People that succeed with SEO do two things very well:
First, they identify SEO techniques that get them results.
Second, they put 100% of their resources into executing and scaling those techniques.
But you’re probably wondering:
“How do I find SEO strategies that actually work?”
Well today I’m going to make it easy for you.
All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle one of the 21 white hat SEO techniques below.
Let’s do this.
Note: Pick up the free bonus checklist that will show you how to quickly execute these strategies. Includes 2 bonus techniques not found in this post.
1. Find Broken Link Building Opportunities on Wikipedia
Broken link building has it all…
There’s only one problem: finding broken links is a HUGE pain.
That is, unless you know about a little-known wrinkle in Wikipedia’s editing system.
You see, when a Wikipedia editor stumbles on a dead link, they don’t delete the link right away.
Instead, they add a footnote next to the link that says “dead link”:
This footnote gives other editors a chance to confirm that the link is actually dead before removing it.
And that simple footnote makes finding broken links in almost any niche dead simple.
First, use this simple search string:
site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “dead link”
For example, if you were in the SEO space you’d search for something like this:
Next, visit a page in the search results that’s relevant to your site:
Hit ctrl + f and search for “dead link”:
Your browser will jump to any dead links in the references section:
You can also use a new tool called WikiGrabber that allows you to search for dead links on Wikipedia pages.
Once you’ve found a dead link, now what?
Well you could re-create that dead resource on your site and replace the dead link in Wikipedia with yours.
But that would only land you a single link (and a nofollow link at that).
Here’s how to get the most out of the dead links that you find:
As you may expect, a resource that get linked to from Wikipedia usually has A LOT of links from other authoritative sites.
That’s why you want to take your broken link and pop it into ahrefs (or your link analysis tool of choice):
And you’ll get a long list of sites that you can contact about their broken link:
For example, the dead link I found on the SEO Wikipedia entry has 380 backlinks from 152 referring domains.
And it took me about 30 seconds to find.
2. Discover Untapped Keywords on Reddit
Reddit is a keyword research goldmine.
Where else can you find a community of millions of people discussing every topic under the sun?
And when you read these discussions you’ll often stumble on awesome keywords that you’d NEVER find in the Google Keyword Planner.
Let’s say you ran a site that sold headphones.
Head over to Reddit Search and search for “headphones”:
If there’s a subreddit in that space, head over to that subreddit.
If not, just look at the search results that Reddit shows you for that keyword.
Keep an eye out for threads where people tend to ask a lot of questions (like an AMA or Q&A thread).
This one looks promising:
Next, scan the thread for potential keywords. Terms that pop up again and again are perfect.
For example, I noticed this model of headphones mentioned a few times in a headphone Q&A thread:
Sure enough, the keyword “Beyerdynamic DT-770″ gets 2,400 monthly searches:
Trust me: you could spend the rest of January playing around with the Google Keyword Planner and you’d never find that keyword.
But I found it after about 5-minutes on Reddit.
Invest an hour or so digging for keywords on Reddit and you’ll nab enough keywords to last you through 2017.
3. Find Link Prospects on Delicious
If you’ve been in the SEO game for a while you know that the best link opportunities come from people that have shared similar content in the past.
And the popular bookmarking site Delicious.com is one of the best places to find people that have shared content in your niche.
First, head over to Delicious and search for a broad keyword related to your industry:
Find content that’s similar to yours and has a lot of bookmarks:
Then click on the bookmark link.
Now you’ll see all of the people that saved the link:
Next, look at one of the profiles to see if they have a website listed:
If so, head over to their site to find their contact information:
Finally, reach out to them to let them know about your similar piece of content.
Shout out to my friend Jason from Kaiser the Sage who introduced me to this technique in one of his blog posts.
4. Copy Adwords Ads to Make Killer Title and Description Tags
It’s no secret that compelling title and description tags get more clicks in the SERPS.
(In fact, REALLY good copy can actually steal traffic from the top 3 results)
But how can you possibly know what people want to click on?
That’s easy: look at that keyword’s Adwords ads.
You see, the Adwords ads that you see for competitive keywords are the result of hundreds (if not thousands) of split tests. Split tests to maximize clicks.
And you can use elements of that ad to turn your title and description tags into click magnets.
For example, let’s say you were going to publish a blog post optimized around the keyword “glass water bottles”.
First, take a look at the Adwords ads for that keyword:
Keep an eye out for interesting copy from the ads that you can work into your title and description.
In our “glass water bottles” example, we have phrases like:
- With straws
- Drink like a boss
- USA made
Here’s how the title and description tags might look:
As you can see, these tags include words that are proven to generate clicks.
