Forget SEO: Here’s How to Write a Post That Goes Viral

forget seo

You don’t have to write in order to get the attention of Google algorithms…you have to write in order to get the attention of people who will share your content.

So, let’s kick SEO to the curb and just write viral posts.

If you think that sounds like I’m out of my mind, I can point to at least two large publications that pretty much did that.

The New York Times and The Atlantic.

The New York Times focused on building a brand, loyalty and a community, unlike content farms like who depend strictly upon SEO. This is how NY Times actually profited when they installed their pay walls…a move that a lot of people thought would fail.

On the other hand, when The Atlantic took down its pay wall in early 2008, it grew its web audience from 500,000 to over 13.4 million visitors a month.

You think they did that on slick SEO moves? Not at all.

They added a number of high-profile writers to drive content, created two new online properties and built up digital ads to pay for those properties.

They also changed their editorial strategy to adapt to the social media landscape to maximize these platforms as sources of traffic. They now get over 40% of their traffic from social media.

Scott Havens, an exec from The Atlantic, told Mashable, “Truly [our writers] are not really thinking about SEO anymore. Now it’s about how we can spin a story so that it goes viral.”

So, would you like to know how to spin a story so that it goes viral? Let me show you. It’s pretty darn simple

Step #1: Write your own headline using this technique

The Atlantic writers are responsible for coming up with their own headlines. This is no easy task, but there are certain methods you can use to create a viral-worthy headline.

One approach I use a lot is the “4 U”s:

  • Useful – A great headline always communicates to the reader a benefit. Makes sure it is an emotional benefit that solves a real need that your reader has. For example, the headline How to Make Your Small Business Stand Out with These 8 Marketing Twists is very clear about what you will get if you read this post. How-to posts are naturally very useful.
  • Unique – How does your headline stand out from the competition? Have you tested it on Google to see if other people have used it? If you find copycats…change yours.
  • Ultraspecific – Next in line is to write a headline that describes your article clearly and distinctly. This is where using numbers and exact names comes in handy. Look at how Joel Friedlander did it with his 3 Simple Ways to Turn Your Website Archive into Profitable Books and eBooks.
  • Urgent – The most common way to generate urgency in your readers is to give them a deadline like Why You Might Want to Delete Your Google Browser History Before Next Week. Another way is to simply tell your readers that something is broken and that they need to fix it. Chris Garret’s 3 Ways to Fix Your Broken Marketing is a good example.

Now, a lot of the headlines I shared with you have all or some of the “4 U”s in them. The key to a great, viral-worthy headline is to get as many “U”s in it as you can.

Step #2: Allow professionals to rewrite your headline

You may be the master of your content…and you may have used the “4 U”s to create a screaming-good headline, but that doesn’t mean it could not be made better.

It helps to have someone else – someone who is trained in headline writing – to rewrite it for you. That’s what The Atlantic does.

After the writer submits his or her article with the preferred headline, the channel editors often rewrite the headline.

And after that, the homepage editor might rewrite it, too.

But that’s not all. Those headlines are often rewritten to appear on Twitter or Facebook.

Step #3: Write killer content

Let’s admit it: SEO, copywriting, content marketing…even social media…it’s not all that sexy. It’s hard to get people excited about the possible problems created by the Penguin update or the 15 newest Twitter metric tools you should be using…

…let alone have that article go viral.

So, what should you do? You need to turn your ideas into killer content. Here are four approaches:

  • Controversial – A “controversy” is something that is debatable or questionable. The fact that Google rules the search space is hardly controversial. But if you write about how Google is spying on you…that may cause some heads to turn. The key is to hit people’s hot buttons…stuff that they hold near and dear to them…or hate passionately. One of The Atlantic’s all-time popular posts on Facebook is Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women? And the post is over 14 months old.
  • Trending – What’s hot on Google Trends right now? Can you spin an article to tie into the Zombie apocalypse? Or the 2012 Olympics? What celebrity is in the news? For example, the term “bath salts” is popular right now. You could write an article called “How to Make Your Product as Addictive as Bath Salts.” Over at The Atlantic, a popular article is America Has No Idea How Few Gay People There Aretapping into the same-sex discussions going on.
  • Lists – This is a standard that has been used and abused forever…but people still like them. They are an easy way to consume content and are great to share. That’s why you have entire websites like Listverse devoted to lists. Buzzfeed creates some of the best viral list posts like 40 of the Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken, and The Atlantic always has a popular top ten such as The 10 Things Economists Can Tell Us about Happiness.
  • Inspirational – If you’ve spent a significant amount of time on Reddit, you probably realized that there is a lot of truth to the notion that their users are sophisticated, crass and sceptical. In spite of that, however, it’s unbelievable how much inspirational content gets voted up. I guess people like stories that inspire them…especially when the underdog wins. A great example of that was Copyblogger’s Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s UnderwearGreat stuff!

There are dozens of different strategies to writing killer content. These were just a few of my favorites I wanted to share.

Does this mean SEO is dead?

No, SEO is not dead. And, no, I don’t say that just because I’m an SEO consultant…

SEO has changed a lot, and one thing that we can’t ignore anymore is that social networking platforms are really starting to influence how search rankings are determined. For example, Google+ and Search Plus Your World were straightforward moves by Google to not only pick up more users, but influence the way people search.

Plus, a recent study by Branded3 has proven that tweets, in fact, do affect search positions.

So, SEO is still part of the game, just not as much as it used to be. The way to online success used to be getting to that number one position. These days, it’s all about writing viral-worthy posts.

So, what do you think the future of SEO is?


  1. Marco Montemagno :

    Excellent post Neil 😉

    • Investing Financial Freedom :

      Then it’s still useful to write Top 7 posts that links to relevant posts. I just have to inform the site administrator that one of his pages is included in my list post and request him to share it to his friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Time-tested formula.

      • That link bait method may not work if you have no relationship with the site owner/administrator. It works if you are already an active member within a network of sharing people.

        It also depends on how big the network of the site owner is. 10 followers on Twitter won’t work, right? Also depend how big and busy they are. Mashable, for instance won
        t play, because they don’t really have to. Once again, it depend what your relationship is.

        It’s all about context.

    • Thank you Marco, appreciate it. 🙂

      • Craig Hadden – Remote Possibilities :

        I agree with Marco – love the way you use alliteration to make your 4U technique so punchy and memorable!

        Do you follow Brendon Burchard? He has a great video where he uses alliteration to intrigue his audience, and to make his tips much easier to recall:

        Via that post, you can also see other ideas for writing what I call “tempting titles” to make people want to find out more.

        Great stuff – thanks Neil!

    • Mohit Bardia :

      Some Free Seo Tools To Become A Succesful Blogger .

  2. Bharat Chowdary :

    This is an incredible article, agree with all your points Neil. Going to follow these tips from my next article…

  3. Great Post. I hope it helps me with newly started website. I feel the top 10 content works a lot

  4. Harsh Agrawal :

    Neil you pointed out the right thing here and that is focus on content…Write a content which is not only quality content but add more ingredients like Killer title, Put content which owe us viral traffic and rest SEO..which one can easily take care with smart Keyword placement and Social signals will take care of the rest..
    Right to the point article and really useful ..

    • Apart from writing a killer headline.. it is also important to have great looking relevant image attached to your post.
      Sorry for repetitive posting.. your mobile theme was showing an error while commenting through my Mobile.


    • Yep, providing valuable content is the most important step in gaining traffic. Thanks for breaking down some of the other steps as well.

  5. Ankit Bansal :

    Hi Neil
    I love what we have here. Awesome article and i truly agree. Killer content and being creative in your writing can help you go a long way . SEO is very important but things are changing.
    Hats off for bringing this up . Cheers !

  6. Great Post Neil. I am agree, Content is king and we should write for Reader not For SERP.

  7. Daniel Katz :

    Been working on SEO for almost 10 years and even though (as you conclude) SEO is not dead, I have to agree that viral marketing can be much more powerful than SEO if done smartly.

    Thanks for this awesome post Neil!


  8. Howard Gottlieb :

    If only it were that easy….

  9. Steve Wamberg :

    Thought-provoking post as always. Does not disappoint! As hinted at the end, do remember that SEO has a slightly different function than content — as well as a different “target audience” (i.e., search engine algorithms vs. humans). Just a hint from another SEO long-timer.

  10. Josh Colter :

    Where could an individual writer find a pro to help them rewrite headlines?

  11. Trung Nguyen :

    I was noticed about this post through email, it’s a really awesome post. Thanks so much, Neil. Keep sharing 🙂

    • Cool, thanks for stopping by to read. I will definitely keep sharing, I hope you keep reading. 🙂

  12. Love it Neil!

  13. What about “3 ways to fix your broken links”, do you think this will go viral? 🙂

  14. Ryan Bollenbach :

    Hi Neil,

    What I love most about this article is that it’s in no way mystical. It’s completely logical and this is how content SHOULD get more traction. I’m glad we’re getting past the days of manipulating Google to gain more readers. It’s time to focus on innovative ways to improve the quality of content. That being said, I still enjoy reviewing my titles with the Google keywords tool.

    Another note about going viral, I’ve been using facebook as a means to talk to new potential readers lately, similar to how people use twitter. Although I enjoy twitter, I find that tweets have a lot shorter shelf life than facebook page posts. It’s great that the new timeline has a module for Recent Posts by Others. It’s an unobtrusive way to speak with people that have similar interests.

    Some related ideas on being viral – Your Social Network Might Be More Influential Than You Think:


    • Thanks for the share Ryan. I agree that everyone should get creative with their content to increase the quality of it. I a glad you are finding ways to utilize the new FB page to the fullest.

      Best of luck.

  15. Dragutin Movrin :

    Great post like always, Neil. Yes, you are apsolutely right. SEO have changed it’s parameters. Now there is new holy trinity of SEO. Content+user experience+social proof.

  16. This is another great from Neil. 🙂

  17. great post always..
    its easier said than done… you ve to be so consistent in writing a viral post that one average post can harm ur traffic.
    its lot of hardwork.. however worth giving sn effort..
    thanks again. .

