How to Launch an SEO Campaign [Template Included]

How to Launch an SEO Campaign [Template Included]

I’m going to show you exactly how to start an SEO campaign.


The best part?

You’re going to see LOTS of real life examples of these steps in action.

Let’s dive right in…

About The Author

I’m Brian Dean.

Over the last few years I’ve launched dozens successful SEO campaigns… like this one that boosted my Google traffic by 20.43%:

SEO Campaign – Traffic increase

In fact, the strategies from this guide have helped me rank #1 in Google for popular keywords, like “YouTube SEO”:

"YouTube SEO" SERPs

And now it’s time to show you exactly how I did it, step-by-step.

Step #1: Find Keywords

Keyword research is the first step of any successful SEO campaign.

Specifically, you want to create a list of 10 target keywords.

And I’ll show you exactly how to do that right now.

1. Find Keyword Ideas With the Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool from Google.

Google Keyword Planner

The great thing about the Google Keyword Planner is this:

All of the data comes straight from Google.

To use it, just enter a word or phrase into the “Find new keywords” field:

Google Keyword Planner – Enter phrase

And you’ll get a list of keyword ideas:

Google Keyword Planner – Results

I’ll show you how to choose the best keywords from this list later on.

But for now, just jot down the 5-10 keywords that are most closely related to your business…

Keywords in Google Sheet

…and move onto our next strategy.

2. Try Keyworddit

If you want a way to find outside the box keyword ideas, fire up Keyworddit.


Unlike most keyword research tools, Keyworddit pulls keyword ideas directly from Reddit.

Keyworddit – Results

To be clear: this tool doesn’t work for every industry.

(For example, if you target an older crowd, your audience might not hang out on Reddit all that much)

But in most cases, you can use it to find a handful of untapped keywords that aren’t super competitive.

3. Find Long Tail Keywords With KWFinder

KWFinder is designed to give you LOTS of different keyword ideas.


Which means it’s great for uncovering low-competition, long tail keywords.

KWFinder – Results

4. Steal Your Competitors’ Keywords

Here’s where you steal the exact keywords that your competitors’ already rank for.

To do this, you’ll need to use a tool, like SEMRush or Ahrefs.

SEMrush / Ahrefs

No matter what tool you end up using, the process is exactly the same:

First, find a competitor that’s doing really well with their SEO.

Then, pop that competitor into the tool:

SEMrush – Backlinko

And you’ll get a complete list of keywords that the site ranks for:

SEMrush – Backlinko keywords


5. Choose Your 10 Keywords

Now that you have a list of keywords, it’s time to choose the best 10 from your list.

But how to you choose the “best” keywords?

It’s simple. Pick keywords that have the best combination of these 3 key factors:

1. Low Competition: This is especially important if you’re just starting out. But even if your site is already established, you still want to go after keywords that aren’t super competitive.

So: how do you know if a keyword is competitive or not?

Your first option is to look at the search results:


If you notice that they’re packed with insanely authoritative sites, you probably want to go with another keyword.

And if you want a more accurate system, you can use a keyword research tool. Most tools have a feature that show you how competitive a keyword is:

KWFinder – SEO

2. High Search Volume: Now it’s time to see how many people search for the keywords on your list.

Obviously, the higher the search volume, the better.

That said:

Popular keywords also tend to be more competitive.

For example, 368,000 people search for “paleo diet” every month.

KWFinder – Paleo diet

But according to KWFinder, it’s also VERY competitive.

KWFinder – Paleo diet – Keyword difficulty

So you’d want to go with keyword that’s less popular… which means it’ll also be less competitive:

KWFinder – Paleo diet food list – Keyword difficulty

3. Customer Fit: Now it’s time to answer the question:

If you rank for this keyword, will you actually make money?

In other words:

You want to find keywords that your customers actually search for.

That said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be ready to buy something right that second.

For example, take my site:

Backlinko is an SEO training company.

In my case, people that search for “best SEO courses” would have an awesome conversion rate for my site.

Unfortunately, VERY few people search for super specific keywords like that:

KWFinder – Best SEO courses

That’s why I target keywords that my customers search for when they’re NOT looking for courses.

(Also known as: “informational” keywords)

In my case, I target terms like “Google ranking factors”, “link building strategies” and more.

Google Ranking Factors and Link Building

That said:

You still want to make sure people searching for information keywords will become buyers at some point.

To do that, just check out the “Top of page bid” in the Google Keyword Planner:

Google Keyword Planner – Top of page bid

This represents the PPC cost for a single click in Google Adwords.

And if people are paying money to advertise for a keyword, you better believe there’s money to be made.

Step #2: Publish Awesome Content

Now that you have a list of 10 keywords, it’s time to publish content optimized around those terms.

The question is:

How do you create content that’s primed to rank?

Keep reading…

1. Write Long, Comprehensive Content

Back in the day publishing short, 500-word blog posts worked really well.

Not anymore.

In fact, one industry study found that longer content clearly ranks best in Google.

02_Content Total Word Count_line

As you can see in that chart, there’s a clear correlation between word count and search engine rankings.

To be clear:

I’m not saying that you should write 3,000 words of fluff.

Instead, your goal is to cover an entire topic on one page.

(And it usually requires a lot of words to do that)

For example…

Earlier this year I decided to write a post about Mobile SEO.

Mobile SEO Guide

Instead of a post like “5 tips for optimizing your site for mobile devices”, I wrote a complete guide:

Mobile SEO Guide – Contents

And because my content covers EVERYTHING there is to know about mobile search engine optimization, it ranks in the top 3 of Google for my target keyword:

Mobile SEO – SERPs

2. Create Visual Content

There’s no doubt about it:

Visual content is CRUSHING it right now.

(Especially when it comes to getting social media shares and backlinks)

For example, Mike Bonadio runs a digital marketing agency in NYC.

Mike Bonadio

Last year one of his clients asked him to improve their SEO.

The problem was:

His client was in one of the most boring industries imaginable: pest control.

Which meant traditional content formats (like blog posts) were out.

Instead, Mike decided to create a piece of visual content: DIY Pest Control for the Savvy Gardener.

infographic animated gif

How did this content do?

The infographic he created for his client generated over 4,000 social shares:

Pest control infographic shares

An influx of backlinks from 28 different domains.

Pest control – Ahrefs

As you might expect, these links and shares boosted his client’s search engine traffic:

infographic traffic

3. Publish “Authoritative” Content

BuzzSumo recently analyzed 100 milion articles.

And they discovered two interesting things:

First, most content gets “zero” links or social shares.

Second, “authoritative” content is GREAT for getting links.


What is “authoritative” content?

It’s content that:

  • Is written by a legit expert
  • Isn’t regurgitated info
  • Brings something completely new to the table

Let me illustrate this with an example…

Last year I realized that voice search was growing fast.

But when I read articles about voice search, they all repeated the same info.

So I decided to create a piece of authoritative content on voice search SEO.

Voice Search SEO Study

And because that content contained so much original stuff (and was written by an authority in the field), it’s generated 500+ backlinks:

Voice Search SEO Study – Backlinks

And traffic:

Voice Search SEO Study – Sessions

Step #3: On-Site Optimization

Now that you’ve created a piece of high quality content, it’s time to the next phase of your SEO campaign: optimizing content.

As you probably know, SEO has changed A LOT over the last few years.

And in this step I’ll show you exactly how to optimize your site the right way.

1. Short, Keyword-Rich URLs

When it comes to on-page SEO, most people underestimate their URLs.

But as it turns out, your URLs are REALLY important.

URL Length_line

Specifically, you want your URLS to be short and keyword-rich.

For example, take this post from my site about SEO copywriting.

SEO Copywriting post

As you can see, the URL is only two words… and contains my main keyword.

SEO Copywriting – URL

2. “Frontload” Your Target Keyword

Whenever possible, put your keyword in the beginning of your title tag.

(Why? Search engines put more weight on terms that show up early on in your meta title)

Going back to my SEO copywriting post, you can see that I include that keyword early on in my title tag:

SEO Copywriting – Post title tag – Keyword appears early

(In fact, my title tag starts off with that term).

3. Use Keyword in First 150 Words

Next, use your target keyword in the first 150 words of your content.


When Google sees a keyword early in your page’s HTML, it lets them know that term is important.

For example, you can see that I use my target keyword within the first 20 words of this post:

SEO Techniques post – Keyword highlight

4. Internal Link

Now it’s time to use internal linking.

Specifically, you want to:

  1. Link FROM your new post TO other pages on your site
  2. Link FROM other pages TO your new content

These internal links help Google find and index all of your pages. They also send link authority around your site, which helps all of your pages rank better.

Internal links rankings boost

For example, let’s look at this post from my site.

Increase Website Traffic

As you can see, I included internal links that point to other pages on my site:

Increase Website Traffic – Internal linking

And I also link from other pages to that post:

Hub – YouTube traffic link

5. Sprinkle In Synonyms

Finally, include synonyms of your main keyword.

This helps give Google a deeper understanding of your content.

For example, let’s look at my post: 21 Actionable SEO Techniques That Work Great.

SEO Techniques post

My target keyword for this page is “SEO Techniques”.

