugin

official website:
https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/

Zadroweb SEO Auditor (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

A free SEO auditor that provides a high-level SEO overview of your site.

zandro auditor

official website:
https://zadroweb.com/seo-auditor/

Keyword Research tools

AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

If you’re looking for a way to discover new keywords, try mashing a bunch of words together and see what happens.

(I’m not kidding)

Creating keyword permutations is a classic Adwords tactic that few people in SEO use. And the Dan Zambonini permutation tool is one of the best keyword combo tools that I’ve tried.

keyword permutation tool

official website:
http://seo.danzambonini.com/#

Answer The Public

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Answer The Public combines Google Autosuggest scraping with a question scraper.

So if you want to know what questions your target audience types into Google, just pop the keyword into Answer The Public and you’ll get a hefty list.

answer the public 2

 


official website:
http://answerthepublic.com/

FAQfox (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

FAQfox is a question scraper tool. I like how you can choose the websites that FAQfox scrapes. So if there’s a particular site that your target audience hands out on (for example, Reddit) you can ask the tool to only search that site.

faqfox

official website:
http://faqfox.com/

FreshKey

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

FreshKey is one of the better keyword research tools I tried for this list (and I tried a TON of them). The tool generates sackfuls of keyword ideas by scraping Amazon, Bing, Ebay, Google Market and more. While most tools require a monthly subscription, FreshKey is a very reasonable one-time fee of 49 bucks.

freshkey screenshot 2

official website:
http://freshkey.com/

Google Correlate

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

An underrated keyword research tool that comes straight from Google.

Google Correlate is really simple:

It shows you keywords that tend to get searched for together. For example, let’s say you pop “gluten free” into the tool. Google Correlate tells you that people searching for “gluten free” also search for “cheese gluten free” and “flour gluten free”. Very cool.google correlate


official website:
http://www.google.com/trends/correlate

Google Keyword Planner

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

The Google Keyword Planner is the only keyword tool that gives you data straight from the horse’s mouth.

Cool feature: The GKP tells you how likely someone searching for that keyword will buy something from you. How? Look at the “competition” and “estimated bid” columns. If the “competition” and “estimated bid” are high, you probably have a keyword that converts well. I put more weight on this than straight-up search volume. After all, who wants a bunch of tire kickers coming to their site?

google keyword planner screenshot

official website:
https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

Google Trends

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

I ALWAYS check Google Trends before pulling the trigger on a keyword. Why?

Because I want to know whether or not my keyword is getting more (or less) popular. If you skip this step you risk optimizing your page around a dying keyword.

Cool Feature: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out “Queries”. These are related keywords that you can pop into the GKP to see if they’re a good fit.

google trends

official website:
https://www.google.com/trends/

GrepWords

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A solid, reasonably priced keyword research tool with an excellent question scraper.

Cool Feature: “Divergent” shows you what time of the year certain keywords tend to spike. For example, if you want to see which gift card keywords tend to perk up around Christmas, GrepWords will show it to you. Ditto with Halloween and keywords related to “costumes”.

grepwords keyword research tool 3

official website:
http://grepwords.com/

HitTail

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

HitTail does two things very well:

1. It shows you which keywords tend to bring in the most traffic for you (this helps get around the “not provided” problem.

2. Shows you keyword suggestions. I was impressed by their keyword suggestions because they showed me keywords that I didn’t see other tools.

hittail screenshot 2

official website:
https://www.hittail.com/

Imforsmb.com's Bulk Keyword Generator (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

If you do SEO work for local clients (like plumbers and electricians), this tool can help you find local keywords that potential customers search for. For example, if you tell the tool that your client is a plumber in Boston, it will hand you 40-ish keywords that customers might use in Google.

local seo bulk keyword tool

official website:
http://www.imforsmb.com/tools/bulk-keyword-generator/

Jaaxy (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

Jaaxy is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that specializes in spitting out lots of closely-related keywords. Nice tool.

jaaxy keyword research tool

official website:
http://www.jaaxy.com/

Keyword Combiner

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Yes, Keyword Combiner is designed for Adwords. But it’s a great tool to find keywords that you can use for SEO as well. Just pop in a bunch of different keywords and the tool will mash them all together. Then upload them to the GKP to check their search volume. Helpful.