  18. Maria@fxmegaforex :

    Thank you for this great article I will follow your ideas and suggestions.

  19. Excellent post Neil. SEO has changed a lot within the last two years.

    I think content marketing is the new SEO. Now it’s just finding creative ways to tie it into small business blogs and their SM campaigns.

  20. Credit Blog Editor :

    As always Neil, great write up but I have a question:

    What do you do when you blog in a country where the average consumer is low down on the Forrester’s Social Technographics ladder?

    • You keep at it as they will climb the ladder sooner or later. And when they do you will be right there waiting for them.

  21. Awesome post Neil.. I have been focusing more on content rather than SEO now a days and results are really great..

  22. where does adding useful content such as infographics come in?

    • Adding inforgraphics, videos or mages are all ways to enhance your content. As long as they are of quality and useful to the reader. Definitely get creative and incorporate them when you feel they could be useful or needed.

  23. Well written! Content is still KING!

  24. Neil I am a relative newbie to your blog but have found your posts insightful and this one, frankly a relief. It sometimes seems so robotic to go through the SEO process when at the end of the day you just want to give your audience something really valuable to take away from your posts. Having the “freedom” to concentrate on the value primarily, and the SEO as an afterthought fits for me. I guess being a thought leader and having the ability to communicate your message through compelling copy that your folks fall over themselves to share is the key in this age where content truly does rule.

    • Great, happy to hear it Simone. It is definitely important to give your readers something of value that they can use or be inspired by.

  25. Profesional SEO :

    You are right Neal, SEO has changed, but I don’t think that is dead neather. SEO has evolved, now It’s more about content strategy, viral content and not neccesary text content, it could be pictures, videos, audios…

    Thanks a lot for your post, I enjoy your style of doing SEO.

  26. You have hit the nail on the ball. Cool and really enjoyed this post, got my 5 stars *****. Content has always been the no1 source for web traffic. If it’s good people will share it.

    SEO will still help, provided it’s done correctly, with out getting the BIG G, to slap you…

    I notice their is a big shift with how people are writing content online.

    Here are some of my findings:

    1. keep it simple to read… avoid those big words. you only have a few seconds to get the person glued.

    2. attract with sub headings… if you can sum up what’s to come on the next line.

    3. if you cant afford a killer writer, do your self a favor, go to amazon, and look for best novel story sellers, the more you read these books, you will become more conversational in your writing..

    4. a great add on to your post, is create a summary after the post with a info graphic which the main the key points, which will help with the viral process.

    5. stick to the basics, AIDA , attention, interest, desire and action.

    6. something to think about: if users can’t find the answer they looking for they will go somewhere else.

    Hope this will be a help for all…

    • It’s amazing, then please deliver me ebook such as how to write for newbie, a step by step approach, tx

      • thx for the feedback… I hope Neil don’t kick me off this post… sorry Neil

        start of with this…

        lets say you want to write 100 words…

        split the 100 / 4 = 25 words

        Heading Title

        25 words ( what you will be writing about it)

        Sub Heading
        1st 25 words

        Sub Heading
        2nd 25 words

        25 word
        Give a summary of everything

        1. just starting writing, don’t worry about speeeeliiing mistakessss 🙂 , you can edit them 2 hours later

        2. the idea is let your mind just let go….

        3. write for 10 min, then come back later

        4. if you know your topic, then you will write faster

        5. record your self, via a mic or dictaphone.. then have it transcribe,

        Good Luck

        • No worries Zaid, 🙂

          I think it is great that you are helping out by proving this outline. I hope others find it helpful as well.

    • Thanks Zaid!

      Really great steps, you could even create your own post off them. 😉

  27. Amazing post Neil..
    Have just started reading your e-books.

  28. Boni Satani :

    Totally worth! Thanks for sharing it! I always believe that content
    is the important element to drive more traffic to your site than any other strategy.

  29. Great stuff! Very helpful.

    I’m newbie blogger. I hope I could get you to critique my stuff if you have time. I’d be delighted to get feedback from the experts!

    • Hey Poch

      I would be happy look at your blog.. I will send you email instead…

    • Hey Poch: as a former web analyst, pro copywriter, and seo writer, I am am ABSOLUTELY honest, brutally honest, and RUTHLESS when it comes to web site reviews. Honestly, I’ve made designers at the Canadian Federal Government, where I was a lead consultant on massive web project, actually cry.

      So here’s my good deed of the day:

      DUDE, FROM MY FIRST MINUTE ON YOUR SITE, I HAVE THIS TO SAY: “YOU GOT NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!” (I actually stayed more than a minute, which is good.)

      Anything deeper would cost you big time–hahaha.

      Sincerely, it looks good.


  30. Nirav Barot :

    Hey Nile very nice and informative post.
    I do agree on these techniques but as you said that SEO is not dead we can also focus on some old techniques but different way for example.. in past what SEOs used to do is… Social bookmarking with same title, description for a single url in so may different SB websites.. that may now change.. so if you still want to do SB you have to select most impressive and high PR do-follow websites of SB submit with Different title and different description for each website we want to submit and this techniques is more useful then the old one (This is in case you don’t able to write new unique post for blog every time) .

