Backlinko Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:42:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SEO Tools: The Complete List (153 Tools Reviewed and Rated) Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:16:40 +0000 If you want to see the best SEO tools in one place, then you’ll LOVE this guide. I personally tested and reviewed 153 of the top SEO tools online. And you can filter through the list to find the best tools for you. Check it out: What Do You Think? Now I want to hear... Read more »

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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 153 of the top SEO tools online.

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

Check it out:

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


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

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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

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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

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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.

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

citation labs broken link finder

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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

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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

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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

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Free Broken Link Checker

Link BuildingFreemiumNo

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

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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

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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.

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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

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Link Prospecting Query Builder

Link BuildingFreeNo

Here’s how this tool works. First, enter a keyword. Then, choose a type of link you want (for example, guest posts). Finally, hit “submit”.

The Link Prospecting Query Builder will spit out search strings you can use to find link opportunities.

link prospecting query builder

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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.


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 can use to speed things up.

google pagespeed insights 2


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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

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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

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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

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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

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

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

lipperhey technical seo tool screenshot

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Rel Nofollow Checkbox

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

rel nofollow checkbox

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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

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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

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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

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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

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SEO Site Tools

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreeNo

A Chrome Extenstion similar to Open SEO Stats…but with a few less features.

seo site tools

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Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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

seo browser screenshot

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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

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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 optimizing your content for better on-page SEO.

site analyzer screenshot

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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 correlate

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A keyword tool that scrapes autocomplete suggestions from sites like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing and Etsy.

keyword tool dominator

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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

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Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

An excellent keyword research tool that scrapes Google Autocomplete results.

Although Google said they would be “restricting” access to Autocomplete, 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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SEO Book's Free SEO Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreeNo

SEO Book has a set of helpful SEO 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Keyword ResearchPaidNo

TermExplorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and thorough organic competition info. Solid tool.

term explorer screenshot

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Keyword ResearchFreeNo

This was the first tool that scraped Google Autocomplete data. And it still gets the job done.


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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

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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.


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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

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AMZ Tracker

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidYes

If you sell products on Amazon, AMZ Tracker is a must-have tool. Tracks your rankings on AND international Amazon websites (like

Cool Feature: “On Page Analyzer” evaluates your Amazon product page for important Amazon SEO metrics like positive reviews and high-res images.

amztracker screenshot

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Search Latte

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeNo

Want to see the search results for, 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

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Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

SERPFox is a no-fuss rank tracking tool that just works. A great value.

serpfox screenshot

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Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidNo 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 will tell you if that change had an impact. screenshot

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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

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Content Optimization tools


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

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Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

As you know, your content’s topic is a HUGE factor in its success.

InboundWriter is a unique tool that tells you which topics will (or won’t) work well for you. How? It evaluates the topic’s interest and first page Google competition. And if your topic isn’t a slam dunk, InboundWriter will suggest another winning topic for you to try.

Cool Feature: “Competitive Landscape” compares your site to other sites competing the same topic… not just a specific keyword. For example, and RobbWolf dominate the rankings for most Paleo diet-related keywords…not just the specific keyword “The Paleo Diet”.).

inboundwriter screenshot

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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

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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

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Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

A top-notch technical and on-page SEO tool built with German engineering.

Cool feature: My favorite feature of 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.


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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

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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.


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?”. 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 screenshotcanirank screenshot

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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

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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.


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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

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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:'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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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) out there.

quickurl opener

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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

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SEO Rank Monitor (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

SEO Rank Monitor tracks your keywords against your competitors. Also does YouTube Rank checking.

seo rank monitor

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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Webbee SEO Spider Tool (Just Added)

Technical SEOFreeNo

This free SEO tool 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

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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.



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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

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What Do You Think?

Now I want to hear from you.

What do you think of this list?

Or maybe I missed a high-quality SEO tool.

Either way, leave a comment below right now to let me know.

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

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SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks) Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:44:58 +0000 “If we’re going to make this a success, we have to put a spin on it and make something different.” -Mike Bonadio, star of today’s case study As you’re about to see, Mike used Guestographics to create and promote a piece of content that generated: Over 1,000 social shares 12 white hat backlinks A mention... Read more »

The post SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks) appeared first on Backlinko.

SEO campaign Case Study“If we’re going to make this a success, we have to put a spin on it and make something different.”
-Mike Bonadio, star of today’s case study

As you’re about to see, Mike used Guestographics to create and promote a piece of content that generated:

  • Over 1,000 social shares
  • 12 white hat backlinks
  • A mention in a highly-respected newspaper
  • 15.15% boost in organic traffic

The best part?

His client is in one of the most boring industries on the planet.

And today I’m going to show you the SEO campaign template that Mike used (step-by-step).

Checklist Download: Get your hands on a checklist that walks you through the entire process from this case study.

How Guestographics Make Content Promotion a Breeze

Earlier this year I showed you how Perrin used Guestographics to get a huge influx of targeted traffic to his new pet blog.

Infographic Referral Traffic

And because Perrin’s Guestographic generated a handful of white hat backlinks, his organic traffic skyrocketed:

organic search engine traffic comparison

You might be thinking to yourself:

“Sure, Guestographics work in an interesting niche like pets…

…but what if I run a site in a boring niche?”

Keep reading.

How Mike’s “Impossible” Client Almost Drove Him Crazy (But Didn’t)

A few month ago, Mike Bonadio had a problem.

You see, Mike runs an SEO agency based in NYC.

mike bonadio

And like many SEO agency owners, Mike uses 100% white hat SEO to rank his clients’ sites.

There was only one problem:

One of Mike’s clients, FCE Pest Control, was in one of the most boring industries imaginable.

Pest control.

pest control website homepage

I mean, how was Mike supposed to create compelling content about mice and cockroaches?

Who would ever share that stuff?

Or as Mike puts it:

Coming up with content for this client was a big challenge. Their niche is incredibly boring and has little tradition of content distribution, community or linking. Bugs? Who cares just get rid of them! I thought to myself, “If we’re going to make this a success, we have to put a spin on it and make something different.”

Mike Bonadio

Fortunately, Mike didn’t throw in the towel.

Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work on creating a Guestographic for his client.

And the results speak for themselves…

Mike’s SEO Campaign Results: 1,117 Social Shares, 12 Backlinks and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks)

Even though the odds were stacked against him, Mike’s Guestographic campaign was a HUGE success.

The infographic he created for his pest control client generated 1,117 social shares:

infographic social shares

An influx of backlinks from 12 different domains.

referring backlinks ahrefs

(Including links from powerhouses like Lifehacker

lifehacker infographic placement

…and a popular newspaper website in Maine called The Bangor Daily News):

newspaper backlink

All these social shares and mentions generated a huge surge in referral traffic:

infographic traffic

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that all of these Grade-A backlinks boosted FCE Pest Control’s Google rankings.

In fact, these backlinks increased FCE’s first page rankings for high-converting keywords like “exterminator NYC”.

google first page search results

And because of this rankings boost, FCE’s overall organic traffic shot up by 15% in just 2 weeks.

sitewide organic search engine traffic google analytics

As you can see, you CAN succeed with white hat SEO…

…even if you’re working in a “boring” niche.

Or as I like to say:

“There are no boring topics. Only boring marketers” (Click to Tweet This)

Now that you’ve seen Mike’s impressive results, it’s time for me to walk you through the step-by-step process that he used.

Step #1: Publish a Useful Infographic
(In A Boring Industry? “Shoulder Niches” Save The Day)

Your first step is to create a compelling, useful infographic.

I’ll be honest with you:

This is tough.

Considering how many infographics come out everyday, it’s harder than ever to stand out.

And that’s assuming that you’re in an industry that’s actually interesting.

And if you’re stuck in a “boring” niche? It’s MUCH harder.

Well, that’s where “Shoulder Niches” come into play.

shoulder niche/shōl'dər nĭch/noun
1. A niche that is closely related to your site's main topic.


Mike knew that creating a straight-up pest control infographic would be content marketing suicide.

Instead, he found a Shoulder Niche.

OK, so how did Mike find his shoulder niche?

First, Mike mindmapped industries that had something to do with pest control. Here’s what his mindmap looked like:


And when he studied these shoulder niches, one thing stood out:

Garden bloggers LOVED to write about eliminating garden pests.

blog content

In other words, Mike found a Shoulder Niche that people were interested in (“gardening”).

And he studied that shoulder niche to identify a popular topic.

And just like that — BAM! — Mike found an interesting topic that he could create content around:

Natural pest control for gardeners.

As Mike puts it:

Unlike pest control, I knew gardening was a topic people actually talked about online. So we married the two niches and came up with the angle of ‘pest control methods for gardeners’. That was a topic that a lot of gardeners and their readers actually cared about.

Mike Bonadio

3 Ways to Find Shoulder Niche Topics

If you’re struggling to find topic ideas, Shoulder Niches can be a lifesaver. Here’s how to find compelling topics in ANY niche.

1. First, enter a broad keyword into Buzzsumo

For example, let’s say you run a site that sells construction material.

It’s impossible to find anything interesting about that topic, right?


Let’s see what happens when we enter the keyword “construction” into Buzzsumo.

buzzsumo search

2. Scan the results for interesting shoulder niches and topics

Look at this. I found 3 killer potential shoulder niches that you could use…

Idea #1: “Construction Material of the Future”

content topic 1Idea #2: “Crazy Things People Have Found at Construction Sites”

content topic 2

Idea #3: “How They’ll Built America’s First High-Speed Rail System”

content topic 3

3. If you’re stuck (or just want more ideas), repeat the process at Google News

Here are some interesting construction-related headlines I found using Google News:

google news topic 1 google news topic 2

news topic 3And just like that, you’ve got a laundry list of awesome topics to work with.

Now that Mike had a winning topic in-hand, he got down to business on his infographic.

First, he created a visual mindmap of the topics he wanted to cover.

