SEO Strategy Case Study: From #6 to #1 In One Week

SEO Strategy Case Study There’s only one thing you need to know about executing a winning SEO strategy:

The easier you make it for other people to share your content the more people will share it. 

Sounds simple, right?

Not so fast.

Besides logging into someone’s WordPress dashboard and physically adding your link, how can you possibly make the process any easier?

I’m glad you asked.

Because today I’m going to show you how one Backlinko reader used one SEO strategy to rocket his client’s website to the #1 spot for a competitive keyword.

Here’s how you can do the same thing for your site…

Blog Post Bonus: I created a step-by-step checklist that will show you exactly how you can use this strategy on your site. Click here to download the free checklist.

The Guestographic Method: (An SEO Strategy That Gets Results)

Over the last few years I’ve built and ranked several sites in some of the most competitive industries online.

I’ve also helped dozens of other businesses dramatically increase their traffic from SEO.

I’m not telling you this to brag…

…but to show you that there’s no magic behind ranking on the first page of Google.

It’s just a matter of finding (and using) proven link building and content strategies.

That’s why today I’m VERY excited to show you a real life case study of one of my all-time favorite SEO strategies in action.

Before I get into that, watch this short video that will show you how Guestographics work:

Pretty cool, right?

Now that you’ve watched the video let’s talk about how SEO agency owner David Gross used Guestographics to increase his email outreach conversion rate more than 7x…

…while moving his client to the #1 spot in Google.co.uk for the keyword “internships”:

Rankings Increase

Yes, that’s #6 to #1…in one week.

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

But it gives you an idea of the ranking power that The Guestographic Method brings to the table.

How David Used The Guestographic Method to Get a #1 Ranking

Here’s the deal:

As you saw in the video, The Guestographic Method is all about removing a HUGE barrier that prevents people from sharing your infographic: the dreaded unique introduction.

A few months back, David stumbled upon the post where I first introduced Guestographics: How to Get Backlinks With Guestographics:

guestographics blog post

David 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

As you’re about to see, David quickly found that the ranking improvements from Guestographics blew most other link building and content marketing strategies out of the water.

Now it’s time to jump into the 5-step plan that David used to get these results.

Step 1: Create and Publish an Infographic

By the time David came across my post he already had an infographic ready to rock for one of his clients.

It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Video CVs:

video CV infographic

As you can see, this isn’t going to win any design awards.

Which might leave you wondering: “How was this infographic perform so well?”

It’s actually very simple:

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

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

And that’s where this infographic hits a home run.

With video CVs (known as “resumes” to my fellow Americans out there) growing in popularity, this infographic gives job seekers a value-packed resource.

In other words, Value > Design

But as you probably know, publishing something of value isn’t enough to land you quality links, social media buzz, and referral 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 make a list of people that might want to check it out.

The most straightforward way to do this is to search for keywords that describe your infographic’s topic.

Then, contact the sites that show up in Google’s top 25 results via email or on social media.

For example, let’s say that you just published an infographic about the Paleo Diet…

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

You can even use Google Suggest to give you more keyword ideas:

google suggest search

And then use those keywords to find more potential targets.

David took this process to another level…

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

Mindmap Screenshot

This extra step hooked them up with dozens of link opportunities that they would have missed out on if they just searched for keywords that were closely related to the infographic’s topic.

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”.

Thanks to his mind map, David realized that this University would probably want to share his infographic with their students (and he was right).

In fact, this is such an awesome idea I’m going to start incorporating it into my own outreach process.

At this point you may be wondering:

“What am I supposed to do with all of these awesome link opportunities?”

Keep reading…

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

Most people pitch bloggers and journalists the complete wrong way.

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

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 that simply asks them if they want to see your infographic.

That’s it.

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

Outreach Email Script

As you can see, Alex (who works for David) isn’t pitching anything. He’s just asking if they’d like to see the infographic…which is an easy sell.

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

Why not?

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

And they hit the delete button.

But when you send an email that simply asks permission for you to send them your content, it’s usually received with open arms.

