Are you ready to double your search traffic?
Understanding SEO is crucial to significantly increasing your traffic and brand awareness.
Right now, thousands of people are looking for content just like yours. You can help them find it by becoming an SEO expert.
According to HubSpot, 80% of a website’s traffic begins with a search query. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important.
Staying on top of SEO takes a lot of research and experimentation. Google’s algorithms are constantly updated so it’s important to stay tuned into the latest news. With this in mind, and a bit of practice, you can become your own SEO expert.
That’s what I did!
Every day, people use Google to conduct over 3.5 billion searches. In the U.S., 78% of people use the web to research products and services before buying.
Once your website begins to rank in the first pages of Google’s search results, you’ll get more visibility. This means more traffic, more conversions, and eventually, increased revenue.
Getting to page one of the search results is vital. 75% of users don’t even click past the first page!
The first three organic search results get 60% of all traffic from a web search. Leads coming from a search have a 14.6% close rate, compared to just 1.7% from channels like print or direct mail advertising.
See why SEO is so important to your success?
Here are 19 advanced SEO techniques that you can implement right away to increase your search traffic. Getting more visitors should help you convert more people into customers too.
There’s more that goes into conversion optimization than just getting traffic, like making sure you have a clear lead capture form, a sales page, and descriptive product pages.
But you can’t sell to people who aren’t there, right?
So let’s get started!
Don’t want to scroll? Click a section below to be taken right to it.
- Complete an SEO Audit on your website
- Learn what your users want
- Create SEO optimized landing pages
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Grow your traffic with infographics
- Optimize your content for RankBrain
- Write at least 1,890 words
- Write a roundup post
- Post valuable content on social media
- Use advanced SEO internal deep linking
- Send link juice to lower ranked pages
- Link to external sites with high Domain Authority
- Snag broken link opportunities on Wikipedia to build links
- Find and use your competitors’ SEO keywords
- Use AdWords copy in your on-page SEO
- Use multiple keywords in SEO page titles
- Monitor Google Search Console stats
- Regularly update your old content
- BONUS – Revamp old articles with more organic traffic potential
1. Complete an SEO Audit on your website
Auditing your website helps you discover why you’re not getting enough search traffic and sales. Many SEO companies offer this service, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
In general terms, auditing is a systematic examination of an event, a result, a concept, or financial books that is done in order to figure out where you stand and how to make smarter decisions in the future. In the SEO world, auditing is a growth hacking technique that will help you attract and retain customers.
An SEO audit means you’re closely examining your overall site performance, setting new goals based on what you find, and implementing tactics to reach those goals. This process helps you increase your profits by making the best use of the content you already have.
This may not sound like an advanced SEO strategy, but you’d be surprised how many websites are missing basic on-page SEO like page titles or descriptions. It’s easy to overlook when creating your website, but easy to fix with an audit.
Here’s what you should be looking for during an audit:
Check #1: Do all your website’s pages have SEO meta titles and descriptions?
Check #2: Is each page on your website optimized for SEO keywords?
Remember, optimize appropriately without keyword stuffing!
Check #3: Is your URL structure optimized for search engines?
Your URLs should be simple, short, and easy for a search engine to tell what the page is about. Here’s an example:
I bet you can guess that article is about 21 ways to improve your Bing ads!
But what if the URL looked like this instead?
Seems a bit complicated, right? A search engine would have a tough time determining the topic of that post since the keywords are broken up by folders and dates. It’s not very clear.
When it comes to URLs, simple is better.
Check #4. Is each page and blog post formatted properly?
By properly, I mean is each page:
- Broken up with headings and subheadings (h1 and h2 tags)?
- Using 2-3 sentences per paragraph?
- Bolding or italicizing important points?
- Optimized with a call to action?
43% of people skim blog posts instead of reading the whole thing. Make it easy for people to read!
Check #5: Do all your images have keywords in their ALT tags?
Check #6: Are you using links in your content?
This includes both internal links (to your own content) and external links (to other websites).
I cover linking in detail later in this article, but it’s very important for SEO as one of Google’s top three ranking factors.
Looking for an easier way to perform a website SEO audit? Here’s how to use QuickSprout to conduct a site audit and discover opportunities for improving your search traffic:
Step #1: Go to QuickSprout. Enter your website URL into the box, and press Analyze website.
Step #2: You’ll be taken to a results page outlining all the SEO items you should fix.
From the results above, you can see that forbes.com does mostly everything right except for a few things in orange. The page title for the homepage is too short, at just 6 characters, when the recommended length is between 15-65 characters.
Additionally, there are several subheadings on the page that are too long which QuickSprout lists for you:
The best heading tags contain 15 to 65 characters. We can easily edit the ones above to be under 65 characters.
Example: Introducing the Forbes SportsMoney Index, The Definitive Money Ranking in Sports
That’s 80 characters. Let’s reduce it to 65 or less, but still keep the keywords and intent:
Introducing Forbes SportsMoney: Money Ranking in Sports
Now it’s 55 characters. Easy, right?
Some other options could be:
Forbes SportsMoney: The Definitive Money Ranking in Sports (58 characters)
Forbes SportsMoney: Guide to Financial Rankings in Sports (57 characters)
An SEO expert will tell you that this single tweak may not improve your page rankings or authority very much, but it will get more clicks. More clicks means more search traffic.
Heading tags, including meta tag components, are important SEO elements and should be created correctly.
A heading tag is an <h1> or <h2> tag, typically the title of your page or blog post or an important heading within it. They’re basic, standards-compliant HTML, which is why Google expects to see them on your site. Optimizing heading tags can get you more traffic.
More importantly, it creates a better experience for your users.
Proper headings make your subheadings and body text stand out so readers can skim your content and read it quickly.
When you perform a full website SEO audit, you’ll likely find at least a few errors or suggestions for improvement. No one’s perfect!
QuickSprout is a great SEO tool to monitor the performance of your website and blog posts.
2. Learn what your users want
Google isn’t an advertising company. They’re a big data company.
Every tool, platform, and device that they design has one purpose: to get data from users and use it to build a stronger search engine.
