White Hat SEO Case Study: 348% More Organic Traffic in 7 Days

I need to get this off my chest: Increase Traffic

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.

I never told you this, but my first site was in the weight loss niche. And my entire SEO strategy for that site was to post great content and let the links roll in.

Needless to say, the “post and pray” approach didn’t work out very well for me.

I learned the hard way that if you really want to rank, you need to get out there and build links.

That’s why I want to show you how one blogger used The Skyscraper Technique to build authority links to his site…and tripled his organic search engine traffic in less than a week.

Blog Post Exclusive PDF Download: Learn how you can get a landslide of traffic using The Skyscraper Technique. Click here to download the PDF checklist.

“Wait…What’s the Skyscraper Technique?”

I actually outline the entire step-by-step system in this video:

Here’s the short and sweet version:

1. Find content with a proven track record of generating backlinks and social shares

2. Make that content better

3. Reach out to people to let them know about your new resource

You’re probably thinking: “that’s so simple.”

And you’re right: it’s not complicated (that’s the beauty of it :-) )

But it works REALLY well.

And today I’m going to show you how one Backlinko reader used this system to increase his organic search traffic by more than 300% in just 7 days.

Google Analytics Traffic

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

Your first step is to find content that’s done well in your niche…and make something way better.

That’s exactly what Richard Marriot did with his expert roundup post, 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favorite Link Building Tools:

clambr post

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

There was only one problem:

He couldn’t find that information anywhere.

And when he did find an article that covered SEO or link building tools, they tended to be overwhelming lists like: “100 SEO Tools You Need to Try”.

Most people would have thrown their hands in the air and given up…

Fortunately, Richard already knew about the Skyscraper Technique. And he realized that he had a HUGE opportunity staring him in the face.

So what did he do?

He created an outstanding resource that blew what was already out there out of the water…AND hustled hard to promote it.

And now his post is sitting pretty at #1 spot for the keyword “link building tools”, ranking above some heavyweights in the SEO industry.

google search results for link building tools

But that’s not all…

As you can see from this screenshot, the post skyrocketed Richard’s traffic overnight:

Traffic Spike

To date, Richard’s guide has landed him a total of 3,600 visitors from social media, blogs, and forums:

Analytics Referral Traffic

3,600 visitors is a lot of traffic no matter who you are.

But in Richard’s case, these 3,600 visitors were more than he got to his site over the last 4 months combined!

So if you’re looking for a way to jump start your site’s sagging traffic numbers — stop posting 3 times per week — and publish an epic piece of content that really stands out.

But Wait, There’s More…

Instead of patting himself on the back about what a great job he did, Richard leveraged his linkable asset into even more high quality backlinks.

How?

He emailed hundreds of people to let them know about his new resource.

The result?

A massive increase in the number of referring domains pointing to his site:

Referring Domains

 

Including links from:

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

Here’s How You Can Do The Same Thing For Your Site

You’re probably thinking:

“That’s great for Richard, but how can I get the same results for my site?”

I’m glad you asked…

Because now it’s time to break this down into the exact steps you can follow to get a surge of traffic and backlinks for your site.

Step 1: Find the Content Gap In Your Niche

If you want people to link to your content, you NEED to bring something new to the table.

And no matter what niche you’re in, there’s content out there that’s lacking in some way.

If you can swoop in and fill that gap with amazing stuff, you have a linkable asset that you can leverage for high quality backlinks over and over (and over) again.

In Richard’s case, he just looked at the top 10 in Google for keywords like “SEO tools”, “white hat SEO tools” and “link building tools”:

google search

And he noticed that they 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.

Step #2: Fill The Gap With Incredible Content

Finding content that could use a paint job is easy enough…

But taking that content and making it better takes a lot of work.

If you’re willing to put in the hours to publish something special, your competition won’t stand a chance.

To give his content the edge it needed to stand out, Richard decided to publish an expert roundup.

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, Anne Smarty, Gregory Ciotti, and Paddy Moogan:

White Hat SEO Experts

He also asked me :-)

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

How did he get so many busy people to respond?

1. His Outreach Email Was Short and Sweet: It’s almost impossible to make your outreach emails too short.

The email script he sent out to the experts was only 67 words. Here’s the email he sent to me:

Email Outreach Script

As you can see, this script is straight to the point with zero fluff.

