21 Actionable SEO Techniques For 2021
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21 Actionable SEO Techniques For 2021

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Dec. 31, 2020

21 Actionable SEO Techniques

Want more traffic from Google?

Then you’re in the right place.

Because today I’m going to show you the exact SEO techniques that I use to generate 438,950 unique visitors per month:

Backlinko monthly users

The best part?

All of these proven strategies are working GREAT in 2021.

Let’s do this!

And here are the tactics you’ll learn about in this post.

1. Discover Untapped Keywords on Reddit

You’ve probably already visited “The Front Page of the Internet” before… also known as Reddit.

But what you may not know is that Reddit is a keyword research GOLDMINE.

(Especially when it comes to finding long tail keywords.)

Hit the play button to see how it’s done:

If you prefer to read, here’s a summary of how this process works:

First, head over to Reddit. If you already know a subreddit where your target audience hangs out, head directly there.

For example, let’s say you wanted to write an article about The Paleo Diet. You’d head right to r/paleo subreddit.

Reddit – Paleo subreddit

If you’re not sure where your audience is on Reddit, no worries.

Just search for your topic…

Reddit search – Link building

…and see which threads and subreddits come up.

Reddit search results – Link building

Finally, scan threads for terms that appear again and again. If people are talking about these topics on Reddit, chances are they’re searching for those same terms in Google.

(Which makes them PERFECT for keyword research.)

For example, when I looked at threads on the topic of “link building”, I noticed terms like “content strategy” and “content strategies”.

Keyword ideas in Reddit comments

These are keywords that I would have NEVER thought of on my own. Thanks Reddit!

And with that, let’s move onto one of my all-time favorite advanced SEO techniques.

2. Optimize Your Site for Google RankBrain

A while back, Google announced their RankBrain algorithm.

Bloomberg – RankBrain article

As it turns out, this update was a game changer.

Why?

Google RankBrain is Google’s first machine learning algorithm. In other words, it measures how you interact with the results on the first page:

ux signals

As you can see, the happier you make Google’s users, the higher you’ll rank.

Sure, backlinks, keywords and other traditional signals are still important. But RankBrain is quickly taking over.

In fact, Google went on to say that RankBrain was one of their “top 3” ranking signals:

Google's top three ranking factors

(The other 2 key search engine ranking factors? Links and content.)

The question is:

How do you optimize your site for Google RankBrain?

Here are two simple, easy-to-implement tips that are working great for me right now:

First, improve your organic click-through-rate (CTR).

Google RankBrain wants to see that lots of people are clicking on your site in the search results.

That tells Google:

“People LOVE this result. Let’s boost it to the top of the page so it’s easier to find”.

Pogo stick effect – Up

But if people don’t click on your result? Google will drop your site like a stone.

Pogo stick effect – Down

And that’s why optimizing your site for organic CTR is so important.

I have a very cool strategy that you can use to improve your CTR later in this post (SEO strategy #4).

But for now, here’s a quick tip that I recently learned:

One of the EASIEST ways to get more clicks is to add numbers to your title and description tag.

Here’s a real-life example from one of my blog posts:

Number In Post Title

Research shows that people online are more likely to click on content that contains a number. So when you include a number in your content’s title (and in your meta description), you can increase your CTR super quickly.

Next, improve your bounce rate and “Dwell Time”.

Again, Google RankBrain wants you to publish a piece of content that makes their users happy.

And if users leave your site (also known as a “bounce“) after 3 seconds? That’s a user experience signal that tells Google that people don’t like your content.

In fact, my analysis of 1.3 million Google search results discovered that sites with a good bounce rate ranked above sites with a poor bounce rate:

bounce rate rankings

See how that works? The better your bounce rate, the better you rank.

And the longer searchers stay on your site (known as “Dwell Time“), in general, the higher you’ll rank.

So:

HOW do you actually improve your Dwell Time and bounce rate?

One tip that’s helped my rankings a lot is to write compelling introductions that encourage people to take action.

In other words, AVOID content like this:

boring intro

If someone lands on this intro from Google, they’re going to bounce as fast as possible.

(And as we talked about, that’s bad for your SEO.)

Instead, get STRAIGHT to the point, like this:

Backlinko – Optimize for voice search – Intro

Boom. Anyone landing on that page knows EXACTLY what my piece of content is about.

I also recommend breaking up your content into mini, bite sized chunks.

In other words, you want your content to look like this:

easy to read copy

As you can see, this copy is super easy to read.

And it’s especially easy to read on a phone or tablet. Considering that most Google searches are now done on mobile devices, readability is more important for SEO than ever before.

And once you’ve done that, it’s time for our next white hat SEO technique…

3. Update, Upgrade and Republish Old Blog Posts

Few years ago I get an email out of the blue:

Emil's email

Turns out Emil used The Skyscraper Technique to achieve these impressive results.

Not only that, but Emil wanted to share his great content with the Backlinko community.

That’s when I had an idea:

Instead of writing a new post for Emil’s case study, why don’t I add it to an existing post?

So that’s what I did.

Specifically, I added Emil’s case study to this old post:

White hat SEO case study

(I also updated the images and added some new tips.)

The final result?

A new and improved version of the post:

White Hat SEO post improved

To make sure the new post got the attention it deserved, I re-promoted it by sending an email to my newsletter subscribers:

New case study – Newsletter

I also shared it on social media:

Tweet promoting post

The result?

A 118.91% increase in organic traffic to that page.

White hat SEO – Traffic increase

(In case you’re wondering, no, this wasn’t a fluke. I’ve used “The Content Relaunch” several times since then, and it’s worked GREAT.)

Pretty cool, right?