Think of yourself as a big data company.
You need to focus on what your target customers want. When you understand what they want, you can develop content that draws them in.
When you listen to feedback from your target customer, it guides the content you create to attract more of them.
The opinions of your users count. The public determines whose idea, article, product, or concept gets shared or funded.
Think about Kickstarter. Most campaigns languish unnoticed for days until a few people donate some money. Then, other people follow.
So, how do you get relevant data about your users’ interests?
And how do you get feedback from your ideal customer if you’re just starting out and don’t have any real customers to ask?
There are several ways to find out:
- Use social media platforms like Quora
- See your most popular pages in Google Analytics
- See what posts get the most shares
- Listen to visitor comments on your blog posts
Let’s cover the first one: social media platforms.
Ask yourself, “Where do the people I want to attract hang out online, and what topics do they talk about?”
I personally like to use Quora.
It gives me an idea of what my target audience is talking about and I can learn from experts in the process. If I wanted to write a book or course, the things people ask on Quora would be useful sources for content ideas.
Here’s how to find out what people want using Quora:
Step #1: Go to Quora. You’ll need to sign up for an account, or sign in with Google or Facebook to get in.
Once you’re logged in, type in your primary keyword (e.g. blog traffic) and hit enter.
Step #2: Review the questions people are asking.
If you know how to answer one of these questions, write a blog post about it.
You already know that people want to learn about that subject. If one person asked it on Quora, chances are there are hundreds of other people wondering the exact same thing.
Step #3: Extract ideas from experts for your post.
Quora is a great place to learn new things. When it comes to advanced SEO, you can never know everything so I visit it frequently to learn from others.
Use these answers to form the outline for your next blog post.
Here’s how to use it:
Step #1: Go to UberSuggest. Input your keyword (e.g. website traffic) in the search box and click Suggest.
Step #2: You’ll get a list of long-tail keywords for that topic. This is a great place to start getting ideas for your blog post or to find the perfect keyword when you already have an idea to write about.
Research like this is useful because it tells you what real people want to read online. If you just guess, you don’t know if your content will be successful or not.
You can also use Google Analytics to find out what your readers want.
Step #1: Login to Google Analytics. On the left-side menu, click on Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages.
Step #2: Look at what your most popular pages and posts are.
The total number of page views is important, but also take a look at the average time spent on the page (the higher the better!), the bounce rate, and the exit percentage.
Here are my top pages from May 14th to June 14th 2017:
The average time spent on the page tells you if people actually took the time to read your full post, or just skimmed it.
Anything under a minute should be a sign that people are quickly skimming and not reading your article?
So if I see an average time of thirty seconds, I’ll know that people didn’t find my post that interesting to stick around for long.
The bounce rate tells you the percentage of people who landed on this page, but then left without visiting any other pages. It’s not an indicator of success or failure by itself, but ideally you want people to stick around and check out at least 2-3 pages.
The exit percentage tells you that for this page specifically, x % of users left your site after visiting this page. Like the bounce rate, it’s not an indicator of a problem by itself, but if your exit rate is 99%, well, that probably means users aren’t finding what they want to know on that page and don’t want to explore any further.
Another great way to find out what people want is to see how many times your content gets shared on social media.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for this. Just enter your website URL and hit Go.
It will give you a list of your most popular content, sorted by the highest share counts.
This lets you know which articles people love enough to share. The most common reason people share content is when they think it will be useful to others.
With that being said, the total number of shares your post gets is a good way to tell if people find your content useful.
You want to know the easiest way to find out what your users think? Just read their comments on your posts.
3. Create SEO optimized landing pages
A well-designed landing page can improve your lead generation and sales. The more landing pages you create, the more gateways you open up for incoming search traffic.
Unfortunately, not many B2B companies fully grasp the importance of using specific landing pages to capture new users.
According to the SEO research firm, MarketingSherpa, 44% of clicks for B2B companies go to a homepage, not a landing page. Sure, the homepage is important, but a landing page is where you can initiate a strong relationship.
Here’s an example.
Copyblogger creates high-quality landing pages on popular topics. They go the extra mile with professional graphics and a clean, modern layout.
Then they drive traffic to the landing page through press releases, email marketing, and SEO optimization.
Here’s one of their landing pages about landing pages.
As you scroll down, you learn more about landing pages:
The key elements of a good landing page are:
- No navigation (you want users to stay on the page!)
- Useful, informative content
- A call to action (to sign up for your product, service, download a lead magnet, or another type of action)
On Copyblogger’s page, they have useful content with links to relevant articles:
And, a noticeable and clear call to action:
Do you think these landing pages have good SEO value?
Do people actually link to them and share them on social media?
Let’s find out.
As you can see from the screenshot above, this landing page has 799 trusted inbound links, over 1,000 tweets and 446 Facebook likes. This landing page is clearly doing its job of converting visitors into leads.
Landing pages can generate a lot of income.
Conversion Rate Experts made $1 million for Moz, using a single optimized landing page and a few emails.
Recent research found that businesses with 10-15 landing pages have 55% more conversions than those with less than 10 landing pages.
Businesses with over 40 landing pages have 500% more conversions!
Basecamp has a great landing page to sign up for a free trial of their product.
It draws you in with a big, bold headline. It highlights the key points in a list for easy skimming. It also features a noticeable sign up form.
But good landing pages don’t always need to be just one page. Check out this example from Bills.com:
It features an interactive way to draw visitors in. First, you select how much debt you have.
I’m going to pick $50,000.
The landing page then asks me a series of questions, which are the company’s pre-qualifying questions for new leads.
To see my results, I need to enter my contact information. Some visitors may not want to and abandon the landing page at this point, but those who really want to know if their debt relief program will help them will fill it out.
This is a very simple landing page to set up that results in thousands of leads per month for Bills.com.
It’s a great example of how a simple design and interactive elements can easily come together to generate huge results.
Here’s how to make sure your landing page is SEO optimized.
Step #1: Find a long-tail keyword and use it throughout your landing page. For example, Copyblogger targets the keyword “SEO copywriting” on one of their landing pages.