keyword combiner

official website:
http://web.forret.com/tools/adwords.asp

Keyword Eye

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

A unique keyword research tool that shows you keyword suggestions as a word cloud. Bigger keywords=more search volume. It also color codes keywords based on Adwords competition (which is a good sign of a keyword’s profitability).
keyword eye 2


official website:
http://www.keywordeye.com/

Keyword Revealer

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

Keyword Revealer is a standard keyword research tool with a  a cool “Keyword Tree” feature. The keyword treee shows you keyword ideas as a tree. And when you click on a “branch” in the tree, a new set of branches appears. Helpful.keyword revealer tool


official website:
http://www.keywordrevealer.com/

Keyword Snatcher

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

This tool probably gives you more keyword ideas than any other tool on the market. Why? Because it finds keywords from a bunch of different places, like Ebay, Amazon and even Yahoo. In fact, the last seed keyword I put into it (“paleo diet”) generated 15,000 keywords!

The one downside to this tool is that it doesn’t show you how many people search for the keywords that it spits out. So you need to manually upload the keyword list into the GKP to get search volume info.

keyword snatcher list

official website:
http://keywordsnatcher.com/

Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A keyword tool that scrapes autocomplete suggestions from sites like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing and Etsy.

keyword tool dominator

official website:
http://www.keywordtooldominator.com

KeywordSpy

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

A decent keyword research tool. While Keyword Spy is a bit dated (the copy still says “track your rankings in MSN”), it still works OK. The tool works just like SEMRush: enter a domain name into the tool and it will show you a list of keywords that the site ranks for. However, SEMRush is far and away the superior tool.

keyword spy screenshot

official website:
http://www.keywordspy.com/

KeywordTool.io

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

An excellent keyword research tool that scrapes Google Autocomplete results.

Although Google said they would be “restricting” access to Autocomplete, KeywordTool.io seems to have found a way around it. I just tested the tool and it brought back a bunch of excellent keyword suggestions just like it always does.

keywordtool.io

official website:
http://keywordtool.io/

kwfinder.com

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

An insanely easy to use alternative to the Google Keyword Planner. Just pop a keyword into it and you get search volume, estimated bid and first page competition data within seconds.

kwfinder screenshot 2

official website:
https://kwfinder.com/

Long Tail Pro

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A very easy-to-use keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and get suggestions. Simple and effective.

Cool feature: Only want to see keywords that have a search volume between 1500-2100? How about keywords with an estimated bid of at least $2.50? Long Tail Pro’s filtering feature makes it easy to see ONLY keywords that you actually want.

long tail pro screenshot

official website:
http://www.longtailpro.com/

Power Suggest Pro (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

Power Suggest Pro is a desktop-based keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and it spits out ideas from a number of different search engines (like Google and Wikipedia). Cool Feature: “Ideas!” give you a list of common terms people use in search engines (like “best X” and “how to fix Y”). Helpful for coming up with new keyword ideas.

power suggest pro screenshot

official website:
http://www.powersuggestpro.com/

SECockpit

Keyword ResearchPaidYes

SECockpit is probably most advanced keyword research tool on the market. Yes, you enter a seed keyword and get suggestions like any other tool. But SECockpit can do so much more than list out a list of related keywords.

It can spit out low competition keywords. It can show you keywords that get a minimum CPC in Adwords. It can even show you keywords that have YouTube, Ebay or Amazon results on the first page.

Cool Feature: SECockpit scrapes the “Searches similar to…” from the bottom of Google’s search results. This can often unearth keywords that you’d otherwise miss.

secockpit screenshot 2

official website:
http://secockpit.com/

Seed Keywords

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Let’s face it:

Most people enter seed keywords into the Google Keyword Planner that they pluck out of thin air. But with this free SEO tool you can find out what people actually type into search boxes.

How? Just create a scenario and ask people what they would search for in that situation.

