January 18

Growth Marketing Guide: Advanced Tactics and Hacks

Learn professional growth hacking — from acquiring [...]

Who should read this

This material applies to companies of every size and vertical.

I cover both introductory and advanced B2B and B2C tactics. Marketers of every skill level will encounter new material.

Unfortunately, this handbook is dry — because in-depth growth is technical. So I recommend bookmarking this and reading pages as they're relevant to your work.

If you're brainstorming startup ideas+

It's important you learn growth hacking before deciding which idea to work on.

It will save you years of going down the wrong path. You should start by assessing whether your idea is actually suited for profitable and scalable user acquisition. 

In this handbook, you'll learn which ad channels you can expect to succeed for your business, and how to increase customer purchase rates.

When you're done reading this, if you can’t foresee these strategies working for the startup idea you're considering, you should consider scrapping your idea.

If you're a manager+

It's critical that managers know what growth marketing entails so they can facilitate it.

Don't treat growth like a black box powered by your engineering and marketing departments. It's your most important business function.

This handbook helps you prioritize growth marketing projects based on their likely profitability and ease of implementation. Plus, it sheds light on a growth marketer's skill set so you can effectively assess hiring candidates.

(Many companies unknowingly hire “growth experts” who are brand marketers experienced only in creating brand voice and generating buzz. Unfortunately, brand marketers often lack knowledge of user acquisition and conversion optimization. This handbook will help you avoid unintentionally hiring them.)

Growth hacking definition

Growth hacking is simply data-driven revenue maximization.

Growth "hacking" is actually a silly term. (It also goes by performance marketing and growth marketing.) I use it because it helps this handbook rank higher in Google.

Practice what you preach.

In reality, growth is not a series of "hacks." It's a rigorous methodology consisting of experimenting, collecting data, and leveraging human psychology. All in pursuit of directly maximizing revenue — not raising brand awareness or generating buzz.

Growth hacking versus traditional marketing+

Growth marketing (which is how I will now refer to the discipline) differs from traditionally undisciplined marketing in that growth marketing focuses on clearly measurable and directly profitable marketing initiatives.

For example, growth rarely concerns itself with billboards, radio ads, conferences, and other difficult to measure channels. (Try attributing a customer to the billboard they saw before signing up. Try doing it when you have multiple billboards in a city.)

Growth leverages the scale and immediacy of the Internet to start small and discover how to make customer acquisition measurable and therefore capable of being proven financially viable.

Growth hacking knowledge

Growth marketing accomplishes its objective by continually optimizing every step of the customer's journey.

This journey includes the ads they see, the website they later interact with, and the product they ultimately buy and engage with.

In other words, growth marketing involves three key disciplines:

  • Customer acquisition gets people to your site.
  • Software engineering improves your site. So that more people buy from it.
  • Product management improves your product using the insights derived from your acquisition and engineering experiments. So that customers keep buying.

Growth marketers must be familiar with all three disciplines. Or, at minimum, your team of growth marketers must collectively address these disciplines.

However, that knowledge alone is not enough to be successful. They must also possess a few unique skills.

Growth hacking skills

To competently span the three disciplines, a growth marketer must be:

  • Creative when brainstorming compelling text and imagery for ads and webpages.
  • Reflective when assessing what has been learned from creative experiments.
  • Resourceful when scaling customer acquisition. The cunningness to piece together tactics and idle resources can make or break an acquisition channel's success, such as Instagram ads or traditional sales.

Let’s elaborate on that last point. Resourceful entails being aggressively proactive:

  • Resourceful growth marketers don't stop finding, testing, and optimizing customer acquisition channels. For example, when Pinterest releases a new ad format, they'll spend an afternoon testing $500 in spend to uncover whether there’s new, low-hanging fruit to pick. (I cover ad channels on this page.)
  • Resourceful growth marketers don't stop running A/B tests to improve signup and purchase conversion rates. They rethink their approach from scratch as often as they can. (I cover A/B tests on this page.)

This handbook will help establish the disciplines of creativity and resourcefulness.

When to hire brand marketers

Counterintuitively, "brand marketing" is typically ineffective at actually shaping your brand. Plus I've already mentioned it's not effective for growth marketing.

So, what is it good for? Keeping your message consistent and self-censored. 