If you use Optimizepress or another landing page creator for WordPress, make sure that you add title tags, a meta tag description, and keywords.
Use the keywords naturally throughout your content to avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffing. Include your long-tail keyword in the headline, at least one subheading on the page, and a few times in your body content.
Your landing page content has to be useful.
Write to persuade people to take the next step. Every SEO expert will tell you that the #1 goal of all compelling copy is to get you to read the next sentence.
Remember that the anatomy of a successful landing page begins with the headline. Your body content is also important and should include a testimonial or review from a customer to add trust and credibility.
You also want to make sure your landing page looks modern with a professional design.
“Design is King,” says Derek Halpern. If your content is useful, but your design sucks, you’ll most likely fail.
The design is part of what makes the page unique and relevant to your target audience. Paper Anniversary’s landing page was professionally designed with Unbounce software. They’re converting their users at 67%!
Their landing page has strong copy, a persuasive video that’s emotionally appealing and testimonials from satisfied customers, which go a long way toward swaying new customers.
Finally, build links from your existing content to your new landing page.
Without quality links, your page will probably not rank very high in search, even if you have excellent copy or use every other SEO ranking factor out there. Since 75% of users never look further than page 1 of search results, it’s important to rank as high as possible.
4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
It’s more important than ever to make sure your website looks good and performs well on mobile devices.
In May 2016, Google introduced an update to their search algorithm that significantly boosts organic search result rankings to websites that are mobile friendly, or in other words, responsive.
Over 60% of daily searches are now performed on a mobile device.
When it comes to e-commerce, the numbers are even more surprising. Business Insider predicts that by 2020, 45% of all e-commerce sales in the United States will be completed on a mobile device. That represents $284 billion in the US alone!
All these statistics are pointing to one thing: you simply cannot afford to not have a mobile-friendly website anymore.
Making your site look good on mobile is no longer a luxury, it’s a standard.
How can you tell if your website is mobile-friendly or not? Check out the example below from Google.
In the X example, the website looks just like it would on your desktop computer. The content doesn’t change size to fit a smaller screen better.
In the green checkmark example, see how the same content re-aligns itself to make better use of the small screen? It’s easier to read and scroll through. That’s what being mobile-friendly means.
If you use WordPress as a CMS for your website, you likely already have a mobile-friendly site. Pretty much all WordPress themes over the past few years are designed to be responsive, which is the design term for mobile-friendly.
According to Wikipedia, responsive design means:
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen or web browser one is viewing with. In addition it’s important to understand that Responsive Web Design tasks include offering the same support to a variety of devices for a single website.
Still not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Just check it out on your phone.
Here’s what my site looks like on desktop:
And what it looks like on mobile:
See the difference? The mobile site is optimized for my screen width and is easy to read.
If you want to be extra sure your website checks all the boxes for being mobile-friendly, use Google’s free Mobile Testing Tool.
Enter in your website URL and click Run Test.
You’ll get a results page that lets you know if your site is mobile-friendly or not.
If your site comes back being not mobile-friendly, it’s time to redesign!
You can likely make a few tweaks to your existing website design to improve its usability on mobile. But it may be faster and cheaper in the long run to get a totally new website. Think of it as a good opportunity to freshen up your brand at the same time.
5. Grow your traffic with infographics
Infographics are popular because they allow you to display complex information in an easy to understand way. Since 65% of people are visual learners, a graphic goes a lot further than just a text article.
Here’s a good infographic on infographics from NeoMam Studios:
I’ve been creating infographics for quite some time now and the results are impressive. At KISSmetrics, we generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,000 backlinks within 2 years, using infographics.
Quality infographics can increase your website traffic by 193%. I did that in just one year.
Unfortunately, most people don’t pay attention to the “info” part. Instead, they focus on the graphics. Good design is important, but you need to have quality facts to back it up.
Why do search users and consumers prefer infographics?
It’s because the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than plain text. In addition, 65% of users are visual learners. Also, 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual.
You could generate up to 60,000 search visitors to your website with infographics!
Step #1: Get your stats. Find a trending topic or idea that people are searching for and put together some statistics on it.
For example, if you wanted to make an infographic about infographics, you could take the few stats we listed above:
- You could generate up to 60,000 visitors
- Your traffic could grow 12% faster
- An infographic is 30x more likely to be read
Don’t want to create it yourself? You can hire a professional infographic designer on Dribbble. Just search for infographics at the top.
From there, pick a designer and read their profile.
If you do want to create it yourself, here’s how to do that with Canva.
Login to Canva and click Create a Design. Choose Infographic under the Blogging & eBooks section.
Canva gives you some great layouts to start with. Pick one on the left-hand side. Click anywhere on the infographic to start editing it.
You can change the text and images until you’re happy with the result. Canva also has a library of free stock icons, photos, shapes, and charts you can find under the Elements tab.
Once your infographic is ready, click Download at the top and save it as a PNG file. This will automatically download it to your computer.
Step #3: Write a blog post based on your infographic. Take the data from your infographic and turn it into an in-depth article to accompany the graphic.
People are more likely to share your infographic if it comes with a post that explains it.
For example, if your infographic is titled “10 ways to make your site load faster,” you can expand on each of the tips in your blog post.
If you can publish unique content of at least 2,000 words and couple it with your infographic, your search traffic will double over time.
Remember that Google doesn’t index the text on the infographic, that’s part of the image file. The only thing Google indexes is the image itself. But, when you create a blog post to go with it, Google will index that content and make it more likely for your infographic to come up in image search results for that keyword.
Step #4: Submit your infographic to directories.
Once you have your infographic, submit it to these top 20 infographic directories.
If you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself, you could find someone on a site like Fiverr to do it for you. Just search for “submit infographics”.
Click on the submission services and study them carefully. You should ask providers to show you the sites they intend to submit to. If you’re not comfortable with the sites they name, let them know. You’re hiring them which means you’re in control!
6. Optimize your content for RankBrain
Search engines have evolved a lot since Google first launched in 1998.