So I made sure to optimize my content using the 4 tips I already showed you.

But I ALSO sprinkled in synonyms of “SEO Techniques”, like “search engine optimization strategies”…

SEO Techniques – Simile, Search engine optimization strategies

…and “SEO tips”:

SEO Techniques – Simile, SEO tips

No SEO campaign would be complete without link building.

That’s because links are still a VERY important part of Google’s algorithm.

08_Domain Link Authority (AHREFs Domain Rating)_line

And in this step I’ll show you how to build quality backlinks.

1. Email Outreach

If you’re serious about link building, you need to use email outreach.

Because the truth is this:

If you cross your fingers and HOPE that people link to you, you’re in for a world of pain.

(This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way)

But when you promote your content to people that have the power to share it, you can get legit links from authority sites.

For example…

Remember Mike Bonadio, the guy with the pest control client that I talked about earlier?

Well, Mike didn’t just publish his infographic and hope for the best.

Instead, he actively promoted it with email outreach:

Mike Bonadio – Email outreach and promotion

Because Mike wasn’t pushy or spammy, his campaign landed him backlinks from Lifehacker…

Mike – Lifehacker link

…and a popular newspaper website in Maine called The Bangor Daily News:

Mike – Bangor Daily News link

Pretty cool.

2. Guest Posting

I’ll be honest with you:

Guest posting doesn’t work as well as it used to.

That said, it’s still a solid link building strategy.

(When done right)

Specifically, to get the most out of guest blogging, follow these 2 simple rules:

Rule #1: Don’t use exact match anchor text.

Google doesn’t want your guest post links to use exact match anchor text, like this:

Exact match guest post

Instead, use branded anchor text, like this:

Branded anchor text

Rule #2: Post on related sites.

If your site is about coffee, don’t guest post on a site about digital marketing.

(Even if you can find a way to “make it work”)

Why? Guest posting on unrelated sites can get your site penalized.

For example, my site is about SEO.

So I make sure to only guest post on sites that are about SEO or closely-related topics like: social media, blogging, and content marketing.

Guest posts

3. Copy Your Competitor’s Links (Reverse Engineering)

Reverse engineering is a tried-and-true link building strategy.

All you need to do is use a tool like Ahrefs, Majestic or Moz Link Explorer to find a competitor’s inbound links.

Competitors inbound links

For example, my site has a link from this page.

Link from site

And let’s say that you’re one of my competitors.

Do you have an SEO stat on your site worthy of this list? Could you find one?

If so, you’d have a good chance of getting a link from that page too.

Step #5: Track Results

Your last step is to see how your SEO campaign performed.

To do that, we’re going to use two excellent (free) SEO tools: Google Analytics and the Google Search Console.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Track Organic Traffic With Google Analytics

A lot of people ask me:

“Brian, how do you know if SEO is working or not?”

My answer? Check your organic traffic in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics – Organic traffic

If it went up, then you’re on the right track.

If it went down? Then you probably want to change your approach.

(Note: SEO results don’t happen overnight. Depending on the niche, it can take weeks or months to see changes kick in. That said, if you followed the steps above, you should see SOME positive movement within 4-6 weeks)

And if you want to dig deeper…

2. Track Keyword Rankings With The Google Search Console

Google Analytics gives you high-level overview of how your search engine traffic changes over time.

But if you want to dig deeper, check out the Google Search Console.

Just like with Google Analytics, the Google Search Console tells you how many people came to your site from Google:

People who came to your site from Google

But it also tells you the exact keywords people used to find your site…

Google Search Console – Exact keywords

….and the pages that bring in the most organic traffic:

Google Search Console – Pages with most organic traffic

Bonus Step #1: Prune “Zombie Pages”

“Zombie Pages” are pages on your site that don’t add any value.

In other words, they’re pages that don’t bring in any traffic… or sales.

And when you delete Zombie Pages, you can find yourself with LOTS more search engine traffic.

(Why? Google updates like Panda mean that Google penalizes sites that have lots of low-quality pages)

For example, Sean Falconer is a Backlinko reader that wanted to improve his site’s SEO.

And the first thing he did was delete over 10k web pages from his site.

Deleting those 10k pages is one of the main reasons that he improved his site’s organic traffic by nearly 90%:

organic traffic increase in google analytics part 2

Sean isn’t alone…

Blogger James Pearson recently axed hundreds of blog posts from his site… and his organic traffic increased by 30%:

James Pearson – Huffington Post

Bonus Step #2: Optimize for RankBrain

It’s no secret that Google is getting REALLY smart.

(Just think about the last time you had to click over to the 2nd page of Google)

As it turns out, an AI algorithm called RankBrain is one of the secrets behind Google’s new-and-improved search algorithm.

RankBrain article

The question is:

How do you optimize your content for Google’s RankBrain algorithm?

Optimize for “User Intent”.

I’ll explain…

Google uses RankBrain to determine whether or not someone’s happy with the search results.

If a searcher likes a specific page in the SERPs, Google gives that page a boost:

Pogo stick effect 4

If not, they drop it down a few spots:

Pogo stick effect 3

That’s why it’s SUPER important that your page satisfies “User Intent”.

In other words:

Does your content give the searcher what they’re searching for?

For example, a while back I wanted to rank for the keyword “SEO tools”.

But before I wrote a single word of content, I asked myself: “What does someone searching for ‘SEO tools’ actually want”?.

And I realized the answer was: a thorough list of the best SEO tools on the market.

So I created a post optimized for that user intent: SEO Tools: The Complete List.

SEO Tools post – Backlinko

Because the page is optimized for User Intent, it ranks in the top 3 for my target keyword:

"seo tools" SERPs

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope this post helped show you how to create an SEO campaign from scratch.

(And gave you a template that you can use for future campaigns)

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which SEO strategy from this guide are you going to use first?

Are you going to start internal linking?

Or are you ready to start writing long, comprehensive content?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

    1. Hey Prince, sounds like a plan.

      Step #1 is to create an infographic people want to share. So I’d start with that 🙂

      1. This is the most solid advice. Great content with a nice promotional plan with go a long way. Crappy content – even with the best promotional efforts – won’t get shared naturally or picked up by the sites you *really* want to be on. Great case study. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

  1. Disappointed first time ever by brian post!
    Looking like it was just to give backlink to mike SEO agency and FCE Pest Control

      1. Exactly, it does rock. My heads spinning with great ideas for my site I have here in Oz and I will be crediting Mike and Backlinko for any content I use, or just their ideas !! Why are you using Brians exc FREE Info and then bagging him. Here in OZ, our polite way of saying pissoff is “Onya Bike”. so “Onya bike, this i9nfo rocks”. Brian Exc as always,Mike.

    1. Might have been just to give a link to Mike. But this is solid content marketing at its best. This is super solid advice for SEOs with clients in “non-sexy” injuries.

    2. Question for you then… how would you create a case study that didnt provide a sample walkthrough, images, quotes, and of course “links”? Rediculous! I bet you contemplated adding a nofollow link to your comment

  2. Wow, those are some super powerful links! Great article and another awesome way to increase organic search while getting some super link juice at the same time.

    A lot of good stuff to learn from this post.

      1. Hi Brian,

        This is a great post. It is so wonderful to see that these techniques don’t just work in the “healthy, wealthy and wise” niches but in a niche as “boring” as pest control.

        What this drove home for me especially is the fact that Mike put in the hard work. He put in e-mail pitches to 97 places and got 12 responses. A lot of bloggers and website owners are not willing to do that.

        I know when I started reading your blog I was like “Whoa, all that work ?” I know better now – especially when it comes to blogger outreach and getting those links.

        A second thing I enjoyed – you did not show us some website that was already getting 1000 hits per day and then grew that to 20,000 with your techniques. This is certainly relatable and is exactly where a lot of us are in our blogging journeys.

        Great post ! Thanks Brian.

        1. Hey Getrude, thanks!

          Absolutely, hard work is a big part of this. 99% of marketers aren’t willing to send 97 outreach emails 🙂

  3. Awesome case study. I’ve read that people are turned off by saying stuff like “it was mentioned in big site xyz” so I’ve always avoided that.

    Ill give it a try though

    1. Thanks Darren. It seemed to work well for Mike but it’s something worth testing. If it’s, “Hey I was featured in X and therefore you should feature me too” then I can see how that would come off as bragging.

      1. A good way to couch it might be to say “I think your audience will like this infographic, recently posted it and they got # comments and # shares”. This way you show them the value and social proof of your content.

  4. Great article. One of my client also have a boring niche. Pallet collars (wooden packaging boxes). Now it’s perfect time to try your strategy. 🙂

      1. Interested to see what you do with that, Karlis. What comes to my mind? The disastrous mess that occurs when the pallet collar fails — a spectacular mess of cutlery, chemicals, food, china spreading over an Indian highway. Can we get some chickens and a goat in that?

    1. Thanks Gary. Exactly! You can have success in any market with white hat SEO. Just takes a little bit of creativity.

  5. Hey Brian, a very interesting case study. I have often thought about creating or getting an infographic created but have enver taken action on it. Not at the top of my to do list. My niche detox really lends itself to infographics but I would never have thought about approaching other bloggers with the idea of sharing it on their site. Certainly looks like it’s worth persuing. Would you get a decent infographic created on Fiverr do you think?

