I’m gonna show you exactly how to rank your site in Google step by step. In fact, I use the strategies from this video to rank on the first page of Google for insanely competitive keywords, like on-page SEO, SEO tools, and link building.
And in this SEO guide, I’m gonna show you exactly how I did it and how you can do the same thing. Stay tuned. Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. You want to learn how to rank your site in Google.
So you search for stuff like SEO tips and how to rank in Google, and you optimize your site just like the so-called experts say, and the results? Crickets. Trust me, I can relate. When I launched my first site, I followed all the advice that I read to the letter and it straight up didn’t work.
So I decided to learn SEO on my own through trial and error. Flash forward to today and major media outlets like Inc. have called me a sought-after SEO expert. And my site brings in over 300,000 visits per month mostly from SEO.
With that out of the way, let’s get right into my step-by-step SEO guide. Starting with step number one, discover untapped keywords. Here’s the truth. Keyword research is by far the most important part of SEO.
Yeah. Even more important than backlinks, which we’ll talk about later. In fact, most people struggle with SEO because they target keywords that are just way too competitive. Yeah, hi. SEO company? I want to rank number one in Google for credit cards.
Yup, thanks. The truth is unless your site already has a ton of backlinks, there’s just no way that you’re gonna rank for competitive keywords. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s already tons of low-competition keywords out there if you know how to find them.
Here’s how. First, head over to a free SEO tool called Keyworddit. Keyworddit is a little bit different than most keyword research tools that you’ve probably tried before. Instead of entering a seed keyword into the tool, this tool scrapes popular subreddits for keyword ideas.
For example, let’s say you run a site about the paleo diet. Well, you put paleo into the tool and it’ll spit out suggestions based on topics that people are interested in. Goldmine. Next, you want to find long-tail keywords with Exploding Topics.
This tool identifies topics that are blown up before they take off. Yes, you can technically do this sort of thing with something like Google Trends, but it’s a huge pain. And with Exploding Topics, you can find dozens of topic ideas within minutes.
Your next step, step number two, is to find the best keywords from your list. To do that, first, you want to check out the first page competition for each keyword on your list. So go ahead and search for one of the keywords in Google and scan through the results.
If you see lots of authority sites on the first page like Wikipedia, you probably want to go with a different keyword. Obviously, this isn’t the most scientific or accurate approach, but in reality, it gets the job done.
If you want a more accurate keyword difficulty number, you can use a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz. These tools all have features that show you exactly how competitive a keyword is. Once you’ve looked at the competition, it’s time to look at that keyword’s market fit.
In other words, are these keywords that your customers actually search for? For example, take my site Backlinko. Backlinko is an SEO training company that sells a number of different marketing courses.
In my case, people that search for things like best SEO courses would have an amazing conversion rate for me. Unfortunately, in reality, very few people search for super targeted keywords like that, which is why you don’t want to limit yourself to product and service keywords.
It’s a common rookie mistake. Instead, target terms that your target customers search for when they’re not searching for what you sell. For example, instead of only targeting product keywords like SEO courses, I target informational keywords that my target customers search for like SEO checklist, link building guide and eCommerce SEO.
That way, when they’re ready to buy an SEO course, I’m the first one that comes to mind. Which leads us to our third step, publish an awesome piece of content. So you’ve found a low-competition keyword that your target customers search for.
What’s next? It’s time to publish a post that’s optimized around that keyword, but not just any post. An amazing post that really stands out. Here’s how. First, you want to focus on publishing what I call complete content.
Complete content is content that covers an entire topic on a single page. In other words, it’s the ultimate comprehensive resource on that topic. So why is this important? Well, my team and I recently conducted a giant search engine ranking factor study, and we found that complete content was correlated with higher first page Google rankings.
And I’ve seen this play out with my own content. Back in the day, I’d write these short 400-word blog posts because that’s what all the so-called experts said to do. Today I only publish something if it’s gonna be complete and comprehensive.
For example, last year I wanted to target the keyword mobile SEO. Now I could have written a post like Seven Ways To Optimize Your Site For Mobile, but I knew that that wouldn’t be the type of complete content that Google wants to see.
So I chained myself to my laptop and wrote a massive 5,000-word guide to mobile optimization. And because my guide is super comprehensive, it ranks on the first page of Google for mobile SEO. Next, you want use visual content.
That’s because visual content is crushing it right now, especially if you want to get lots of social shares and backlinks to everything that you publish. For example, a Backlinko reader named Mike Bonadio reached out to me with a great example of the power of visual content.
An example in a boring industry. You see Mike runs a digital marketing agency and he had client in a niche that couldn’t be more boring, pest control. But Mike knew that visual content could work in any industry, even boring ones.
So he whipped up this infographic, a DIY pest control guide for the savvy gardener. To date, this single piece of content has generated over 4,000 social shares, backlinks from 20 websites, and more importantly, a massive spike in search engine traffic.
And now it’s time for step number four, optimize your website. When I first got started with SEO, optimizing your site was super simple. Add your keyword to your title tag, add keywords to your description tag, stuff keywords in your content.
Today on-page SEO is a lot different. And in this step, I’ll show you exactly how to optimize your content the right way. Your first step is to front load your keyword in your title tag. This is because Google puts a little bit more weight on terms that show up early in your title tag.
For example, this post on my site is optimized around the term link building. So I include that exact phrase in the beginning of my title. Next, use synonyms and related terms in your content. Like I mentioned earlier, Google prefers to rank content that covers an entire topic in depth.
And when Google sees not just your main keyword, but related keywords on your page, they say this is a super comprehensive piece of content. For example, take this post from my site. A list of SEO techniques.
