17 [Advanced] SEO Tips For 2018

17 [Advanced] SEO Tips for 2018

Today you’re going to see 17 advanced SEO tips and techniques.

In fact:

These are the same tips that I’ve used to grow my site to 186,081 visitors per month.

Visitors per month

Let’s dive right in.

1. Use Title Tag Powerups

When you use “Title Tag Powerups”, more people will click on YOUR site in the search results.

Clicking in SERPs

Which means more traffic for you 🙂

For example, check out these two title tags:

Title change

Look what happened when I changed title tag #1 to title tag #2:

Tile change – Google Analytics outcome

That’s right: organic traffic to that page increased by 45.5%!

And all I really did was add a Powerup word (“Awesome”) to my title tag.

Pretty cool, right?

With that, here’s a list of Title Tag Powerups to try:

  • Guide
  • Awesome
  • New
  • Fast
  • Crazy
  • How to
  • Research
  • Proven
  • Results
  • Amazing
  • Step-by-Step

And now it’s time for…

2. Stop “Pogosticking”, Get Higher Rankings

Here’s the truth:

Pogosticking can make or break your Google rankings.

So: what is pogosticking exactly?

Pogosticking is when a Google user clicks on your site…

…then “pogosticks” back to the search results to find something that actually helps them.


And when someone pogosticks, it sends a strong message to Google: “I didn’t like that result.”

Needless to say: if your site doesn’t make users happy, Google’s gonna downrank you.


The question is:

How do you stop people from pogosticking?

Here are 3 tips that work GREAT.

First, use lots of bullets and subheadings.

When your content is easy to read, people will spend more time on your site.

(It also stops them from hitting their “back” button)

As it turns out, a few bullets and subheadings make your content MUCH easier to read:

Bullets and subheadings

Second, use short introductions (4-9 sentences).

Long intros make people run away from your site like it’s on fire.

That’s why I only use short blog post introductions (9 sentences MAX).

Here’s an example from Backlinko:

SEO Strategy – Intro

Yup, that’s a grand total of 5 lines. And the average time on page for that article is 4:27.

That’s no coincidence.

Last up, put your content front and center.


Google searchers want their results FAST.

And if they can’t easily find the answer their looking for, they’re going to bounce like a rubber ball.

So place your content front and center on your page, like this:

SEO Checklist

As you can see, there’s very little going on EXCEPT for the content. This makes users (and Google) happy.

Which leads us to our next tip…

3. Delete Zombie Pages

Zombie pages are pages on your site that don’t bring in any traffic.

They’re just sorta…there.

And when you delete Zombie Pages, you can get higher rankings and more Google traffic.

In fact:

One ecommerce site saw a 31% boost in search engine traffic (not to mention a 28% increase in revenue) when they “pruned” 11k product pages.

Google Analytics – Screenshot of traffic

And they’re not alone.

Proven.com saw their organic search traffic increase by 88.3% after deleting 40 thousand Zombie Pages from their site:

Proven traffic increase

Why does this strategy work?

Well, Google doesn’t want to rank sites that are bloated with thin, low-quality content.

In fact:

Google recently stated that they prefer “one stronger page versus many smaller pages”:

Google prefers one stronger page

This is something I pay A LOT of attention to here at Backlinko.

To date, I’ve only published 44 posts on this blog.

Backlinko – Published posts

And those 44 posts generate over 100k search engine visits per month.

Backlinko – Monthly users

4. Do An Industry Study

What’s the BEST way to get backlinks from authority blogs and news sites in your niche?

An industry study.

In fact, BuzzSumo found that publishing an industry study can bring you a ton of traffic, social media shares, and mentions in the press.

BuzzSumo – Industry study benefits

Here’s a real-life example:

A few months back I noticed that lots of SEO blogs were talking about voice search.

Voice search is a popular topic

But I also noticed that VERY few of these posts cited any data or research.

So we decided to do the first large-scale voice search SEO study.

Voice search study

How did this content do?

Even though this post is only a few months old, it’s already generated over 500 backlinks.

Voice search SEO – Backlinks

The best part?

I didn’t need to do a ton of outreach to get these links.

Because my content provides bloggers and journalists with data…

Voice search data

…they reference (and link to) my content like crazy:

Voice search study – Referenced


5. Use a “Feeler” Email

When it comes to email outreach link building, you have two options:

Option #1: Pitch your link in the first email

Option #2: Send a “feeler” email… then make your pitch

In my experience, option #2 converts MUCH better.

For example:

Backlinko reader Mike Bonadio recently promoted an infographic for one of his clients.