2. He Was Persistent: Richard followed up with the people that didn’t get back to him the first time around. For those that still didn’t reply, he sent them another email.

And if they still didn’t reply, he hit them up on Twitter:

Twitter Outreach

3. He Hustled to Get the Word Out: After the post went live, Richard emailed his list of experts again.

This time, he gave them a heads up that the post was live and gently encouraged them to share his post with their followers.

And share they did.

The post has a ridiculous amount of social shares, including 2000 Facebook likes:

social share statistics

Did Richard’s post take a lot more work than publishing something lame like: “5 Tips for Finding a Link Building Tool”?

Yes.

But that’s one of the main reasons that it’s performed so well:

It’s the best resource on link building tools on the internet. So it deserves to rank #1 in Google.

That’s the type of content you need to publish: world class stuff that makes your competition look silly.

Because when you have content like that, link building is MUCH easier.

Which brings us to step 3…

 Step #3: Tell The World About Your Amazing Resource

You can publish amazing stuff all day long…

…but if no one reads it, you’re wasting your time.

That’s why the most important part of white hat SEO isn’t publishing great stuff…it’s promoting it.

Richard actually did a lot of outreach just to put his expert roundup together (remember, he emailed over 115 white hat SEO experts).

And that landed him a handful of decent links.

But to get the most out of his content, Richard knew that he had to pound the pavement with an email outreach campaign.

At first, Richard tried straight up link begging…

…but that didn’t land him a single link.

Then he tried broken link building.

That took him from a 0% conversion rate…to more than 10%.

He went the extra mile with his first batch of emails by sending personalized images:

Image Heavy Email

This creative email got him a decent response rate (and a link on a PR2 page).

There was only one problem:

It took WAY too much time to personalize each email (more than 10 minutes per email).

That’s when he shifted gears and went with a short and sweet email instead:

Broken Link Building Outreach Email

That email had a similar response rate, but took 10x less time to personalize and send out.

I’ve personally found that with any outreach — but especially broken link building — you should start off with a VERY brief email. That first email tells you whether or not the site owner actually checks their email and updates their site.

Once you get a response, you can impress them with a very detailed and personalized follow up email :-)

And that’s exactly what Richard did with his followup script:

Broken Link Followup EmailHe was rewarded with a handful of high quality backlinks:

Broken Link Success

Here’s What to Do Next…

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

Use it.

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

And I REALLY want to see you succeed.

In fact, that’s why I created Backlinko: to give you actionable strategies that you can use to get more search engine traffic.

But for these techniques to work, you need to put them into practice.

That’s why I put together this Skyscraper Technique PDF checklist. It will walk you through the exact steps you need to tap into this powerful strategy.

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

skyscraper technique cloud image

 

410 Comments

Nathan @ Gotch SEO

Dannnng Richard is PERSISTENT. But in all seriousness, I really liked that he refined his outreach technique to be more efficient and the fact that he actually saw far better results.

Nice work Richard and thanks for the write-up Brian!

Reply
Brian Dean

I know, right? But that’s what it takes to grab the attention of the ballers in any industry. Thanks for reading, Nathan :-)

Reply
Richard Marriott

Thanks Nathan! It was a huge relief to discover that short, snappy emails worked better!

Reply
Brian Clapp

Brian – great article and I already have an idea I can execute this technique on… but I have one question – how do you discover broken links on other sites that are relevant to your article? If you’ve written on this in the past, can you point me toward the resource?
all the best,
Brian Clapp
Director of Content
WorkinEntertainment.com

Reply
Brian Dean

Glad you enjoyed it, Brian. That’s a great question. I actually use a Chrome extension called Check My Links. It finds all the broken links on a page VERY quickly. To help automate the process of finding pages and checking for broken links, I’ve also used the (paid) tool at BrokenLinkBuilding.com, which I really like.

Reply
Joe

I’m sure you’ve heard of it Brian, but the Domain Hunter Chrome extension is another great tool.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Joe. I have tried their tool and REALLY like it. I just prefer Check My Links because I found that it works a bit faster. But you’re right: that’s another great tool to use.

