Brian Dean is the genius behind Backlinko.com, a crazy popular blog about seo. He’s the guy who regularly gets thousands of visitors to his blog post.
Imagine for a second that you had the same template that reveals how to create content that drives traffic?
Would that change your business?
Today I’m going to take you behind the scenes of one his most popular posts on viral marketing that generated 2,958 social shares and 87 killer backlinks. I’ll break it down and give you the exact steps to do the same.
I am going to show you how to:
- Find medium tail keywords that will drive traffic
- Find content with a proven track record of success using your keywords (so we know how to make yours better)
- Create content that will have your readers begging for more
The 180 Technique: (Content creation for non-writers)
The idea behind the 180 technique is pretty simple.
When shooting a bow and arrow, in order for you to hit your target you have to pull the arrow 180 degrees backward before releasing it to hit your target.
The same is true when creating content: look to the past (pulling the arrow back) to see what content already has a proven track record of success and then create something better.
So when creating content, you can’t aimlessly create if you want it to resonate with your readers. You have pick a keyword to go after that you know you know we can rank for. And thats exactly what Brian did.
Can you take a guess as to what keywords he went after?
Check out the beginning of his post…
If you guess “Viral Marketing” you got it!
So how did Brian go about picking his keywords?
For starters, he didn’t go after just any plain keywords. He went after medium tail keywords.
Medium tail keywords aren’t super competitive terms like “real estate”, “photography”, etc… but they aren’t really long tail keywords like “how to sell your house in 30 days”, or “how to learn photography as a beginner while living at home”.
They are more competitive than your average keyword (not too competitive), but they also get a lot more search volume. Here are a few main methods for finding medium tail keywords.
Here are some of the main methods of finding great medium tail keywords.
SEMrush is another great go to tool for finding keywords.
But it does more than just giving you keyword suggestions.
It tells you what your competitors rank for so you can beat them at their own game! This this:
Why is that good for you? Think about it like this…
When it comes to making money, you always do what works, so when we look at our competitors site (who we know is successful) we can take a piece of the action for ourselves.
Let me show you what I mean.
First head over to SEMrush and sign up for a free account.
Great! Now once you are in your dashboard you will see a search bar at the top, which is where you will enter your site OR your competitors site.
Once you are in your dashboard type in your competitors website.
If your audience is outside the USA, you can choose to see data from other countries using the menu below.
Now scroll down a little bit in your dashboard and look at the “Overview” box:
You need to know what these numbers mean when analyzing your competitors site.
These are the exact descriptions from SEMrush.
SEMrush Rank – The SEMrush rating of the websites’s popularity based on organic traffic coming from Google’s top 20 organic search results.
SE Traffic – Traffic brought to the website via Google’s top 20 organic search results.
SE Traffic Price – Show how valuable the traffic is, which is based on AdWords.
If you look a little bit lower you will see a box titles “Organic Keywords”.
This box showing the organic keywords only shows the top 5 keywords, but if you click on the button at the bottom “Full Report” it will show you the full list of keywords your competitor organically ranks for.
And you are going to get a list of keywords the site or page is ranking for.
NOTE: Using the free version you only have access to the top 10 organic keywords, but its still totally worth using!
When you go through these keywords you will find some great stuff! And remember, look for the medium tail keywords.
This is one of my favorite things about SEMrush – It shows you the competitors of the site you punched in (whether its your own or your competitors).
To see what I mean look at the box in your dashboard titled “Competitors in Organic Search”.
Once you start looking into these sites in the “Competitors in Organic Search” you can analyze their keywords as well.
If you are still having trouble finding medium after going through SEMrush, take the keywords you found and enter them all into google keywords planner and that will bring up a potentially whole new list that you can go through.
These are just a few of my methods I use for discovering keywords I can rank for.
If you want even more of my methods, keep reading to the end where I give you exclusive access to my others techniques.
What keywordtool.io does is when you enter a keyword it pulls from your search engine of choice, the top suggests and adds every letter in the alphabet after it to generate hundreds of suggested keywords.
For example… When you type in “photography” into google it gives you a list like this:
But when you enter the keyword plus a letter (i.e. photography + a) google suggest gives you a totally different list of suggestions like this:
Keywordtool.io then scrapers all the suggestions for the keyword plus every letter, giving you hundreds of results.
From there you can take those suggestions and check their search volume in google keyword planner, and then go after your medium tail keyword.
To begin, enter your market defining keywords google keyword planner.
If you are a photographer your market defining keyword may be “photography” (keep it simple and broad at first).
Then enter your keywords and your website URL if you have one.
Once you get your results by “Keyword Ideas”
What you are going to do is find the midrange search volumes.
There is no way for me to tell you the exact search amounts to look for since every niche and keyword is different.
As you are looking for good midrange keywords there are a few things you need to pay attention to, and I’ll get to those in a minute.
Now I know from plenty experience that only using google keyword planner to find medium tail keywords isn’t always easy, so I use several other keyword tools to really dig in deep and find some awesome keywords.
Analyze The Results to Find The Gap
At this point we have a solid list of medium tail keywords, but how do we know which one is an easy target we can rank for?
This is where we analyze the results from each keyword search result.
Why analyze the keywords we found? Because we want to win! And in order to win we need to find the easiest route for that to happen!
There are ten things I look at when analyzing the top results of a keyword in google:
- How many top 10 results have a PA of 25 or less?
- How many top 10 results have less than 10 root domains linking to it?
- What is the amount of the monthly searches for said keyword?
- Are the search results relevant to my topic/niche?
- What are the link profiles like and can we do better?
- Is their anchor text over optimized?
- Is the exact keyword in the title of the page?
- Is the exact keyword in the URL structure?
- Does it have easy target results (i.e. wiki, ehow, yahoo answers, etc…)?
- How many ads in search results?
1. How many top 10 results have a PA (Page Authority) of 30 or less?
Before we get too much more into this you will need to install the Moz bar for Google Chrome or Firefox.
Then activate your Moz bar.
What we are looking for is the Page Authority, which is indicated by the red box below.
This keyword above is “family photo ideas” and the image above is the top 8 results on google.
As you can see this is an easy target for us to go after since the top results are such low ranks.
2. How many top 10 results have less than 10 linking root domains to it?
In the online marketing world backlinks are crucial when it comes to ranking.
So naturally we want the results from our selected keyword to have low amounts of backlinks (less competition).
When prospecting for a keyword, look for a keyword that has 5 of the top 10 results with 10 backlinks or less.
Why? So we can beat them in the rankings of course!
Here is the same image from above, but with the number of backlinks circled in red.
As you can see 7 out of 8 of the top results for our keywords do not have more than 5 total linking root domains (backlinks).
After we promote our content like crazy we can totally beat that with our new one-stop-shop piece of content!
This comes back to the medium tail keyword.
You don’t want a super competitive keyword, but at the same time you don’t want it super long tail either.
This is where you need to figure out the highs and lows of the search volumes for the keyword category you are looking into.
Each one is different.
For my keyword example I’ve been using, which is “family photo ideas”, its monthly search volume (according to google keyword planner) is 9,000.
So if I can easily get almost 9,000 more visitors to my site for just putting in some good ole elbow grease… hell yeah I’m going to go after it!
Now there is an exception to this… If your site is already getting traffic, and if you have a higher domain authority, you can go after much more competitive keywords.
Of course you still have to do a crazy amount of promotion to get the traffic and backlinks!
4. Are the search results relevant to my topic/niche?
Here is something to think about…
If the search results of your keyword are completely irrelevant to your topic/niche, why on earth would you try to rank for that keyword?
You want the search results to be as relevant as possible.
If I am a plumber in Houston, TX and I want people to find me in google I look at the search results for the keyword “houston texas plumber”.
But if the search results show me programmers in Dubai (completely unrealistic result) I clearly do not want to rank for that keyword, because it has nothing to do with my niche/topic.
People will filter out your content if it’s not relevant to them.
You want your solution (which will be in the google search results) to be relevant to the content the search engine produces from your keywords, and then of course better than all the other results! :)
5. What are the link profiles of the top search results like and can we do better?
I could do a whole post on link profiles… but Neil Patel actually has a great post on link profiles already.
Here are the basics.
A lot of people think link profiles are all about the amount of links, but there is a lot more to it.
A good link profile will have “lots high value, high DA, and high authority link backs, and no spammy backlinks.” ~ Neil Patel
Neil Patel broke it down beautifully…
“Most important factor in a website ranking: Link profile.
Most important aspect of a link profile: Quality of backlinks.
Most important quality aspect of backlinks: Anchor text.
Most important quality of anchor text: Diversity.”
So when analyzing the search results of these keywords it doesn’t take a long time to get a good idea of how good they are.
The tool I use to do this is Moz Open Site Explorer.
6. Is their anchor text over optimized?
When you search for the keyword “family photography”, is that keyword overused and just plain obnoxious in the content?