4. Copy Adwords Ads to Make Killer Title and Description Tags

It’s no secret that compelling title and description tags get more clicks in the SERPS.

(And like I mentioned earlier, more organic clicks=higher Google rankings.)

Question is: How do you know what people want to click on?

That’s easy: look at that keyword’s Google Adwords ads.

You see, the Adwords ads that you see for competitive keywords are the result of hundreds (if not thousands) of split tests.

Split tests designed to maximize clicks.

And you can use copy from these ads to turn your title and description tags into click magnets.

For example, let’s say you were going to publish a blog post optimized around the keyword “best mattress”.

First, take a look at the Adwords ads for that keyword:

"best mattress" SERP

Keep an eye out for interesting copy from the ads that you can work into your title and description:

"best mattress" SERP keywords

As you can see, these tags include words that are proven to generate clicks. So when you include these terms in your meta tags, you’ll likely get more clicks:

Yoast SEO content

And if you want to boost your CTR even more, check out this video case study:

[Note: This is an advanced SEO strategy. So if you’re new to search engine optimization, feel free to skip this tip.]

Broken link building has it all…

Scalable.

White hat.

Powerful.

There’s only one problem: finding broken links is a HUGE pain.

That is, unless you know about a little-known wrinkle in Wikipedia’s editing system.

You see, when a Wikipedia editor stumbles on a dead link, they don’t delete the link right away.

Instead, they add a footnote next to the link that says “dead link”:

Wikipedia – Dead link

This footnote gives other editors a chance to confirm that the link is actually dead before removing it.

And that simple footnote makes finding broken links dead simple.

Here’s how:

First, use this simple search string:

site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “dead link”

For example, if you were in the investing space you’d search for something like this:

Google search – Wikipedia dead links

Next, visit a page in the search results that’s relevant to your site:

Google SERP – Investing – Dead links

Hit ctrl + f and search for “dead link”.

Your browser will jump to any dead links in the references section:

Wikipedia – Value investing – Dead link

Pro Tip: Wikipedia actually has a list of articles with dead links. This makes finding dead links in Wikipedia even easier.

Wikipedia – Articles with dead external links

OK. So once you’ve found a dead link, now what?

Well you could re-create that dead resource on your site and replace the dead link in Wikipedia with yours.

But that would only land you a single link (and a nofollow link at that).

Instead, I recommend tapping into The Moving Man Method.

This post will show you everything you need to know:

Backlinko – High quality backlinks

Now for our next SEO technique…

6. Steal Your Competitors Best Keywords

There are two ways to find keywords to optimize your content around.

Enter random keywords into a tool.

OR

Find the exact keywords that your competitors already rank for.

Both approaches can work. That said, I tend to more luck simply stealing my competitor’s best keywords.

Here’s how:

First, find a competing site that’s already ranking well in Google. That way, you’re reverse engineering sites that already know what they’re doing.

For example, in my case, a site like QuickSprout is one that a) writes about the same topics that I do and b) is doing really well in terms of SEO.

Quicksprout article

Next, pop the site’s homepage into a keyword research tool like SEMrush.

SEMrush – Quicksprout search

And you’ll get a list of keywords that they already rank for.

keyword_rankings

Of course, some of these keywords won’t make sense for your business. For example, they may target keywords that your customers don’t search for. Or maybe they’re ranking for ultra competitive keywords that you have no shot of ranking for.

That’s why you want to focus on the keywords that a) your target customer searches for in Google and B) you could create awesome content around.

Speaking of awesome content, our next technique shows you exactly how to do just that.

7. Optimize Your Content to Maximize “Shareability”

Let’s face it: Most content online isn’t worth sharing.

And without shares (especially backlinks), you’re not going to rank in Google.

Fortunately, taking your content from “zero” to “hero” isn’t that hard.

For example, this post of mine about link building has done really well.

Backlinko – Link building guide

How well? It’s generated over 850,000 visits from social media, forums, blogs and search engines:

Link building post – Total pageviews

(I should point out that the guide’s design and promotion contributed to its success. But it all started with how the content itself was organized. As you probably know, when it comes to SEO, quality content is the foundation.)

Specifically, my post follows the actionable tips from this infographic:

Now:

There’s A LOT to digest from this infographic. So let me highlight two tips that are working best for me right now.

First, I use short URLs in almost every blog post.

For example the URL for this post you’re reading is simply: backlinko.com/seo-techniques.

Why?

Short URLs tend to get more clicks. And more clicks=higher rankings (thanks to Google Rankbrain).

Next, I put social share buttons prominently on the page.

You’ve probably noticed that little floating sidebar on the left hand side of this page.

Side of page floating social sidebar

From lots of testing, I’ve found that these icons SIGNIFICANTLY increase the amount of Facebook likes and Tweets that my posts receive.

Now, to be clear: Google probably doesn’t use social signals as a ranking factor.

google social signals SEO

(At least not directly.)

That said, social shares can bring you more traffic. And some of those people might link to you, which CAN help your rankings.

And now that your content is optimized for shares, you want to make sure your page’s on-page SEO is good to go.

And that’s what our next tip is all about: an on-page SEO technique that’s easy… and can help your site’s rankings.

With all the talk about Hummingbirds and Penguins it’s easy to forget about an important Google algorithm update called Hilltop.

hilltop algorithm entry in wikipedia

Despite being over ten years old, Hilltop still plays a role in today’s search engine landscape.

Hilltop is essentially an on-page SEO signal way that tells Google whether or not a page is a “hub” of information.

So: How does Google know which pages are hubs?

It’s simple: Hubs are determined by the quality and relevancy of that page’s outbound links.

This makes total sense if you think about it…

The pages you link out to tend to reflect the topic of your web page.

And pages that link to helpful resources also tend to be higher-quality than pages that only link to their own stuff.