If you want to keep thriving in search rankings, you need to be aware of all the latest Google algorithm updates and SEO best practices.
Google’s third most important ranking factor is an algorithm called RankBrain.
RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that helps analyze search results. It learns what a page of content is about and how that relates to keywords people are searching for. Essentially, it helps connect a search with relevant results.
Let’s say you search for “remote work”.
That could mean a few different things:
- You’re searching for remote, or distance/telecommute, jobs
- Your remote control for the TV is broken and you want to make it work again
How does Google know which one you want?
RankBrain goes to work and determines that you want the first option based on thousands of other web searches performed by people looking for the same term.
A more popular example would be the difference between searching for apple and Apple:
- A fruit
- A large computer company founded by Steve Jobs
So, how do you tell Google the exact “apple” that you’re referring to? Is it the Apple Company or the apple fruit? Or, is it something different-but-related?
RankBrain tells Google’s spiders how to index your content based on your intent.
Since Google is a lot more sophisticated these days, we no longer need to stuff our content full of keywords to make it understand our intent.
Whatever you do, don’t stuff keywords into your content!
Keyword stuffing is when you overuse keywords and phrases that relate to the main keyword in attempts to rank higher in search. It’s a bad SEO practice that you should avoid it at all costs.
For example, consider these related keywords: iPhone reviews, best iPhone reviews, new iPhone reviews. When you use all of these keywords in your content, it’s likely that Google won’t rank that page well, especially if the content falls within the 300 – 500 word count.
Here’s an example of a keyword stuffed paragraph:
Do you want to learn java online? Most java tutorials are not created to help beginners learn java online, because the online java learning platforms are not user-friendly. But today, in the Los Angeles area, you can easily learn java online from the comfort of your home and become a java online expert.
Not great, right?
The main keyword “java online” was mentioned four times, which is too often for that little amount of content.
There is a better way to change this paragraph and make it more user focused, without neglecting the main keyword – “java online.” All you have to do is find synonyms for the keyword. For example:
Are you ready to learn java online? It’s a good step towards upgrading your skills and giving you a better chance of getting that job. There are several places to learn java on the web, and within 2 – 3 months, you’ll be programming in java. Most people don’t like the idea of taking online java courses, but I believe it’s one of the most flexible ways to get access to a wealth of knowledge and become skilled in your life’s pursuit.
The difference is clear, right?
The second paragraph sounds better to users and still uses your keyword without overdoing it.
That’s the power behind RankBrain.
A few guidelines for finding synonyms for your main keyword:
- Find keywords with the same meaning as the principle keyword, but with different spelling and structure. Example: image, picture, photo.
- Don’t over-optimize for other keywords or you could get penalized. Only use them when necessary and make sure your copy flows naturally when a human reads it!
- Write in a natural tone. Make sure that the new keywords don’t override the main keyword that you want to rank for. The new key phrases are only there to give additional meaning to your content and to help Google understand the context of what you’re talking about.
A good example of these practices is Marketing Land.
Marketing Land optimizes content for a main keyword and several synonyms. They know that once YouTube is mentioned, terms like videos, channels, and video source need to be mentioned too.
Where Facebook is mentioned, social graph, sharing, liking, and commenting are also included as they’re all common activities that take place on the platform.
7. Write at least 1,890 words
Backlinko analyzed 1 million searches and found the average first-page search result was 1,890 words.
There have been numerous studies and experiments on the correlation between content length and search engine ranking.
This graph from Backlinko shows their findings that the top five search results all had an average content length of over 1,900 words.
I did an experiment for QuickSprout. The results showed that my posts over 1,500 words received almost double the amount of social shares than the ones under 1,500 words.
Content length isn’t everything. A shorter blog post that’s higher quality will still outperform a longer, low-quality post.
The trick is to cover one topic in so much detail that every part of the post is valuable to the reader. Making it more valuable to humans makes it more valuable to Google as a page to display in search results.
A key benefit of longer content is that it will naturally contain more relevant keywords and rank for them.
A recent Ahrefs study found that the average first organic result in Google ranks for approximately 1,000 keywords.
That’s a lot of SEO power!
8. Write a roundup post
A roundup post is when you interview a few people about the same topic or make a list of the “best” of something.
Not only is it a great way to get different viewpoints into your article and learn new things, it also helps grow your SEO rankings and traffic.
Here’s an example: 27 PR Experts Reveal Their Secret Strategy for Handling a Media Crisis
The author of this post contacted 27 experts in their field, asked them the same question (“How would you handle a media crisis?”) and published the results.
It seems simple because it is, and it works!
The key benefit of these posts is that it allows you to get your website in front of lots of new audiences, thanks to the experts you’re interviewing.
If you were featured in a roundup, you’d share that with your audience, right?
Deirdre Breakenridge is one of the experts featured in the post above about PR. She has over 30,000 Twitter followers.
If she tweeted out your roundup post even once, there’s a good chance some of her audience would click to read it.
Those are people you wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.
Creating a roundup post that grows your traffic is easy:
Step #1: Find your topic and a good question to ask your experts.
For example, if I wanted to write a post about tips to grow your traffic, I could ask, “What one strategy has grown your website traffic the most?”
Step #2: Make a list of your experts and contact them.
Make a list of as many experts in the topic you want to write about as you can. If you want to feature 10 expert opinions, make a list of 20 experts at least.
It may not be easy to find their email addresses, so write down their social media profiles instead.
Then, reach out with a nice email/social media message and ask them for their opinion!
Remember to include that you’ll be linking back to their website as a thank you for contributing.
Step #3: Collect their responses, write and publish the post.
Make sure you link back to everyone featured.
After you’ve published it, be sure to send a follow up email, or social media message, to let them know the post went live.
Ask them to share it with their audience.
Even if only half of your 10 experts share it, that’s still five more audiences than you would have reached by yourself. And depending on the size of your expert’s audience, that could be thousands or tens of thousands of new people visiting your website.
Brian Lang wrote a roundup post about how to promote your blog.
He got over 40 experts to contribute to it, resulting in a comprehensive and informative piece that got over 5,000 shares on social media. It was also Buzzsumo’s most shared post of that week for the term “blog promotion”.
The biggest wow factor? His blog wasn’t even well-known at the time!
What would 5,000 shares do for your brand?
9. Post valuable content on social media
However, you can use social media platforms to gain credibility and traffic.
In the screenshot below, you can see the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) for each search result. I’m using the free Moz SEO Toolbar to see this information.
Page Authority was developed by Moz, and it means the likelihood that your page will rank highly in search. A higher number means it’s more likely to rank well.
This is based on several factors: content length, links, keywords, readability and more.
Domain Authority is the overall likelihood that your whole website, or domain, will rank highly in search.
But not all social media platforms are created equal when it comes to building authority and traffic.
I’m not talking about Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest where anyone can post whatever they want. I’m talking about authoritative platforms where quality content is expected.
Does leveraging authority social platforms increase your search traffic and rankings?
For example, Ana Hoffman got 243,000 views in 30 days, in addition to other benefits, using Slideshare content. Her presentations were among the top 1% most viewed slide decks in 2013.
If you’d like to leverage Slideshare as a search traffic booster, here are the basic steps that you should take:
Step #1: Find a trending topic. In my experience, simply selecting a keyword and creating a top-notch slideshow presentation doesn’t always generate buzz on social media.
Instead, look for topics that are already trending on blogs. Just as you do when looking for blog post ideas, you should identify what people are talking about right now.
Jump back to Step 2 for some tips on finding out what’s trending on sites like Quora.
Another great place is GrowthHackers, which is an online community of marketers. You’ll find lots of trending topics. Pick one that interests you and is related to your business or topic.
The article titled “10 Ways to Promote Content in Less Than 30 Minutes” would make a good Slideshare presentation.
When creating your presentation, don’t feel pressured to crank out 50 or 100 slides.
Aim for about 35 slides. This gives a user a good amount of information without being too long to keep their attention.
Step #2: Make an outline. Read the article you selected in step 1, pick out key points, and create an outline for your presentation. This will make it easier to put together the full presentation.
Your Slideshare presentation outline could be something as simple as:
- Join HARO
- Publish a press release
- Update your email signature
- Comment on other influential blogs
- Mention your sources on Twitter
- Use BuzzBundle
- Post in LinkedIn Groups
- Post to StumbleUpon
Each item in your outline represents a single slide.
If you want to make a presentation based solely on someone else’s post or article, make sure you get their consent first to avoid plagiarism. Do that before moving on to the next step and don’t forget to credit the author of the post that inspired you in your presentation.
Step #3: Find supporting images. Slideshare presentations are all about using images to captivate and hold the viewer’s attention. You can find free stock photos by searching Google for “free stock photos.”
Gratisography is one place where you can download free stock photos without copyright restrictions.
A few tips:
- Pick photos that are relevant to your topic or point
- Use high-resolution images/photos
- Use free stock photos, with no copyright restrictions
- Use images as accents — don’t let them overpower your text
Step #4: Study successful Slideshare presentations. Learning from experts is the best way to grow your own traffic and search rankings.
Popular presentations are featured on the Slideshare homepage. Study them carefully. Consider how you could improve them.
Could you design it better? Could you find more facts and data to back up the points made? If the answer is yes, make your own presentation.
* NOTE: Please edit out my profile picture at the top right and/or replace with Neil’s.
Step #5: Create your Slideshare presentation. With all of the information you’ve gathered, create your presentation! Try to make it really stand out from the other ones you studied.
You can use any software you like to create the presentation: PowerPoint, Keynote, Photoshop and save as a PDF, whatever you’re comfortable with.
You can even use Canva, mentioned back in step 5, to create a SlideShare presentation.
This presentation is directing people to their lead magnet for doubling leads and sales, which takes you to this landing page:
This is a great way of getting leads and subscribers for your email list.
When it comes to search engine rankings, to get a stronger page authority, share your presentation on Docstoc, Scribd and Animoto too. You’ll attract new audiences and boost your rankings from the additional links from these sites.
10. Use advanced SEO internal deep linking
Deep linking is the practice of using anchor text to link to other pages inside your blog. This shows Google the depth of your site’s pages and encourages it to index more of them.
Most people focus on getting search visitors to their homepage, but struggle to rank their internal pages.
Your older blog posts and landing pages that provide immense value on relevant topics can pull in a lot of new traffic. You should link to them often to help build the structure of your website.
Without establishing internal links, a Google spider may see your website this way:
Pages C and D could be very important, but the spider can’t easily see them.
When your content is properly linked to each other, it helps the Google spider see all your content in an organized way, like this:
When you start interlinking pages other than your homepage, you’ll improve the SEO value for those internal pages and improve their search rankings, even for tough keywords.
But, before you start link building to your inner pages, you should first check to see how many inbound links go to your homepage, as compared to your other pages.
Step #1: Go to Moz’s OpenSiteExplorer. Enter your URL into the search box and click “Search”.
Step #2: Click on “Top Pages,” in the left-hand menu.
Step #3: Look at the number of inbound links for your homepage (the first line).
Looking at the above screenshot, you can see that my homepage has 276,000 inbound links, but the next highest number of links for an internal page is only 2,445.
That’s still a good number of links to have, but much lower than 276,000!
A high bounce rate often happens to websites who receive a significantly higher level of links to their homepage than they do for internal pages.
One of the strategies that worked best for me to lower my bounce rate is deep linking. Using this tactic, I was able to drop my average bounce rate from 45.34% to 24.45%.
NOTE: Can we replace the above snapshot with a pic of Neil’s analytics showing a low bounce rate? If so, I can change the 24.45% mentioned above to whatever the real number is for 2017.
Here are a few other ways deep linking to internal content helps your rankings:
Improves Page Authority: Google likes fresh content, because recent information is more likely to be relevant and useful to users.
Adding fresh content regularly is not the only way to raise your Page Authority. Linking to your older content gives those pages more power and tells Google they’re still relevant.
Your homepage naturally may have a higher PA but you need to work towards improving the authority of internal pages.
