11 SEO Changes That Will Give You Big Results

big ideas

Do you know what the key to ranking well on Google is? I bet you are thinking it’s links, content and on-page optimization, right?

All of those things do impact your rankings, but over the last 11 years of my SEO life, I’ve learned that creativity is the key to SEO success. Through trial and error, I’ve been able to create a bag of tricks that help me take any site and boost its SEO rankings.

Because I have been an SEO for 11 years, I’m going to share with you 11 strategies from my bag of tricks. Some of these tricks will be easy to implement while others will be time-consuming, but if you take the time to implement a handful of them, your search engine traffic will increase.

So, let’s dive right in…

Trick #1: 404 error pages can lead to more indexed pages

A 404 error page tells you and search engines that a “page is not found.” This happens because you may have changed your URLs over time or removed a few pages when you overhauled your design.

The bigger your site, the more 404 errors you will have. But instead of using a generic 404 error page, you could try to design something that is also entertaining…something like this:

404 ideas

The problem with that is that although the 404 error page above is entertaining, it isn’t helping much with search engine rankings.

To remedy the situation, what I do for big sites is I create custom 404 pages that display a creative image like the one above and also link out to 25 to 50 random internal pages on the website. Each time the 404 error page is loaded, the links automatically change.

By doing this, you can increase the number of pages that get indexed. It’s so effective that when I worked with TechCrunch years ago, I was able to increase its search engine traffic by 9% in a matter of 30 days just because of 404 error pages.

The more indexed pages you have within Google, the more opportunities you have of getting search traffic.

Trick #2: Don’t be afraid to start a fight

Similarly to the concept above with 404 error pages, Zappos implemented its product showdown pages. My buddy created this at Zappos years ago because he was trying to find a way to increase the number of indexed pages to boost company’s search engine traffic.

zappos product showdown

He had a developer create a product showdown, where products fight against each other. You, as a user, vote for the winning product.

What you may not know is that there really isn’t a winner. The product showdown page continually changes the two products that compete against each other every time the page is loaded. This helps to increase the number of internal pages being indexed.

The end result was an increase in search traffic in excess of 10%.

Trick #3: Does your infographic move?

You already know infographics are an effective form of content marketing, but they just don’t do as well as they used to.

Why?

Because they are yesterday’s news. Everyone has already beaten them to death, and topics are now being regurgitated. This doesn’t mean infographics won’t help you get more traffic or backlinks. You just need to be a bit more creative with them.

cheetah

One of the coolest infographics I’ve seen is this one on cheetahs. What’s cool about it isn’t the data. It’s how the data and visualizations move within the graphic.

So, how successful was this concept? Let’s just say 1,170 websites link to it. Not too bad for one infographic.

If you can’t find someone to create a moving infographic for you, you can always have a designer create a 3D infographic:

3d infographic

The designer of the 3d infographic above quoted me $4,000, which is a bit too expensive for me, but if you have the cash, it’s probably worth it.

Trick #4: The skyscraper technique

Have you ever walked by a tall building and wondered how tall the 8th largest building is? Of course, not!

You’ve probably wondered how tall the tallest building in the world is, but never the second or third tallest.

As humans, we naturally like the biggest and best of things out there.

The skyscraper technique leverages this tendency. In other words, it’s content marketing for link builders.

Here is how you can leverage it:

  • Step 1: Find content that other people have already created that got tons of links. You can accomplish this by doing a few Google searches and by using Open Site Explorer.
  • Step 2: Copy the concept you found, but you make sure what you create is a lot better. For example, if someone created a content piece called “11 SEO changes that will give you big results” that gained hundreds of natural backlinks, you may then create a content piece titled “101 SEO changes that will give you big results.”
  • Step #3: Reach out to the right people. By manually sharing your content with the websites you mentioned within your blog post and by asking people to tweet about it, you’re more likely to get more traffic and backlinks.

A good example of this technique is this blog post: 55 SEO experts reveal their 3 favorite link building tools. It was so effective that the site saw an increase in organic traffic by 348% in 7 days.

348% increase traffic

You can get great results from the skyscraper technique as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort into creating massive pieces of content. It’s an all-or-nothing type of play because if you push something out that is mediocre, it won’t do well.

Trick #5: Use personas to drive relevant SEO traffic

Bigger isn’t always better! Getting irrelevant SEO traffic is useless because those visitors won’t convert into subscribers, much less to paid customers.

Here is an example. I used to get over 120,000 visitors a month from Google for key phrases related to “how to get more Instagram followers.”

instagram traffic

When I lost my rankings for that one web page, the number of email subscribers I was getting on a daily basis stayed the same. My revenue also didn’t drop.

What does that mean? The traffic I was generating from Instagram-related keywords wasn’t converting. Why? It’s because my ideal customer wasn’t searching for those keywords, nor did he or she care about getting more Instagram followers.

To avoid generating useless SEO traffic, you need to first understand your user’s persona. Here is an example of a few personas:

personas

If your ideal customer is a techie, then you want to target people like Mike with your content, with the keywords you use, and with your overall messaging. For example, if Mike was looking for a mobile phone, he probably wouldn’t Google “mobile phone.” Instead, he would perhaps Google “Nokia Lumia camera resolution.” The difference is huge because techies are usually looking for specific information before they make a purchase.

On the other hand, if your ideal customer is someone like cost-conscious Geoff, you would want to target keywords that he would be searching for. For example, if Geoff was buying a mobile phone, he probably wouldn’t search for “Nokia Lumia camera resolution,” but he would search for “discounted smart phones.”

My traffic on Quick Sprout didn’t really start increasing till January 2013. Sure, I invested a lot more time and money into content in 2013 than I have in previous years…but I did make an effort to do similar things in 2012. All of my previous attempts failed because I didn’t understand the persona of a Quick Sprout reader.