Each “branch” in his mindmap represented a section of the infographic. infographic sections

Then he filled in each section with insanely practical tips that gardeners could use.

Here’s what his infographic content looked like:


Once Mike had his content ready to rock, he sent it to his designer.

The end result?

A fantastic infographic called, DIY Pest Control for the Savvy Gardener.

infographic animated gif

At this point Mike had a high-quality infographic live on his client’s site.

The question was:

Would anyone care?

Step #2: Create a List of People That Are Interested In Your Infographic’s Topic

The sad truth is this:

When most people publish an infographic, they cross their fingers and HOPE that it goes viral.


Mike knew better. He understood that any infographic — even a great one — needs content promotion.

And to give his shiny new infographic the exposure that it needed, he turned to a content promoter’s #1 weapon:

Email outreach.

And the first step of any email outreach campaign is to find people that already write about your content’s topic.

Here’s how Mike created his list of outreach prospects:

Mike knew that there was one specific group that was going to LOVE his infographic: Gardening bloggers.

So searched for as many gardening blogs as he could get his hands on.

First, he Googled keywords like “Gardening blog”.

google search string

Then he mined the top 40 results for quality blogs that write about gardening.

google search results 1

(This is simple, yet effective)

Next, he went to the blog directory

alltop homepage

And he entered the keyword “gardening” into the search box:

alltop search

That gave Mike a list of over 40 hand-curated gardening blogs:

gardening blogs

Finally, Mike searched for “best blogs” articles.

“Best blogs” articles simply list the best blogs in a niche.

For example, Mike searched for “best gardening blogs”

example google search

And he found hand-curated lists of top-notch blogs in the gardening space.

Like this:

list of high quality blogs

And this:

curated list of blogs

All in all Mike found 97 sites that might want to check out his infographic.

Here’s what happened next…

Step #3: Send Your First Outreach Email

Now it’s time to get in touch with the people you just found.

When it comes to Guestographics, I like to use a two-part outreach sequence.

email outreach flowchart

Your first email is a “feeler” email. This email simply gauges the person’s interest in your infographic.

(That way, you’re not pitching your content to someone that’s not interested)

Here’s Mike’s feeler email script:

And here’s an example of Mike’s script in action:

initial outreach email

Interesting Side Note:

Mike tested two different outreach approaches for this campaign.

Mike sent one group the soft “feeler” email.

And he sent another group a more direct pitch.

(Here’s Mike’s direct pitch script)

direct pitch email script

Which do you think worked better?

The direct pitch got a 16% reply rate.

And the 2-step email sequence that started off with the feeler email?


outreach reply stats


Bottom line: Send a quick “feeler” email before you pitch your infographic. You’ll likely bump up your conversion rate.

Pretty soon responses to your feeler email will start rolling in.

(Like this one that Mike received)

email reply

When you see these emails sprout up in your inbox, move onto the next step…

Step #4: Offer Up a “Unique Intro”

If you want an influential person to share your content, you need to answer the question that’s rattling around in their mind:

“What’s in it for me?”

And keep this in mind:

When a blogger publishes you infographic on their site, they have to write some new content to go along with it.

And they MIGHT get some traffic out of all that effort.

With Guestographics, you remove the potential waste of time and energy.


You grease the wheels with a custom-made introduction.

That way — win or lose — they don’t have to do any work.

Here’s the email Mike sent to the people that replied to his feeler email with “send it over”.

mike email 2

As you can see, Mike’s response is short and to-the-point.

This email has a link to the infographic and offers up the custom introduction.



When people reply to THAT email, it’s time to whip up a high-quality introduction.

Here’s an example of one of Mike’s intros (sent in HTML).

guestographic introduction

Once the intro is polished, send it over ASAP.

And here’s the email that Mike used to send his unique intro:

sending the introduction

Important Reminder: Make sure your introduction contains a single backlink back to your site. And you want to avoid spammy exact match anchor text.

Instead, your link should have branded anchor text…

branded anchor text

…or descriptive anchor text.

descriptive anchor text

Side Note: One of Mike’s big “takeaway lessons” from this experience was that — when you do outreach the right way — people are happy to hear from you.

As Mike told me:

One of the big takeaways from me was how receptive people are to email outreach when you add value and are not pushy in your approach. If you have something cool to share, people actually want to hear from you. Some will even thank you for contacting them.

Mike Bonadio

Once your intros are sent, it’s time for the last step.

Step #5: Get Your Contextual, White Hat Backlinks

At this point you’ve sent your awesome infographic (with unique intros) to several people.

When those bad boys are published, you’ll find yourself with a handful of high-quality, contextual backlinks.

Nice work.

To give you an idea of what these links look like, here are two placements from Mike’s campaign:

example backlink


example backlink 2

All in all, Mike sent out 97 Guestographic outreach emails and got 12 total links.

(That’s a very solid 12.5% conversion rate)

Besides SEO, Mike noticed another benefit that came from all these Guestographic placements:

The placements led to a viral spread of his infographic.

(Well, as viral as gardening content gets :-) )

For example:

An editor at a newspaper website (Bangor Daily News) saw Mike’s infographic.

That editor liked the infographic so much he published an article about it (with a link back to Mike’s client).

newspaper backlink

How to Mike “Social Proofed” His Way to Higher Outreach Conversions

You just saw how Mike got a mention in a popular newspaper website.

Most people would have high-fived themselves and left it at that.

(Yes, it’s possible to high-five yourself. I just did :-) )

But Mike realized he could turn his big mentions into massive social proof.

For example:

Mike’s infographic was featured on the health mega-site Mother Earth News.

blog title

As soon as the placement was confirmed, he started to mention this fact in this outreach emails:

outreach email with social proof

When someone sees a mention like that they think to themselves, “Well if Mother Earth News shared it, maybe I should too…”.

Pretty smart, eh?

Now back to Mike’s viral infographic…

Another example of Mike’s infographic getting shared around the web:

Quite a few people that saw Mike’s Guestographic shared it on places like Flipboard…


….and Pinterest.

pinterest infographic

Which led to a healthy boost in their referral traffic:

google analytics referral traffic

(Not to mention the 15.15% boost in organic traffic that I mentioned earlier)

sitewide organic search engine traffic google analytics

Not bad for a single infographic, eh?

Now It’s Your Turn

You just saw a real life example of an SEO campaign in action.

But for you to get value from this post, you need to take action on it.

And step #1 is to download the checklist below.

Click on the image and enter your email to get access to the free checklist:

seo campaign blog post checklist

The post SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks) appeared first on Backlinko.

]]> 394
A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content [Infographic] Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:47:48 +0000 When a piece of content goes viral, there’s no magic or luck involved. In fact: According to new research, viral content tends to contain specific elements that push people to share. I cover 21 of these elements in today’s data-driven guide. Free PDF Checklist: This post is 3,142 words long. Click here to download a... Read more »

The post A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content [Infographic] appeared first on Backlinko.

When a piece of content goes viral, there’s no magic or luck involved.

In fact:

According to new research, viral content tends to contain specific elements that push people to share.

I cover 21 of these elements in today’s data-driven guide.

Free PDF Checklist: This post is 3,142 words long. Click here to download a checklist that summarizes the guide and shows you how to create content that goes viral.

viral tweet button

Here’s my take on the data-driven tips from the infographic:

1. Use an (Odd) Number

Headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks, according to research by Conductor.

Headlines With Numbers

And a study of 150,000 headlines revealed that odd-numbered headlines have a 20% better CTR than headlines with even numbers.

odd number headlines
Brian's take

The next time you’re at CVS, take a look at the magazine rack.

You’ll see covers with tons of numbers, like this:

magazine number headlines

Magazines use numbers in their headlines for a very simple reason:

They work.

And you’d be hard pressed to find a headline on Backlinko that doesn’t contain a number.

For example, here are a few of my most popular posts over the last year:

Viral Marketing Case Study: How a Brand New Blog Generated 17,584 Visitors In One Day (5,142 shares)

headline example

16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site (3,738 shares)

headline example 217 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today (4,242 shares)

headline example 3

Bottom line? Numbers get more clicks.


It’s because numbers give people something VERY specific to cling to.

Think about the difference between these two headlines:

“Techniques to Lose Weight” vs. “17 Techniques to Lose Weight Fast”.

The number “17” instantly makes the headline much more enticing.

What about the even number vs. odd number debate?

Sure, I occasionally use an even number in my headlines…

…but most of my posts use odd numbers (17, 21 etc.).

Like Outbrain, I find that odd numbers work a little bit better.

2. Use [brackets]

In an analysis of over 3 million headlines, Hubspot found using [brackets] in a headline bumped up CTR by 38%.

headlines with brackets
Brian's take

I use brackets in my headlines all the time…

…and it makes a BIG difference.

Question is: WHY?

Brackets give people a “sneak preview” into your post.

Is your post an infographic? A case study? A free ebook?

The brackets let people know…before they click.

For example, here’s the headline from one of my recent posts:

headline with parenthesis

“(Two Step-By-Step Case Studies)” tells people what I have in store for you…

…which makes you more likely to click.

3. Use Short URLs

Marketing Sherpa found that short URLs are 2.5x more likely to attract clicks.

short url ctr
Brian's take

There’s absolutely ZERO benefit to using long URLs like,

And long URLs create this problem for people that want to share your post on Twitter:

too long tweet


As you may have noticed, I use VERY short (2-3 word) URLs here at Backlinko:

short URL


Actually, for three reasons:

First, a short URL gives people a high-level summary of what your post is about (more on this later).

Second, short-and-sweet URLs easily fit into social media posts.

Third, the URL is SEO friendly because it contains ONLY your target keyword.

For example, take my post On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page.

backlinko on page seo guide

The URL for that post is simply:

backlinko url

Boom. Simple, yet effective.

4. Use a Descriptive URL

A Microsoft study found trusted domains get 25% more clicks. Opt for vs.!6g.

trusted domain ctr
Brian's take

This guideline is very simple:

Your blog post URL should give people a short summary of your post’s topic…and nothing else.