    1. Hey Sandy, thanks. That does seem like a topic that would lend itself to infographics. I’m sure you might find something good on Fiverr, but I wouldn’t expect greatness…

      1. Hey Brian, on that note, who (or what group) do you recommend for creating the best infographics? I recall you mentioning some guy in the past but I can’t seem to find my notes on Infographics. Thank you, Joe

        1. Hi Joe, I actually only recommend specific providers that I use for SEO That Works students. But in general, I recommend hitting up sites like UpWork to find a designer that specializes in infographic design.

  6. Yet another Awesome post by Brian,

    I need help for Promoting a Service page (Have no blogs), How to do backlinks ?

    Thanks in Advance,

    1. Thanks Maria. Short answer=create a resource on your site worth linking to…and link to your service page from that.

        1. No problemo.
          Like I said, I’d create a crazy valuable piece of content on your site in a Shoulder Niche. Doesn’t have to be on that specific page.

          1. Thanko,

            But, there are more than 100 services, If the content is not in that page where should i place? and will there be any collision with other service pages?

        2. Hi Maria,

          In this case study, the resource was an infographic. Infographics are just one type of resource that you can use to attract links, and this blog is full of different ideas you can use as well.

          After taking a quick look at Buzzsumo, I’ve come up with a couple of topics you could build a resource around:

          1: How to pay less tax.
          2: Crazy tax advice from the IRS (eg. instructions to help drug dealers calculate their deductible expenses and taxable profit)

          These 2 topics came up a couple of times in content that went viral.

          Bear in mind that these are just a couple of topics I picked up on in a couple of minutes. If I was in your position, I might spend a few hours brainstorming to come up with lots of other related topics.

          I’m sure you can pick out some amazing ideas.

          Follow the steps in this post, and pretty soon you’ll have an appealing infographic. In the case study, the infographic was published in a blog post.

          Of course, that’s not an option for your site, as it isn’t a blog. One option is to add a new page to the site to host your new infographic.

          Then you would make a list of targets and reach out to them with a 2 step process.

          When people link to your new resource page, it will bring link-juice into your site.

          You can flow that link juice to the “Financial Advisors in New York” page with a link from the resource page.

          I have seen people use this technique to rank content that nobody would ever link to directly!

          I hope that all makes sense!

  7. Great stuff! It’s awesome seeing how infographics can help even “boring” industries. I bet a solid blog coupled with some decent content marketing could do great in the pest control industry.

    I’m about to finish up an infographic myself, your blog posts are definitely an inspiration on getting it put together. I’m pretty curious how it will do.

    1. Thanks Dallas. The format (like an infographic) is important for Guestographics. But like you said, Mike could have created some solid content as a text-based blog post.

      I highly recommend promoting your IG with the scripts that Mike used (or close variations). They work great.

  8. incredible post Brain. I also want to share a post that how i got traffic 0 to 469% in one day without any connection and also want let you know that how i got link from site and other smart links without any connection.

      1. First, i did launch a roundup post then make a infographic of that post. May be it could become your next case study 🙂

  9. Excellent, very detailed case study. Where the infographics was created? It is possible to know?

    Thanks, keep the excellent work!

    1. Thanks Luis. I actually don’t know who Mike used, but he’ll be around later today and will share his designer if he’s comfortable sharing.

  10. Awesome case study as always Brian.

    I’ve started using similar outreach emails each time I post a new blog article or guide – the results are much higher converting than a standard “hey here’s my new article, I’d love it if you linked to me”.

    I recently tried guestographics too, and that went well. Hoping to tap into this technique again for some other clients – this guide will definitely help for those in “boring” industries!

    One thing I’d add – I find it’s a good idea to let any sources know that you’ve used their work in your content, whether it’s a blog post or infographic. This has certainly worked in getting a few additional shares and even links from top influencers. 🙂

    1. Thanks Carl.

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this approach works better than straight-up link begging. Yet I see a lot of people beg and plead for links.

      Good call there. Sometimes I even include sources strategically for this exact reason 😉

  11. Great article, Brian. Props to Mike on the excellent follow through. I’ve been in the industry since 2000 and get energized every time I read one of your articles. Keep the goodies flowing 🙂

    1. Thanks Jonathan. I know, right? Mike killed it with this campaign.

      I’ll keep the good stuff coming. No worries there 🙂

  12. Great stuff as always Brian! This article couldn’t have come at a better time as we just recently started working with a pest control company. Looking forward to utilizing some of these techniques!

  13. i don’t know if i can try site in indonesian language, and i don’t know if it will be worth the effort. a really good case study…

    1. Did you read the post, Yudha? This can work for anyone that’s willing to create something of value and promote it.

      1. Hi brian, sorry if my comment yesterday offend you brian.

        I really like all of your case study, i have read a lot at backlinko.
        I think i have read every blogpost here.

        it give me so much , and i have try some.

        when i say, it doesn’t worth the effort, what i mean is for some method, the cost is much bigger than the return.

        i don’t know how to put it well. My english is not so good.

  14. Hey Brian another great case study. On thing I think will make this successful is so many people won’t bother with it, because it looks like a lot of work. (It is a lot of work, right?) Any idea what sort of time commitment this took to pull of?

    1. Hey Rob, thanks! Very well said. And you’re right. This IS a lot of work. I’m not sure how many hours Mike put in, but he’ll be around later today to answer questions.

    2. Hey Rob,
      Yes there is a decent amount of work that goes into this. Though, I think having your email scripts in place and using an outreach tool to help streamline the process makes it less daunting and helps speed things along. I wasn’t tracking the time commitment on this, but I’d say it was about 1-2 weeks of a solid push.

      1. Thanks Mike – absolutely confirmed that it’s a lot of work! Can you share what outreach tool you used? That would be really useful

      2. Hi Mike,

        Great case study and results, I’m sure it will continue to get great results for your client for years to come.

        Do you mean you spent 1 to 2 weeks working on it full time (on that job only)?

        Roughly how many hours was that?

        1. Hey James,
          The bulk of the work was in the prospecting stage and getting all your ducks in a row for outreach. I would say in all, it was roughly ~40-50 hours or so not including the research time which I wasn’t really tracking. Of course this was before my process was refined, so now it would probably take less time. 15% may not sound like a lot and by now it might even be higher than that. But for some businesses even a modest increase like that can mean thousands of dollars more a month that previously wasn’t there. Best of luck!

          1. Hey there Mike! Quick question – did you use your own email account to reach out? Or an email from the domain in which you were trying to get the traffic for the infographic?

    1. Thanks Jane. Actually, Mike doesn’t work at Backlinko (he has his own agency). But glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  15. Hey Brian,

    This is great!

    It was very nice seeing another rock-solid case study to prove that your methods work!

    This was indeed the whole step-by-step guide needed for lazy and newbies (like me) to get better at content promotion 🙂

    Thanks for sharing it..

    It’s AWESOME!

  16. Pretty cool case study. I bet that graphic gets even more viral with time. The biggest take away is the free authority backlinks!

    1. Thanks Gerald. Well this isn’t exactly free because Mike put a lot of time and invested in a pro design. But the ROI is definitely there 🙂

  17. Awesome, Brian! I’m going to do my best to follow this step by step, applied and modified for my niche.

    But I’m still not super convinced I can crack the code on “Wedding Post Production Services!” I’m hoping to report back with great results!

    Thank you always for your in-depth work that has already helped me gain ranking on my site. I had my first call yesterday from a lead who said she was just looking around on Google! 🙂

    1. Thanks Leon. You can totally do it!

      That’s where a Shoulder Niche comes in. It may be hard to create something on “Wedding Post Production Services”, but there are 1001 things you could cover for the more general topic of “weddings”.

      1. I will do my best, Brian! The tough part is my clients are professional wedding photographers, so it has to resonate with them. Thanks to your suggestions above I’m excited to do some work on this! 🙂

    2. Hi Leon,

      My brain just started ticking over when I was reading about your niche. I have a lot of photographer friends in North America and was pondering your services and how to get them out there.

      Have you ever thought about also promoting to the average Jo blow who is not a wedding photographer. Someone who say has taken a great photo but has no way to touch it up or no idea how to do so?

      How about parents who take pictures of their kids on the first day of school. Or even at Christmas when there are Santa booths around and they are in a quick rush to get those photo’s out.

      You have a great market to work with besides weddings.

      Also why not ask your clients for advice.. ask them what they would be interested in seeing some stats on.. is there a wedding photographer infographic out there which talks about what each state is charging.. how many hours on average they allocate for editing.. what cameras they are all using in 2015… are they niche photographers.. i.e they work with a certain religion.. or second marriages etc. How many say they would travel to another country to film a wedding.. what about do they have a certain distance they are willing to travel at all… oh and another one that often pops up from my photog friends.. what are the stats on people who have had their work stolen online and no credits.. etc etc

      Cheers Dianne.

  18. Hi Brian,

    Great post. I was wondering with your construction topic example – who would we promote it to? For example there’s no bloggers in construction?