    Thankx for this information..

  31. Ian Gichuhi :

    This was a great post, Neil. Thank you for linking to other great articles and writers. I particularly enjoyed the article by James Chartrand.
    I wanted to ask if you are still offering the Quicksprout Traffic System . Noticed that the links to it are not working . Please let me know as it seems to be the answer to my writing problems .
    Thank you .

    • Hey Ian,

      I am still selling my Traffic System. I just took it off my home page. If you type into the url it should take you to it.

  32. Hi Neil..
    Really informative article.
    Actually It’s time to think about a different way for SEO, And that’s why i am double agree with the heading section. We can also keep the same in terms of Social Media and it helps to make it more viral 🙂

    Keep Sharing please..

  33. SEO By Night :

    Very useful content… I agree about killing traditional SEO made using old techniques as PR “pump” and so on, but in some sense what you suggest here is STILL SEO, in my opinion 🙂

  34. Wandspiegel :

    “It’s pretty darn simple…”

    No it isn’t. If “virality” could be made into a process, bottled up and sold, you could make millions. The title and concept of this post is completely misleading. Is this good advice? Yes. Will this make a post go “viral”? Hell no. What goes viral is generally unpredictable.

    If your content strategy relies on your work “going viral”, you’re doing it wrong.

    Good advice, terrible angle.

    • I am sorry you felt the tile was misleading to the content. On the bright side I am glad you found the advice useful.

  35. Web Design Resource :

    Now, social sharing is becoming one of the most important factors to boost the ranking in the search engine but for that at very first the content should be fresh and quality content.

  36. Joseph @ Web Design Goa :

    With SEO constantly evolving, and changes occurring on a day to day basis, interesting and useful content is becoming all the more important. The need for useful content will always exist and if you have the best of what people want, and follow basic on-site SEO you will always get traffic.

    • Definitely, I agree completely. There will always be a need for useful information and if you can provide some you will gain traffic.

  37. hi neil
    content will always remain the king and we should always try to produce killer content,as far as Seo we can’t neglect it but our primary motive should be focusing on producing fantastic content,any ways thanks for sharing.

  38. Ferman Aziz :

    thanks Neil your article always motivate me to do something different and this one pushes me to write quality content

  39. thank neil. I heard the world “killer content” many times but all of them want that’s too. It’s the strategy no one change.

  40. Does not twitter use nofollow attributes to all tweets? Then how does it affect search results? Just curious.

    • Search engines use social signals to determine how important a page is. So if Google sees that your website is getting a lot more tweets, it will start to rank higher.

      • Cristian from Senkailabs :

        The study from Branded3 proved that tweets have a correlation with better rankings. As they said: “In the biggest study of its kind, we have found that there is strong correlation between the amount of tweets about a URL, and its Google ranking.”

        But bear in mind that correlation does not imply causation and social signals may be correlated with better rankings but not cause them, as Will Critchlow explains in his post “Do Improved Social Signals Cause Improved Rankings?“.

        More data of Branded3 and other studies about Google Plus + Twitter here:

        Hope this helps 🙂

  41. I think that SEO will become even more social this year.

  42. Colin Cronin :

    What are your thoughts for businesses were blogging is not a primary source of relevant traffic? For example, let’s take an enterprise IT company with a specific focus on certain kinds of hardware platforms. Obviously, they can write some relevant content that is useful and interesting to their target market. But there is a limit to how much of that information is really controversial or trending. And even if they get decent traffic to those particular posts, it may be difficult to connect it in a logical and relevant way to the primary products they offer, at least in the sense of relevance to the readers.

    These readers may be interested in following a particular topic or trending issue, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they also want to be purchasing that hardware. Those most likely to convert and buy might be exactly the type of person not looking for such a blog post.

    In this context, what do you see as the balance between viral posts and “traditional SEO.”

  43. Great, useful article as usual. The big problem, however, is that the post has to go viral to have any value. It’s either viral or nothing, really. That’s where SEO comes in. If your virality didn’t quite connect, there’s always those slogging away in the SEO trenches hoping to get some views. Plus, you’re talking about huge brand names there: Atlantic, NYTimes. Those starting out are incredibly dependent on SEO. That said, as a content writer, I certainly appreciate the nod to quality content for people and not just bots!

  44. How to Pickup girls :

    Well, I have always loved the creative headline fundamental. Been reading copyblogger and others and it is really something that breaks the ice for you and we really need to have a great supporting first paragraph to maintain the interest.

    But I guess the same cannot be applied in all niches.

    • Awesome, I definitely agree. You may be able to find a way to apply it to different niches, you just have to get creative.

  45. Ramsay from Blog Tyrant :

    Hey Neil.

    The ultra specific tactic has worked really well for me with posts like How I Sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 Months (

    Seems to generate more interest.

  46. Austin @ nnft :

    Great post Neil! I like the direction that SEO is heading

  47. Raheel Mushtaq :

    But this means we should move to Social media rather than back linking a lot as after the penguin effect Google is also Penalizing sites with too many back links with same anchor text or we can say that does not improves ranking in SERP now..! but i guess nothing is destroyed just changed so is SEO it’s evolving into something different from the past things what we have done..!