In other words, pages that link out to awesome resources establish themselves as hubs of helpful content in the eyes of Big G.

In fact, this industry study found a correlation between outbound links and Google rankings.

Phylandocic experiment – SERP

(As a bonus, outbound links are better for user experience too. After all, helpful external links help users find content that can help them learn more about the topics you discuss in your article.)

Bottom line:

Link to at least 3 quality, relevant resources in every piece of content that you publish.

This will show Google that your page is a Hilltop Hub.

That said, external links are just ONE of many on-page SEO signals that Google looks at. For a comprehensive list, I recommend watching this video:

If you’re on page 2 or 3 of Google’s search results… you might as well be on page 58.

In fact, our recent Google CTR study found that less than 1% of Google searchers end up on the 2nd page.

Few Google searchers visit the 2nd page and beyond

(And yes, even quality content can get stuck on the 2nd page if it’s not well optimized for search engines.)

So how can you give those pages a boost so they hit the first page?

Use this powerful SEO technique: throw some internal links their way!

send pagerank internal links

Here’s the 3-step process:

Step #1: Use Google Search Console to find keywords where you rank on the 2nd or 3rd page.

To find them, login to the Google Search Console and head over to the “Search results” report:

Search Console – Search results menu

Make sure to hit “Average position”. That way you’ll see the average ranking for each keyword.

Click average position

Then, sort the results by “Position”:

Sort by position

Next, look for keywords with an average position of 11-30.

If you’re getting clicks from a keyword on page 2 or 3, you can be pretty sure that keyword has some decent search volume.

For example, this page from Backlinko is ranking #17 for the keyword “site audit”.

Even though I’m on the second page, I still get 28 clicks and 14,251 impressions per month for that keyword:

Site audit keyword – Clicks and impressions

Sure enough, according to the Ahrefs, that keyword gets 1k monthly searches with a suggested bid of $10.

Ahrefs – Site audit keyword – Search volume

That means that it’s worth my time to push this keyword to page 1.

Step #2: Identify authoritative pages on your site.

You can easily find the pages on your site with the most juice to pass around using an SEO tool called Ahrefs.

Just enter your homepage URL into the tool and click “Search”:

Ahrefs - URL search

Then click on “Best By Links” in the left-hand sidebar:

Best by links

That will show you the most authoritative pages on your site:

Ahrefs – Backlinko – Best by links

Step #3: Go to those landing pages and add internal links.

Finally, add internal links from those authoritative pages to the landing page that needs a boost.

Internal link

10. Add This One Word to Your Outreach Email…and Increase Your Response Rate by 45%

When someone sees an email pop into their inbox, two questions enter their mind:

“Who is this person?” and “What do they want?”

The faster you answer these questions in your outreach emails, the better your response rate will be.

But how can you do that?

It’s easy: Use the word “because” early in your email.

Believe it or not, the word “because” has surprisingly powerful effects on human psychology.

Research by Dr. Ellen Langer of Harvard University tested whether people waiting in line to use a copy machine would let a stranger cut in front of them.

Stranger research

When the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you?”, only 61% people said “yes”.

But when the stranger asked: “Can I use the copy machine before you because I’m in a rush?”, 89% said yes.

Percent of people who will say yes

(That’s a 45% increase!)

Why such a huge difference?

It turns out that the word “because” makes your request seem more legitimate.

In the world of outreach, legit messages get better responses.

(Just look at all those lame guest post pitches that flood your inbox. If they actually took the time to look legit, they’d perform a lot better.)

Here’s an example blogger outreach pitch that leverages the word “because” early on:

example outreach email

The person receiving that message knows why I’m emailing them after two seconds of reading.

But more importantly, the word “because” cements my reason for reaching out as more legit.

11. Write Mini Blog Posts for YouTube Descriptions

I don’t need to tell you that YouTube video results are dominating Google’s first page.

And considering that Google owns the popular video site, it’s a trend that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Here’s the best part:

There’s a dead-simple technique that can get your YouTube videos to rank for competitive keywords in both YouTube and Google: write 200+ word video descriptions.

When most people upload a video to YouTube, they mindlessly toss a few words into the description box:

YouTube description

That’s a HUGE mistake.

Remember that Google can’t watch or listen to your video content.

Instead, they rely on your video’s text-based title and description to determine what your video is about.

And this extra text content can help you rank for your target keywords.

For example, I recently published this video that outlines a handful of DIY search engine optimization strategies:

And here’s the description for that video:

youtube video description

As you can see, that’s a high-quality, 200-word video description (you may have also noticed that it contains my target keyword, “DIY SEO”, several times).

And this description is one reason that my video rocketed to the first page of YouTube for my target keyword:

YouTube search results – DIY SEO

If you want to learn more about YouTube SEO, check out this step-by-step guide.

12. Optimize Content For “Semantic SEO”

A few years ago, Google rolled out an all-new search algorithm called Hummingbird.

Google Hummingbird Wiki

Before Hummingbird, Google only analyzed the individual keywords on your page.

But thanks to this new algorithm, Google could now understand the TOPIC of your page.

(By the way, the ability for search engines to understand topics and rank search results accordingly is called: “Semantic Search”.)

The question is:

How can you optimize your content for Semantic SEO?

Here’s the step-by-step process:

First, optimize your page around your target keyword just like you normally would.

Then, cover subtopics related to your target keyword. That way, Google can fully understand the topic of your page (not just your keyword).

For example, this page on my site is a list of 200 Google ranking factors:

Backlinko – Google ranking factors

Because I cover subtopics (like Google penalties and site-level factors), Google knows what my content is about.