    1. Hi Jason,

      I used to think there were no bloggers in construction, too. But I recently discovered a bunch of them for a project I worked on recently.

      I found them using Alltop, which is mentioned in this case study.

  19. This is awesome!!

    Exactly what I needed at the right time.

    One question from a broke marketer. Instead of “send to a designer”.

    Where can I make or hire someone to make an infographic if I have all the stats and info?

    Fiverr, freelancer, odesk. Or try myself but who has the best FREE graphics to use? CANVA

  20. Brian,

    What an awesome example of how marketing processes work, no matter what the subject! I loved this article, it’s not only very descriptive (both informatively and visually) in the exact methods to get results, but it also does a great job of showing the benefits of following those methods.

    I really appreciated that you didn’t just stop with the first method that helped Mike gain traffic…promotion doesn’t stop after the first go-round and I’m glad you chose to expand on that. While creating amazing content is critical (great job on the infographic by the way, Mike!)…promoting the content correctly is the best method to see real results.

    Thanks again for such a helpful article, I’ll be sure to share!



    1. Hey Andrea, very solid point. In many ways, promotion is everything. Just like you wouldn’t stop with a first draft of your content, you shouldn’t stop with round one of your content promo 🙂

  21. Hey Brian,
    This is an awesome article, specially for me as i have just entered into digital marketing and I am finding it really exciting. As you mentioned that “fitness” niche is really exciting, I second that as I am currently handling Fitness based website but not able to get good traffic. Can I have your input on how I can increase organic traffic with similar impact which Mike did for Pest Control website?

  22. Brian, fantastic article! I love your writing style, the detailed step-by-step, and the analytics behind it. Found it both inspiring and actionable. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Benjamin. A lot of effort goes into each and every post (mostly to make them actionable) so it’s nice to hear that I’m close to the mark 🙂

  23. Great tutorial for how to get traction in social media. However, I’m not sure pest control is boring. If you’ve got a garden and the bugs are eating up everything you plant … you’re desperate to find a solution! And if you want to be enviro-friendly, even more.

    Dog chewing might start out being boring…unless you’re looking at a big hole in your couch!

    1. Thanks Cathy. Good point. Mike’s client (as far as I know) do garden pest control. So if he only looked at things through the lens of his client’s services, he wouldn’t have unearthed this great topic (pun intended).

      Either way, as you said, “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder. It’s on us as marketers to make things interesting.

  24. Brian hi,
    Great case study.
    One thing that’s missing is – what Subject did Mike use for his intro emails.
    The first hurdle is to get people to actually read the email.
    Thanks, Ben

    1. Thanks Ben. Good question. Mike will pop in later today to answer questions like this one. Personally, I use something like “Infographic about TOPIC” or “Infographic TOPIC”. I like to keep it simple 🙂

    2. Hey Ben,
      I think it’s in the email screenshots, but it was something like:

      Hey [NAME], about your site

      I didn’t do a lot of testing with the subject lines, but that seemed to work pretty well. I do like putting their name in the subject line as I think that helps grab their attention a bit more.

    1. Johnson, you know you could make an infographic around the topic of your post.

      In fact, you could make 9 (one for each strategy).

      You could make them one at a time and promote each one to the max.

      And as a bonus, readers would want to read about the other 8 methods, so the traffic you get from referrals would be very targeted.

  25. Interesting case study Brian, I have an infographic coming out in September so I’m excited to see how email outreach within the guestographic technique help to push it up the rankings!

    1. That’s good timing, Giles. Guestographics should help you get more exposure, links, placements etc. for your infographic.

  26. Hi Brain,

    Such a great post I read it twice. Just a quick question. I’m assuming we should never put a link in our first email? I’m torn between ensuring my efforts of writing an email are rewarded because even if they don’t reply, they can see my link if they wanted to compared to writing an email with no link and no reply. Seems like it could be a lose lose situation?

    Keep up the great work! Love your stuff!

    1. Hey Jason, Good question.

      There’s pros and cons to either approach. In my experience of sending over 10k outreach emails, people that link generally reply. So that’s not something you need to worry about too much.

      1. Very good point Brian. I was looking through all the comments to see if anyone had touch on tracking the “backlinks” from either version of the outreach emails.

        From a business perspective, this strategy helps with traffic and search engine rankings. Do you have a method for tracking leads generated from an infographic?

        This particular infographic is not posted on the FCE website (at least I couldn’t find it). Is that part of the strategy?

        1. Luis, you can definitely track things in GA by looking at how the traffic source (in this case a site that shared your infographic) links to a conversion.

    2. Jason,
      I’d recommend you don’t put a link in your first email as it turns people off and comes off strong and a bit spammy.

      What I do is if they don’t reply to my first ‘feeler’ email, then my second email to them will be a direct pitch with my link.

  27. Valueable case study, I will try this in blogging niche with some more strategies to make this case study more useful.


  28. Hey Brian,
    very very good piece of content. One question: do we know whether Mike’s client got any business – new clients – from all this shoulder niche traffic? That’s what they were after in the first place…

    1. Hey Dan,

      Good question. Considering their rankings went up for “exterminator NYC”, I’d say it helped them land some new clients :-).
      But Mike will be able to answer that better than I can.

    2. Hey Dan,
      Yes, even though the referral traffic was ‘shoulder’ traffic, it allowed us to get some awesome links that boosted us for the main keywords that drive sales. Sales for the client definitely increased due to the efforts from this campaign.

  29. Brian,

    You always post a topic that SEO industry is looking for, since I started my venture into online and started studying SEO from topics to topics and my search continued for good valuable topics because most of what I found was old or either limited with the information i.e. details were not provided. Anyways, since I found your site I had been reading topics that are shared here and I can say that your topics are complete and they have real useful information. I was reading this post in the morning in the train and I noticed that there was only one replay so I figure once I replay I will be on the top but I just saw a huge amount of replies. The reason why I entered SEO world was because as I started building my own ecommerce site I was very limited with the budget so I decided to do it myself and now I have very good knowledge and have been doing it okay but I’m looking to take it to next level… Well, this blog was very useful as I am just in the process of starting blog on my site. By the way, I would like to get in touch with you, what is the best way to get a hold of you?

    Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards,
    Shariq K

    1. Hey Shariq, that’s right. Most SEO bloggers leave all the details out…even though that’s the most important part! The best place to reach me is via my contact page/form.

  30. Nice post Brian, way to reinforce some of the strategies you’ve suggested in the past. As you’ve said before, the great thing about “boring” industries is that it’s hard for everyone to links. I have a client in a similarly boring industry and with just a few links we were able to get some great results. This goes to show you don’t necessarily need a million links, just some creativity to get more traction than your competitors. I think the biggest takeaway here is to go after shoulder niches and spend time researching topics that will have wider appeal.

    1. Thanks Daniel.

      Very well said. I love working in traditional, “boring” niches because most of my competitors gave up on white hat SEO. As you said, a handful of high-quality links can make all the difference in the world.

  31. Brian, this is just awesome. A few month ago, i also made an effort to make an awesome infographic for one of my sites. however, i did not do email outreach and therefore got moderate results ..
    The 2 step Approach to email is something new that i learned. I definitely gonna try it next time i make Infographic for my sites.

  32. Great article Brian. But I wanted to ask you a couple of things : In the graphics I see that the traffic increased only for a couple of days? Did that kept in the future? And how many articles a week did he wrote about his client?

    1. Thanks Ivailo.

      Good question. Like any content marketing campaign, traffic dies off after a while. But importantly, his client’s organic traffic stayed up over time.

      I’m not sure how many articles Mike wrote, but he’ll be around later today to answer questions.

    2. Hi Ivailo,
      The infographic was used as a means to get what really mattered – quality links to the site. Referral traffic eventually died off, which is fine anyway since the target customers are not gardeners. But the links that were produced from the campaign boosted rankings & organic traffic which has been pretty steady ever since the campaign.

      1. @mike – with an infographic like that, it would be considered “evergreen”, yes? Meaning, each spring you could recycle the outreach to new bloggers, do a SoMe campaign on it (if customer was willing to spend), and I’m sure a few other things I haven’t thought of on the spur of the moment.
        Great content like that may cost more up-front, but I can see how it would pay for itself many times over if used as an on-going content and link strategy.

  33. Hi Brian,

    Great piece! Thanks again for the case study.
    Oh wow, guestographics is really engaging. Definitely going to try it once I launch my blog!
    Keep up the great work Brian


  34. Brian,

    awesome, as usual. Love seeing how many people are benefitting from your lessons.

    Quick question: would you add an intro video to the infographic post? (assuming you have access to pro-quality video production like in your Youtube videos).

    1. Thanks David. I love it too 🙂

      Hmmm. I’d actually be reluctant to add a video as it might distract from the infographic itself. In my experience you want to put the IG front and center. But you could put the video after to explain some of the points in more detail, kind of like I did here:

  35. Hii Brian Dean !!
    A very nice post the main part which i like in this article is Shoulder Niche, i was unaware of this now i have got a good idea after reading this.. Thanks Brian Dean for sharing such a wonderful and interesting article..