Cyrus Shepard explained, in a Moz post, that Google gives fresh content a score based on the date that it was published.
This freshness score can decay over time and it’s also responsible for increasing or decreasing the search ranking of that page. You’ll find that the original increase in organic rankings will likely degrade as the content gets older.
Makes your internal pages indexable. If you consistently link to your internal pages, you’ll make it easier for search engine spiders to quickly find and index them.
Say you just published a new post and you want search engines to index it quickly. What do you do, fold your arms and wait? No!
Use Ping-O-Matic to submit your site for indexing on several directories at once.
Enter your website details, check all the directories and click “Send Pings”.
Next, check to see the sites your website was submitted to.
When linking to your internal pages from other blogs, avoid over-optimization of your anchor text.
Your anchor text is the actual part of your sentence that has the link in it, like this. Use something simple for your anchor text, like your website name (“Neil Patel”), or add a keyword (“Neil Patel’s content marketing”).
An easy way to link to internal pages is in your latest blog post, like I’m doing right now when I say things like you could double your traffic. The words “double your traffic” are a good example of anchor text, and I linked over to an older post with more tips on growing your blog which is relevant to my current topic.
11. Send link juice to lower ranked pages
If you have a page that’s currently on page 2 or 3 of Google search results, you can help move it up to page 1 by passing on quality link juice to those lower ranked pages.
Link juice refers to outbound links from high authority sources to your content. Since those links are coming from high authority websites, that reputation gets rubbed off on your content. Essentially, this gives Google an indication that your content must be high quality too.
Let’s look at it this way: you have two websites that are 100% identical – same design, same content. If every other factor were the same, the site with the most links would rank the highest in search results.
This article about indexing used to be on page 2 of Google’s results for the search term “index your site”.
Now, it’s the third organic search result on page 1!
Here’s how I did it.
Step #1: Updated the post. I added new links, content and recent data to bring the post up to date.
I cover how to update your older content in detail in Section 18!
Step #2: Shared it across social media again. Since I updated the post, I shared it on all my social networks again. This brought in a lot of new traffic.
Step #3: Linked to it in my newer posts. Every time it was relevant to a new post I was writing, I included a link to it. This directed traffic to the older post and resulted in people sharing it and linking to it themselves.
12. Link to external sites with high Domain Authority
It helps pass link juice to your content when you get links from high authority domains. Likewise, it also helps your overall trustworthiness in Google’s eyes when you link to high authority sites.
A good place to look for sites to link to is Alltop.
You’ll see some featured sites on the homepage and recent content published by them.
All six of these options would be good to link to, and get links from.
To find something for your topic, just search for your keyword at the top of the page.
You’ll see related categories to what you typed in. I chose SEO here.
Alltop then shows me the top SEO related content from the following high authority websites:
I could link over to one of them as a data source in my content.
Like if I said that user experience was just as important as on-page SEO for ranking high in search.
Better yet, I could approach these websites and ask them to link back to my content.
13. Snag broken link opportunities on Wikipedia to build links
This is something a lot of marketers overlook, but it’s very powerful for generating high authority backlinks to your content.
Scan Wikipedia for dead links and claim them as your own!
Didn’t think of that, did you?
There are two types of links you can get from Wikipedia:
Citation needed: This means someone editing a Wikipedia article mentioned a statistic or fact without linking to a source.
Dead link: This is a source that was previously linked to but for whatever reason, the website or page does not exist anymore.
If you can write a post about the topic, and be a credible source of information, you can get these valuable links from Wikipedia.
I like to use a tool called WikiGrabber to find these link opportunities. Enter your keyword and click Search.
WikiGrabber then shows me this list of Wikipedia articles that need citations or that have dead links.
You can also use Google to find dead links on Wikipedia. Use the following search term:
site:wikipedia.org “Keyword phrase” “dead link”
For “content marketing”, you get the following results:
Let’s check out this article on Content Marketing.
Scroll through the article until you see the text .
Read over the item that needs a source. If you have content that already backs up this statement, you can move ahead to submitting your link. If not, you will need to write a new post that thoroughly covers this topic and provides verifiable data.
To submit your link, click on the  text beside Digital content marketing.
You’ll get the Wikipedia editor screen. Find the sentence that needed a citation, click at the end of it and click on Cite on the top menu.
Paste your URL into the box above and click Generate.
You’ll see this screen confirming your citation and marking the date it was added.
To save your changes to the article, click on Save Changes at the top right of your screen.
Your edit will be submitted for moderation. If Wikipedia staff agrees it’s a valid source of data for that point, it will be added to the page and you’ll enjoy increased page authority and traffic from Wikipedia.
Wikipedia links are technically no-follow, which means that they do not pass link juice over to you. However, their domain authority ranking and trust level from Google are very high, meaning there are still great search engine ranking factors in earning Wikipedia links.
14. Find and use your competitors’ SEO keywords
Researching your competitors is a smart move. Why reinvent the wheel, when all of the hard work of ranking in Google’s top pages has already been done by your competitors?
Something as simple as signing up for your competitor’s newsletter can reveal their whole email marketing strategy to you. A little research doesn’t cost anything but your time, and can produce some great new strategies for you to try.
Starbucks’ profit in China has been steadily increasing because they did some simple research.
So how do you find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for right now?
Step #2: Scroll down to Top Keywords and you’ll see the organic keywords they rank for (on the left) and the paid AdWords keywords they bid on (on the right):
The Rank column on the left-hand side tells you which Google search result position smartblogger.com sits in for that keyword. For example, they’re in the first organic spot for “power words”.
In order to verify whether the keywords are truly ranking at the positions SpyFU says, let’s do a quick Google search for “power words”.
Definitely the top spot!
Now your job is to create high quality content using those same keywords. Use all the other tools in this list to build trusted links and boost that page’s ranking power.
If you want to get even more ideas for long-tail keywords to rank highly for, head over to Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
Choose Get Search Volume Data and Trends.
Copy the list of keywords from SpyFu into Keyword Planner and click Get Search Volume.
You’ll get the number of average searches per month for each keyword.
