Backlinko http://backlinko.com Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:19:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEOhttp://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking http://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 15:58:25 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=8914 We recently analyzed 1 million Google search results to answer the question: Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings? We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at site speed. With the help of Eric Van Buskirk and our data partners1, we uncovered some interesting findings. And today I’m going... Read more »

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

Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings?

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

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

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

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have detailed data and information of our findings below.

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

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

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

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

05_Number of Referring Domains_line

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

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

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

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

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

08_Domain Link Authority (AHREFs Domain Rating)_line

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

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

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

Publishing Comprehensive, In-Depth Topical Content May Improve Rankings

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

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

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

google search for hummingbird

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

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

google knowledge graph

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

But does the data agree with that assumption?

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

And we discovered that comprehensive content significantly outperformed shallow content.

07_Content Topic Authority (MarketMuse Data)_line

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

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

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

example of page with low topical authority

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

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

google ranking number 10 on first page

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

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

comprehensive topic content

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

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

google hummingbird ranking

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

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

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

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

We turned to our data set to find out.

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

02_Content Total Word Count_line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HTTPS is Moderately Correlated with Higher Rankings

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

What does our data say?

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

Use of HTTPS_line

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

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

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

There is No Correlation Between Schema Markup and Rankings

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

The theory goes something like this:

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

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

schema markup example 2

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

schema star ratings

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

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

Presense-of-Schema-Markup_line

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

Shorter URLs Tend to Rank Better than Long URLs

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

Why?

There are two reasons:

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

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

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

And our data supports the use of shorter URLs.

URL Length_line

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

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

wordpress URL permalinks

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

changing the url

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

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

google url

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

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

long url

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content Contains At Least 1 Image_line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

google top 6 results 1

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

google top 6 results

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

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

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

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

But we were curious:

How much does site speed impact rankings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Total Backlinks = Higher Rankings

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

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

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

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

13_Total-External-Backlinks_line

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

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

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

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

Does a page’s overall authority influence rankings?

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

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

And our data supports this:

Webpage Link Authority (Ahrefs URL Rating)_line

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

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

Exact Match Anchor Text Significantly Correlates With Rankings

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

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

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

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

example of exact match anchor text

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

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

Low Bounce Rates Are Strongly Associated With Higher Google Rankings

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

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

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

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

Bounce-Rate_line

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. What findings did (or didn’t) surprise you? Or maybe you have a question about something from our study.

Leave a comment and let us know.

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, there’s more :-)

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

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

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

Emil’s Skyscraper content went live in April.

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

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

And that email outreach directly led to…

41,992 pageviews:

google analytics pageviews

645 social shares:

social share count

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

contextual backlink link in a blog post

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

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

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

How?

Gool ol’ fashioned white hat SEO.

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

number one ranking

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

monthly pageviews

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

email subscribers

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

pageview increase

Here’s why this is so important:

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

revenue graph

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

OK so who is this Emil guy?

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

emil shour

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

Now:

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

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

Here’s an example:

older blog post

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

(I LOVE that movie)

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

total social shares

In Emil’s own words:

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

Emil Shour

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

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

How a Random Encounter Changed Everything…

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

older case study

In that post I wrote about Jimmy Daly…

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

first week pageviews

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

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

Emil Shour

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

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

Step #0: Find an Awesome Keyword

Emil kicked things off with keyword research.

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

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

keyword search volume

But here’s the interesting part:

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

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

GKP search

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

google keyword planner keyword

Now:

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

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

This keyword has a $7 suggested bid…

suggested bid

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

adwords ads

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

In other words:

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

These are people that are going to buy from you.

Brian's pro tip:Find untapped keyword opportunities with these 3 tools
The Google Keyword Planner ain’t bad.

But if you want to find untapped keywords that your competition doesn’t know about, then I recommend trying these 3 tools.

1. MetaGlossary

MetaGlossary.com is one of my favorite long tail keyword generators.

Just put a broad keyword into the tool…

meta glossary

…and it will pop out dozens of awesome suggestions:

metaglossary results

2. FAQFox

FaqFox.com finds questions that your target audience asks online.

(And these questions usually contain untapped long tail keywords)

Let’s say you’re in the paleo diet space.

Just enter the keyword “paleo diet” (and a few sites you want FaqFox to scrape).

faqfox

And you’ll get a list of questions that people ask about your topic.

faqfox results

(You’ll also get a few…ummm…interesting questions):

weird question

But the normal questions are long tail keywords that you can create content around.

3. Udemy

I saved the best for last.

Udemy is a keyword research goldmine.

First off, you have Udemy autosuggest.

udemy autosuggest

As if that wasn’t helpful enough, the curriculum for each course hooks you up with a TON of keyword options:

udemy keyword research

And just like that you have a boatload of keywords that your competition will NEVER find.

OK, let’s get Back to Emil’s story…

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

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

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

…so you can destroy it.

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

So:

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

A simple Google search.

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

For example:

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

example google search

And he noticed a few trends in the results:

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

list post

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

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

pdfs in google search results

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

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

content thats a huge list

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

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

text based content

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

social share graph

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

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

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

boring copy

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

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

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

Here’s the truth:

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

(Yes, really)

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

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

Thing #2: Promoting that content.

Seriously, that’s it.