  36. Hey Brian,

    Organic traffic is what I am all about right now in my seo journey. Your article is great and gives a breath of fresh air toward the differnt ways of obtaining organic results. And best of all i appreciate you sharing such great ideas without any catches. Thank you and I wish you continued success.


  37. An awesome case study.

    I have a site that i write about eyebrow pencils and makeup. Do you think a Guestographic would help me boost my traffic?


  38. Hey Brian,
    I am just about to read this and also wanted to share with you that I just wrote my first article on my website and it is going viral. Closing in on 2,000 shares on facebook alone. I don’t know if you allow links posted here so I will wait for your reply to this.
    The title is: “3 steps Guaranteed to Speed up your Computer”

      1. Thank You Brian,

        What I did was I wrote this article as I would explain it to my mom, so it had to be very simple yet highly effective. Then I posted it to Facebook to all my friends and 5 Groups that I’m in and also ran a Facebook ad with a 10 mile radius of my location.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Well done on getting more than 2k shares on your first post, I hope it’s a sign of things to come!

      I noticed that your post was really visual, I’m sure that played a big part in getting so many shares.

      How did you get the word out about the post after you had published it?

  39. This is super powerful Brian,
    Mike really got a mouth watering result from his experiment. I’ve been hearing a lot about Guestographic since you invented the idea but I’ve read a thorough guide like this about it.

    Its very comprehensive, actionable and rich man :).

    I’m trying to set up a new blog soon and I’m going to incorporate this method to my marketing.

    Thanks a lot for sharing Brian.

    1. Thanks Theodore. Guestographics helped Backlinko in the early days and I’m confident they can help your new blog too.

  40. Thanks Brian,

    Another epic post that oozes Quality AND Quantity in its entirety. There is a lesson for us all…….again!

    Haters will hate. Jog on fella, you know where the unsubscribe button is.

    Not wishing to take anything away from what Mike did and the content here…………..the biggest takeaway for me from this post is the time and effort that is required to actually produce such a post.

    I don’t know what it is but with most posts that drag on and on and on I get bored and really start to skim and completely skip huge sections and say to myself ‘I’ll come back to that later’…..then never do.

    Not here. This shows that you can produce quantity as long as it also has quality and I think adding images, infographics etc certainly breaks it up rather than a wall of text that we often see in blog posts and emails.

    Not sure how those reading from a mobile phone think though.

    Cheers Brian.

    1. You’re welcome, Jonah.

      You’re right: a ton of work goes into making 2.5k words readable. It’s no joke. I spend hours poring over every word and sentence to make sure each one overflows with value cand clarity. I reveal some of the techniques I use in this post:

  41. such a good article. I keep trying to download Buzzsumo. What do you load it to? My wordpress site will not accept it.

  42. Hi Brian,

    Very practical use case. A lot of helpful details and tips. Thanks a lot.
    Is there a good tool to DIY a decent Guest graphics?



  43. A great case study, no BS, proof in the action. Thank you.

    The only issue I can see is that bounce rate.. need to try and encourage a few more page visits while they’re there.. even if they’re ‘further reading’ or ‘further resources’ type pages related to the infographic’s subject matter.

    1. You’re welcome, Michael. Those strategies can definitely cut down on your bounce rate. I might have a post coming out about this soon.

  44. I LOVE the guestographic method.

    I got VERY similar results as Mike from this post:

    47 emails sent, 5 links, 10% link rate.

    Guestographic’ed for example:

    Guess what the DA is of SmartInsights? 73. WABLAM!

    From only 47 emails! What would happen if I got my act together and sent 100+?

    (Ps. Brian, how many emails do you recommend sending?)

    1. I love it too, Devesh 🙂

      I’ve seen around the same. 10% seems to be on average for this sort of thing.

      I don’t have a set number because it depends on the infographic. For mainstream topics like fitness, you’ll have more outreach opportunities.

  45. Great stuff as usual, Brian! Should you write a different intro (and anchor text) for each site that offers to share your infographic?

    1. Thanks Matt. Definitely. Each site should have a unique intro. You don’t need different anchors for each intro, but you should mix them up.

  46. Yet again, another amazing post as always Brian !!
    I will be surely using this technique for my clients.
    Keep sharing informative stuffs !!
    Cheers !

  47. Good article Brian. I do wonder though what are the best places to find a good value infographic designer? For some of my lower budget clients I’m unsure if this is feasible?

    1. Thanks Joe. I’d hit up sites like Upwork, People Per Hour etc. A lot of trial and error, but it’s where a lot of low-cost designers hang out.

  48. “There are no boring topics. Only boring marketers”.

    …Unless you’re in a specific area of finance and Google hates you for it. Why? Because, unlike the rest of the world, your business operates in an area where your industry is reputable and government regulated…but Google doesn’t care, so regardless of having totally white hat techniques, your company goes from the #1 spot to #6-#10 on average due to their constant penalizing updates for your industry.

    1. Kris, are you talking about a niche like payday loans? If so, then Google definitely does hand curate the first page a bit.

  49. Awesome case study Brian. Appreciate sharing it in such details.

    This is boosting up the confidence that even the most boring industries can be worked out with slightly out of box thinking.

  50. Mike and Brian – Thank you very much for sharing the case and making it such a brilliant article!
    I’ve just launched the site in a very crowded niche – printing. And I am definitely incorporating this method into my first marketing campaign!

  51. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing this success story with us all, and thank Mike too please from me. The Guestgraphic process you describe and show here with this case study is not difficult and just takes a little ingenuity and effort.

    I particularly like the soft approach for the first mail, I know that is more my style (persuasive) and could work for me well. I actually spent quite a bit of time making notes as I read the info above, and at the end went through them – and then shook my head (a “like wow” shake)!

    I really appreciate the detail you went into here, and you can bet I have added it to my arsenal of tools available to get more attention to my site and my content. Good stuff.

    Also, a question: Do you think the same/similar process would work with videos? These are as captivating as infographics I think if they are short, to the point, and interestingly put together.

    Most blogs seem to add videos, and although it may eliminate some viral aspects such as newpapers or magazines, it could work better with other authority sites such as StumbledUpon (sp?)…

    Anyway, thanks again for a good read and lesson this evening for me!


    1. Hey Dave, you’re welcome 🙂

      Good question. I’ve never personally tried this approach with videos, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. As you said, they’re as captivating (if not more) than infographics.

  52. This is great, thanks.
    Excellent insight into the mechanics and white hat ingenuity of a guestographics approach. I’m just starting on concepting / planning in a body of work for a B2B client and will have this approach in the mix. Can’t wait to get going now I’ve read this!
    Cheers, Brain (and Mike)

  53. Hey Brian,
    Awesome job once again. I love your example of HOW to find a topic for an infographic.

    How could I modify this strategy to get links for a life insurance calculator I’ve created?

    1. Hey Chris, thanks. I’m glad you pointed that out. Design is nice, but the topic is 90% of an infographic’s success.

      Hmmm. Is the calculator embeddedable? If so you could pitch bloggers the calculator plus a unique intro tailored to their specific site.

      1. Brian, using the guestographic strategy for an embeddable web app is a genius idea. I wonder what the response rate would be – the value add of a good app is amazing.

        Technically, you can add all kinds of things via an iFrame.

  54. Hey Brian,
    Another epic post.Very detailed and in-depth.
    I like your strategy of keeping demand high by publishing after long time and keeping quality high.
    thanks for this.

  55. Amazing article!! Do you think this could work with a E-Book ?? I work for a music sampling company – I am finding it hard to find relevant topics other than creating music production tutorials or ‘Top 10 Music Plugins for Production’ etc etc which don’t go viral….I am thinking of creating an E-Book with many tutorials combined – what do you think for marketing purposes, given the same technique distributing it?

  56. Brian,
    Thanks – once again – for a great article on this relevant topic.

    I found myself wondering just yesterday “I wonder when I’ll get another email from Brian Dean?”

    Glad it came today! Your messages are very encouraging.

    Thanks again!

  57. Hello brian,

    I’m your big fan when it comes to organic traffic. Really you are doing a great work in terms of providing handy articles. I’m working as a digital marketing manager in a training company that provides corporate trainings. I was looking for infographic tool but unable to find the best n which is free. Just for sometime… Kindly let me know which tool should i use which is free to create great n shareable content.

    My plan is stuck with tool… Appreciate your help!


  58. Great post as always Brian!

    And thanks for the resource on finding shoulder niches. Thats why i love reading your blog, always learning something new!

    Hopefully one day I’ll have an awesome case study to share with you!

    1. One quick question, could this also work for geotargeting? Making an infographic about the city, and targeting local blogs for location relevance?

  59. I like the case study. I only have 1 complaint with the infographic. If you’re a gardener, don’t use Diatomaceous Earth. It kills the good bug along with the bad. A better option would be to fill a spray bottle with some dish detergent and water. Then walk through the garden and only shoot the offenders.

  60. Another great Guestographics case study. I actually just took over a new client who has an infographic that is pretty nice from about a year ago that got almost no links and none within the niche. I am in the process of using this method to see if I can get proper gains from an already existing asset. Always appreciate the in depth articles!

