17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings in 2020

17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings in 2020

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Jan. 17, 2020

17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings

Today you’re going to learn EXACTLY how to improve your site’s ranking in 2020.

In fact, these 17 techniques helped grow my site’s organic traffic by 60.69% over the last year:

Backlinko – Organic traffic – Growth last year

So if you want simple ways to quickly improve SEO rankings, you’ll love this guide.

1. Improve Your Website Loading Speed

How quickly (or slowly) your site loads has a direct impact on your Google rankings.

According to a study by Neil Patel, pages that rank at the top of Google’s first page tend to load significantly faster compared to pages that rank on the bottom of page 1.

So it’s clear that, if you want to rank higher on Google, your site needs to load quickly.

You can get a quick benchmark of how fast your site loads with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

And if you want to dig even deeper into the factors that are slowing down your site, you can also run a page from your website through WebPageTest.org.

These two tools will tell you how you can improve your site’s specific pagespeed issues.

That said, here are a few tips that usually help speed things up.

  • Compress your site’s images
  • Move to a better host (this makes a big difference)
  • Reduce web page file size
  • Delete unnecessary 3rd party scripts

And now you’re ready for our second strategy to help improve your SEO.

Over the last few weeks I’ve got my site to rank in 41 different Featured Snippets.

Like this:

And this:

My secret?

A new strategy called “Snippet Bait”.

Here’s how it works:

First, find a keyword that you already rank for.

Why is this important?

According to Ahrefs, 99.58% of Featured Snippets come from the first page results.

So if you’re on page 2, you have pretty much zero chance of getting in a Featured Snippet.

For example, here’s a page from my site that was ranking on page 1.

Next, look at the Featured Snippet at the top of the SERPs:

And identify what TYPE of Featured Snippet you’re looking at:

  • Definition Snippet (“What is content marketing?”)
  • List Snippet (“Top 10 Content Marketing Tools”)
  • Table Snippet (“Content Marketing Tool Prices”)

Finally, add a snippet of content to your page that’s designed to fit inside that Featured Snippet box.

(This is the “Snippet Bait”)

For example,  I wanted to get in the Featured Snippet for the keyword “nofollow links”.

So I wrote a little section that would fit PERFECTLY inside of a Featured Snippet box:

And it worked! About 2 weeks later, the section I wrote was at the top of the search results.


3. Improve Dwell Time

Is Dwell Time a Google ranking factor?

In my opinion: YES.

After all, if someone quickly bounces from your page, it sends a clear message to Google: people hate that page.

And they’ll quickly downrank it:

The opposite is also true: lowering your bounce rate can improve your Google rankings.

The question is:

How do you prevent people from bouncing?

Embed videos on your page.

For example, I recently compared my bounce rate for a sample of pages with and without a video.

And pages with video had an 11.2% better bounce rate than pages without a video:

That’s why I embed videos in almost every new post that I write.

Sometimes I make the video an entire step or tip:

Or as a way for people to learn more about a specific topic:

Which leads us to…

Last year I decided to make Organic CTR a top priority.

But I quickly ran into a problem:

Besides optimizing your title and description for clicks, how can you push more people to click on your result?


You probably already have sitelinks underneath your result when you search for your brand in Google.

As it turns out, you can ALSO get sitelinks on all sorts of pages… from blog posts to ecommerce category pages.

And these sitelinks can make a BIG dent in your click-through-rate.

How do you get sitelinks?

A table of contents.

For example, when I published this post, I added a table of contents with “jump links” to each tip.

(We created this table of contents inside of WordPress. But you can easily set these up with any platform).

And once my page cracked the top 5, Google hooked me up with sitelinks.

As you can see, these sitelinks REALLY help my result stand out.

In fact, sitelinks are one of the reasons my page has a 14.9% CTR.

5. Create Linkable Assets

Here’s the deal:

People don’t link to “great content”.

They link to sources.

For example, I published this guide to the Google Search Console last year.

And I’m not afraid to say that it qualifies as “high-quality content”.

The post is full of actionable tips:

It even has a custom design:

Despite being a very solid piece of content, it only has 236 referring domain links:

On the other hand, check out this voice search study I published around the same time:

Most people would also call this post “great content”.

But this piece of content has 938 referring domain links:

(That’s 4.8x more backlinks than my GSC guide).

What’s going on here?

Well, my Google Search Console guide isn’t that easy for someone to link to.

Unless you’re writing about the GSC and want to send someone to a resource to “learn more”, there’s no compelling reason to link to my guide.

On the other hand, my voice search study gives bloggers and journalists data that they can EASILY reference.

Which has led to hundreds of high-quality backlinks.

6. Target Keywords With High Commercial Intent

When I first got started with keyword research I’d focus 100% on search volume.

If a keyword got a bunch of searches, I’d say: “that’s good enough for me!”.

Not anymore.

Today, I put A LOT of weight on commercial intent.

(In other words: how much are Google Ads advertisers spending on those clicks?)

For example, I recently started targeting keywords like “link building services”.

This keyword doesn’t get that many searches:

But with a CPC of $25.00, I know that the traffic is made up of legit buyers:

(Fun fact: I published this page as a “Ghost Post”. As it turns out, “link building services” is MUCH less competitive than most tools claim)

7. Grab More SERP Real Estate

Found an AWESOME keyword that converts well for you?