Question is:

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

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

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

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

blog post example

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

huge list post

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

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

There was only one problem:

Emil got stuck at idea #50.

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

60 is good…but not good enough.

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

That’s when he had an idea…

2. Emil asked experts to contribute ideas

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

I’ll explain.

SnackNation partners with dozens of healthy snack companies.

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

And he was right.

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

expert contribution email

And these partners were happy to lend a hand:

expert answer

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

asking for a contribution

Again, they gladly sent some amazing ideas his way:

expert answer 2

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

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

(And a post that was 4979 words long)

total word count

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

3. Emil split up his content into sections.

Let’s face it:

Sifting through 121 items on a list is a chore.

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

list of ideas

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

blog post categories

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

SERP sitelinks

In my experience sitelinks can significantly boost your CTR…

…and therefore, your organic traffic.

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

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

a text blog post

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

blog post image

…and helpful videos:

blog post video

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

Here’s the deal:

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

Seriously.

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

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

upbeat writing

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

content draft

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

emils blog post

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

Wrong.

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

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

Step #3: Promote Your Epic Content

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

Sure, awesome content makes link building easier…

…but it’s just the first step.

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

wordpress publishing stats

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

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

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

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

That’s why he decided to promote his post…

…before he even published it.

(This is known as “Pre-Outreach”)

Here’s how it went down:

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

pre outreach email

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

email outreach response 1

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

sending the content

And that led to a nice contextual backlink:

contextual backlink

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

email outreach exampke

2. Use “Weak Ties” to generate early buzz

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

Question is:

What are “weak ties”?

And how can they help you with content promotion?

I’ll explain with an example:

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

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

weak ties promotion

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

facebook share

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

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

Emil Shour

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

email outreach content promotion

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

3. Emil used “The Content Roadshow”

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

Let me show you how The Content Roadshow works:

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

google search

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

quality content example

…he emailed the author:

blog content promotion email

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

email outreach reply

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

roundup backlink

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

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

For example, Emil mentioned Authority Nutrition here:

brand mention

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

youve been featured email

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

reaching out to people mentioned

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

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

(Here’s an example:)

expert quote

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

expert outreach

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

backlink example

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

social share buttons

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

emailing people mentioned

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

email reply outreach email that resulted in a tweet 2

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

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

blog comments

Comments and shares are nice…

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

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

Which leads us to our last promotional strategy…

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

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

Here’s the exact process that Emil used:

First, he searched for his target keyword in Google…

searching target keyword

…and popped the top 50 results into a spreadsheet:

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

Here’s how:

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

google result

Then choose “Scrape Similar…”

linkclump extension

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

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

link prospects

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

He popped each URL into a backlink analysis tool:

backlink analysis search

And went one-by-one through the results.

backlinks to a page

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

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

Here’s his first email:

first email

Her response:

reply

His second email (with a link to his content)

the pitch

Boom! A link:

contextual backlink

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

number one ranking

Sure, a ranking #1 in Google is great.

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

In other words:

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

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

Bonus Step: Generate Leads With The Content Upgrade

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

Here’s how he did it:

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

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

original popup

And that pitch generated around 20 new subscribers per week.

email subscribers before the content upgrade

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

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

Specifically, Emil created a PDF version of his post:

pdf version of the post

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

bonus ideas

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

pdf version cta

How well did The Content Upgrade work?

Instead of 20 subscribers per week…

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

email subscribers after

(That’s a 195% increase)

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

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

Traffic Spike

Question is:

Did Richard’s results last?

Or did his site slip to page 2?

Let’s find out…

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

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

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

google first page results

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

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

How?

He asked SEO experts which link building tools they used.

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

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

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

clambr post

Now:

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

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

Broken Link Building Outreach Email

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

Broken Link Followup Email

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

Broken Link Success

Including links from:

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

So:

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

#1 baby!

richards #1 ranking

Here’s What to Do Next…

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

Leave a comment to let me know.

Whether you have a site about baking, bodybuilding, or bird cages…The Skyscraper Technique works.

And I REALLY want to see you succeed.

And step #1 is to leave a comment to let me know you’re ready to try The Skyscraper Technique.

So leave a comment below right now.

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

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

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

]]>

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

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

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

Check it out:

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


I want SEO tools that help with:


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

I want tools that are:


  1. Free
  2. Paid
  3. Freemium

Show only Brian's favorite tools:


  1. Yes
  2. No

AuthoritySpy

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

authority spy screenshot 2

official website:
http://authorityspy.com/

Buzzstream

Link BuildingPaidYes

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

buzzstream screenshot

official website:
http://buzzstream.com

Check My Links

Link BuildingFreeNo

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

check my links chrome extension

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

Citation Labs' Broken Link Finder

Link BuildingPaidNo

Instead of hunting for broken links page-by-page, The Broken Link Finder proactively searches the web for them. Just search for a keyword and the tool will scour the internet for broken links…and hand them to you on a silver platter.

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

citation labs broken link finder

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

Citation Labs' Link Prospector

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

link prospector tool

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

Content Marketer

Link BuildingPaidYes

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

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


official website:
https://contentmarketer.io/

Domain Hunter Plus

Link BuildingFreeNo

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

domain hunter plus

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

Free Broken Link Checker

Link BuildingFreemiumNo

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


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

GroupHigh

Link BuildingPaidNo

GroupHigh is advanced blogger outreach software.