  61. Yet another post to bookmark and refer back to over and over again!

    As a video production company we are looking to open up more doors in the HR industry and are working on landing interviews in order to generate awesome content that’s centered around what they want to learn about (not what we want them to know). Infographics are going to be a great addition to that content and we’ll definitely be looking back to this post for ideas and inspiration!

    Thanks Brian!

    1. You’re welcome, Andrew. You could even package up some of the golden nuggets that HR peeps tell you into a nice infographic.

  62. I checked on Alexa and it’s 3,144,072th in the world. mine is under 500 000.
    but it has more backlinks than mine and this explain all.
    great job I have to give it a try 🙂
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  63. Thanks Brian! This is tremendously useful – a step by step, repeatable guide to outreach that my team can follow and embrace. This is exactly what I had in mind when you asked for feedback on your SEO Blueprint last month. You’re the man!

    1. You’re welcome, Michael. Let me know how Guestographics work out after your team has a chance to implement the technique 🙂

  64. i like your blog and I am always checking to see if you have posted something new.Your tips are informative, practical and easy to follow. The trick is in following your tips, being doers rather hearers only.

    1. Well said, Samuel. Sadly, 99% of the people that read this post won’t ever use the info. But many of the the 1% that DO use it turn out like Mike.

      1. That’s crazy. How can people read the type of content on this blog and not go away and implement it. I understand that it’s a lot of hard work, but SEO is unlike any other channel. If you can reach the end goal, the rewards are limitless.

  65. One great thing about infographics is how the format allows descriptions of multiple pain points. Once Mike Bonadio mapped out all of the hot topics he could cover with one graphic, he built a narrative that enabled the final content for maximum sharing. I’ll bet a lot of those shares came from people who only needed to read one item on Mike’s infographic before they felt like sharing it.

    1. Very good point, Anthony. Mike did include a few different angles in the infographic that would appeal to different people.

  66. Hey Brian,

    As you said, I’m not sure whether guestograpic will work with my niche, I’m thinking about tweaking this technique and using it along with the skyscraper, because I’m already building very LARGE skyscrapers 🙂 (no brag!), that along with the “reach out emails” insights found here (add value and don’t be pushy), maybe I can reach somewhere, BUT i would also appreciate your thoughts about this as well, how can i reach out for people the right way while using my skyscraper article, not my infographic?

  67. Hi Brian,

    Wow – you knocked it out of the park! I love, love, LOVE this post.

    There’s so much actionable info that I’ve bookmarked it to read at least ten more times…and so I can follow the advice, step by step.

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing such a huge amount of amazing help with others who may be struggling.

    Have a great day 🙂
    best wishes

  68. Brian, I really enjoyed the case study and got some great takeaways as ever.

    Also want to say thanks to Mike for opening my eyes to what can actually be done when working in those not so sexy niches.

    Cheers lads

  69. Great post Brian, loving the idea of the Shoulder Niche.

    I am relatively new to SEO and am just having a bit of confusion which I hope you can clarify for me.

    When we use Should Niche post/infographics, the targeted readers of the post may not be interested in the service/goods that we are selling. So is the whole point of the Should Niche post/infographics all about getting backlinks to our site, hence improve our site’s ranking and we are not really concern about those traffic generated as they are not our target customers?

    I can see that the in FCE Pest Control case study that they have improved their rankings for the term “exterminator NYC”. But how did the ranking for this term improved without it being mentioned inside the post/infographics?

    Sorry if they sound like stupid questions but it is just bugging me and I look forward to your response.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks Sherryl.

      That’s because the links boosted FCE’s domain authority, which helps all the pages on a site rank better.

    2. Exactly what Brian said Sherryl. I’m sure in some niches you could make the infographic pull in your preferred customers at the same time as generating shares + links (dream combination). In this case, there was no feasible way to pull in people that have an emergency bug problem in NYC with an infographic. So we leveraged the shoulder niche (gardening) to generate interest and links, which helped boost rankings all around the site…which then pulled in more customers for the client. The infographic helped boost sales indirectly in this case.

    1. Thanks Daniel 🙂

      I’m not 100% sure when we will open up SEO That Works again. But if you’re on the newsletter you’ll get a heads up.

  70. Hi Brian,

    I have a boring niche also, I have not any ideas to create infographic for that. Where can I buy or hire a designer to create an infographic?

    I got many Social sharing on my website, but the ranking of keywords have not improved.

    Which tool you are using to check the backlinks?

    Thank you very much!

  71. Infographics are a nice way to get links. They are shareable content, so it is a good approach, especially if it’s a boring niche.
    By the way, a link at Bangor Daily News is a no follow and as such doesn’t pass any value for rankings. So, I think it was a waste of time on that one.

    1. Thanks Kelsey. Actually that mention got more eyeball’s on Mike’s infographic which led to more shares and potentially links. So I’ll take a nofollow link from a popular site any day of the week.

    2. Hey Kelsey,
      Bangor picked up the infographic on their own after seeing it from other sites, so no time wasted :). Even then a nofollow on a big site like that still has many benefits.

  72. Hi Brian,

    I really enjoyed the case study, as I am new to this SEO Field, this case study proves to be really helpful for me. I have a query regarding whether I can use the same infographics published on my website for content marketing or I need to create a new one. Your advice over this will be very helpful for me.


  73. Wow.. thanks a lot for such inspiring case study. The concept of “shoulder niches” is not new for me. But interestingly, the name ‘shoulder niches” itself is very new, I just heard it from you. I guess I skipped too many internet marketing news.

    Anyway, again, thanks for adding up my inventory. =D

    Looking forward to having your next case study..


    1. You’re welcome, Arie. I think I first heard the term “shoulder niche” a few years ago, but I don’t remember exactly where.

  74. Brian this is another epic post. One thing I must say is that the best thing about methods you teach is that they can be implemented across any industry.

    I remember reading a similar case study which you shared and it was in completely different industry.

    And guess what? For past few days, I have been thinking about implementing the same for my client now.

    Time to stop thinking too much and start doing things.

    1. Thanks Mohammad. I try to show my strategies being implemented in as many industries as I can. Let me know how Guestographics work for your client.

  75. Hello Brian,
    This post was of pure value 🙂 I thank you so much for sharing Mike’s success on your blog. I am definitely going to try it out in my niche.
    Cheers to you and Mike 🙂

  76. Hey Brian,
    I was glued to this post like a suspense thriller movie, like what will happen now! How Mike got over 1000 shares for a pest control client? But, what a actionable post, totally doable!
    My mind is on to find the shoulder niche for our app development company. Thanks for sharing this!
    And cheers to Mike too!


  77. Hey Brian,

    Another great post, thanks!

    Question: how much time should you give an outreach campaign like this before deciding if it was a success or not?

    I just started an guestographic outreach exactly like this, and to be honest am not seeing the best results. I’ve sent 44 targeted e-mails so far, and have received 4 replies to the original e-mail. Of those 4, one said they’d love to post the infograhpic, but haven’t yet.

    I’m only a few days into the campaign, so am obviously not giving up — but how many more would you send before just moving on? I could probably reach 200 targets if I wanted to, just not sure it’s worth the time & effort.

    1. Hey Mike, it’s hard to say because at least half of the results are based on the infographic itself. Is it well designed? Is it a good fit for the people you reach out to? Etc. But if people are replying then it sounds like they do like it. I’d keep rocking.

  78. Great article, Brian!
    I wanted to keep reading (greedy, I know :)). Thank you for the detail and ‘behind the scenes’ info you included in the case study.
    I loved Mike’s ‘shoulder niche’ approach – a great way to reach a crossover audience. Combine that with great story-based content, and you can say goodbye to boring! Cheers

  79. Awesome post as always, Brian.

    PS: It would be a good idea to add a follow up by email option for the commentors, I always get lost in your comment section.

  80. Sounds promising, but I’m having trouble coming up with any possibilities for shoulder niches in my area. My blog is geared towards internet security for the non-technical, a topic probably searched for less than pest control.

    Can you think of any good shoulder industries I could try this with? I’ve got a great idea for an infographic already.

  81. Awesome !

    Email outreach is something I need to care more about. Again, producing that solid infographics is the 1st step indeed !

    Thanks Brian and Mike for sharing this valuable case study and results !

  82. Hi Brian,

    I just learnt an interesting stuff again. I’m in Jobs advert niche and i feel its boring somehow.

    I’m still thinking on how i will go about creating an infographic that will interest people in my niche.

    All the same thanks very much for sharing this great tips.

    Parker Chuks

  83. Hi Brain,

    Thank you for another great post. To product more quality contents in an interesting style. and use this content to exchange for backlinks, that’s really great idea.
    Thank you very much for your sharing, very useful to a newbie just like me 🙂

  84. Brian – This is an outstanding case study and ignore the trolls. I have one quick question about the outreach targets. I totally get what you are doing with the niche bloggers/influencers, but what about Lifehacker?Did that come about on its own, or was it via a submission?

    1. Hey Eric, thanks 🙂

      Good question. I’m not 100% sure if the Lifehacker placement was natural or due to direct outreach.
      I just reached out to Mike and asked him to stop by and give you an answer to that.