    • You have got it Racheel, SEO has changed and will probably keep changing. You have to adapt to it and embrace the changes.

  48. Awesome Technique shared!!!

    Thanks Neil

  49. Connie Hammond :

    Thanks for the post Neil. First time reading your stuff — good insights! I’m heading back over to my site: now to start reviewing my headlines and seeing how they could be better. I keep forgetting the tried and true “how to” headline.

    • No problem Connie, I hope these tips will help out your site. Let me know if you have any questions as you go.

  50. Juicebox Creative :

    SEO still has a way to go in regards to many many keywords where the results provide little usefulness to the end user. Overall though, focusing on you’re unique selling point, providing ways to share content easily and creating compelling content will always be a sound strategy.

  51. Suresh Karuppaiya :

    Nice strategies on search engine optimization.


  52. Nathan@Guarantor Loans :

    Hi Neil
    I think the NYT paywall is interesting because I thought it would kill their online prescence and yet it has done nothing of the sort. However, I think the reason a lot of people do pay for news content now (I subscribe to The Sunday Times online) is because of tablets and the ipad in particular because it is the ideal newspaper/magazine reader and that is how I get all of my online news now.

  53. Get good grades :

    Nice writeup Neil, thanks for the reminder of the importance of providing useful and helpful top quality content that others will naturally want to share as an increasingly important aspect, in addition to “traditional” SE.

    • Thank you, I try to do my best to help teach or remind my readers of helpful tips and tricks they could be using.

  54. im working for a magazine that have a online site called and i want to increase and optimize the website visitor and have a good ranking on SEO
    can somebody tell me what to do ,cause i have been creating backlinks but the last check i did on Alexa did not show me any change
    thank you

  55. Great ideas Neil. Is this an example of a post that you write about in the article? Sure has all the makings! Itd be very cool to see how viral it has gone since you wrote it. Love the Google Trends idea, we used that one “newsjacking” the headlines today.

  56. solicitors Manchester :

    I want to optimize my web pages so that our homepage will rank high in Google!. Many of our web pages require password to log in. If I only want the homepage to rank high, can I just optimize 10 or 20 pages that have meaningful content, or I should optimize 100+ web pages? Among those 100+ web pages, some of them are just sign in page, forgot password page.

  57. techjamblog :

    I really like the 4 “U”s. Social media is playing a vital role in different search engines especially in Google now that Google+ is becoming a “big” factor. After the recent updates (Penguin and Panda), we should provide content that will help us build likability and trust as well as to offer something that is beneficial to share.

  58. You are absolutely right Neil, the structure surrounding SEO is changing, I believe that SEO is still a crucial part of ranking, but the secret is hidden in the writing. The more creative your content is, the more people you will attract!

    In the real estate world, this is most crucial because we want to continue to write original and clever content for our clients, while also attracting new ones. Also, images are everything in our world, so I also agree with Samay. As humans we are drawn to pictures therefore choosing the best images to convey a point you are trying to make is critical as well. Thanks for sharing Neil!

    • Thanks Larry,

      I think you have a great understanding of what you need to do/have to do well. Keep up the creativity and you should have great results!

  59. Infoflavour :

    well yeah content matters the most.
    Write well , leave the rest to SEO

  60. I think you are spot on with this post. SEO is almost becoming a dangerous game in itself. I think if you start off from the users perspective, build a great site, produce regular quality content and build that formula into a strong brand then that will yield future success. On top of this you need to monitor (rather than manipulate) your on-site and off-site SEO to make sure nothing is going astray then that is the best strategy for success in the future.

  61. Jamjee SEO Magazine :

    I will always agree with everyone who says that content is king and killer content is essential. It is much better to smartly work on creating awesome content then to hard work in SEO efforts.

  62. Interesting how SEO is continually evolving. Perhaps, in the future, it’s reputation won’t be as bad as it is today. However, there’s also a big possibility that SEO will be obliterated or merged with blogging or social media marketing.

  63. Espen Steenberg :

    Thank You Neil for this post.

    This has been my feeling as well; if we provide great content for people, the search engines will recognize the patterns people use to find that content. I think the days of manipulating the search engines are drawing to a close because there are so may factors the SE’s can use to analyse and choose the best sites. I mean, they become smarter every day. Of course, some SEO might still be necessary and logical, but as our site grows a natural “theme”, this will provide the relevant traffic we need.

    • I agree Espen,

      It is all about growing unique and valuable content in your own niche. SE’s are becoming more evolved every day and are not easily manipulated any more.

  64. Neil – good post, but what should we do about all these wonderful keywords? Are you basically saying don’t worry about keyword research anymore? Right now I write blog posts with a long tail keyword in the headline. Is it time to abandon that? Some sort of guidelines would be helpful.

  65. You are absolutely right Neil, SEO has changed dramatically but is still as important as it ever was-just more challenging.
    I like the4 U’s practical approach. No use in having a headline that doesn’t offer a benefit in very few words and the content must deliver also.
    Thanks for the great post as usual!

