Do you want to learn to rank #1 for high-traffic keywords in ANY niche?
In this SEO case study, you're going to learn the repeatable 6-step process one of my readers used to get his client to #1 in Google, outrank big name brands like Mashable, and increase organic traffic 11,065% in just 6 months!
He was able to do it in a super niche industry without spending any money on paid advertising or link building.
Pretty cool, right?
It gets better.
Over the last 18 months this SEO strategy has been applied to several posts across his client's site, generating 152,732 visits.
That's a massive 12,134% increase in organic search traffic.
Every month, this organic traffic delivers hundreds of new email subscribers and potential business leads.
And you can do it too!
This a monster 7,000 word SEO case study, so I've including a table of contents below so you can easily navigate between sections.
SEO Case Study: The Step-By-Step Process Michael Karp Used to rank #1 and Generate 20,314 Organic Pageviews (With a Single Post)
A little background.
Alan Perlman started UAV Coach to help people break into the industry, and build a business around something he’s passionate about.
To do this, Alan needed to find a way to generate recurring traffic and leads.
I was contracted to help with this assignment.
I knew we needed to build an SEO strategy centered on evergreen content that would help generate long-term exposure, position the brand as an authority in the industry, capture leads and convert them into paying customers.
The first post I created (and the focus of this SEO case study) for UAV Coach was called "How to Fly a Quadcopter — The Ultimate Guide":
It's an in-depth 4,400-word guide to safely piloting a remote control quadcopter.
The article ranks in position #1 for its target keyword “how to fly a quadcopter” as well as several other long-tail variations.
Keyword Rankings and Search Volume
Keyword: how to fly a quadcopter
Monthly search volume: 720
Keyword: how to fly a drone
Monthly search volume: 880
Keyword: how to fly a quadcopter in a circle
Monthly search volume: 50
Monthly search volume: 74,000
These rankings bring hundreds of visitors to the site every day:
In the first 6 months, the post brought in 21.4% of UAV Coach's total traffic...
Boasting an insane average time on page of 05:22:
Not only is the post bringing in loads of new traffic...
The traffic CONVERTS.
The post has captured 2,335 emails, making it a top four lead generator for the business.
That's great Michael, but how long did it take to reach the #1 spot in Google?
It took 3 months to hit the first page and 5 months to reach the #1 spot.
And 6 months after publish organic traffic had generated a whopping 20,314 pageviews:
Needless to say, Alan was pretty happy with the results:
Founder, UAV Coach
The Repeatable 6-Step Formula Used to Rank Content in ANY Niche
You're about to learn the EXACT process I use to create killer content, outrank global brands like Mashable and deliver thousands of targeted visitors to my client's websites.
The process works in ANY niche.
And is designed to maximize your effort-to-reward ratio by targeting keywords that are comparatively easier to rank for.
I usually require readers opt in to view the full process on my blog, but exclusively for Robbie Richards’ readers you can check out an infographic of the process I follow right here.
Here's the short and sweet version:
You’re probably thinking: "But Michael, that’s so simple.”
And you’re right: it’s not complicated (that’s the beauty of it :-) )
But it works REALLY well.
Step #1: Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
Since the drone space is a relatively new niche, news articles are getting the most links and shares.
The main publishers of this content are big brands like Mashable and TechCrunch (tough competitors).
We wanted to create evergreen content targeted to beginner pilots, and the best way to find these topics was through keyword research.
Keyword research is probably the least sexy SEO task, but it can be really exciting if you know how choosing the right keywords can benefit your business:
- Assess traffic potential (based on monthly search volume)
- Rank faster by targeting less competitive keywords
- Maximize organic traffic by targeting keyword variations your competitors are missing
- Align keywords with search intent at different stages of the buyer journey
Finding the right keywords
Head over to the Google Keyword Planner and type in some head keywords:
Scroll to the related keywords section and order the data from highest to lowest search volume:
Next, download the data:
And review each keyword to find a relevant, evergreen search term to target:
This is where I decided to focus on the term “how to fly a quadcopter.”
Why did I choose this keyword?
- It had decent monthly search volume (720)
- It's what beginning pilots would be searching for
- It was a topic I could research easily
BUT the main reason...