In previous years, I used to blog about more generic marketing advice as I thought the persona of my average reader was an online marketer. But from surveying my visitors, I found out that 68.8% of my readers are business owners who want to learn how to market their businesses.

Once I saw that, I changed the way I was writing my content. I started to lay out step-by-step tips that anyone could understand and implement. I also started to write much more tactic-based content, versus theory-based, as that was more beneficial to business owners than my old content.

The end result was a 152.42% increase in traffic and a 259.62% increase in pageviews over the last twelve months.

traffic comparison

If you want to start leveraging personas, take the time to understand your ideal customer. Knowing that he or she is an accountant or a marketer is not enough. You have to get as detailed as possible. For example, for KISSmetrics, an ideal persona is:

  • a VP of marketing, director of marketing or marketing manager
  • someone working at a software-as-a-service or e-commerce company
  • someone whose company has revenues in excess of ten million dollars a year

We know that when we target people who fit the criteria above, we end up with prospects who are more likely to pay us and stay on as customers.

Trick #6: Optimize for click-throughs

You know that higher rankings mean more search traffic, so you probably already focus on that. But have you ever focused on your click-through rates?

Just because people see your listing in the search engine results page doesn’t mean they are going to click on it.

Through webmaster tools, you can see your rankings and click through-rates for specific keywords.

google webmaster tools

By analyzing keywords you are ranking for, your average position, and your click-through rates, you can figure out where you have room for improvement. Typically, if you are getting 30% click-through rates for a particular keyword, you are doing well. If you are getting above 40%, you are doing exceptionally well.

By analyzing 63 Google Webmaster Tools accounts, I’ve found that the most clicked-through words are:

  1. How to
  2. [List-related numbers]
  3. Free
  4. You
  5. Tips
  6. Blog post
  7. Why
  8. Best
  9. Tricks
  10. Great

By using the words above within your title tags and meta descriptions, you can start running a few A/B tests to try to maximize your click-through rate.

Another way to maximize your click-through rate is through authorship. It used to work a lot better than it does now, but by having your face next to your listing, you are going to stand out from the crowd.

google authorship

If you don’t have a content-related site, you can still leverage structured data markup. From reviews and ratings to rich snippets, the possibilities are endless through the use of Schema.org.

Trick #7: Beg, borrow, or steal

Who says you have to be the one who creates the content to reap the benefits? We noticed a trend on Mashable, where they take other people’s infographics and place them on their site.

They, of course, link back to the original source, but what is interesting is that they get more social shares and traffic for that infographic than the creator does.

landing page infographic

We tried a similar concept at KISSmetrics. We borrowed an infographic on landing page design from a company called Formstack. Naturally, we linked back to them and gave them credit. Plus, to avoid any duplicate content issues, we added unique text around the infographic.

Within weeks, we found that our “borrowed” infographic had 1,910 tweets and 1,400 likes. That’s not too bad for content that we didn’t have to create.

When leveraging this strategy, make sure you aren’t taking text-based content as it will cause duplicate content issues. But if you borrow images or video content and you surround it with unique text, you should be able to do well. Just make sure you link back to the original source, or else you may run into copyright issues.

Trick #8: Faster is better

Did you know that the speed with which your website loads affects your Google rankings? Google found that when it ranks slower sites towards the top of the listing pages, people get a poor user experience, which decreases their use of Google as their search engine.

For this reason, Google released Page Speed, which is supposed to help business owners improve their websites’ load times for free.

  • When Google experienced a 1/2 second slowdown, its traffic dropped by 20%.
  • When Amazon’s site slowed down by 1/10 of a second, it lost 1% of its revenue…which is a lot for a company that does billions of dollars a year.
  • When Yahoo’s site slowed down by 2/5 of a second, its traffic went down by 9%.

And it’s not just with the big sites either. Judy’s Book saw an increase in search engine traffic of over 20% after the team replaced their servers with ones that contained more CPU power and memory. Through memory cache, they were able to ensure that web pages load faster for their visitors, which provided them with a 20% plus increase in search traffic within a 30-day period.

load time

If you’re wondering what your load time is and how you can improve it, just enter in your URL here, and you’ll see a list of recommendations on how you can make your website faster.

Trick # 9: Content length affects rankings

Guess how many words an average web page that ranks on page one of Google has?

Maybe 500, 1,000, or even 1,500? It’s actually 2,000 plus words. Now, that’s a lot of content!

word count

When you look at the image above, you’ll notice that the more words a webpage has, the higher it tends to rank on page one.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, two things:

  1. Instead of just focusing on pushing out thousands of pages of content, you need to focus on putting out quality content pieces: ones that are in-depth, don’t contain much fluff and are evergreen…meaning that they are still valuable to read five or even ten years from now.
  2. Once you have more detailed content, you should start leveraging the In-Depth Articles algorithm update, which will allow you to be featured in Google’s special area in the search listings page that showcases detailed content.

When we leveraged the In-Depth Article update, we noticed a 13.15% increase in search engine traffic within 30 days.

in-depth articles

You can leverage this algorithm update by either following these Schema.org rules or by using this WordPress plugin. What you’ll find is that Google typically only ranks web pages that are on broad keywords. For example, KISSmetrics ranks in the in-depth section for the key phrase “SEO.”

in-depth articles results

If you don’t have large quantities of content on your site, you won’t see much of a traffic increase. In an ideal scenario, you would need large quantities of detailed content that is over 2,000 words in length for this trick to work.

Trick #10: Responsive designs bring more mobile traffic

Although mobile usage is growing at a much faster rate than desktop usage, I never felt it was that important to leverage it, especially since most of my sites get less than 10% of their traffic from mobile or tablet devices.

It wasn’t until we ran a test on KimberlySnyder.net that I realized the importance of a responsive or mobile-friendly design. By far, most of Kim’s traffic used to come from desktop computers, but when she was doing a redesign, she thought it would be cool to make her design responsive so that it would work on tablets and mobile devices.

responsive design

Once she launched her responsive design, her mobile and tablet traffic went from being 18% of her overall traffic to 56.7% of her overall traffic. And what’s amazing is that she saw the increase within a 45-day period of launching the responsive design.

mobile traffic

If you are looking to get similar results, create a responsive design. It needs to be something that is a stripped-down and faster-loading version of your desktop site as most people do not have fast mobile data connections.

Trick #11: Tools outperform content marketing

What’s the number one way websites are getting links these days? Content marketing, right? And although that’s correct, it doesn’t mean it is the best form of link building.

I’ve found that releasing free tools in the market place generates more backlinks and traffic overtime. In other words, it is a better investment than content marketing.

tool traffic

By releasing a free tool on Quick Sprout, I was able to:

  • Increase my pageviews per visitor from 1.8 to 2.35.
  • Decrease my bounce rate from 74% to 63%.
  • Increase my time on-site from 2 minutes 10 seconds to 3 minutes 10 seconds.
  • Increase visitor loyalty.

The key with releasing free tools that generate thousands of visitors and links is for you to create something that is easy to use and is high in demand. The best way to figure out what to release is to see which companies are doing extremely well in your space.

For example, I got the concept for my tool from Woorank and Moz. I took a lot of their features that made them millions of dollars a year and released them for free.

Tools have been so effective for me that within the next two weeks, I am adding a social media and competitor analysis report to the Quick Sprout toolset, all for free.

Conclusion

I hope you like my SEO bag of tricks. The 11 changes I mentioned above may not all be easy to implement for you, but they will provide you with big results.

If you really want to increase your rankings, learn from my mistakes. Copying what everyone else does isn’t the best idea as eventually those tactics get abused and become ineffective.

To do well in today’s search landscape, you have to be creative. By thinking outside the box and going above and beyond, you too can rank highly.

So, what other SEO changes provide big results?

If you want to break through to real profits online, you need some serious firepower. For a limited time I’m sharing some select tips and tricks Amazon, Microsoft, NBC & Hewlett Packard paid thousands of dollars per hour for, FREE.
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Comments

  1. Okay now that’s it!
    Neil, seriously, I’m gonna say just one damn thing!

    YOU ROCK!

  2. Hi Neil

    Again, its a great post and your seo tool looks great. Is there any option on getting white label report or download that report in pdf.

    This tool really looks great.

    thanks

  3. A question not related to topic here….

    The post width of your website is really narrow, like 500 px. When the web is going fluid to capture the screen, is there any specific reasons for it? Just curious.

    • I have a small width because that is what my designer picked 5 or 6 years ago. I could change it, but I have grown found of it.

      When you are creating your design fluid is probably a better approach.

  4. Neil,

    Every post you write is filled with awesome content, but I tend to leave with one golden nugget. In this one, it’s the “Skyscraper technique”. so cool! In our space, everyone is using list posts and “best of” articles. But to go over the top in this way is huge. SYTAY TUNED for my test results :)

    Aaron

  5. Neil; your idea of bringing the Infographics alive is a superb tip to increase page views and to make your readers a loyal reader like we have become.

  6. I’d never heard of moving info graphics.

    Do you think they’ll stand the test of time, or be like sliders. Popular until the novelty wears off.

  7. Awesome! I wonder why the infographics are that expensive? Can’t we get it done under 1000$ or less? Also it’s a lot of pain to get the proper info to make a infographic. I know the pain! One of the toughest way to market your content. But is worth it i would say! :) Thanks Neil!

  8. Jam packed with great info. Will try to apply atleast some of this to my blog. Thanks for sharing.

  9. These all tips are very good and informative. Info-graphic is the best way to increase traffic and sales conversion in short time period, because it leave very positive thought of the visitors.

  10. Outstanding article! There is a huge amount of excellent practical advice I’m going to implement in the next couple of days. If you are interested, I’ll report back on specific results

    Thank-you so much. I follow your site avidly, and it has helped me tremendously.

  11. Thanks Neil, excellent article as always.

    One quick question, does dynamic content help improve our SEO. I thought Static content was the ones proffered by search engines as its easier to index.

    • Static content is preferred. But you want to make sure you are constantly updating your site as search engines don’t like ranking sites that have out dated information that is no longer relevant.

  12. Amazing!

    Question:

    The other you had a great post on growing a site to 100K visits a month and you mentioned how increasing frequency of post dramatically helped.

    Lately I’m writing once a week a 3,000+ word post to follow #9 above or do you think dividing them into daily 500 words for frequency is better?

  13. Good Tricks about SEO but what for Newbies like me. 2000+ Article is fine but After posting such lengthy content is there any need of SEO off Page optimization ?

  14. Hi Neal, I love the movement on the Cheetah infographic, it does make older infographics seem a little stale by comparison :)

  15. Thank you Neil for this this great points.
    I already use some of the above tricks to increase traffic building. But not everything works in my blog niche (garment manufacturing).

    I always try to implement your guides on increasing traffic to my site. Thank you again.

  16. Once again an excellent article Neil. You rock buddy!

  17. great tactics that anyone can use to increase their SEO. I agree that you cannot do what everyone else is doing to get results these days because most of the time what every one else is doing is easy and Google will be able to know that it is easy and everyone is doing it so they will not give it value. Another thing I recommend to people is to start a podcast. A lot more people are doing it, but it is still not easy to do, but it can help you to build an audience.

  18. Neil,

    As mentioned in my email earlier, another great collection of advice. Every time I read an article of yours I get the urge to start implementing your ideas instantly (right after saying thanks!).

