How to Maximize Flexibility

7 min read

– In today’s video I’m gonna show you exactly how to rankon the first page of Google, step by step.

In fact I used this exact formulato rank on the first page of Googlefor competitive keywords, like link building tools,backlinks, and SEO checklists.

I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko,the place where marketers turnfor higher rankings and more traffic.bAnd if you wanna rank number one in Google,you’ll love the actionable steps in this video.

Keep watching.I have a confession to make.

I used to hate SEO.That’s mostly because my first website wouldn’t rankno matter what I did.It was super frustrating.

I hate you SEO!And to make matters worse, I was followingall the advice that I read from so-called SEO experts.”Create great content.””Add keywords to your page.””Make sure that your site loads fast.”Yeah that stuff can help a little.But it’s not gonna rocket your siteto the top of Google’s first page.And when I realized that,I decided to run lots of SEO experiments.I tested title tags, backlinks, anchor test,internal links, and more.And over the years, I started to put the pieces together.Flash forward to today and I rank number one in Googlefor tons of competitive keywords, like nofollow links.And “Success Magazine” recently called me”The world’s foremost expert on search engine optimization.”Okay, enough bragging.Now it’s time for me to reveal to the processthat you can use to rankon the first page of Google, step by step.So let’s kick things off with step number one,find three keywords.So your first step is to find three keywords.They are keywords that you’ll create content aroundin the next step.And here’s exactly how to find great,low competition keywords.First, head over to AnswerThePublic.This free tool finds questionsthat people ask on forums, blogs, and on social mediaand it turns those questions into awesome keywords.The best part?The keywords that you get from AnswerThePublicare usually long tail keywords.In case you haven’t heard of them before,long tail keywords are just keywordsthat are long and very specific.For example, a keyword like keto dietis a short tail keyword.But keto diet breakfast recipes is a long tail keyword.Even though not a lot of people tend to searchfor long tail keywords, they’re also not super competitive.Which makes them perfect keywords to go afterif you’re just starting out.Another great way to find keywordsis believe or not, Reddit.Just head over to a subredditwhere your target audience hangs outand take a look at the topics that people are talking about.You can even pop these topics into AnswerThePublicto find long tail versions of these topics.Finally, head over to is another free tool that bubbles up trending topicsin industries like tech, health,fashion, marketing, and more.And because these topics are relatively new,the keywords that people use to find information on themaren’t usually that competitive.So once you have at least three keywords ready to go,it’s time for step number two, create epic content.So I recently teamed up with BuzzSumoto analyze 912 million articles.And one of our more surprising findingswas that most content on the webdoesn’t get shared or linked to.In fact we found that 94% of all articles onlinehave zero links.Zero.And there’s a simple reason for that.Most of the content that people publish isn’t that great.And if it’s not great, it’s gonna get lostamong the millions of blog posts, tweets,YouTube videos, and Twitch streamsthat come out every day.So for your content to stand out,it can’t just be good, or even great.For your content to be somethingthat someone else would wanna actually link to,it needs to be epic.Now there’s no formula for creating epic content,or else everyone would do it.But there are a few things you can doto increase the odds that people will shareand more importantly, link to your content.First, you wanna publish content that’s long and in-depth.The BuzzSumo study that I mentioned earlieruncovered a little interesting nugget.And that nugget was that longer contentgets more links than short content.Specifically, long form contentgets an average of 77% more backlinks than short content.Does this mean that publishing longer contentwill automatically bring in thousands of links?Of course not.But publishing in-depth content that does coveran entire topic in-depth can increase the oddsthat people link to you.For example, this post from my blog is 4,700 words long.And because this post has everything there is to knowabout link building in one place,over 1,000 different sites have linked to it.Next, you wanna add a hook to your content.A hook is something that would make a bloggeror journalist wanna link to your content.Your hook can be a stat, a case study example,a unique strategy, a rare interview,a tool or widget, or even a visualization.Basically anything that makes someone elsesay wow, I need to link to this can work.For example, a few years ago I published this case studyof how I increased my blog’s conversion rate.The hook in this case was a specific case studythat people could reference.I also wrote about a unique strategy in that case study,call the content upgrade, which was another hook.And because my page wasn’t just high quality contentbut included several hooks,lots of people have linked to that post.Now that your epic content is ready to go,it’s time for step number three,keyword-optimize your content.On page SEO has changed a lot over the last few years.Back in the day, keyword optimizationwas all about stuffing your page with keywords.But that doesn’t really work anymore.Instead, the goal of on page SEO todayis to give Google context about what your page is all about.Yes you still wanna use keywords on your page.But you also need to help Googleunderstand your pages’ overall topic.Here’s how to do it.Your first step is to include your target keywordin a few important places on your page.That way Google can understand that your pageis about that specific term.Specifically, you wanna add your keywordto these areas of your page.Next, it’s time to give Google more context about your page.And the best way to do that?LSI keywords.LSI keywords are words and phrasesthat are closely related to your target keyword.Put another way, they are terms that tend to show upnext to your keyword around the web.For example, if your target keyword was fresh prince,LSI keywords would be terms like this.And when Google sees these LSI keywords on your page,it makes them say we’re confident that this pageis actually about that topic.You can find these LSI keywordsby searching for your keyword and then scrollingto the bottom of the search results.The bold suggested keywords hereusually make great LSI keywords.Then sprinkle in a few of these LSI keywordson your page and you’re good to go.With that, let’s dive right into step number four,optimize your content for users.Back in the day, Google would rank pagesbased almost 100% on who had the most backlinks.Yes, backlinks are still important.And I’ll show you exactly howto build backlinks in the next step.But to rank in Google today, backlinks aren’t enough.Your content also needs to be optimized for users.That’s because Google pays very close attentionto how people interact with your site in the search results.And if they notice that people are clicking on your siteand then quickly heading back to Google,they’ll down rank you.Boring, next!But if they see users sticking on your page,that’s a sign that you’re giving Google searcherswhat they want.This is awesome!And you’ll usually get a rankings boost.With that, here’s exactly how to optimize your contentfor users so they stay on your page.First, structure your contentso people start getting actionable info ASAP.In other words, you don’t wanna start your post offwith a long explanation about why the topic is important,that’s only gonna make people bounce.Instead, use a short intro, then get right into the steps,tips, recipes, workout plans,or whatever you’re gonna cover in your post.For example, in this post from my blog,I don’t get into a long backstoryabout why SEO is important.Instead, I have a brief, five line intro,then it’s time for the first strategy.Next, make sure that your content’s design is on point.Studies show that people largely judge your sitebased on design first and content second.So if your site looks like this,you can expect a really high bounce rate.Now that doesn’t mean that your siteneeds to win any design awards.Or look fancy.In fact in my experience,a simple design tends to work best.For example, if you look at this post,there’s nothing remotely fancy about it.But it does have a clean designthat makes it easy to read and skim.Which leads us to our last step,step number five, build backlinks.Are backlinks still important for SEO?Yeah.In fact, Perficient Digital has been trackingthe importance of backlinks over the last three years.And they found that links are basicallyjust as important today as they weresince they first started tracking them.And if you follow the steps so farby creating epic content, optimizing it for users,and adding hooks, you already havea strong foundation for building backlinks.It’s just a matter of getting your content out thereto actually build those links.And the best way to do that?Broken link building.In fact, I used broken link buildingto get this link from a super authoritative website.Here’s how it works.First, find a broken link on a pagethat you wanna get a link from.I personally use the helpful Check My Links extensionfor Google Chrome, which is free.It automatically crawls all of the links on a pageand IDs broken links.Next, you wanna find a post on your sitethat will make a good replacement for the dead link.For example, I recently found a broken link on this pageand after looking through my site,I found this post that would be a pretty good replacement.Now it’s not a one to one matchto what the person linked to but it’s close enough.Finally, reach out to the person that runs that siteand ask them to swap out the dead linkfor a link to your content.Now, for this process you can definitely workwith an email script as you send these out.But I definitely don’t recommend sending outthe same generic email to 100 different people.In fact an outreach study that I recently did with Pitchboxfound that personalized emails got 32% more repliesthan emails that used the same exact pitch for everybody.For example, you can see that this broken linkbuilding email that I recently sent outis super personalized.Now before we close out this SEO tutorial,I wanna show you a quick bonus step, use unique images.Can using stock photos on your sitehurt your Google rankings?As it turns out, they might.The folks at Reboot Onlinerecently ran an interesting experiment.They created 10 brand new websites,all optimized around a keyword that they made up.For the experiments, on five of the sitesthey used five stock photosthat were already used on a bunch of other websites.And for the other five, they actually took their own images,that way they were 100% unique.So what did they find?They discovered that the five websitesthat had unique images, which are the green linesin this chart you see here, outrank the sitesthat didn’t use unique images,which are the red lines from the chart.So, what’s the bottom line?Whenever you can, try to use unique images in your content.These can be pictures that you take with your phone.Or illustrations that you make in Photoshop.Or screenshots that you take yourself.As this study showed, unique imagesseem to have a direct impact on rankings.Did you learn something new from today’s video?If so, make sure to subscribeto my YouTube channel right now.Just click on the subscribe button below this video.Also, if you want exclusive SEO techniquesthat I only share with subscribers,head over to and hop on the newsletter.It’s free.Now I wanna turn it over to you.Which technique from today’s video are you gonna try first?Are you gonna try broken link building?Or are you gonna try adding unique images to your page?Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.Now from.Okay, we don’t need a prop.The hook here.- [Man] Did I hurt you? (laughs)- But you also need to. (clears throat)I think it’s, yeah.That was like an action movie line.



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