It had a TON of related long tail keyword variations.
Many people make the mistake of only looking at the search volume associated with their core target keyword.
And, they miss out on a LOT of potential traffic.
While "how to fly a quadcopter" only received 720 monthly searches, the aggregate search volume for all the related keywords tallied into the thousands.
Finding additional keywords:
Plug your target keyword back into the Keyword Planner and scroll down to the other keywords it generates.
You can also use the Keyword Options filter to only show results closely related to your search term:
These are great terms to sprinkle throughout the post and boost the relevancy of the content.
Here are some of the additional keywords I was able to find:
Learn to fly drones (140)
Learn to fly a drone (140)
Beginner quadcopter (480)
How to fly a drone (880)
Cool, right? You're just getting started...
The Google Keyword Planner is good for finding close variations of your seed keyword.
But, there it there is one BIG problem.
It shows the exact same keywords to everyone (inlcuding your competitors).
That's why so many of the keywords shown are so darn competitive!
Luckily, there are a few simple strategies you can use to quickly uncover a laundry list of related keywords your competitors are missing.
Google "Search related to..."
First, perform a Google search for your target keyword and scroll down to the "Searches related to..." section. This little area is a goldmine for long tail keywords.
Pro Tip: Take one of the keywords from the “Searches related to…” area, pop that into Google, and check out the “Searches related to…” results for that keyword. Rinse and repeat until you have a long list of keywords the Google Keyword Planner doesn’t show you.
Enter your keyword into Google and look at the other terms Google suggests:
These are the most popular terms people are searching for in Google that are related to your seed keyword.
Manually entering keywords into Google can be very tedious and time-consuming.
Ubersuggest provides an easy way to quickly scale this keyword research strategy.
The tool grabs information from Google Suggest, but what it makes it unique is that it provides a mountain of keyword suggestions from entering a single term.
It takes your seed keyword and appends every letter of the alphabet after it to produce hundreds of keyword suggestions.
For example, when you type the keyword "quadcopter" into Google you get a list of suggestions, like this:
But then when you enter your keyword plus another letter, Google Suggest will spit out a different list of suggestions:
Ubersuggest will scrape all this data and do all the heavy lifting so you don't have to spend hours manually entering keyword combinations like "quadcopter a", "quadcopter b", etc..
To use it, head over to Ubersuggest and enter your keyword:
The tool will give your hundreds of suggestions.
Most of the suggestions won't be a good fit for your site, but a few will.
BONUS STRATEGY: DIG DEEPER WITH SEMRUSH
Enter your target keyword into SEMrush:
From the "Keyword Overview" report, click to view the full "Related Keywords" list:
Instantly you get access to 951 related keywords, along with search volume, competition level, search trends and a direct link to view the SERP page for each keyword:
Click on each term to get an overview report showing you hundreds of related terms for each of those keyword.
From the list of related keywords I can see "best quadcopter" gets 5,400 monthly searches.
This is a perfect mid-funnel search term I could target with an epic expert roundup post similar to this one.
Normally you'd spend hours entering terms into Google Keyword Planner and mine through dozens of search result pages to uncover those keywords. With SEMrush, you get all the keywords plus a treasure trove of competitive intelligence...in minutes! This is one of the reasons why 95 experts rated it the #1 SEO tool.
Seeing the benefits...
As the post's authority grew it started ranking for many of the related and long tail keywords listed above:
Unfortunately, this is where many SEOs take off their hat, grab a mojito and call it a day.
The keywords have low search volume so they are less competitive, right?
Here's the thing...
You don't know how competitive a keyword is until you take a close look at who you're competing with.
You need to pay attention to:
- Domain authority of sites already ranking for the keyword
- Type and quality of content ranking in the SERPs
By doing competitive analysis, you can save a lot of time and effort that would’ve been wasted trying to rank for impossible keywords.
How to analyze your competition (in 15 minutes or less)
First, install the MozBar Chrome extension and do a search for your target keyword.
Launch the extension by clicking the icon in your browser bar (make sure it’s light blue).
Go back to the search results. You should see some useful data below each search result:
The Mozbar extension shows:
- Page Authority
- Domain Authority
- Number of links pointing to the page
Each of these can help you determine how hard or easy it is to rank for that keyword.
