White Hat SEO:The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to white hat SEO.

So if you want to rocket your site to Google’s first page (without breaking the rules), you’ll love the strategies and tips in this guide.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

White Hat SEO: The Definitive Guide
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White Hat SEO: The Definitive Guide

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About The Author

Hey, it’s Brian Dean.

When I launched my first website back in 2010, I used 100% black hat SEO.

Keyword stuffing.

Shady links.

And strategies that were designed to “trick” Google.

Even though these shady tactics worked temporarily… they didn’t last.

That’s why I eventually switched over to a white hat SEO approach.

(In other words, Google-approved SEO strategies)

Introduction: Author, Brian Dean

And it worked!

Today, thanks to the strategies in this guide, my site ranks on Google’s first page for thousands of different keywords, including competitive ones like, “keyword research tools”:

"keyword research tools" SERPs

And now it’s time for me to share these strategies with you.

Chapter 1:Keyword Research

Chapter 1: Keyword Research

In this chapter you’ll learn exactly how to find keywords that your customers search for every day.

Specifically, I’ll walk you through 5 proven keywords strategies that I personally use to find keywords.

Let’s kick things off with our first strategy…

Find Awesome Long Tail Keywords With Google Suggest

This couldn’t be simpler:

Just type in a keyword that you want to rank for…

Weight loss search

…and jot down the keywords that Google suggests.

Weight loss suggest

Why is this important?

Well, most people struggle with SEO because they target keywords that are too competitive.

(I can’t tell you how many people email me saying: “I want to rank #1 in Google for ‘weight loss’.” #facepalm)

That’s why Google Suggest is so darn powerful:

These suggested keywords are “long tail keywords” that aren’t insanely competitive.

But because Google is suggesting them, you know that people actually search for them.

Copy Competitors’ Keywords

Honestly, this is my go-to keyword research strategy right now.

You can easily spend HOURS hunting around for the right keyword.

Or you can just steal the exact keywords that your competition is targeting.

Here’s how it works:

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

Then, pop that site into a keyword research tool… like Ahrefs or SEMrush.

SEMRush Backlinko search

Bam! You get a list of the exact keywords that site already ranks for.

SEMRush ranking keywords

Online Communities

This strategy is simple:

First, head over to an online community where your audience hangs out, like Reddit.

Paleo subreddit

Then, pay attention to the words and phrases people use over and over again.

(Especially when asking questions)

Paleo subreddit questions

These questions make GREAT keywords.

If you want to automate this process, check out Answer The Public.

Answer The Public

It’s a free tool that analyzes the web for questions that people ask around your topic.

Answer The Public – Results

Google Search Console

Here’s one of my favorite ways to find new keywords.

First, head over to the “Performance Report” in the new Google Search Console.

Google Search Console – Performance Report

By default, you’ll see keywords sorted by number of clicks.

The thing is:

These are keywords that you already get traffic from. So sorting by clicks isn’t super helpful.

Instead, sort the queries by “impressions”:

Google Search Console – Sort by impressions

And take note of any keywords that you could create a great piece of content around.

Good keywords


Well, if you already “accidentally” rank for this keyword…

…imagine how easily you could rank if you actually tried!

Speaking of ranking with content, that’s what the next chapter is all about.

Chapter 2:Amazing Content

Chapter 2: Amazing Content

When it comes to search engine optimization, content is EVERYTHING.

In fact, when you consistently publish great content on your site, you’re well on your way to the top of Google’s first page.

Fortunately, publishing amazing content isn’t as hard as it sounds.

All you need to do is make sure that every piece of content that you publish has the three features I’ll outline below:

Feature #1: Long, In-Depth Content

If you want to rank higher on Google, you need to STOP publishing generic, “me too” content.

(Like: “5 Tips for X” or “7 Reasons to Start Y”).


A recent study of search engine ranking factors found a strong correlation between in-depth content and rankings:

Content and rankings correlation

In other words:

Content that ranks well today covers an entire topic on one page.

For example:

Earlier this year I found a keyword that I wanted to rank for: “Mobile SEO”.

Instead of a generic list post, I created a massive 4,000+ word guide:

Mobile SEO Guide

And because my guide shows you EVERYTHING you need to know about mobile optimization, it very quickly climbed up to the top 3 in Google:

Mobile SEO SERPs

Feature #2: Satisfies User Intent

Thanks to an AI technology called Google RankBrain, Google can measure whether or not searchers are satisfied with a particular set of search results.

In other words:

If your content gives searchers what they want, Google will rank you higher.

For example, check out this piece of content that I first published a few years back: 21 Actionable SEO Techniques That Work GREAT.

SEO Techniques

My primary keyword for that page is: “SEO Techniques”.

So before I wrote a single word, I asked myself:

“What would someone searching for this keyword want to read?”.

In this case, the answer was pretty obvious: they want to get a list of no-nonsense SEO methods.

So I didn’t start my content off with a lots of background information. Instead, after a very short intro, my post dives right into tip #1:

SEO Techniques – Immediate information

And because my result makes people happy, Google WANTS to show it to more people.

(Which means more website traffic for me!)

Feature #3: Great User Experience and Readability

Like I just mentioned, Google closely tracks how people interact with your site.

Specifically, Google pays VERY close attention to one thing:

The amount of time that people stay on your page.

If Google notices that people leave your site after a few seconds, you can expect a rankings drop.

Pogo stick effect

(Want to see a real-life example of this happening to my site? Check out the video below)

So: how do you keep searchers on your site longer?

Here are two simple tips that work great:

First, write an introduction that gets straight to the point.

For example, check out the brief intro from this post on my blog about SEO tools:

SEO Tools – Intro

Next, make sure your content is SUPER easy to read.

That means…

Big font (15px+):

Font size

Lots of subheadings:


And short paragraphs (1-2 sentences MAX):

Short paragraphs

Now that you’ve published a piece of awesome content, it’s time for chapter 3.

That’s where you’ll learn how to keyword-optimize your content.

Chapter 3:On-Page SEO

Chapter 3: On Page SEO

Here’s the deal:

There’s a lot more to on-page SEO than just “optimizing your meta tags”.

And in this chapter I’ll show you four of my favorite on-page SEO strategies.

So if you’ve ever wondered: “How do I actually use keywords in my content?”, you’ll LOVE the tactics and case studies in this chapter.

Strategy #1: Descriptive URLs

Google uses your page’s URL to understand what your content is about:

Google Guide

That’s why you want your URLs to be:

  1. Short
  2. Keyword-rich

For example, my target keyword for this blog post is “ecommerce SEO”:

Ecommerce SEO post

So I made the URL for that webpage: /ecommerce-seo:

Keyword in URL


Strategy #2: Internal Links

Why is internal linking important?

Two reasons:

First, these internal links help Google understand your content better.

How? Google looks at the anchor text that you use in your internal links.

In other words:

Keyword-rich anchor text helps Google understand the topic of the page that you’re linking to.

Keyword rich anchor text helps Google understand

For example, this internal link helps Google understand that the page I’m linking to is about “RankBrain”:

Internal link

Second, internal links send link authority to pages that need it, which can give them a rankings boost.

Internal links rankings boost

Strategy #3: Use Keywords Strategically

In the old days of SEO, you could rank your site using a black hat technique known as “keyword stuffing”.

(This meant cramming keywords into your content 1000 times)

Today, search engines are MUCH more sophisticated.

Which means that keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore.

What does?

Using your target keyword (and close variations of that term) a handful of times on your page.

Like in your title tag:

Title tag

The beginning of your content:

Beginning of content

And in H1 or H2 tag:

In heading

Strategy #4: Optimize Images With Alt Tags


Google, Bing and other search engines can’t “see” your images.

Instead, they rely on the text they see in “alt tags”.

And when you optimize your images using descriptive alt tags, Google can get a full grasp of your content’s overall topic.

(Which can help it rank for more keywords)

For example, check out this image from my post about getting more traffic to your website:

Increase in traffic

What does that image show? An increase in traffic.

So I made my alt text for that image: “increase in traffic”.

Image alt text

Who said SEO had to be complicated 🙂

Chapter 4:Link Building

Chapter 4: Link Building

There’s no doubt about it:

If you want to rank your site to the top of Google’s search results, you need backlinks.

(And lots of ‘em)

The question is:

How do you build backlinks to your site WITHOUT resorting to black hat link building strategies?

It’s simple, actually: just stick to the four white hat link building strategies in this chapter.

Strategy #1: The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is as white hat as it gets.

First, you evaluate Google’s first page for content that’s already ranking well.

Next, you figure out what that content has in common.

Finally, you write a post that’s similar to what you just found… but WAY better.

For example:

A while back, I wanted to create something around the topic of: “how to optimize videos”.

So I did a search for terms like “video SEO”:

Video SEO search

And I analyzed each piece of content that was ranking in the SERPs.

SERPs sample

(By the way, SERP = Search Engine Results Page)


I noticed that most of the content I found were list posts and guides.

To me, a guide made the most sense for this keyword. So I went with that.

Specifically, I wrote a guide that CRUSHED the other guides about video SEO:

Video SEO Guide

And because my content deserves to rank on Google’s first page, it now ranks in the top 3 for my target keyword:

"video SEO" SERPs

Strategy #2: Broken Link Building

This is one of my favorite white hat SEO tactics.

Here’s how it works:

First, find a page on the web that you’d like to get a link from.

Page you want a link from

Next, use a tool like Check My Links to scan the page for broken links.

Check my links

Lastly, let the person that runs the site that their page has a broken link:

Broken link outreach

(And if you have a page on your site that could replace the broken link, suggest that they replace that content with the dead link)

Strategy #3: Industry Studies and Original Research

This strategy definitely takes some work.

But when done right, an industry study can land you LOTS of backlinks.

For example, earlier this year we published a study about ranking signals that impact voice search SEO.