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

grouphigh screenshot

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

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Link BuildingFreemiumYes

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


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

Inky Bee

Link BuildingPaidNo

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


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

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

official website:
http://www.targetlocal.co.uk/tools/link-prospecting-query-builder/

Linkbird

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

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

linkbird

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

LinkMiner

Link BuildingFreeYes

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

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

linkminer serp feature

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

Linkody

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

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

linkody screenshot 2

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

Linkstant

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

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

linkstant alert

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

Muck Rack

Link BuildingPaidYes

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

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

muckrack screenshot 2

official website:
http://muckrack.com/

Ninja Outreach

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

ninja outreach screenshot 2

official website:
http://ninjaoutreach.com/

Ontolo

Link BuildingFreemiumNo

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

ontolo search

official website:
http://ontolo.com/

Outreachr

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

outreachr screenshot

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

Pitchbox

Link BuildingPaidYes

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

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

pitchbox screenshot 2

official website:
http://pitchbox.com/

Quick URL Opener (Just Added)

Link BuildingFreeNo

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

quickurl opener

official website:
http://quickurlopener.com/

Remove'em

Link BuildingPaidNo

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

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

removem screenshot

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

Rmoov

Link BuildingFreemiumYes

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


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

ScrapeBox

Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaidNo

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

scrapebox screenshot

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

Siege Media Embed Code Generator

Link BuildingFreeYes

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

siege media embed code generator

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

Technical SEO tools

All in One SEO Pack

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

An alternative to the Yoast SEO plugin.

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

all in one seo pack

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

Bing Webmaster Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

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

bing webmaster tools screenshot

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

Bright Local

Technical SEO, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

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

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

bright local screenshot 1

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

Browseo

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

browseo screenshot

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

DareBoost (Just Added)

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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

dareboost site performance tool

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

DeepCrawl

Technical SEOPaidNo

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


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

Google Analytics

Technical SEOFreeYes

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

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

google analytics search engine optimization

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

Google Analytics Referrer Spam Killer

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

google analytics referrer spam killer

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

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

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

google mobile friendly tool 2

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

Google PageSpeed Insights

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

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

google pagespeed insights 2

 


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

Google Search Console

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeYes

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

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

google search console

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

Google XML Sitemaps

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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


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

GTmetrix

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

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

gtmetrix screenshot

official website:
https://gtmetrix.com/

LinkPatrol

Technical SEOPaidNo

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

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

linkpatrol screenshot

official website:
https://linkpatrolwp.com/

Lipperhey

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

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

lipperhey technical seo tool screenshot

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

Map Broker XML Sitemap Validator

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

xml sitemap validator

 


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

Microdata Generator

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

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


official website:
http://microdatagenerator.org/

Open SEO Stats

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

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


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

Panguin Tool

Technical SEOFreeYes

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

panguin tool

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

Plugin SEO

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

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

plugin seo

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

Raven Tools

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

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

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

raven tools software

official website:
http://raventools.com/

Referral Ghost Spam Removal Tool

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

loganix ghost spam filter

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

Rel Nofollow Checkbox

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

rel nofollow checkbox

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

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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

screaming frog screenshot

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

SEO & Website Analysis (WooRank)

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

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

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

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

woorank SEO & Website Analysis

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

SEO Friendly Images

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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

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

SEO friendly images

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

SEO Monitor

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingPaidYes

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

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

seomonitor screenshot

official website:
http://seomonitor.com/

SEO Site Checkup

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

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

seo site checkup 2

official website:
http://seositecheckup.com/

SEO-Browser

Technical SEOFreemiumNo

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

seo browser screenshot

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

SERPmetrics

Technical SEOPaidNo

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

serpmetrics flux screenshot

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

Site Analyzer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

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

site analyzer screenshot

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

Site Condor

Technical SEOPaidNo

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

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

site condor site graph

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

Varvy SEO Tool

Technical SEOFreeNo

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

varvy seo tool

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

Webbee SEO Spider Tool (Just Added)

Technical SEOFreeNo

This free 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

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

Website Penalty Indicator

Technical SEOFreeYes

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

website penalty indicator

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

Whitespark

Link Building, Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidYes

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

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

whitespark screenshot 3

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

Woorank

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationPaidNo

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

woorank screenshot

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

Yoast SEO Plugin

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

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

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

yoast seo plugin

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

Zadroweb SEO Auditor (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

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

zandro auditor

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

Keyword Research tools

AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

(I’m not kidding)

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

keyword permutation tool

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

Answer The Public

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

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

answer the public 2

 


official website:
http://answerthepublic.com/

FAQfox (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

faqfox

official website:
http://faqfox.com/

FreshKey

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

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

freshkey screenshot 2

official website:
http://freshkey.com/

Google Correlate

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

An underrated keyword research tool that comes straight from Google.