In the early days of that campaign, Mike asked for a link in the first email that he sent.

Here’s the script that Mike used:

Mike – Outreach template

But it wasn’t working.

So Mike changed things up.

Instead of asking for a link right away, he sent a “feeler” email.

That way, he could make sure someone was interested…BEFORE asking for anything.

Mike – Feeler email

And that “feeler” email doubled Mike’s conversion rate:

outreach reply stats

6. Optimize Content for Google Hummingbird

Here’s the deal:

There’s A LOT more to on-page SEO than: “make sure to include your keyword a few times on your page.”


Something called Google Hummingbird.

Search Engine Land – Hummingbird

Google’s Hummingbird update allows Google to go beyond simple keywords. Instead, they try to understand the topic of your page.

Keyword bubble

(Kind of like how a human would)


How do you optimize your content for Hummingbird?

First, include variations of your main keyword in your content.

To do that, just search for your target keyword in Google…

…and scroll down to the bottom of the search results.

Add a few “Searches related to…” terms to your content.

Next, try LSIKeywords.com.

LSIKeywords.com is a free tool hooks you up with LSI keywords that you can use in your content.

LSI Keywords

(LSI keywords= terms that help search engines understand your content better)

All you need to do is pop in the keyword that you want to rank for…

LSI Keywords –

…and you’ll get a list of closely-related LSI keywords.

LSI Keywords –

Pretty cool.

7. Add Text Content to Infographics, Podcasts and Videos

Yes, multimedia content (like infographics and podcasts) are an awesome way to get traffic and backlinks.

But they have one big problem:

Google can’t understand ’em!

That’s why I recommend adding plenty of text to go along with your infographic, podcast or video.

For example, here’s an infographic that I published on my site earlier this year:

On-page SEO – Infographic

But I didn’t stop there.

As you can see, I also added LOTS of high quality content underneath my infographic.

On-page SEO – Content under infographic

And this text content helped search engines understand what my infographic was all about.

8. Give Old Content New Life

Do you have a bunch of blog posts on your site collecting dust?

If so, you’re probably sitting on a GOLDMINE.

(A goldmine that can bring you lots and lots of search engine traffic)

Let me show you how this works with a real life example…

A few months ago I noticed that this post from my blog wasn’t performing as well as I’d hoped.

SEO Checklist – Old

Despite the fact that the content was really good…

…my page was bouncing between the 8th and 11th spots for my target keyword: “SEO Checklist”.

SEO Checklist – SERPs change

Not good.

So I decided to give this post a major update and upgrade.

Specifically, I added more external links to authority sites:

SEO Checklist – External links

I also organized the content into sections to make the steps easier to follow:

SEO Checklist – Contents

Finally, wrote a new title and description:

SEO Checklist – SERPs

(Note: As long as you publish your updated content on the same URL, you don’t need to worry about duplicate content)

And those 3 simple changes quickly shot my page up to the top of Google for my target keyword:

SEO Checklist – SERPs position

Which led to a BIG bump in that page’s search engine traffic:

SEO Checklist – Search engine traffic jump

9. Build Backlinks From Speaking Gigs

Is this a lot of work for a single link? You betcha.

Fortunately, it’s VERY rare that you’ll only get 1 link from your talk.

(In some cases, you can sometimes get 7-8 links from a single speaking gig)

For example, I recently spoke at a conference in Dublin.

Brian Dublin conference

And not only did I get a link from the conference website…

…but I got 4 “bonus” links from people that blogged about the event.

Conference bonus links


10. “The GSC Hack”

The GSC Hack is an SEO strategy that can help you rank for LOTS of long tail keywords.

Here’s how it works:

First, login to the Google Search Console.

And head over to the Performance Report:

Google Search Console – Performance report

Next, hit “Pages”:

Google Search Console – Performance report pages

This will show you which pages bring you the most traffic.

Google Search Console – Performance report pages close

Here’s where things get interesting:

If you click on one of the pages, you can see all of the keywords that page already ranks for.

Google Search Console –

And if you dig deep, you’ll find LOTS of keywords that you didn’t even know you were ranking for.

For example, when I ran this report on this page from my site, I found 3 keywords that I had no clue I was ranking for.

Three surprise keywords

Why is this important?

Well, if I’m ranking for these 3 keywords by accident, imagine if I actually tried!

So to get more traffic from those search queries, I’d just need to sprinkle those terms into my post.

And now that Google sees those keywords in my content, they’re going to boost my rankings for those search terms.

Sprinkled keywords

Easy peasy.