You can also find new keyword ideas by typing in the website URL at the top and clicking Get Ideas.
Now that you’ve found some great keywords, get to work on creating an in-depth, useful piece of content for those keywords.
Go ahead, I’ll wait. 😉
After you have your content ready, contact the sites and blogs that linked to your competitor’s article and tell them about your article.
How do you find these linking sites and blogs?
Step #1: Visit Backlinkwatch.com. Enter your competitor’s article URL (the exact URL that’s ranking highly in Google top pages). Fill in the CAPTCHA code and click the “check backlinks” button.
Step #2: Analyze the referring sites. Check the anchor text that other sites are using to link back to your competitor’s web page. See whether the link is dofollow or nofollow.
Click the link to visit each of the web pages in the screenshot. Find the contact page or email address that you can use to notify the site owner/author.
Write them an email or send a message via social media with a link to your new article, and ask them to link over to it. Along with other SEO best practices, building links to your article will help you take over the top spot from your competitors.
15. Use AdWords copy in your on-page SEO
Another great way to steal the spotlight from your competition is to look for keyword ideas in their Google AdWords search ads.
Google AdWords ads are short and already optimized for your competition’s target keywords. If you can produce a quality article that ranks well organically for that same keyword, you can easily establish yourself among your target customers.
With over 300 million downloads of AdBlocker Plus and counting, consumers are warier than ever of paid advertising.
Establishing yourself high in organic search results establishes trust and will display you first to those using ad blockers.
To find some good AdWords keywords to create content around, try searching for keywords you want to rank for:
Analyze the titles and copy used in each of these ads. They should give you at least a few ideas for headlines you can use in new content.
A few from this example could be:
How to Perform a Free SEO Website Audit
How to Generate More Calls, Leads and Sales with Local SEO
Increase Your Website’s Domain Authority in 30 Days
I wrote the first post below for QuickSprout using “How to Perform an SEO Audit”, and included the word free in the title.
In that post, I broke down all the steps to do a full SEO website audit and included a template for users to download.
16. Use multiple keywords in SEO page titles
Your SEO page title is the title that is displayed in Google search results. Here’s an example.
You want to ensure that each page title for each page and post on your website contains a keyword.
A strategy I have found particularly effective is to include multiple keywords within each page title. Make sure not to be spammy with this or it could end up hurting you.
By spammy I mean just cramming keywords in there for the sake of it, even if they sound a little off. Or, by using spam trigger words that instantly make Google think your content is less than legit.
Let’s say your post is about hair colours for autumn and you want to rank for the following keywords:
- Hair colour
- Autumn hair
- Autumn hair trends
Here are a few examples of a page title that combines those in a natural-sounding way:
Autumn Hair Trends: The Best Hair Colours of the Season
5 Hot Hair Colours Right Now: Autumn Hair Trends
And here’s an example of a keyword-stuffed, not good page title:
Autumn Hair Colour Trends – Hair Colour for Autumn
See the difference? The first two sound natural and like you could picture seeing them online. The last one just seems spammy and like it’s trying too hard.
If your page titles sound like you’re trying too hard, you probably are.
17. Monitor Google Search Console stats
Google Search Console is a powerful tool to help you track potential issues with your site that affect your rankings.
If you haven’t already signed up for it, you can see how to do that step by step right here.
There are three main things you want to check regularly in Search Console:
- Watching for crawl errors, like 404 pages
- Submitting new sitemaps
- See which keywords people are using to find you
When you first sign in to Search Console, you’ll see your Dashboard page.
If you have any urgent issues, they appear at the top under “New and important”.
Click on Crawl Errors to check out your error history and report.
As you can see, I have seven recent URL errors for my blog.
I had corrected a lot of 404 page errors in previous months that were caused by a switch to a new webhost, as you can tell by the red line. It’s important to keep monitoring these reports often as new errors can pop up anytime, like these seven have!
If you click on one of the URLs in the list, you’ll see this message.
404 errors don’t hurt your search result rankings but they don’t make for a great user experience.
You don’t want to show up high in search, get someone excited to visit your site, then disappoint them with a 404 page when they get there, right?
Fortunately, they’re very easy to correct in Search Console. For each 404 error, click on Fetch as Google in the screenshot above.
Search Console will tell you the result of what Google’s indexing spider sees.
In this case, my 404 page was showing up that way because it’s being redirected to a new page. This can be easily solved by getting my site re-indexed. Click on Request Indexing button, and you’re done.
There’s also an easier way: you can submit a new sitemap for your full site.
Click on Crawl -> Sitemaps on the left-side menu.
Click on Add/Test Sitemap at the top right, and enter in the URL to your sitemap. For most people, this is just “sitemap.xml” after your domain name, like neilpatel.com/sitemap.xml.
When you submit a new sitemap, the status changes to Pending.
Getting Google to re-index your site will ensure any 404 errors that you know don’t exist anymore are marked as fixed.
Another great use of Search Console is to find out the keywords people are using to find you.
Click on Search Traffic -> Search Analytics on the left-side menu.
You’ll see a list of keywords that people typed into Google that displayed your website, whether they clicked on your page or not.
Looking at how people found you can tell you a lot about what you’re ranking well for. If the keywords in your list aren’t the ones you want to rank for, it’s time to optimize more of your content!
18. Regularly update your old content
If you’ve been blogging for more than 3 months, you’ve got a goldmine of content in your archives to repurpose.
You’ve undoubtedly written some posts that are still generating organic traffic. You can improve those posts and leverage their authority for higher search rankings.
Start by making a list of your top performing content.
Step #1: Log into Google Analytics. Click the “Behavior” tab on the left side.
Step #2: Click Site Content -> All Pages and look for the best performing posts from three to six months ago.
Here’s what I do to update my best performing posts to keep them fresh and popular:
Step #1: Write a sharable headline. The most critical step of all is to write a headline that will inspire people to share your post, and that contains your SEO keyword.
So, if your old post was titled “How to Make $10,000 From Your Blog,” you could make it more sharable by adding a bit of personal flair. The headline should evoke curiosity, but still maintain its clarity.