Get bonus traffic from that term with a YouTube video.

For example, this post is targeting the keyword “how to get more traffic”.

Unfortunately, I’m stuck in the #4 spot.

To make matters worse, I’m cramped below 3 video results.

(But I’m working on it 🙂 )

In the meantime, I decided to create a video on that topic.

And because I optimized my video the right way, it takes up valuable real estate at the top of Google’s search results:

Want to see how I optimized that video? Check out this quick tutorial:

8. Rank for “Topic + Statistics” Keywords

This is the dirty little secret that sites use to get LOTS of backlinks on autopilot.

For example, Student Loan Hero has over 13.4K links to its “US Student Loan Statistics” page:

Here’s how they did it (and why this approach works so well):

First, they identified a topic that bloggers and journalists tend to write about.

(In this case, stats about student loan debt)

Then, they created a webpage that curated stats from different sources.

Finally, they optimized their title tag, meta description and page around the keyword: “Student Loan Debt Statistics”.

Which now ranks on the first page for that term:

Why does this work so well?

Think about it:

Who searches for “Topic + Statistics” keywords?


Specifically, journalists looking for stats to include in their articles.

And when you rank for that term, you’re going to get linked to like there’s no tomorrow.

Very cool.

9. Optimize Old Content For User Intent

I’ve talked about matching your content to search intent before.

But the bottom line is this:

If your site isn’t what searchers want, Google won’t rank it.

(No matter how many backlinks you have)

But when your page makes Google users happy, you can increase your Google rankings.

For example, I first published this post in 2015:

As you can probably guess, my target keyword for that page was “SEO Campaign”.

And I quickly carved out a spot on the middle of the first page of Google.

So far so good.

But one day my rankings and organic traffic started to drop.

This wasn’t a super high-priority keyword. So I just kind of ignored the problem and hoped it would go away.

It didn’t.

That’s when I realized that my content was a HORRIBLE fit for user intent.

Specifically, my post didn’t outline an SEO campaign. Instead, I talked about a single strategy (“Guestographics”):

Which was a really bad user experience for anyone that wanted a detailed SEO campaign)

So I went back to the drawing board. And I rewrote the post from scratch.

This time, I made sure to publish something that someone searching for “SEO campaign” would love.

Sure enough, those changes dramatically improved our search engine ranking. In fact, the new version of the post now ranks #1 for that term:

10. Try Content Partnerships

I’m a BIG fan of Content Partnerships.


Because it makes your content promotion twice as powerful.

Think about it:

When you publish something on your site, you send as many people as you can to your post.

But you’re only one person (or company). So your reach is pretty limited.

But when you partner with someone else, BOTH of you send people to your new content:

Which doubles the amount of eyeballs, links and social media shares that you get.

For example, earlier this year I partnered with BuzzSumo to create this content marketing study.

And because we both promoted it to our respective audiences, it got A TON of traffic:

11. Repurpose Content Into Different Formats

Last year I realized that I was making a HUGE mistake.

The mistake?

Every time I sat down to write a new blog post, email newsletter or video script… I was starting from scratch.

Which meant it would sometimes take me 14 days to finish a single blog post.

That’s when I realized something…

I already had TONS of content on my YouTube channel. Content that people loved.

So I decided to base my next blog post on a popular video from my channel: a video about getting more YouTube subscribers.

It took some time to turn my video into a blog post.

But it was 10x faster than starting with a blank Google Doc.

The best part?

My post did GREAT.

That post brings in 15,701 search engine visitors per month.

And it currently ranks in the top 3 and the Featured Snippet for my target keyword:

Pretty cool.

I already published a guide to Broken Link Building.

So I’m not going to go over the process again here.

Instead, I’m going to show how I used Broken Link Building to get this sweet backlink:

First, I looked for a piece of content on my site that I KNEW people would want to link to. And I chose this CRO guide:

Next, I found a site that wrote about content marketing. And popped their homepage URL into Ahrefs.

And clicked on “Outgoing Links” → “Broken links”:

Which showed me all of that site’s broken external links:

Once I found a broken link that was similar to my guide, I reached out to the person that runs their blog. I let them know about their broken link and offered my content as a replacement:

And because I added value with my outreach, they happily linked to me:

That’s all there is to it.

It’s no secret that reverse engineering is a GREAT link building strategy.

But it’s not perfect.

After all, let’s say you find a site that just linked to your competitor.

You have no idea if that site linked to them because they have an existing relationship, they just sent an awesome outreach email… or a million other reasons.

But when you look at who links to MULTIPLE competitors, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

(After all, what are the odds that the site has a great relationship with three different sites?).

That’s where Link Intersect comes into play.

To use it, fire up good ol’ Ahrefs and enter three domains into their Link Intersect tool:

And make sure to put your site in the “But doesn’t link to” field:

And voila!

You’ll see everyone that links to these 3 sites… but doesn’t link to you.

And if your site publishes better content than your competitors, there’s a really good chance these peeps will link to you too.

14. Target Brand New Keywords

Want to find popular, low-competition keywords?

Of course you do 🙂

Question is:


Target NEW keywords.