For example, I created a scenario “How would you search for a hotel in Paris?”. You can see the results in the screenshot below. You can even export the list as a CSV file.

seed keywords tool 2

official website:
http://www.seedkeywords.com

SEMrush

Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

SEMRush is one of the few SEO tools that I couldn’t live without. Unlike most keyword research tools, SEMRush works by showing  you your competitor’s top keywords. So rather than grinding away in the Google Keyword Planner, just pop a competitor URL into SEMRush and you’ll see every single keyword that they rank for. #solidgold

Cool Feature: “Pages” reveal the pages on your competitor’s site that generate the most organic search engine traffic. This feature is insanely helpful for executing step #1 of The Skyscraper Technique.

semrush screenshot

official website:
http://www.semrush.com/

SEO Book's Free SEO Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreeNo

SEO Book has a set of helpful SEO software tools that focus on technical SEO and keyword research.

I especially like their “Keyword Suggestion” gadget. Super easy to use and gives you all the info you need quickly (like monthly search volume, suggested bid etc.).

seobook keyword tool

official website:
http://tools.seobook.com/

serpIQ

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A decent keyword research tool. Also, I noticed that the keywords serpIQ spit out weren’t the same old keywords that I saw in most other keyword research tools.

Cool Feature: “Competition Analyzer” measures how competitive a keyword will be to rank for (scored between 1-100).

serpiq screenshot 2

official website:
https://serpiq.com/

SERPStat (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

SerpStat is an excellent keyword brainstorming tool. Although it doesn’t give you search volume for keywords, it does hand you a huge list of unique keywords that you can upload into the Google Keyword Planner.

Cool Feature: “Questions” gives you questions that people tend to ask around your topic. Very cool.

serpstat screenshot

official website:
http://serpstat.com/

SimilarWeb

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

SimilarWeb gives you a bird’s eye view of your competitor’s traffic figures, organic keywords, engagement metrics and more.

Cool Feature: “Similar Sites” show you websites that are closely-related to you or a competitor. Helpful for finding new outreach opportunities.

similarweb screenshot

official website:
http://www.similarweb.com/

Soovle

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Soolve is a free tool that pulls autocomplete suggestions from a handful of different sources like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

soolve screenshot

official website:
http://www.soovle.com/

SpyFu

Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

I hadn’t used SpyFu in over 3 years. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the classic PPC tool has been upgraded with a ton of new SEO-focused features. In fact they’re keyword competition feature was one of the best that I came across.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Kombat” uncover keywords that a few of your competitor’s rank for. If those sites have similar authority to you, then it stands to reason that you can leapfrog all of them with some amazing content and link building.

And yes, that name reminds me of Mortal Kombat too 🙂

spyfu screenshot 2

official website:
http://www.spyfu.com/

Suggestion Keyword Finder

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

A suprisingly helpful free keyword brainstorming tool. I’m not 100% sure how it works, but it spit out quite a few unique keywords when I tested it.

Make sure to check “Level 3” so that you get access to the largest list of keywords.

suggestion keyword finder

official website:
http://tools.seochat.com/tools/related-keywords-tool/

TermExplorer

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

TermExplorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and thorough organic competition info. Solid tool.

term explorer screenshot

official website:
http://termexplorer.com/Public/

UberSuggest

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

This was the first tool that scraped Google Autocomplete data. And it still gets the job done.

ubersuggest

official website:
http://ubersuggest.org/

Wordstream's Free Keyword Tools

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Even though Wordstream’s free keyword tools are made for Adwords, their set of free tools are helpful for uncovering keywords for your SEO campaigns.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Niche Finder” mashes a bunch of keywords together. When I tested this feature I noticed a handful of keywords that weren’t in any of the other keyword research tools I tried.

wordstream keyword research tools

official website:
http://www.wordstream.com/free-keyword-tools

WordTracker

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

WordTracker has its own internal index of keywords. Why is this important? Well it means you can come across long tail keywords that the GKP simply won’t show you. WordTracker also provides organic first page competition data.

Cool Feature: “Search for this Keyword” uncovers long tail variations of a given keyword. Repeat until you’ve found the long tail keyword you want.

wordtracker

official website:
http://www.wordtracker.com/

Wordtracker Scout (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Wordtracker scout is a very cool (free) Chrome extension that finds keywords within a piece of content.You simply need to head over to an article, click the “W” button and the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas.

wordtracker scout

official website:
http://www.wordtracker.com/scout

Rank Tracking tools

Advanced Web Ranking

Rank TrackingPaidNo

A rank tracking and keyword research tool hybrid. AWR takes some of the features of tools like SEMRush and Authority Labs and puts them under one roof. It also rocks a a solid site audit tool.

advanced web ranking report

official website:
http://www.advancedwebranking.com/

AMZ Tracker

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidYes

If you sell products on Amazon, AMZ Tracker is a must-have tool. Tracks your rankings on Amazon.com AND international Amazon websites (like Amazon.de).