A URL with lots of junk — like, — confuses people.

Confusion=fewer clicks. Fewer clicks=fewer shares.

How about an example?

A while back I published a post called, Ecommerce SEO Case Study: White Hat Link Building Without Any Content.

example blog post

That post is a case study that shows you how a Backlinko reader (Chris) built backlinks to his ecommerce client’s site.

Because the post was all about “ecommerce SEO”, I made the URL:

google chrome url


Yes, “Ecommerce SEO” described my post’s topic.

But it also happened to be my target keyword.

Thanks to the SEO-friendly URL (and a bunch of other factors), that post now ranks in the top 5 for “ecommerce SEO”:

google search result first page

5. Intro=Short Sentences

People only read 28% of a blog post, so you need to hook them fast.

Question is:


Short sentences.

Dr. John Morkes found that short sentences boosted content readability by 58%.

short sentences readability
Brian's take

Think about it:

Why would you spend HOURS on your headline…

…then turn around and slap together a weak introduction?

It makes no sense.

In my opinion, your introduction is more important than your headline.


Because your introduction is your ONLY chance for you to put a hook in the mouth of your reader.

And you lose someone in your intro, they’re NOT going to read on (or share your post).

Backlinko’s strong introductions are one reason that some of my blog posts have an “Avg. Time on Page” like this:

google analytics time on page

And short sentences are of the easiest ways to bump up the quality of your intros.

For example, take a look at my intro for this post:

backlinko blog post intro

See how I hit you with a flurry of short sentences?

Those super-short lines are one reason why that post’s Avg. Time on Page is over 7 minutes.

time on page 2

Now that you’ve built your intro with short sentences, it’s time for the next step…

6. Add a Colorful Image Above the Fold

Xerox found that colorful visuals made people 80% more likely to read a document.

likelihood to read a document
Brian's take

When you add a colorful image to the top of your post, you INSTANTLY make your content more compelling.

That’s why I almost always include a colorful image at the top every blog post, like this:

blog post image

And this:

blog post image 2

Pro Tip: Make sure your image doesn’t push the content below the fold.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

blog post image above the fold

That image of the guy running looks cool.

But it’s so big that it pushes the content below the fold.

And your reader has to scroll to read line #1, you’re going to notice a lot more bounces the next time you check Google Analytics.

Instead of an overbearing image, align your image left or right, like this:

image aligned leftThat way you get the power of the colorful image…without hiding your content.

7. Images=More Shares

Skyword research found that text content with at least one image generated 94% more views on social media.

images more shares on social media
Brian's take

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Even though Skyword found that one image is better than zero…

…don’t hesitate to use a bunch of images in every blog post that you publish.

Because the simple fact is: people LOVE images.

They’re more compelling than text.

And they break up your content (which makes it easier to read).

That’s why I sprinkle in at least once image in my posts for every 200 words of text:

using images in blog posts

8. Images=More Credibility

A Claremont University study found that images — any images — boosted content credibility by 75%.

image content credibility
Brian's take

The results from this study were REALLY interesting.

Here’s how it went down:

The researchers showed people two versions of the same statement.

In version #1 the statement was text-only, like this:


(By the way, these are actual images that I pulled from the study)

Version #2 also had the same statement…with an image:

statement with image

Amazingly, people saw statement #2 as 75% more credible.

By the way, Mona Lisa does have eyebrows…I looked it up :-)

Here’s the takeaway from this research:

People aren’t going to share content unless they think it’s credible.

And when you include an image– any image — you give your content’s credibility a shot in the arm.

In fact:

Whenever I use a statistic in a blog post, I include a screenshot. The screenshots make my stats more credible.

So instead of saying, “I increased my traffic by 111%” and leaving it at that…

…I’ll show a screenshot of my Google Analytics:

google analytics screenshot

But what if you’re not in an industry where screenshots make sense?


ANY image will do.

Let’s say you wanted to convince people that blueberries reduce cancer risk. You’d include an image of blueberries with your statement:

image of a blog post

And you’re set.

9. Use Pro Images

Image quality makes a huge difference. An internal Marketing Sherpa study found that pro images received 121% more Facebook shares than”semi-professional” photos.

pro images shares
Brian's take


I just told you that ANY image boosts credibility, and therefore, social shares.

But what I didn’t tell you is that image quality makes a HUGE difference.

In my experience, “quality” means three things:

1. The image is a good fit for the topic.

2. NO cheesy stock photos.

3. The image is high-res.

As long as your image satisfies all three of these guidelines, feel free to toss it into your post.

10. Publish Long Content

Professor Dr. Jonah Berger found that longer content was 76.8% more likely to go viral. Aim for at least 1,500 words per post.

content length virality
Brian's take

This is a biggie.

In my experience, long-form content CRUSHES short blog posts.

That’s why most of my posts rock word counts like this:

wordpress word count 2

And this:

wordpress word count

There’s a good reason that I publish long-form content:

It gets results!

Not only do you get more social shares, but longer content is more likely to rank on Google’s first page:

Longer Content

11. Use a “Featured Image”

Setting a featured image ensures your social shares include an image. Social shares with images get 150% more retweets on Twitter and 53% more Likes on Facebook.

retweets with image facebook likes with image
Brian's take

Social media posts that have an image grab more eyeballs.

More eyeballs=more shares.

And you can easily ensure that social shares of your post have an image…

…with about 18 seconds of work.

How? The Wordrpess “Featured Image” feature.

wordpress featured image

Just click on “set featured image”:

set featured image

And choose an attention-grabbing image from your post.

choose an image wordpress

When someone shares your post on social media, your image will automatically appear:

facebook post

Done and done.

12. Include an Infographic

Data from BuzzSumo found that infographics generate 2.3x more social shares than how-to posts.

infographics social shares
Brian's take

Infographics are dead?


Like any content — if you want your infographic to go viral — you need to bring it.

In other words:

Turning a lame post like “5 tips for Twitter marketing” into an infographic isn’t going to magically turn it into a winner.

But if you have highly-visual topic on your hands, an infographic can push it to the next level.

In fact, here are two infographics I’ve put out in recent years…

…along with some data on how they performed.

Infographic #1: On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page

backlinko on page seo infographic

(4746 social shares & links from 348 referring domains)

Infographic #2: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors (Infographic Version)

google ranking factor infographic

(5765 social shares & links from 189 referring domains)

Bottom line?

Infographics STILL work. But to go viral, they need to be awesome.

13. Put Share Buttons Above the Fold

A Google study found that elements above the fold are seen by 58% more people than those pushed further down the page.

visibility above the fold
Brian's take

There’s a game I see a lot of bloggers play with their readers…

It’s called: “Find the share button”.

And it KILLS their ability to generate shares.


I make put my social share buttons where you can’t miss ’em.

Not only are they prominently displayed above the fold:

backlinko social share buttons

But the buttons follow you as you scroll down the page:

scrolling social share bar

Here’s the takeaway:

If it takes someone more than a half-second to find your share buttons, put them in a more prominent place.

(Like above the fold)

14. Get Emotional

A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found content that elicits the emotions “awe”, “surprise” or “anger” was 28% more likely to go viral.

emotional content viral
Brian's take

If you want your content to go viral, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind:

“Sharing content is an emotional decision” — Tweet This Quote

In other words, the more emotionally stirred up someone gets, the more likely they are to share.

And Dr. Berger found that 3 specific emotions — awe, surprise and anger — stimulated the most shares.

Here’s a real-world example of a post that presses all three of these emotional buttons:

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List

google ranking factor blog post

Because the post is stirs up people’s emotions, it’s generated 12,347 shares and links from 935 domains.

Let’s dive into the emotions from this post that got people all riled up.

Emotion #1: Awe

Like I mentioned in item #10 from this list, long form content makes people feel a sense of “awe”.

And considering this post clocks in at 5600 words, it definitely fits the bill.

wordpress word count 3

Also, I didn’t just list out each ranking factor.

I included a brief description for each and every factor on the list.

google ranking factors items

This insane level of detail=more awe.

Emotion #2: Surprise

The fact that someone sat down to list out 200 ranking factors surprised a lot of people.

blog comment

(I even surprised myself. That post took WEEKS to put together)

Emotion #3: Anger

I didn’t intend to upset anyone with my Google Ranking Factors post.

But you know how people online can be…

Even though I clearly stated that the ranking factors are “controversial” and “speculation”…

blog post introduction

…some people still got bent out of shape.

angry commentIn fact, a lot of those angry people shared my post to just say, “I hate this post!”.

And those “hate shares” led to more traffic for me :-)

15. Mention Influencers

Link to influential people in your post (and let them know about it). A Columbia University study found that for your content to go viral, influencer shares were”critical”.

Brian's take

Here’s the secret to getting an influencer to share your content with their audience:

Make them feel awesome.

How about some proof that this approach actually works?

A while back I published a case study that revealed how Jimmy generated 36,282 visitors and 1,000 email subscribers from a single post.

content strategy case study

In that case study I pointed out that one of the main reasons Jimmy’s post went viral was that he mentioned a lot of influencers.

But he didn’t just mention influencers and call it a day. He reached out to let them know.

In case you’re curious, here’s the email that Jimmy sent to the influencers that he mentioned:

heads up outreach email

And an example of one of their responses:

outreach email response

Pretty cool, right?

16. Publish Between 8am and 12pm

Shareaholic found that 27% of all social shares occur between 8am and 12pm EST.

social media shares time
Brian's take

I’ve found that 8am-12pm is the “sweet spot” to maximize shares from a new blog post.

There’s a simple reason this time works so well:

8am-12pm is one of the few times where the entire world is awake.

For example, when it’s 11am Eastern in The States, it’s:

Pacific Time (US): 8am

Midwest (US): 10am

Europe/Africa: 5pm

Asia: 11pm

Because I have readers from around the world, I tend to publish my posts around 8am Eastern time.