You want to see pages with domain and page authority similar to or lower than that of your site.
If you look at the following results, many of them have low PA, DA or links:
This looks like a promising keyword to quickly rank for.
But, you're still not done...
You also need to look at the on-page SEO for each search result.
Specifically, look to see if competitors are using exact match keywords in:
- The title
- The URL
- The heading tags
- Alt text
This is where things could have gone wrong for me in a hurry.
When analyzing the competition, I didn't pay close attention to their on-page SEO.
Fortunately, the PA, DA, and link factors were favorable.
BUT almost every article on the first page was well-optimized for the target keyword:
If these pages had solid backlink profiles and high page/domain authorities, I would have wasted a lot of time creating, promoting, and building links to this article with very little return.
Don't skip this step!
Check how well optimized the top 10 pages are for your target keyword.
Finally, look at the type of content you're up against.
Look at the following items and identify any opportunities:
After examining a few of the top ranking pages, I knew there was a BIG opportunity to crush them in a number of areas.The top ranking article at the time had very thin content:
The entire article was only 303 words (compared to the 4,000+ I wrote for UAV Coach’s).
Most of the others posts ranking on the first page were also short and offered surface-level information. Very few posts used any type of multi media - images or videos - to supplement the writing.
So, what did I learn about my target keyword?
- High traffic potential
- Relatively weak competition
- Opportunity to create a dominant piece of evergreen content
- Perfect keyword for our target audience
I had a great list of solid keywords and a solid foundation for the rest of the SEO campaign.
It was time to create some killer content.
Step #2: Content Creation
When creating content, there’s one mentality everyone should adopt:
“I want to create the best piece of content on this topic — period.”
After all, what does Google want to rank?
The best and most relevant content for that search term.
And what do people want to read?
The best and most relevant content to fulfill their needs.
Having a great piece of content also makes content promotion and link building much easier.
Take the time to write something that will blow your competition out of the water.
It took me 3 days to research and write this article.
I included as much detail as I possibly could:
The article is over 4,000 words long.
It includes in-text links for easy navigation:
Note: This is a smart move for any long-form content, because Google will often take some of these links and put them in the search result.
This can help your post stand out in the SERPS and increase click-through rates (now a ranking signal within Google's algorithm).
I also included definitions for readers, such as how to fly safely, a pre-flight checklist, novice skills, beginner skills, advanced skills, and much more.
I looked at everything the top articles were doing and did it better.
Then I looked at everything they weren’t doing, and did that too. This is the stuff that will ultimately make your content stand out from the competition.
The result was a 4,400 word guide that was clearly better than anything else out there.
As a general rule, make sure your content is:
- More in-depth
- More up-to-date
- Provides a better user experience
Important: Try to beat your competition on every level - length, current information, design.
This is exactly what Robbie did to increase his traffic 272% in 30 day.
Ok, you have a great piece of content. The next step is to optimize your on-page SEO.
Step #3: On-Page Optimization
On-page factors are the elements of a webpage that influence search engine ranking.
They tell Google:
1. What your page is about
2. What keywords you want to rank for
3. How valuable your content is
You want to make sure your content is well-optimized for your target and related keywords.
Placing keywords in a few KEY areas will go a long way.
Strong on-page SEO means you need less off-page signals to rank (links), giving you a chance against authority sites, like Youtube:
The correct on-page SEO doesn't take a long time to set up.
Here is a list of the elements to focus on:
- Keyword placement (title, headers, body, URL, alt text)
- Keyword variation (LSI)
- Multi media
- Internal links
- External links
- Load speed
Here's how to successfully optimize your content:
1) Target keyword placement
Your target keyword needs to be placed in these areas:
Title Tag: Your title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor. The closer your target keyword is to the front of the title tag, the more weighting it will have with the search engines.
If you’re using WordPress, it’s easy to place your keyword in the SEO title, URL, and meta description.
First, install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.
Open the page editor and scroll down to the “Yoast SEO” box.
Adjust the SEO title/meta description and get a preview of what your search engine result will look like:
URL: Make sure you have a clean permalink structure. Google has stated the first 3-5 words in the URL is weighted as a search ranking factor. If possible, include exact match keyword at the beginning of the URL.