Reply
Brian Clapp

thanks for the responses guys, i will look into these tools – appreciate the help

Kendal

Hi! Can’t wait to try out Check My Links, thanks for that. :-) But I’m also wondering how to find dead websites or pages that had something to do with your website or page? For me… I’ve been trying to get traffic from people looking for employment in the UK or information on the JobCentre but I haven’t had luck yet finding broken links on pages that I think would want to link to my site. But I like the idea, and will keep trying! Could use some suggestions though.

Brian Dean

Kendal, if a page is relevant to your sites, so are the outbound links. So I’d just keep plugging away at UK career info pages.

Insia Quotesworth

This is really inspiring to see. That extra effort is nothing but the time it takes to write 2 unsuccessful posts. Might as well take that extra time and make a superb post. It definitely is well worth the investment in terms of time and effort. Nice write up and pictures.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Insia. That’s really well said: it actually takes less time to make one epic post than 2 mediocre ones. Great comment!

Reply
Chris Huntley

Hey Brian,
LOL, did you see the url for the commenter above “Insia Quotesworth”. That’s a clever way to sort of get your keywords into your name, pointing to inspirationalquotes dot ca. LOL

Reply
Brian Dean

Wow, that totally went under my radar. Props to Insia :-)

Reply
Adam Roseland

Great post. Looking forward to SEO That Works!! Tried to sign up and find out when it launched and the realized I was already on the list! NICE!!!

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Adam! I can’t wait to get the course out to everyone. And I’ll definitely have to stop by for another podcast session in a few weeks :-)

Reply
Kathy Long

Great stuff as usual, Brian, but he missed my favorite SEO tool. It’s called Brian Dean.
Thanks!

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Kathy! That means a lot to hear :-)

Reply
Peter Kanayo

Damn Brian, You rock like mad, this is simple to implement though it requires a huge amount of energy. But it’s worth the effort. Signing up for your article is really worth it. I give you a thumbs up.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks Peter! You’re 100% right: it’s simple but not easy. Let me know if you give it a try.

Reply
Richard Marriott

Hey Brian, thank you so much for doing this case study and for all your guidance over the last couple of weeks :) The Skyscraper technique is earth shatteringly powerful! I can’t recommend it enough and will continue using it for many future posts.

Reply
Brian Dean

My pleasure, Richard. Glad to see that the technique worked out so well for your site.

Reply
Brad

Very detailed article. I especially like the sample emails. I’d be interested to see the email which ‘gently encourages them to share’.

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks for reading, Brad. I’ll see if Richard will send me that email template (even though it didn’t work especially well in his case).

Reply
Brad

In that case, I’d be interested in knowing what you’d suggest for copy to get the best possible success rate.

Reply
Brian Dean

For straight up link begging, I’ve found that something simple and straightforward works. My script is something like: “I found your list of resources. I also have a good one. It’d be great if you could add mine to the list”. There are a few tricks to make it more effective, but that’s the basic gist.

Reply
Rob Jenkins

I was wondering how you could apply the same type of method with local businesses. For instance a hotel, most have a corporate face where you cannot exactly email the web guy or whatever seo firm is in charge of their social marketing

Reply
Brian Dean

Good question, Rob. This can definitely work for local businesses. But you’re right: it takes a slightly different approach. One of the hardest parts of doing outreach for brick and mortar business or large sites is finding the right person to get in touch with. If you dig deep you can usually find the right email address somewhere on the site. If not, I recommend using the general “contact us” page and asking them to forward your message to the right person.

Reply
Adam Dukes

Excellent case study, Brian/Richard. I have bee blogging for a few years and just recently found out how important promotion really is. Like Derek Halpern says, “20% of your time should be focused on writing and 80% should be focused on promotion”.

Richard obviously spent a ton of time on this one post, but it should work FOR him for the long time. Well done, Richard! Way to take action and as always, thanks for the tips, Brian!

Reply
Brian Dean

Thanks for reading, Adam. I 100% agree with Derek’s take on blog growth. I’d even go as far to say — especially when you’re first starting out — that you may even want to spend 90%+ of your time promoting the content you already have.

Reply
Richard Marriott

Cheers Adam! It was indeed an incredibly time consuming process and I lost a lot of sleep over it, but in the end it was totally worth it :)

Reply

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