Google Correlate is really simple:

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


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

Google Keyword Planner

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

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

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

google keyword planner screenshot

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

Google Trends

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

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

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

google trends

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

GrepWords

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

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

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

grepwords keyword research tool 3

official website:
http://grepwords.com/

HitTail

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

HitTail does two things very well:

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

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

hittail screenshot 2

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

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

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

local seo bulk keyword tool

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

Jaaxy (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

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

jaaxy keyword research tool

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

Keyword Combiner

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Yes, Keyword Combiner is designed for Adwords. But it’s a great tool to find keywords that you can use for SEO as well. Just pop in a bunch of different keywords and the tool will mash them all together. Then upload them to the GKP to check their search volume. Helpful.

keyword combiner

official website:
http://web.forret.com/tools/adwords.asp

Keyword Eye

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

A unique keyword research tool that shows you keyword suggestions as a word cloud. Bigger keywords=more search volume. It also color codes keywords based on Adwords competition (which is a good sign of a keyword’s profitability).
keyword eye 2


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

Keyword Revealer

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

Keyword Revealer is a standard keyword research tool with a  a cool “Keyword Tree” feature. The keyword treee shows you keyword ideas as a tree. And when you click on a “branch” in the tree, a new set of branches appears. Helpful.keyword revealer tool


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

Keyword Snatcher

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

This tool probably gives you more keyword ideas than any other tool on the market. Why? Because it finds keywords from a bunch of different places, like Ebay, Amazon and even Yahoo. In fact, the last seed keyword I put into it (“paleo diet”) generated 15,000 keywords!

The one downside to this tool is that it doesn’t show you how many people search for the keywords that it spits out. So you need to manually upload the keyword list into the GKP to get search volume info.

keyword snatcher list

official website:
http://keywordsnatcher.com/

Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

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

keyword tool dominator

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

KeywordSpy

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

A decent keyword research tool. While Keyword Spy is a bit dated (the copy still says “track your rankings in MSN”), it still works OK. The tool works just like SEMRush: enter a domain name into the tool and it will show you a list of keywords that the site ranks for. However, SEMRush is far and away the superior tool.

keyword spy screenshot

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

KeywordTool.io

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

An excellent keyword research tool that scrapes Google Autocomplete results.

Although Google said they would be “restricting” access to Autocomplete, KeywordTool.io seems to have found a way around it. I just tested the tool and it brought back a bunch of excellent keyword suggestions just like it always does.

keywordtool.io

official website:
http://keywordtool.io/

kwfinder.com

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

An insanely easy to use alternative to the Google Keyword Planner. Just pop a keyword into it and you get search volume, estimated bid and first page competition data within seconds.

kwfinder screenshot 2

official website:
https://kwfinder.com/

Long Tail Pro

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A very easy-to-use keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and get suggestions. Simple and effective.

Cool feature: Only want to see keywords that have a search volume between 1500-2100? How about keywords with an estimated bid of at least $2.50? Long Tail Pro’s filtering feature makes it easy to see ONLY keywords that you actually want.

long tail pro screenshot

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

Power Suggest Pro (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

Power Suggest Pro is a desktop-based keyword research tool. Enter a keyword and it spits out ideas from a number of different search engines (like Google and Wikipedia). Cool Feature: “Ideas!” give you a list of common terms people use in search engines (like “best X” and “how to fix Y”). Helpful for coming up with new keyword ideas.

power suggest pro screenshot

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

SECockpit

Keyword ResearchPaidYes

SECockpit is probably most advanced keyword research tool on the market. Yes, you enter a seed keyword and get suggestions like any other tool. But SECockpit can do so much more than list out a list of related keywords.

It can spit out low competition keywords. It can show you keywords that get a minimum CPC in Adwords. It can even show you keywords that have YouTube, Ebay or Amazon results on the first page.

Cool Feature: SECockpit scrapes the “Searches similar to…” from the bottom of Google’s search results. This can often unearth keywords that you’d otherwise miss.

secockpit screenshot 2

official website:
http://secockpit.com/

Seed Keywords

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Let’s face it:

Most people enter seed keywords into the Google Keyword Planner that they pluck out of thin air. But with this free SEO tool you can find out what people actually type into search boxes.

How? Just create a scenario and ask people what they would search for in that situation.

For example, I created a scenario “How would you search for a hotel in Paris?”. You can see the results in the screenshot below. You can even export the list as a CSV file.

seed keywords tool 2

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

SEMrush

Technical SEO, Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

SEMRush is one of the few SEO tools that I couldn’t live without. Unlike most keyword research tools, SEMRush works by showing  you your competitor’s top keywords. So rather than grinding away in the Google Keyword Planner, just pop a competitor URL into SEMRush and you’ll see every single keyword that they rank for. #solidgold

Cool Feature: “Pages” reveal the pages on your competitor’s site that generate the most organic search engine traffic. This feature is insanely helpful for executing step #1 of The Skyscraper Technique.

semrush screenshot

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

SEO Book's Free SEO Tools

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreeNo

SEO Book has a set of helpful SEO tools that focus on technical SEO and keyword research.

I especially like their “Keyword Suggestion” gadget. Super easy to use and gives you all the info you need quickly (like monthly search volume, suggested bid etc.).

seobook keyword tool

official website:
http://tools.seobook.com/

serpIQ

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

A decent keyword research tool. Also, I noticed that the keywords serpIQ spit out weren’t the same old keywords that I saw in most other keyword research tools.

Cool Feature: “Competition Analyzer” measures how competitive a keyword will be to rank for (scored between 1-100).

serpiq screenshot 2

official website:
https://serpiq.com/

SERPStat (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

SerpStat is an excellent keyword brainstorming tool. Although it doesn’t give you search volume for keywords, it does hand you a huge list of unique keywords that you can upload into the Google Keyword Planner.