First 100 words: Include your target keyword somewhere in the first paragraph of your body copy:
Heading tags: Make sure your blog post title is wrapped in an H1 tag. Google views the H1 tag as your post headline. It helps Google better understand the topic of your post.
Try to include keyword variations in H2 and H3 tags within your post.
If you’ve got in-text navigation links, it’s also smart to include it there:
Google cannot read images, so make sure to include your target keyword in the image alt text so Google can understand what they are about.
Note: Do NOT stuff keywords in alt text. Instead, write the alt text in a way that accurately describes what the image is about. Keep it natural.
And finally, place keyword variations a few times throughout the body content.
2) Keyword variations (LSI)
LSI keywords are synonyms that Google uses to determine a page's relevancy (and sometimes quality).
Including LSI can not only boost relevancy, but also help you pull in more long-tail and related keyword traffic
"How to pilot your quadcopter” versus “how to fly a quadcopter.”
Even if the Google Keyword Planner doesn’t show any search volume for your keyword variations, you should still place these in your content for relevancy and to make sure you’re not over-optimizing for exact match keywords.
Note: Don't worry about this too much. If you write long form content, chances are you'll naturally include LSI keywords in your content.
Next, make sure to include the related keywords you want to rank for.
Place each of them once or twice in the body content:
And in-text navigation links:
3) Multi media
Text can only do so much.
Engaging images, videos, screenshots and other multi media can increase time on site, scroll depth and decrease bounce rate: three behavioral metrics Google uses to measure content quality.
Multi media will also increase the perceived value of your content: which means more people will either share or link to your content.
Make sure your are including helpful images:
4) External links
Not linking out to external resources is a common SEO mistake. Many people fear that doing so will cause their site to leak authority, when in fact linking out to related content is a relevancy signal Google use's to identify the topic on your site.
It can also signal to Google that your content is a hub of quality information.
When optimizing the quadcopter guide, I noticed that many of the top ranking competitors weren’t linking out to any other resources.
I did the opposite :)
Go through your content and find a few places to link out to the most relevant articles ranking for your keyword.
Note: Link out to authority sites when possible. They provide a stronger relevancy signal.
5) Internal links
Internal links can funnel traffic and page rank from other high-traffic authority posts on your site.
They can also help reduce bounce rate, which is another behavior signal Google looks at when determining the quality and relevancy of a piece of content.
6) Site/ load speed
Google has gone on record saying that page load speed is an on-site ranking factor.
Compress images and consider using premium hosting or a CDN for faster load speeds.
Note: Load speed doesn't stop with SEO. Kissmetrics reported that a 1 second delay in page response can reduce your conversions by 7%.
Your on-page SEO is fully optimized and ready to hit the front page of Google. Now, it's time to make sure you're converting all that new traffic into email subscribers.
Step #4: Turn traffic into email subscribers
Building an email list should be your #1 priority.
Because 98% of visitors will leave your site without converting.
And the average consumer will have 7 touch points with your brand or product before buying.
Therefore, building an email list is critical if you want to be able to continually re-engage your audience, build a relationship and convert them into a paying customers.
Here’s the simple 3-step formula I use to collect thousands of email subscribers:
1. Create a lead magnet
2. Set up delivery channel
3. Set up automatic delivery
1) Create your lead magnet
A lead magnet is a bribe offering something of value to a reader in exchange for their email address.
- Free ebooks
- Free trials
- Short videos
In this video Robbie showed you how to turn old content into a high-converting lead magnet in 13 seconds.
We decided to take a leaf out of Robbie's book and use this same tactic for the quadcopter guide.
Here is the PDF version of the article we used as a lead magnet:
2) Optimize your website to capture leads
Optimizing your website involves strategically placing opt-in forms around your site.
There are many different form types you can use, including:
- Scroll mats
- Two-step lightboxes
- Header bars
- Lead boxes
But for the quadcopter article we chose 2 tactics:
1. A pop-up form
2. A lead box
First, we used the Sumome List Builder app to create this pop-up form:
As you can see, our value proposition is joining the community and receiving a free PDF of the guide.