  66. Great post as always. I am curious about one thing. Every blog post ever that deals with writing headlines and content sum things up in a similar way to this one. Although yours is a deeper look at the topic than most. What do you do if you write about something that is boring or rarely changes? How do you get readers for say your blog on needle point or building Popsicle stick castles. I’m not trying to be a troll by any means. I just wonder where all the blog posts are that help less trendy topics find readers.

    • I wish I could help you John, that’s tough. The best advice I could give you is try writing from unusual perspectives. Use games, tv and anything unique you can think of to bring an edge to your “boring” content.

  67. hmm I think my last comment was mistaken for “s p a” then the letter M. anyway, I subscribed to your newsletter a while ago; very helpful 😀

    • Sorry about that, let me know if it happens again. I appreciate you subscribing to my newsletter, I hope you continue to read and find value here. 🙂

  68. Hi Neil,

    I liked your point very much, I’m a beginer to blog writing and i have the same kind of thoughts but what make me confused is, it says headline should not be more than 50 words length etc. kind of SEO instructions…
    Please advise will I be successful if I follow ‘4U’ insted of SEO, I’m in the starting stage of my blog so I would want to follow and stick on to one platfrom either 4U or SEO based.

    Please advise.

  69. San Jose Bounce House :

    Very informative posts! Thanks Neil! here about you all the time on mixergy!

  70. Great ideas Neil. I like making lists. Like the top 10 list. They are always fun to make. I’m going to make one soon for my site!

  71. Nice post! Great idea about the title being viral and respond to some teasing need that the readers might have. A good title is essential to drive traffic to your posts.

  72. Neil, this is one of the best articles I have read on writing content. Coming from an SEO expert makes it even more amazing!

  73. the title is definitely your first chance to reach a reader so I can definitely understand the importance. especially on social network like facebook… if its doesnt catch their interest at the first glance not only will they ignore it but they may even assume its just spam… on twitter, people are even less likely to click something unless it is a real attention getter.

  74. Shadi Halloun :

    Hey Neil,

    I just had to say that the content you are writing is just epic. Very few people are actually giving this community stuff that works.

    I know that you work hard on providing quality posts, and I felt that I had to “encourage” you to keep this going because your posts really help.

    Now to the post, another thing that I found (by testing) that helps in ranking is the number of Likes your page has. I believe also other social metrics do help in ranking.

    Thanks again,
    Shadi Halloun

  75. Best Freelancer :

    And imagine this post is so viral that it got 312 clicks when I shared it via Buffer. Neil, you are a genius.

  76. Andrew Youderian :

    As someone who is moving from an eCommerce background into blogging, I’m starting to realize how critical it is to write great headlines. And how difficult it is! Spending hours on a headline may seem ridiculous, but it’s absolutely crucial to getting people to click through to your article. The best content in the world doesn’t get read without a click-through.

    I’ll be adding “master headline crafter” to my long-list of skills to develop. Thanks for the solid tips, Neil.

  77. Jelena Milosevic :

    Hi Neil,
    Interesting …
    I’m sure , next time, I’ll write my post, I will be back to this article of you , for sure 🙂
    Anyway, when you write good and interesting stuff you can always find your audience.

  78. Thanks Neil! You just broke down the blueprint to the next technique that will put a quick blanket over SEO and I must say you nailed it my man. I appreciate your skill.

  79. Andrew Shephard :

    Good one! In a post-penguin era when Google is frowning up on link building and aggressive search engine optimization it is very important to focus on the quality and worthiness of your content.

    However I believe that SEO is not gone but Link building is dead. Analytical and constructive SEO is still in demand. In fact Google wants website owners and publishers to undertake seo campaigns that can add something to user’s overall search experience.
    SEO has changed a lot in last couple of months and I have realized this fact we need to think about the usability, worthiness and quality of the contents and links will follow automatically. Creating engaging and viral content is the key to success in a post Penguin era.
    The exponetial rise of platforms like Pinterest and diminishing value of content farms like Ezine, e-how and associated content has proved that content is more important these days.
    I totally agree with all the points mentioned by Neil on this post.

  80. Software Testing :

    This is fabulous. According to me, SEO can never be dead but what I feel is if we write some great topics then even without SEO we can have it reached to a great number of people. For example, I have been using email marketing to send my posts to my readers which accounts for direct traffic to my website.

  81. I took some notes when reading this post and the first thing I am off to do now is find a trend related to my subject and write a list about something controversial surrounding it! I have only just found your blog and looking back through your older posts has given me some fantastic inspiration. Thanks Neil!

  82. Excellent post Neil

  83. Anthony Partridge :

    I am very new to all this SEO so trying to take a lot of the information in. Thanks for this article it is very informative and helpful 🙂

  84. Blogging Tips :

    Killer content is what is always going to be the biggest factor in whether something goes Viral or not.

  85. emobile_developer :

    Brilliant points Neil. I liked point 2. Rightly allowing professionals to write headline could really be beneficial. I think this was the hiatus in my content practice. Definitely headline should be attractive. I also like your 4 U’s strategy. Thanks for the great post.