I’ll explain…

Most keywords are competitive for the simple reason that there are LOTS of sites trying to rank for them.

But when you target new terms, you’re competing with fewer people.

Which means you can often rocket your way to the top of the search results.

For example, last summer I created a guide optimized around the growing term “Voice Search”:

Because the term “Voice Search” was relatively new (especially compared to old school keywords in my niche like “link building”), my guide cracked the bottom of the first page within a week.

And it currently ranks on the first page of Google for that term:

15. Use Concept Visuals

This is a way to get high-quality backlinks WITHOUT having to grind with outreach.

In fact, I’ve used this approach to get links like this:

And this:

All without sending a single outreach email.

With that, here are the steps:

First, create an AWESOME visual that helps people understand a tricky concept or idea.

This can be a graph, chart, visualization or table.

Here’s an example:

Next, feature that visual in your content.

And if the right person sees your visual, they’ll use it on their site:

Rinse and repeat for every post that you publish.

Pro Tip: Focus on creating visuals for NEW topics. That way, you’ll be one of the few sites with a high-quality visual of that topic.

16. Leverage Industry Glossaries for Keyword Ideas

Want some creative keyword ideas?

Check out industry glossaries.

For example, this nutrition glossary covers 100+ different terms:

You can either straight up copy these keywords into a spreadsheet.

Or use them as seed keywords and pop them into a keyword research tool.

Either way, glossaries are an AWESOME way to find new keyword ideas.

Pro Tip: Pop the glossary URL into the Google Keyword Planner for a mega list of keyword ideas:

Most people struggle with outreach because they send garbage like this:

There’s a lot wrong with this outreach email.

But the biggest issue is that I don’t have a place on my site where a link to their content makes sense.

So I hit “Delete”.

That person would have had a lot more luck reaching out to a Content Curator.

Content Curators are just like they sound: people that curate their industry’s best stuff.

For example, you might have seen the SEO Marketing Hub that I created a few months back:

Well, because I got my content in front of Content Curators, I was able to get a handful of links to my site like this:

No arm twisting required.

Bonus #1: Find Question Keywords

QuestionDB is like Answer the Public.

But in my opinion it’s actually a little bit better.


First of all, it’s MUCH easier to use.

Unlike Answer the Public, with crazy charts and images of some bearded dude, the questions are laid out in a simple table.

And because QuestionDB focuses on questions that people ask on Reddit, you can find keyword and topic ideas that most other tools won’t show you.

Bonus #2: Rank For Brand Name Terms

Low competition.

High volume.

Great CPC.

I’m talking about brand name terms.

For example, look at these two keywords:

That’s right: Mailchimp gets searched for 280x more than “email marketing software”.

And it’s the same story with most categories:

The brand gets WAY more searches than the topic or category.

(The one big downside of targeting brand names is that you’ll never rank #1. But it can still be totally worth it)

That’s why I’ve started to publish content designed to rank for brand names.

For example, I have this BuzzStream review post on my site.

Not only does my page rank for “BuzzStream Review”:

But it also ranks high up on the first page for the popular brand keyword “BuzzStream”.

Now It’s Your Turn…

I hope today’s post showed you how to improve your SEO ranking.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the 17 SEO strategies from today’s post are you going to try first?

Are you going to target brand keywords?

Or maybe you want to try Snippet Bait.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.


  1. Interesting! I added TOC right away. Now I am going to try optimizing YouTube videos. I am new to YouTubing, so this helps!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Nice. That should boost the odds that you get sitelinks! 👍👍👍

  2. Another highly actionable piece. Everything is broken down into actionable steps, what have we done to deserve you brian?!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nathan. I try to avoid high-level strategy and fluff. Actionable stuff is much more fun!

    1. Thanks for this great article. Do you have any guide to rank for a brand keywords?
      I want to know more about “how to rank better for a brand keyboard? “

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        I don’t have a guide on that. But in general, the same SEO principles apply.

    1. Gowri Avatar Gowrisays:

      Loved the part about optimizing content for user intent. I agree with you that we all focus too much on search volume and overlook other aspects. Also found the part about ranking for new keywords really useful! My team used to always stay away from new keywords – but now I’m going to show them how we can capitalize on new keywords! 🙂

  3. Lubna Avatar Lubnasays:

    This post was really helpful, thank you so much.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Lubna.

  4. Thank you, Brian. Learn a lot from you.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Mona.

  5. You truly are a real genius. Some very incredible pieces of result oriented steps mentioned in the post. Really appreciate your guidance and analytical skills. Thanks for sharing great information.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks! 🙏

  6. wow Brian, this is another GOLD post! I am glad I clicked on the link from your newsletter, so much value in this post. easy to read, easy to understand, easy to act upon. you are doing amazing work for the whole SEO community.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Tom! I’m glad to hear that you learned some new stuff from today’s post. 👍

  7. Thank you Brian for having an impact on my SEO knowledge. I’ll forever be grateful. My blog now ranks in top 500k with less than 50 blog posts with 10k search visits a month. To be exact, 47 posts.
    Because i learnt one thing from you, not just pushing out content but put out content that has a search volume that you can complete on and rank well.
    The rest is history.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s awesome! Congrats. 🎉🎉🎉

  8. Amazing! The main point of these tactics are, anyone can apply easily without any extra tools. Very easy, simple but awesome and valuable ways. Thanks, Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to help 👍👍👍

  9. Hi Brian, awesome content always!

    From the 17 SEO Strategies you’ve mentioned, I will be going with the brand new keywords, especially those with low competition.