Cool Feature: “Questions” gives you questions that people tend to ask around your topic. Very cool.

serpstat screenshot

official website:
http://serpstat.com/

SimilarWeb

Keyword ResearchFreemiumNo

SimilarWeb gives you a bird’s eye view of your competitor’s traffic figures, organic keywords, engagement metrics and more.

Cool Feature: “Similar Sites” show you websites that are closely-related to you or a competitor. Helpful for finding new outreach opportunities.

similarweb screenshot

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

Soovle

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Soolve is a free tool that pulls autocomplete suggestions from a handful of different sources like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Wikipedia.

soolve screenshot

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

SpyFu

Keyword ResearchFreemiumYes

I hadn’t used SpyFu in over 3 years. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the classic PPC tool has been upgraded with a ton of new SEO-focused features. In fact they’re keyword competition feature was one of the best that I came across.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Kombat” uncover keywords that a few of your competitor’s rank for. If those sites have similar authority to you, then it stands to reason that you can leapfrog all of them with some amazing content and link building.

And yes, that name reminds me of Mortal Kombat too :)

spyfu screenshot 2

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

Suggestion Keyword Finder

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

A suprisingly helpful free keyword brainstorming tool. I’m not 100% sure how it works, but it spit out quite a few unique keywords when I tested it.

Make sure to check “Level 3” so that you get access to the largest list of keywords.

suggestion keyword finder

official website:
http://tools.seochat.com/tools/related-keywords-tool/

TermExplorer

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

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

term explorer screenshot

official website:
http://termexplorer.com/Public/

UberSuggest

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

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

ubersuggest

official website:
http://ubersuggest.org/

Wordstream's Free Keyword Tools

Keyword ResearchFreeYes

Even though Wordstream’s free keyword tools are made for Adwords, their set of free tools are helpful for uncovering keywords for your SEO campaigns.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Niche Finder” mashes a bunch of keywords together. When I tested this feature I noticed a handful of keywords that weren’t in any of the other keyword research tools I tried.

wordstream keyword research tools

official website:
http://www.wordstream.com/free-keyword-tools

WordTracker

Keyword ResearchPaidNo

WordTracker has its own internal index of keywords. Why is this important? Well it means you can come across long tail keywords that the GKP simply won’t show you. WordTracker also provides organic first page competition data.

Cool Feature: “Search for this Keyword” uncovers long tail variations of a given keyword. Repeat until you’ve found the long tail keyword you want.

wordtracker

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

Wordtracker Scout (Just Added)

Keyword ResearchFreeNo

Wordtracker scout is a very cool (free) Chrome extension that finds keywords within a piece of content.You simply need to head over to an article, click the “W” button and the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas.

wordtracker scout

official website:
http://www.wordtracker.com/scout

Rank Tracking tools

Advanced Web Ranking

Rank TrackingPaidNo

A rank tracking and keyword research tool hybrid. AWR takes some of the features of tools like SEMRush and Authority Labs and puts them under one roof. It also rocks a a solid site audit tool.

advanced web ranking report

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

AMZ Tracker

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidYes

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

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

amztracker screenshot

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

Authority Labs

Rank TrackingPaidYes

A reliable and easy-to-use rank tracking tool. The cheapest plan tracks 250 keywords, which is more than enough for most businesses. And for those of you that do Local SEO, Authority Labs tracks Google+ Local results too.

authority labs screenshot

official website:
http://authoritylabs.com/

GeoRanker (Just Added)

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

GeoRanker is an advanced local SEO (Google Maps) rank tracking tool. As you know, if you track local keywords (like “Boston tacos”), you can’t use most rank tracking tools. You need to see what people in Boston see. Well GeoRanker does exactly that. Choose your keywords and locations and get a report back that shows you your Google organic and Google local results.

georanker report screenshot

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

Microsite Masters

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

Microsite Masters is a very solid rank tracking tool.

Cool Feature: “Scoreboard” shows you the keywords that had the most movement (positive and negative). Great for zeroing in on pages that might need attention.

micrositemasters screenshot

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

Pro Rank Tracker

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

Pro Rank Tracker is a quality rank tracking tool with a great user interface. If you’re tracking hundreds (or thousands) of keywords, you can group keywords into categories to keep things organized.
pro rank tracker


official website:
http://proranktracker.com/

Rank Ranger

Rank TrackingPaidNo

Rank Ranger is a reliable rank tracker that comes bundles with a handful of extra features like on-page audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis. Nice tool.

rank ranger screenshot

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

Rival IQ (Just Added)

Rank Tracking, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Rival IQ pits your social media and SEO presence against your competitors. It your chief competitor getting more Twitter mentions than you? Are they ranking for a new keyword? This excellent tool will let you know. Had a lot of fun playing around with this one.

rivaliq dashboard

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

Search Latte

Technical SEO, Rank TrackingFreeNo

Want to see the search results for Google.co.uk, Google.de or any of the other 150+ international Googles? Look no further than Search Latte. Just enter your keyword, pick an international version of Google, and you’ll see that country’s search results. No proxies or VPNs needed. search latte


official website:
http://searchlatte.com/

SEO Rank Monitor (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

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

seo rank monitor

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

SERanking (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

SERanking is a quality rank tracking tool that comes bundled with some bonus features like keyword suggestions and site auditing.

seranking screenshot

official website:
http://seranking.com/

Serpfox

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

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

serpfox screenshot

official website:
http://serpfox.com/

SERPs.com

Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidNo

SERPS.com is an enterprise-level rank tracking product with a built-in keyword research tool.