11. Create Linkable Content Around “Shoulder Niches”

In a boring niche?

Then you might think it’s IMPOSSIBLE to create content that people will link to (or share on social media).

Fortunately, that’s not the case.

All you need to do is create content around “Shoulder Niches”.

Shoulder Niches are closely-related topics that you can easily create awesome content around.

For example, Mike Bonadio used Shoulder Niches to boost his client’s organic traffic by 15%:

Mike Bonadio client traffic increase

How did he do it?

Well, Mike was in a niche that couldn’t be more boring: pest control.

Now, you might be wondering:

“How do you create an interesting piece of content about pest control?”

You don’t.

Instead, you want to go after closely-related niches that ARE actually interesting.

(In other words: “Shoulder Niches”)

In fact, that’s what Mike did:

Mike Bonadio shoulder niches

And this ultimately led him to create an excellent infographic on the related topic of: “pest control for gardeners”.

infographic animated gif

Because Mike’s infographic got featured on a handful of authority blogs…

descriptive anchor text

…his client’s traffic skyrocketed:

Google Analytics referral traffic

12. Get Links From Sites That Use Your
Visual Assets

In a perfect world, website owners would link back to you when they use your chart, visualization, or infographic.

But we don’t live in a perfect world 🙂

On the bright side, I’ve found that most people are happy to link to you when given a friendly nudge.

So if you tend to publish a lot of visual content, spend an afternoon executing this technique.

And I can almost guarantee that you’ll come away with a handful of backlinks.

Here are the exact steps:

First, find a visual asset on your site.

For example, here’s the on-page SEO infographic that I mentioned earlier:

On-page SEO – Infographic

Then, right click and “copy image address”…

Copy image address

…and paste the filename into Google “Search by image”.

Paste into search by image

And you’ll get a complete list of sites that use your image.

All sites using an image

Now it’s a matter of finding pages that used your image on their content… but didn’t link to you:

Infographic without link

Then, send them a friendly email asking them to add a link to the original source (you).

Ask for infographic link

13. Create Branded Keywords


The Moving Man Method.

The Content Upgrade.

These are all terms that I coined.

And because of that fact, I rank #1 in Google for all of them.

Guestographics – Examples

That’s why I highly recommend creating your own terms.


First, develop a strategy, technique, process or concept that’s unique to you.

This sounds hard.

But it really isn’t.

All you need to do is take something that already exists… and add a twist.

For example, a while back I noticed that lots of people were building links from guest posting.

So I simply added a twist where you pitch an infographic instead of a traditional guest post.

Infographic pitch

Next, give it a name.

This is more of an art than a science.

But in general, you want the name to be:

  • Short
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to remember
  • Unique
  • Descriptive

For example, when I started guest posting with infographics, I combined “guest posting” and “infographics” into one term: Guestographics.

Finally, get the word out.

This is key.

For your term to catch on, you need to promote it like crazy.

In my case, I published a case study of Guestographics in action.

Guestographics case study – Post

Then, a few months later, I published ANOTHER case study:

SEO Strategy – Post

I also made sure to mention “Guestographics” in interviews:

Guestographics mention

It took a few months to catch on.

But before I knew it, LOTS of people were writing about Guestographics.

Guestographics examples

And whenever someone talks about that technique, they link to me 🙂

Guestographics mention

14. Provide “What is X” Information For Definition Keywords

When someone searches for a high-level term (like “search engine optimization”), they’re usually looking for a definition.

And as Ross Hudgens points out, results on the first page of Google for definition terms tend to answer the question: “What is X?”.

For example:

If you do a search for “inbound marketing”, 2 of the top 3 results answer the question: “What is inbound marketing?:

Inbound marketing SERPs

So if you’re gunning for a definition keyword, make at least some of your content focused on answering the question: “What is X?”.

That’s why I always include a “What is X” section whenever I target definition keywords:

What are backlinks

15. Replace “Published On” Dates with “Last Updated”

A few years ago I had a problem:

I’d go back to update and upgrade an old blog post. And despite the fact that the post was 50%+ new content, it still said: “Published on…”.

Published date

Which meant:

When someone saw the post they’d say: “Shucks! I dare say that this is one old post.”

(Yes, farmers read my blog)

That’s why I decided to swap out the published date with “last updated”.

Last updated post

That way whenever I make a major update to a piece of content, readers (and Google) can see it.

16. Use Google Images to Find Guest Post, Column and Interview Opportunities

Here’s how this works:

First, find someone in your niche that tends to guest post a lot.

Larry Kim – Twitter

Second, grab their headshot (you can usually find this on their LinkedIn profile) and pop it into Google’s reverse image search.