But most companies don't need to exercise this restraint early on. Because long-term public perception is more so the result of having a product people love. Consumer love begets organic brand building via word-of-mouth, and word-of-mouth supersedes the messaging your company pushes through brand marketing.

So before you hire a brand marketer, hire another product manager to make your product more enjoyable to use. And by extension more beloved.

When you're a mature company, consider hiring a brand marketer to maintain the aesthetic and tonal consistency of your marketing. This will help you stay singular and differentiated if you're in a crowded market. 

But, before then, brand marketers typically slow growth marketing with arbitrary constraints. Consider how if brand marketing dictates that all marketing materials must have red backgrounds with white text, growth marketers won't feel empowered to experiment with different ad designs to uncover what the data says is the best aesthetic to encourage ad clicks that lead to purchases.

The growth funnel

Before you dive into this handbook, I want you to develop an intuition for which growth tactics are likely to succeed for your company.

To do this, I must first introduce the growth funnel: the journey the customer takes while interacting with your advertising and your product. These are the steps:

Acquisition → Conversion → Engagement → Revenue → Referral

Growth marketers know how these steps interrelate. For example, to spend marketing dollars efficiently, steps later in the funnel should be optimized first. Consider how when Engagement performs better, every dollar spent on Acquisition goes further.

So let's introduce each step.

(It's fine if some steps don't apply to your product.)

I. Acquisition

An acquisition "channel" is a place you source potential customers from. For example, ads, content marketing, and sales are all acquisition channels.

Channels separate into two broad categories:

  • Paid channels — Paid channels include advertising, paid sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. Here, "paid" means you're paying for channel performance as it scales. For example, for every click, ad impression, or referred sale, you're paying.
  • Unpaid channels — Unpaid channels include content marketing, offline networking, sales, virality, and PR. Here, "Unpaid" doesn't mean these channels are free to setup, but rather you're not paying more as performance scales. For example, you'll pay for the labor to have a blog post written. But the resulting SEO traffic doesn't cost you on a per-visit basis. This is great — unpaid channels can have unbounded upside!

This handbook teaches the most popular paid channel: Ads

It also teaches two unpaid channels: Content Marketing and Sales. As I explain below, many companies find that only unpaid channels ever work for them.

II. Conversion

When visitors are intrigued by what you're offering (either on your website or in-person), some of them "convert" into registered users or paying customers.

"Conversion events" are the business-critical events along your product's growth funnel. For example, a website visitor may first convert into a registered user. Then, after using your app for a while, they might then convert into a paying customer.

This handbook teaches conversion through Landing Pages, A/B Testing, and Ads.

III. Engagement

So far, we've acquired users and converted them into registered users. But we also need them to engage with us if they're going to ultimately pay us.

So, when a visitor converts into a user, handhold them through your product experience so they become an educated user. Educated users are more likely to become engaged, repeat purchasers.

This handbook teaches engagement through User Onboarding.

IV. Revenue

Your revenue per customer can be maximized through reducing your costs, improving your conversion rates, optimizing your pricing, and up/cross-selling other products.

This is a fascinating topic, but unfortunately pricing and cross-selling are outside the scope of this handbook.

V. Referral

You need to make your product so good that customers do your selling for you. It's the most cost-effective way to scale your business in the long-term.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a viral consumer app to accomplish this. Many B2B companies grow (albeit slowly) exclusively through word-of-mouth.

This handbook teaches referrals at the bottom of the User Onboarding page.

Tip — See the bottom of your screen for quick navigation links.

Growth funnel loops+

The growth funnel's linearity — for example, going from A to Z — doesn't need to constrain a user's journey toward conversion.

Their journey may in practice consist of repeatedly looping from A (advertising) to F (e.g. in-app engagement) before they reach Z, which is where paid conversion occurs.

For example, if a user fails to Engage with your app, you might send them an educational email paired with ads pointing to your content marketing. You can do this repeatedly until they're served the right content that propels them to the next step.

I call this the Retargeting Loop. (I'll talk more about retargeting later.)

Here's another loop: the Ecommerce Re-purchase Loop. In it, a user first goes from A to Z. Meaning, they bought your product. Afterward, you then email them a steep coupon to compel them to purchase yet again. 

In other words, you're getting them to repeat steps B to Z. (A is skipped because they already know who you are.)