    There are always chances of ranking for that keyword in few weeks time.

    Thanks Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Joy, thank you. Nice! That’s actually something I’m going to put more emphasis on too. Those new keywords are tricky to find, but it’s GREAT when you do.

      1. I will be glad if you put more emphasis on finding low competition keywords on your subsequent posts.


  10. You are all time awesome.
    Thanks for another greate article.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Rumon. Glad you liked today’s post.

  11. Excellent. Alot of new things to try. I love the last one brand searches. May i know how much traffic are you getting with brand searches.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Advik. I rank for quite a few so I’d have to do some math to figure that out.

  12. Awesome stuff as usual Brian 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Graham.

  13. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for this. Hopefully I can translate these ideas on our venue blog. Please let me know if you have ever done any Squarespace SEO tips too as its hard to rank Squarespace websites compared to WordPress.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Travis, you’re welcome. I might do a Squarespace SEO post in the future. I don’t have a ton of experience with Squarespace so I’d need to run some experiments first.

      1. Thanks Brian, really appreciate it.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you 👍 👍 👍

  14. Another great piece of content from the Master!
    Thanks, Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Sylvester, you’re welcome. Let me know how it goes.

  15. Another great piece of content. You never seize to amaze me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tahsin 👍

  16. Loved your solutions and tips, especially Tip #8. Creating statistical content that journalists can refer and use to not only promote your site but validate their articles makes a lot of sense. Any tips on how to aggregate data cheaply? Thank you for your million-dollar content as always!

  17. Brian, you always come up with an awesome article :).

    Keep Rocking

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  18. Another awesome post. I need to make sure I’m up to the par on all of these in order for my site to rank for the proper keywords. Thanks for putting this up. Just what I needed to review.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Darshana, you’re welcome. These should definitely help your rankings (that’s the idea anyway 🙂 )

  19. Hello Brian,

    Very nice article. Honestly, some tips still out of my reach as I am a nub here but I would go first with broken link building strategy..wish me good luck!



    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Angelina. Keep me posted on how things go.

  20. Repurpose content into different formats : when well executed, it’s amazing!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Definitely! I think repurposing has a bad name because people just reuse the same exact content. Like you said, it has to be executed well to really work.

  21. Landed here via Email
    As always you are rocking with amazing tips Brian.
    Can you please write a detailed article with tips and tricks for LOCAL SEO.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks. Local SEO is definitely on my list of topics to cover.

  22. Francesco Avatar Francescosays:

    When you talk about ‘Ghost Posts’ i’m a little bit confused. Are you trying to say that we can write posts (skyscraper for example) and rank also if we haven’t backlinks? What about the authority of the site? Better content = better rankings, beside Site Authority? Thanks for your great content!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Francesco, I’m more saying that you can better gauge a keyword’s difficulty by putting something out there. That way, you know if it’s worthwhile to invest the same and energy to make a Skyscraper post. Does that make sense?

      1. It makes sense.

  23. Hey, Brian…

    I have been using some of your techniques to build links to my brand new site. Its a bit of a grind but I have recently landed a link with the content curator technique…

    I have also tried broken link building but most of the pages that I have found with broken links are from some outdated website which I don’t get a response after doing my outreach…

    I already know that the conversions rates are low on outreach.. but if there are any tips you might recommend would appreciate it…

    P.S: I have recently done a guest post and gave you a mentioned and a link. though I might give you a heads up.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Congrats Floyd! To answer your question: a big part of the success depends on how much your content replaces the old content… or is a good fit for that page in general. In the example I gave, my CRO guide wasn’t 1:1 replacement for the dead link. But it did make sense for people to add it to their pages because they tended to be “list of CRO resources” type things. Hope that helps.

      Also, thanks for the mention + link!

  24. Wow, Brian.

    You’ve just given me couple of new ideas for my website. Thanks for sharing your knowledge in here. You are a real Pro in SEO.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Kris, happy to help. Keep me posted on how things go.

  25. THANKS Brian! You always offer awesome insight with action items! You Rock!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Ryan. 👍👍👍

  26. Brian, it’s a great article. I have a question about the ghost posts. You whipped up a quick post and published it on the 4th page of your blog feed. Why do you mean by 4th page of your blog feed?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Andy, I mean that instead of /blog, I published it at https://old.backlinko.com/blog/page/4. The post wasn’t final yet so I didn’t want a ton of people to see it yet.

      1. It is clearer now. Thanks Brian.

  27. On using custom graphics for backlinks, this has changed the game for me (while keeping some of our designers MUCH busier).

    Do you think the tag below it matters much? I usually do something like “Graphic by Regex SEO” or “Illustration by Regex SEO”. Thoughts?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Same here Ryan. It’s kind of a pain to create so many custom graphics and charts (we’ve created almost 1k in the last year alone!). But totally worth it.

      I haven’t tested it, but I don’t think the tag makes much of a difference.

  28. As always, amazing content, free of charge. Now the hard work is implementing these improvements to the website!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Scott! Exactly, implementing is the tough part (especially if you have 100 other things going on).

  29. This post is the topic of conversation in my blogging mastermind group this week. We are all going to pick 1-2 strategies to implement right now and report back to the group (there are 5 of us). Divide and conquer! Thanks for a post packed with strategies we haven’t tried yet!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Leah, that’s awesome 😃! Keep me posted on how the strategies work for you.

  30. Another golden article, thanks Brian!
    But I can’t help to wonder how much time it takes for us “mortals” to rank with ghost posts and similar, after all Backlinko authority is (deservedly) high and doesn’t that make it a bit easier? Not to undermine your incredible effort though..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey John, that’s a really good point. If your site doesn’t have much authority, Ghost Posts might not be helpful. But as long as you have SOME authority, you should at least be able to see how competitive a keyword is with a quick Ghost Post.

  31. I’ve been following you since April this year. Your blog posts are truly helping out new bloggers like me especially on SEO.

    Thank you, Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Michael, happy to help. Hope the new blog is going well.

  32. Hi Brian,

    Your content is always excellent. I really admire your ability to present the content: always clear, actionable and with a lot of visuals.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you. I appreciate that. It takes some extra work to get posts like this all together. But I think it’s worth the extra effort.

  33. Brian,
    All great ideas and I think the best way is to put them all into a check list for me to do. Although, I am getting ready to make another post on my site, I found that the Question DB will be perfect to incorporate into the current project to start with.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Joseph, Awesome! Yup, Question DB has been super helpful for me too.

  34. I read it with interest. Nice fixes, thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  35. Woow,
    Nice, so by using table of content you may land the position 0 on Google?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      In my experience, the table of contents is more helpful for getting sitelinks. But having your page structured like that can definitely help you rank in the position #0 spot.

  36. This is basically my to-do list for the next month or so. Thanks Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      haha nice! Let me know how it goes, Tony.

  37. Another amazing piece of content Brian. But it’s useless if we don’t put action to it. So I’m going to start trying out some of the methods and hope to see some results. For a new website, will these work and what do you think is a reasonable time to see results? I suppose I should use a serp tracker too.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Keith, thank you. And props for taking action. To answer your question: some of these strategies (like SnippetBait) are definitely geared towards established sites. Toa nswer your question: it’s hard to answer because that depends on your niche, keywords, current site etc. etc.

  38. Brady Avatar Bradysays:

    Hey Brian, awesome guide.

    Do you think small sites (let’s say DR 1-25) can take advantage of the ghost post tactic? Or do you think that sites with a higher DR will get the most out of it?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Brady. I’d say you need some DR for Ghost Posts to be a reliable indicator. I’d say DR25 is a good minimum. But yeah, bigger sites get the most out of it because their domain authority gives them a better idea of where they’ll rank with a full post.

      1. Brady Avatar Bradysays:

        Cool, that’s what I was thinking too. Thanks 🙂

  39. Ruchik Avatar Ruchiksays:

    Hey Brain,As always you have created an amazing content.I got some nice ideas to improve my SEO.However,I would love to read your article on topic how to get backlinks when you are not a big brand.

    You are such a big brand and you create an amazing content but what about those bloggers who are new to in this business and want to rank high?If you can create on article on that topic, I am sure people will love it so much.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks. It’s true that big brands have an edge. There’s no denying that. So if you’re just starting out, you have to put in the extra work to create something AMAZING that stands head and shoulder above what’s out there.

  40. Dear Brian
    Very deep and clear article on SEO. I am amazed how you have done research a lot of. How you know? And most important you are sharing also. That’s also reason you are outperforming. Good and God bless 🙏 you.

    Best Regards

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you 👍👍👍

  41. Hi Brian.

    Great article. I have this big fear for Youtube that I have decided to overcome. So I will create videos for Youtube to get more traffic. Hopefully, will some of them rank in Google 🙂

  42. Hi
    Brain I’ve been reading your posts for some time now and find them amazingly educational.
    However there is so much info on your site and on the web, sometimes it gets overwhelming. Do you have an article or a guide on how to start SEO and in what order you should tackle each task, i.e. keywords research, copy/content creation? link building. audit, and then all these other tips and ‘How to’ articles you write about?
    Especially for eCommerce sites, as we cannot write 2000 word product descriptions for all of our products, nor is it easy to get backlinks to an eCommerce site.

    Best regards

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Reece, I hear you on that. SEO can get really overwhelming really fast. I recommend checking out this guide that’s focused 100% on ecommerce SEO: https://old.backlinko.com/ecommerce-seo

      1. Wow thanks for the super fast reply Brian
        You’re a star!

  43. Brand name term is always my favourite and it works pretty well. So, now the time to implement all these is the real time game changer. Agree?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yup! It’s all about execution.

  44. junaid hamid Avatar junaid hamidsays:

    Great Post.
    I am going to work on snippet bait.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Nice! 🎉🎉🎉

  45. Really nice post, I’ve already implemented the first tip. Will let you know if that worked in two weeks as well :p

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Nice! I’m curious to see how it goes. Are you on the first page for that keyword already?

  46. Hello Brian,
    Your blog is enough for a newbie in SEO to become a pro. I can’t thank you enough for the great tips you share here. I would like to mention that writing articles on low result keywords has been the secret weapon I use to earn online. It works almost all the time.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ola.

  47. I’m really grateful for your generous post, Brian. I’m definitely going to implement TOC on some of my over 4k words posts, where I’m trying to become the source. 😉 And I will also use the stats on some new posts. Thanks to you, I also researched big keywords, which I’d stayed away from, and found that many of the high CPC and ranking articles are from 2014. Hoping some of my fresh new content helps rank me higher. Love what you do, sir!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Lilly, you’re welcome. And glad to hear that you’re looking into high CPC keywords. I used to be guilty of targeting keywords that have a bajillion searches per month. Volume is still important. But I try to pay attention to CPC when picking keywords to go after.

  48. Hi Brian,
    whats your thoughts on Schema data to improve the SEO rankings?

  49. Nice post Brian. Do you think “table of contents” should be used in every list post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      It depends a lot on the list post. For example, if you have 100+ items, a table of contents may not make sense. But if you can use one, I would.

  50. Another great read 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you, Joshua 👍👍👍

  51. Amazing content again. I was waiting for your content and saw on facebook. When are you going to write on SMO.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Nishant, I might have something on that soon.

  52. Thanks Brian. Helping me and to be honest, I have started blogging just because of your blog. I can easily understand via your articles.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome. Good luck with your new blog.

  53. Awesome post, Brian.

    I just added anchor links / jump links to one of my recent posts to try to get in on that sweet sitelink action :D. (I’d used them just for usability purposes on long posts before, but never realized the potential benefit in SERPs.)

    Brand new keywords sound super tricky to find — except for a ton of easy ones that come around every January: simply adding the year to whatever keyword you’re targeting. People can start getting traffic from “2020” keywords long before they show up with any kind of search volume in typical keyword-research tools, since their data lags. (Hat tip to Glen Allsopp, who I got that idea from.)

    And as a perfectionist (not in the sense that my work is perfect, but in the sense that I’m a slow writer)… I love the idea of the “ghost post”. What a great way to test the waters before committing to a full-fledged post (and its promotion).

    Will definitely be trying that one out.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Kyle, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Re: brand new keywords. They’re insanely hard to find for sure. They’re hard to find using a keyword research tool. And when they do show up, they tend to underestimate search volume by 10x. So right now I do it kind of manually: read a lot of stuff in my niche and take note of what’s trending.

  54. Hey, Brian…

    Thanks for the “Snippet Bait” technique. Now I am focusing on it.
    Wish me good luck.



    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good luck.

  55. Finally! Another great post from brain! I think silp structure is also a ranking factor in 2019, isn’t it?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you. I’m not a big silo structure guy.

  56. Brian, I own and operate a small business in Florida (website below). I had someone build my site. I hired someone in Cambodia (they were referred) to do some SEO work on the site. They made some changes and stopped responding. I received some error message from Google saying my sight may not be seen on search engines. I have no idea how to fix it. My traffic was good, not great but seems to have nose dived. When I watch these videos and login to WordPress I am completely overwhelmed. If this sight doesn’t start producing soon it may put me out of business. Are you for hire or can you refer me to someone at least to make whatever fixes are necessary? Thanks 🙂 Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Kevin, I don’t do any client work or consulting. But for something like this, you definitely want someone with SEO experience to take a look. I recommend looking for a freelancer on a place like getcredo.com or upwork.

  57. rolo Avatar rolosays:

    Hello Brian,

    I always read your awesome content. Thanks for so much!

    I hope you can help me with this:

    I plan to leave WordPress and move to a web builder called “TILDA”
    (much simpler for a non techie guy like me, and I liked it better than WIX)

    Do all your seo strategies work with any web builder or do some just apply to wordpress? Do you think wordpress is a must to improve seo?

    Thanks for your advice Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Rolo, I’ve never tried TILDA before. It’s obviously your call. But my recommendation would be to stick with WordPress. That said, 99% of the SEO strategies that you read about here on Backlinko apply to any site running on any site builder.

      1. rolo Avatar rolosays:

        Thanks! 😉

  58. When you mentioned 4th page of the blog, it reminds me of a post which we did a few while ago, but forgot to update the date when we did the content upgrade. Side benefit of reading Backlinko!

    Other than that, Just noticed that the backlinks from a typical page here is kind of like more than our entire website combined. Obviously we’re in a tinier niche, but someone needs to do some catch up!


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Tom, nice! And thank you for your kind words.

  59. Hi Brian,

    Great content! Love it… 🙂

    I have a question regarding the Youtube embed. What do you think of lazyloading a youtube VID replacement with image.

    In one way it increases the site speed and less external load/scripts. But you are also missing out an external link to a Google domain.

    Maybe Google even corrects/filters for Youtube video’s.

    Curious what your thoughts are. We are going to experiment the coming weeks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Jeroen, that’s interesting. I haven’t tested that but it should definitely speed things up. On the other hand, you don’t really have a video there
      that might keep someone’s attention longer.

  60. Great article, Brian! As a video guy myself, I love your point #2 where you recommend embedding videos as I do that too. My concern is that although more visitors stay to watch the video, doesn’t video embedding slow load time thereby causing another Google issue?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Dan, good question. Yes, embedding a video slows things down a little bit. But it’s not so bad. YouTube only loads basic video info and the thumbnail until the person hits “play”. It’s similar with Wistia.

  61. Hi Brian,

    It seems actionable items for any website. I specially like your bonus tip i.e. questionsdb

    Keep sharing wonderful content as always.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nilesh

  62. Hey Brian

    i want to thank you with all your great tips and ideas.
    This has really rocked our site to first place …

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Wouter. Glad to hear that.

  63. Hey Brian,

    Great idea with the “snippet bait” idea.

    I’ve explored this area but never thought about adding in a section to really draw out the potential.



    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Chris. Snippetbait doesn’t work 100% of the time for me. But it definitely boosts the odds of getting in the Featured Snippet spot.

  64. This is a pure gold information Brian. I along with 2 of my friends have just started a technology based, how information site. We haven’t started yet with the SEO part, however with these actionable tips I am sure soon we will start to gain some rankings.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good. Best of luck with the new site.

  65. This page is just full of gold. Such awesome information, for some it may look like small adjustments but these changes can really make the difference out there. Thank you so much for sharing these valuable secrets.. Very much appreciated! I will study them with care 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Koen, you’re welcome. I tried to mix in quick win strategies (like snippetbait) and some more involved stuff (like Be The Source). So yeah, glad you enjoyed the post.

  66. Hey Brian! Thanks for sharing definitely useful! Just wondered, do comments (like this one) help your content rank better?

  67. Good stuff Brian. Looks like a good SEO hacks compendium to me. Some of these things I already knew, like adding a video on your site, but the majority of tips are pretty insightful. Definitely adding to my list of bookmarks and putting these tips to use. #6 and #16 are gold.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Slava, thank you. It’s pretty hard to create a list post with 100% brand new stuff. But I tried to feature as many new techniques as I could (or least add my own twist to existing strategies).

  68. The play button on the Reddit video does not play for me?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s a screenshot of a video.

  69. Brian, this is an amazing resource, especially for a newbie like me. I’ve bookmarked this for future reference as I progress. Big Thanks!

  70. Ian Avatar Iansays:

    I have also done some reviews on other brands. I can’t be sure but I don’t really think it helps me. I rank on the first page for some brands – even competitors but I am not sure if it helps at all.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ian, by “help” do you mean traffic? Conversions? Both?

  71. Bringing it again Brian – great post, love the snippet bait idea

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Wade, thank you! Featured Snippets are slowly taking over the SERPs. So I’m glad I at least have one strategy I can use to take advantage.

  72. Oooooh… I love the idea of using concept visuals. Looks like Canva is going to come in handy here. 😃 As always, a big thank you, Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Priscilla. Yup, Concept Visuals are great. Personally, I’m terrible at graphic design so I’m useless with Photoshop and Canva, LOL.

  73. WOW it is not often that I get to use the words “Treasure Trove” but that is exactly what I found here on on Backlinko! Arrrrr 🙂

    But seriously thank you I seen a few of these things but it takes hours of searching and to have so many top strategies in 1 place is gold for us newbies (actually an SEO Oldie getting back in the game lol) Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Kevin, thank you. I’m glad you learned some new stuff (or at least got a refresher on some older SEO strategies from back in the day).

      Also, nice pirate reference!

  74. Great post! So many great tips, I’ll have to keep coming back for memory refreshers! The tips that stand out the most for me right now are the one about statistics, the one about graphics, and the one about pitching to content curators, and the one about including videos in your posts. And the one about Questions DB!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Rebecca, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. Yup, QuestionDB was a nice little find that I’ve been using quite a bit lately.

  75. What an amazing post! It’s probably the first post I’ve ever bookmarked so I can utilize all these sweet hacks! Thanks for sharing it all with us. Anyways, I do want to ask what you recommend for content curation? I’d love to know!

    Thanks again 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Hollee, you’re welcome. Did you mean a tool for content curation?

  76. Embedding a video into your blog articles is a strategy we have been pushing clients to do for a while now and it works amazingly well for specifics type of content like reviews, HOW TOs etc.

    Great post Brian. Love it.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Andrew. It makes sense that videos would work even better for product review pages and how-to content. Videos usually do a better job of explaining that sort of thing than text.

  77. One thing that you always do on your blog post, you always add “2019”. Are that good for any reason and next year do you will change to 2020?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I add that to emphasize that these strategies are new. Also, lots of people search for “keyword + year” in Google.

  78. Really awesome post again! I got idea of what I need to rank a 50+ KD keyword. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  79. Hi Brian,

    I’ve been reading your blog for more than 2 years and I love it. This is the first time that I leaving you a comment.

    I’ve 2 simple questions:

    ・Ghost Post: Don’t you think that the Authority that you and Backlinko has, was the factor that made you easily rank for the keyword “best free SEO tools.”
    ・ How did you find out that “link building services” was having a big CPC? I know that you Ahrefs tell you but I mean, how did you actually find that keyword? Any idea to make this process faster.

    Another great post, thanks Brian!