Sujan Patel – Reverse Image Search

Voila! You can see everywhere they’ve guest posted:

Larry Kim – Guest posting

And you can use the same process to find interview opportunities (like podcasts).

In fact, podcasts might be the most underrated link building strategy on the planet.


Well, it’s 10x easier to hop on a podcast than pitch, write, edit and publish a guest post.

And just like with a guest post, you get a sweet link back to your site (in the show notes):

Podcast backlink

Unfortunately, finding podcasts can be a chore.

That is, unless you use Google reverse image search:

Google Reverse Image Search “rand fishkin” example search


17. Tap Into Google’s Underrated Keyword Research Tool

Google Correlate shows you keywords that tend to get searched for together.

For example, someone searching for “blogging” may also search for:

  • WordPress
  • Blog comments
  • Blog post ideas
  • Copywriting tips

To use Google Correlate, just enter a keyword into the tool and see what it pops out:

Google Correlate example search for

What can you do with this information?

First, you can optimize your content using the terms that the tool spits out.

(After all, these are terms that Google considers closely related to your keyword).

For example, let’s say you’re writing a piece of content on Google Analytics.

Just enter “Google Analytics” into Google Correlate, and you’ll get a list of related terms:


Then, add those terms to your article.

You can also create new pieces of content around the keywords that you find in Google Correlate.

And because your competitors have likely never heard of this nifty little tool, you can find keywords that your competition doesn’t know about.

BONUS #1: Use “Snippet Bait”

You’ve probably noticed more and more Featured Snippets in the SERPs:

Featured Snippets in the SERPs

And if you’re like me, you’re asking yourself: “How can I get MY content in the Featured Snippet?”

Fortunately, there’s no need to guess.

SEMrush recently did a massive Featured Snippet study (they analyzed a whopping 80 million keywords).

Featured Snippet study

And they found that adding a Q&A section to your content works REALLY well for grabbing the Featured Snippet spot.

For example:

This page on my site is optimized around the keyword “Channel Description”.

Channel Description – YouTube Marketing Hub

Like any good piece of content on this topic, it has lots of helpful tips on writing a YouTube channel description:

Channel Description – Helpful tips

But I also made sure to include “Snippet Bait” in the form of a short Q&A section:

Q & A section

And it worked!

Bottom line?

If you want to get your content to show up in the Featured Snippet spot, try “Snippet Bait”.

BONUS #2: Use “Jump Links” To Get Sitelinks

Sitelinks are one of the best ways to boost your page’s organic click-through rate.

Backlinko sitelinks

As it turns out, there’s an EASY way to get sitelinks:

“Jump Links”

Jump links are internal links that take people to different sections of your page:

Backlinko jumplinks example

And when you use Jump Links, Google will use the anchor text of those internal links as sitelinks.

Jumplinks as sitelinks

(Note: this doesn’t work 100% of the time. But in my experience, Jump Links significantly increase the odds that you’ll get sitelinks)

For example, I recently added jump links to this list of SEO techniques.

SEO Techniques – Jump link example

And sure enough, after Google crawled the page, they added sitelinks underneath my result:

SEO Techniques – Sitelinks in the SERPs

But sitelinks aren’t the only way to boost your click-through rate…

BONUS #3: Use These 3 Tactics to Boost CTR

Here are 3 simple ways to improve your organic click-through rate (CTR):

1. Add numbers to your pages titles.

Studies show that numbers=more clicks.

Add numbers to titles

For example, here’s a title tag of mine that uses a number:

Post with number in the title

2. Use descriptive URLs.

Your URL helps Google searchers figure out what your page is all about.

(They also use your domain name…but that’s a lot harder to change)

And that’s why you want to avoid weird URLs, like this:


Instead, use URLs that describe the content of your page:


3. Write enticing meta descriptions.

Use your description to “sell” your content.

For example, you can see that this meta description is designed to push people to click on my result:

Backlinko meta description example

How do you know what to write in your description?

Check out the AdWords ads for that keyword:

AdWords ads in SERPs

AdWords ads are engineered to get as many clicks as possible.

And when you use these proven words and phrases in your description, you’ll get more clicks.

BONUS #4: Find Keywords With Wikipedia, Bing and YouTube Suggest

You probably already know that you can use Google Suggest to find long tail keywords:

Google Suggest example

But what you may not know is that you can use this same approach with OTHER search engines.

Like Wikipedia:

Wikipedia Suggest


YouTube Suggest

And yes, even Bing:

Bing Suggest

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite SEO tips.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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