Cool Feature: “Tests” let you test how on page-SEO changes affect your rankings. For example, you can change your title tag, wait a week, and SERPs.com will tell you if that change had an impact.
serps.com screenshot


official website:
https://serps.com/tools/keywords

Sistrix

Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Sistrix is an enterprise-level SEO platform that shows you your site’s rankings, social signals, backlinks, anchor text distribution and more. Unlike many SEO tools with a million features, Sistrix is so easy my mom could use it.

Cool Feature: “Keyword Opportunities” show you a list of keywords that your competitors rank for…but you don’t.

sistrix seo platform screenshot 2

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

WebCEO (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank TrackingPaidYes

WebCEO is a world-class SEO platform that gives you access to a bunch of quality tools to boost your SEO, from keyword research to technical SEO to rank tracking and even mobile optimization.

Cool Feature: “DIY SEO Guide” gives SEO beginners explicit steps to improve their site’s SEO.

webCEO

 


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

Wincher (Just Added)

Rank TrackingFreemiumNo

If you’re on a tight budget, Wincher is the one rank tracking tool that you should add to your arsenal. The free version is pretty nice with weekly updates and 7 tracked keywords. But when you upgrade to the $8/month paid plan you get many of the same features as the big boys (like email alerts) for pennies on the dollar.

wincher rank tracking tool 2

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

WordTail (Just Added)

Rank TrackingPaidNo

Wordtail is a nice rank tracking tool that has the features you’d expect from dedicated rank tracking software (like grouping keywords, in-depth reports and competitor tracking).

wordtail screenshot

official website:
http://wordtail.com/

Content Optimization tools

BuzzSumo

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumYes

BuzzSumo went from “new kid on the block” to “must-have tool” in the blink of an eye.

And it’s no wonder. BuzzSumo makes finding winning content (for example, if you want to execute The Skyscraper Technique) a walk in the park.

Cool Feature: “View Sharers” shows you who shared a piece of content on Twitter, which is outreach solid gold bullion. “BuzzSumo Alerts” tells you whenever a keyword or phrase (like a competitor’s brand name) gets mentioned around the web.

buzzsumo content tool screenshot

official website:
http://buzzsumo.com/

Can I Rank (Just Added)

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

This tool answers the question we’ve all had when evaluating a keyword: “Can I rank?”. CanIRank.com provides a nice breakdown of how your page compares to the first page competition (inducing domain authority, page authority and on-page SEO metrics).

canirank screenshot

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

Keys4Up (Just Added)

Content OptimizationFreeYes

As you know, adding LSI keywords to your content can boost your rankings. The question is: how do you know which LSI keywords to add? Well this free tool does the job for you. And unlike most “keyword suggestion” tools that give you variations of the keyword you put into it, Keys4Up actually understands that meaning behind the word. For example, look at the screenshot to see the related words the tool found around the keyword “paleo diet”.

keys4up lsi keyword tool

official website:
http://www.keys4up.com/

LSIGraph (Just Added)

Content OptimizationFreeNo

LSI Graph is a handy LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword generator. Enter a keyword and get a list of terms that you can sprinkle into your content.

lsi graph tool

official website:
http://lsigraph.com/

MarketMuse

Content OptimizationPaidNo

MarketMuse is advanced content analysis tool (similar to Scribe by Copyblogger). Market Muse scans your content and compares it to similar content on the web. If it finds that other people mention a keyword that you don’t, it tells you about this “content gap”.

For example, let’s you have a piece of content about low carb dessert recipes. If MarketMuse finds that your competitors use terms like “Stevia” and “Agave Nector” — but you don’t — it will suggest that you include these terms in your content. In my experience including LSI keywords like these can make a significant difference in your rankings.

marketmuse tool screenshot 2

official website:
https://www.marketmuse.com/products

nTopic

Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

nTopic is a “content relevancy” tool. In other words, it scans your content and gives you suggestions to make your post more SEO-friendly. Comes with a WordPress plugin that’s helpful for quickly analyzing and updating your content to boost its on-page SEO.

ntopic wordpress plugin screenshot 2

official website:
http://www.ntopic.org/

onpage.org

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

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

Cool feature: My favorite feature of onpage.org is their TD*IDF analysis. TD*IDF identifies keywords that pages ranking for your target keyword tend to use. These terms are excellent LSI keywords that you can sprinkle into your content to bump up your on-page SEO.

onpage org tfidf analysis

official website:
https://en.onpage.org/

QuickSprout Website Analyzer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeYes

The QuickSprout tool is an extremely helpful website analysis tool.