5. Find A+ Link Prospects on AllTop
What if there was an up-to-date list of blogs in your niche that you could use to find quality link opportunities?
I have good news. There is. And it’s called AllTop.
AllTop is a modern-day directory that curates lists of quality blogs in almost any industry under the sun.
To find blogs in your niche, just go to the AllTop homepage and search for a keyword:
Next, find the categories that fit best with your site’s topic:
And AllTop will show you their hand-picked list of quality blogs in that category:
Now you have a long list of some of the best blogs in your industry.
And these bloggers are the exact people that you want to start building relationships with.
6. Use Benefit-Focused Content Curation
Let’s face it:
Most content curation is pretty weak.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’ve read enough “top 100 posts you need to read” lists for a lifetime.
So how can you make your content curation stand out?
By tapping into Benefit-Focused Content Curation.
Benefit-Focused Content Curation is similar to most other types of curation, with one huge difference: it focuses on the outcomes that your audience wants.
I’m sure you’d like to see an example.
Here you go:
This is a guide I put together a while back called, Link Building: The Definitive Guide.
This guide has generated over 19,000 visits from social media, forums, blogs and search engines:
(I should point out that the guide’s design and promotion contributed to its success. But it all started with how the content itself was organized)
What makes this guide’s curation unique is that it’s organized by benefits, not topics.
For example, chapter 2 is called “How to Get Top Notch Links Using Content Marketing”:
Note that the title isn’t, “Chapter 2: Content Marketing”.
And most of the other chapters follow the same benefit-driven formula.
Why is this so important?
When someone sees a list of curated links they immediately ask themselves “what’s in it for me?”.
And when you organize your content around outcomes and benefits, that answer becomes really, really obvious.
In other words, answering “WIIFM?” makes the perceived value of your content MUCH higher than a list of 100 random resources.
7. Link Out to Authority Sites
With all the talk about Hummingbirds and Penguins it’s easy to forget about an important Google algorithm update from 2003.
Despite being over 10-years old, Hilltop still plays a major role in today’s search engine landscape.
Hilltop is essentially an on-page SEO signal way that tells Google whether or not a page on the web is a “hub” of information.
How do they know what pages are hubs? Based on the quality and relevancy of the outbound links on that page.
If you think about it, this makes total sense: the pages you link out to tend to reflect the topic of your page.
And pages that link to helpful resources also tend to be higher-quality than pages that only link to their own stuff.
(In fact, Moz’s ranking factors study found a correlation between outbound links and higher rankings)
In other words, pages that link out to awesome resources establish themselves as hubs of helpful content in the eyes of Big G.
Bottom line: Link to at least 3 quality, relevant resources in every piece of content that you publish. That will show Google that your page is a Hilltop Hub.
8. Send Juice to Pages Sitting on Page 2 or 3
I’m not sure how else to say this:
If you’re on page 2 or 3 of Google’s search results you might as well be on page 58.
So how can you give those pages a boost so they hit the first page and get send you some traffic?
Use one of my all-time favorite SEO techniques – throwing some internal links their way!
Here’s the 3-step process:
Step #1: Use Google Webmaster Tools to find keywords where you rank on the 2nd or 3rd page.
To find them, log in to your GWT account and click on Search Traffic –> Search Queries:
Sort the results by “avg. position”:
Next, look for keywords with an average position of 11-30.
If you’re getting clicks from a keyword on page 2 or 3, you can be pretty sure that it’s a keyword with some decent search volume.
For example, this page from Backlinko is ranking #12 for the keyword “SEO traffic”.
Even though I’m on the second page, I still get 550 impressions per month for that keyword:
Sure enough, according to the GKP, that keyword gets 210 monthly searches with a suggested bid of more than $13.00.
Step #2: Identify authoritative pages on your site.
You can easily find the pages on your site with the most juice to pass around using Open Site Explorer.
Just enter your homepage URL into the tool and click “Top Pages”:
And the tool will show you the pages on your site with the most Page Authority:
Step #3: Go to those pages and add internal links.
Finally, add internal links from those authoritative pages to the pages that needs a boost.
9. Use the Word “Because” In Your Outreach Emails
When someone sees an email pop into their inbox, two questions enter their mind:
“Who is this person?”
“What do they want?”
The faster you answer these questions in your outreach emails, the better your response rate will be.
But how can you do that?
Use the word “because” very early in your email.
Believe it or not, the word “because” has surprisingly powerful effects on human psychology.
Research by Dr. Scott Key of Northern Illinois University tested whether people waiting in line to use a copy machine would let a stranger cut in front of them.