    Thanks alot,
    Michael

  19. Hi Neil Patel, You have mentioned Google Page Speed Service but someday ago i got a mail from Google webmaster Tools; Titled: Invitation to use PageSpeed Service from Google.

    But After use their free page speed service i noticed that my page speed not improved. I got the same results on Pingdom webpage speed test Tool.

    • Weird, I know a few people who signed up for the Page Speed service and saw an decrease in load time when they ran their URL through Pingdom.

      Maybe check to see if you can get a better host or use a CDN?

  20. One of the best piece of content I’ve read on Quick Sprout. As you mentioned, some of the tips need some heavy technical skills as a webmaster but I will definitely bring the best results for our blogs.

    By now I have opened more than 6 pages from the links you shared in this article and it would probably take another 30 minutes finish reading all those and implemented.

  21. Hi,

    I wonder if you know a wordpress plugin to do the 404 trick you are talking about ?

    Suzie ;)

  22. Neil, Thank you! I particularly enjoyed the targeting personas section because as you said, sometimes you can waste alot of time targeting the wrong audience.

  23. hi neil ,

    Great post again and excellent ideas about 404 page but i think your idea about Beg, borrow or steal is superb and now think i can also follow same trick.

  24. Love it! Thanks for the great tips. I had 404 pages on my list but I never thought of putting content or links on that page. Great idea! Also, The idea of putting more content on the front page is a good one. I recently got rid of some stuff and could actually consolidate one of my best page right on the front page! Great ideas…

  25. Hey Neil,

    I noticed that TC no longer uses your 404 strategy on their website. Any idea why they would stop?

    Love the tips, Zappos one is certainly interesting!

    Chris

    • They stopped using a lot of the stuff I did. Once the acquisition happened, things changed, such as the design, a lot of the staff… etc.

      None-the-less TechCrunch still gets a ton of traffic.

  26. Another good one Neil,

    Thanks for sharing the results of your testing I would agree that the most valuable content is a tool this is why there is a trend of the new startups becoming apps. Now it’s bye bye dynamic websites and hello mobile apps. Posts and articles are ok dynamic applications are the thing.

  27. insanely helpful. thanks, neil.

    one question – I understand that adding links to your 404 page will get more of those links indexed by google. what’s the “how” behind that?

    • I am not 100% sure as I always have engineer’s do this for me. :(

      Pretty sure someone on Elance can get this done for you though. Shouldn’t cost you more than $100.

  28. thanks very much Neil for valuable information : )

  29. Nice content.. And really great article..
    It will be helpful for newbie blogger.

  30. Great post, Neil. It’s not often I read something and think, “I need to try that immediately,” but there are a few tips on your list I’m looking into right now.

  31. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for giving my link building tools blog post a mention :)

    The Skyscraper technique is indeed gold dust when it comes to SEO and I absolutely swear by it.

    Really like what you said about infographics in this post too. Going to try trick #7 out on the new site I’m building.

    Thanks again for your contributions to my interviews and even more so for the mention today! You’re the best :)

  32. One of the very best SEO advice, Thanks!

  33. Neil,

    I found your article very helpful. And I like you personally reply all of the comments here.

  34. Great post Neil – as always! One additional thing I’d add is in line with your comment on Google Authorship, but it’s the video thumbnail version of it – I call it “video authorship”.

    3 Benefits of “video authorship:

    1) Much larger thumbnail image than the profile pic associated with Google Authorship

    2) You can customize the video thumbnail image with your brand – Google authorship only allows facial pics

    3) What I like to do is add the targeted keyword phrase into the image itself, allowing you to connect to searchers in a much more definitive fashion

    For example, one of my clients where you can see this is a lawyer, so type into Google “dui attorney athens ga” (without quotes) – you’ll see all of these points coming through loud and clear.

    Of course, all of the above will dramatically increase your click thru rates – especially if you are #1 in Google.

    Thanks again Neil

  35. Nice content.. And really informative guide..
    It will be surely helpful for bloggers like me :)

  36. Awesome post Neil!

    I had never seen a moving infographic before – very cool! Out of all of them I’d say the most beneficial tip was where you gave away the SEO tool whereas MOZ and others charge for that. What an awesome idea!

    As always, thanks for the helpful information! I’m also going to start working on my 404 page, I loved that idea! You rock!

    -Vinny Polston

  37. Neil you’ve hit a home run with this post. What I like best is the ideas that have a step by step description that anyone can follow.

  38. I particularly like the tip about the 404 page with the rotating links, although I would imagine that you would only see significant benefits in traffic if it’s a site with a ton of pages….

  39. Great post Neil! Well done. I had to go back and read through it twice because there was so much great information. What kind of tool could a PR firm that does social media for clients create?

    Thanks!

  40. As usual: GREAT POST!

  41. Jims Here

    Wow! I see that you following what you preach. I see that you starting to produce more content on quicksprout. Sweet, Are you planning to increase quicksprout search traffic?

  42. I shared this with my boss, his reply was to forward it to the whole team with the quote:
    “This article is a work of art, please all read this”

    Great article Neil

  43. Neil,

    great post. As always. Reading your old posts and then your new, it’s easy to see that your posts have evolved and go into finer detail nowadays.

    In trick #7 I would disagree on one thing though. Simply linking back isn’t going to cover the copyright issue. It’s still copyright infringement. And as such, it’s not well advised to do.

    My simple advise is: always, always ask for permission from the copyright holder. And if you do, you rarely get no. Better safe than sorry. Otherwise, if someone disapproves of your use, you could easily end up with a 4000 dollar bill to pay…

    In the US there’s always the “fair use” clause, but this goes far beyond that. And here in Europe, there’s no such thing.