Just connect your Google Analytics with the tool and it’ll analyze your site’s SEO visibility, social shares, web page loading speed, and more. Also provides actionable recommendations and downloadable reports.

quicksprout seo tool 2

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

Scribe by Copyblogger

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

Scribe bridges the gap between old school on-page SEO and new school content marketing. The tool scores your content based on how friendly it is for people AND Google. I also dig the fact that you can do keyword research from within the WordPress editor.

scribe content marketing plugin

official website:
http://scribecontent.com/

SEO Plugin By Squirrly

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationFreemiumNo

Ever write a post and wonder: “Is this post SEO friendly enough?”. Then you should give Squirrly a shot. It’s a WordPress plugin that automatically analyzes your content for SEO and human readability.

Cool Feature: Squirrly comes packed with a nice keyword research tool that works within the WordPress editor. In addition to the usual metrics (like search volume), it also shows you if that keyword is a hot topic of conversion online. The tool also shows you the stability of that keyword’s search volume over time.

squirrly seo plugin

official website:
http://howto.squirrly.co/wordpress-seo-plugin-by-squirrly/

SEOptimer

Technical SEO, Content OptimizationFreeNo

If you want a quick-and-dirty look at your content’s on-page SEO, give SEOptimer a try.

This free tool quickly analyzes your page and lets you know if there are any issues (like missing image alt text and broken links) that might be holding you back from page 1.

seoptimer

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

Solo SEO

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

A worthwhile site audit tool that also does keyword research and on page SEO/content analysis.

solo seo screenshot

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

Text Tools (Just Added)

Content OptimizationPaidNo

Text Tools is an advanced LSI keyword tool. It scans the top 10 results for a given keyword and shows you which terms they tend to use. If you sprinkle these same terms into your content, it can boost your content’s relevancy in the eyes of Google. You can also compare your content to the top 10 to uncover LSI keywords that your content might be missing.

text tools screenshot

 


official website:
http://www.text-tools.net/

TrendSpottr

Keyword Research, Content OptimizationPaidNo

TrendSpottr shows you content that’s trending on Twitter. So if you want to do some newsjacking or get your hands a hot topic, this tool can help you do it.

trendspottr2

official website:
https://trendspottr.com/welcome

Upcity

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaidYes

Upcity is one part SEO tool and one part online marketing course.

This means that instead of getting a list of fancy charts and error messages, the tool tells you how to get on the right track. This is perfect for small business owners that do DIY SEO.

Cool Feature: “Curriculum” walks you through the basic steps you need to have an SEO-friendly website in 2015. Tailored to local businesses and people new to digital marketing. You get checklists and video game-style points for completing the important tasks (like creating a Facebook page or setting up an editorial calendar).

upcity screenshot 2

official website:
http://upcity.com/

Ahrefs

Link Building, Keyword Research, Backlink analysisFreemiumYes

The best link analysis tool on the market…by a mile.

Ahrefs has a massive index (over a trilion links) that’s updated at least once a day. It’s also super duper simply to use. Because of its excellent user interface and index, Ahrefs is one of the few SEO tools that I use every day.

ahrefs screeenshot

official website:
https://ahrefs.com/

cognitiveSEO

Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

An SEO tools suite that focuses on link analysis. Also has a helpful “Unnatural Link Detection” feature that identifies risky backlinks that might have caused a penalty (or can cause a penalty down the road). Solid tool.cognitive SEO screenshot


official website:
http://cognitiveseo.com/

Kerboo

Rank Tracking, Content Optimization, Backlink analysisPaidNo

Kerboo is an SEO tools suite for search engine marketing pros. Includes backlink analysis, link prospecting, on-site SEO audits and rank tracking. Cool Feature: “LinkRisk” analyzes your link profile and identifies spammy/dangerous backlinks.

kerboo screenshot

official website:
https://kerboo.com/apps/

Link Research Tools

Link Building, Backlink analysisPaidNo

A solid link analysis tool with some link building features built into it (like link prospecting and outreach).

But LRT’s cool feature is its “Link Detox” tool. This tool automatically scans your backlinks and shows you which links put you at risk of a Google penalty (or links that already caused a penalty). In other words, it makes identifying spammy links super easy. When I ran a test of Link Detox it was almost 100% accurate at differentiating between good and bad links.

link research tools link detox

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

Majestic SEO

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

With a huge, updated index Majestic is one of the top link analysis tools on the market. The tool also has a few helpful propriety metrics like “TrustFlow” and “CitationFLow” that tell you whether or not that site you want to get a link from is authoritative or spammy.

Cool Feature: “Clique Hunter” shows you sites that tend to link to your competitors (but not you). Just pop in a few sites and Majestic shows you the various “cliques” that they belong to. This is a great way to new discover link building opportunities.

majestic clique hunter

official website:
https://majestic.com/

Monitor Backlinks

Link Building, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisPaidNo

A comprehensive SEO platform that gives you info on newly acquired backlinks, keyword rankings and site speed. It even sends you alerts whenever one of your competitors gets a new link. I especially love the dashboard because its clean and gives you ONLY the essential info you need.
monitor backlinks dashboard


official website:
https://monitorbacklinks.com/

MozBar

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

Nifty toolbar for Chrome and Firefox that shows you the Page Authority and Domain Authority of the page you’re on.

But the toolbar also shows you the DA/PA of Google search results (this feature only works for Moz Pro subscribers). This is an awesome way to size up the first page competition.

Mozbar SERPs

official website:
https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar

Open Link Profiler

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

A solid link analysis and reverse engineering tool.

