Today you’re going to see 17 actionable SEO tips and techniques.
These are the same tips that I’ve used to grow my site to 186,081 visitors per month.
So whether you’re a total beginner or seasoned pro, you’ll love the powerful SEO tips in this guide.
Let’s dive right in.
- 1. Use Title Tag Powerups
- 2. Stop “Pogosticking”, Get Higher Rankings
- 3. Delete Zombie Pages
- 4. Do An Industry Study
- 5. Use a “Feeler” Email
- 6. Optimize Content for Google Hummingbird
- 7. Add Text Content to Infographics, Podcasts and Videos
- 8. Give Old Content New Life
- 9. Build Backlinks From Speaking Gigs
- 10. “The GSC Hack”
- 11. Create Linkable Content Around “Shoulder Niches”
- 12. Get Links From Sites That Use Your Visual Assets
- 13. Create Branded Keywords
- 14. Provide “What is X” Information For Definition Keywords
- 15. Replace “Published On” Dates with “Last Updated”
- 16. Use Google Images to Find Guest Post, Column and Interview Opportunities
- 17. Tap Into Google’s Underrated Keyword Research Tool
- Bonus Tip #1: Use “Snippet Bait”
- Bonus Tip #2: Use “Jump Links” To Get Sitelinks
- Bonus Tip #3: Use These 3 Tactics to Boost CTR
- Bonus Tip #4: Find Keywords With Wikipedia, Bing and YouTube Suggest
1. Use Title Tag Powerups
When you use “Title Tag Powerups”, more people will click on YOUR site in the search results.
Which means more traffic for you 🙂
For example, check out these two title tags:
Look what happened when I changed title tag #1 to title tag #2:
That’s right: organic traffic to that page increased by 45.5%!
And all I really did was add a Powerup word (“Awesome”) to my title tag.
Pretty cool, right?
With that, here’s a list of Title Tag Powerups to try:
- How to
And now it’s time for…
2. Stop “Pogosticking”, Get Higher Rankings
Here’s the truth:
Pogosticking can make or break your Google rankings.
So: what is pogosticking exactly?
Pogosticking is when a Google user clicks on your site…
…then “pogosticks” back to the search results to find something that actually helps them.
And when someone pogosticks, it sends a strong message to Google: “I didn’t like that result.”
Needless to say: if your site doesn’t make users happy, Google’s gonna downrank you.
The question is:
How do you stop people from pogosticking?
Here are 3 tips that work GREAT.
First, use lots of bullets and subheadings.
When your content is easy to read, people will spend more time on your site.
(It also stops them from hitting their “back” button)
As it turns out, a few bullets and subheadings make your content MUCH easier to read:
Second, use short introductions (4-9 sentences).
Long intros make people run away from your site like it’s on fire.
That’s why I only use short blog post introductions (9 sentences MAX).
Here’s an example from Backlinko:
Yup, that’s a grand total of 5 lines. And the average time on page for that article is 4:27.
That’s no coincidence.
Last up, put your content front and center.
Google searchers want their results FAST.
And if they can’t easily find the answer their looking for, they’re going to bounce like a rubber ball.
So place your content front and center on your page, like this:
As you can see, there’s very little going on EXCEPT for the content. This makes users (and Google) happy.
Which leads us to our next tip…
3. Delete Zombie Pages
Zombie pages are pages on your site that don’t bring in any traffic.
They’re just sorta…there.
And when you delete Zombie Pages, you can get higher rankings and more Google traffic.
One ecommerce site saw a 31% boost in search engine traffic (not to mention a 28% increase in revenue) when they “pruned” 11k product pages.
And they’re not alone.
Proven.com saw their organic search traffic increase by 88.3% after deleting 40 thousand Zombie Pages from their site:
Why does this strategy work?
Well, Google doesn’t want to rank sites that are bloated with thin, low-quality content.
Google recently stated that they prefer “one stronger page versus many smaller pages”:
This is something I pay A LOT of attention to here at Backlinko.
To date, I’ve only published 44 posts on this blog.
And those 44 posts generate over 100k search engine visits per month.