Cool Feature: “On Page Analyzer” evaluates your Amazon product page for important Amazon SEO metrics like positive reviews and high-res images.

amztracker screenshot

official website:
https://www.amztracker.com/

Authority Labs

Rank TrackingPaidYes

A reliable and easy-to-use rank tracking tool. The cheapest plan tracks 250 keywords, which is more than enough for most businesses. And for those of you that do Local SEO, Authority Labs tracks Google+ Local results too.

authority labs screenshot

official website:
http://authoritylabs.com/

GeoRanker (Just Added)

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

GeoRanker is an advanced local SEO (Google Maps) rank tracking tool. As you know, if you track local keywords (like “Boston tacos”), you can’t use most rank tracking tools. You need to see what people in Boston see. Well GeoRanker does exactly that. Choose your keywords and locations and get a report back that shows you your Google organic and Google local results.

georanker report screenshot

official website:
https://www.georanker.com/

Microsite Masters

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

Microsite Masters is a very solid rank tracking tool.

Cool Feature: “Scoreboard” shows you the keywords that had the most movement (positive and negative). Great for zeroing in on pages that might need attention.

micrositemasters screenshot

official website:
http://www.micrositemasters.com/

Pro Rank Tracker

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

Pro Rank Tracker is a quality rank tracking tool with a great user interface. If you’re tracking hundreds (or thousands) of keywords, you can group keywords into categories to keep things organized.
pro rank tracker


official website:
http://proranktracker.com/

Rank Ranger

Rank TrackingPaidNo

Rank Ranger is a reliable rank tracker that comes bundles with a handful of extra features like on-page audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis. Nice tool.

rank ranger screenshot

official website:
https://www.rankranger.com/

Rival IQ (Just Added)

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Rival IQ pits your social media and SEO presence against your competitors. It your chief competitor getting more Twitter mentions than you? Are they ranking for a new keyword? This excellent tool will let you know. Had a lot of fun playing around with this one.

rivaliq dashboard

official website:
https://www.rivaliq.com/

Search Latte

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeNo

Want to see the search results for Google.co.uk, Google.de or any of the other 150+ international Googles? Look no further than Search Latte. Just enter your keyword, pick an international version of Google, and you’ll see that country’s search results. No proxies or VPNs needed. search latte


official website:
http://searchlatte.com/

SEO Rank Monitor (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

SEO Rank Monitor tracks your keywords against your competitors. Also does YouTube Rank checking.

seo rank monitor

official website:
http://www.seorankmonitor.com/

SERanking (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

SERanking is a quality rank tracking tool that comes bundled with some bonus features like keyword suggestions and site auditing.

seranking screenshot

official website:
http://seranking.com/

Serpfox

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

SERPFox is a no-fuss rank tracking tool that just works. A great value.

serpfox screenshot

official website:
http://serpfox.com/

SERPs.com

Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidNo

SERPS.com is an enterprise-level rank tracking product with a built-in keyword research tool.

Cool Feature: “Tests” let you test how on page-SEO changes affect your rankings. For example, you can change your title tag, wait a week, and SERPs.com will tell you if that change had an impact.
serps.com screenshot


official website:
https://serps.com/tools/keywords

Sistrix

Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Sistrix is an enterprise-level SEO platform that shows you your site’s rankings, social signals, backlinks, anchor text distribution and more. Unlike many SEO tools with a million features, Sistrix is so easy my mom could use it.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Opportunities” show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for…but you don’t.

sistrix seo platform screenshot 2

official website:
http://www.sistrix.com/

WebCEO (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidYes

WebCEO is a world-class SEO platform that gives you access to a bunch of quality tools to boost your SEO, from keyword research to technical SEO to rank tracking and even mobile optimization.