That way, everyone has a chance to see it.

17. Use Hashtags

Dan Zarrella analyzed 1.2 million tweets and found that hashtag-containing tweets boosted retweets by 55%.

hashtags retweets
Brian's take

There’s not much for me to add here.

When you find a simple way to boost retweets by 55%, you should take it every single time.

And adding hashtags to your tweets couldn’t be simpler.

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, just click on the “share” tab…

yoast seo plugin

…and toss a hashtag or two in the “Twitter Description” field.

yoast social

18. Use “Scannable” Text.

Like short paragraphs, subheadings and bullet lists. Dr. Jakob Nielson discovered that “scannable” online content boosted readability by 47%.

Scannable Content Readability
Brian's take

I’ll admit it. I’m a HUGE readability nerd.

Because the fact is this:

If your content is hard to read, people won’t read it.

That’s why I stick to 1-2 sentence paragraphs:

single sentence paragraphs

Lots of subheadings:


And bulleted lists:

bulleted list

I suggest you do the same.

Because when you add all this up, you’ll have content that’s super easy to read (and skim).

19. Be Insanely Practical

Dr. Jonah Berger found that highly-practical articles are 34% more likely to go viral.

practical articles viral
Brian's take

It was hard for me to accept this at first, but here it goes…

People don’t care what you think.

Sure, if you’re a huge name with a million followers you can get away with blog posts like: “Let’s Call SEO Content Marketing From Now On”.

But if you don’t have a huge following?

Your content needs to be insanely actionable.

I built Backlinko from zero to 100k visitors/month on the back of very practical blog posts.

In fact, the #1 complement I receive has nothing to do with how handsome I am :-)

It’s that my content is “actionable”.

blog comment 2
blog comment
blog comment 3

Bottom line:

If you want your blog post to go viral, make sure it contains lots of meaty, actionable stuff.

20. SEO Tag Copy=Adwords Ads

Adwords ads are designed to maximize clicks. Base your SEO title and description tags on Adwords ads to maximize traffic from search engines.

When your content shows up in search engines or on social media, two things can happen:

Thing #1: People click on your result

Thing #2: People click on something else

For your content to go viral, you need to maximize clicks to your post.

And to do that?

You need compelling title and description tag copy.

But how do you know what to put in your title and description tags?

That’s easy: just use Adwords ads.

google adwords ads

Brian's take

Remember that click through rate makes up about 70% of Google Adwords’ Quality Score.

(In other words: the higher your CTR, the better your Quality Score)

So you better believe advertisers work their tails off to maximize their CTR.

And when you use their copy in your meta tags, you have a result that people love to click on.

For example, let’s say your post is about “app marketing”.

You’d simply search in Google for “app marketing”:

google homepage search

And use the words and phrases that show up for Adwords Ads…

google adwords ads 2

…in your title and description tags.

title and description tags

21. Ask People to Share.

Include a CTA at the end of your post…and make it personalized.

Hubspot found that targeted CTAs (“Share these weight loss tips”) outperformed generic CTAs (“share this post”) by 42%.

custom call to action
Brian's take

You’d be surprised how many shares and comments you can get simply by asking.

That’s why I include a “leave a comment” CTA at the end of every post.

For example, I recently published a post that shows people how to increase traffic.

backlinko blog post

And at the end of the post, I toss in a hyper-targeted CTA:

targeted CTA

Note how I don’t say something generic like, “leave a comment”.

The CTA is VERY specific to what the person just read.

Like Hubspot found, I notice that the hyper-targeted CTA works GREAT.

In fact, that post has over 400 comments:

blog post counter

In this example my CTA was to leave a comment.

But the same rules apply for social shares.

How about an example?

Back when I first launched my Definitive Guide to Link Building, I included a targeted CTA to tweet it out:

tweet call to action

When someone clicked on that link, a pre-populated tweet appeared:

prepopulated tweet

And that super-targeted CTA generated A LOT more shares than if I said something generic like, “share this”.

Here’s What To Do Next (Your “Homework”)

It’s important to me that you don’t skim this guide and then pop over to Facebook.

I want you to actually use the information.

So today I have something to help you implement the content from this guide: a free PDF checklist.

Click below to download the PDF:

viral content checklist



The post A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content [Infographic] appeared first on Backlinko.

]]> 336
SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffic Mon, 11 May 2015 12:00:59 +0000 Today you’re going to see one of my favorite SEO strategies in action: The Guestographic Method. First, I’ll show you how Perrin used this technique to boost his organic search engine traffic by 963%. Then you’ll see how David used the same strategy to rank #1 for the keyword “internships”. Let’s dive right in. Free... Read more »

The post SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffic appeared first on Backlinko.

SEO Strategy Case StudyToday you’re going to see one of my favorite SEO strategies in action:

The Guestographic Method.

First, I’ll show you how Perrin used this technique to boost his organic search engine traffic by 963%.

Then you’ll see how David used the same strategy to rank #1 for the keyword “internships”.

Let’s dive right in.

Free Checklist: Download a free checklist that shows you exactly how to use the strategy from this post (step-by-step).

The Guestographic Method: An SEO Strategy That Gets Results

Guestographics work for one simple reason:

They make your content MUCH easier to share.

I published a post last year that outlines the entire process: How to Get Backlinks With Guestographics.

guestographics blog post

So if you haven’t read that post, go check it out.

In that post I reveal how The Guestographic Method increased my organic traffic by more than 175%:

organic search engine traffic increase

And Guestographics are one reason that Backlinko ranks #2 for the keyword, “on page SEO”:

google search rankings

Does this sound like an SEO strategy you’d like to try?

Keep reading…

How Perrin and David Used Guestographics to Skyrocket Their Rankings (And Traffic)

I just showed you how well Guestographics worked for me.

Now it’s time to reveal Perrin and David’s results.

First up, we have Perrin Carrell.

perrin carrell

Perrin recently launched a pet blog called

Why did Perrin make this blog?

Well, a few months back Perrin picked up a cute little black puppy from an animal shelter (Chewie).

chewie the dog

Like most new dog owners, Perrin searched for the best dog food for Chewie…

…but he didn’t find any content that blew him away.

That’s when Perrin realized that he had a HUGE opportunity staring him in the face:

There aren’t any dog blogs with mind-blowing content. Why not make the first one?

In Perrin’s own words:

I saw a few smaller blogs ranking for low-competition keywords. I thought I could top what they were doing. I also noticed that authoritative pet blogs were getting insane traffic. Even though it was going to be really tough to beat these bigger sites, that showed me that the ceiling in this niche was really high.

Perrin Carrell

After dozens of late-night writing sessions, Chewie Says went live:

chewiesays homepage

That’s the good news.

The bad news? The dog blog space is dominated by a handful of massive authority sites.

That means that Perrin is going toe-to-toe with mega-sites like and Ceser “The Dog Whisperer” Millan.

You could even say that it’s a dog-eat-dog world (sorry, I couldn’t resist 😀 ).

To have a fighting chance against these massive authority sites, Perrin had two options:

Option #1: He could grind away on his blog, publish on a set schedule, and HOPE he got traffic (“The Publish and Pray Approach”).

Option #2: He could create (and promote) a few pieces of amazing content.

Fortunately for Perrin and his new blog, he pulled the trigger on option #2.

And he decided to kick things off with Guestographics.

How did it go?

Guestographics boosted his organic search engine traffic by 963% in just 6-weeks:

Organic Traffic in Google Analytics

And thanks to placements on a handful of popular pet blogs…

infographic placement infographic placement 2

…and The Huffington Post…

huffpo link

…he also funneled over 1000 targeted referral visitors to his site:

Infographic Referral Traffic

Not bad for a brand new blog.

Note: His secret was NOT a $10,000 infographic. As you’ll see in a minute, design had very little to do with Perrin’s success.

Now It’s Time To Check Out David’s Amazing Results…

SEO agency owner David Gross also used Guestographics to kick some serious SEO butt.

Last year I wrote about how David pushed his client’s site to the #1 spot in for the keyword “internships”:

Rankings Increase

No, you’re not seeing things.

That’s #6 to #1…in one week.

At the end of this post I’ll give you an update on where David stands today.

Now I obviously can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same results as Perrin or David (that wouldn’t be responsible of me).

But it gives you an idea of the power that Guestographics bring to the table.

With that out of the way, it’s time for me to walk you through the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Create and Publish a (Really Good) Infographic

Here’s the deal:

Despite what most “content marketing gurus” would have you believe, design plays a VERY small part in an infographic’s success.

In fact, choosing the right topic is 90% of the game.

And that’s where Perrin’s infographic — 22 Ways Dogs Make Humans Healthier — hits a home run:

infographic example

Sure, his infographic looks really nice.

But it wouldn’t have done NEARLY as well without a topic that dog lovers cared about.


Perrin had a hunch that dog owners would want to learn that Mr. Fluffy Pants improves their health.

So he searched for “dogs and human health”.

google search example

And he came across this slideshow from WebMD ranking on the first page:

web slideshow

(Yes, that’s really what it looks like)

As Perrin puts it:

That’s not a good article. It’s just fun facts with cute blurbs. There’s no design or research to speak of. I knew I could do it better, and one of the ways I wanted to improve it was to make an infographic.

Perrin Carrell

Even though the WebMD page leaves A LOT to be desired, it attracted backlinks from over 228 referring domains:

ahrefs referring domains

In other words, Perrin saw that there was proven demand for information on “ways that pets improve human health”.

But not just any information…

…demand for visual information.

So Perrin decided to create an infographic around that proven topic.

First, he spent a day researching content for the infographic.

Then he hired a freelance designer to take his list of bullet points…

infographic text content

…and turn it into a professional infographic.

zoomed out infographic

Looks nice, right?

And that pro design only set Perrin back $200 (!).

How to Find Proven Infographic Topics

You might be wondering:

“Perrin already knew what his audience wanted to see. What if I have no clue what to make my infographic about?”