    2. Hey Eric,
      Lifehacker picked us up on their own, as well as some other bigger sites. There is definitely some kind of threshold that when you cross it you start to get picked up naturally due to your initial outreach efforts. Of course a good push is needed to get to that level, but once you’re there things seem to take care of themselves more than when you’re just starting.

  85. Hey Brian,

    We are not in a “boring nich” but have no traffic at all since we are just starting up. Still, this could be a very interesting way to try out in getting traffic to our site, so will try it. Also wanted to thank you for explaining in a way everbody can understand, keep up the good work!

  86. Hi Brian,

    Great post as usual.

    I was wondering, do you think Guestographics are a good fit for Skyscraper Content?

    I’m in a fairly boring niche too – my client sells kitchen worktops – so I am targetting a shoulder niche as well. I have a solid topic with plenty of existing content that has attracted a lot of links.

    I think that, rather than simply produce a better written version of what’s already out there, I could take what’s already there, create an infographic, then approach my list of contacts who have already linked to similar content and go down the Guestographic route.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this?

    1. Thanks John. You can definitely use the Skyscraper Technique approach for your infographic. But because infographics are a unique type of content, it can be hard to find content worth skyscrapering.

      1. Thanks for the reply Brian.

        The current content I’m thinking of Skyscrapering is currently all written blog posts – fairly boring stuff.

        I’m just thinking about taking this written content and changing it into a more appealing infographic – Skyscrapering bland, written content into something more visually appealing.

        Do you reckon that’s worth a go?

      2. Brian, say a blog has a great piece of skyscraper content with several different topics.

        For instance, it could be an exhaustive and detailed list of tutorials and tips for fiction writers (off the top of my head.) It would cover different topics like character development, building tension, writing dialog, etc.

        Each of these topics would be a great subject for an infographic. They would link very naturally to the Skyscraper content.

  87. Hi Brian,

    I love the way you keep adding new phrases to the English language. “Shoulder Niches” is a great example.

    I’ve heard the same concept called a “semantically related side topic,” but I think your definition trips off the tongue a little more easily.

  88. brian, great article.
    One question though. When you send the paragraph you want the person to use with your info graphic , are you writing a unique paragraph for each email in order to avoid duplicate content penalty?
    I’m assuming the answer is yes, so how unique can you really get if you write 100 of these paragraphs for people to post on their own blogs? Any tips on that ? Thanks !

    1. Thanks Chris.

      Yes, exactly. Each one is unique. That’s not an issue because for most campaigns you’ll get 5-10 people that want you to write the intro. So I just
      write one that’s a good fit for that specific site. For example, if the site focuses on moms, I’d write an intro that really zeroes-in on issues moms might face.

  89. Awesome case study Mike & Brian.

    I really love your methodical approach, it shows that creativity doesn’t just happen but that you can use systems to do creative things that really move the needle.

    You’ve also reminded me how important email outreach is for promoting your infographics. We design infographics but usually leave the outreach to the client. I’ll definitely be adding it to our promotion package at now!

    Thanks for the insights.


  90. Hey Brian.

    Great information, I must say. I was invested in what you have to say the whole time. Kudos to you for that.

    Is the guestographics method a great one for a person like me who writes stories? Well, can you suggest me how can I start thinking about it in my context?

  91. Excellent case study, good read both for clients (to understand the process, time, importance of research etc.) and SEOs. Actually, I work at a co-space and there was a developer that recently tried to refer a pest control company my way. About 4 of us sitting at the table, all of them saying thats not possible due to the niche. I disagreed of course because I’ve worked and had to be creative in worse niches so this article I will have to forward their way. Well written and creative marketing

    1. Thanks Cody. Absolutely. This case study shows how much energy, effort and creativity it takes to do well with white hat SEO today.
      I think clients reading this will say, “wow, I’m glad we hired an expert to do this for us”.

  92. Hi Brian,

    This is an awesome case-study. I am definitely going to try this strategy on some of my clients 🙂

    Just a quick question though; when you do an email outreach on behalf of your client, from which email ID should you ideally send?


      1. Thanks for the reply Brian. Since many of my clients don’t provide their website’s email IDs, is it okay to use a Gmail id?

  93. Brian,
    Great case study and suggestion of free online tools and “shoulder niche” idea. I have been using the 2-step email to prep for an article, and it works like a charm. I will be using this Guestographics method for sure.

  94. Hi Brian

    Just read this through again after first reading and sharing last week – that’s the great thing about your posts – they’re like mini-guides you just have to keep coming back to 🙂

    The two step outreach approach mirrors the two step opt in approach for getting email subscribers (which have both worked very well for me too). The ‘baby-steps’ psychology going on behind the scenes here is fascinating in both cases – but in this instance, the passing of reciprocation subtly changes the nature of the relationship and sets the person you’ve initially contacted on another course of action (reading the email and responses reminded me of how ‘beats’ work to drive action in screenplays).

    The point is – by the second email you are more in control psychologically, having been on the back foot with the initial approach. The law of reciprocation means the prospect is now keen to do something for you – which when adding in the custom intro means you’ve flipped the whole interaction on its head and are now actually doing them a favour.

    Seems simple on the surface but there’s a lot going on here. It’s also hard work which means only those who can really be bothered to do it will get the spoils.

    Great stuff man – your posts are consistently top notch!



    1. Hey Loz,

      Thanks man. Absolutely. Part of the reason the 2 part sequence works is that you’re respecting their time and opinion. But the psychological effects that you pointed out are just as (if not) more important. Plus, the proof is in Mike’s results. More than 2x the number of replies!

  95. Wow! GREAT Piece of content.
    How do I get great quality Infographics for cheap though? Our startup is bootstrapped to the hilt!

      1. Problem solved. Interns to the rescue!
        I already re-did one post. The Infographic is in the works. I will get back to you once I complete step 2.
        Seriously man, I read A LOT OF content today but yours was by far the most useful.

  96. Awesome article Brian.

    You mentioned that infographics would be be preferred to be created by a designer that you could find on Elance for about 300$, but what if we don’t have that kind of budget? I did a quick search and saw Canva, would that be a viable option? I feel that yes there is indeed a strong benefit to this inforgraphic but unfortunately I do not have that kind of capital at the moment to use for a post.

    1. Hi Daniel, when it comes to graphic design you get what you pay for. Unless you’re a professional designer, I recommend saving up until you can hire one.

  97. Hey Brian,

    Just a quick newbie question on infographic, since the words are incorporated into the picture, am I right to say that the keywords written on the picture is not capture by google? or is there a way which allow your infographic’s content to be captured fully? I learn a lot from this example on linking back to my site and increasing my ranking but not really sure how it helps people to search for my site over at google (a few targeted keywords).

  98. Fantastic post, I tried this in the past but didn’t target the right type of sites for outreach (still generated a couple of links though!).

    By focusing specifically on blogs my success would of been higher.

    I find with these techniques it sometimes takes a few goes to hit the homerun!


  99. Hey Brian,

    This was a great post of how guestographics works even if you’re in a boring niche like pest control. You just have to use some imagination and really think like a great marketer. Outreach is a smart approach and one that can exponentially catapult your success!

    Thanks for the share Brian! Have a great weekend!

  100. Great case study again Brian.

    I love to read your case study and follow your tips. I am getting good results by following your techniques.

    Thanks to share this great stuff.


  101. Another great case study! Been reading about Guestographic technique for awhile but have yet to put into action. Time for more action and less reading. Thanks Brian for another “push” for it. Will get into action asap and let you know how it goes.

  102. Hello, Brian.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a quite long period of time and now I just wanted to say that your posts are simply awesome! I’ve never seen so much useful information concentrated in one place anywhere! Thank you a lot. You do a really great job and inspire internet marketers from all over the world.

    Best regards, Jane from Russia

  103. Hi Brian Dean,

    Your post is very helpful for me, I will try this way for my campaign.
    Ah, one question, Which tool did you use to create the perfect guestographic here?

    Thanks !!

  104. Hey Brian,
    just stumbled upon your casestudy. Awesome input man – so well written and comprehensible!!!
    Got me inspired to give it a try on some of our customers (specially those in a really boring niche).

    Thx for that!

    Greetings from Germany,

  105. Hi Brian! Thank you for the amazing content on your site. I’ve got a question for you. You often say that nowadays link building is all about getting links from relative sites. You say that the links from relative sites with less authority then other non-relative sites are much more powerfull. What do you think about creating your own sites to use them for link building? I mean something like that: I create few sites about the topic similar to the site I wanna rank in Google. I make links to those.. let’s say “satellite” sites and Thenk after it gains authority I link from those sites to my major site I wanna rank in Google. Do you think it will work well in not really competitive niche?

  106. I always find something new here. Awesome case study. I liked the idea of merging pest with gardens. Brilliant! Thanks again for the article 🙂

  107. Hey Brian,
    great post! I must try this one.

    I know the post is about the Guestographic, but I think the approach with the “feeler” email before the pitch is the most important part.

    Thank you,
    Ricardo from Munich

    1. Hey Annais, you do need to be a bit careful with newer sites. But I don’t think that a handful of white hat links like these would cause any issues.

  108. Brian, Awesome study.

    Like all the example you keep giving and the detailed step by step instructions and approach which makes your page so easy accessible and understandable.