    Still, this trick benefits both parties, but I’d say: ask first, get your permission and then sleep better at night. :)

    Steve

    • Steve, thanks for the tip. In the US linking is a little more lax. I have have experienced and hard of stories regarding copyright issues in Europe though. Better safe than sorry :)

  44. Neil, thanks for awesome tips. During last few months I’ve implemented about half of them at one of my sites and now my traffic tippled (from about 200 daily visitors to over 600). Now I’ve got few more ideas. Thanks a lot! Your blog is one of the most useful I follow, during last moths I can’t remember one single useless post.

  45. Hey Neil, great points shared in this post.

    I wanted to ask weather having a lightbox popup that contains share buttons would help users share content more or would this have a negative effect. Thinking of getting one created, what do you think?

  46. Great tips as usual Neil. For the first point about the 404 error page links — any tips on how to do this random link list in WordPress?

  47. Great article, as always, Neil!

    The idea about building tools is a great one. I had a question about how you got this built, which seems like a pretty substantial project.

    Did you outsource its development? If so, who defined the requirements and vision for the tool?
    How did you estimate the cost and keep it within budget (since it’s really a marketing expense)?

    Thanks!

    • I have in house developers who can either develop themselves or manage outsourced developers. Usually I try to do everything in house though.

      Yes, we estimated the cost ahead of time and made sure it would all stay under $100,000.

      As for the vision of the tool, I defined it.

  48. Awesome stuff, as always Neil!

    I’d love you to do some follow up detailed tactical posts around a couple of these some more. For example I’m guessing there’s a whole lot of stuff we could do towards persona analysis using google analytics new demographics features or in depth look at how to do A/b split testing for google search CTR.

    Loving what you’re doing, I look forward to every post!

    Cheers

  49. Hey Neil,

    Interesting to hear that the infographics are on the wane, particularly given how hard you’ve been pushing them of late!

    A question for you, is all your content written by yourself or are there a number of peoples effort going into a post like this. I’m not really referring to the graphical elements, more the copy. I’d be really interested to hear what your process is particularly given the tip that long form content ranks better.

    I’ve already installed the indepth articles generator you recommend.

    Thanks!

    Tony

  50. Wow, I’m excited about the new quick sprout tools.

    I would like to ask a very simple, but straight question.
    I simply don’t understand why are you sharing so many things for free?
    Maybe because you can make money with your authority in other, better way? Am I right? :)

    • Andras, I think sharing free content is vital to have a thriving community of similarly motivated people. If digital marketing is to evolve into something greater it has to have a talented contingent. It’s all about providing as much information as I can for free :)

  51. Here is a very low-tech question :-) for you, Neil: I log in to the Webmaster Tools and don’t see the list of keywords anywhere. I don’t see any data except for the actual url of the website that is supposed to be analyzed. What am I missing? Do I need to pay to get something useful out of it? (Feeling really dumb…)

  52. Hey Neil

    Thanks for noticing my comments; I really appreciate that about you. You take the time and effort to respond to your readers.

    A lot of people flog the same old SEO “strategies” in their blogs, but you are seriously giving out some legitimate information.
    You and Brian Dean ( of the skyscraper technique) are in my opinion the only people I would listen to when it comes to SEO advice and the best part about it is you give powerful SEO techniques but make it so simple to follow and implement.

    I am using the skyscraper technique on my own blog, I think its an incredible way to get fantastic SEO results as well as build relationships within your niche, I am really glad you have included it into the article.

    I can’t agree more with you on the “customer persona” I firmly believe getting non targeted traffic is next to useless, some SEO’s tend to forget is the online world doesn’t revolve around traffic, it revolves around people.

    Find out what your readers/customers wants and needs are and start delivering quality back to them. Forget the old ideas about SEO, the manipulation of search engines, or useless back links for the sake of back links – start creating resources targeted for your audience

    Create content for the sort of people you want to attract and if it is good and you promote it right you will do much better than someone trying to use SEO tactics to drive mass but irrelevant traffic.

    I think the idea of “borrowing” content is a great one and I think it shows that you are an authority on the subject as authority’s are not shy sharing someone else work if it is of value and done well. Not everything has to be about “you” and the blog owner, but its about your readers and providing the best, most relevant and useful information – even if it was created by someone else.

    Paul Back

    • Paul, you always provide such insightful and great feedback it’s hard not to notice.

      The skyscraper technique has been one of the mainstays of content marketing that I haven’t seen change much over the years. People are always attracted to it because it provides such a great blueprint for reading.

      I have always believed in creating customer personas before diving into any article, and especially promotions.

  53. I knew most of them but good to see new things, Some of those I have never heard of which make a lot of sense, #1 and #2 were the biggest stand outs which make complete sense.

    Another good write up, When the day comes and you produce a crap article I will be the first to nail you on it :P But you keep delivering great content.

  54. Doing all this stuff will surely consume a lot of time but it could bring a lot of benefits to your site. Thumbs up for the creator of “moving infographics”,it’s very creative. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Neil!

  55. Neil

    The subject line for your email was a great way to get my attention.
    I get so many emails from other marketers that I just delete because the subject line did not interest me.
    Then you follow through with quality content that I can immediately use to improve my web sites and help me focus on the job ahead.

    Keep up the good work! Oh yes! You do that already!

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    • John, glad it caught your attention. Subject lines usually do the trick :)

      I try to do my best to provide great content to the readers. Please let me know if you need help with anything :)

  56. Hi Neil , Great Article ,

    Can you tell me , how can i get the same comment box like this , in my wordpress site.

  57. Really good. First two paragraphs forced me to read more. and technique number one is awesome.. I will definitely test this technique.