No worries.

Just follow these 3 simple steps…

1. First, head over to is the web’s biggest infographic directory.

visually homepage

And it’s a gold mine of battle-tested infographic topics.

2. Next, search for a keyword that describes your niche.

For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce site that sells clothes.

You’d search for keywords like “fashion”, “belts”, “dresses”, and “shoes”.

visually search

3. Then sort by “Viewed”

search sorting feature

That will show you’s most popular infographics on that topic…ever.

They even show you how many views each infographic has:

number of infographic views

Scan through the results until you find a topic that seems like a good fit for your site.

And you’re good to go.

As you probably know, publishing something valuable isn’t enough to generate quality backlinks and targeted traffic.

If you’re serious about getting results from your content, you need to strategically promote it.

Which leads us to step #2…

Step 2: Find People That Are Interested In Your Infographic

Once your infographic is ready, it’s time to make a list of people that might want to check it out.

The easiest way to do that? Search for keywords that describe your infographic’s topic.

For example:

Let’s say that you just published an infographic about the Paleo Diet.

You’d Google keywords like “Paleo diet”, “Paleo diet recipes”, “what is the Paleo Diet?” etc.

And Google will show you a list of blogs that tend to cover that topic:

google first page

You can even use Google Suggest to get even more keyword ideas:

google suggest search

Here’s how Perrin found his Guestographic prospects:

Just like I recommend to anyone using Guestographics, Perrin searched for keywords like “pets and health.”

But he didn’t stop there…

Perrin also hunted for quality pet blogs on the pet section of AllTop:

alltop pets

And he also searched for keywords like “top 50 dog blogs”.

dog blog search

These “best of” keywords hooked Perrin up with hand-curated lists of popular pet blogs:

pet blog list

Once you’ve found a quality blog in your niche, here’s what to do next:

Step 3: See If They’re Interested In Your Infographic

Most people pitch bloggers the complete WRONG way.

Instead of gauging interest with a feeler message, they go straight for the hard sell.

You’ve probably received some of these annoying emails yourself.

Have you ever replied to any of them?

I didn’t think so :-)

That’s why you want to start off the Guestographic outreach process with a quick email…

…A quick email that simply asks them if they want to see your infographic.

Here’s a tested script you can use:

And here’s the the exact feeler email that Perrin sent out:

guestographic outreach email

See how Perrin’s message is completely different than most pushy outreach emails?

He’s just asking if they’d like to see the infographic…which is an easy sell.

In other words, you don’t want to link to anything in your first email.

Why not?

When someone sees a link in an email from someone they don’t know, they think: “this person must want something”.

And they hit the delete button.

But when you send an email that simply asks if they want to see your content, it’s usually received with open arms.

In fact, Perrin sent 92 emails…

…and he got 5 conversions (that’s a 5.4% conversion rate).



Once you get a response back saying, “sure, send it over”, like this…

guestographic response

…it’s time for step #4.

Step 4: Make Sharing Your Infographic a Breeze (AKA, “The Bribe”)

When you want another site to link to you, you need to remember one thing:

The more barriers you remove, the more success you’ll have.

(This is true of anything in marketing…not just email outreach)

Well, what’s the ONE thing that prevents people from sharing an infographic?

The fact that they have to write a unique introduction to go along with it!

Well, the beauty of Guestographics is that you remove that barrier.


By writing that introduction for them.

This is the template that I use:

And here’s the email that Perrin sent to the people that liked his infographic:

unique introduction pitch

And because you’re making their life easier, your response rate will be MUCH better than a pushy pitch:

email outreach response

When someone says “sure, send me an introduction”, send them a high-quality 200-250 word intro.

Oops. I almost forgot.

Here’s the script to use when you send your intro:

And here’s the email Perrin used to send people his unique introduction:

email with unique introduction

Before you hit “send”, there’s one more thing to keep in mind…

How Perrin Found Even MORE Link Opportunities

Now that people are sharing your infographic on their site, it’s time to leverage those placements for even MORE opportunities.

Here’s the 3-step process Perrin used to unearth a goldmine of link prospects:

1. First, Perrin looked to see if people commented on his Guestographic.

For example, quite a few pet bloggers left positive comments on his Guestographic placements:

blog comments

2. Then he checked to see if the commenters ran quality pet blogs.


Someone that that leaves a comment took time out of their day to let you know how much they liked your infographic.

In other words, they’re raising their hand to say: “I love this infographic!”.

And that means that they’re going to be VERY receptive to your outreach.

Once you’ve found a commenter that also runs a relevant blog, move onto the next step.

3. Finally, he reached out with a (modified) Guestographic pitch.

At this point Perrin found four people that a) commented on his infographic and b) ran a quality pet blog.

He sent those four people an outreach email or a Facebook message:

facebook outreach message

Because Perrin reached out to such a laser-targeted group, people were pumped to hear from him:

facebook message

Out of the four messages he sent, Perrin racked up two extra Guestographic placements.

That’s a 50% conversion rate for those of you keeping score at home.

Step 5: Add a Link In Your Introduction

This is important:

The unique introduction doesn’t just make sharing your infographic easier.

It also makes your link MUCH more powerful.


Unlike most infographic backlinks, which appear automatically when someone shares your infographic using an embed code, like this…

infographic embed link…Guestographic links are surrounded by unique content in the introduction.

contextual backlink

Links in the intro boost your referral traffic and is better for SEO.

In total, Perrin’s Guestographics campaign brought in 8 niche-relevant, white hat backlinks.

(5 came from Guestographics. The other 3 were natural placements that happened after his infographic spread around the web)

That’s a total cost of $25/link.

Backlinko Update: Does David Still Rank #1 Today?

Now it’s time for an update on Dave Gross’s Guestographics campaign.

Last year David stumbled on the post where I first introduced Guestographics: How to Get Backlinks With Guestographics:

guestographics blog post

And he instantly realized that this technique could help him land high quality backlinks for his SEO clients.

In fact, he left a comment on that blog post saying that he was going to give it a shot:

blog comment

And David followed the same process that Perrin did.

First, he created and published a quality infographic, The Ultimate Guide to Video CVs:

video CV infographic

Second, he found sites that might want to share his infographic.

David worked with his client’s team to brainstorm the types of UK-based sites that might want to share the infographic:

Mindmap Screenshot

This extra step revealed dozens of link opportunities that they would have missed out on if they stuck to “the usual suspects” of career blogs.

For example, David was able to land an infographic placement from (DA88):

link from warwick university is a site that doesn’t show up when you search for keywords like “video CV tips”.

But David’s mindmap hooked him up with that opportunity…

…and it paid off.

Next, he sent out a quick feeler email to gauge interest.

Here’s the email that David’s team sent out:

Outreach Email Script

As you can see, Alex (who works for David) isn’t pitching anything.

Because he wasn’t pushy or needy, he got a ton of positive responses:


Next, David’s team replied to the people that responded.

Here’s the second email that David’s team sent out:

Infographic email

And because David made sharing super-easy, people were happy to share his infographic with their audience.

Success Email

Finally, David sent a unique introduction to go along with the infographic.

And he landed several contextual backlinks from authority career sites, like this:

contextual backlink

All in all, David’s team reached out to over 200 people…and landed 21 new backlinks.

That’s a 10.5% success rate…which is outstanding for email outreach link building.

And the #1 spot in that David got for his client?

Still there :-)

number one ranking in Google

Now I’ve Got a Question For You…

Are you ready to give this SEO strategy a shot?

Then you definitely want to created the free step-by-step checklist that I just put together.

It contains all the actionable steps from this post…plus two bonus techniques that I didn’t have room for.

Click the link below and enter your email to download the checklist:

Step-by-step Checklist

The post SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffic appeared first on Backlinko.

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16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:00:09 +0000 Knowing SEO is great. Knowing copywriting is great. But when you can do BOTH? That’s when you can slap a big ol’ “S” on your chest… …because you’ll be unstoppable. And today I have something that will make you feel like you have SEO superpowers: 16 insanely actionable SEO copywriting techniques that you can use... Read more »

The post 16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site appeared first on Backlinko.

seo copywriting techniques blog post bannerKnowing SEO is great.

Knowing copywriting is great.

But when you can do BOTH?

That’s when you can slap a big ol’ “S” on your chest…

…because you’ll be unstoppable.

And today I have something that will make you feel like you have SEO superpowers:

16 insanely actionable SEO copywriting techniques that you can use right now.

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF checklist that shows you how to execute all 16 of the techniques from this post (the checklist also includes 2 bonus strategies).

1. Use Udemy to Make Your Content 2-3x More Compelling


Most people think SEO copywriting is all about putting words after words.

But in my experience, the STRUCTURE of your content is just as important as the writing itself.

And what better place to find proven content structures than Udemy?


(In case you’re not familiar with Udemy, it’s a MASSIVE directory of online courses)

Here’s how you can use Udemy to make your next piece of content 2-3x more compelling:

First, head over to Udemy and enter a keyword.

For example, let’s say you were writing a blog post about photography. You’d search for “photography”:

udemy search 1

Udemy will show you all of their popular photography courses:

udemy search results

Next, pick a course with a lot of reviews.

Let’s go with the EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course for Beginners:

udemy course selection

Once you pick a course, take a look at how many people have already enrolled in it.

As you can see, nearly 6,000 people have enrolled in the EasyDSLR course:

udemy students

Do you see how huge this is?

You’re looking at content that 6,000 people have shelled out cold hard cash to get access to.

That means you don’t need to rely on your Spidey sense. You KNOW there’s going to be demand for your content.

Thousands of people have already voted…with their wallets.


Once you’ve found a popular course, scroll down to the “Curriculum” section.

That’s where you’ll find the proven structure you can use for your next post:

udemy curriculum

Obviously, you don’t want to rip off the instructor’s course.

But you can use bits and pieces of the curriculum for your outline:


Now that you have your outline, it’s almost time to put pen to paper.