Voice Search SEO study

Even though this content is only a few months old, it’s already racked up an impressive 521 backlinks.

Voice Search SEO study – Backlinks

Strategy #4: Guest Posting

When it comes to guest posting, you have two options:

You can write guest posts for any site that will publish your content (even if the site isn’t remotely related to yours).


You can publish guest posts on authority sites in your niche.

And make no mistake:

When it comes to SEO, these two approaches are VERY different.

In fact, Google considers spammy guest blogging a “link scheme” that can get your site penalized:

Google Policy Guestposting

In my case, I ONLY write guest posts for sites in my niche, like this one that I wrote for the Buffer blog:

Brian Buffer guest post

And I recommend you do the same.

Chapter 5:Technical SEO

Chapter 5: Technical SEO

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Technical SEO can make or break your entire site’s SEO efforts.


Fortunately, thanks to lots of helpful tools, you don’t need to be a coder to master technical SEO.

And in this chapter I’ll show you four of the most important technical SEO best practices:

Speed Up Loading Time

Google is usually secretive about the factors that go into their algorithm.

But there’s one factor they’re not shy about:

The importance of your site’s loading speed.

Loading speed importance


How do you know if your site is fast enough?

First, use a Google tool called PageSpeed Insights.

Google PageSpeed Insights – Homepage

If you have bloated code or huge images slowing down your page, this tool will tell you about it:

Google PageSpeed Insights – Results

If you want to dig deeper, try WebPageTest:


Unlike Google’s PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest gives you A LOT of details on your site’s performance…

WebPageTest results

…and hooks you up with actionable things you can do to reduce your site’s loading time.

WebPageTest recommendations

Use a Smart Site Architecture

When your site is brand new with only a few pages, your site architecture doesn’t matter that much.

But as your site grows, your architecture becomes REALLY important.

What do I mean by “site architecture”, exactly?

It’s how the pages on your site are organized and arranged.

The goal is to keep your architecture “flat”. That way, it only takes 3-4 clicks to go from one page to any other page on your site.

Site architecture

Why is this important?

Flat architecture helps link authority “flow” from one page to another… which can improve the search rankings for every page on your site.

Fix Errors

Next, use the uber-helpful Google Search Console to find errors and problems with your site’s technical SEO.

Just head over to the “Index coverage report”.

Index coverage report

And see if Google has trouble finding your important pages (which can happen if you blocked Googlebot by mistake).

Google Search Console – Errors

As you can see, everything is A-OK for me.

But if you do run across errors, I recommend checking out Chapter 2 of my guide to the Google Search Console, which breaks down errors that you might run into.

Be Mobile Friendly

You might have heard that Google has largely moved to a new “mobile-first index”:

Mobile-first index

Let me be the first to tell you:

This is a VERY big deal.

For the first time ever, Google considers the mobile version of your site the only version that matters.

That’s why it’s important to use a tool like the “Mobile-Friendly Test” to make sure Google considers your site easy to use for mobile searchers.

Mobile-Friendly Test results

Now that your technical SEO is all good, it’s time for something cool:

A bonus chapter where I walk you through a real life case study of someone that used white hat SEO to rank #1 in Google for his target keyword.

Keep reading…

Chapter 6:Case Studies

Chapter 6: Bonus Chapters

In this chapter you’re going to see two white hat SEO case studies.

First, you’re going to learn how Emil rocketed his site to the #1 spot in Google.

Then you’ll see how Richard boosted his organic traffic by 348%… in 7 days.

Case Study #1: How Emil Ranked #1

Today you’re going to learn how Emil rocketed his site to the #1 spot in Google using ethical, white hat SEO.

(And a good amount of content marketing)

Let’s walk you through the specific steps that Emil used…

Step #1: Find an Awesome Keyword

Emil’s company sells snacks to offices.

SnackNation homepage

And didn’t take Emil long to figure out that VERY few people searched for healthy office snacks.

For example, a keyword like “healthy office snack ideas” gets only 10 – 100 searches per month.

"healthy office snack ideas" low monthly searches

But here’s the interesting part:

Emil realized that people interested in healthy office snacks are ALSO interested in the broad topic: “employee wellness”.

So he popped “employee wellness” into the Google Keyword Planner

Employee wellness Google Keyword Planner search

…and voila! — he found this gem of a keyword:

Wellness program ideas

Step #2: Find Content That Already Ranks for That Keyword

Once you’ve found a keyword, it’s time to get a feel for what’s already out there…

…so you can destroy it.

(Yes, I let out an evil laugh when I wrote that 😀)


How do you find content that’s already done well?

A simple Google search.

Simply search for your target keyword (and a few closely-related keywords), and see what comes up.

Wellness program ideas search

For example:

Emil Googled “employee wellness program ideas”, “wellness programs” and “corporate wellness programs”:

Corporate wellness programs

And he noticed a few trends in the results.

(Namely: most of the results were lists of program ideas, they lacked visuals, and they didn’t provide any details of how to actually implement each program)

Lists lacking visuals

Step #3: Create Something That Deserves To Rank #1

Here’s the truth:

First page rankings have NOTHING to do with “keeping your site updated with fresh, quality content”.

Instead, your ability to hit the first page (and stay there long-term) depends on ONE thing:

Creating something that deserves to rank #1.

Here’s how Emil did exactly that:


Emil’s post listed more wellness program ideas than any other guide

Most of the content that Emil found only talked about 5-10 wellness program ideas:

Bad wellness example

So Emil went crazy and listed a whopping 121 ideas (more on that later).


Emil asked experts to contribute ideas

Emil’s company partners with dozens of healthy snack companies.

And Emil guessed that these health-obsessed offices would be happy to share the wellness programs they used.

And he was right.

Emil got his team to ask their partners to send their best creative ideas:

Emil – Team outreach

And, as you can see, these partners were happy to lend a hand:

Response to Emil

Emil split up his content into sections

Let’s face it:

Sifting through a huge amount of items on a list can be a real a chore.

Despite that fact, many of the articles ranking in Google didn’t organize their ideas into sections:

Bad wellness site – No sections

That’s why Emil decided to organize his list of ideas into 7 categories:

Emil – Sections

Not only do these sections make Emil’s content easier to skim, but they got him nifty sitelinks in Google:

Emil – Sitelinks

Emil added multimedia to make his content more visually appealing

Like I mentioned earlier, most of the articles ranking on page 1 had VERY few visuals, like images, charts, or videos:

Lack of competition

That’s why Emil peppered his post with eye-catching images…

Emil – Post with images

…and helpful videos:

Emil video in post

And after a few tweaks, Emil’s kick butt post was live: “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas For Your Office“.

Emil – Finished post

Now that Emil’s post was live, it was time to celebrate right?


I probably don’t need to tell you that hitting “publish” is just the beginning.

That’s why I want to show you the exact content promotion strategies that Emil used to get the word out about his new guide.

Step #4: Promote Your Epic Content

Here’s how Emil promoted (and built links) to his content.

Emil Used “Pre-Outreach”

Once Emil put the finishing touches on his post, he knew he had something special.

That’s why he decided to promote his post…

…before he even published it.

(This is known as “Pre-Outreach”)

Here’s how it went down:

First, Emil found blogs that wrote about employee wellness. And he sent them this message:

Emil – Outreach message

Because he didn’t beg for a link or share, they were happy to hear from him:

Emil – Outreach message response

In fact, one of the people that Emil reached out to linked to him later that day:

Emil – Link

(And several people shared his blog post on social media)

Emil Promoted With “The Content Roadshow”

Next, Emil promoted his content with “The Content Roadshow”.

Let me show you how The Content Roadshow works:

First, Emil searched for bloggers that wrote about employee wellness, human resources and other related topics.

Emil – Search

And when he found a piece of great content like this one…

RecruiterBox site

…he emailed the author:

Emil – Email to RecruiterBox

In this case, Kristi asked Emil to submit his content to her roundup:

Emil – RecruiterBox response

He did… and got a sweet backlink in return:

Emil – Backlink

Emil Emailed Brands

Next, Emil emailed the other companies that he referenced in his post.

For example, Emil mentioned Authority Nutrition here:

Authority Nutrition

And sent them a message to let them know that they’ve been featured:

Emil – Authority nutrition email

As you can see, they happily shared his post:

Authority Nutrition response

Emil Built Backlinks

Now that Emil had some social proof going, it was time to get down and dirty with link building.

Here’s the exact process that Emil used:

First, he searched for his target keyword in Google…

Emil – Target keyword Google search

…and popped the top 50 results into a spreadsheet:

Emil's spreadsheet

Next, Emil found out who linked to the top 50 results.

He popped each URL into a backlink analysis tool:

Emil – Ahrefs URL

And went one-by-one through the results.

Emil – Ahrefs results

Then he emailed each of those people to let them know about his new, superior resource.

Let’s take a look at a real life example of Emil’s outreach in action…

Here’s his first email:

Emil's first outreach email

Her response:

Emil – First outreach email response

His second email (with a link to his content)

Emil – Second outreach email

Boom! A link:

Emil – Another backlink

All of these links led to a solid uptick in traffic:

Emil – Traffic increase

And a #1 Google ranking:

Number one in SERPs

(Because Emil didn’t do anything shady, these rankings should last over the long run)

Case Study #2: How Richard Got 348% More Traffic

Now it’s time show you how Richard boosted his organic traffic by 348%… in 7 days.

The craziest part?

Richard got these results in a SUPER competitive niche (digital marketing).

Here’s what went down:

Step #1: Richard Found a Keyword

As an SEO newbie, Richard wanted to know which white hat SEO tools the experts used (in other words, not automated black hat tools).

And when he typed “link building tools” into SEMRush, he noticed that this keyword got a decent amount of searches every month.

