Content Marketing for SEO Tutorial: How to Generate 400,000 Targeted Visitors
A few weeks ago I bookmarked the article 21 things related to SEO and was blown away by how much I learned. So I tracked down “Backlinko” as he’s known online, aka Brian Dean, and read almost all of his amazing content. His stuff was pure gold so I traded him 50 bratwursts and some beers (he lives in Berlin) for him to share this post.
Buckle up. You’re in for a ride.
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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Getting your content to stand out today is HARD.
In fact, according to one source, there are over 2 million blog posts published every single day.
In other words, when you hit your WordPress “publish” button, you’re one of 1,999,999 other people doing the exact same thing.
Despite the intense competition, you may have noticed that certain people are able to generate hundreds of Tweets, backlinks and visitors to everything that they put out there.
If you’ve ever wondered “how do they do that?”, you’re in for a real treat.
Because today I’m going to pull back the curtain and show you EXACTLY how to write (and promote) a piece of content that generates thousands of laser-targeted visitors to your site.
Let’s do this.
The Secret To Content That Gets Results in 2017 (and Beyond)
I launched my SEO blog, Backlinko, in January 2013.
Today my blog is one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world (Forbes recently called Backlinko one of the top 25 “blogs to follow” in 2017). It also generates over 150,000 unique visitors per month:
But things didn’t always go so swimmingly for me…
Because Backlinko was my first blog, I started out by devouring as much blogging advice as I could get my hands on.
Good idea, right?
Unfortunately, most of the advice from so-called blogging “experts” is pure crap.
Here’s what my traffic looked like when I followed their BS advice, like “publish every week” and “write list posts”:
That’s literally 4-months of my banging my head against a wall wondering why no one read my blog.
(You may not be able to see it in that screenshot, but I was averaging about 30 unique visitors per day. Not good.)
Fortunately, my story doesn’t end there.
Here’s what happened next…
How Reverse Engineering Saved My Blog
Needless to say, I was frustrated, discouraged (and as hard as this is to admit), close to giving up.
That’s when I decided to step outside of the “blogging about blogging” world and do something that I should have done from day 1: Study successful blogs in my niche.
In other words, reverse engineering.
And when I used their proven approach as my framework, my traffic shot up like a rocket:
Now it’s time to show you the step-by-step process I used to turn things around…
…and how you can tap into the same approach to get more traffic to your blog.
A Proven Framework For Successful Content
If you’re serious about getting more traffic to your site, then you want to tattoo this 3-step formula on your forehead:
Step #1: Find content (in the form of blog posts, guides, infographics and videos) in your niche that has already done well.
Step #2: Take what you find and make it even better.
Step #3: Promote your content directly to people that would be interested in it.
I call this nifty little system The Skyscraper Technique.
It’s as old school as blowing in Nintendo cartridges. But it works today…
…and will work as long as people publish content online.
Let’s jump right in.
(I created a simple Google Doc spreadsheet for you that you can use to keep track of things. Here you go)
Step #1: Find Successful Content In Your Niche
Most blogs struggle to get readers for one simple reason:
They publish content that they think will work.
I’ve actually heard bloggers say, “If I publish enough stuff, something will go viral and I’ll be set”.
As you’ve seen, that approach didn’t work out very well for me.
What should you do instead?
Find something that’s already proven to work.
You might be wondering how boring Wikipedia articles will help you find killer content ideas…
Sure, the Wikipedia entries themselves aren’t going to get your creative juices flowing. But the references are a completely different story.
You KNOW that if a piece of content gets cited as a reference in Wikipedia, that it must have been popular (after all, an editor had to be aware of its existence for him or her to include it).
First, head over to Wikipedia and enter a broad-ish search term. So if you have a blog about weight loss, you want to use keywords like “fitness”, “nutrition” and “exercise”.
The references in these super-broad topic Wikipedia entries won’t be much use to you (they’re usually links to academic papers and books).
These topics usually have a list of links to other Wikipedia entries that will have references that you can tap into:
For example, I found 5 blog posts and articles (in other words, not scientific research papers) cited in the Wikipedia entry for “Strength Training”.
At least 3 out of the 5 would make great blog post topics:
- “Strength training sets: How many for best results?”
- “The Metabolism Myth: There’s no biologic reason to get fatter as you grow older”
- “The Rest-Pause method of bodybuilding”
And that’s just from ONE Wikpedia entry. If you spend 15-minutes with this strategy you’ll walk away with even more proven topics.
Reddit may seem a hipster hangout where bored people waste time by leaving comments on cat gifs…OK, maybe that describes Reddit pretty well ?
But Reddit is so much more than that…
In fact, it’s an absolute gold mine for blog post topic ideas.
Here’s how to use it:
First, find a subreddit that covers what you tend to write about. Because Reddit’s search leaves a lot to be desired, I recommend using SearchReddit.com instead:
If there’s a subreddit on that topic — which thereusually is — head over to it. If not, just check out threads that discuss your blog’s niche.
By default, subreddits rank threads based on what’s popular at that moment.
If you’re in a niche with a lot of big news (ie. SEO), then it makes sense to spend some checking out trending topics. But most niches don’t have breaking news every week.
For example, the dog training subreddit’s front page didn’t hook me up with many topics that I could actually use:
So if you don’t see anything promising on the front page, click on the “top” tab.
This will show you the all-time most popular threads in that subreddit:
The all-time best threads handed me a bunch of awesome topics that had a track record of doing well (based on Reddit upvotes):
- “7 Mistakes You’re Making in Behavior Modification”
- “A list of urban agility tricks to teach your dog to make walks *way* more fun”
- “Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted? Consent Test”
- “How to Be a Kid Dogs Feel Safe with: tips for teaching kids how to build bonds safely with dogs”
Why spend hours hunting for content ideas when you can have other people do the heavy lifting for you?
Thanks to the rising popularity of content curation, more and more bloggers publish content that’s nothing more than a hand-groomed list of awesome content ideas.
You can find them using these search strings in Google:
best (keyword) posts
keyword + “all time best”
keyword + “best [year]”
keyword + “top 100”
keyword + “top 50”
best (keyword) posts [year]
When you do, you’ll be rewarded with a list of some of the best content from the last year (or all time):
It took me about 30-seconds to find the best content marketing posts from the past year…including a few topics that I would have NEVER thought of on my own:
By now you probably notice a pattern with the strategies I’ve listed so far.
What is it?
They’re resources that your competition isn’t using.
If you hang out on the same platforms as your competition (like Twitter and Facebook), you’re going to end up writing the same old stuff.
And I can guarantee that your competition completely ignores Pinterest. After all, most people think that Pinterest is nothing more than a place where mommies go to pin shoes and handbags.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Pinterest actually drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ (!).
To use it for content mining, head over to the Pinterest homepage and enter a specific-ish keyword:
First, take a look at the top pins (pinterest pins are ranked my repins, comments and likes):
Keep an eye out for any topics that have a lot of repins:
Cha-ching! Looks like there’s a lot of demand out there for a big ol’ list of high-protein foods.
Here’s another one with over 72k repins:
I really like this one because I would have thought that people wanted smoothie ingredients listed out like a recipe.
But I learned that people want to see the ingredients visualized. Based on this pin I’d make a post of infographic with even more visualized smoothie recipes…
…which would stand out among blog posts like, “10 healthiest smoothie recipes” or “25 best tasting smoothies for bodybuilders”.
Pinterest: you rock!
Ahrefs is the world’s best backlink analysis tool.
But there’s a little-used feature that serves awesome content ideas on a silver platter: a site’s most popular pages.
First, grab a competitor’s site and enter their homepage into the tool: