17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings in 2021

17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings in 2021

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Jan. 07, 2021

17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings

Today you’re going to learn EXACTLY how to improve your site’s ranking in 2021.

In fact, these 17 techniques helped grow my site’s organic traffic by 88.18% over the last year:

Backlinko yearly organic traffic increase

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.

Using Page Speed in search

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.

Pages at the top of page one load faster than those at the bottom

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.

Google PageSpeed Insights – Backlinko

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.

WebPageTest result – Backlinko

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 year I’ve got my site to rank in 79 different Featured Snippets.

Like this:

Channel art – Featured snippet

And this:

Keyword research tools – Featured snippet

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.

Backlinko – Nofollow link

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

Featured snippet

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:

"What Are Nofollow Links?"

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

Nofollow links – Featured snippet

Nice.

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:

Low dwell time = Lower rankings

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:

Embedded videos can decrease bounce rate

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

Sometimes I make the video an entire step or tip:

"Discover Untapped Keywords on Reddit" step to video

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

"Boost click-through rate" topic to video

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?

Sitelinks.

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

Backlinko – Sitelinks in SERP

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.

Post sitelinks in Google SERP

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.

“How to get more YouTube subscribers” 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 few years ago.

Backlinko – Google Search Console

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

The post is full of actionable tips:

Google Search Console post content

It even has a custom design:

Google Search Console post – Custom design

Despite being a very solid piece of content, it only has 353 referring domain links:

Ahrefs – Google Search Console – Referring domains

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

Backlinko – Voice search SEO study

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

But this piece of content has 1.21K referring domain links:

Ahrefs – Voice search SEO study – Referring domains

(That’s 3.4x 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.

Search Engine Journal mention of Backlinko "Voice Search" study

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, a while ago I started targeting keywords like “link building services”.

Backlinko – Link building services

This keyword doesn’t get that many searches:

"link building services" keyword Search Volume

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

"link building services" keyword CPC

(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.)

Google SERP – Link building services

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 was targeting the keyword “how to get more traffic”.

Backlinko post "Increase Website Traffic"

Unfortunately, it was stuck in the #4 spot.

Google rankings for "how to get more traffic"

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

Stuck under video results in Google SERPs

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

"how to get more traffic" YouTube video

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

Google video results for "how to get more traffic"

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 currently has 10.6K links to its “US Student Loan Statistics” page:

Ahrefs – Student loan debt statistics – Backlinks

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.

Student Loan Debt Statistics page

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:

Google SERP – Student loans debt statistics

Why does this work so well?

Think about it:

Who searches for “Topic + Statistics” keywords?

Journalists!

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.

User Intent section from Skyscraper Technique post

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:

Old Backlinko post "SEO Campaign"

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.

Google Analytics – Shot of Backlinko traffic 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”):

Snippet about Guestographics from SEO Campaign post

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.

Backlinko – SEO campaign

Sure enough, those changes dramatically improved our search engine ranking. In fact, the new version of the post now ranks in top 3 for that term:

Google SERP – SEO campaign

10. Try Content Partnerships

I’m a BIG fan of Content Partnerships.

Why?

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.

Single-author content has limited reach

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:

Content partnerships increase your content's reach

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

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

Backlinko – Content study

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

Google Analytics – Traffic for Content Study post

11. Repurpose Content Into Different Formats

In 2019. 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.

How to Get More YouTube Subscribers – Video

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

Conversion of "How to get more YouTube subscribers" video to 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.

Search engine traffic for "/how-to-get-youtube-subscribers" post

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

Google SERP – Get more YouTube subscribers

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:

Time Doctor – 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:

Backlinko – Conversion rate optimization

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

Time Doctor in Ahrefs

Then I clicked on “Outgoing Links” → “Broken links”:

Ahrefs – Outgoing links – Broken links menu

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

Broken links for Time Doctor in Ahrefs

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:

Brian's outreach email to Time Doctor

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

TimeDoctor's reply to outreach email

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:

Ahrefs – Link intersect homescreen for Moz, Ahrefs and SiegeMedia

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

Ahrefs – Link intersect "Doesn't link to homescreen" section

And voila!

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

Ahrefs – Link intersection results screen

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:

How?!

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.

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

For example, in 2019. I created a guide optimized around the growing term “Voice Search”:

Backlinko – Optimize for 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:

Google SERP – Voice search

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:

Image backlink from Monitor Backlinks blog post

And this:

Image backlink from Convince and Convert post

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:

"Windows 10 desktop searches made by voice" visual

Next, feature that visual in your content.

"Windows 10 desktop searches" visual – Used in post

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

"Windows 10 desktop searches" visual – Image backlink from WideInfo

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:

NutritionData – Glossary section

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:

Mega list of keyword ideas from Keyword Planner

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

Bad outreach email

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 while ago:

Backlinko – SEO Marketing Hub

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:

SEO Marketing Hub - Backlink from AuthorityAlchemy's link roundup

No arm twisting required.

Bonus #1: Find Question Keywords

QuestionDB is like Answer the Public.

QuestionDB – Homepage

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

Why?

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.

QuestionDB – Report for "paleo diet" keyword

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.

QuestionDB – Report for "paleo diet" keyword sorted by topic

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:

Branded .vs. Unbranded search volumes

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.

Backlinko – BuzzStream outreach

Not only does my page rank #1 for “BuzzStream Review”:

Google SERP – BuzzStream review

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

Google SERP – 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.

318 Comments

  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.

        Thanks.

  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. Jacob Avatar Jacobsays:

    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!

    Thanks,

    Angelina

    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. Floyd Avatar Floydsays:

    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.

    Greatings
    Kris

    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://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
    Lalit

    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
    Reece

    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://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.

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