It pops up 12 seconds after a visitor arrives, and doesn’t show to the same visitor more than once every 24 hours:
And it converts at 5.12%:
We then used the SumoMe Leads app to create a leadbox that delivers the PDF inside the content.
When readers click on the button:
An opt-in box pops up:
It converts 20-50+% of the people clicking on the button:
5) Automatically deliver lead magnet to new subscribers
I've got good news and bad news.
The good news:
Someone entered their email address to get your lead magnet.
The bad news:
They aren't on your email list yet.
You still have two things to do after a reader hits the "Sign Up" button:
1. Get them to confirm their email address
2. Deliver the lead magnet
Luckily, you can automate this entire process.
Robbie walks you through the entire process in this article.
Here is the short and sweet:
Subscriber enters email and is redirected to a custom confirmation page like this one:
The goal of this page is to make sure people are clicking the link in the confirmation email you send them. This will ensure they are double opted in.
Once the reader clicks the confirmation link they are redirected to a page where they can view or download the lead magnet.
Step #5: Content Promotion
Ranking content highly in Google is usually a long tail process.
It can take several months before your content hits the first page.
Therefore, in the early stages you need to heavily promote your content to give it an early wave of exposure.
This will help drive social engagement and result in some online mentions and natural backlinks. All of which will help your content climb up the SERPs faster.
There are literally hundreds of content promotion strategies you can implement, but I’m going to show you the 5 I used for the quadcopter guide:
- Social media automation
- Established social media accounts
- Forum marketing
Let's drive some traffic...
1) Social media automation
First, I started off with one of the biggest time-to-reward strategies:
Social media automation.
I set it up so the guide would be shared to Twitter a couple times in the first week and once a week for a month afterwards.
This gave the page a steady stream of social signals and traffic from Twitter.
Here’s how to do it:
First, sign up for Buffer and enter your account.
Then click inside the “What do you want to share?” box:
A window will pop up. Write a tweet (or another type of social post) and include a link to your article at the end:
Including a hashtag can help extend your post's reach.
Then click the arrow next to “Add to Queue” and “Schedule Post.”
Choose a date and time that same week to share the article.
Create another post, change up the text, and schedule it again for sometime that week.
Rinse and repeat once a week for a month afterwards.
This should help you get a steady stream of traffic and social signals to the page.
2) Established social media accounts
If you’ve got social media accounts with established followings, it’s important to share your content there as well.
These people are following you because they want to hear more from you.
Share your content and make it personal so these people feel more connected to you:
3) Answer questions on Quora
Quora is a massive Q&A website.
It’s also one of the most visited sites on the planet.
It is our 3rd highest source of referral traffic:
The best part?
Quora threads can stay active for months or even years. Much like search engine traffic, it can drive traffic to you passively for an extended period of time.
Here’s how to drive traffic from Quora:
First, head over to Quora and create an account. Spruce it up with a description, your interests, etc.
Do a search in the top bar for a topic related to your niche:
This will bring up a list of threads that contain your keyword:
Click through to any threads where your content could help answer a question.
Then, write up an in-depth answer with a link to your content at the end. Frame it as a resource that can fully answer their question:
In-depth answers are trusted more and typically work better than only posting your link.
Keep joining discussions and answering questions for different search terms, and you’ll drive consistent traffic to your article!
30-60 minutes a day is a great starting point.
4) Forum marketing
Just like Quora, forums are packed with people discussing different topics.
They’re perfect places to promote your content.
Use these search strings to find forums in your niche:
“Keyword” + “forum”
“Keyword” + “powered by vBulletin”
This should bring up a list of forums to choose from:
Go to one that seems relevant. Then look at these stats to see if it’s active:
Higher engagement = great traffic potential.
Create an account and edit your signature like this:
Write a description about your page that compels people to click through. Then link to it.
Next, go through the forum and help people by answering their questions (similar to Quora).
Except this time, you don’t have to link directly to your article, because it’s in your signature.
As you become an active member, you will also establish a reputation as an authority.
5) Submit content to Scoop.it pages
This tactic doubles as a content promotion and link building strategy.
Scoop.it is a content curation platform. People create their own pages to gather the best content they find on a given topic.