If you can trigger this loop repeatedly, you have a sound business model. And if you repeat this loop on autopilot, you're said to have a subscription business.

The key takeaways are:

  • Your marketing efforts should consider where in the funnel each user is, and what type of message will best compel them to the next step in the funnel.
  • It's often cost effective to repeatedly message a user ("in a loop") until your pitch or their status in life is finally conducive to conversion.
  • After a user has converted, consider how you can restart their loop — or alternatively direct them toward a complementary growth funnel.

This handbook focuses on user acquisition and conversion, so strategies for re-engagement and subscriptions are not covered. But I want you to know they exist.

Succeeding at acquisition

This guide focuses on the first two steps of the funnel: Acquisition and Conversion.

So let's introduce the cold reality of acquisition.

Succeeding at paid channels

Most companies never get paid acquisition channels to work. If they did, more companies would be successful. 

Specifically, most companies are unable to profitably acquire paying users through ad networks such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Google AdWords. 

If they do get one or more of these channels to work, it's a holy grail if paired with strong word-of-mouth: Paid channels let you scale big and fast while (unpaid) customer referrals reduce the average cost of customer acquisition.

Why is paid difficult to make work? Here's the criteria that determine success:

  • Profit margins — How much profit you earn per sale is critical. Consider how it's hard to acquire an ecommerce customer for less than $30 USD on Facebook or Instagram, which are typically the cheapest ad channels. If you don't earn at least that amount in the lifetime of a customer, these channels won't be viable. Note that SaaS companies have it worse: It's usually at least a couple hundred dollars to acquire a customer.
  • Addressable market size — Your market size matters. This is determined not only by how many people want your product, but are actually capable of buying your product (e.g. aren't geographically restricted), want your particular product, want it now, and can afford it. The resulting audience is smaller than marketers estimate. And to scale Facebook and Instagram, you'll want to advertise to at least a few million people. (This amount is not required to successfully run ads — just ideal.)
  • Degree of product demand — How badly does your addressable market want your product? If your product is a non-critical nicety, you're at a disadvantage compared to, say, someone selling health insurance to people urgently needing health insurance. In short, the more people truly need you, or the more people are already buying your product category, the better your pitch resonates. 

To succeed with ads, your product must cross a threshold for all three criteria:

  • Profit threshold — You must earn per customer at least as much as it costs to acquire a customer from that ad channel. However, you can include the earnings generated from the customers the paid-for customer refers.
  • Market size threshold — You must have an addressable market big enough to be identified en masse through the ad channel's targeting. (This depends on the channel.) Otherwise, you'll saturate your small audience and not achieve scale. 
  • Product demand threshold — You want to sell a product category that people are already buying or otherwise instinctively feel they should buy upon learning of it. To accomplish the latter, you need a product that is extremely appealing.

You won't definitively know whether your product crosses these thresholds until you've spent a statistically significant amount of money on each ad channel. This is often around $1,000-$2,000 USD per channel.

(On the Ad Channels page, I'll walk you through each.)

If you fail to pass these three thresholds and ad channels are therefore not viable, you'll instead be relying on word-of-mouth, content marketing, PR, sales, and other unpaid channels that cost less per customer acquisition.

That's completely fine. Succeeding at paid acquisition isn't a necessity. It's just helpful because it lets you scale easily. And the only other easy channel to scale is virality. So if you can't make either work, you're in for a longer growth journey.

Succeeding at unpaid channels

Here's the success criteria for the four most effective unpaid channels:

  • Search-engine-optimized content — Is your product something people are already Googling for en masse? Then Content Marketing is viable. In fact, your core marketing competency should now be optimizing content: Hire writers instead of ad experts. Write, write, write.
  • Network effects — Network effects require users to recognize and care that they receive a significantly improved product experience when they invite other people. This happens rarely. It typically only occurs in social networks (e.g. WhatsApp) or broad business collaboration apps (e.g. Slack, Dropbox). I cover virality-related topics at the bottom of Onboarding.
  • Word-of-mouth — WOM is the growth that occurs outside of your marketing efforts. It's when people voluntarily advertise you to others. The criterion for word-of-mouths' success is whether your product blow people's minds. If so, awesome, you will grow from word-of-mouth, and it'll cost nothing — but it might take years to snowball into a large customer base. To accelerate word-of-mouth, make it easy and fun for people to share.
  • Sales — The criterion for sales success is whether you can get your ideal customers to talk to you (e.g. via phone, email, or in-person). I teach how to do this on the Sales page. Note that sales only applies to companies with significantly high profit margins (typically $1,000+) because the labor costs of researching, pitching, and negotiating every sale must be recouped. 
  • Everything else — Of the remaining unpaid channels, most are often ineffective. Public relations and social media, for example, typically only work for a handful of businesses (trend exploiters and lifestyle companies, respectively). And those channels are outside the scope of this handbook.
Tip — Browse this handbook using the links at the bottom of your screen.