Richard – SEMRush

Step #2: Richard Sized Up The Competition

When Richard went through the first page results for “link building tools”, he wasn’t super impressed:

Link building tools – SERPs

Most were lists of tools, like this:

Tools list

Sure, a list like this can be pretty helpful.

But lists like these don’t answer the fundamental question: “Which link building tools should I use?”

That’s when he decided to create something that DID answer that question.

Step #3: Richard Created an Awesome Piece of Content

Like I said, Richard was brand new to SEO.

So he wasn’t about to write a post like: “Here’s the best link building tool on the planet”.

Instead, he emailed 115 influential people in the SEO space…and got 47 replies (that’s a 41% conversion rate).

Richard outreach

The end result is Richard’s expert roundup post, 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favorite Link Building Tools:

Richard – Post

Step #4: Richard Promoted His Content With Email Outreach

Specifically, he used Broken Link Building (which I outlined in Chapter 4).

First, he found pages with broken links.

And he sent the author of that page this script:

Richard outreach email

When they replied saying “What’s the broken link?”, he sent them this email:

Richard's outreach reply

And he was rewarded with a handful of high quality backlinks:

Outreach response

Including links from:

  • SearchEngineLand.com (DA92)
  • An authority resource page
  • A popular digital marketing firm’s blog

And those links led to a HUGE spike in organic traffic (an increase of 348% to be exact):

Richard – Traffic spike

Now, Over To You…

Your Turn

What did you think of my new guide to white hat SEO?

Or maybe you have a question about a strategy or technique from the guide.

Either way, I’d like to hear what you have to say.

So go ahead and leave a comment below right now.


  1. Dannnng Richard is PERSISTENT. But in all seriousness, I really liked that he refined his outreach technique to be more efficient and the fact that he actually saw far better results.

    Nice work Richard and thanks for the write-up Brian!

    1. I know, right? But that’s what it takes to grab the attention of the ballers in any industry. Thanks for reading, Nathan 🙂

  2. Brian – great article and I already have an idea I can execute this technique on… but I have one question – how do you discover broken links on other sites that are relevant to your article? If you’ve written on this in the past, can you point me toward the resource?
    all the best,
    Brian Clapp

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Brian. That’s a great question. I actually use a Chrome extension called Check My Links. It finds all the broken links on a page VERY quickly. To help automate the process of finding pages and checking for broken links, I’ve also used the (paid) tool at BrokenLinkBuilding.com, which I really like.

        1. Thanks Joe. I have tried their tool and REALLY like it. I just prefer Check My Links because I found that it works a bit faster. But you’re right: that’s another great tool to use.

          1. Hi! Can’t wait to try out Check My Links, thanks for that. 🙂 But I’m also wondering how to find dead websites or pages that had something to do with your website or page? For me… I’ve been trying to get traffic from people looking for employment in the UK or information on the JobCentre but I haven’t had luck yet finding broken links on pages that I think would want to link to my site. But I like the idea, and will keep trying! Could use some suggestions though.

          2. Kendal, if a page is relevant to your sites, so are the outbound links. So I’d just keep plugging away at UK career info pages.

      1. If I am not mistaken, Brian was wondering how to find contextual broken links on websites other than his own? Check My Links only verifies pages that you open in your browser. For 404 discovery you would need to use tools such as brokenlinkbuilding.com that was mentioned by Brian, right?

    2. Sure you guys know this but the real power of the Check My Links extension idea is not only being able to see broken backlinks on for example with Kendal’s situation UK job related resource pages, but what you can then also do is grab the backlink profiles of those broken link sites from say Ahrefs or Majestic, and ALL those links will be broken too :).

      So each broken link can yield possibly hundreds more prospects if you can that’s site’s link profile as well, which can be kinda cool.

    1. Thanks Adam! I can’t wait to get the course out to everyone. And I’ll definitely have to stop by for another podcast session in a few weeks 🙂

  3. Damn Brian, You rock like mad, this is simple to implement though it requires a huge amount of energy. But it’s worth the effort. Signing up for your article is really worth it. I give you a thumbs up.

  4. Hey Brian, thank you so much for doing this case study and for all your guidance over the last couple of weeks 🙂 The Skyscraper technique is earth shatteringly powerful! I can’t recommend it enough and will continue using it for many future posts.

  5. Very detailed article. I especially like the sample emails. I’d be interested to see the email which ‘gently encourages them to share’.

    1. Thanks for reading, Brad. I’ll see if Richard will send me that email template (even though it didn’t work especially well in his case).

        1. For straight up link begging, I’ve found that something simple and straightforward works. My script is something like: “I found your list of resources. I also have a good one. It’d be great if you could add mine to the list”. There are a few tricks to make it more effective, but that’s the basic gist.

  6. I was wondering how you could apply the same type of method with local businesses. For instance a hotel, most have a corporate face where you cannot exactly email the web guy or whatever seo firm is in charge of their social marketing

    1. Good question, Rob. This can definitely work for local businesses. But you’re right: it takes a slightly different approach. One of the hardest parts of doing outreach for brick and mortar business or large sites is finding the right person to get in touch with. If you dig deep you can usually find the right email address somewhere on the site. If not, I recommend using the general “contact us” page and asking them to forward your message to the right person.

      1. When I published 151 Things to Do in Carmel CA, I wanted to contact the businesses/places that I had referenced in the article. Many just had a contact form on their site or something like info@yadayada.com. I just sent my generic intro email and 100% responded positively that they wanted the link to the article. In most cases I got a ‘real’ email address and name when they replied. That’s the beauty of using Brian’s strategy of sending an intro email first (without the link), asking them if they would like to have it. It forces them to reply, versus if you simply send over the link.

  7. Excellent case study, Brian/Richard. I have bee blogging for a few years and just recently found out how important promotion really is. Like Derek Halpern says, “20% of your time should be focused on writing and 80% should be focused on promotion”.

    Richard obviously spent a ton of time on this one post, but it should work FOR him for the long time. Well done, Richard! Way to take action and as always, thanks for the tips, Brian!

    1. Thanks for reading, Adam. I 100% agree with Derek’s take on blog growth. I’d even go as far to say — especially when you’re first starting out — that you may even want to spend 90%+ of your time promoting the content you already have.

  8. Old school beating the pavement and finding content holes! Great read. I plan on trying to do the same for my niche which is selling niche websites based on Adsense monetization. I can see the hardest part is going to be the initial outreach, luckily I can use the short and sweet approach you posted with a little modification to suit my topic. This will be interesting to see how it goes. As always, great post bro, keep em coming.

    1. Absolutely, Jay: this is the type of SEO people were doing back in the 90s. And as you can see, it still works well today! Let me know how the technique works out for your site.

  9. Another great post Brian – thanks for pointing me to Richard’s post which is also very insightful. The lesson is simple – write epic content and then tell people about it. Good luck with your SEO That Works course – I’ll be buying it!

    1. Thanks Ryan! That’s a great takeaway message from this case study: write epic content and tell people about it.

  10. Hi Brian, I typically love your advice and posts, but there were 2 things about this post that didn’t thrill me:
    1. All those 100-300% improvements look good in a headline, but they are quite dependent on working with super low traffic to begin with – a few hundred visits! Of course the technique works, but it will not produce the same % lift for sites with traffic in 5-6 digits. Need to set realistic expectations.
    2. I read about the skyscraper technique on QuickSprout blog by Neil Patel about a month ago – you and him applied the same technique while writing about it and the outcome is – the content isn’t unique!

    Thank you for all the advice. If you think getting 200% traffic lift in less than 6 months is possible for a content rich (200K indexed pages in Google) site with 100K+ visits a month, please contact me for a lucrative consulting gig 🙂

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Lilia.

      You’re totally right: that kind of dramatic change isn’t possible for a site already getting traffic. But as you said, it can still give them a significant boost.

      Yes, Neil and I covered The Skyscraper Technique in our Advanced Guide to Link Building. But I thought it’d be cool to show people a real life example of the strategy in action 🙂

  11. I think it work because is about seo – so everyone want to know more info. Hmm how about surveillance camera niche? Will this tehnique work? Let me think… No? I guess!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gabriel. You’re right: this works really well in the SEO niche. But it can work in almost every niche. Every niche has content that’s performed well and could use an update or improvement.

  12. Extremely smart way of generating compelling content, obtaining high quality links and helping to establish both yourself and your website as an authority source!

    1. Thanks Nathan! This post was pivotal in establishing us as an authority in the employee wellness/engagement space. As we’ve done more and more high quality posts like this, our audience has grown tremendously and get more natural shares/links without us having to do as much promotion.

  13. Thanks for this. Please could you explain how to use “Check My Links” more. Just say for instance that I have a great article that I want to promote and I am looking to do this by suggesting it as a replacement for a broken link (as described in your article above.) How do I find relevant web pages that might have relevant (but broken) links? Thanks.

    1. Sure thing, James. That’s actually the hardest part of broken link building. One way is to find resource pages in your niche (because they tend to have a lot of links and therefore are more likely to have a few broken ones). When you find one, run Check My Links on it.
      Another strategy is to take a site in your niche and run it through brokenlinkcheck.com. That will show you all of the broken links on a site without having to use Check My Links.

  14. There are so many to do as a SEO these days. Back in the old days, all we do is track competitors’ link profile and build slightly better links than them. Now, we need to post extraordinary content, reach out industry influencers, help others find broken links, etc. Some say the method you mentioned in this post is simple; I don’t think so. You need a lot of creativity to pull this one off; and creativity is not something you can learn by working hard.

    1. Thanks for your insights, Jerry. Good stuff 🙂 I also remember the days of “match and exceed” SEO. You’re right: Richard definitely put a lot of creativity into his guide. And his success was due to a combination of creativity and hard work.