    Keep them coming

  109. Hi Brian.
    I really like the SEO work and your sharing of details is awesome. The increase in social shares, is of tantamount importance, that your campaign worked. So what is the current state of the site? Is there still an increase in organic traffic? How much revenue it’s generating currently?

  110. Hey Brian, A lot of learning with this post, Got nice Idea, Last time I have created an infographic and I have not done any think to promote that infographic to audience like this, may be due to that that infographics has not created any buzz. It was great to know this kind of detail strategy of sharing infographics. I will follow your tips for my next infographics. Thanks for this nice post!

  111. Brian great piece of information,

    I indeed love your blog and visit it dozens of times to check out for any new posts. Your are a true master of traffic generation,
    I personally request you to update Backlinko at least once in a week, it may help me to learn more. Hope you modify your scheduling process.

    A Backlinkonian

  112. Hi Brian, I am starting to apply the guestographic strategy to my new niche site. It already worked like a charm in others, so why would it not work in this case.

    I love offering at least 2 and at best 3 infographics on different topics around the niche and that way people have a chance. I think they get a feeling more like “which one should I choose to publish?” instead of “should I publish it?” and that way the conversion rate rises incredibly. This way I got to position #4 a website in a highly competed niche!

    Thanks for your great tips and the amazing info you share.
    All the best

      1. Hey Brian, I send them all together in one email. I try to make them quite different from each other. This way people can see all of them at a time and can decide which one fits best in their site and with their audience. Some time they were interested in all of them (that answers your question, right?).

        By the way, I just send one email where I already offered the URL´s of the infographics. I tried an approach-email first just to offer but people success rate of replies was much smaller. I think those who are interested prefer to save time and they want the meat immediately. At least that´s my experience when I used this strategy. Maybe internet market in Spain is a bit different.

        If you are curious about anything else just email me. I would be more than happy to share with you all the data of my last guestographic campaign where I got 8 links out of 85 emails sent. Some of them were really authoritative sites with Moz Rank of 60, 44, 33 and so on. I couldn´t believe it!

        Really, thanks for your strategies!! They are awsome and I don´t know where I would be now without them 🙂

        Keep on with your great work!

  113. Hi Brian,

    Once again, this is one of the best & easy to understand post!

    Your content has changed my perspective on infographic. I’ve been following you recently and i think you’ve always give your best when you post.

    And even though it’s in your other post, i’ve been using your “APP concept” to create opening. It works awesome.

    Please give us more case study, i just love it 😀

    Thank You Brian

  114. Awesome post, relevant as I just trying to create some content for a pretty boring business !! 🙂
    Any tips on getting a good designer, the end product is great here..

  115. Hello Brian, awesome info in there, I will definitely make such an action on my websites and let you know about the results.

    I really liked the idea with the shoulder niche.

    Keep it up 🙂

  116. I have been working on these techniques for ages now and they are extremely powerful to push your content on a grand (almost instant scale). I’ve never done guest blogging or anything like that — my main focus has been on social out reach and it works 95% of the time.

    The only thing you need some great copy and a small social following and the time to submit your articles to different social sites and forums.
    It take plenty time just to do this but it can be so rewarding when the traffic and the authority backlinks come through and in addition to the followers that start to follow you.
    Best to sign on to every social network imaginable and follow people who are in your niche and syndicate your content that way while posting on authority niche relevant bookmarking sites like reddit and digg and blanket everything with your content where your audiences are hanging out.

    Thanks again Brian for reenforcing these ideas

  117. Hey Brian,

    This is very similar to the previous guestographic case study that you published. However, learned about “Shoulder Niche” for the very first time. Thank you for this. It is really wonderful to see how a wonderful infographic can be turned into a guest blogging opportunity.

    Also, what’s really great is that people are doing their experiments around the guestographic method which is really working out for them. Thanks Brian. This is epic.

  118. Great case study, Brian. One question: it looks like just a link to the infographic is being posted on other sites. Is that the case or are they actually embedding the infographic on their site. It seems like other bloggers would be more inclined to post someone else’s infographic if they could embed it. Is there an issue with doing that?

  119. Hi, thanks for this great article. I tried this method even before you posted this, around 2 months ago. I prepared a beautiful infographic, sent over 50 emails to bloggers in my niche, I even offered to list their blogs in the “source” of the infographic with their logo, if they decide to publish/share the infographic on their site. Got only 4 negative responses.

    The infographic was really nice with informative content, but no one was interested. And I am noticing this with guest posts too… No response from bloggers, they don`t want to help. I was even open to sponsored posts, to pay a reasonable amount…but all the prices are way to high for a newbie blogger.

    I also tried to message charities to get backlinks, to message owners of resource pages… almost no responses.

    I see that people don`t want to help, at least not in my niche and it`s very very hard to build whitehat backlinks.

  120. Good Grief – just never get tired of reading your posts…excellent work yet again! For the humble small business owner, this type of SEO advice and step by step approach is a goldmine.

    Thanks again Brian!

  121. I think only an Einstein of blogging can produce such an incredible piece of information. It’s like a multi-seeded dry fruit farm, we just need to observed and get the right one. So I picked them selectively with both hands like the “Guestographics Make Content Promotion”, “Create Infographic”, “Create a List of People” are the ones that stay fastened into my head. Thanks a lot Brian.

  122. One question Brian: What happens when the top linkreators of your industry are competitors that wont link back to you?

    Also, what if your main linkreators in your particular niche are government pages? I have your STW module and you mention the example of the education site that created the guide for minority students. How else can you find your linkreators?

    Thanks Brian, impeccable content.

  123. Again very good stuff Brian. I am using infographics for quite long time and not getting buzz.(as per my expectations). Honestly, I am little surprise after your analysis. I am starting follow your strategies straightaway. Please keep posting!!


  124. Hi Brian,
    I am huge huge fan , such a big fan of your work that I must have read each of your articles like 10 times each from past three months , was a fan eversince I first attended you classes in quicksprout itself. I have a question now, I started to blog for my industry , now someone asked me if he could share and translate my blog for his audience , will not my content become duplicate if I allow so ? Can I stop anyone from copying my original work ?. I know their Sharing is for my benefits only but what about translating ? I am completely new and this is my first post only so can give me a little hint here please. Even if you wont I will still remain a huge fan don’t worry.

  125. Did you make up the word “shoulder niche”? Either way I’ll start using it now. Great Case Study and step by step guide. I’ll give it a try.

  126. Hey Brian!

    Just a quick question for ya. On some sites, they’ll post your infographic without a contextual link, just the link from the “Infographic Courtesy Of SITE” that comes with the embed code where SITE is the link to your site/post.

    Does that still count for considerable SEO value? Or is that a chance wasted?

  127. Thanks for sending me this case study, Brian. Fantastic ideas, and very actionable. I’m going to get my thinking cap on right now, and see how I can make Academic English infographic worthy! Thanks for the inspiration!

  128. This is a very, very useful article. Thank you Brian (and Mike).

    The question of how to create great, link-worthy content for boring niches is always something I’ve struggled to find an answer to, so targeting a more viable ‘shoulder niche’ is a concept that I’ll definitely be looking into very closely.

    The case study of reaching out to the bloggers and getting your links through that approach was very interesting (and actionable) too.

  129. Fantastic post Brian! Question for you– what if your experts/influencers are also your competitors to some extent..? would love your thoughts.. thank you!

  130. Great Post Brian! I have been lurking around for some good outreach tool, do you have any suggestions? I found out that Buzz Stream can be really useful, however its out of my budget at the moment 🙂


  131. Great guide for people who are just starting out SEO campaign, I also did the same and got inormous results.
    I’m currently split testing different landing pages and have to say that the minimalistic stuff converts way better.

    Best regards,


  132. It’s a great piece Brian: well thought out and meticulous. When it comes to content, most people give the face-value dessert, if you will; you deliver a nutritional main-course.

    I do want to challenge the results and not the tactics. A 15% increase in traffic is significant when you have thousands of visits a day.

    From a business perspective, when the increase is 30 extra organic sessions, was it worth the effort?

    Thinking out loud, is this tactic scalable?

    ± a point or two, have you seen the 15% hold for larger sites employing this method?

  133. Love how you have covered all the main steps in one template with a process. We often find one of the biggest challenges people have is with backlinks. People like shortcuts and try to outsource this component, which is fine to do, as long as you understand what will be delivered. Thanks Brian

  134. Hi Brian, very indepth article on the topic, question for you if you were back in position for working as an agency and you had to choose what would it be?
    (I know age old question)
    Ahrefs or SEMrush?

  135. Wow, that Keyworditt tool is fantastic.

    I never heard of that before. The words used on Reddit is probably months ahead of standard search tools if you want up-to-date content.

    What a good idea!

  136. Brian, you “hit an apple”, as always!

    That’s what a seo-newby like me needs the most: to understand what is seo process as a whole, its goals, parts and stages, their meaning and interconnections.
    Not beeing seo-specialist myself, I need this understanding to do a quality work with my contractors, to talk the same language with them, control their work the results.

    Awesome!! Many thanks!!

    If I ever need to advertise for English-speaking audience – I know exactly where to go! 🙂

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