    My two favorite tips in this post were Target Keywords With BIG Commercial Intent and Link intersect.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Alfred, thanks for your comment. To answer your questions:

      Ghost posts: It made it easier for sure. Domain Authority is a super important ranking signal. The idea of the Ghost Post is more to let me know how hard it will be to rank. Actually getting to #1 is a different story.

      Link building services: You can actually sort the results in Ahrefs and SEMRUsh by CPC. That’s what I do.

      1. I didn’t know about that I can sort the result by CPC.

        Thanks for your answers. Both were very helpful. 😀

  80. Hassan Ahmed Avatar Hassan Ahmedsays:

    Hi Brian,

    It was such a great piece of content. All the tips and strategies you shared are highly actionable.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome. It’s all about taking action!

  81. As always great content Brian.

    The snippet bait is very interesting, are you not using any type of markup for the snippet to work?

    And, besides being up to date and “firstmover” – do you have any tips or tools to finding new keywords before anyone else?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Morten, that’s right: no markup. Just normal HTML.

      To your second question, at the moment I just read about SEO and digital marketing to keep on top of things. Then, I use a keyword tool to see how people search for that topic. It’s honestly not the greatest system. I definitely wish there was a better way.

  82. Great post with proven SEO 2019 strategies. Brian, you are my favorite in SEO and link building.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you 👍👍👍

  83. Hi Brian,

    Great content!
    I try a lot of way to get “featured snippets”, now I will try yours.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Jacky.

  84. Hello Brian,
    Love your post.
    But I have one question in mind. You put so many high-quality images on your blog post which makes the site load slower. Doesn’t it affect ranking? If not how is it possible? Because I have seen some of your post which loads slower ranking on top 10?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Suraj, it’s a balance. I bet I’d get slightly higher rankings by removing images. But that would make our content much worse. My #1 priority is putting out the best stuff that I can. If that slows things down a little, so be it.

  85. Thank you for all these great tipps! I took notes while reading them and will start with Snippet Baits. QuestionDB was new to me and I’ll work on some concept visuals.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good, Freddy. Keep me posted on how things go.

  86. I liked the “Ghost Post” technique, but I did not understand one thing. You mentioned that you’ve published the post on page 4 of your blog, how did you do that? Or I’m missing something?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That requires a little WordPress tweaking. But it depends on your theme.

  87. Thank you for this great content.
    You are right, embedding videos actually helps to improve the bounce rate. I did an A/B test and it actually showed an 7% better bounce rate than the page without the video. Thank you so much.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Lisa, you’re welcome. 7%? That’s interesting. Very similar to what we found (11%). Good to see that it also worked for you!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Matt

  88. Hi Brain,
    You post is so great. I have a question over here. Can I use multiple anchors for a single url on a single page. let me explain, for example, I wrote an article for backlinking. I have a single domin name but want to use different keyowrds linking in my aritlce. Like
    Keyword #1 link to http://www.example.com
    Keyword #2 link to http://www.example.com
    Keyword #3 link to http://www.example.com

    different keywords phrases but single domian name on single blog/article page?
    hope you understood.

  89. As always, a very informative post, lots of actionable tips.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  90. Hi Brian, super nice piece of content, very helpful!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Etienne

  91. I really like your analytical articles, Brain. As always there is something to learn and something to think about. Thank you very much.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Vladamir, you’re welcome. Glad you liked it.

  92. Excellent post again especially liked point sixteen as it provides more helpful information about Keyword Ideas. And thanks for providing “SEO Marketing Hub.”

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tushar.

  93. Thats what I like about your work Brian, small changes with a huge win. Im glad that you can point out what to do so easy!


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Michael, definitely. Sometimes the smallest tweak can have a HUGE impact on your rankings.

  94. Love the snippet bait technique, and the example you gave for the Definition Snippet. Any chance you can provide examples for List and Table Snippets too?

  95. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for these brilliant tips.

    I’m wondering… if you are top 10 for a term but there isn’t a featured snippet for it, what then?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Claire, you’re welcome. It depends. If the keyword seems like a Featured Snippet would make sense (for example, it’s a term that could use a definition or there’s a list of steps or tips), I’d still try snippetbait. One other thing I’d keep in mind is that Featured Snippets tend to float in and out. For example, the keyword “how to get more subscribers on YouTube”. That featured snippet tends to appear (with us ranking in it) and disappear on a weekly basis. Just Google testing stuff out.

  96. Madiha jamal Avatar Madiha jamalsays:

    This is such a detailed guide. I learned a lot more new tricks. I will try the snippet bait technique first . Thanks for sharing 😊

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  97. Ben Donley Avatar Ben Donleysays:

    Love your stuff – Actionable stuff rocks – Now, if I can just get myself to be an action figure! Would love to hear your Local SEO strategies sometime. I’m going to try the Snippet-Bait first – Hope I nail it – Best to you!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ben

  98. Hi Brian, great opinion. But I am not totally understanding of how to get the ranking on google.
    For example, I want to get the first page rank of the keyword “cap manufacturers”, It shows very easy on Ahrefs but how can I do it now?
    Hope to get your reply.
    Thank you

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Morgan, I’m not sure what you mean. You mean how to rank for that keyword? That’s a tough thing to cover in a blog post.

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