And because Google can fully understand my content’s topic, it ranks this single page for over 2,400 keywords (according to SEMRush):

number of ranking keywords

You can easily find related subtopics using a tool called LSIGraph:

lsigraph homepage

This tool shows you subtopics (and terms) that are related to the keyword you typed into it. And when you use cover these subtopics in your content, it’ll be optimized for Semantic Search.

13. Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags

Here’s the deal:

If you only include one keyword in your title tag you’re leaving A LOT of search engine traffic on the table (and no, I’m not talking about keyword stuffing).

I’ll explain: A while ago I published a post called White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking.

My target keyword for that post was, “white hat SEO”.

So I included the keyword “white hat SEO” in the post’s title.

But I didn’t stop there…

I realized that the keyword “SEO case study” also got a decent amount of searches every month:

SEO case study search volume

So I decided to embed that long tail keyword into the blog post title:

Long tail keyword embed

And I hit the #5 for “SEO case study” in a few short weeks.

As you might expect, the keyword “SEO case study” is MUCH less competitive than “white hat SEO”.

Because of that, I got traffic almost instantly from the keyword “SEO case study”.

And as that page has accumulated links, it made its way onto the first page for “white hat SEO”.

white hat SEO SERPs

If I had only optimized for “white hat SEO”, I wouldn’t have received ANY traffic until I hit the first page for that term.

Fortunately, my embedded long tail keyword “SEO case study” hooked me up with traffic right away.

Bottom line:

Find long tails that you can embed into your titles.

You’ll get search engine traffic faster… and eventually rank the page for more than one term.

14. Hack Wikipedia for Keyword and Topic Ideas

Want to find untapped keywords that your competition doesn’t know about?

Then stop using the Google Keyword Planner and use this SEO technique instead.

Sure, The Keyword Planner is nice for monthly search volume info…but it’s HORRIBLE at generating new keyword ideas.

Why?

Well, the Keyword Planner only gives you VERY close variations of the keywords of your seed keywords.

So if you enter a seed keyword like “weight loss”, it will spit out VERY similar keywords, like this:

If you want to find keywords that are closely related to your seed keyword — but not straight-up variations — you need a human mind.

Or better yet, the thousands of human minds that contribute to Wikipedia.

Here’s how:

Head over to Wikipedia and enter a keyword (I’m going to use the keyword “insurance” in this example):

wikipedia search

Next, keep an eye out for sections on the Wikipedia entry that display closely related keywords and topics.

These sections are… The “Contents” box:

Wikipedia – Table of contents

Callouts and sidebars:

Wikipedia – Sidebar

Internal links:

wikipedia internal links

And “See Also” sections:

see also

You’ll usually come away with fistfuls of keyword and topic ideas from a single Wikipedia entry.

If you want to find even more keyword ideas, click on an internal link.

Then simply follow the same process for that Wikipedia entry.

Rinse and repeat.

15. Use “Best of” Lists to Find Awesome Link Building Opportunities

This is one of my favorite SEO tips of all time.

If you do a lot of link building, you know that a list of high-quality, niche-relevant blogs is like money in the bank.

What you may not realize is that bloggers in your niche create these lists for you in the form of “best of” blog posts.

“Best of” blog posts are simply hand curated lists of the best blogs in a specific industry.

How can you find these “best of” blog posts?

Use these search strings:

  • “[keyword] blogs to follow”
  • “best [keyword] posts 2021”
  • “top [keyword] blogs to follow” + “2021”

For example, I just did a quick search for “fitness blogs to follow”:

Google search

I found this list of 10 awesome blogs in the fitness space after about 30 seconds of searching:

10 fitness blogs to follow

These 10 blogs are PERFECT places to reach out to the next time you want to promote a piece of content or build a long-term relationship.

16. Publish Content With At Least 1,800 Words

There’s no denying it: longer content CRUSHES short 300-word blog posts.

In fact, our study of 11.8 million Google search results found that the average word count of a first page Google results was 1,447 words.

Average content word count of the top 10 results is evenly distributed

(Are long pieces of content mobile friendly? According to our data, yes. Longer content also performs great for mobile searches.)

Why do long posts work? First off, long posts show Google that you’re providing in-depth information for searchers.

But that’s not all:

In-depth content flips an important emotional switch that pushes people to share online content: awe.

University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Jonah Berger found that content that elicited awe made people 30% more likely to share it.

As you may expect, it’s REALLY hard to trigger a feeling of awe from a 350-word article…

…but in-depth pieces work like a charm.

Here’s an SEO mistake I see A LOT of people make:

Let’s say you have two links pointing to a page on your site… and both of those links are on same page.

Which anchor text does Google pay attention to? The first one? The second one? Both?

According to the First Link Priority Rule, only the first link.

Why is this important?

Let’s say you have a navigation bar on your site, like this:

example nav menu

Because your navigation is at the top of the page, Google sees those links first.

Here’s where things get tricky:

Let’s say that you drop a link to your “Recipe Index” page in a blog post.

And that link has the anchor text: “healthy recipes”.

example anchor text

Unfortunately, the “healthy recipes” anchor text is ignored by Big G.

Google only counts the anchor text it saw first: “Recipe Index”.

first_link_v1-01

Important Takeaway:

Use keyword-rich anchors in your site’s navigation.

As you just learned, the keyword-rich internal links below them don’t count.

18. Create Your Own Keywords

This is one of the best pieces of SEO advice you’re ever going to hear:

You always rank #1 for keywords that you create.

What am I talking about?

When you create something truly original — like a brand, product, or a step-by-step system — you’re the only person optimizing for that term.

(After all, you made it up.)

And if your creation becomes popular, you’ll suddenly find yourself ranking #1 for a high-volume keyword.

Let me show you an example:

A while back I published a post called: Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days.