Don't just focus on paid acquisition

Even companies that do get ad channels to work don't often get them working at scale for more than a few months. 

Eventually, audiences may saturate and diminishing returns can kill profitability. So, you should plant seeds for other channels to succeed in the long-term:

  • SEO — From day one, write content for SEO. (If applicable.) It takes months — often over a year — for content to reach the front page of Google.
  • Product quality — Build an amazing product people can't stop talking about. Then further incentivize word-of-mouth through referral programs or community building. These programs cost relatively little and can work on autopilot.
  • Funnel optimization — The better your funnel performs, the more you can tolerate diminishing ad performance. So don't rely exclusively on ad optimization to reduce your ad acquisition costs; also have the best-tuned website, onboarding flow, and up/cross-selling experience so you receive every dollar possible from happy users.

We're ready to introduce the minimum viable growth plan everyone should pursue.

The minimum viable growth plan

  1. Build an amazing product that naturally encourages word-of-mouth. 
  2. Kickstart word-of-mouth with paid ad traffic. Even if it's temporarily unprofitable.
  3. Now, spend the majority of your marketing resources optimizing your growth funnel: At every step, A/B Test conversion on the traffic you're paying for.
  4. Once you have a profitable and streamlined funnel, it's time to scale. Aggressively test every potentially viable channel.

The right growth tactics for your company

With our growth plan in hand, we're missing one thing: What my experience running growth for 20+ companies suggests is the best tactic for your business model.

B2C businesses

If you sell to consumers:

Don't be overwhelmed by all those links. You can ignore them for now. This handbook will walk you through most of them over the coming pages.

B2B businesses

If you sell to businesses:

Want to learn growth quickly?

Instead of searching for senior growth marketers to hire, empower your existing team to be better at growth. Get as good at growth as me and my agency.

That's what Bell Curve Training does: It shares the processes behind how Bell Curve — the agency that's grown some of the largest ecommerce and B2B SaaS companies — does growth effectively.

How training works:

  • ✓ It’s the only growth training program tailored to your specific company or product. It's not just general theory, but rather skills you can use now.
  • ✓ Learn during your company's work hours.
  • ✓ Get a senior understanding of modern growth tactics.
  • ✓ Get live feedback and screenshares; nothing is pre-recorded.
  • ✓ Get a Bell Curve partner as a growth advisor.

Click here to see which growth topics we teach.

")) .next() .hide() .filter(".text") .addClass("collapsible") .children("p") .last() .css("margin-bottom", "0px"); }); $(".division-toggle").parent().click(function() { var $button = $(this).children(); $button.html($button.html() === "−" ? "+" : "−"); $(this).next().toggle(); }); /* Progress Bar */ var $progressBar = $("#page-progress"); $(document).ready(function() { var getMax = function() { return $(document).height() - $(window).height(); } var getValue = function() { return $(window).scrollTop(); } var max = getMax(), value, width; var getWidth = function() { value = getValue(); width = (value/max) * 100; width = width + "%"; return width; } var setWidth = function() { $progressBar.css({ opacity: 1, width: getWidth() }); } $(document).on("scroll", setWidth); $(window).on("resize", function() { max = getMax(); setWidth(); }); }); /* Referral Traffic Notice */ if (!(document.referrer === "" || document.referrer.match(/www\.julian\.com/))) { $(".post-introduction").addClass("entry-traffic").show(); } });
January 05

Advanced Digital Marketing Course

Looking For Digital Marketing Course? Customize [...]

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and their websites to connect with current and prospective customers.

Introduction to Digital Marketing

This module introduces the core principles and purpose of digital marketing. It will enable you to develop clear and actionable business objectives for a digital marketing plan, gain audience and industry insight.