If you click on a link and you see something like this:
“When trying to think about family photography ideas, always try to think creatively about the family photography you have had in the past. Family photography is supposed to be a…. blah blah blah”
When you see something like that you know it is full of crap, and you can completely out do it!
Here is a great post by KISSMetrics on how not to over optimize your content.
7. Is the exact keyword in the title of the page?
This is pretty straight forward – Is the exact keyword in the title of the page?
If yes, that means there is a chance that the on page SEO is optimized well.
If no, this is just another way we can out do the search results, meaning make sure your keyword is in the title of the page.
But, when you select your medium tail keyword, make sure it uses the language of your audience.
8. Is the exact keyword in the URL structure?
When you are trying to rank for a specific keyword you want to do everything you can to let the search engines know you are going after your keyword.
“URLs describe a site or page to visitors and search engines. Keeping them relevant, compelling, and accurate is the key to ranking well.” ~ Moz
Look to see if the search results for the keyword you are analyzing is in the URL of the top 10 search results.
NOTE: Make sure your keyword is also in your title of your page.
Here is a great example of what I am talking about at Brian Dean’s post on Viral Marketing.
9. Do the search results have easy target results?
When you are trying to break the first page of google, would you rather have easy targets to beat or hard ones?
Easy of course!
If the competition in the top 10 includes these types of articles it should be categorized as “easy target results”.
- Pages with < 10 PA and DA
- Yahoo answers
- Ezine articles
- spammy press release site
10. How many ads in search results?
Why do we want ads in the search results for our keyword?
Because it is a good thing when other people are “paying” to get seen on our chosen keyword.
That means someone else also sees the value in your keyword, which helps to validate your keyword choice.
Also are the ads relevant to what you are “assuming” the solution your audience is looking for?
Ok so you have our perfect medium tail keyword, so what do you think you should write about?
You should write about what you think your readers want right? – Wrong.
Instead of us guessing, and wasting our time and money, just listen (<– reread that word) to what they are saying they want!
And BOOM – you know which direction to go in!
Why would you get in your car for a trip to the store and and drive without knowing how to get there? You wouldn’t.
Its the same with your posts.
If you want people to desire, crave, and thirst for your content, you have to know what they want and be able to solve their specific problem.
What we are going to do is take your medium tail keywords you found and find the most popular content around those keywords.
Lets get to it!
Buzzsumo is incredible at finding popular content – really fast!
When using Buzzsumo, you are going to use look for topics that are relevant to what your blog/site is about.
This tool is a diamond in the rough.
Now go to Buzzsumo, create a free account, and lets get started.
In your dashboard to the left you will see a list of checkboxes. When you hit “search” Buzzsumo will search your medium tailed keyword or website through every type of media that is checked.
What Buzzsumo is going to do for you is sort the articles out by the amount of social shares (like Facebook, Pinterest ect…).
Lets say Im in the make up business. Most of my customers that I know share a lot of content are on Pinterest.So what do I do?
I search buzzsumo for the most Pinterest shares.
Don’t forget to save/write down your ideas. :)
Standard Google Search
This ones pretty simple – google it.Here are some of the things you can search for:
- keyword + “top 50”
- best (keyword) posts 2014
- best (keyword) posts
- keyword + “all time best”
- keyword + “best 2014”
Once you punch in your search terms google should spit some awesomeness out that looks something like this:
The first page of google links made it there for a reason (they’re good), so once you get your search results start looking for the through the first page and see what suits your fancy.And of course don’t forget to note what you find. :)
This is one of my secret weapons! Not many people use Pinterest like what I’m going to show you, and because of that you are going to get some killer results!
Why Pinterest you ask? Pinterest actually drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, Linkedin, and Reddit combined!
Thats a whole stinking lot of traffic!Using this technique I can normally walk away with at least a dozen killer ideas!So let’s start by creating a free account.
Once you are in Look to the top left for the search bar.
Type in your keyword and make sure you have”All Pins” selected.
When you see your results, on each pin there will be a number showing the amount of Repins (A repin is kinda like a retweet in Twitter, or a Share in Facebook).
This one has a whopping 5,600!!! That is a ton! This tells me that people really like “how to” tutorials in photography. Getting the idea?
The blue box in the image above shows the amount of repins.
I only save the pins that have at least 500+ repins. You want a pin that your know people already like! (and we can tell by how many repins).
So what I can now do with this is pull out the top beginners or advanced tutorials from the article, list them in order of difficulty, and create a killer top ten list of photography tutorials!