  15. This is killer as always Brian! Seriously, with your blog posts and link building course I’ve learnt and successfully implemented more in the last month than I have this whole year. One day when I’m rich I’m gona buy you a shiny red race car to say thanks 🙂

    1. That means a lot to hear, Glen. I work really hard on my blog post and course content, so it’s great to know that you’re getting so much value from it 🙂

  16. Great article and well done Richard.

    Tbh, The SEO community is usually very willing when it comes to outreach (for obvious reasons). In some niches it can be a lot harder to gain rapport with industry influences that are willing to share your content, But still that’s nothing to take away from the hard work and persistence put into this.

    Well done Richard.

    1. That’s a good point, Martin: not all industries are receptive to outreach. I’ve found that the SEO community is a mixed bag. On one hand, there are a lot of people in the community really open to outreach (as you pointed out). The flip side of that is that they know every trick in the book. So have to be REALLY creative to get your links.

    2. Thanks a lot Martin!

      I’ve indeed found the SEO community to be an amazing group of people. The support I’ve had from outreach has been phenomenal. A few people even went the extra mile and helped nudge some of their friends to get a response back to me 🙂

  17. Brian you are the beast. Keep it up.
    I have been extremely busy lately therefore I haven’t managed to contact you. However, I’m going to give you a “small” donation in the next few months for being helpful through e-mails and helped me in every single possible way. By the way, what theme are you using? Is it genesis?

  18. That was truly incredible techniques for marketing, not just for SEO but it’s also great for social media optimization too. Thanks a billion for sharing such great insight and would love consume more information from you in future.

  19. Really love the write up, love the commitment shown, love the results… But I think I love the Pokemon image outreach emails the best! (Shame that they’re the less effective approach 🙂 )

    1. Those emails were cool, right? They actually worked OK for them but he wasn’t able to send them out in bulk. Thanks for reading, Rob.

    2. Hey Rob, glad you liked the funny images.

      It was a shame they didn’t get a good response rate, but, after thinking about it, I reckon it’s because I fixed the link in the first email. It would have been better if I’d just used the images to alert them to a broken link first and then fixed the link later once they replied.

      Since revisiting many of the sites I gave the “heads up” to I’ve noticed that most people did in fact fix their broken links, so it might be worth trying images again with this change in strategy and see what happens.

  20. Wow!
    Brian,this article is amazing!!!
    What’s a perfect method which I never think about!
    Find the gap,fill it and then tell to the world,it’s really simple concept but always be overlooked,thanks,I will try it!

  21. Great article … really interesting! However there’s a small typo here:
    “In total, he emailed 115 influential people in the SEO space and got 47 replies (that’s a 54% conversion rate).”

    There’s something wrong with the math 🙂

  22. Great stuff Brian and I guess Richard was spot on with his technique of reaching out to influencers and get their thoughts.
    I also co-host #SEOTalk Twitter Chat and it happens on Monday 10AM EST (it’s scheduled to suit some Indian audience), would be glad to have you as guest some time and talk about this or some other SEO techniques. Let me know!

  23. This case study has shown some very true fact of SEO that works , and which anyone can follow to win the race with it. Thanks @briand sharing this great piece of white hat SEO guide !

  24. Brian , once again a nice way to build backlinks. You always come with creative ways thats why i like your blog. I am gonna use Skyscraper Technique for my blog.

  25. Hi Brian,
    That was cool. I am going to try it. I think the promotion piece will be the most challenging for me. But I am all in. Thanks so much.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Charly. You’re right: the promotion part is the definitely where the rubber meets the road. But I’m sure you’ll crush it 🙂

  26. Such a wonderful article to understand the core of what we actually miss when we do SEO. rather focusing on keyword, answering what the users need should be the primary concern, but many times we miss that part totally and stick to back link building.

    Tweeting it right away.


  27. Nice idea. Actually until today I never realized the importance of content. Will make sure I take time in posting the best content using your strategy and links should pour like rain 😉
    I have question. How do you get to target the right keyword for your promotion.? I mean how does Google know when your content goes live?

    1. Content is HUGE for branding, SEO, and referral traffic. Keyword research is important, but a bit too complicated to explain in a blog comment. I just use the Google Keyword planner and find keywords with decent search volume. Google knows when your content goes live from Twitter, your sitemap etc.

  28. Hey Brian thanks for the comprehensive post. I’m a huge fan of guest posting and thy skyscraper technique.

    Are there any other techniques you can share than can bring in the easier wins on traffic?


    1. Glad you liked it. In terms of easy traffic wins, you’d be hard pressed to beat forum marketing. In my experience it’s one of the best (and fastest) ways to drive targeted traffic to your site.

  29. Brian for link out reach we can also use topsy and know who are sharing that post(1st position on Google for keyword) on Twitter or Google+ and mail them or contact them on twitter about the new resource.

    1. That’s a good tip, Sachin. I’m a big fan of finding people that have already shared similar content. They tend to convert really well.

  30. Nice post and its true that at times we caught under black hat techniques as at times we are getting fast results through this method but frankly speaking if you want to sustain for longer period of time in SEO World then one should avoid Black hat techniques and adopt white hat techniques as soon as possible…….

  31. Wow! Great article, I read a few SEO articles and don’t usually get much from them, but this one I am actually going to give a go, seems simple although requires the time and effort, but well worth it!

    Many thanks for sharing with us!


  32. Very well written and refreshing post, Brian.
    I like the way you approached gaining big traffic increases via the white hat route, and sprinkled some insightful tips on what looks like a very effective method.
    Agree that, just throwing up post after post and hoping for that great visitor increases will magically arrive, is probably not a very good long term plan for any website.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Danny. That’s a good point: when I first started out I posted twice a week because that’s what most bloggers recommend. But it didn’t work very well for me. When I posted less often — and spent more time promoting the content I already had on my site — I saw MUCH better results.

  33. People think that if they post great content, users will magically appear and backlink them. There is so much more to Whitehat SEO than just great content. Great article!

  34. Hey Brian,

    A big pat on the back has to go to Richard for his implementation, we are working on a very similar thing (entirely different niche), I will keep you posted on how it goes… Real-life case studies like this are hugely encouraging for everyone trying to do SEO well and white-hat so thanks 🙂

  35. Hey Brian, Awesome post. I thoroughly enjoyed it and really appreciate your time for this case study. It helps many a lot. I just came here at the right time considering the way Google is against many link building techniques.
    @Richard – A great idea well executed. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing the idea.

    1. Thanks for reading, Venkat. You’re right: it’s a good time to start learning these types of powerful (but safe) techniques.

  36. Hey Brian,

    This is one epic post. Like all your posts 🙂

    I love how you broke it down into easily repeatable steps. I generally email bloggers who wrote about similar topics after each of my posts. I get a decent response rate but you’re right, it takes forever to personalize. The process usually takes up a whole day.

    My emails are usually only about 4 lines long, but it still takes forever. I’m going to give the one liner emails a shot and see how it effects response rates.

    Awesome post again. Backlinko posts do a good job of getting me excited.

    – Mark T.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Mark! I’ve found the same thing: personalizing emails (even short ones) take forever. That’s why that initial “feeler” email works so well. You still have to personalize it, but it takes MUCH less time :-). Thanks again for stopping by, Mark.

  37. Incredible information, I learn many new point related to SEO. its quite informative post. Thanks for sharing huge information.

  38. Hey Brian, great post! How would I use this technique in a blue collar industry? (Installing kitchen cupboards). Most if not all of our competitors/colleagues in this niche puts up a 5-10 page website with just a few pictures with very little linkbait content. I’m therefore stumped on ideas for content I can improve on and also who to message to promote it. [My competitors surely wouldn’t].

    1. That’s a really good question, Raymond.

      You have two options:

      1. Come up with something truly original. You don’t always have to use another piece of content as inspiration. If you have a content idea that people would love to share and link to (like a tutorial on installing kitchen cupboards or a flowchart that helps people choose the right cupboards) you can use that.

      2. Look at other related industries (like DIY blogs) and see what type of stuff they’ve published that’s performed well. It doesn’t have to be perfectly niche-related. Something about woodworking or interior design is relevant enough.

      Hope that helps 🙂

    1. That’s what I’m saying! I used to do 100% black hat SEO back in the day. Once I learned how to do white hat, I never went back.

  39. Great article, Brian! My website needs a boost and I’ll definitely be using the ideas in this article to improve my content and build links.

  40. Hi Brian – I am inspired to fill the content gap in my niche (interior design).

    The early strategic thought is to build out a blog as part of our website and brand it ‘Americas’s Best’ where we can invite small businesses to showcase their local design, remodeling, renovating businesses as “America’s Best”. Assuming this will warrant a few back links from industry related websites that are featured and assuming it will product some search mojo for “best interior designer [insert city or town here]”.

    Question: when finding potential candidates for the round up am I wasting my time with small local biz with 0-2 PR sites with very little to no traffic?

  41. Awesome insights, I read this post twice already! am working on an info graphic plus a post for my niche site using this technique. Lets see how it goes.

  42. Excellent post Brian!

    Quick questions…
    Do you use a particular outreach program?
    I know there are some SEO software out there that will gather all the emails of site in a specific niche and then help you send emails & keep track of stats etc.

    Do you use a specific program to do this for you & what would you recommend?

    Thanks so much & looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks for reading, Riaan. Depending on the campaign I use BuzzStream or just kick it old school with Excel. I’ve found that, unless you’re working with a team, you can usually keep track of things with a Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet. But if you want more robust features, BuzzStream is awesome.

  43. Really awesome article, summary of this can be if you build social likes that would boost your site Rankings, for this purpose we can create Facebook page, or Build Twitter Followers.

    1. Actually social shares don’t boost rankings that much. The reason he had so much success was mostly from the backlinks he built to his site.

  44. That’s very true Shah: this type of creative link building is one way to get an edge on the big brands out there. The strategy takes some work and creativity, but it definitely pays off.

  45. Hi Brian
    Hi Richard
    Nice to knowing you two from backlinko.com
    I agree about White Hat Seo
    here, I do not have a lot of ability and time, I do it slowly for 1 month and assisted template is also good from my Seo Master… (maybe he is one of your student 😀 )
    in 1 month, our alexa traffic rank majuroyal.blogspot or lean about 300 percent !
    Amazing White Hat Seo , thank you Brian and Richard

    1. It can definitely take time to execute something like this. Richard saw fast results but you can always do something similar a slower pace.

  46. That was an incredible article Brian – I will email you when I put this into practice myself. You really blew me away with your approach to SEO

    Paul Back

  47. That was a great case. Im still smiling after that SEAN!!!!!! YOUR LINK IS BROKEN. Haha. Ive used a similar strategy in tje past and in a different branch. Its the guerilla instinct that wakes up. The question is. Did Richard monetize that opportunity or was it just for being cool?

    1. Thanks Gregory! I also try to add some personality to every outreach email that I send out. Not sure exactly how/if Richard directly monetized the traffic. But I know that he got quite a few email subscribers and brand awareness from the campaign.

  48. Great article. Thanks.

    I would really like to know how he gently encouraged the participants to share the article with their audience.

    I know it’s been asked before but it wasn’t really answered.

    1. Hey John,

      Half an hour before I released the article I emailed all the participants thanking them for their contribution and telling them the results would go live very soon. I also included a link to a little teaser post I wrote to share how the outreach process had gone.

      Then half an hour later (when the results post was live) I emailed them again and told them the exciting news that the post was live. I thanked them again and simply asked them to help share.

      After these two emails were sent I didn’t really bother anyone again. I did Tweet at a few people later on and included a few other experts in some tailored Tweets but other than that the first two emails were enough to help nudge people.

      Hope that helps!

  49. That’s excellent stuff, Richard.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I’m in the process of implementing this method.
    I spent about 12 hours to find 80 experts in my niche, and about 6 more to send out the emails. 🙂 Many of which I just sent out.

    But I’ve already had about 15-20 reactions and some from respectable names.

    I’m not in the IM niche though.

  50. I must give it a try to this, even if I find this very boring. I always stick to those techniques I find interesting, but in order to receive some extra visitors, maybe I’ll switch to some new techniques. Thanks for the informations

    1. It’s true that outreach can get pretty monotonous and boring. But for nerds like me, publishing awesome content and getting links from it is a blast 🙂

  51. Brian, I started a website about travel in Colombia, called Colombia Backpacking. I’ve been having a pretty hard time getting organic traffic, but I’m going to put your techniques to use. So basically the idea is that by helping out other website owners by finding broken-links, they’ll do you a favor in return, and post to your site? If a site has a page rank of 2 or 3, does it hurt them to post a link to a site with a page rank of 0?

    1. I’d definitely recommend giving broken link building a shot. There are LOTS of travel sites with resource pages (which are prime for broken link building). I wouldn’t sweat PageRank. It hasn’t been updated in over 8-months and may not be ever again. And it definitely doesn’t hurt to link out to sites with lower PR (if that were true sites like Yahoo! could never link to any other sites!). Keep me posted on how things go for you, David.

  52. Complete awesomeness in this post!
    This single post comes as close to a complete online marketing plan as any thing I’ve read online in a very long time. Strategy, tactics, benefits, how to & granular details on how to get it right.
    Spectacular contribution and much appreciated.

    1. Thanks Rohan! I worked hard to make it super-comprehensive. So it’s really great to hear that you got so much out of it 🙂

  53. Great Article Brian! I think I will try to do this strategy with saving money on an energy bill. Maybe turn the results into a step by step guide to saving money along with the top 3 things experts say to do. What do you think?

    1. Thanks Tom. I REALLY like the idea of an expert roundup. You could ask green bloggers their favorite way to save energy and compile the results on the blog. Richard’s roundup is a good model to follow.

  54. Really a informative article i was googling how to get organic traffic, and your website is on the top 😀 you have amazing seo skills any ways Thank you keep up the good work admin,

  55. I love this technique. One of the best ways I have of finding missing content is to keep my ears open for questions people have, for instance in one of my mastermind groups. My latest blog post is in fact a great example of that.

    1. That’s a great strategy. I also go to forums and see what questions tend to crop up again and again. When I find one, I put it into the Google Keyword Planner and usually find a great high-volume keyword. Thanks again for stopping by, David!

  56. eerrr, yes this works.
    Almost 6000 visitors in 26 hours. Before that I got about 15-20 visitors per day.
    Why don’t you remove this info from your site, lol.

  57. Hey Brian, love your stuff.

    I just built a niche site and all my pages got indexed into Google 6 days ago. My keyword is low competition, for example the #3 result is a niche site similar to mine with only 10 or so juice links and does not even use the keyword in the page. My on-page SEO is pretty good and definitely better than that site. Shouldn’t Google be ranking my site by now? I mean, let’s say I’m wrong about the top few spots..it is still a low competition keyword so how am I not ranking in the Top 500 or so in Google. When using a site like SerpFox.com I can see I am not ranking anywhere. I have not built any backlinks to the site yet, but even without links I should be ranking somehwere by now shouldn’t I?

    1. Thanks LPC. Good question. I’ve found that even one or two links can take a site from nowhere to the top 30. So it doesn’t always work where you automatically rank for a keywords just because it’s low competition. So as long as you build some quality backlinks to the site, you’ll definitely rank soon enough 🙂

      1. Thanks, i’ll give that a go. I wanted to wait and experiment just to see but if I don’t see it in the SERPS in the next few days I’ll try a few links. It sucks because I know how to do great keyword research and find low comp buying keywords and know how to make great sites, but especially with all the updates I’m really confused about how to go about my linkbuilding strategy for these sites. I don’t want to use link services but I also don’t know how to find good, high PR sites to leave a link. Most of them are low PR and nofollow. I’ll have to devour your site and see what I can figure out. Thanks again

  58. Subscribers picked up. I have about 100 new ones now.
    I have more than 2000 facebook likes, shares and comments. Incredible. The only reasons for not using this strategy are time and branding.

  59. I am so glad I saw your post on SEO-hacker, yesterday. Your website is like a candy store, Please keep it up.
    Now off to Richards website, sounds lie he also knows what he does..
    – I feel like Indiana Jones, next quest.

    1. Glad to hear that you’ve seen some real world results from my strategies, Doroteya! Feel free to email me if you’d like to share more details 🙂

    1. It definitely can, Maverik. It can work in any country (in fact, I’ve heard from a few members of the Backlinko community that have used The Skyscraper technique in several different countries).

  60. Hey Man, its really worth time reading this. This kind of case study will save my time. Thanks for showing me the right direction as i am a newbie. So, now i have the right direction now just have to put my effort to succeed

    1. Glad you got some value out of it, John. This is a case study I wish I read when I was first starting out. It would have saved me a ton of time!

  61. Never really thought about this strategy.
    Hitting people up with an outreach email is something new for me. Thanks for sharing this post with us Brian.
    I am trying that right now and I just hope it works out just fine. 🙂

    1. It’s definitely worth a shot, Arbaz. As long as the email isn’t pushy and your content is awesome, outreach works really well 🙂

  62. Hey Brian, I am from Germany and I have to say, this is amazing! I will try it and I already have a great idea to put your advice into practice. THANKS!

    1. Hey Lisa. Glad to hear that you’re going to give The Skyscraper Technique a shot. Let me know how it works out for you.

      Oh, and I actually live in Berlin 🙂

  63. Basically it all boils down to communication. You can’t blog in a vacuum. Opening a two way dialogue with other bloggers can be mutually beneficial, you just have to be open to the pitch.

    1. That’s a really good point, Neena. The only thing is that the communication has to be strategic to get results (in this case, backlinks).

  64. Brian, perhaps the best SEO blog/resource out there – certainly the most practical by far. This really is a zillion miles away from the usual SEOs/SEO resources out there, who generally republish other people’s stuff or bore me to rip my eyes out (or ears off) with tales of effin watching rodents via Google Glass or who name-drop Matt Cutts, who visited their condo, trying on his latest new tshirt whilst chanting ‘content, UX, content, UX, content, UX’ in a satanic fashion. And, to Richard: a 101 on how to think, generate and undertake SEO. Tremendous stuff.

    1. Thanks Jamessyboy! I actually had pretty much the same experience you had with the SEO content was out there. That’s actually why I created Backlinko. Glad to hear you’re getting so much value from the site 🙂

  65. Question can I or should I reach out to those bloggers in my forex price action niche, to reveal some kind of tool or favorite trade setup too profit from the Forex market? Even though I have no subscribers & much traffic.


    1. David, yes, you can definitely reach out to them even if you don’t have any huge subscriber numbers. Richard didn’t have much traffic or many subscribers and he was able to get responses from some big names in the SEO space.

  66. ” So if you’re looking for a way to jump start your site’s sagging traffic numbers — stop posting 3 times per week — and publish an epic piece of content that really stands out.”

    I love your writing style, Brian. Can you give some tips/ ideas on How to Write Actionable Strategies Posts for my domain – Finance?

    Also, when we are doing such post, should we include a do-follow link to the expert’s blog?


    1. Thanks Avandhut 🙂

      You could cover how to save money, reduce credit card debt, buy a house. Lots of great content opportunities in the finance space. Yes, you should link to an expert and then email them to thank them for the resource that you linked to.

  67. Thanks Brian for your reply.
    2 Questions:

    1. I want to know how to embed the writing style like this while writing posts on my blog?
    2. Main theme of my blog is–Finance Careers. What could be actionable strategies posts ideas? How can I find such ideas every week?

    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts. I’m glued to them 🙂


    1. I’d just write like you’re writing to someone that you know, like a good friend or family members. You could write posts about how to get promoted, how to choose a career in the finance world etc. I actually don’t recommend posting every week because it’s hard to provide awesome content on a weekly basis.