4. Do An Industry Study
What’s the BEST way to get backlinks from authority blogs and news sites in your niche?
An industry study.
In fact, BuzzSumo found that publishing an industry study can bring you a ton of traffic, social media shares, and mentions in the press.
Here’s a real-life example:
A few months back I noticed that lots of SEO blogs were talking about voice search.
But I also noticed that VERY few of these posts cited any data or research.
So we decided to do the first large-scale voice search SEO study.
How did this content do?
Even though this post is only a few months old, it’s already generated over 500 backlinks.
The best part?
I didn’t need to do a ton of outreach to get these links.
Because my content provides bloggers and journalists with data…
…they reference (and link to) my content like crazy:
5. Use a “Feeler” Email
When it comes to email outreach link building, you have two options:
Option #1: Pitch your link in the first email
Option #2: Send a “feeler” email… then make your pitch
In my experience, option #2 converts MUCH better.
Backlinko reader Mike Bonadio recently promoted an infographic for one of his clients.
In the early days of that campaign, Mike asked for a link in the first email that he sent.
Here’s the script that Mike used:
But it wasn’t working.
So Mike changed things up.
Instead of asking for a link right away, he sent a “feeler” email.
That way, he could make sure someone was interested…BEFORE asking for anything.
And that “feeler” email doubled Mike’s conversion rate:
6. Optimize Content for Google Hummingbird
Here’s the deal:
There’s A LOT more to on-page SEO than: “make sure to include your keyword a few times on your page.”
Something called Google Hummingbird.
Google’s Hummingbird update allows Google to go beyond simple keywords. Instead, they try to understand the topic of your page.
(Kind of like how a human would)
How do you optimize your content for Hummingbird?
First, include variations of your main keyword in your content.
To do that, just search for your target keyword in Google…
…and scroll down to the bottom of the search results.
Add a few “Searches related to…” terms to your content.
Next, try LSIKeywords.com.
(LSI keywords= terms that help search engines understand your content better)
All you need to do is pop in the keyword that you want to rank for…
…and you’ll get a list of closely-related LSI keywords.
7. Add Text Content to Infographics, Podcasts and Videos
Yes, visual content (like infographics and podcasts) are an awesome way to get traffic and backlinks.
But they have one big problem:
Google can’t understand ’em!
That’s why I recommend adding plenty of text to go along with your infographic, podcast or video.
For example, here’s an infographic that I published on my site earlier this year:
But I didn’t stop there.
As you can see, I also added LOTS of high quality content underneath my infographic.
And this text content helped search engines understand what my infographic was all about.
8. Give Old Content New Life
Do you have a bunch of blog posts on your site collecting dust?
If so, you’re probably sitting on a GOLDMINE.
(A goldmine that can bring you lots and lots of search engine traffic)
Let me show you how this works with a real life example…
A few months ago I noticed that this post from my blog wasn’t performing as well as I’d hoped.
Despite the fact that the content was really good…
…my page was bouncing between the 8th and 11th spots for my target keyword: “SEO Checklist”.
So I decided to give this post a major update and upgrade.
Specifically, I added more external links to authority sites:
I also organized the content into sections to make the steps easier to follow:
Finally, wrote a new title and description:
(Note: As long as you publish your updated content on the same URL, you don’t need to worry about duplicate content)
And those 3 simple changes quickly shot my page up to the top of Google for my target keyword:
Which led to a BIG bump in that page’s search engine traffic:
9. Build Backlinks From Speaking Gigs
Is this a lot of work for a single link? You betcha.
Fortunately, it’s VERY rare that you’ll only get 1 link from your talk.
(In some cases, you can sometimes get 7-8 links from a single speaking gig)
For example, I recently spoke at a conference in Dublin.
And not only did I get a link from the conference website…
…but I got 4 “bonus” links from people that blogged about the event.
10. “The GSC Hack”
The GSC Hack is one of my favorite SEO tips.
Here’s how it works:
First, login to the Google Search Console.
And head over to the Performance Report:
Next, hit “Pages”:
This will show you which pages bring you the most traffic.
Here’s where things get interesting:
If you click on one of the pages, you can see all of the keywords that page already ranks for.