Before you do, make sure to read the next technique on my list…

2. Add “Bucket Brigades” To Slash Bounce Rate and Boost Time On Page

When someone lands on your site from Google, two things can happen:

They either leave right away…

…or they stick around.

And when people stick on your page like superglue, Google thinks:

“This is a great page. Let’s give it a rankings boost.”

But when people leave your site like a sinking ship…

That’s when Google drops you like a stone.

google bounce rate

The bottom line?

If you want higher rankings, you NEED to keep people on your site.

How? Bucket Brigades.

Bucket Brigades are words and phrases that keep people on your page.

For example:

You may notice that I tend to use short sentences that end in a colon, like this:

bucket brigade

That’s a Bucket Brigade.

But what are Bucket Brigades, exactly?

Bucket Brigades are an old school copywriting tactic that were originally designed to keep people reading sales letters.

I’ve adapted Bucket Brigades for online content and the results are, well, crazy.

In fact, here’s Backlinko’s average time on page:

time on page

Yes, that’s 4 minutes.

A good chunk of that above-average Time on Page is due to the fact that I sprinkle Bucket Brigades into every post.

Now it’s time for me to show you how to use Bucket Brigades to boost your Time on Page:

First, find a place in your content where someone’s likely to hit their browser’s “back” button…

…and add a Bucket Brigade.

Start with your intro.

Here’s an example where I used two Bucket Brigades in my intro:

bucket brigade intro1

(By the way, the Time On Page for that post is over 7-minutes):

time on page 2

You also want to use Bucket Brigades in the middle of your content.

Here’s an example from one of my recent case studies:

bucket brigade example

Bottom line: whenever you have a section where someone may get bored and leave, add a Bucket Brigade.

You can make up your own Bucket Brigades, like I did in the example above (“The secret to publishing content that people want to share is this:”).

Or you can use these tried-and-true Bucket Brigade classics:

  • Here’s the deal:
  • Now:
  • What’s the bottom line?
  • You might be wondering:
  • This is crazy:
  • It gets better/worse:
  • But here’s the kicker:
  • Want to know the best part?

And — bada bing, bada boom — you’re set.

Once you’ve added a few Bucket Brigades, move onto technique #3…

3. Add These Words To Your Content (And Make Google Happy)

Today’s super-smart Google doesn’t care how many times you cram a keyword into your article.

Instead, it pays close attention to Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.

(LSI keywords are a fancy way of saying: “synonyms and closely related words”)

And these LSI keywords help Google understand what your page is all about.

For example, let’s say you do a Google search for “cars”.

How does Google know whether you’re searching for:

  • Cars the vehicle
  • Cars the movie
  • The 1970s rock band (with awful hair)
  • The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)

The answer? LSI keywords.

For example, when Google sees a page with LSI keywords like this…

LSI Keywords

…they know the page is about the cars you drive.

But when Google sees a page like this…

lsi keywords 2

…they know it’s about Cars the movie.

So how can you add more LSI keywords into your content?

I’ll explain with an example:

Let’s say your keyword was “laptop repair”.

First, search for that keyword in Google:

google search example

Then, scan the page for bold words and phrases that aren’t your target keyword.

Here are some examples from the first page for “laptop repair”:

lsi keyword example

See how Google bolds words like “notebook”, “computer repair”, and “fix”?

Google bolds those terms because it considers them VERY similar to the keyword you just searched for.

(In other words, LSI keywords)

Finally, sprinkle these bold terms into your content:

wordpress lsi keywords

Once you’re done, you’re ready for secret #4.

4. Rank #1 in Google With This SEO Copywriting Secret

Bold promise? Definitely.

But stay with me.

What’s the big secret I’m talking about?

Creating your own keywords.

I’ll explain.

If you search for your brand in Google, you probably rank #1.

backlinko search results

You may not have thought about it, but your brand is a keyword

…a keyword that you automatically rank #1 for.

But why stop there?

You can generate boatloads of extra organic traffic when you also brand your techniques and strategies.

For example:

You’ve probably heard about The Skyscraper Technique, my 3-step strategy for getting more organic traffic to your site.

skyscraper technique blog post

Because I branded my strategy “The Skyscraper Technique”, I now have a pipeline of extra visitors coming to my site everyday.

In fact, according to Google Webmaster Tools, the keyword “Skyscraper Technique” gets 1,103 searches per month:

google webmaster tools search query

Because I rank #1, #2 AND #3 for that keyword, I get the lion’s share of those 1,103 clicks:

skyscraper technique google results

Bottom line?

Whenever you develop a unique strategy, tactic, or technique…

make sure you slap a branded name on it. 

When you do, you’ll get a bunch of extra organic search traffic.

5. Stalk Forums for The EXACT Words Your Readers Use

A while back I published a post called, “Why Google Hates Your Site (Hint: It Has Something to Do With TrustRank)“:

long tail keyword exampleWith this post I decided to go after a keyword that my competitors wouldn’t bother targeting…

…even though it gets a decent amount of searches.

What was the keyword?

“Google hates my site”

Believe it or not, I didn’t pull this keyword out of thin air.

I chose this keyword because I saw A LOT of people in SEO forums saying things like this:

long tail keyword forums

And if people post something in a forum, you can bet your butt that they also search for the same thing in Google.

So I decided to use a variation of that keyword in my post:

long tail keyword optimization

Today, besides ranking #2 for my target keyword (“TrustRank”)…

trustrank search results

…when someone searches for “Google hates my site”, I show up in the top spot:

google search results

How can you use this technique to get more traffic?

First, optimize your page just like you normally would (If you need a hand, check out these 14 advanced on-page SEO strategies).

But before you hit “publish”, scan forums for words and phrases people tend to use around your topic.

For example, let’s say your target keyword was “organic vegetable gardening”.

You’d search in Google with inurl:forum + “organic vegetable gardening”:

google search query

This will bring up a bunch forum threads around the topic of vegetable gardening:

google search results

Skim the first few threads that you find.

When you see a phrase that seems like a good fit…

forum post

…search for forum + “phrase” in Google:

google forum search

If a lot of results pop up (like with this example), add those words and phrases to your post.

wordpress post

And you’re good to go.

6. Here’s How to Get More Social Shares From Everything That You Publish

Here’s the deal:

Sure, social sharing buttons help you get more shares…

…but in most cases, they’re not enough.

Instead, I recommend tapping into a copywriter’s best friend:

A call to action.

Let me explain.

A few months back I published a post called “17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today“:

17 insanely actionable list building strategies

To maximize the amount of shares this post got, I included a “click to tweet” button underneath each item on the list:


To date, my post has over 2600 tweets…

tweet count

…and a good chunk of those 2600 tweets came from my “click to tweet” buttons:

twitter search results

Here’s how you can do the same thing:

First, find a super actionable tip or strategy from your post.

Next, head over to Click on “basic link”:

click to tweet

Turn your actionable tip into a tweet:

tweet example

Then, click on “Generate new link”.

click to tweet example

Grab the link…

twitter link

…and pop the link into your post.

You can use buttons like I did. But plain-text links also work great:

click to tweet link

Whether you use a button or a plain link, definitely add at least one “click to tweet” call to action in your next post.

7. Here’s How to Get More Search Engine Traffic…WITHOUT Higher Rankings

Here’s something we can both agree on:

The higher you rank, the more clicks you get, right?

Well…not really.

I’ll explain.

Right now Backlinko ranks #1 in Google for two different keywords: “how to do CPA marketing” and “how to find long tail keywords” :

two number one rankings

(Obviously I rank #1 for more than just those two keywords. These are just 2 examples :-) )

Both keywords are “how-to” keywords.

Both keywords have ads above the organic results.

Yet the click through rate for “how to do CPA marketing” is 49% higher than “how to find long tail keywords”:


Wait, what?!

Here’s the dead simple explanation:

My Google listing for “how to do CPA marketing” looks WAY better than “how to find long tail keywords”.

Just look at how clean and enticing this looks:

google listing

It’s got a clear title and compelling description copy.

On the other hand, my long tail keyword listing is a big mess.

google listing 2

The title tag is cut off and the description tag is a random snippet from the page. Not good.


I’ll have another powerful technique to boost your organic click through rate later in this post…

…but for now, follow these 2 simple steps:

First, make sure you write your own description tag for every important page on your site.

If you don’t, Google will sometimes write funky descriptions for you.

So pop open your SEO plugin of choice. Then, write a unique description tag for each important page on your site.

description tag

Next, tweak your title and description so that it emphasizes the here and now.

When someone does a Google search they want answers…FAST.

And when you show them that you’ll give them a quick win, you get more clicks.

For example, here’s the Google result for my list building post:

high CTR listing

See how my title and description emphasize fast results not once…but twice?

That’s exactly what you want to do.

Once you’ve finished that 2-step process, it’s time for SEO copywriting secret #8.

8. Hack Amazon to Get More Traffic to Ecommerce Product and Category Pages

With giants like Amazon littering the first page, it’s not easy running an ecommerce site today.

Despite that fact, I still see a lot of small ecommerce sites beat the odds.

Their secret?

They target long tail keywords that most of their competitors don’t know about.

Here’s how they do it (and how you can do the same thing):

First, search for a product that you sell on Amazon.

For example, let’s say you ran an ecommerce site that sold organic dog food.

You’d search for “organic dog food” in Amazon:

amazon search

But don’t hit enter!

If you wait a second, Amazon will show you long tail keywords related to that keyword (just like Google Suggest):

amazon suggest

Grab one of those keywords and pop it into Google.

google search keywords

Check to see if the first page for the long tail keyword is less competitive than the one you’re currently targeting.

Usually, it will be:


And because Amazon Suggest keywords are so laser-targeted, they tend to convert GREAT.

Finally, sprinkle those keywords into your product and category page copy (and in your title and description tags):

shopify seo example

As soon as you’ve added long tail copy to your product and category pages, move onto the next SEO copywriting secret on the list.