Most pages have a “Suggest” feature:
You can suggest a piece of content to the owner, and if they like it they’ll share it on their page.
Although the links are nofollow, many of them have solid page rank:
These pages also get frequented regularly by industry enthusiasts who want to stay up to date with the best information and share it with the platform's built-in social media integration.
Here’s how to promote your content on Scoop.it:
First create an account. Then do a search in the top bar for a term related to your content:
The default result is a list of “Scoops” or specific posts, but you want “Topics”:
This will bring up a list of pages related to your keyword.
Click through to any that seem relevant and look for the suggestion box.
If it’s not there, the host has decided not to accept suggestions. Move on to another page.
If it is there, copy-paste your URL into the box and hit “Suggest.”
Adjust the image to the size you want (I like to go full size):
That’s it! The page owner will review your post and decide whether or not to feature it.
Go back to your search results and keep doing the same thing until you reach the daily suggestion limit (7).
Scoop.it is a quick and easy way to build some links and get initial exposure for your content.
Speaking of links...
The final part of this case study is going to break down how I built links to the quadcopter guide, which helped push it to the top spot in Google.
Step #6: Build links
Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors.
Here are the 5 strategies I used to build links to the quadcopter article:
1. Blog commenting
2. Directory submissions
3. Fake forum account link building
4. Weekly roundups
5. Resources/links pages
1) Blog commenting
Yes, lots of people have denounced this strategy, but I still do it.
Because it WORKS.
The key is to choose pages that are DA 30+ and relevant to your content.
Here’s an example of one I built for UAV Coach:
A solid DA 58 link:
But here’s what happens with blog comments:
Some get accepted automatically and some get reviewed first.
If it gets accepted automatically, it doesn’t matter how you post the comment. You’ll get your link.
If it goes through a review process first, which most do, you’ll want to be a bit strategic about it.
I’ve tried two main methods:
1. Creating a fake account and pretending to be a curious reader.
2. Being myself, providing a lot of value in the comment, and linking to my article.
Funnily enough, I've found the first approach (fake account) gets accepted more often.
So experiment and see what works best in your industry.
2) Directory Submissions
Next, I went to a bunch of directories around the web and submitted a direct link to the article.
Most people submit their home page, but I wanted to get as much bang for my buck by sending link juice directly to the page.
Here are four directories you can try:
R-TT Directory (DA63)
So Much (DA58)
You can find more high DA directory sites in this guide.
Go to each site, find a link to submit your URL, and choose the most relevant page.
It will most likely go through a review process before being accepted.
This strategy got us some great links for minimal work, including a DA71 page:
3) Fake Forum Account Link Building
Forums are some of the most authoritative sites on the web, especially if they’ve been around for a long time.
Links from them can carry a lot of weight.
If your site has already got a lot of exposure, you’ll most likely get links from forums through people naturally linking to your content in conversations.
If you don’t have a lot of exposure yet, you may want to manufacture some yourself.
You can try posting a portion of your content as a new thread, then link to the full article at the end so people can get the rest of the info.
But since a lot of forums are weary of self-promotion (even if you have a valuable resource) moderators like to delete these threads.
As with anything in online business, it’s still worth experimenting with.
For our guide, I decided to go ahead and find a few forums in our niche that allow followed links, create some fake profiles, and join conversations and included a link to the guide.
Use gmail to create a few fake email addresses to create accounts with.
4) Weekly roundups
Weekly roundups are articles that curate the best content of that week into a single post.
The publisher spends the week reading and looking for awesome articles to link to in the post.
It's a win-win. You provide a great resource for their audience and get a quality link in return.
All you have to do is find blogs that publish weekly (or monthly) roundups and pitch your content to them.
First, use these search strings to find roundups in your niche:
“Keyword” + “weekly roundup”
“Keyword” + “link roundup”
“Keyword” + “weekly link roundup”
“Keyword” + “best articles of the week”
Then click “Search Tools” → “Any Time” → “Past Month” to find actively updated roundups:
Once you’ve found some roundups, head over to the site and find the publisher’s contact information. Then send them an email like this:
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I'm on the team at [WEBSITE].
I'm writing to make a possible article suggestion for your next weekly [TOPIC] roundup.