And if you dig deep, you’ll find LOTS of keywords that you didn’t even know you were ranking for.
For example, when I ran this report on this page from my site, I found 3 keywords that I had no clue I was ranking for.
Why is this important?
Well, if I’m ranking for these 3 keywords by accident, imagine if I actually tried!
So to get more traffic from those search queries, I’d just need to sprinkle those terms into my post.
And now that Google sees those keywords in my content, they’re going to boost my rankings for those search terms.
11. Create Linkable Content Around “Shoulder Niches”
In a boring niche?
Then you might think it’s IMPOSSIBLE to create content that people will link to (or share on social media).
Fortunately, that’s not the case.
All you need to do is create content around “Shoulder Niches”.
Shoulder Niches are closely-related topics that you can easily create awesome content around.
For example, Mike Bonadio used Shoulder Niches to boost his client’s organic traffic by 15%:
How did he do it?
Well, Mike was in a niche that couldn’t be more boring: pest control.
Now, you might be wondering:
“How do you create an interesting piece of content about pest control?”
Instead, you want to go after closely-related niches that ARE actually interesting.
(In other words: “Shoulder Niches”)
In fact, that’s what Mike did:
And this ultimately led him to create an excellent infographic on the related topic of: “pest control for gardeners”.
Because Mike’s infographic got featured on a handful of authority blogs…
…his client’s traffic skyrocketed:
12. Get Links From Sites That Use Your
In a perfect world, website owners would link back to you when they use your chart, visualization, or infographic.
But we don’t live in a perfect world 🙂
On the bright side, I’ve found that most people are happy to link to you when given a friendly nudge.
So if you tend to publish a lot of visual content, spend an afternoon executing this technique.
And I can almost guarantee that you’ll come away with a handful of backlinks.
Here are the exact steps:
First, find a visual asset on your site.
For example, here’s the on-page SEO infographic that I mentioned earlier:
Then, right click and “copy image address”…
…and paste the filename into Google “Search by image”.
And you’ll get a complete list of sites that use your image.
Now it’s a matter of finding pages that used your image on their content… but didn’t link to you:
Then, send them a friendly email asking them to add a link to the original source (you).
13. Create Branded Keywords
The Moving Man Method.
The Content Upgrade.
These are all terms that I coined.
And because of that fact, I rank #1 in Google for all of them.
That’s why I highly recommend creating your own terms.
First, develop a strategy, technique, process or concept that’s unique to you.
This sounds hard.
But it really isn’t.
All you need to do is take something that already exists… and add a twist.
For example, a while back I noticed that lots of people were building links from guest posting.
So I simply added a twist where you pitch an infographic instead of a traditional guest post.
Next, give it a name.
This is more of an art than a science.
But in general, you want the name to be:
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to remember
For example, when I started guest posting with infographics, I combined “guest posting” and “infographics” into one term: Guestographics.
Finally, get the word out.
This is key.
For your term to catch on, you need to promote it like crazy.
In my case, I published a case study of Guestographics in action.
Then, a few months later, I published ANOTHER case study:
I also made sure to mention “Guestographics” in interviews:
It took a few months to catch on.
But before I knew it, LOTS of people were writing about Guestographics.
And whenever someone talks about that technique, they link to me 🙂
14. Provide “What is X” Information For Definition Keywords
When someone searches for a high-level term (like “search engine optimization”), they’re usually looking for a definition.
And as Ross Hudgens points out, results on the first page of Google for definition terms tend to answer the question: “What is X?”.
If you do a search for “inbound marketing”, 2 of the top 3 results answer the question: “What is inbound marketing?:
So if you’re gunning for a definition keyword, make at least some of your content focused on answering the question: “What is X?”.
That’s why I always include a “What is X” section whenever I target definition keywords:
15. Replace “Published On” Dates with “Last Updated”
A few years ago I had a problem:
I’d go back to update and upgrade an old blog post. And despite the fact that the post was 50%+ new content, it still said: “Published on…”.
When someone saw the post they’d say: “Shucks! I dare say that this is one old post.”
(Yes, farmers read my blog)
That’s why I decided to swap out the published date with “last updated”.