When the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you?”, only 61% people said “yes”.
But when the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you because I’m in a rush?”, 89% said yes
(That’s a 45% increase!)
Why such a huge difference?
It turns out that the word “because” makes a request — ANY request — seem more legitimate.
In the world of outreach, legit messages get better responses.
(Just look at all those lame guest post pitches that flood your inbox. If they actually took the time to look legit, they’d perform a lot better)
Here’s an example blogger outreach pitch that leverages the word “because” early on:
The person receiving that message knows why I’m emailing them after 2-seconds of reading.
But more importantly, the word “because” cements my reason for reaching out as more legit.
10. Write Mini Blog Posts for YouTube Descriptions
I don’t need to tell you that YouTube video results are dominating Google’s first page.
And considering that Google owns the popular video site, it’s a trend that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
But did you know that there’s a dead-simple technique that can get your YouTube videos to rank higher (and faster) for competitive keywords in both YouTube and Google?
Well there is: write 200+ word video descriptions.
When most people upload a video to YouTube, they mindlessly toss a few words into the description box:
That’s a HUGE mistake.
Remember that Google can’t watch or listen to your video content.
Instead, they rely on your video’s text-based title and description to determine what your video is about.
Not only does this extra text-based information help you rank better for your target keyword…
…but it also ranks your video closely related long tail keywords.
For example, check out the description for my latest YouTube video:
That’s a high-quality, 200-word description.
Not only has this helped my video rocket to the first page of YouTube for the keyword “SEO Strategy”:
But it’s also pushed my video to the top of YouTube for long tail keywords, like “infographic SEO strategy”:
If you want to learn more about YouTube SEO, check out this step-by-step guide.
11. Reverse Engineer the Results on Page 6
Reverse engineering pages 2-10 will often hook you up with top-notch link opportunities…
…opportunities that you’d miss when you only reverse engineer Google’s first page.
But you’re probably wondering:
“Is there really anything good to reverse engineer on page 6?”
The short answer: yes.
As Wil Reynolds points out, the idea that pages 3-10 are littered with low-quality sites is a myth.
He says that a lot of the results on Google’s inner pages are made up of people that started cool sites…but eventually gave up when things didn’t work out the way they planned.
Here’s the thing: before they moved on to the next project, they published some awesome resources.
Because these resources tend to be neglected, you can easily improve them and steal their links using The Skyscraper Technique.
For example, I did a quick search for “weight loss tips”.
Sure enough, I found this heavily linked-to resource on the 6th page:
As you can probably see from the screenshot, this page has A LOT of room for improvement.
However, because the author of this page used to care about his site, he was able to land links to this page from sites like eHow.com:
Other pages on this neglected site have attracted links from Livestrong.com (DA87) and LifeHacker (DA93).
Think you could take these outdated resources and make them better?
I know you can
12. Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags
Here’s the deal:
If you only include one keyword in your title tag you’re leaving A LOT of search engine traffic on the table (and no, I don’t mean keyword stuffing).
Here’s what I mean:
I recently published a post called “White Hat SEO Case Study: 348% More Organic Traffic in 7 Days“.
My target keyword for that post was, “white hat SEO”. And I obviously included the keyword “white hat SEO” in the post’s title.
But I didn’t stop there.
I realized that the keyword “SEO case study” also got some decent traffic:
So I decided to embed that long tail keyword into the blog post title:
Within days I was ranking #1 for “SEO case study”:
As you might expect, the keyword “SEO case study” is MUCH less competitive than “white hat SEO”.
Because of that, I got traffic almost instantly from the keyword “SEO case study”.
And as that page has accumulated links, it’s made its way onto the first page for “white hat SEO” as well.
(But it took a few weeks to hit page 1)
If I had only optimized for “white hat SEO”, I wouldn’t have received ANY traffic until I hit the first page for that term.
Fortunately, my embedded long tail keyword “SEO case study” hooked me up with traffic right away.
Bottom line: Find long tails that you can embed into your titles.
You’ll get search engine traffic faster…and eventually rank the page for more than one term.
13. Hack Wikipedia for Keyword and Topic Ideas
Want to find untapped keywords that your competition doesn’t know about?
Then stop using the Google Keyword Planner and use this SEO technique instead.
Sure, The Keyword Planner is nice for monthly search volume and CPC information…but it’s HORRIBLE at generating new keyword ideas.
Well, the Keyword Planner only gives you VERY close variations of the keywords of your seed keywords.
So if you enter a seed keyword like “weight loss”, it will spit out keywords like:
- Weight loss tips
- Healthy weight loss
- Fast weight loss
- Weight loss diet
(You get the idea)
If you want to find keywords that are closely related to your seed keywords — but not straight-up variations — you need a human mind.