Backlinko – Skyscraper technique

Now I could have optimized my post around a keyword like: “link building strategy”.

Instead, I decided to create my own keyword: “The Skyscraper Technique“.

Today, I get a steady stream of organic traffic from people searching for that keyword that I created.

Google Trends – Skyscraper technique

How can you do the same thing?

The next time that you write about a technique that you created — whether it’s a diet tip, productivity hack or system for growing tomatoes — name it.

If you’ve been in the SEO game for a while you know that a keyword tool is only as good as the seed keywords you put into it.

In other words:

If you use the same seed keywords as your competition, you’re going to see the same keywords they do.

Fortunately, there’s a little-known tool that helps you get around this problem: SeedKeywords.com.

Seedkeywords.com

Here’s how to use it:

First, head over to Seed Keywords and create a scenario.

(A scenario is what someone would use to find your business online.)

Seedkeywords create scenario

Hit “create my scenario” and you’ll get a special link.

Seedkeywords link

Send this link to friends, family and target customers to see what keywords they would use:

Seedkeywords link clicked

And you’ll get a list of outside-the-box seed keywords that you can pop into the Google Keyword Planner.

Now it’s time for our next actionable SEO technique…

20. Find Niche-Specific Link Building Opportunities Using Flippa

There’s no doubt about it:

Google is putting more and more weight on the relevancy of the links pointing to your site.

But where can you find link building opportunities that are specific to your niche? Flippa.com.

Flippa – Homepage

Flippa is like eBay for websites.

And it’s one of the best places on the web to find untapped link building opportunities.

Why?

Because people that sell their site on Flippa give away every detail about how they built their site.

That means they’ll often show you their keywords, content marketing strategy, (and of course) link sources.

It’s like a downloadable content marketing plan.

Here’s how to do it:

Head over to Flippa and click on Websites –>All:

Flippa – Menu – Websites

Next, enter a keyword that describes your site’s broad niche (I’m going to use travel in this example).

Flippa search

You also want to set the monthly users to at least 500 per month.

Monthly users

Here’s a good one:

Search results

The owner of this site actually gives a list of places where he landed editorial links:

Editorial link list

Not only does he show you where he got his links from…but HOW he was able to get them:

PR sentence

(Many Flippa sellers are just as forthcoming.)

Now you know that they acquired those quality links using PR.

That means you have a list of journalists that are open to covering sites in the travel space.

Can you say jackpot?

21. Use The Google Search Console to Get More (Targeted) Traffic

The Google Search Console is one of the best SEO tools on the market.

Unlike most SEO software on the market, the data you get Google Search Console comes straight from Google.

That said, there are A LOT of features inside of the software… most of which you won’t need.

So let me show you how to quickly snag more traffic using data you have sitting inside your account right now.

First, login and click on “Search results” in the sidebar:

Search Console – Search results menu

Next, look for keywords (GSC calls these “queries”) that you already rank for. In other words, keywords that bring you the most impressions:

Google Search Console – Impressions

Then, see how many clicks you get for some of these high-impression terms. If your getting lots of impressions for a certain keyword, and not many clicks, that means that you have A LOT of potential to get traffic for that term.

You just need to boost your rankings for that keyword.

For example, I get A TON of impressions but very few clicks for this keyword (sorry, I can’t reveal the keyword. It’s a good one 🙂 ).

Google Search Console – Impressions and clicks

So how can you get your site to rank higher for that keyword?

Here are a few tips:

  • Improve your Click-Through-Rate. Google searchers probably aren’t clicking on your result as often as the other sites in the first page.
  • Add More Content. Like I mentioned earlier, longer content=higher Google rankings.
  • Include visual multimedia. Try creating content with multimedia (like images and video). This type of content tends to rank better than content that’s 100% text.
  • Build links. Yup, backlinks are still super important. In general, more high-quality links will result in higher rankings.

Here’s The Next Step…

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the 21 SEO techniques from today’s post are you going to try first?

Are you going to start publishing longer content?

Or maybe you want to optimize your site for Google RankBrain.

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

1150 Comments

  1. Wow, great post Brian! Insanely detailed. I already grabbed a couple of these and shot them over to my assistant to hammer through this week.

    Always top notch stuff man!

    – Trevor

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Trevor. I appreciate that!

      Let me know how the strategies work out for you 🙂

    1. Hey Trevor,

      Just to add a bonus one that saw my website mentions increase HUGE

      HARO (Help A Reporter Out) <——— Brian mentioned this one before too just to be fare.

      Don't just pass this one up: use it big time.

      I took the time to respond to niche focused questions and was shocked in over 2 months to see 3 new backlinks.

      I know that isn't a ton. But, it's an awesome start to get them rolling and to build a relationship hopefully (fingers crossed) with these people.

      Just to add: If you do the totally free version of HARO it is awesome. I decided to pay for it, but found that the free fits me PERFECT.

      Thanks,

      Chris Pontine

    1. It’s funny, I’ve been using some of these techniques off and on for a bit now.

      Like checking out copy you know has already performed well in some of your content.

      Keep delivering the goodies Brian.

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        Thanks Daniel 🙂

  2. Brandon Avatar Brandonsays:

    Really smart and informative guide… I love how these are all “real world” tips that anyone can take action on.

    Normally SEO advice is meaningless to the masses because people think “oh I don’t have 10,000 twitter followers to get my infographic viral” but these tips pretty much anyone can put into action.

    Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I put over 15 hours working on this post so I’m happy to hear that you got so much takeaway value from it, Brandon.

      Most of that time was making sure each technique was insanely practical so that people could
      actually use the techniques to get more search engine traffic.