  68. Thanks Brian,
    Writing great content and look for authority blogs to link to you is a spectacular method. I really need to take a look into this strategy carefully.
    Moreover, Checking broken links on other websites is a time consuming task, I suggest to hire a freelancer or a part-time student do it for you instead of you doing the task. Hope this helps 😀

    1. Definitely give it a try, Tony. As you said, it does take a lot of work to execute, but you can easily outsource some of the time consuming tasks.

  69. wow, it looks like an awesome strategy. I think a lot of people have problem with whitehat techniques, because you have to put your personality out there.

    1. That’s true, Tom. It’s does take some guts to email people and ask them to share your content. But as you can see, it’s well worth it.

  70. Amazing numbers…Simple twists sometimes do great changes. Can’t hardly wait to try this out. You’re damn good Brian – Simple but Effective.

  71. Hi Brian,

    This is an awesome post man. I think what this has made me realize even more is the importance of doing everything you can to distinguish yourself from the host of other bloggers out there. I loved reading about Richard’s methods, and I appreciate you sharing this with all of us! Just found your site today and added your RSS feed to my list of blogs I follow. Looking forward to more stuff!

    Josh May

    1. Glad you got so much value from the post, Josh. You’re right: a lot of what this strategy is about is about positioning. Positioning is one of those “boring” business things that most bloggers ignore. But it’s HUGE if you want your blog and content to stand out.

  72. Wow what great post! Speaking of quality content, this is top-notch content 🙂 very detailed SEO case studies with lots of tips. I still have to check out some of the resources you mentioned. Thank you so much!
    Vinny Moreira

  73. Hi,
    Great post indeed,i am struggling to increase traffic of my blog.Traffic is constant from some months,and i am fail to increase it. thank you for this very useful guide.

  74. Hi Dean,
    I really like this post. I see this as influence marketing, Richard is taking advantages of influencers to drive their traffic to his blog in a short period of time, really smart tactic.
    I am doing roundup myself, i will curate this post this week and link back to you from zengliang.me.(I bet you can’t read Chinese, LOL)

    1. Thanks Brian. You’re absolutely right: Richard is tapping into the massive networks that these influencers have. I can’t read Chinese but thanks for mentioning it on your site 🙂

  75. Wow, what an amazing way to provide high quality content, simply by making it better. What he did was really creative, and I can see it working in the real world. Goes to show promoting your content is king, not just the content itself. Wonderful read, thank you. I will try this in the future.

  76. I need to say it’s very interesting article! I also think that content is king. Not any content but first of all…interesting ond oryginal content 🙂

  77. Thanks for the great article. I’ve been researching and doing quite a bit of white hat SEO for my website but I have a question. I see how this works with blogs using adsense but how would you recommend leveraging this technique for a website to a brick and mortar business (in my case a car dealership)? Creating a blog on the website (seems a bit unprofessional), creating a blog and ranking that to link to the main website? Thanks Again

    1. Thanks David. In my opinion, all brick and mortar businesses need a blog to compete online in 2014:

      For example, in the auto space, Car and Driver has an incredible blog (https://blog.caranddriver.com/) that lands them tons of search engine traffic. They’re not a dealership, but you get the iea.

      Yes, the idea is to create an awesome piece of content on your blog that generates authority to your domain. And you can pass that authority onto your landing pages via internal links.

  78. Hi Brian, thanks for this article, did you try maybe promote your website by using more specialized keyword research tools like Metrics11.com or hittail.com for example and you have some insights?

  79. I love this strategy because it helps everyone involved. It pushes us to write the best content available, the reader gets the best content possible and other webmasters fix their pages and their readers are provided up to date resources.

  80. Dear Brian,

    Thanks for this. It’s something we’re going to try.

    I’ve got a question which I’d love to hear your thoughts on (and that of your readers).

    How would you encourage comments on a niche blog. In my niche (dating) we have a bad rep and people are scared to comment because it involves matters of the heart.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts?

    1. What I’d do is ask your readers to contribute ONE idea, tip or question to the post.

      The more specific you are, the better response you’ll get.

      That also allows you to tailor your request for your audience.

      So you could ask them ONE opener that’s worked for them, a book on dating they like etc. Something that relates to the post but isn’t personal.

      1. Hi Jonathan,

        A great example of this ninja technique, is this blog post itself!

        At the end of this post, Brian didn’t asked us to “share our thoughts! “.

        He said “step #1 is to leave a comment to let me know you’re ready to try The Skyscraper Technique.

        So leave a comment below right now.”.

        And we have 427 comments!

        Brian ends every post with similar CTA. And just see the engagement on Backlinko.

        Brian rocks!

  81. Hey Brian, Thank you for awesome report.
    I am newbie also in a sense that I know about SEO but started implementing it recently. I am working on my Current company site http://www.radiantskills.com, which is About ITIL Training, Cobit 5 training etc. I was looking for white hat seo strategies to do for this site.
    What steps I can take for it? Any effective steps?

    Your answer will be very appreciated.

    Mohammad Atif

    1. I’d actually just follow the steps laid out in this post, Mohammad. That’s the best way to get a new site off the ground.

  82. Brian, your article does sound actionable indeed. As a SEO newbie, I’m looking forward to use this technique on my website (asaigames.pl). Thus far, I’ve been trapped in exactly the kind of situation that you have described (i.e. spending considerable amount of time on coming up with new content and not seeing any moves in traffic). I will comment on the results, once I see any.

  83. Hey Brian, I took your suggestion about Richard Marriot’s case study and duplicated it myself into https://leavetown.com/discover/locals-things-to-do-canmore
    With this success, we’re going to go for bigger wins in more competitive spaces. BTW, thanks for your last blog article https://backlinko.com/seo-techniques – I’m still absorbing it (it’s that good!) and soon going to develop #6 – Use Benefit-Focused Content Curation. You da man!!!

    1. No, you da man Chester! You got a mayor to contribute to your roundup? Amazing. Rock on and let me know how Benefit-Focused Content Curation works out for you.

  84. My goodness! I definitely want to try this. I’m in the person al style/lifestyle niche and will be trying to come up with a plan for what is lacking. I have a couple ideas 🙂
    Tiffany Ima
    Style Honestly

  85. Another good content brian, as always 🙂 Filled up with relevant and really helpful ways to spike the organic traffic. Content was always the king and always will be, no matter whatever changes are made in SE algorithms.

    Thanks a ton!

  86. Holy smokes what a find! Great content man. This is something that I’ve been looking for for the past few days. This is my first time here but I’m glad to tell you that you’ve earned yourself a new follower. Cheers!

  87. I am going to get back on my site and work hard, not only on posting three times a week but a compelling content as you said. I am also going to focus on back links using your technique, good read.

  88. So long and informative. The right efforts on building contents & traffic online will bring us multiple times of results. That’s what the beauty of it. Find questions unsolved, and bring out the answer for it. 🙂

  89. Hello,Brain, so great your post! I have a question: when we use skyscraper technique to create content, how do we avoid duplicate content as my English is so poor?

  90. I read about the skyscraper technique on QuickSprout blog by Neil Patel about a month ago – you and him applied the same technique while writing about it and the outcome is – the content isn’t unique!

  91. Hi Brain,
    First question. When I mention a site and then I notify them then where they could give me a link. ( in a blog post? I tell them a page where they could give me).
    Second but very important question: I blog about Online Tools, so could you suggest me some topics on which I can
    implement SkyScraper Technique?
    Like what. oo, I can do the same ” link building tools”? oo yes. But Richard already did that. Let’s think.
    ” list of 30 SEO Tools ______”. Could you fill this blank or give me any more suggestions?

    1. You ideally want to give them the page, Kamran. In terms of your topic, there’s more than enough resources in this post
      where you can find a topic on your own.

      1. Hello Brian,

        I’ve been following your work for about 6 months and I’m so glad I am. Your checklist is brilliant I think because it allows someone that simply shivers at the idea of creating a 3000 or even a 5000 word piece of content, to actually be able to visualize doing it by reducing it to the ridiculous as we used to say in sales training classes.

        You eat an elephant one bite at a time as they say and this method couldn’t be more spot on when it comes to marketing your content…something we simply forget to do many times I do agree.

        I have created many pieces of content of the larger variety, but never have I utilized a method like this…short, sweet and laser targeted in it’s simplicity of application.

        I’ve downloaded the checklist and will be implementing the steps post haste!

  92. Thanks for sharing. Its tough to create back links for an extremely dynamic website like job portals, classifies etc, because most of it’s contents expire within a very short time.

    1. Yes, that’s true Sonia. But a lot of the time dynamic websites have static pages (like category pages) that you can build links to.

  93. I’ve been hearing about Skyscraper, but unfortunately i don’t really know how it works. But after reading this terrific post i guess it’s worth giving a trial. Thanks for sharing this awesome case study Brain.

  94. Hi Brian!

    Wow! Richard is indeed very lucky! It is really so nice to know that Richard followed up with the people that didn’t get back to him. For those that still didn’t reply, it is good that he sent them another email. This is actually a good strategy. Anyway, this is such a worth reading and sharing post. Will be sharing this to my friends. Thank you!

  95. I obviously learned a lot of many things from this post. I really do agree with Kathy Long. The Best SEO tool Richard forgot to mention is Brian Dean himself.

    Couldn’t ask for more from this case study. I am now writing an article based on your skyscraper technique. Almost spend 32 hours on completely researching the topic. 12 hours and more on writing the article and a couple of hours on backlinko.

    You’re a great mentor Brian. Thank You!

  96. Great post Brian! This a real eye opener for me, I’ll think differently about my content and how I promote it from now on.