Topics

  • Principles of Digital Marketing
  • Developing Objectives
  • Digital Research
  • Cultural Research
  • Connecting with the Customer

Content Marketing

The Content Marketing module will enable you to develop the knowledge and skills needed to plan and execute a content marketing strategy in a persona-oriented and data-driven way informed by business objectives, aligned with the buyer journey and overall marketing strategy.

Topics

  • Concepts & Strategy
  • Using Content Research
  • Content Marketing Plans
  • Creating & Curating Content
  • Publishing & Distributing Content
  • Metrics & Performance

Social Media Marketing

The Social Media module introduces the key platforms for digital marketing and demonstrates how to set up a social media experience for a business

Topics

  • Key Social Platforms
  • Setting up a Social Media Experience
  • Growing & Engaging an Audience
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Data-Driven Audience & Campaign Insights

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) module will enable you to build an organic search marketing strategy that brings the right kind of visitors to your website. It will help you understand how to boost conversions, stand out against competitors and ensure the best possible ROI.

Topics

  • SEO Fundamentals
  • SEO & Business Objectives
  • Keywords
  • SEO Content Plan
  • Search Ranking
  • SEO Performance

Paid Search (PPC) using Google Ads

This module begins with the fundamentals of paid search and it’s benefits and demonstrates how to implement and manage Pay-Per Click (PPC) campaigns using Google Ads.Through the Paid Search Module, you will understand the key concepts underpinning bid auctions, how to manage paid advertising budgets, and how to optimize paid search campaigns.

Topics

  • Fundamentals of Paid Search
  • Google Ads
  • Search Campaign Management
  • Search Campaign Measurement

Display & Video Advertising

The Display and Video Advertising module begins with the fundamentals of display and video advertising and demonstrates how to set up and manage a YouTube channel.It covers the ad formats available within Google Display Network and YouTube and shows you how to set up and manage campaigns.

Topics

  • Fundamentals of Display & Video Advertising
  • YouTube
  • Google Display Network
  • Ad Formats
  • Video Campaigns
  • Measurement and Optimization

Email Marketing

The Email Marketing module begins with the fundamentals of email marketing and how the concepts of segmentation, personalization, timing, and engagement along with the legislation and regulations surrounding data protection underpin an effective email marketing strategy.

Topics

  • Email Marketing Fundamentals
  • Tools and Strategy
  • Email Design
  • Email Campaigns
  • Testing and Optimizing
  • Marketing Automation

Website Optimization

The Website Optimization module will explore how to build and publish a well-designed, high-performing and optimized website that is aligned to your business goals. You will use the key components of web design to design, create and publish an effective website and choose the most suitable hosting option based on budget and business goals.

Topics

  • Web Design and Website Optimization
  • Websites Design Principles & Website Copy
  • User-Centered Design
  • Website Optimization
  • Website Metrics

Analytics with Google Analytics

The Analytics module begins with the fundamentals of web analytics and the associated legal responsibilities and best practices concerning data collection, consent, and privacy that enable a digital marketer to draw actionable conclusions from website or marketing channel data.

Topics

  • Web Analytics Fundamentals
  • Configuring a Google Analytics Account
  • Setting Goals
  • Monitoring Campaigns
  • Analyzing & Recording Data

Digital Marketing Strategy

The Digital Marketing Strategy module identifies the core components of an effective digital marketing strategy and explains how to develop a successful budget plan and measure the ROI for digital activities.

Topics

  • Fundamentals
  • Strategy Objectives & KPIs
  • Digital Strategy Research
  • Creative Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Strategy
December 19

SEO Company in Ahmedabad - Digital 45

Use of the internet to find out any information with regard to a particular topic or product. Now the internet has become a very popular medium for marketing all over the world. Digital45 - SEO Company Ahmedabad work with a big goal is one website to come up as one of the first ten listings on a given subject. The website is optimized and then a uses search with a keyword for information then site will appear on the result page of a search engine. For More information just call us at (079)40322115.

November 25

The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

Learn how to get higher rankings with this SEO che [...]

The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

Today I’m going to show you exactly how to do an SEO audit.

In fact, this is the same process that’s helped me grow my organic traffic 74.8% over the last year.

And I should point something out:

This is a non-technical site audit.