  3. Brian,
    You never seem to run out of excellent ideas! Some of the techniques above are simply genius.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for that, Karl 🙂

      When you think about SEO non-stop ideas like these tend to crop up as I go about my day. I guess that’s the upside of being obsessive 😀

  4. Awesome post Brian! Well, these seo techniques are great but also very hard working. The niche, on I am working, is also so hard :/

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I hear you, Usama.

      Here’s the thing about niches that are hard to build links in:

      It’s hard for your competitors too. That means that you don’t need that many links to rank!
      Even a handful of authoritative links is usually enough to blow by the competition in weird/obscure niches.

      1. Well, right! And I am going to rock soon 😉

  5. Raymond Avatar Raymondsays:

    awesome post yet again Brian! I would seriously pay to pickup all these tips. Thanks for providing such great value.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Raymond, thanks for your comment. These strategies are on me today 🙂

  6. Brian,
    I really enjoyed the post. I’m going to try number 1 in the next few days. I’ll let you know, if I have success.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to hear that you’re going to put the techniques into practice, Matt. Definitely keep me posted with how that broken link building tip works out for you.

  7. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

    I really appreciate that, Rushin. Let me know how the Wikipedia BLB technique goes.

  8. I don’t know how you did it, but you’ve totally outdone yourself. That was one of the best SEO articles I’ve ever read. Amazing!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I try, Jon 🙂

      But seriously, I appreciate your kind words. A lot of work goes into posts like these so it’s great to see that all that time in front of my laptop was worth it.

  9. Puya Avatar Puyasays:

    Hi Brian,

    I can’t wait to try some of your ideas in the list starting today. Like I tweeted earlier, “you just took us back to school”. I knew about Alltop but just ignored it (or maybe I was being lazy).

    I am going to set this page as the background image for my computer to remind me of the proper way to build links.

    Cheers,

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      “I am going to set this page as the background image for my computer to remind me of the proper way to build links”…Best. Comment. Ever.

      Thanks Puya 🙂

  10. Blimey Brian, I think this is your best post ever! Gonna be coming back and going through each tip one by one!

    I really liked what you said about using “because” in outreach emails. Am going to implement this immediately and record the results. Also loved the first tip about finding dead links on Wikipedia. In fact, I’m sure this post will spark an arms race for anyone that’s read it so I’m going to get onto that right away hehe!

    Anyway, thanks man for all these insights. I’ve been scratching my head recently trying to think of white hat ways I can defeat the black hatters in my new niche and this has given me so many ideas!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You know you’re doing something right when someone says “Blimey”.

      Anyway, happy to have helped you find some white hat strategies you can use to beat up on the competition.
      Keep me posted on how adding “because” and the Wikipedia BLB technique works out for you, Richard.

  11. Holy Crap! This is insane! Super actionable tips! It’s like drinking from a firehose! Thanks for the ideas Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Well said, Newlyn. Glad you liked it 🙂

  12. Once again you overdelivered Brian. Awesome actionable tips with many of them being real eye opener and actually very easy to implement.
    Thanks a lot for spending the time to bring all those together.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your comment, Eric. Really glad to hear that you found some practical tips from the post (that’s exactly what I aimed to do with this one).

  13. You’re the man, Absolutely thrilled to the tid bits. As usual, a lot of value.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Adam! I always try to deliver the goods 🙂

  14. This list is great, thank you so much for posting!
    Not only are the tactics creative and unique, but you did an excellent job outlining each with step by step instructions, including great visuals, and providing concrete examples on how to implement the linking tactic. My favorite is probably the Flippa tactic. Amazing for pulling information on how other webmasters were able to acquire links, etc. Thanks again!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Andrew 🙂

      You’re right: the Flippa technique is solid gold. You’d be surprised the kind of business insights
      people share when they’re desperate to sell their site.

  15. Excellent resource as always Brian. These tips are Golden and anyone who wants results can pick any of these techniques and make them work like Richard from Clambr.com

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Great point, Salmaan.

      Of the thousands of people that read a post like this, (unfortunately) very few people will actually put it into action like Richard did with my Skyscraper Technique post.

      That’s why I make the techniques as easy to follow as possible. That way, there’s no excuse NOT to try them.

      1. Totally agree with you on this one. It is a common trait I guess. Tim Ferris said he had disclosed everything about how he got to where he is right now and anyone who wants to be at his place just need to read and follow but hardly anyone practices it but lets not bitter the mood with these thoughts 🙂

        Appreciate your effort in putting up the post, keep it up! (Y)

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Nice Tim Ferris quote, Salmaan. He (and you) are absolutely right.

  16. Brian,
    You hit a grand slam with this great article. I have learned a bunch of new techniques. Thank you so much for the work you put into it. I’m going to share it out to my followers because it is truly helpful and insightful.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I swear that this grand slam didn’t require any PEDs (unless you count a few gallons of coffee).

      Thanks for sharing, Richard.

  17. I wait with bated breath for your always totally awesome linkbuilding posts, Brian. You do indeed deliver the goods. I’m forever your evangelizer. Now off to Tweet and share.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for sharing, Kat 🙂

      I hope this post will tide you over until the next one I plan on publishing next month.

  18. Thanks Brain, these tips are useful. The key thing with most of the tips that you provided is that it will take time and most people want to have more traffic, but they do not want to do the work and put in the time. However, if you put in the word and you do a quality job then it will work out. I think that is the overall strategies that a lot of SEOs have to do today is just to take the time and figure out quality strategies.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s very true, Tariehk. At some level the more work you put into your site the more traffic you’ll get.

      And in the SEO space, a lot of that work comes from testing different strategies to see what works (and then scaling them).