Now I obviously included the keyword ‘SEO techniques’ in my title tag and in a few places on the page. But I also sprinkled in terms that were related to SEO techniques like SEO tips and search engine optimization strategy.
Finally, use internal links. Internal links are huge for SEO. Why? First off, internal links help Google find and index all of the pages on your website. But they also send authority to certain pages which can give them a rankings boost, which is why you want to link from older authoritative pages on your site to new pages that you publish.
For example, I’ve recently published this post on my site. And as you can see, I linked from older pages on my site to that new post. And now it’s time for step number five, link building. There’s no denying it.
Backlinks are still a super important part of Google’s algorithm. The question is how do you get backlinks from authority sites in your niche? Here are three strategies that are working great right now.
First, use personalized email outreach. If you’re serious about link building, you’re gonna be sending out a lot of outreach emails. And when I say outreach emails, I don’t mean blasting out the exact same message to a thousand different people.
That doesn’t work anymore. You know the stuff I’m talking about, those lame generic outreach messages that are basically spam. Hello, will you link to me? Thank you. Send. That’s not the kind of outreach that I’m talking about.
Instead I recommend sending super personalized outreach emails to every single person. Is it a lot of work to personalize each message? It is, yeah. But it’s totally worth it. In fact, I recently teamed up with Pitchbox to analyze 12 million outreach messages, and we found that personalized messages got 32.
7% more responses than those that weren’t personalized. Pretty cool. Let me show you how this works with an example. Remember Mike Bonadio, the guy that published the pest control infographic? Well, Mike didn’t just publish his infographic and hope for the best.
Instead he promoted his infographic using super targeted email outreach, which landed him links on authority sites like Lifehacker. He even got featured in a local newspaper website in Maine. Our next link building strategy is guest posting.
Now does guest posting work as well as it used to? No. That said, it’s still a solid link building strategy. That is, if you do it right. And to get the most out of guest posting, all you really need to do is follow two simple rules.
First, you don’t want to use exact match anchor text in your links. Google doesn’t want your guest post links to use keyword rich anchor text at all, like this. To Google, it looks super spammy.
In fact, this kind of thing can get your site penalized. Instead, you want to use branded anchor text in your guest post links, like this. The next rule is to publish guest posts on sites that are related to yours.
In other words, if you run a site about marketing, you don’t want to guest post on a site about cold brew coffee. Mass guest posting on unrelated sites can also get your site penalized. So to me, it’s not really worth the risk.
For example, my site is all about SEO. So when I publish a guest post, I only publish them on sites that are about SEO or closely related topics like social media, blogging and content marketing. Finally, reverse engineer your competitors’ links.
To be clear, for this step you’re gonna need a tool like Ahrefs, Moz or Majestic. But if you don’t want to use any paid tools right now, you can just skip this step. But if you’ve already invested in a paid link building tool, this strategy alone can make it worth it.
To use this approach, pop one of your competitors into a tool and look at what sites they get links from, and what pages they tend to get linked to the most. For example, as you can see here, my site has a link from this page.
So let’s say that you’re one of my competitors. Do you have a stat on your site that could also be included on this list? If not, could you find one? If so, you have a decent chance of also getting a link from that page.
And now it’s time for our last step, track your SEO results. So for this step, you’re gonna need two free SEO tools: Google Analytics and the Google Search Console. And once you have those set up, let’s get into the steps.
First, you want to monitor your organic traffic. So at this point you put in a lot of work into your SEO, but how do you know all this stuff is actually working? It’s easy. Actually, all you need to do is monitor your organic traffic in Google Analytics.
If it’s going up, then you’re on the right track. But if your organic traffic is dropping, then you probably want to change or switch up your approach. That said, results from SEO don’t come overnight.
It’s definitely a long game. Depending on your niche, it can take weeks or even months for SEO to kick in. But if after two or three months, you don’t see any progress at all, it might be time to change things up.
Next, you want to track your Google rankings. There are a million and one tracking tools out there, but only one of them gives you data straight from Google, the Google Search Console. Just like with Google Analytics, Search Console tells you how many people visit your site from Google every month, but it also shows you the exact keywords that you rank for, and pages that bring in the most Google traffic.
Nice. Now, before we close out today’s video, I want to show you a quick bonus step, optimize for user intent. It’s no secret that Google is getting really smart. Think about it. When’s the last time you even went to the second or third page of Google? I mean, do they even have a second page anymore? So even though traditional SEO stuff like keywords and backlinks are still super important, Google is now adding a new racking factor to the search results.
What’s that ranking factor? User intent. I’ll explain. Google uses an AI algorithm to figure out whether or not someone’s happy with the search results they just saw. And if a searcher likes a page, Google will usually give that page a boost in the rankings.
If not, they’ll drop the page down a few spots. That’s why making sure that your content satisfies user intent is key. In other words, does your content give the searcher exactly what they’re searching for? For example, a few years ago, I wanted to rank for the keyword SEO tools.
And before I wrote a single word of content, I asked myself, what does someone searching for SEO tools actually want? A list of the best SEO tools on the market. So I created a post optimized for that specific user intent called SEO Tools: The Complete List, and because the page is optimized for user intent, it usually ranks at the top of the first page for my main keyword.
So that’s it from my SEO guide and tutorial. If you liked this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel right now. Just click on the Subscribe button below this video. Also, if you want exclusive SEO techniques that I only share with subscribers, head over to backlinko.
com and hop on the newsletter. It’s free. Now I want to turn it over to you. Which strategy from today’s video are you gonna try first? Are you gonna optimize for user intent or try email outreach? Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
The second video will be like. Instead of it. Okay, we’ll just do that take a couple of times. That’s. This is a bad outreach email. Now that you look. I’m gonna do like the typing.