(This permission-based approach applies to any marketing strategy, not just Guestographics).

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

email_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.

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

The fact that they have to take time out of their busy day to write an introduction to go along with it.

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

How?

By offering to write that introduction for them.

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

Infographic email

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

Success Email

The last step is to write a quality introduction and send it along.

Before you do that, there’s one more thing to keep in mind…

 Step 5: Add a Link In Your Introduction

This is important:

The unique introduction that you write doesn’t simply make sharing your infographic easier.

It also makes your link MUCH more powerful (from a search engine optimization point of view).

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.

editorial link from infographic

As you know, contextual links like this are the types of links that get results in 2014.

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 social media love David got from his outreach is just icing on the cake:

social media shares

Now I’ve Got a Question For You…

Do you want more search engine traffic?

If so, it’s a matter of applying this proven marketing technique to your site.

To make implementing The Guestographics process easy, I created a free step-by-step checklist for you.

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

Step-by-step Checklist

{ 163 comments }
  • Reggie

    Brian, I can’t wait to try this for my niche sites. Your backlink strategies have always worked well with my sites. I’ll let you know how it goes

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Sounds good, Reggie. Definitely keep me posted :-)

      Reply
  • Richard Marriott

    Wow this is sick Brian! Like Reggie I’m going to try this out too with my new niche site. Have already been following the tips from your video on Quick Sprout and have a list of about 250 contacts, but definitely going to brainstorm now like David’s team did to find more opportunities.

    Great stuff, thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Richard! I agree: David’s idea of using a mind map for link prospecting was great. I’m also going to give it a shot :-)

      Reply
  • Jack

    Hi Brian,
    Hi Brian, normally how soon do you begin your outreach once the infographic goes live on your site? I’ve had a blogger figure out where the infographic was at before I can even share it to them.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Good question, Jack. I usually do it right away to avoid that from happening. But it’s inevitable for some of the bloggers you contact will have seen it if your infographic was really popular. No biggie. There will be plenty that haven’t seen it yet :-)

      Reply
  • ben

    I am a little confused brian. How can I create infographics for my client having coupons site. I like your idea, but i think in many niches it wouldn’t work. Can you please help me?

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      I’ve seen infographics and Guestographics work in almost every niche, Ben, including life insurance, surgery and cosmetics. You just sometimes have to be a bit creative with your topic. For your coupon code site, for example, you could make an infographic about Black Friday (history of the day, how much retailers make on that day etc.)

      Reply
  • Julian Hooks

    The offer of the intro paragraph is a sweet way to get a nice contextual link in there. Another tip that may help, is to offer embed codes for different sizes. My websites and home monitors are set up with very high pixels. When I looked at my site from a friends computer it wasn’t a very good experience. Now I offer embeds of full size, 800px, and 600px. I know there are WP plugins that show height and width fields for a custom embed as well.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      That’s a REALLY good tip, Julian. Something I never thought of before. You could even match the embed code size for that blog’s post margins (for example a site with thin margins like Backlinko you would send a thinner version of the infographic in the embed code). Nice!

      Reply
  • Drew Williams

    Amazing post / video Brian! Can you give me an idea of the final email (step 5) where you would have the intro written and infographic included in the email…. Would it be easiest to provide the embed code or an image file of the infographic, or both? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Drew! I actually have the template that I use in this post (it’s almost exactly the same as what David used): http://backlinko.com/how-to-get-backlinks. I usually send a link first just to show them the infographic. Then I typically send an image file so they can add it to their site however they want. But an embed code also works.

      Reply
  • Loz James

    Great stuff as usual Brian!

    I’m just about to add guestographics to my link building toolbox after the success of my recent powerpost (based on your strategies and those of Richard above).

    This method looks very compelling as it isn’t a hard sell and helps you leverage one piece of high quality content repeatedly – which again is great if you don’t have the resources or time to pump out loads of high quality articles or infographics.

    Cheers!

    Loz

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Loz! That’s a really good point: unlike guest posting, Guestographics allow you to use the same piece of content for link building an almost endless amount of times. Yet another reason to use them :-)

      Reply
  • Brian Dean

    Absolutely, James. I see a lot of people put design first and it really hurts them.