Something like this: How I Make $10,000 a Month From My Blog While Traveling the World
That’s a bit more fun, huh?
You could even add a number to the headline, as people more frequently share headlines that contain a number. Headlines like, “7 Reasons Why Blogging Can Be a Career”, etc.
- How I Make $10,000 Blogging Part Time (and 3-Step Plan You Can Follow)
- How I Made My First $10,000 Blogging From Home in 30 Days
Take a look at this Copy Hackers headline. It’s thought-provoking, keyword-rich, clickable and clear:
Step #2: Add customer testimonials or notable mentions. Now that you have some experience, let it show in your content.
If other people have conducted experiments related to your topic, always include that information. For example, Austin Church wrote a post outlining the 12 things he’s learned from me.
That’s pretty cool.
Not only do I appreciate Austin’s post, but he says awesome stuff about me like, “Do what he says, and your business will benefit.” Whoa!
Customer testimonials are huge for marketing. When it comes to including a testimonial within a piece of content, that content has an 89% success rate.
Your reader may not jump on board if you’re the only one saying how awesome you are. But if someone else backs it up, your authority and influence will increase.
When you get a testimonial, find a piece of content that fits it and include that testimonial.
Step #3: Update old data and images. If your post was originally from 2014 and it’s now 2017, you need to update your data sources.
If your website has gone through a redesign during that time, you’ll likely need to update images in the post to be in line with your current branding.
I do this regularly with my best performing content. For example, this guide on getting your website indexed is one of my most popular posts.
Whenever something changes with Google’s algorithm or indexing rules, I update that post so it’s always up to date. I don’t want new users coming to my site and finding outdated info, so it’s important that my top content is accurate.
Another word for content like this is your ‘cornerstone content’.
Cornerstone content is basically the foundation of your blog. They are the articles you are most proud of and the ones that are the most unique, in-depth and informative.
Brian Clark describes it as, “It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.”
An easy way to keep track of your cornerstone content is to create a spreadsheet. Add the following columns:
- Post title
- Post URL
- Main keywords
- Last Updated
19. BONUS – Revamp old articles with more organic traffic potential
In the previous section, we covered how you can keep your best performing articles fresh and optimized. But what about the articles that didn’t go over so well?
You should also be updating your lowest performing content to improve it.
You know it’s a good topic and that people want to know about it, otherwise you wouldn’t have written about it in the first place. Revamping an old underperforming article is a sure way to get more organic search traffic.
What’s the alternative? Writing a new post from scratch. It may do well, or it could flop too. It;s worth the effort to revamp an old post!
Here’s how to turn your previous content failures into organic search stars:
Step #1: Make a list of your underperforming content.
Open up Search Console and click on Search Traffic -> Search Analytics.
Make sure Clicks, Impressions and Position are checked at the top.
Look at your results. You’ll want to update any posts that get between a 7 – 15 ranking.
Step #2: Analyze keywords. For each of your lowest performing posts that you want to update, run them through SERPS.com.
Enter the keyword you want to check the ranking of and your post’s URL, and click Go.
You can enter in multiple searches one at a time and see all your results at the bottom of the page.
This post didn’t rank at all for the keyword ‘sales funnel’, but it ranked at 15 for ‘LinkedIn page’.
If my goal were to rank higher for ‘LinkedIn page’, I now have some data to start with. There are over 200 factors that go into search engine rankings, but updating this old post with better optimization for that keyword will help boost its position.
The top four organic search results get 69.6% of all traffic.
The higher you can get underperforming content to rank in search results, the more eyeballs will be on it, and the more clicks you’ll get.
Step #3: Update the post. Similar to the section above, you’ll want to update:
- Old data or citations
- Images or broken links
- Optimize for keywords you want to rank higher for
- Add new insights from your experience, or recent news that’s relevant
- Add a testimonial or case study
I recently went through this process with this post about starting a blog.
Before I updated it, it was ranking on page 3. After expanding the post to over 3,000 words, updating all the images and screenshots, adding new information and resharing it to my network, the post is now on page 1 for “how to start a blog”.
The post has received a 167% jump in traffic since I revamped it and it’s now my second most shared post ever!
Step #4: Relaunch the post.
You can’t just press update and expect the world to know you just added a ton more value to your old post. You need to tell people.
It’s important to edit the publish date of the post to today’s date. You don’t want it to get buried in your archives, or for Google to think it’s old news.
When you’re ready to relaunch the post, change the publish date. In WordPress, there’s an edit link next to the date you can click.
Just change that to the current date.
This makes your revamped post show at the top of your blog feed so it looks brand new and more people see it.
There are a few more things you’ll want to do right away:
- Share it on social media
- Contact anyone mentioned in the revamped content and ask them to share it out too (this is very effective!)
- Send it out to your email list
Revamping old content has been really successful for me. In the first half of 2017, my organic search traffic is up by ___% compared to the previous six months.
- NOTE: Can we get a screenshot from Neil’s analytics showing this increase %?
It would have taken me 10x as long to come up with all new post ideas and write them instead of editing the ones I already had. Making use of existing content is always more efficient than starting from scratch and the traffic results prove it.
A blog is a powerful brand marketing tool.
Blogs are rated the fifth most trusted source for accurate information. 84% of people have purchased a product after reading about it on a blog.
46% of those people were just starting to research product options. That means a single compelling blog post could sway them in your product’s direction.
Maybe that’s because, by their very nature, blogs provide a personal touch that’s not found elsewhere.
In order to maximize your blog’s potential, you have to make sure it gets found in search results.
These advanced SEO techniques may not be the easiest to implement – they certainly require more effort than basic keyword research and link building – but they are incredibly effective. Using these strategies can double your search traffic, especially when you combine these tactics with storytelling principles when crafting content.
SEO success is all about giving useful and relevant content to your target audience.
Remember the human beings on the other side of the screen and write for what they want to read. Focusing on user intent and trying out these 19 SEO tips is a recipe for traffic success.
Have you tried any of these advanced SEO techniques before? What results did you get and how long did it take to see them?