  19. Rajesh Magar Avatar Rajesh Magarsays:

    Rocking as always. I am also big fan of Alltop which is really great resource to discover engaging keywords and topics, but reverse engineering for the links saturated on page 3-6 is sounds new & interesting. will definitely go for this in coming week.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Rajesh. Let me know how reverse engineering those inner pages work out. You’ll have to sift through some junk results, but there are some real gems in there as well.

  20. Jennifer Rodriguez Avatar Jennifer Rodriguezsays:

    Wow! Thank you! Great post!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jennifer 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions about the techniques in the post.

  21. Talha Bhatti Avatar Talha Bhattisays:

    I normally don’t comment on blog posts but I just could not help my self because this was some awesome stuff. Brian you have just found yourself a new reader. Keep it up!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for making an exception for this post, Talha 🙂

      Shoot me an email if you have any questions.

  22. Hi Brian, Just wanted to say thanks for another great read. The options are all very helpful and some slightly easier to do than others but as always its trial and error starting with the ones that suit you most. Thanks again.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Asif! Let me know which of the strategies works best for you.

  23. Superlative. I am speechless… there are more tips in this article than in most SEO guides I have purchased in the last three years. Thanks

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Wow, that’s quite a compliment Nicola. I’m pumped that I could have provided so much value to your business 🙂

  24. Another amazing post, Brian. Whenever I get your emails, I always stop what I’m doing to read them. I especially love that you cited actual studies to back up your points. Putting these to work soon!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Mike! I’m happy to hear that citing studies helped make the post better. I might have to do that more often 🙂

  25. Yoav B Avatar Yoav Bsays:

    Another BD masterpiece. Way to go Brian! 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Yoav!

  26. Brian your the best. These techniques will be put to good use 😉

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      ThI’m glad to hear that you’re going to give some of the techniques a shot. Keep me posted Nazir 🙂

  27. Awesome post Brian! Hands down…sometimes I wonder how do you get so much link building ideas.

    We often see posts on how to get blog topic ideas or ideas on creating visuals but nobody ever talked about new link building ideas. The ways you showed here some are absolutely unheard to me. You know what I think you should write a post on how to get your own link building ideas…where to start…how to proceed…how do I know it’s full proof…it surely comes with lots of experiments…but the point is starting…….I know sounds weird but I know you will come up with something 🙂

    Look forward see what you pick up next from your idea box 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Sourav.

      That’s a good suggestion. I honestly come up with most of my link building strategies by testing a million different things. And I report what works well with the Backlinko community 🙂

  28. Especially like the Expert Roundup tip, I bet that could work VERY well and probably in every niche out there.

    I like it so much that I’ll probably make it a part of the SEO services that I offer.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad to hear you liked that one, Dennis.

      I love the idea to offer that as a service. It’s also good for clients because it establishes relationships
      really, really quickly with other people in their industry. So it’s not just for links (although you’ll get a lot of those too).

      If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out Richard’s
      Expert Roundup which went really well:
      https://www.clambr.com/link-building-tools/

      1. Dennis Avatar Dennissays:

        As a matter of fact I just forwarded it to one of my VA’s to source the top websites, blogs, etc in my niche and let him contact them to see how much time it will require, I’m really at the low end cost/budget wise so I have to do it through cheap VA’s.

        Just curious, when you do it for clients do they create an email for you that you can mail from their name or do you mail from out your own company?

        Will definitely check out that other post, thanks!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Sounds good, Dennis.

          Good question. I usually get an email set up from their email address (ie. brian@company.com). I’ve found that the response
          rate from that is much better vs. using my agency’s email.

  29. Best SEO article I’ve read in a long time. Great tips and the instructions are clear as daylight. This page gets a bookmark from me!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jeff. I really appreciate that. I tried to make the steps crystal clear so that people could use all of the techniques.

  30. Brian – this is a really excellent post. There is much to explore and think about. Ken

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for dropping by, Ken. As someone I respect a lot in the SEO space, it’s great to hear that you enjoyed reading the post.

  31. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while. No BS – straight to the point.
    To add on to your flippa idea, look at the domain-only section. Chances are when a domain is for sale, or after it has sold, file structures have changes, pages have died. Great chance to do some broken link building 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s what I’m talking about, Marc! GREAT creative approach for finding broken links.

      Gotta give that a shot tomorrow morning 🙂

  32. This is an awesome list of tips Brian! I like the idea of using Wikipedia to get keywords ideas! Great job!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Peter 🙂

      That’s one that I use all the time. There are a ton of great ideas in the contents box alone.

  33. Biplab Avatar Biplabsays:

    “Goldmine”! I’m excited to experiment with all of them for sure. This is easily one of my best read posts so far. Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I see what you did there 🙂

      I’m excited to hear how they work out for you, Biplab.

  34. Can not digest this yummy delight in one go. Bookmarking it for future reference. Thanks for the treat 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      🙂

      Thanks Kashif!

  35. Read…picked up jaw from the floor…read again…shook my head and smiled…bookmarked and now reading again! Brian, you’re by far the best SEO guy on the planet and a nice decent bloke as well. I love these gems you post every so often and looking forward to your next online course.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your awesome comment!

      I really enjoy putting these thorough guides together. I’d publish more often, but they take A LOT of time. Thanks again for your support Dean 🙂

  36. Holy crap you’re a legend Brian.. You’re the only SEO who consistently spits out great stuff.

    Tip: Along with delicious I search on scoop.it for similar opportunities. If they liked an article related to a year.. say 2013 and you update the resource to 2014 chances are they’ll share it. Kind of a twist on your delicious + sky scraper technique. You don’t even have to make the content much different or better, just updated! Got some fantastic links recently because of it.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      GREAT tip, Christian.

      I for some reason never thought to use scoop.it for that kind of outreach (just content promo). But it makes perfect sense. And because scoop.it is probably a bit more lively than Delicious these days I imagine it works even better.