Yes, Open Link Profiler’s index isn’t as massive as the big tools (like Ahrefs and Majestic). But its paid version has some cool features (like on-page analysis and site audits) that can make the monthly payment worthwhile. Also, the free version is the best free backlink analysis tool I’ve ever used. So if you’re balling on a budget and want to see your competitor’s backlinks for free, give OpenLinkProfiler a shot.

Cool Feature: “Hub Finder” is very similar to Majestic’s “Clique Hunter”. Enter a few competitors into the tool and see who links to them (but not you).

open link profiler hub finder results

official website:
http://openlinkprofiler.org/

Open Site Explorer

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

Open Site Explorer is a top 3 link analysis tool that comes bundled with Moz Pro. The metrics that OSE provides — like Domain Authority and Page Authority — are what SEO pros use every day.
open site explorer


official website:
https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

SEO PowerSuite

Technical SEO, Keyword Research, Rank Tracking, Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

A suite of quality desktop-based SEO tools that include a rank checker, backlink analysis tool, site auditor, and keyword research tool.

seo powersuite

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

SEO Tools for Excel

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreemiumYes

The best “SEO tool for excel” that I’ve used so far. Easily check a site’s backlinks (via ahrefs or Majestic API), social shares, HTTP status, word count, external links and more. All from within Excel.

SEO Tools for Excel

official website:
http://seotoolsforexcel.com/

SEO Weather's Bulk Metrics Checker (Just Added)

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisFreeNo

How’d you like to see the PA and DA for a big ol’ list of URLs? Pop the list into the Bulk Metrics Checker, hit “go fetch” and you’ll get a handy list.

bulk metrics checker

official website:
http://www.seoweather.com/free-seo-tools/

SEOGadget for Excel

Backlink analysisFreeNo

If you want to pull data from Moz and Majestic into an Excel spreadsheet, the SEOGadget for Excel tool makes it easy.

seo gadget for excel screenshot

official website:
https://builtvisible.com/seogadget-for-excel/

SEOquake

Backlink analysisFreeNo

A nice little toolbar for Firefox and Chrome that shows you important SEO metrics (like domain age, number of backlinks, and traffic estimates) all from within your Chrome or Firefox browser.

SEOquake can display the same data on Google search results. This can help you determine whether or not a keyword is insanely competitive…or ripe for you to grab a spot on the first page.

seo quake toolbar for chrome

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

ShareMetric

Keyword Research, Backlink analysisPaidNo

ShareMetric gives you a lightning-fast screenshot of an page’s social shares, links and Google keyword rankings. Especially helpful if you want to see what keyword a page ranks for in seconds. You’ll need an SEMRush or Moz API to get backlink and keyword info. Nice tool.

ShareMetric chrome extension

official website:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sharemetric/lhnijlahkclijpefbcimahdcgcjbmnnp?hl=en

URL Profiler

Technical SEO, Backlink analysisPaidNo

If you want to check info on a huge list of URLs (like Domain Authority, number of backlinks, whois information, social shares and readability), URL Profiler is the best tool on the market to get the job done.

urlprofiler in action

official website:
http://urlprofiler.com/

WebMeUp Backlink Tool

Backlink analysisFreemiumNo

WebMeUp is a quality link analysis tool with a HUGE index of “897,704,758,673” backlinks. I’d love to see the tool use some sort of authority metric (like Ahref’s Domain Rank). Otherwise it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in your link profile.

webmeup screenshot 2

official website:
http://webmeup.com/

Here’s How to Get The Most From This Guide

I put together a PDF version of this guide to help you get the most from today’s guide.

That way you can refer back to it whenever you need.

Click the image below and enter your email to get access to the PDF.

download the seo tools checklist pdf

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

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SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks)http://backlinko.com/seo-campaign http://backlinko.com/seo-campaign#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:44:58 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=6838 “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.

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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
Definition
1. A niche that is closely related to your site's main topic.

Remember:

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:

shoulder-niches

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?

Wrong.

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:

ig-content

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.

#facepalm

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.com.

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?

40%.

outreach reply stats

Boom.

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.

How?

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.

Simple.

Now:

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

and

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…

flipboard-share

….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

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A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content [Infographic]http://backlinko.com/viral-content http://backlinko.com/viral-content#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:47:48 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=6490 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 »

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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_content_infographic
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.

But…why?

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, site.com/05/01/2015/10-ways-to-get-lots-of-clicks-on-your-blog-post.

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

too long tweet

#notgood

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

short URL

Why?

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 example.com/cute-cats vs.  example.com/blog/post?id=5421!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, example.com/postid=2891/why-you-use-confusing-urls — 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

Also:

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:

HOW?

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.

Why?

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:

statement

(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?

Remember:

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

OK, OK.

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?

HA!

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.

Me?

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:

subheading

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.

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SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffichttp://backlinko.com/seo-strategy http://backlinko.com/seo-strategy#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://backlinko.com/?p=3019 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.

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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 ChewieSays.com.

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 PetMD.com 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 Google.co.uk 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.

Now:

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 Visual.ly

Visual.ly 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 Visual.ly’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).

Solid.

Now:

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.

How?

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.

Remember:

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.

How?

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 Warwick.ac.uk (DA88):

link from warwick university

Warwick.ca.uk 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:

email_response

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 Google.co.uk 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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