Cool Feature: “DIY SEO Guide” gives SEO beginners explicit steps to improve their site’s SEO.

webCEO

 


official website:
http://www.webceo.com/

Wincher (Just Added)

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

If you’re on a tight budget, Wincher is the one rank tracking tool that you should add to your arsenal. The free version is pretty nice with weekly updates and 7 tracked keywords. But when you upgrade to the $8/month paid plan you get many of the same features as the big boys (like email alerts) for pennies on the dollar.

wincher rank tracking tool 2

official website:
https://www.wincher.com/

WordTail (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

Wordtail is a nice rank tracking tool that has the features you’d expect from dedicated rank tracking software (like grouping keywords, in-depth reports and competitor tracking).

wordtail screenshot

official website:
http://wordtail.com/

Content Optimization tools

BuzzSumo

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

BuzzSumo went from “new kid on the block” to “must-have tool” in the blink of an eye.

And it’s no wonder. BuzzSumo makes finding winning content (for example, if you want to execute The Skyscraper Technique) a walk in the park.

Cool Feature: “View Sharers” shows you who shared a piece of content on Twitter, which is outreach solid gold bullion. “BuzzSumo Alerts” tells you whenever a keyword or phrase (like a competitor’s brand name) gets mentioned around the web.

buzzsumo content tool screenshot

official website:
http://buzzsumo.com/

Can I Rank (Just Added)

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

This tool answers the question we’ve all had when evaluating a keyword: “Can I rank?”. CanIRank.com provides a nice breakdown of how your page compares to the first page competition (inducing domain authority, page authority and on-page SEO metrics).

canirank screenshot

official website:
https://www.canirank.com/

Keys4Up (Just Added)

Content OptimizationFreeYes

As you know, adding LSI keywords to your content can boost your rankings. The question is: how do you know which LSI keywords to add? Well this free tool does the job for you. And unlike most “keyword suggestion” tools that give you variations of the keyword you put into it, Keys4Up actually understands that meaning behind the word. For example, look at the screenshot to see the related words the tool found around the keyword “paleo diet”.

keys4up lsi keyword tool

official website:
http://www.keys4up.com/

LSIGraph (Just Added)

Content OptimizationFreeNo

LSI Graph is a handy LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword generator. Enter a keyword and get a list of terms that you can sprinkle into your content.

lsi graph tool

official website:
http://lsigraph.com/

MarketMuse

Content OptimizationPaidNo

MarketMuse is advanced content analysis tool (similar to Scribe by Copyblogger). Market Muse scans your content and compares it to similar content on the web. If it finds that other people mention a keyword that you don’t, it tells you about this “content gap”.

For example, let’s you have a piece of content about low carb dessert recipes. If MarketMuse finds that your competitors use terms like “Stevia” and “Agave Nector” — but you don’t — it will suggest that you include these terms in your content. In my experience including LSI keywords like these can make a significant difference in your rankings.

marketmuse tool screenshot 2

official website:
https://www.marketmuse.com/products

nTopic

Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

nTopic is a “content relevancy” tool. In other words, it scans your content and gives you suggestions to make your post more SEO-friendly. Comes with a WordPress plugin that’s helpful for quickly analyzing and updating your content to boost its on-page SEO.

ntopic wordpress plugin screenshot 2

official website:
http://www.ntopic.org/

onpage.org

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

A top-notch technical and on-page SEO tool built with German engineering.

Cool feature: My favorite feature of onpage.org is their TD*IDF analysis. TD*IDF identifies keywords that pages ranking for your target keyword tend to use. These terms are excellent LSI keywords that you can sprinkle into your content to bump up your on-page SEO.

onpage org tfidf analysis

official website:
https://en.onpage.org/

QuickSprout Website Analyzer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

The QuickSprout tool is an extremely helpful website analysis tool.

Just connect your Google Analytics with the tool and it’ll analyze your site’s SEO visibility, social shares, web page loading speed, and more. Also provides actionable recommendations and downloadable reports.

quicksprout seo tool 2

official website:
https://www.quicksprout.com/

Scribe by Copyblogger

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Scribe bridges the gap between old school on-page SEO and new school content marketing. The tool scores your content based on how friendly it is for people AND Google. I also dig the fact that you can do keyword research from within the WordPress editor.

scribe content marketing plugin

official website:
http://scribecontent.com/

SEO Plugin By Squirrly

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

Ever write a post and wonder: “Is this post SEO friendly enough?”. Then you should give Squirrly a shot. It’s a WordPress plugin that automatically analyzes your content for SEO and human readability.

Cool Feature: Squirrly comes packed with a nice keyword research tool that works within the WordPress editor. In addition to the usual metrics (like search volume), it also shows you if that keyword is a hot topic of conversion online. The tool also shows you the stability of that keyword’s search volume over time.

squirrly seo plugin

official website:
http://howto.squirrly.co/wordpress-seo-plugin-by-squirrly/

SEOptimer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

If you want a quick-and-dirty look at your content’s on-page SEO, give SEOptimer a try.

This free tool quickly analyzes your page and lets you know if there are any issues (like missing image alt text and broken links) that might be holding you back from page 1.

seoptimer

official website:
http://www.seoptimer.com/

Solo SEO

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

A worthwhile site audit tool that also does keyword research and on page SEO/content analysis.

solo seo screenshot

official website:
https://www.soloseo.com/

Text Tools (Just Added)

Content OptimizationPaidNo

Text Tools is an advanced LSI keyword tool. It scans the top 10 results for a given keyword and shows you which terms they tend to use. If you sprinkle these same terms into your content, it can boost your content’s relevancy in the eyes of Google. You can also compare your content to the top 10 to uncover LSI keywords that your content might be missing.

text tools screenshot

 


official website:
http://www.text-tools.net/

TrendSpottr

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

TrendSpottr shows you content that’s trending on Twitter. So if you want to do some newsjacking or get your hands a hot topic, this tool can help you do it.

trendspottr2

official website:
https://trendspottr.com/welcome

Upcity

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaidYes

Upcity is one part SEO tool and one part online marketing course.

This means that instead of getting a list of fancy charts and error messages, the tool tells you how to get on the right track. This is perfect for small business owners that do DIY SEO.

Cool Feature: “Curriculum” walks you through the basic steps you need to have an SEO-friendly website in 2015. Tailored to local businesses and people new to digital marketing. You get checklists and video game-style points for completing the important tasks (like creating a Facebook page or setting up an editorial calendar).

upcity screenshot 2

official website:
http://upcity.com/

Ahrefs

Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisFreemiumYes

The best link analysis tool on the market…by a mile.

Ahrefs has a massive index (over a trilion links) that’s updated at least once a day. It’s also super duper simply to use. Because of its excellent user interface and index, Ahrefs is one of the few SEO tools that I use every day.

ahrefs screeenshot

official website:
https://ahrefs.com/

cognitiveSEO

Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

An SEO tools suite that focuses on link analysis. Also has a helpful “Unnatural Link Detection” feature that identifies risky backlinks that might have caused a penalty (or can cause a penalty down the road). Solid tool.cognitive SEO screenshot


official website:
http://cognitiveseo.com/

Kerboo

Rank Tracking, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Kerboo is an SEO tools suite for search engine marketing pros. Includes backlink analysis, link prospecting, on-site SEO audits and rank tracking. Cool Feature: “LinkRisk” analyzes your link profile and identifies spammy/dangerous backlinks.

kerboo screenshot

official website:
https://kerboo.com/apps/

Link Research Tools

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

A solid link analysis tool with some link building features built into it (like link prospecting and outreach).

But LRT’s cool feature is its “Link Detox” tool. This tool automatically scans your backlinks and shows you which links put you at risk of a Google penalty (or links that already caused a penalty). In other words, it makes identifying spammy links super easy. When I ran a test of Link Detox it was almost 100% accurate at differentiating between good and bad links.

link research tools link detox

official website:
http://www.linkresearchtools.com/

Majestic SEO

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

With a huge, updated index Majestic is one of the top link analysis tools on the market. The tool also has a few helpful propriety metrics like “TrustFlow” and “CitationFLow” that tell you whether or not that site you want to get a link from is authoritative or spammy.

Cool Feature: “Clique Hunter” shows you sites that tend to link to your competitors (but not you). Just pop in a few sites and Majestic shows you the various “cliques” that they belong to. This is a great way to new discover link building opportunities.

majestic clique hunter

official website:
https://majestic.com/

Monitor Backlinks

Link Building, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

A comprehensive SEO platform that gives you info on newly acquired backlinks, keyword rankings and site speed. It even sends you alerts whenever one of your competitors gets a new link. I especially love the dashboard because its clean and gives you ONLY the essential info you need.
monitor backlinks dashboard


official website:
https://monitorbacklinks.com/

MozBar

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

Nifty toolbar for Chrome and Firefox that shows you the Page Authority and Domain Authority of the page you’re on.