That way whenever I make a major update to a piece of content, readers (and Google) can see it.
16. Use Google Images to Find Guest Post, Column and Interview Opportunities
Here’s how this works:
First, find someone in your niche that tends to guest post a lot.
Second, grab their headshot (you can usually find this on their LinkedIn profile) and pop it into Google’s reverse image search.
Voila! You can see everywhere they’ve guest posted:
And you can use the same process to find interview opportunities (like podcasts).
In fact, podcasts might be the most underrated link building strategy on the planet.
Well, it’s 10x easier to hop on a podcast than pitch, write, edit and publish a guest post.
And just like with a guest post, you get a sweet link back to your site (in the show notes):
Unfortunately, finding podcasts can be a chore.
That is, unless you use Google reverse image search:
17. Tap Into Google’s Underrated Keyword Research Tool
Google Correlate shows you keywords that tend to get searched for together.
For example, someone searching for “blogging” may also search for:
- Blog comments
- Blog post ideas
- Copywriting tips
To use Google Correlate, just enter a keyword into the tool and see what it pops out:
What can you do with this information?
First, you can optimize your content using the terms that the tool spits out.
(After all, these are terms that Google considers closely related to your keyword).
For example, let’s say you’re writing a piece of content on Google Analytics.
Just enter “Google Analytics” into Google Correlate, and you’ll get a list of related terms:
Then, add those terms to your article.
You can also create new pieces of content around the keywords that you find in Google Correlate.
And because your competitors have likely never heard of this nifty little tool, you can find keywords that your competition doesn’t know about.
Now it’s time for 3 bonus SEO tips…
Bonus Tip #1: Use “Snippet Bait”
You’ve probably noticed more and more Featured Snippets in the SERPs:
And if you’re like me, you’re asking yourself: “How can I get MY content in the Featured Snippet?”
Fortunately, there’s no need to guess.
SEMrush recently did a massive Featured Snippet study (they analyzed a whopping 80 million keywords).
And they found that adding a Q&A section to your content works REALLY well for grabbing the Featured Snippet spot.
This page on my site is optimized around the keyword “Channel Description”.
Like any good piece of content on this topic, it has lots of helpful tips on writing a YouTube channel description:
But I also made sure to include “Snippet Bait” in the form of a short Q&A section:
And it worked!
If you want to get your content to show up in the Featured Snippet spot, try “Snippet Bait”.
Bonus Tip #2: Use “Jump Links” To Get Sitelinks
As it turns out, there’s an EASY way to get sitelinks:
Jump links are internal links that take people to different sections of your page:
And when you use Jump Links, Google will use the anchor text of those internal links as sitelinks.
(Note: this doesn’t work 100% of the time. But in my experience, Jump Links significantly increase the odds that you’ll get sitelinks)
For example, I recently added jump links to this list of SEO techniques.
And sure enough, after Google crawled the page, they added sitelinks underneath my result:
But sitelinks aren’t the only way to boost your click-through rate…
Bonus Tip #3: Use These 3 Tactics to Boost CTR
Here are 3 simple ways to improve your organic click-through rate (CTR):
1. Add numbers to your pages titles.
Studies show that numbers=more clicks.
For example, here’s a title tag of mine that uses a number:
2. Use descriptive URLs.
Your URL helps Google searchers figure out what your page is all about.
(They also use your domain name…but that’s a lot harder to change)
And that’s why you want to avoid weird URLs, like this:
Instead, use URLs that describe the content of your page:
3. Write enticing meta descriptions.
Use your description to “sell” your content.
For example, you can see that this meta description is designed to push people to click on my result:
How do you know what to write in your description?
Check out the AdWords ads for that keyword:
AdWords ads are engineered to get as many clicks as possible.
And when you use these proven words and phrases in your description, you’ll get more clicks.
Bonus Tip #4: Find Keywords With Wikipedia, Bing and YouTube Suggest
You probably already know that you can use Google Suggest to find long tail keywords:
But what you may not know is that you can use this same approach with OTHER search engines.
And yes, even Bing:
Did I Miss Anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite SEO tips.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.