  58. Thanks for these great SEO tips. You are an SEO expert Yeh!! Thank you very much

  59. Nail,
    Again awesome post. I have been struggling with lot of 404 pages and I hope your idea will work.

    I will implement and tell you how it works. Thank you.

  60. Neil !! It’s one of the great guide with perfect SEO tips !
    By the way, The technique to organize our site structure to get a good CTR on our defined articles is the proven method.
    even i believe in the bag, borrow and steal method that you’ve indicated Neil.

  61. Neil! these are the great strategies which are just revealed right now and it also open up the mind that we can apply numerous alike techniques for boosting our traffic and ranking prospective.

  62. Awesome follow up on SEO technique to gain goal. it help me to improve my plan.

  63. Thanks for these great SEO tips.During last few months I have implemented about half of them at one of my sites and now my traffic tippled.Now I have got few more ideas. Thanks a lot!

  64. Neil you are so generous mate, you really are of heart mind and spirit.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Looking forward to working with you.

  65. You’re awesome, Neil! The speed at which you churn out such useful information is hard to keep up with in implementation.
    Thanks and cheers!

  66. Ashwani Kaushik :

    Again a great article Neil, I always come to get new ideas & tips you share here….enjoying your posts………Thanks :)

  67. Not bad, I have been using some of these techniques, but there are some which I will have to give it a try.

    Thanks for sharing.

  68. “…creativity is the key to SEO success”

    This sentence should be engraved in gold.

  69. Awesome article. The idea with the 404 error pages is great. And I also love the fact that you talked about the user’s persona. I totally agree with that one. If you want to get more people you have to understand who are the people you need and make sure that they come for the right reason.

  70. Neil your trick 1 is not very convincing, if we allow a site to index 404 pages then it will create a lot of duplicate and low quality content which leads to a penalty in long run. I would like to know your take on this.

  71. Hi,
    WOW… I love this post. The information in this article is really unique and useful for me. After reading this article, I think I have some ideas for myself. I do follow your articles recently. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more interesting information from you. Great job!

  72. Awesome SEO techniques. Hope it will h help me improve my website.

  73. These small tips will provide an excellent package, thanks for sharing. Little attention, I have also heard that a duplicate content is bad, as well as Imran also says on his feedback?

  74. Neil, Thanks a ton for these tips! Definitely try writing 2000+ content to increase rankings. Any more suggestions to create in-depth content…

  75. Neil, your posts just keep getting more and more informative. I love the one about using the 404 error pages to include more links, I’m off to do that now. Thank you so much!

  76. Fantastic post Neil, some very creative link building techniques here. I love Brian Deans Skyscraper method too!

    Josh

  77. Great ideas Neil, thank you!

    Quick question with regards to duplicate content……

    I publish a blog post to my blog, then I have my virtual assistant copy and paste that same blog post to several local news websites, including a few links back to my blog of course.

    As a result I get some nice referral traffic….but am I hurting myself somehow with duplicate content?

    • Not really because those sites link back, but those links won’t have much weight. You would be better off writing a summary on those sites and then linking back to your post.

  78. Another wonderful post packed with useful info. Thanks, Neil.

    I don’t quite understand this: “And each time the 404 error page is loaded, the links automatically change.” How do they change automatically?

  79. Amazing post. I feel like I should have paid for this :). I especially like #1 about the 404 pages. I have used this on one of my sites, but need to add this on my other. Thanks!

  80. Hello,
    Awesome blog and took a lot of new tricks. Can’t wait to try some of these concept onto my website. Just wanted to add-on the 404 error page you can also create an opt-in to help increase your list.

    Thanks
    Madeline

  81. Hello,

    I just started blogging at work and these tips will definitely help me. Thank you for sharing these cool tips. Looking forward to reading more of your content.

    Madeline

  82. I have been reading this blog for a while because it was recommended by a friend, every time I come here, the content is amazing, I am wondering now… if such a great content is here, what is in those learning packages, more and more convinced to buy it.

    Thanks.

  83. Congratulations on the content. I’ve been reading your blog daily and spreading the word, keep it up!

  84. I think the best thing I could do for SEO is to learn how to write amazing, high-value content posts like this one. Thanks Neil.

  85. Great post. I love the concept of the Skyscraper Technique, especially because it’s a little unexpected, even counterintuitive, from the content producer’s POV. Often when researching content ideas, I’ll come across ‘Five Best…’ or ‘Ten Ways to…’ posts that present valuable content, but I won’t consider writing similar lists because they’ve already been done. I’ll consider them differently in the future.

    • Craig, they have been proven to really boost traffic. I felt the same way at first, but it’s all about doing the things that will get the right people to your site :)

  86. Neil, how is $4,000 for a 3D Infographic “a bit too expensive” and you have written many times here on your blog that you have spent way more…?

  87. Wow..just wow.. this post literally educated me and greatly helped me tweak my game plan for building my site out. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’m paying close attention in order to learn more. keep smiling

  88. Social media sharing as nowadays Google also uses at G+ in search.

  89. Great Neil!!!! great post. I was looking at improving my blog and came across yours. Got resolve most of my queries….

  90. I’ve actually used Page Speed on one of my sites which was already pretty fast and the load time decreased by 12% immediately with no further changes. As far as I am concerned, Page Speed works pretty well.

  91. Neil, thanks for this post!

    Trick #2 was an insight for me! Never thought it works that way!!
    And It is first time I heard about moving infographic – very attractive!
    By the way, it was nice to see russian example (3D infographic) :)

  92. Neil this is really amazing. This post has given me lots of action elements that I can try implementing on my blog to take it to next level.

  93. Every tip you mentioned is very valuable for new bloggers, thanks a lot for sharing.

  94. Nice article Neil, I was trying to handle 404 error, this technique is really good. Hope to get something from these techniques.