BOOM!!! And we have a killer post!
Pinterest is incredible! Don’t underestimate it!
This is a killer resource that I use quite often!With Topsy you can search recent and relevant tweets and find killer content ideas in the process.
Let me show you what I mean…
First go create a free account.
Im a photographer and I like “How to” articles. So what do I search?
“How to photography”
Here are what my results look like.
Now there are several ways to search with Topsy I and I’m going to show you how to get the best results for what we are doing.
Directly to the right of the search bar and make sure it is set to “Sort by Relevance”.
So while in your main dashboard and right under the Topsy logo you will see a list of timelines.
I normally get better results as long as I say within the last 30 days, but thats just me. The farther back you go the more results you will get.
Play with it and do what works for you.
When you choose links it will only show you the tweets with links in them.
The reason we want “links” is because the tweet is linking to the popular content that we will be looking for, VS a single photo, which won’t do us any good.
Now this next part is the most important part of Topsy.
Right below each link you will see a orange chat box with a number next to it.
This number is telling you how many times the link has been tweeted.
This is huge for us because now we know if the link is popular or not.
Basically, the higher the number, the more tweets, the more useful it will be to you! :)
Reddit can be an incredible source of valuable information in all sorts of topics.
I along with many others have used this technique to find great content on reddit.
Even if you have never used reddit before, don’t worry. What Im going to show you is easy.
So lets go to reddit and for what we are doing you will not need to create an account.
Near the top right hand side of the page you will see a search bar.
In that search bar type in SEO and your results should look like this.
Click on it and select “Top”.
Next you wanna select the timeframe of the search. Again you wanna stay current with your results.
You don’t want stuff people aren’t talking about anymore.
Right next to the “sorted by” tab is a “links from” tab to select the timeframe of your search.
Once you have set those two, right under the search bar near the top you will see a lot of subreddits (a subreddit is like a subcategory).
Click on SEO (or the subreddit of your choice) in the top left of the subreddits (red arrow).
This will help narrow down our search to more relevant content.
We will use these results to get content ideas.
And this is only one search result!
The next step here is where you are really going to shine!
You are going to take a piece of content (that relates to your blog/site) that already gets tons of traffic and remake it so that its so remarkable, so jaw droppingly awesome that your readers can’t help but tell the whole world about it!
What would be so remarkable if you did the same thing as everyone else? Exactly!
There is nothing remarkable about that – at all!
So how exactly do you make something “remarkable”? (Something that is worthy of remarking about.)
- Make it more actionable
- Make it more thorough
- Make it more interesting/write better
- Make it easier to read
- Make it more credible
- Make it more current
- Make it longer
- Make it better designed
And I’m going to show you exactly how to do each of these!
1. Make it More Actionable
Remarkable is making your posts more actionable. People read your content because they see benefit and just reading something is not going to make their lives better.
Your readers want the benefits you talk about!
They dream of a happier life.
Show them the way!
You need to give them very actionable things to do to get to where they want to go.
CopyBlogger created a FREE course on Online Marketing. That you can sign up for free here.
They give you a 20-part marketing course and 15 Ebooks that are filled with TONS of VERY actionable tips and techniques on online marketing!
And this got them 9,674 total shares as of to date! I don’t know about you, but thats a whole freaking lot of shares!
Not only that they also got 142,399 email sign ups! And we all know that the next best thing to cash is an email list.
And this is all because they created an incredible course full of actionable how to’s!
- Figure out exactly your customers problem
- In your next post give them exact ‘how to’ action items that will help them solve their problem. You can even make it a series of post even to get more out of it.
See what I just did there? ;) (hint – I gave you action items)
2. Make It Way More Thorough
Remarkable is also being super thorough in your content.
Why more thorough?
Well think about this – You have a busy day ahead of you and you have to make like 20 stops just to get everything done.
Sounds fun huh? I didn’t think so.
Now imagine all those stops in one convenient place! How freakishly awesome would that be?!
Its the same with your post. Make it super easy for them to only come back to you by giving them everything they need!
If you are writing about a specific topic make it a one stop post! Make it so they won’t have to go anywhere else to learn about what you are talking about.
So if you are in the in the online marketing world you should know who Neil Patel is.
So what did Neil Patel do to make his post about Understanding Consumer Psychology more thorough?
Well for starters, he broke it up into seven different huge pages because it was so freaking long, detailed, and thorough!
To be exact – 28,951 words thorough! Thats equivalent to a 64 page novel!
And he got a total of 2,727 shares just on this one post!