  37. Goodness me! How can any one share such awesome tips on public! Thanks Brain! You are the best link building guy I have ever followed!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Well thanks Satish! Hit me up if you have any questions about the tips in this post.

  38. Blown. Away. Ridiculous. Fantastic. As always:)
    Btw, I was always under the impression that digg and delicious were dying but I’m really mistaken. Your(and Jason’s) thinking is foolproof though. If these guys are already curating content, there’s no reason they wouldn’t want to do more of just that! Seo has become a lot of chasing and pestering…it’s good of you to remind us that there are people out there just waiting to share stuff, too.:)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Shabbir!

      Good point about Delicious. As another Backlinko reader Christian Sculthorp pointed out in the comments you can use scoop.it the same exact way. And you may have more success there because it’s probably more active than Delicious right now. SEO is still a lot of pestering, but GOOD SEOs pester people that want to be pestered 🙂

      1. That’s tweet-worthy stuff right there: “SEO is still a lot of pestering, but GOOD SEOs pester people that want to be pestered :-)” It’s going in my buffer!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          😀

          Glad you liked that one, Shabbir.

  39. Yoav Avatar Yoavsays:

    So Brian, regarding #16 does that mean that you can never send an inner post link to a main page that’s located on your main nav bar?? I mean it will never count? But those main pages needs the most links…

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good question, Yoav.

      That second link will still help you because it will pass extra PR to that page. But in terms of anchor text, most of the experiments I’ve seen show that the second link’s anchor text probably doesn’t help. That being said, Google is more sophisticated than when a lot of these came out so they may count both anchors. But to stay on the safe side I recommend adding keywords to navigation links if possible.

  40. Joe Hughes Avatar Joe Hughessays:

    Brian

    Incredible post. You are one of the ONLY guys out there who publishes advanced techniques that are actionable. You deserve every bit of success you get.

    Joe

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your kind words, Joe 🙂

  41. Very impressive strategies Brain, thanks for letting us know. This is the reason why I have subscribed to you email newsletter. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome to hear that you’re enjoying the newsletter so far, Pawan.

  42. Some awesome tips here, thanks for sharing! Looks like your link to Alltop.com is broken though.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Takeshi. Glad you got some value from it.

      And thanks for the heads up about the broken link. Fixed 🙂

  43. You basically had me hooked after you mentioned the Wikipedia dead link technique. The idea of finding dead links and reaching out to the websites that’ve linked there is actually one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve bookmarked this page for future reference. Thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Ted, glad I could hook you up with a new strategy. Let me know how the Wikipedia dead link strategy works out for you.

  44. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

    I like that Brian.
    Only improvement I can see if point 14 to find top list of blogs. I’d use a query like:
    inurl:best*fitness*blog*2012
    intitle:best +fitness blogs
    intitle:best ~fitness blogs
    I’ll have to try the flippa one ASAP. I had no idea you could do that. Love the wikipedia one too.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for those search strings, Paul. You’re right: those are GREAT to toss into ScrapeBox too 🙂

  45. Jackson Morreysen Avatar Jackson Morreysensays:

    These are the best ideas I’ve ever heard. How can you know these kinds of techniques? It is unbelievable! You really are a genius Brian.Your SEO techniques are unique and your effort to write all these information here is amazing! I have a final exam tomorrow, but I read all of the techniques “because” these are simply what we want to hear.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I know these kind of techniques “because” I think about SEO and marketing all day long 🙂

      So when I go to a site like Flippa, I think: “How can I get a link from this?”.

      Thanks for your comment Jackson. I appreciate it.

  46. Some brilliant suggestions Brian, I will certainly be using some of these ideas on my new site. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yeah Nick! These are great strategies to get your new site off on the right foot.

  47. Brian, you’re a beast. Your content makes me feel like an infant, but motivates me to do better with my own! – thanks for this awesome resource, and of course, your hard work. Bookmarked.

    – Gotch

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nathan. Don’t sell yourself short: you publish really good stuff.

  48. John Duggan Avatar John Duggansays:

    Darn it. More work that will produce great results. Bang goes my evenings. I’m bookmarking this but I ain’t sharing it. Don’t want too many to know even if loads of your followers already do. Great thinking and creativity and thanks for sharing for free Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, John. No worries about not sharing it. It’s more important to me that you got some value out of the post. Let me know if you have any questions about one of the strategies.

  49. Brian,
    this article is amazing as always.
    I especially like the part about using Adwords Ads for title and description tags – it`s very simple yet genius idea, thank you.
    I would love to read any on page optimization related articles, could you recommend something really useful?
    (I read everything from your and quicksprout blog=))

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Viktor.

      I wish I could give someone credit for that technique, but it’s something I read back when I first got into SEO so I don’t remember where I read it (probably an internet marketing forum). Actually, I published this on-page SEO guide a few months ago: https://backlinko.com/on-page-seo

  50. Great stuff Brian
    I shared it earlier after a quick read through, and have now given it my full attention with a nice pint of real ale 🙂

    There’s so much to action in here – but my favourite tip is naming a unique technique or strategy you come up with. If you then build up your online brand, as your site gets more popular you could potentially rank for quite a few if these self- invented keywords.
    I’d say ‘keep up the good work’ – but as you so obviously are I’ll simply say ‘thank you’.
    Cheers mate!
    Loz

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Loz,

      Thanks for sharing and happy to hear that my post pairs well with a pint 🙂

      Glad you liked that one. It’s one that’s a bit more on the hit or miss side of things, but when it works, it’s awesome. The name also helps the technique (and by proxy you), more memorable in general.

      Thanks again for your comment, Loz.

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