  95. Great article with some of the best tips we could use for our new blogs and niche websites. Thanks for the sharing Neil

  96. What if i dont have money and my only weapon is to produce great content (article)?

  97. Again great info what I was expecting and this is the practical knowledge that no one will give to us except you. I have read this article 3 times and every time I am gaining something new for me. Thank you Neil sir.

  98. Awesome – thanks for the tip Neil.

  99. Dear Neil

    it is very interesting

    krishna

  100. Now this is what I was looking for. Amazing SEO tips. Checking out content on other blogs, modify it and make it better then publish on your blog is tested by me, It shows amazing results in short span of time.

    Thanks for other tips which you wrote.

  101. Links in the Custom 404 pages should be static or it will be okay if they are dynamic and keep changing every time?

  102. Awesome content.

    I thought I was doing well with 1000+ word posts but I guess I need to step it up to 2000.

    Thanks

  103. Wow, Niel sir. Its nice to see all the tactics for SEO changes. I am also going to write big articles for my site from now on.

    Thanks for this.
    – Daniel

  104. In my site I will be going to take benefit of CTR based seo tactic, I am now going to use this tips for all my sites.

    Thanks for it Neil sir.

  105. Hey Neil, Nice article, really very helpful for starters.
    One quick question, Do you really think Info-graphics are a good way to generate traffic to website, i mean any info-graphic can rank in search results? or it requires some content with it

  106. thankyou very much Neil. I got answer after a long time. My website had crawl errors showing 404 error. This may be a good trick. I have to use it once :)

  107. wow awesome info! I always thought that sharing or re-posting someone else’s content was something to stay away from, but knowing the value of this strategy is something I must try for my blog.

    thanks!

  108. Great tricks for SEO !
    I’m still trying to think outside the box and come up with something creative.
    And I have to work more on infographics

  109. Great tips as usual.
    I can see where the animated infographic provides a new twist on a technique that is now being used extensively.

    I also really like the 404 error page trick, particularly the idea of making the links dynamic so that they are always updating.
    Thanks Neil.

  110. Thanks Neil,

    As usual, great information. Every time I come here, I learn something new.

    Thanks,

  111. up to I looked at the check four $8188, I be certain that…my… neighbors mother woz like truly bringing in money in their spare time at there computer.. there sisters roommate has done this less than 16 months and resently repaid the depts on there house and got a gorgeous Mazda. this link Bank70.COM

  112. This is an incredible post. I am implementing as quickly as I can and I am encouraging my readers to come to this site. Most recently I have been improving the quality of my content, and making the articles thorough and long and entertaining to the persona that I want to engage. I look forward to reporting back with some great results. Thanks for everything that you do!

  113. Thank you. A very informative article, and a attractive introduction. There are so many things , though not all may apply to all sites, will try them one at a time

  114. wow….you simply rock neil :)

  115. Awesome tips for better results. You guys really changed the way I see SEO in the past! Incredible tips. Thanks Neil!

  116. I hope these ‘tricks’ will help me like they helped you. Thanks for these great resources.

  117. Sorry Neil I’ve got a technical question regarding the 1st advice on 404 pages. You wrote “And each time the 404 error page is loaded, the links automatically change” My question is:

    How do you make it possible for the links to automatically change?

    :) Thanx in advance

  118. I was not knowing that blog loading speed as that much of impact but now I think I should remove unwanted widgets and make it load faster.

  119. Seriously Neil, U ROCKKKKK

    Thanks for the info…

  120. How do you dynamically and randomly link out on your 404 error page?

    What would happen if you put your sitemap on that page?

  121. Neil, these are great tips! I am particularly interested tip #1 404 page. Would you recommend any sources to create a 404 page like you prescribed?

  122. Neil its just Amazing post
    Learnt what changes i should make to my blog
    I understood In what areas am lagging
    Helped me alot ! Thanks :)

  123. Hello, Neil. Thank you so much for the great article. Your tips are very unusual and helpful.
    I got one question about advice #2. What are the source of traffic to this showdown page? How do people get there?

  124. I finished reading your Advance Guide to SEO a week ago. Some of tips mentioned here were explained very-well in that guide, too. Its time for me to implement the new tips that I just learnt from here. That 404 error page seems quite interesting.

  125. I spent 15 min on your website and every time when I go from one link to another link I just find more and more great content. I will contently try to implement what you are saying.
    Also 404 error pages can affect your website seo if you are planning to have a high quality website.

    Thanks for the content

  126. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for another helpful article, much appreciated!
    Re your first tip, do you have any recommendations for WordPress solutions (plugins or otherwise) to create 404 link pages? In my browsing, it seemed most options had mixed reviews and possibly conflicted with Yoast SEO.

    Thanks!

  127. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Appreciate it

  128. Great tricks you shared here Neil. Will try these definitely. Thanks

  129. Very Nice Techniques really i have to do with your tips to increase my blog traffic

  130. Neil pate, do you think still micro niche sites can get ranked by building mass back links using tools?

  131. What’s up Jackson, if you are a new web user then you must pay a quick visit every day this site and read the updated posts at at this place.

  132. Okay, and further more if you wish for update alerts from this site afterward you must subscribe for it, it will be a suitable for you Jackson. Have a lovely day!

  133. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading
    it, you could be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back later on.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a
    nice afternoon!

  134. You talked about schema.org and how much it can affect your website but i have a very poor result of schema.org. I have implemented schema.org in my blog for more than 6 month and let me confess here my traffic is now 1/4 after this. Do you really think it is better for blogs who are marketing their products through content marketing? Or there is something else that is driving my readers away from my site.

    Though i have tried to find out the exact answer of my question but not able to find out any reason, one of my friend already told me that you are going to loose a lots of traffic from your website after implementing schema, is it true ?

