SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffic

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 (!).

Brian's Pro Tip:How to Find Proven Infographic Topics
 

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

557 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
Gertrude Nonterah

Hi Brian,
This post priceless. I am just getting started with SEO. So far I’ve relied mainly on social shares to get traffic to my blog but that gets old really quickly and my numbers have stayed the same for a long time. I’ll definitely be trying what Perrin did to give him the growth he got with his new blog and will report back when I do !

Thanks a lot Brian.

Hope you’re enjoying the rest of your day.

Reply
Brian Dean

Hey Gertrude, thanks. Social shares have their place. But I’ve found that SEO has much more staying power.

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

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