But the toolbar also shows you the DA/PA of Google search results (this feature only works for Moz Pro subscribers). This is an awesome way to size up the first page competition.

Mozbar SERPs

official website:
https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar

Open Link Profiler

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

A solid link analysis and reverse engineering tool.

Yes, Open Link Profiler’s index isn’t as massive as the big tools (like Ahrefs and Majestic). But its paid version has some cool features (like on-page analysis and site audits) that can make the monthly payment worthwhile. Also, the free version is the best free backlink analysis tool I’ve ever used. So if you’re balling on a budget and want to see your competitor’s backlinks for free, give OpenLinkProfiler a shot.

Cool Feature: “Hub Finder” is very similar to Majestic’s “Clique Hunter”. Enter a few competitors into the tool and see who links to them (but not you).

open link profiler hub finder results

official website:
http://openlinkprofiler.org/

Open Site Explorer

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

Open Site Explorer is a top 3 link analysis tool that comes bundled with Moz Pro. The metrics that OSE provides — like Domain Authority and Page Authority — are what SEO pros use every day.
open site explorer


official website:
https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

SEO PowerSuite

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

A suite of quality desktop-based SEO tools that include a rank checker, backlink analysis tool, site auditor, and keyword research tool.

seo powersuite

official website:
http://www.seopowersuite.com/

SEO Tools for Excel

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreemiumYes

The best “SEO tool for excel” that I’ve used so far. Easily check a site’s backlinks (via ahrefs or Majestic API), social shares, HTTP status, word count, external links and more. All from within Excel.

SEO Tools for Excel

official website:
http://seotoolsforexcel.com/

SEO Weather's Bulk Metrics Checker (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreeNo

How’d you like to see the PA and DA for a big ol’ list of URLs? Pop the list into the Bulk Metrics Checker, hit “go fetch” and you’ll get a handy list.

bulk metrics checker

official website:
http://www.seoweather.com/free-seo-tools/

SEOGadget for Excel

Backlink analysisFreeNo

If you want to pull data from Moz and Majestic into an Excel spreadsheet, the SEOGadget for Excel tool makes it easy.

seo gadget for excel screenshot

official website:
https://builtvisible.com/seogadget-for-excel/

SEOquake

Backlink analysisFreeNo

A nice little toolbar for Firefox and Chrome that shows you important SEO metrics (like domain age, number of backlinks, and traffic estimates) all from within your Chrome or Firefox browser.

SEOquake can display the same data on Google search results. This can help you determine whether or not a keyword is insanely competitive…or ripe for you to grab a spot on the first page.

seo quake toolbar for chrome

official website:
http://www.seoquake.com/

ShareMetric

Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaidNo

ShareMetric gives you a lightning-fast screenshot of an page’s social shares, links and Google keyword rankings. Especially helpful if you want to see what keyword a page ranks for in seconds. You’ll need an SEMRush or Moz API to get backlink and keyword info. Nice tool.

ShareMetric chrome extension

official website:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sharemetric/lhnijlahkclijpefbcimahdcgcjbmnnp?hl=en

URL Profiler

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisPaidNo

If you want to check info on a huge list of URLs (like Domain Authority, number of backlinks, whois information, social shares and readability), URL Profiler is the best tool on the market to get the job done.

urlprofiler in action

official website:
http://urlprofiler.com/

WebMeUp Backlink Tool

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

WebMeUp is a quality link analysis tool with a HUGE index of “897,704,758,673” backlinks. I’d love to see the tool use some sort of authority metric (like Ahref’s Domain Rank). Otherwise it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in your link profile.

webmeup screenshot 2

official website:
http://webmeup.com/

Here’s How to Get The Most From This Guide

I put together a PDF version of this guide to help you get the most from this giant list of SEO software products.

That way you can refer back to it whenever you need.

Click the image below and enter your email to get access to the PDF.

download the seo tools checklist pdf

The post SEO Tools: The Complete List (153 Free and Paid Tools) appeared first on Backlinko.

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