    Waiting for your kind attention on this topic Neil.

    • Rakesh, I would have to check out your site. If you could provide some more details that would be helpful. You can also ask the question on my forum where a ton of contributors are standing by to answer any and all questions!

  135. Really very helpfull article.. As am a newbie , this helps me a lot.. keep it up

  136. A great article but i did not get the #3 point .. i will definately try all of the above steps.. hope it help me
    thanks

  137. Been reading new SEO ideas for my site and I found the idea of reposting info graphics to be a great way to generate traffic. Thanks so much for the idea!

  138. Well I definitely enjoyed studying it. This article
    provided by you is very effective for accurate planning.

  139. Thanks for sharing such an valuable article, but i think that crawling of 404 pages can leave bad impact on search engines, what is your point of view?
    Thanks

  140. Informative article.Email tips is the highlight. This post help me to understand what mistake i done in my post. Thank you

  141. Damn Good Article Neil Sir. Thanks for it.

  142. Hi Neil, do you think site wide links will do magic still in 2014?

  143. Your tips are very good and informative.Thanks for sharing Neil.

  144. Many of us focus so much on good keywords and backlinking that we forget about the importance of good content. I agee with you that you can target certain keywords or gain backlinks day after day, but at the end of the day if your content is crap you won’t get very far.
    It is important I believe that as a blogger we incorporate the total package. You have outlined some of the most important aspects of SEO that we should be focused on.

  145. Neil-

    Informative article, I love the aesthetics of the reports from the page analyzer tool. Keep up the great work!

  146. Hey Neil,
    I took your ideas to heart. In particular, the 404 page strategy. I looked all over the place for a WP plugin that would do what you said; display an entertaining picture along with a random set of hyperlinks to internal pages. What do you think? http://www.vestigocorp.com/404-example.html
    I’ve spoken with my programmers, and they said that they could turn what they did into a WP plugin. Would that be helpful to your readers? What type of options do you think should be built into the plugin?

    • That would work assuming the links rotate and they can continually change as the page keeps loading over and over again.

      Plugin would be great. Not sure what options you would need.

  147. Very very helpfull article…a lot of information I did not know. Thank you very much. Best Reagards.

  148. I love reading detailed article…this give me all the needed information that I look for…I think SEO has been evolving over the years and while reading these kinda articles I come into the conclusion the importance of high quality contents as an additional SEO factor!!

  149. Hey Neil thanks for writing a detail article I would be glad you do more casestudies in the coming days

  150. #1 and #2 really helped. Ecommerce is a nightmare for SEO at times. Everything little information you can gain over competition is essential.

    Thanks
    Mike

  151. Hi Nick,

    Thanks so much for providing such ‘out of the box’ thinking. I will bookmark this article because there is too much to remember in one reading.

    Nick, I just spent some time writing a rather lengthy review (embracing one of your suggestions), only to notice that somehow I misspelled a word in my meta title tag after the page was indexed. I obviously fixed it right away and resubmitted to Google but it still shows the misspelling which is not good for SEO nor my perfectionistic bent.

    Is there any way to encourage Google to recognize a change in meta tag right away? If not, will Google eventually highlight the change? Any ballpark figure on how long it takes?

    Thanks so much for your input, and again, for writing one of the best articles that I’ve ever read on the subject of SEO, traffic, and eventual conversion.

    Warm Regards,
    Annie

    • Just submit the URL in which you made the change to in Google Webmaster Tool and they will crawl it right away. There is an option to force a crawl, which should solve your problem.

      • Hi Nick,

        Thanks for your suggestion. I used Google Fetch and it took about a day for the search engines to show the revised page.

        I appreciate your help.

        Warm Regards,
        Annie

  152. nice post to improve seo on my site thank you very much !!

  153. Wow! Thank you! I truly like your blog, Informative article, I love the aesthetics of the reports from the page analyzer tool. Keep up the great work!

    Really nice information, thanks!

  154. Excellent article Neil, I don’t know how many times I came on your blog after searching for something related to SEO. In this article I like the way you used infographics for explaination. I was not aware of some tricks you shown, so thanks for sharing.

  155. naturally like your web-site but you have to test the spelling on several of
    your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I
    to find it very bothersome to tell the reality then again I’ll certainly come back again.

  156. Superb article sir. You rocked.

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  160. Hello! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

  161. Wow, that infographic is GREAT. I saw you also use same kind of animation infographic for your Social signals infographic. Thanks for sharing latest tech.

  162. you mentioned that info graphic bring good results in seo. how is it possible? because it consist of java script which may increase the load time. please let you tell me about the technical aspects of info graphics which increase traffic

  163. I have been searching this post,, at last i found this.

  164. This is really interesting, You’re an excessively skilled
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  165. Nice information, thanks!

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  168. What a great list Neil – thanks!!

    The 404 page point is extremely interesting. Do you know if there are any solutions (wordpress plugins, for example) to do this automatically, or do you need to manually update your 404 page every few weeks/months?

    Thanks in advance for your reply and all the great content you provide on Quicksprout!

    Graham.

  169. Seo is a waste of time and money. Just advertise or build your client list through Facebook. So much easier and the results are ten time better. Seo is dead.

  170. Really smart and informative guide, I love how these are all “real world” tips that anyone can take action on.

  171. Never had any idea that there can be animated inforgraphics as well. I will look into this. Also, that 404 point is correct, 404 pages play a very important role in websites stuff.

  172. Thanks mate. I was struggling with my site’s indexing on google. Google had only indexed 5400 pages. Following this, it took the pages indexed to 94000+

    woah!!!

  173. This has really helped me to know the right way to build that vital and mandatory traffic to my new site. Really love the piece you put up here, and I ma hoping to come back for more by just subscribing to your wonderful site

    Thanks

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