Or better yet, the thousands of human minds that contribute to Wikipedia.
Head over to Wikipedia and enter a seed keyword (I’m going to use the keyword “insurance” in this example):
Next, keep an eye out for sections on the Wikipedia entry that display closely related keywords and topics.
These sections are…
The “Contents” box:
Callouts and sidebars:
And “See Also” sections:
You’ll usually come away with fistfuls of keyword and topic ideas from a single Wikipedia entry.
If you want to find even more keyword ideas, click on an internal link.
Then simply follow the same process for that Wikipedia entry. Rinse and repeat.
14. Use “Best of” Lists to Find Awesome Link Targets
This is one of my favorite SEO tips of all time.
If you do a lot of link building, you know that a list of high-quality, niche-relevant blogs is like money in the bank.
What you may not realize is that bloggers in your niche create these lists for you in the form of “best of” blog posts.
“Best of” blog posts are simply hand curated lists of the best blogs in a specific industry.
How can you find these “best of” blog posts?
Use these search strings:
“[keyword] blogs to follow”
“best [keyword] posts 2013″
“top [keyword] blogs to follow” + “2013″
For example, I just did a quick search for “fitness blogs to follow”:
I found this list of 60 awesome blogs in the fitness space after about 10-seconds of searching:
These 60 blogs are PERFECT places to reach out to the next time you want to promote a piece of content, find broken links or build a long-term relationship.
15. Publish Content With At Least 1000 Words
There’s no denying it: longer content CRUSHES short 300-word blog posts.
In fact, Moz found that word count was directly proportional to the number of links their content received (more words=more links):
And the SERPIQ blog discovered that pages in the top 10 of Google’s search results tended to have at least 200o words.
Why do long posts work?
First off, long posts show Google that you’re providing in-depth information for searchers.
But that’s not all:
In-depth content flips an important emotional switch that pushes people to share online content: awe.
University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Jonah Berger found that content that elicited awe made people 30% more likely to share it.
As you may expect, it’s REALLY hard to trigger a feeling of awe from a 350-word article…
…but in-depth pieces work like a charm.
16. Remember the “First Link Priority Rule”
Here’s an SEO mistake I see A LOT of people make:
Let’s say you have two links pointing to a page on your site…and both of those links are on same page.
Which anchor text does Google pay attention to? The first one? The second one? Both?
According to the First Link Priority Rule, only the first link:
Why is this important?
Let’s say you have a navigation bar on your site, like this:
Because your navigation is at the top of the page, Google sees those links first.
Here’s where things get tricky:
Let’s say that you drop a link to your “Recipe Index” page in a blog post with the anchor text “Healthy recipes”.
Unfortunately, the “Healthy recipes” anchor text is ignored by Big G. Google only counts the anchor text, “Recipe Index”.
Important Takeaway: Use keyword-rich anchors in your site’s navigation. As you just learned, the keyword-rich internal links that you add below them don’t count.
17. Create Your Own Keywords
This is one of the best pieces of SEO advice you’re ever going to hear:
You always rank #1 for keywords that you create.
What am I talking about?
When you create something truly original — like a brand, product, or a step-by-step system — you’re the only person optimizing for that term.
(After all, you made it up).
And if your creation becomes popular, you’ll suddenly find yourself ranking #1 for a high-volume keyword.
Let me show you an example:
I get a steady stream of organic traffic from people searching for one of my link building strategies, the “The Skyscraper Technique”:
In 2007 Merlin Mann was frustrated with the amount of time he was spending on email. So he created a system to help him plow through his inbox.
He named it “Inbox Zero“.
Today, the keyword “Inbox Zero” gets a staggering 2,900 monthly searches:
And as you may expect, he’s ranking #1 for the keyword he created:
Now Merlin could have created content optimized around keywords like “email management” and “productivity tips”.
But he realized that he’d get A LOT more traction by creating — and naming — his own system.
How can you do the same thing?
The next time that you write about a technique that you created — whether it’s a diet tip, productivity hack or system for growing tomatoes — name it.
18. Get Product Reviews at Scale Using Tomoson
Product reviews are one of the best ways to get editorial backlinks at scale (especially for ecomerce sites).
On the surface, product review link building sounds dead-simple:
Send free stuff to bloggers and they review them on their blogs.
There’s one problem with this technique:
It’s a VERY labor-intensive process.
You have to find bloggers, reach out to them, collect their mailing addresses, ship products, keep track of reviews, send email reminders…
It’s a lot of work.
But there’s an easier way: Tomoson.com.