9. This Simple Strategy May Change The Way You Write Blog Posts

You probably already know that subheadings make your content MUCH easier to read.

For example, here are two screenshots from two different posts:

text readability

Which would you rather read?

Thought so.

But what you may not know is that the copy that you use in your subheaders is a BIG deal.

You see, most people use random subheaders like this:

subheadings example

Sure, that breaks up the content alright.

But random subheaders won’t make a visitor say “wow, there’s a ton of value here”.

Fortunately, there’s a quick fix for that:

Include benefits in your subheaders.

For example, in my post on building an email list, I include benefit-rich copy in most of my subheadings.

Instead of a bland subheading like “Focus On Your Thank You Page”, I put the BENEFIT front and center:

benefit subheading

See the difference?

Here’s the action step:

Include a benefit in AT LEAST 25% of the subheadings in your next post.

When you do — BAM! — you’ll instantly boost the perceived value of your content.

10. Gobble Up More Long Tail Traffic With “Title Tag Modifiers”

If you want more traffic from long tail keywords, the solution is simple:

Add “modifiers” to your title tag.

What are “modifiers”?

Modifiers are words that you add to your title tag…

…words that get your site in front of more long tail searchers.

Here’s little case study of this strategy in action:

A while back I published a guide called “Link Building: The Definitive Guide“.

link building guide backlinko

And the title tag I used was simply the name of the guide:

title tag example

At the time, I thought to myself:

“This title tag is short and sweet. It also includes my target keyword. This is a great title tag.”

But I was wrong.

I quickly realized that I could get MORE traffic to that page if I added a modifier.

So I added the keyword “SEO” to my title tag:

title tag wordpress 2

Thanks to that simple tweak, my page ranks for keywords that I wouldn’t have NEVER thought to optimize around…

…like “SEO link building” (480 searches/month):

seo link building

And “link building SEO” (90 searches/month):


According to GWT, those two keywords bring in 139 targeted visitors per month.

All from (literally) 28 seconds of work.

How can you do the same thing?

First, find a page on your site that has a short title tag (between 25-40 characters):

title tag wordpress

Add a word or two to your title tag that you think your audience might use when they search for your target keyword:

title tag with a modifier

If you’re not sure what modifier to include, pick one from this list:

  • 2015
  • “How to…”
  • Review
  • Best
  • Fast
  • Checklist
  • Guide
  • Tips
  • Easy
  • Simple

You won’t be able to predict exactly what keywords these modifiers bring in…

…but you’ll get more search engine traffic than you would without them.

And that’s what really matters :-)

11. Skyrocket Time On Page With This Intro Formula

As you saw earlier, Backlinko rocks an above-average Avg. Time on Page:

time on page

I already told you that Bucket Brigades were a big part of the story.

And now I want to show you another technique that makes Google searchers stick to my site like superglue:

One of my battle-tested blog post introduction templates.

And today I’m going to share one of my favorites:

The APP Method.

Here’s what it looks like:

aap blog post introduction

As you can see in the graphic, “APP” stands for: Agree, Promise, and Preview.

Let’s break each element down:

First, we have Agree.

Start your introduction off with an idea or concept that a Google searcher will agree with.

This shows them that you understand their problem.

Here’s an example from my post on creating a Social Squeeze page.

blog post introduction

That’s something people searching for my target keyword (“squeeze page”) know to be true.

Now that you’ve got them nodding their head in agreement, it’s time for the Promise.

The Promise is where you give them a peek into a better world.

Here’s an example from my Social Squeeze Page Post:

blog post introduction

Finally, hit them with The Preview.

Don’t beat around the bush. Just tell them exactly what you have in store for them.

blog post introduction 2

Once you put the finishing touches on The Preview, you’re set.

You now have an intro that keeps Google readers on your site…

…and a page that Google will want to show to more people.

12. Add More LSI Keywords With “Searched Related To…”


Like I mentioned in item #3 from this list — the more LSI keywords you embed into your content — the better Google understands what your page is about.

Now I’ve got a mini case study that will show you how to reveal even more LSI keywords that you can use.

A while back I wanted to add a few LSI keywords to my post, “On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page“.

on page seo blog post

First, I searched for my target keyword (“on page SEO”) in Google:

google search 2

Next, I scrolled to the bottom of the first page. This is where Google shows you “searches related to…” keywords:

searches related to

These are PERFECT LSI keywords to include in your content.

I grabbed any LSI keywords that made sense and popped them into my content.

For example:

lsi keyword usage

And I was good to go.

This technique has a bonus benefit:

“Searches related to…” keywords help you rank for long tail keywords that may not show up in the Google Keyword Planner:

google search results 3

That means more traffic for you.

13. Borrow Headline Formulas From BuzzFeed and ViralNova

It’s funny:

A lot of SEO and content marketers hate on “clickbait” sites like BuzzFeed and ViralNova.

Me? I think they’re geniuses.

Their meteoric growth speaks for itself…

buzzfeed growth

Besides, it’s hard NOT to love headlines like these:

viralnova headlines

And they’ve proven that their headline formulas grab people by the eyeballs.

For example, item #9 from this post may have caught your eye:

subheading example

The idea for that subheader came from a post on BuzzFeed:

buzzfeed headline

And you can do the same thing.

Just check out some recent posts on BuzzFeed and ViralNova…

viralnova headlines

…and adapt them for your blog post titles and subheadings.

Obviously, some of their headlines are over the top.

So I’ve put together a few Buzzfeed-style headline templates that grab attention…without going overboard:

  • 25 ___ That Will Change The Way You ___
  • I Tried ___. And Even I Was Surprised About What Happened Next
  • This ___ Makes ___ 10x Better
  • Here Are 11 ___ That ____. And They’re Backed By Science
  • Use These 20 Simple Hacks For More ____. #5 Is Awesome
  • When You Learn About ___ You’ll Never ____ Again

14. This Simple Strategy Stops “Serial Skimmers”

Everyone and their mom knows that subheadings make online content easier to read.

To illustrate how much subheadings help, here’s the example I showed earlier in this post:

text readability

If you’re human, you prefer the post on the left.


Subheadings are just ONE way to break up your content.

Magazines use dozens of different techniques to break up walls of text.

Here’s an example from an Inc. magazine I have lying around my apartment:

inc magazine

And when you use the 3 magazine-inspired techniques I’m about to show you, you’ll stop “serial skimmers” in their tracks.

Technique #1: Quote Boxes

Whenever you quote someone, put that quote in a box. Here’s an example from Backlinko:

callout quote example

Technique #2: Sidebar Callouts

This is another magazine staple.

Whenever you have content that complements your post, put it in a callout box.

I use these quite a bit at Backlinko.

callout box example

Technique #3: Section Banners

This technique a bit more involved…

…but it’ll make your content look über professional.

Just add a custom banner underneath each subheading, like this:

section subheaders

See how nice that looks?

You can get these custom banners made at a freelance site like Upwork.

Or, if you’re in the mood for DIY, Canva works well too.

15. Embed Adwords Copy to Get More Clicks to Your Organic Results

Now it’s time to show you another proven strategy for attracting more clicks to your site.

Let me show you how it works with a real life example.

Here’s what the listing for one of my posts USED to look like:

google search result listing

Because I was in a rush to get this post out in time, I forgot to write my own title and description tag…

…so Google wrote it for me.

And as you can see, it ain’t pretty.

The title tag was cut off…

cut off title tag

…and the description tag made no sense:

bad description tag

Here’s what I did to turn things around:

I included words and phrases from Adwords ads into my title and description tag.

Think about it:

Adwords ads have one goal…to generate clicks.

And through thousands of split tests, the ads you see are (usually) proven click magnets.

For example:

I noticed that most of the Adwords ads for the keyword “list building” had the words “email list” or “email lists”.

google adwords ads

So I made sure to pop the phase “email list” into my description tag:

good description tagA lot of the Adwords ads I saw also used words like “build” and “grow”:


So I added the word “build” to my description tag too:

description tag example

And just like that I had a search result that’s MUCH more likely to attract clicks.

16. Use This To Make Your Content More Compelling

You’ve probably heard of HARO, a service that connects journalists and sources.

HARO Homepage

When a journalist needs a source for a story, he or she sends out a query:

haro query example

If you reply to a query with top-notch info, you can land mentions from some pretty baller sites.

But that’s not what we’re going to use HARO for today.

Instead, we’re going to use HARO queries to make our copywriting more compelling…

…and attract more long tail traffic.

Here’s how:

First, sign up as a source (it’s free):

HARO signup formNext, choose the HARO lists that fit your business:

HARO list preferences

You’ll start to get HARO emails from reporters and bloggers looking for sources:

gmail emails

Give each email a once over. Keep an eye out for any topics that you tend to cover on your blog.

When you find one, pay attention to how the journalist phrases the topic.

For example, let’s say that you run a career blog.

And one day you come across this HARO query:

HARO query 2

9 times out of 10, the journalist chooses an angle like this because there’s growing interest in that topic.

In other words: people are searching for that topic in Google more and more.

So right off the bat you’ve got a great topic (“Cover Letter Best Practices”) handed to you on silver platter.

But don’t stop there.

Pay close attention to the words and phrases the journalist uses in the query:

HARO for copywriting

Make sure to include similar words and phrases in your content:

SEO copywriting blog post

And just like that you have a post built to gobble up more long tail traffic.

Now It’s Your Turn

You’ve just seen 16 of my favorite SEO copywriting secrets…

Now it’s time to put these techniques into practice.

The first step?

Click the image below and enter your email to get access to my FREE SEO copywriting checklist PDF.

The checklist has all 16 of the strategies here…and 2 others that I didn’t have room to include in this post.

Click the image below to download the PDF now.

seo copywriting checklist

The post 16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site appeared first on Backlinko.