  97. Hi Dean,

    I really appreciate this post. While most of us that have been in the search engine marketing space have been overwhelmed with all the recent Google algo changes, many of us have also fallen into the trap of trying to find the next best way to game the system. Whether that is a new tool or gadget, a so called “grey hat” link building method that takes tons of effort and yields questionable results or straight up spam – the bottom line is that as time goes by white hat links are the only ones that seem to stick.

    The problem is that if you all you do is listen to Matt Cutts – you may get frustrated when “If you build it they will come” doesn’t work. That’s why posts like this one that actually show you how to build good links using real case studies are right on the money. Great jobs and props to you my friend for sharing the knowledge and spreading the love.

    1. Thanks for such an awesome and insightful comment, Leif. I’m happy to help people earn/build awesome links 🙂

    2. Excellent post Brian!
      Your biggest selling point? Real actionable techniques with a well laid foundation, best of all; stuff that Google loves and rewards! Looking forward to reading other posts!

      1. Brian,
        I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I can say by taking your advice and several others, my profits now are greater from SEO than web design. Keep the information coming!

  98. Hi Brian,

    I want to add that this technique that you share is very usefull because it give you the oportunity of to make new relations with people that are relevant in your field. In bottom line this give you the oportunity to do Personal Marketing.

  99. Brian, awesome case study!
    Quick question: you mentioned in the article that something like “100 SEO Tools You Need to Try” would be overwhelming to people. Where do you draw the line between epic content and “too much” content. 55 expert opinions can be considered overwhelming by some.

    1. Thanks Kosio! Good question. Richard’s post actually has the best of both words. The 55 experts provide the “wow” factor. But he also tabulated the votes and provided readers with the winners. That way people didn’t have to read all the responses if they didn’t want to.

  100. Amazing trick, but the hard thing about this concept is finding the expert personal email, do you have any suggestion about this?

  101. Hi Brian and other readers! Thanks for all the information. This is great stuff. You all have helped me to form a plan of action!

  102. Thanks for suggesting me to see this article Brian…It has really helped me in understanding things better…:) Thanks Brian

  103. Brian,
    I greatly appreciate all the great seo link building strategies. They are extremely useful. How does one get linked? Is it through commenting or do sites use his link in a relative post and link out to his page?

    1. You’re welcome, Luke. To get links you need to create something worth linking to on your site and then promoting it. The technique I talk about in this post is a great start.

  104. Hey there Brian , your post is great but I wanted to ask you something about broken link building… When I want to find those broken links should I terget only the websites that are in my niche or these things doesn’t matter? Keep up the good work.
    All the best, Robert.

  105. Nice definitely makes you think. I know I can think outside the box to use this information to increase my client’s traffic. Thanks backlinko!

  106. I have read of other techniques regarding SEO but out of all of them I think Skyscraper is very powerful. Thank you for your article.

  107. Good for Richard, I agree with speding more time writing your posts and doing research on your top competitors and emulating them. Google news is a great place to start. Firstly write about what people are interested in, I’m in the fitness niche and i’m trying to build up my own blog by talking about celebrity workouts for example and that seems to get a good few shares than regular “how to posts”.

  108. Great information. I recently started blogging and am looking for ways to grow it. Reading up on a lot of different techniques and found your post! Thanks!

  109. Another great post. Credit to Richard for sticking at it. I think I’m going to try the exact same idea in a different niche, I think not only the idea but essentially the title is transferable. E.G. 55 Dog training experts relieve the 3 most effective ways to….

    Awesome to hear someone using Brian’s articles and making a success.

    1. Hi Robert, it works for any site. As long as your content provides a ton of value (and you work to promote it) you’re all set.

  110. Nice story behind. i like the tip find the gap..really it is true. Even new blogs can get good traffic if they find the content gap in search engine. In my new blog i just wrote a post which had not enough good content on the search engines. From the first week on that article stayed on top 1 of Google. By now its 2 years to go. Still that post is the highest traffic generator to my blog. thanks

  111. Thank you for this awesome post. I have a question about the third step. What type of sites was he reaching out to? In my case, I have written a very detailed about Las Vegas. What type of sites do you think would be interested in linking to my post?

  112. I’m on outreach… Numbers are low but it’s amazing a few of the links you get when you hv amazing content. Sent you an advanced copy of it as well.

  113. I have been striving to create good content that can fill gaps in the niche but really struggling with getting the word out. I plan to employ the technique over this next month and document my results. I thought that most email campaigns were spamy but this sounds like a legit way promote good content and ask for well earned links. I will report back with results and I will be sharing this wonderful article, thank you Brian Dean. I am on my way to check out the “Check my link” tool and read those moz sources you replied with about broken link building strategy.

  114. Very written post, Brian.

    If you are already on a first name basis with any of the niche / industry movers and shakers, ans have possibly had prior email correspondence.. then making these type of approaches would be much easier.

  115. I was just about to ask how I could use this technique for my niche (hair extensions) but I just came up with an idea as I was scrolling down to comment. I will try it first! Lol … But I’m still curious to know more ways I can use it with hair extensions. Great Read. I’m currently trying to do backlinks for the first time on my own.

  116. Writing the content, even good content, is actually the easy part. Deciding who to send it to, eh, not so easy. I write a real estate appraisal blog and am considering contacting local realtors to see the types of questions they have.

  117. Thanks heaps for the article Brian, a very good idea and tonight I am going to tweet and email some high flyers in my own niche and try to put together something worthy.

  118. Brian, I am using your link building techniques to build links for my e-commerce website. These techniques are working and recently I got success as good number of backlinks to my website from same niche. Thanks Brian for your great work.

  119. Hey Brian, I really like to read your articles. In this article you explained the strategy which convinced us what is the relation between content and backlink, but this isn’t very simple, lot of effort you have to include to get result. Thanks for sharing this awesome technique, and waiting for more unique updates.

  120. I think this is one of the most helpful and accurate SEO posts I have come across. I am starting to implement this straight away and can’t wait for the results. Back to basics is definitely the way forward. Huge thanks

  121. Richard obviously spent a ton of time on this one post, but it should work FOR him for the long time. Well done, Richard! Way to take action and as always, thanks for the tips, Brian!

  122. A great read with practical advice which I can use on my fledging website. I particularly like the advice around broken links.

  123. Hey Brian !

    Excellent case study ! You have put it in a very simple manner, however if it not that easy to execute. But that’s alright as you need to work hard and be at least a little creative to pull something off like this. By the way, I did try your ‘Moving man method’ and I am super excited by the awesome results 🙂

  124. Hey Brian,
    Another amazing resource, it just goes to show you that the amount of time and hard work people put in to trying to get links the “wrong way” could just as easily be spent reaching out to influential people and used to create an awesome resource no one else has done.
    Thanks again,

  125. Really nice Brian! This has helped me and I also downloaded your PDF checklist for the skyscraper methods. I’m trying my best to learn more so I can increase my rankings on the search engines.

  126. Hi Brian,
    As always a great post. Figuring that you always strive for the best content I thought I’d mention just a small typo under Step #3. You wrote, “…Richard knew that he had pound the pavement…” Shouldn’t it read, “…he had to…” ?

  127. Great example of the power of social engineering. As SEOs we get so focused on the technical that we forget how important the human aspect of marketing is. It requires a lot more work and most people aren’t willing to go the extra mile, but it really pays off at the end of the day.

  128. Thank you for putting this article on your website for us to read. It helped out with alot of my SEO problems.

  129. HI, Great article! I am glad that you mentioned using directories for the link building process. A lot of people have been saying NOT to use directories but I still have doubts. I believe that as long as the directory provides high quality link, it should be ok. Just have to avoid low quality scammy directories.

  130. this is all well in good when its in the Online marketing/SEO/internet marketing niche, which is YOUR niche and YOU are an expert at. Why not give us an example of this supposedly AMAZING technique working in something that you are NOT EXPERT in, how about loans, holidays, flights.
    Those are all industries where you can’t just make a list of resources, because searchers are NOT seeking resources but to TAKE ACTION, IE take out a loan, buy a holiday

    1. Mike, your comment shows you have a lot to learn about internet marketing. Actually, travel and personal finance are two of the biggest niches online for informational searches. In fact, sites like TripAdvisor get massive amounts of traffic producing amazing content for people searching for travel resources.

  131. Great job here. You are ranking #1 when I search SEO case study and you have an excellent writing style (which is one of the best marketing tools if you ask me). I signed up to your email list and look forward to some great advice.

  132. This case study what I really need, the content that you discuss a highly qualified and easy to understand. I want to apply this skyscraper technique, on my site, hopefully I’ll get a good result later. And I’ve downloaded your checklist as a guide.

    Thanks Brian.

  133. Well, the Skyscraper technique is worth trying, but it will demand a decent reputed blog, because people really don’t like to give link to a new blog. So, if somebody just started their blog, then they must build some reputation by promoting their content via other content promotion techniques, then they can use this technique.
    I may be wrong Brian. Looking for a word on this, from you Brian Dean.

  134. When someone says visitors in 7 days then it means he really knows something interesting. And when Brain dean says it then it means it is going to be awesome reading the whole post. You always tells about white hat SEO Sir and that’s why I really like you 🙂

  135. Great article. I find it reallly hard though to build up backlinks with other users. Its not hard to create great content and share it over social networks it’s getting the content to stick most niche related sites don’t want your backlinks unless your high in the ranks and willing to give them something in return. I have a few niches aswell as a hobby niche in car repairs but that site jumps up and down all the time even though it has a solid link building system.

    Gues it’s just something you have to keep working on, every new post needs new links etc etc

  136. Hi Brian,

    Great article! I’m gonna try your ‘broken links’ tip! What is your experience with the length of articles or putting pictures in it? Does it improve the results? I’m quite a beginner actually and now i use webtexttool.com for my on-page seo, you know that tool? You have other tips also for writing seo optimized texts?