Tomoson is like a dating service that connects bloggers looking for free stuff with site owners looking for exposure and links.
Here’s how it works:
1. Create a “Promotion”. A promotion simply describes the product that you’re giving away:
2. Next, set criteria for blogs that are allowed to participate in your promotion. You can filter by Alexa rank, Twitter followers, PageRank and monthly visitors:
3. After you post your promotion, bloggers will start to apply for it. That way, you can see if the blog is a good fit before sending them anything.
Finally, send them your product and get your links!
19. Use Expert Roundups to Generate Links and Social Shares on Autopilot
You may have seen Expert Roundups — blog posts that collect insights from a group of experts — blowing up around the web.
And why not?
Expert roundups are one of the few pieces of content that have built-in promotion.
Think about it:
The experts that you feature in your roundup will naturally want to share your content with their audience.
Which means that — if you get influential people to contribute — you’ll get boatloads of traffic and social shares minutes after you hit “publish”.
Best of all, Expert Roundups work in ANY niche…even boring ones.
Here’s an example:
I recently found an Expert Roundup in the real estate space. It covers thrilling topics like interest rates, mortgages, and buying furniture:
Those topics are too boring to generate any links or social shares, right?
To date, this expert roundup has earned over 600 Facebook Likes and 300 Google+ shares.
Not to mention links from authority sites in the finance space, like Wise Bread (DA75):
Here’s how you can do the same thing:
Step #1: Collect the top blogs and websites in your niche (you can find them using SEO Technique #14 from this post: “Use Best of Lists to Find Awesome Link Targets”).
Collect their name, blog, social media and contact information in a spreadsheet:
Step # 2: Come up with a topic in your niche that a group experts could shed some light on.
Topics that your target audience struggles with is ideal.
For example, in the automotive space there’s a lot of confusion about how to find the right car.
Thousands of variables — from price to safety to resale value — go into buying a new car. That’s a topic where a group of experts could add a ton of value.
Step #3: Email the experts on your list.
Remember that the experts you reach out to are probably busy.
So make sure that you make it EXTREMELY easy for them to respond.
Here’s an email template that would work well in our car Expert Roundup example:
Step #4: Publish the roundup and email your contributors to let them know that it’s live:
And watch the social shares and links roll in
20. Find Niche-Specific Link Building Opportunities Using Flippa
There’s no doubt about it:
Google is putting more and more weight on the niche-relevancy of the links pointing to your site.
But where can you find link building opportunities that are specific to your niche?
Flippa is like eBay for websites.
And it’s one of the best places on the web to find untapped link building opportunities.
Because people that sell their site on Flippa give away every detail about how they built their site.
That means they’ll often show you their keywords, content strategy, (and of course) link sources.
It’s like a downloadable business plan.
Here’s how to do it:
Head over to Flippa and click on All Listings–>Categories:
Flippa shows broad categories on top of closely-related smaller niches:
Find the broad category that fits best with your niche (I’m going to use travel in this example).
Look for sites for sale with a PageRank of at least 2. Here’s one:
The owner of this site actually gives a list of places where he landed editorial links:
Not only does he show you where he got his links from…but HOW he was able to get them:
(Most Flippa sellers are just as forthcoming)
Now you know that they acquired those quality links using PR.
That means you have a list of journalists that are open to covering sites in the travel space.
Can you say jackpot?
21. Use Facebook Ads for Keyword Research
Facebook Ads are an absolute treasure trove of AWESOME keywords.
Think about it: Facebook collects interest and demographic information from over one billion people.
And you can use this information to find keywords that your target audience tends to use in Google search.
It gets better:
Facebook will show you this data for free when you create an ad campaign with them.
Here’s how to use Facebook Ads for keyword research:
Let’s say that you sell iPhone cases on your website.
Head over to Facebook Ads and click on “Create and Ad”:
Then, choose Page Likes –> Continue
Scroll down to the “interests” section of the next page:
Next, enter a keyword in the “Precise Interests” field.
Facebook will actually suggest keyword ideas for you, similar to Google Suggest:
Choose a Topic or Precise Interest from the list of suggestions.
Facebook will show you a list of “Suggested Likes and Interests”:
These make fantastic seed keywords to enter into the Google Keyword Planner.
Here’s The Next Step…
Now I have a quick question for you:
Are you ready to use the one of the 21 SEO techniques from this post?
If so, then I recommend downloading the free checklist I made just for this blog post.
The checklist holds you by the hand and show you how to use all 21 of the strategies listed here…
…plus 2 bonus techniques that I didn’t have room for in the post.
Click the image below and enter your email to access the checklist.