  86. Great post Neil, but i still think that all the talk about user experience and content being vital for SEO is overblown.

  87. Good old fashioned headline writing rules – while I am happy any time I see an article like this which reminds people that quality counts, it is even better when it explains what quality actually means.
    I have been on my own soap-box preaching about that for a while now. Good stuff gets shared, shared stuff ranks well. Therefore, good quality is good SEO (and always has been).

    A bit of a drag that people need to be told this, though.

  88. Alexander Robinson III :

    As long as I’ve been an SEO, it’s taught me that as long as content is King, SEO is a necessity. The playing field is different and what we now optimize has to do with social influencing.

    SEO still holds significant weight when it comes to local optimization. But it’s lost ground to local social and business directories as well. SEO’s now have to create more relevant content geared mostly towards the social realm and searchers. So I think our new names should be “Social SEO’s”. What do y’all think? :-0)

  89. OK… so write an awesome headline and content… that’s it?

    I mean a blog is a social platform, so shouldn’t we be discussing things like selecting the right platform, pinging content re-publishers, selecting a commenting strategy, reaching out to influencers, selecting more engaging types of media etc.

    Seems pretty obvious that for a blog post to be successful it needs a good headline and content; but judging by the comments and shares, it’s not that obvious to some.

    • Hey Jordan, you have a good point. Those things you mentioned are more advanced techniques and although they are important my blog and articles are intended for beginners.

  90. Mirko Ceselkoski at :

    My approach is the following: I’m getting two new employees tested this week and one of the main tasks for them will be researching and writing exceptional quality content for guest posts!

  91. You helped me a lot for my sales copy thanks Neil!

  92. Great job, yes we must not care SEO to create any sort of interest content that needs to go for viral. These are some of useful tips that lets anyone to to write a post that goes VIRAL itself. . .!

  93. Chaitanya Wagh :

    Really great post, will surely take your points into consideration to get my post viral. Thank you so much for your hints which i dint follow and made mistakes in past.

  94. Hi Neil, I agree with all the insights you have enlisted in this article and I actually experienced it after I wrote something viral on my own blog site. And it’s been almost a year and they kept on coming back for that specific post – simply because the readers wanted it and they’ve enjoyed it.

  95. Sam - Bisnis Online :

    Hi Neil what a great post! I always struggle to write a high quality content, in your opinion how many post is enough per day? And how many words per article?

  96. Hey neil,
    a very informational article. writing headline techniques are awesome. over all great idea, but obviously we should not ignore SEO. I liked the way you present this idea.



  97. Hi there to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this weblog; this webpage contains awesome and in fact excellent stuff for readers.

  98. cheapest email marketing :

    Checkout This HOT-NEW Solo-Package. Starting with A Personal Email to 1,500,000 Known Buyers.
    All interested in your service or product these are not regular
    emails. Most people find the list highly responsive. One Solo-Email to 1,500,000 KnowBuyers is just $14.
    95. Purchase Today and We Will Double The Known Buyers To 3,000,000!
    Just Use PROMO CODE: 197 for Access To Our Silver Submitter and A
    Lifetime Global-Marketing Membership!

  99. SEO will continue to be relevant in the foreseeable future but I see Social media progressively eating up a larger pie of rankings in search engines.

  100. Investment Strategies :

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to find an individual who actually understands what they’re discussing on the net. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  101. online college degree Course :

    Hello Dear, are you really visiting this web site regularly, if
    so then you will absolutely obtain nice knowledge.

  102. Killer comment’s have to be use for getting traffic

  103. :

    if a post gets viral,,link building part will already be taken care

  104. Awesome issues here. I am very satisfied to peer your post.
    Thanks so much and I am looking forward to contact you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  105. Hello, I check your blogs daily. Your story-telling style is
    witty, keep it up!

  106. This article gives clear idea in favor of the
    new users of blogging, that genuinely how to do blogging.

  107. casual encounters adult cams :

    It’s truly a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  108. buy backlink buy quality backlinks buying backlinks buy permanent backlinks cheap link building service buy high quality backlinks buy high pr backlinks buy back links backlinks high pr backlinks back links buy cheap backlinks cheap backlinks backlink ser :

    What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help different users like its helped me. Great job.

  109. Hello,
    Write a content which is not only quality content but add more ingredients like Killer title and also the whole content.

  110. Mercedes - Yoga Para Principiantes :

    Excellent advice. It is true that writing for the public is the most important, followed by the SEO. And do it the right way is vital to generate the results we want. Thanks Neil.

  111. Great article Neil, still relevant today.

    Just need to figure out the perfect mathematical of killer content along with killer headliner to make the article highly infectious. Now to put my head down and go on a writing rampage

  112. Excellent suggestions and very nice way of explaining.thanks

  113. SEO can get really out of hand. I focus on value for my readers and it works 🙂 Dare to contest?

  114. Neil !
    Well, this is a complete guide to write a post. The point of writing a heading of the article is appreciable. I really liked that take the advice from professionals to rewrite your heading.
    Thanks for a nice list of tips.