  137. Great job on this post Brian and Richard for your valiant efforts. You have set an example for us all, it’ll be interesting to see who actually implements this. Why don’t you make some follow-up articles to engage your readers on how it went with some of your teachings?

  138. Loved your excellent assessment. I don’t have a problem taking the time to write special and relevant content, however really don’t have the time to search for quality backlinks. Do you know of anyone that could help me manage and create quality U.S. backlinks?

  139. The amount of time that Richard spent to publish the great stuff is highly impressive.

    He gets conversation rate of 41% that actually very often because all of them, are experts and busy with their work. He gets the reply from them, is not an easy task to accomplish. But, he did.

    I, also want to try something like this with skyscaper technique.

    Thanks brian/Richard

  140. Hey Brian,
    I am new to SEO, and am going to try this technique for my affiliate site. Hope I will get some results, will update you if it will work for me 😀 BTW I am really glad I found your blog. You are doing a great job.. Thank you very much

  141. Hi Brian, really good info as usual. This article inspired me to try and create something awesome for my niche then promote it. After doing some research and thinking on what gap I could fill, I have finally found a topic I think may work. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cheers

  142. Great!
    Working since 2014 on my blog.
    Many errors. Only 7 back links. Following local buddies didn’t help me. Now it is time to follow backlinko.com. Thank you.

  143. As a total newbie, I am having the hardest time getting my site to rank. Thank you sooo much Brian for making this site. You inspire me. You made everything look easy. I will follow each of your suggestions one baby step at a time. When I think again of giving up, I’ll think of backlinko, and start again. I wish you more success. 🙂

  144. Great post. Looking forward to SEO That Works. The Skyscraper technique is earth shatteringly powerful! I can’t recommend it enough and will continue using it for many future posts.

  145. I wish I could use your skyscraper technique to surpass this great article… but how do you improve something that’s already so awesome :)? Guess I’ll focus on my own niche instead.

    Keep up the great work Brian. Love reading your content.

  146. Great post. It’s quite daunting for a new website to get ranked (from scratch). Great strategies and it gives me hope that I can get it ranked where it needs to be. Thanks.

  147. Hey Brian.

    You can’t map it out better for us. Just another amazing resource for us to use. Step-by-step direction to get results. Very thankful for you Brian, it’s awesome to have someone in the industry you can trust and leads by example. Always appreciate you sharing your insights and personal experiences my friend.


    A very fine examples of how to write valuable content AND how to teach your audience.

    I can’t but do anything else respect that …..and apply it to my content.

    I can’t wait to start using your Skyscraper technique …even to content promoted through paid media.

  149. Holy Moly – the wealth of knowledge and value from this post is incredible Brian. I look forward everyday coming into work and looking in my email for a new/updated post from Backlinko but this takes the cake.

    I enjoy going back daily and reading the 200 rank factors post that you created back in October, but I think this is going to be my fav blog post for a while until I can hammer it down.

    Will definitely be trying this with my client who’s in the LED lighting business!

    1. Cheers, Danny. Yup, I tried to pack in as much value as I possible could. I wanted to leave 2015 in style, you know? 🙂

  150. Brian, as always, another top notch post! These case studies are invaluable to those of us who are just learning SEO. Please keep them coming! Also, just wanted to point out something. You wrote that Emil increased conversions with his PDF, from 20 to 59, for a 36.5% increase. I may be wrong here, and please forgive me if I am, but I think that was actually a 195% increase. If it is in fact 195% increase, that’s a huge testimony about how great PDF downloads of blog posts work to convert visitors. Anyway, keep up the awesome work!!!

  151. Great article. I was introduced to your site recently and it’s addictive. I’ve been afraid to delve into SEO and have warmed more towards the idea of paid advertising but after reading your posts I’ve come to the conclusion that I could save a small fortune if I can really get to grips with SEO. I look forward to reading more.

  152. Hey Brian,

    First of all, thank you for writing another awesome post packed with tons of actionable how-to information about content marketing and white hat SEO. Your site is an invaluable resource for marketers and small business owners alike.

    I just started using the same email outreach method highlighted in your case study to pre-promote a 4,500+ word guest blogging guide and 250+ row interactive guest blogging database we’re publishing next week.

    Do you have any tips for warming up established influencers during the pre-promotion phase who don’t need your resource but favorited or shared similar resource from another influencer in the past?

    For example, Neil Patel shares a guest blogging guide that you (an established influencer) liked or tweeted. Then I email you asking if you’re interested in reading my guest blogging database but you politely let me off with an “I can’t do anything with that” although you’re happy to look at it.

    In other words, is there a technique you can use to turn that around and entice them to care about you and your blog post?

    Last but not least, thanks again for your epic post.

    – Cody

    1. No worries, Cody.

      Great question. The key is actually to find people that are laser targeted and would be legit interested in your content. In that case it sounds like you’re doing that. From there it’s a matter of tweeting their stuff, commenting etc. to warm them up

  153. Hi, Brain, great post! One question: where I can know requests quantity by search keyword on Google? Because if I write content for my subject how I can to understand, that content will have traffic (without Google Planner Keywords)? Thank you!

  154. Another amazing post – seriously well done, Brian. Hey, I’d be interested to know about how many hours Emil put in for his company, and over what time frame? I’ve already referred a couple of consulting clients to this post, and while the enormity of the task is obvious, it might be helpful to sort of put it into dollars and cents…

    1. Hey Scott,

      Happy to break it down for you!

      It took me around 25-30 hours over about 3-4 weeks to put the post together (keep in mind this was my first real go-around at creating long-form content). That number includes emailing our customers and wellness experts for ideas and conducting “pre-outreach”.

      I’d say I spent another 50+ hours over 7 weeks promoting the post once it went live. It took us 4 weeks to hit the first page and then another 3 weeks to rank #1 for our target keyword. We’re pretty aggressive when it comes to promotion and link building – we continue promoting our most important posts (i.e. the ones with best commercial intent and highest search volume for the keyword we’re going after) until they hit the #1-5 spot in the SERP.

      White hat link building can be very time consuming, especially in the early days when we weren’t using anything fancy like Buzzstream or ahrefs. But it has paid off really well for us and remains our best marketing strategy.

      Let me know if I can help with anything!

        1. What do you mean by strong commercial intent. Trying to work out how the $7 suggested bid value affects the customer and not the website promoter?

  155. Good tips Emil. Too often people go the way of black hat SEO. Generally these are algorithm exploits and other ways to fool Googlebot. The things that truly drive traffic are white hat tactics. If people concentrated more on good original content the SERPs would be a better place. Nice work sir.

    1. Thanks Nate! White hat definitely involves more work, but I sleep a lot better at night knowing I won’t have to worry about the next Google algorithm update 🙂

  156. This blog is such a good read. And I love Emil’s approach. I am in the same boat right now. I work for a travel company that’s just getting started in SEO and has had sporadic results. The blog posts I write are helpful and engaging but rarely see a huge increase in traffic or leads.

    As testament to reaching out, I did see success in a recent blog post where I contacted the company that I highlighted and they shared it on their social media. I saw a jump in traffic but not in leads. I think that’s because there was no incentive for the readers.

    This is really good stuff. Lots of good takeaways. As a travel company, our partners/weak ties often times tend to be competitors who sell the same product and may not be so willing to share. Any suggestions?

    1. Glad to hear that, Shayla. Outreach definitely works.

      In that case I’d go to even weaker ties. So travel bloggers that don’t compete with you.

    2. Hi Shayla,

      Another idea for “weak ties” might be companies who are in the travel niche but not direct competitors. Think about companies who have a product that would compliment yours. For example, if you sell travel guides you could find companies that sell travel bags or gear. Your both in the travel industry, but your products aren’t direct competitors.

      I hope that helps!

  157. Brian – love this concept and am in the works of creating new content for an attorney client in the cruise industry. My question is — how often can you ‘go back to the well’? How often can you reach out to industry bloggers, etc. with new content – especially smaller, niche industries?…or, maybe it doesn’t matter if your content is really good each time?

    1. Great question, John. I only dip into the well once or twice total unless they show that they love my content in general.

  158. Thanks for the informative post. I will be looking at ways of applying this to my niche for sure because you are right that creating good content isn’t enough, especially in a competitive niche.

  159. This is what confuses me. In the Google keyword planner the keyword shows 480 month searches. Yet Emil gets 10,000 monthly visitors to that page, mostly from search?

    Obviously some of that traffic is from social and referral, but a big chuck must be from Google. So why the HUGE difference in numbers?

    P.S. Brian, you’re awesome. You have no idea how much I’ve learned from your posts.

    1. Rob, you raise a good point there.

      There are two reasons for that:

      1. The GKP is not super accurate. 480 searches per month can really be 1k+ in some instances.
      2. When a page ranks for one keyword, it usually ranks for a ton of others. That’s definitely the case for this post. Here are some of the 100s of other keywords that page ranks for (data from SEMRush): https://backlinko.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/rankings.png

      1. Thanks so much for clearing this up buddy!

        I’m close to ranking #1 for a term with 320 searches/month on GKP but still seeing nowhere near the same amount of traffic.

        I guess that’s why keyword selection is so important!

  160. Thanks a lot and it encourage me that i should also need to implement this strategy.

    Thanks Brian for sharing awesome post!

  161. Hi Brian
    your post is really one of its own kind. it not only help to connect the dot but also understand the entire SEO technique in right way. I have started following you and have mentioned one of your SEO technique “Skyscrapper” in my article on backlink. Though i have not achieved much success in visibility part of my blogs but i keep reading and applying inputs given by thought leaders like you.
    is there any good free tool for SEO audit of site which you would recommend?


  162. Brian, another great case study!

    I just published my own Skyscaper so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Quick question: what are the best subject lines for “pre-outreach” and for the “content roadshow”?

    The scripts are awesome, but if I bomb the subject, they won’t matter 🙂