When you are thorough you can really reap the rewards!
- Find the gap in your market as far as how thorough the top blogs are. So if the standard is to regularly post 500ish word articles then you create 5000 word articles! Find the gap and fill it!!
- If your link resource article gives 5 items in a list then you list 50! Again – Find the gap and fill it!!
3. Make it Better Written
The copy on your page is everything! It can make or break you.
Great copy converts!
Try communicating without any words on your site. How well do you think you’ll convert?
I’ll give you a hint – the numbers won’t be pretty.
So when people come to your site and buy from you its because they have something in common with you and what you believe, and when we surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe, trust emerges.
And, when we surround ourselves with people we trust, its easier for us to take risks and be adventurous.
Think about it – Who would you trust to watch your kids?
A 16 year old close family friend with very little babysitting experience, or a 32 year old woman who we have no idea who she is but she has 10 years of experience?
I would be willing to bet that you were thinking the 16 year old close family friend.
Trust is everything! If they don’t trust you for whatever reason, there is no way they are going to give you their credit card!
We trust what we know, so show them you are the same. Talk like them (your customer). Show them you are the same as them and in the same boat.
The copy you use is the main way we are going to build trust. Its how you are going to bridge the gap between you and your customer.
Tell stories that come straight from their diary and they will be like, “Omg this girl knows exactly what I’m going through! She is just like me!”
And when you can create in them that feeling and sense of trust – you’re in!
So find and use your customers language.
Talk like them because the words/copy you use are everything!
First, let’s look at the average Craigslist ad:
Now let’s compare that to this Craigslist ad that I wrote last year.
So what did he do different?
Crappy copy is easy to write, and most everyone takes the easy way out.
With ad #2 the car was sold within the hour. And it was for the lustrous and exotic Hyundai Elantra (thats sarcasm btw).
You have to find ways to make your copy Standout, Tell-A-Story and Convert. ~ Noah Kagan
Here are some great resources for improving your copy:
The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
The Kopywriting Kourse Neville has a killer course that will help you find your voice
Scientific Advertizing by Claude Hopkins
- Invest in learning how to write copy.
- Find ways for your copy to stand out.
4. Easier to Read
When you read a blog post, you don’t want to feel like you are trying to plow through mud to get the value you are looking for.
This is a bad example of the structure of the text.
Its extremely overwhelming to see that much text especially at first.
This is a good example of the structure of the text.
This good example is easy to read. The text is even broken up by the sentence even at some points.
Write as if you are trying to get a 10 year old to be interested and actually read the whole post (assuming he is interested in sales funnels) :)When writing your post, literally imagine a wall. Nothing gets through the wall.
Now imagine a white picket fence. Tons of things can get through the fence because of all the gaps.
Make the structure of your text like a fence. Reference this report on how the text is structured. If you turned this report on its side it looks like a fence and not a wall. :)
Almost every line has 1-2 sentences.
- Make your content look like a fence when on its side…. not a wall.
- DO NOT have blocks of text clumped together.
- 1-3 sentences per line
5. Make it More Credible
Which one would you believe if two different people told that drinking only water everyday was the only way to get rid of cancer?
The one who gave you their opinion, or the one who backed up what they said with research and facts?
You would believe the friend that had his stuff together and reported all his research and gave you the facts to back up his claims.
- If you claim something, link within the post to where you got that information.
- Don’t just give your opinion. Base everything you say and show how to do on facts and show your research.
6. Make It Longer
The data show us that the larger the amount of words in a post directly correlates to how much the post will get shared.
“The longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3000-10000 word pieces getting the most average shares (8859 total average shares).” ~ OkDork.com
If you want the most bang for your buck with this post, write a minimum of 3,000 words.
- Write at least 3,000 words minimum. Period
7. Quality and Amount of the Images
According to OkDork.com, their research shows that “having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares.”
When you use an image in your post, make sure its actually relevant to what you are writing about.
Out do them. Period.
- Use images that are super relevant to your topic and show what you are talking about.
- Ideally use over 15 images.
- Using screenshots to show exactly what you are talking about is a easy way to use images
How to create your first One-Stop-Shop piece of content.
So, that was a lot of information.
If you want a first hand example of what this formula looks like in action, I’ll take you behind the scenes and show you a step-by-step over the shoulder training video.
I’ve also supplied all the spreadsheets I personally use and a created cheatsheet for this 6,000+ word post so you don’t have to constantly be scrolling through this post.
You can access all the bonus material here (Get access now). For complete access to all of this bonus material, click the image below.