I came across your roundup yesterday and got a ton of value out of it. Nice work!
We recently published an in-depth guide to [TOPIC]. It takes people through 18 chapters of step-by-step training, in the hopes that by the time they apply each step, they'll be well on their way to [RESULT].
Here's the link to the guide: [URL]
Either way, just thought you might like to consider it for your next roundup.
Keep up the great work!
If the publisher likes your content, they’ll include it in their next roundup:
This got us some great contextual links on some high authority sites:
5) Resource/ links pages
This is the strategy where we got most of our links. It’s the one that really propelled the guide up to the top of the first page.
(And it’s also how I built one of the best links I think I’ll ever build.)
Resources and links pages are similar to roundups, in that they link out to lots of useful content.
Many sites publish them to expose their audience to related content they don’t offer on their own website.
Once again, these publishers are all looking for one thing:
Valuable content to add to the page.
Great news, because you just created the best piece of content on the topic.
To get your link, all you have to do is show it to them.
First, do a search in Google for these search strings:
“Keyword” + “resources”
“Keyword” + “links”
“Keyword” + “intitle:resources”
“Keyword” + “intitle:links”
“Keyword” + “inurl:resources”
“Keyword” + “inurl:links”
“Keyword” + “intitle:resources page”
“Keyword” + “intitle:links page”
Unlike weekly roundups, you don’t need to filter the results based on date. Since these pages are evergreen, it doesn’t matter when they were published.
Next, head into each website and find their contact information. Then send each website owner an email like this:
I was checking out [SITE NAME] just now and found your excellent [TOPIC] resources page.
I’m on the team at [SITE NAME], and we just published an in-depth guide that helps people [BENEFIT].
Here’s the link: [URL]
I wanted to ask if you wouldn’t mind including us on your resources page: [URL of THEIR PAGE]
We’ll be improving it continuously to provide people with the most up-to-date information as the industry evolves.
Either way, keep up the great work :)
This strategy landed us a lot of excellent links on highly relevant sites in our niche.
And on some high authority sites:
Including, a DA 96 link from MIT!
(Couldn’t believe that one.)
With our strong on-page signals and these links coming straight to the page, Google propelled us to the first page for our target keyword.
We stayed in positions 4-10 for a few months, but I’m sure you’re wondering how that we hit position #1.
Let’s break it down:
How UAV Coach Hit the #1 Position in Google
After that link building campaign, I didn’t build any more links to the quadcopter guide.
In fact, we hardly touched it.
So how did the article leap massive sites like Mashable and land in the #1 position?
Well, first off, being on the first page for that keyword got it a lot of exposure, especially when the article started ranking for all of the long tail keywords.
This got the guide some great natural mentions and links:
(But notice that it didn’t happen until we promoted our content to get exposure to it in the first place.)
Second, I believe it was the strong on-page signals we incorporated into the page.
This article deserved to rank #1.
It was the most in-depth and up-to-date, had the best multi media mix (screenshots, images and videos), and it was highly optimized for the target keyword.
As time went on and the backlinks were crawled by Google, the page began to increase in authority and gradually climbed up the SERPs.
They even highlighted our article above the regular search results:
This shows just how much Google trusts the page, sees it as a top resource, and actively wants people to read it.
A Key Takeaway From This SEO Case Study
This is a scalable SEO strategy you can use to rank in ANY niche.
We have since repeated this process for many other relevant keywords with similar results:
You probably won’t rank #1 for every article you publish. That’s the nature of SEO.
But, by following this proven SEO strategy you will find great target keywords every time and get MORE content on the first page of Google.
A GIFT FOR YOU
I’ve collected the best resources (articles, guides, tutorials, etc) I’ve found that break down each part of the content promotion and ranking process you just read:
1. Keyword research
2. Content creation
3. On-page SEO
4. List building
5. Content promotion
6. Link building
If you really want to master each aspect, this PDF will become your go-to hub of information to refer to whenever you’re in the middle of a campaign.
You can download the Content Promotion and SEO Mastery Guide below:
What do you think of these SEO strategies? Have any of your own to share?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below...
*Feature image created by Dario Moriconi from Noun Project.