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Want to Increase Website Traffic? Follow These 4 Steps… Thu, 12 Feb 2015 15:52:16 +0000 In this post I’m going to show you how to get more traffic to your website using a simple 4-step formula. You’ll also see real life examples of how I used this formula to take Backlinko to over 90 thousand unique visitors per month. Let’s dive right in… The #1 Struggle Online Business Owners Face…... Read more »

The post Want to Increase Website Traffic? Follow These 4 Steps… appeared first on Backlinko.

In this post I’m going to show you how to get more traffic to your website using a simple 4-step formula.

You’ll also see real life examples of how I used this formula to take Backlinko to over 90 thousand unique visitors per month.

Let’s dive right in…

The #1 Struggle Online Business Owners Face…

When you sign up for the Backlinko newsletter for the first time, you get this email from me:

first email

As you can see, the first thing I ask is:

“What’s the #1 thing you’re struggling with?”

To date, I’ve asked over 57,000 new subscribers this question…

…and have received thousands of replies.

But get this:

I tend to get the same response again and again.

What’s that response, you ask?

“How can I increase my website traffic?”

In fact, here’s a reply I got the other day from Christine:

email reply

Christine is absolutely right. Traffic is a common problem…

The Truth About Driving Traffic to Your Website in 2015 (and Beyond)

I probably don’t need to tell you that traffic is the lifeblood of any online business.

No traffic, no leads.

No leads, no sales.

No sales, no business.

Despite the fact that targeted traffic is so important, when most people log into Google Analytics, they see something like this:

flat traffic stats

Flat as a pancake.

Look familiar?

If so, I want you to know that you’re far from alone.

Today there are 164 million blogs online…

…71% get fewer than 5,000 visitors per month.

blog traffic stats

That’s less than 200 visits per day.

Unless you’re a conversion Jedi, it’s almost impossible to turn 200 daily visitors into a thriving online business.

Even if you already get “enough” traffic, I can guarantee you that you have the potential to boost your traffic by 2x, 3x, or even 10x from where it is today.


Well that’s the 4-step process I’ll go over later in today’s post.

But first…

Why People Struggle to Generate Traffic…and Convert That Traffic Into Customers

Here’s the deal:

Backlinko may generate over 90,000 unique monthly visitors today, but this success came after I struggled for YEARS.

In fact, the first site that I launched in 2008 was in the nutrition space. And it failed.

On paper this site should have been a home run for me.

After all, I had a Masters Degree in nutrition from Tufts University and a solid year of clinical experience under my belt (here’s me at graduation with my Dad):


My credentials meant I could produce “great content” that cited research studies. I could also use real world examples from my time working in hospitals and clinics in Boston.

And that’s exactly what happened:

I published some of the best nutrition content online at the time.

I mean, who else was taking scientific research and translating it into bite-sized nutrition tips?

excerpt from nutrition site

There was only one problem:

No one cared.

Was I publishing “great content”? Sure.

Did I promote it? You bet.

Was my blog updated at least once per week? Like clockwork.


What was the problem?

The fact that I didn’t publish the RIGHT CONTENT.

What is The Right Content, you ask?

The Right Content is:

Content that generates traffic, leads and (most importantly) sales.

Content that gets you traffic from Google.

Content that establishes YOU as an expert (and someone people want to buy from).

In other words, rock solid content that you can build a business on top of.

Because when you do that, everything changes…

How I Went From “Oh Crap!” to “Hell Yeah!”

Since I discovered how to create The Right Content, everything in my life and business changed.

Now, instead that sinking feeling in my stomach that I used to get when I logged into Google Analytics, I get butterflies.

Here are Backlinko’s traffic stats from last month:

traffic stats

But keep this in mind:

These aren’t 93,277 tire kickers. A good chunk of these people are interested in my products and services.

In fact, even though enrollment for SEO That Works only open two or three times a year, I get emails like this every week:

email about stw

Because I attract people that want to invest in my training products, I’ve quickly turned Backlinko from a blank WordPress installation into a highly profitable business.

backlinko revenue

And that luxury gives me the opportunity to live my life on my own terms.

At the drop of a hat, I can go skiing in Canada or in Japan.

Or strap on a Speedo and sit on a beach in Thailand.

(I’m kidding about the Speedo…or am I? :-) )

In fact, a few months ago my girlfriend turned to me and said: “Honey, let’s go to Italy”.

So we packed our bags and took off. No arrangements. No phone calls with clients. We just went.

We saw the sights, ate lots of gluten…and I grew a beard:

brian in italy

Whether you own an ecommerce site, run a digital marketing agency, sell software, or are a full time blogger, you need content that brings in targeted traffic.

In other words, traffic that converts into leads and sales.

To do that, you need to rank for keywords that your customers search for every day.

Here’s the 4-step process to do just that…

Use This 4-Step Process to Get More Targeted Traffic, Leads and Sales From SEO

There’s no other way to say this:

Most content published today isn’t designed to maximize shares, traffic and customers.

And, yes, that even includes most “great content”.

Because there’s a BIG difference between “great content” and The Right Content.

And once you know what that difference is, and how to leverage it, you’ll be ahead of 90% of your competitors.

With that, let’s jump into the 4-step process for creating The Right Content.

Step #1: Find Influential People In Your Niche

This traffic tip is HUGE.

Unless you describe your target customers as “influential bloggers and journalists”, your target audience isn’t going to share your content.

And if they don’t share your content, you’re not going to increase traffic to your website.

There’s a simple reason for that:

Your target customers don’t run websites in your niche!

For example:

The content on my old nutrition site was aimed at people looking to lose weight.

My target audience? They loved it.

Unfortunately, the influencers in my niche — like health and fitness bloggers — thought my content was way too basic and “rapid fire”.

These influential people share in-depth articles.

That’s one of the reasons Steve Kamb at NerdFitness succeeded where I failed.

His in-depth, 3,000-word blog posts…

….like his Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting)…

nerdfitness post

….attracts links from influential health and fitness bloggers with ease. Not to mention thousands of shares on social media.

referring domains ahrefs

Bottom line: Publishing content that appeals to your target customer isn’t enough. You need content that your influencers want to share with their audience.

But to create content that appeals to influencers, you need to find out who they are.

Once you’ve identified the influential people in your industry, it’s time for step #2…

Step #2: Find Out What Your Influencers Care About

After you know exactly who the influencers in your space are, it’s time to figure out what they care about.

Because once you understand which topics push their buttons, you can create content that appeals to them.


A few years ago I created an infographic for a client in the investing niche.

Even though that niche is far from “interesting”, our infographic went viral. We’re talking thousands of targeted visits in the first two days.

Here’s the infographic:

client infographic

Now there are dozens of reasons this infographic did so well, from the design to the content promotion campaign.

But a good chunk of its success was due to one simple thing:

It appealed to the influencers in the personal finance space.

I’ll explain.

I noticed that a lot of high-powered financial bloggers were up in arms about inflation:

inflation article

So I decided to create an infographic that highlighted the problem they cared so much about.

And it worked GREAT.

Bottom line: If you want influential people to share your content, you need to know what topics they care about most.

Step #3: Create Content On That Topic

Once you have a topic that your influencers care about, it’s time roll up your sleeves and create content around that topic.

Here’s an example from real life:

A few months ago I published a post called 21 SEO Techniques You Can Use Today to Get More Search Engine Traffic:

21 seo techniques

The post was a huge hit. To date its generated over 113,000 organic search engine visitors.

seo techniques post traffic analytics

(Not to mention and 2,136 new email subscribers)

Like the infographic I mentioned earlier, there was a lot that went into this post’s success (including the Share Triggers I’ll cover in a minute).

But the post did well largely because it covered topics influencers in my niche cared about.

For example, I couldn’t help but notice that more and more bloggers in the SEO space were talking about broken link building.

So I led off the post with a few advanced broken link building tips:

broken link building tip

Even though a good chunk of my target audience hadn’t ever heard of broken link building, my influencers had.

So I put that tip first.

Bottom line: When you create content, it needs to appeal to the influential people in your niche.

Once you’ve finished the first draft of your content, it’s time for the most important step….

Step #4: Finally, Add Share Triggers (This Is the Secret Sauce)

In my experience, content largely succeeds or fails based on one factor:

Whether or not the content has Share Triggers.

What are Share Triggers?

They’re scientifically-backed psychological principles that — when embedded in your content — encourage people to share and link.

Also, Share Triggers give your content that “WOW!” factor that turns cold traffic into leads and customers.

A lot of these principles were first discovered by behavioral scientists like Dr. Jonah Berger, Dr. Katherine Milkman and Jure Leskovec.

viral marketing research study

And they’ve proven in the lab what I discovered through trial-and-error:

When you include Share Triggers in your content, people are significantly more likely to link and share it.

For example:

One of the most powerful Share Triggers is Social Currency.

Social Currency is the idea that we share things that make us look good. And this Share Trigger is a large part of the reason that the Shrinking Dollar infographic did so well.

Yes, the infographic was on a topic was near and dear to hearts of personal finance bloggers (inflation).

But more important than that, the infographic confirmed what they were already saying: inflation is a big problem.

Specifically, my content backed up their rants with meaty data:

infographic data

Every time an influencer shared my infographic with their audience, it boosted their Social Currency.

So they shared it. Again and again.

It even got included in Google News thanks to a feature in The Christian Post.

shrinking dollar google news

All because I strategically added the Social Currency Share Trigger into my content.

Bottom Line: Including Share Triggers in your content significantly boosts the odds that it will generate shares, backlinks and traffic.

You Can Totally Do This!

Right now, I want you to do one thing:

Get started with this process.

Specifically, I want you to leave a comment that describes the influencers in your niche…and the topics they tend to talk about and share.

As you just learned, this is the first step to increasing traffic.

For example:

If you sell supplements for athletes, your comment might look like:

Influencers: Fitness blogs and journalists that cover nutrition research.

So leave a comment and let me know what you think.

The post Want to Increase Website Traffic? Follow These 4 Steps… appeared first on Backlinko.

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