    That’s a good point: most (good) infographics don’t need an intro. But I’ve found that many bloggers
    like some text just so there’s something in the post besides an image. Definitely
    worth testing to see how it works out for you. Let me know if you have any questions
    along the way.

    Reply
  • Aaron Hawkins

    Hey Brian,

    Already familiar with your guests graphic concept from your earlier posts about it, love the approach and definitely planning on using, especially seeing how David got on so well.

    The mind map is a great idea so a big shout out to David and his team for that one.

    Loving your SEO that works course as well and a big thumbs up on the video branding, very slick really like the intro!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Aaron (and really glad to hear that you’re enjoying SEO That Works!) :-)

      I also love the mind map idea. I’m actually going to use it to promote this very post (for example, I realized that people that talk about infographic marketing would also be interested in this post…even though it focuses on SEO).

      Reply
  • Neeshu S

    Indeed a great article Brian I had been waiting for your post since some days now and this post has filled the gap.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Glad to come through, Neeshu :-)

      Reply
  • Antonis Adamakos

    Another fine example of how hard work can deliver actual results! Creating an infographic is just one part of the job, promoting the infographic with the right methods is the hardest.

    BTW, I find the design of infographic fantastic :)

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Antonis. That’s a really good point: developing an infographic is really only step #1 of a much longer process.

      I also liked the design. It’s just not flashy like some infographics you see nowadays (which is a good thing!).

      Reply
  • Esben Bock

    Hi Brian
    Thanks for this detailed breakdown. I will use it as a method for my next content campaign for sure.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Glad you’re going to give it a shot, Esben. Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

      Reply
  • Rachel

    Definitely bookmarking this page! The video is very useful and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rachel! Let me know how the strategy works out for you.

      Reply
  • David Gross

    Thanks Brian – It’s an awesome strategy you’ve given us all!

    Thanks also to all the readers who’s already commented with great compliments.

    For those of you who’ve mentioned your appreciation for the outreach mindmap – I recommend using Majestic SEO’s clique hunter tool. This allows you to compare up to 10 competitor sites and backlinking domains they have in common. They you take those domains and manually group them into buckets and you have your mindmap!

    Also whilst my own team helped advise and mentor Inspiring Interns along the way, I’d really like to pay compliments to their marketing team (Alex Townley in particular) as they followed our guidance brilliantly and did most of the hands on execution work and did it really well.

    Working with client teams who really ‘get it’ ends up making all the difference to the success of our campaigns.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Glad you liked how it turned out, David :-)

      Thanks for the Majestic SEO’s clique hunter tool tip. I’ve actually never used that tool, but now I think I get why it’s
      used to much.

      Reply
  • Andrei Constantin

    Hey Brian, thanks a lot. I was begining to worry as it’s been quite some time since your last post.

    Looking forward for some more videos from you mate.
    Now I just wish you will have a scheduled update like Moz has with their blackboard Fridays :-)
    Something to look further to

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Andrei. I’m always around. Just usually in the lab testing out new strategies that I can share with the Backlinko community :-)

      Reply
  • Brian Hawkins

    I want to hire somebody to do a Guestographic! I just sent in a request for a quote to David.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Good idea, Brian. David (obviously) knows what he’s doing :-)

      Reply
  • David

    One little dirty secret I’ve employed with guestographics is this. Use this method to snag the low hanging fruit, and then use this same method with highly niche related guest posts from ‘Fiverr’ to double effective spread and link diversity.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Love this idea, David. I’d always hated writing 500 word articles for Fiverr guest posts. This way you’re getting the same link with A LOT less effort. Great insight.

      Reply
  • John Mathews

    Learned! Now time to practice it..Thanks brian for making it so clear to understand easily…Hope to see good results soon :)

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Glad to hear that, John. Definitely give a try and let me know how it works out for you :-)

      Reply

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Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko, the training hub for digital marketing professionals with over 70,000 monthly readers and a popular email newsletter. Continue reading