    • Ward, glad you found the information helpful. Headings are very important for catching someone’s attention.

  115. Great post Neil, as always!

    I think if you forget about SEO, you will achieve great resoults.
    In my case I just optimized my website at it’s best and I only made in-page SEO.

    I never built a backlink but I focussed my energy to write killer posts and to build a good audience on the most famous social networks.

    I have to admit that one of my websites is growing really fast and I never cared about the off page SEO.

    In this way, on the long run, I will prevent my sites to be penalized by Google.

    I prefer to play ” fair “. 🙂

    My 2 cents.

    • Luca, sounds like a solid strategy! If you are doing everything right in terms of content it will be apparent that you don’t need to take any SEO shortcuts. You are doing all the right things and you are surely reaping the benefits…it’s a great feeling. Please let me know if you have any additional feedback. I love to hear success stories!

  116. Majid Bukhari :

    Neil, Thanks for great tips. I’ve a question that how can you get first page ranking after google new guidelines on building links, guest posting and exact match anchor text and you have done all that content marketing and user oriented content posting on my blogs. Thanks in anticipation.

    Happy Devalee:)

    • You can’t, it’s not enough these days. You need to gain social shares, optimize your on page code, rotate up your anchor text, etc. It’s about all of the solutions these days as one isn’t enough.

  117. Nice Article . Learned a lot from this and will apply these factors to mine so that my site is liked by users.

  118. motherboard bios :

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  119. You are absolutely right Neil we should just write a content which should be unique and filled full of knowledge and before writing content we should think in our mind that is this content worth sharing then only it will get viral as if we write cheap and poor quality content then it wont get viral no matter how good you have done on page seo.


  121. Hello My website is www, I am create a blog page link : Please help me for SEo and also viral writing. Thanks

  122. Hello My website is I am create a blog page link : Please help me for SEo and also viral writing. Thanks

  123. thanks for shearing such a wonderful article with us, after using your ideas the traffic on my website is increased and also money.

  124. Hello to every single one, it’s in fact a good for me to pay a visit this website, it includes useful Information.

  125. ways to earn extra money at home :

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.
    Thank you!

  126. lead generation tips for everyone :

    Dude…sweet site you’ve got right here. Loads of excellent
    stories as well as useful information!!! Do you own any well written articles relating to annuity

  127. It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from
    our discussion made here.

  128. Tooth Whitening :

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this. I will forward this information to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  129. the information you seek :

    When someone writes an article he/she retains the image of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand it.
    Thus that’s why this post is amazing. Thanks!

  130. Qua Tang Online :

    No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she desires to
    be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

  131. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through
    troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand
    the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.
    Is there anybody having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer
    will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  132. shopping online :

    I have read so many articles or reviews about the blogger lovers except this
    piece of writing is truly a fastidious article, keep it up.

  133. Samantha Smith :

    More the attractive headline more the target audience,Its really true write for the audience

  134. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely fantastic.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and
    the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific site.

  135. obat gondok tradisional :

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This article posted at this site is in fact pleasant.

  136. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website
    on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you present here and
    can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked
    at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..

    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, very good site!

  137. wow heirloom enchants :

    Hi there mates, how is all, and what you would like to say regarding this post, in my view its actually amazing for me.

  138. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you can be a
    great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I want to encourage you
    continue your great work, have a nice evening!

  139. Hi Neil,
    I was just thinking and guessing where you get your readers from- Direct, Social, Search or Referral. My guess is Direct Visit will win with so many avid fans of you. And word of mouth!

  140. Hey Neil,

    How you get most of your readers from- Direct, Mails, Social Media or Search? Oh, one I forget- Word of Mouth!

    If I kick SEO, I will lost a lot of traffic, won’t I?

  141. The equipment itself is not really particularly expensive these
    times, so leasing can cost considerably more in the medium-to-long term.
    Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad, Windows Phone.
    When travelling, for instance, it would be possible to login to your accounting database and enter transactions
    on the road.

  142. This information is worth everyone’s attention. When can I find out more?

  143. south plains website design :

    It’s amazing in favor of me to have a site, which is useful
    in favor of my know-how. thanks admin

  144. Neil you are a genius, the more posts I read of your the more clarity I get.


  145. Sk Zahidul Islam :

    I always thinking that SEO is one and only way to get traffic to my blog. But after reading your article I have decided that I’ll kick SEO. I’m going to implement these strategies for my blog. Once again thank you for this great and interesting article.

  146. Great Post Neil. I am agree, Content is king and we should write for Reader not For SERP.

  147. Have you used web 2.0 sites for inbound links? I heard they are meant to be
    the best but not sure if they still workpost panda
    Added a post on Facebook, hope you dont mind!

  148. Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out
    more details.

  149. Om Jai Jagadish Hare :

    Thanks for sharing the points,
    I also believe that some time when you are sure that topic on which you are writing your viral post is definitely going to be liked by the internet audience than yes we should go for this and do some controversy.

    And the points you have mentions are appropriate to attract the audience like-

    -Attractive title.
    -Using attractive images and videos
    -Great content which will make the visitor share your article

    Thank You

Speak Your Mind