So if you’re not super technical (like me), you’ll love the simple steps in this guide.

Let’s get started.

Step #1: Find and Delete “Zombie Pages”

Type site:yourwebsite.com into Google.

This will show you how many pages Google has indexed:

If this number is higher than you thought, you’re not alone.

In fact…

Most sites have 50% MORE indexed pages than they should.

(I call these extra pages “Zombie Pages”)

As it turns out, deleting Zombie Pages can get you A LOT more organic traffic.

For example, Sean from Proven deleted over 9k Zombie Pages from his site…

…which helped boost his Google traffic by nearly 50%:

Why does this work so well?

Well, Google has said that they prefer sites with a small amount of high-quality pages.

And when you delete Zombie Pages, you give Google what it wants.

Pro Tip: Deleting Zombie Pages also makes the rest of this SEO audit MUCH easier. Fewer pages=fewer problems

With that, here are the most common types of Zombie Pages:

  • Archive pages
  • Category and tag pages (WordPress)
  • Search result pages
  • Old press releases
  • Boilerplate content
  • Thin content (<50 words)

Which leads us to our second step…

Step #2: Check To See If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Mobile SEO is more important than ever.

Why?

First off, 60% of Google searches are now from mobile devices.

Second, Google just started using a Mobile-First Algorithm.

This means that Google now uses the mobile version of your site for mobile AND desktop searches.

The question is:

How do you know if your site is mobile-friendly?

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool.

Just pop your site into the tool…

…and you’ll see whether or not Google considers your site optimized for mobile devices.

Step #3: Make Sure Google Indexes ONE Version of Your Website

Did you know it’s possible to have different versions of your site indexed in Google?

It’s true.

For example, here are 4 different versions of the same site:

  • http://yoursite.com
  • https://yoursite.com
  • http://www.yoursite.com
  • https://www.yoursite.com

To me and you, they’re pretty much the same.

But not to Google.

And unless you redirect these versions properly, Google will consider them completely separate websites.

(Not good)

Fortunately, this is easy to check… and fix.

Just type each of the 4 different versions into your browser.

They should all end up on the same URL:

In my case, the “WWW” version of my site redirects to backlinko.com.

And when someone visits the HTTP version of my site, they get redirected to the HTTPS version.

All good.

If a version of your site isn’t redirecting properly, no worries.

Just 301 redirect it to the version you want to use.

Then, move onto step #4.

Step #4: Speed Up Your Site

A few years back Google confirmed that your site’s loading speed is a ranking factor.

And they recently rolled out a new update that makes speed even MORE important.

Here’s how to get your site to load REALLY fast:

First, clean up your site’s HTML code.

You can easily find problems with your code with PageSpeed Insights.

Pro Tip: Don’t just analyze your homepage. Test 2-3 internal pages too. I’m talking about blog posts, service pages, and category pages.

Second, run a speed test.

This type of test actually loads your page… and lets you know about bottlenecks that slow things down.

I personally use WebPageTest.org. But GTMetrix is really good too.

Third, crunch your images.

Huge images can bring your site speed to a screeching halt.

That’s why I recommend compressing your images with a platform like Kraken.

Pro Tip: Upgrade your hosting. If you spend $10 per month on hosting, don’t expect fast loading times. A few years back I switched from a budget host to $200/month premium hosting. And the speed difference was INSANE.

Step #5: Find and Fix Indexing Problems

Next, it’s time to find web pages that Google isn’t indexing.

To do that, fire up the good ol’ Google Search Console.

The “Index Coverage” report shows you a list of pages that they can’t index for some reason.

As you can see, Backlinko is error free.

All good right?

Maybe.

To double check everything is A-OK, I recommend a free SEO tool called Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog crawls your site the same way Google would. And it lets you know about pages that it can’t access.

(For example, if you’re accidentally blocking a page with your robots.txt file… or the page has a noindex tag).

So if you find a page that’s blocked, double check that it’s meant to be blocked.

For example, we paginate comments here at Backlinko.

And I don’t want Google to index every single comment page. So we throw a noindex tag on those pages.

In this case, the pages that are blocked are meant to be blocked.

And once you’ve confirmed that Google can access all of the pages you want them to access, it’s time to…

Step #6: Check Your Organic Traffic

Now it’s time to see how much organic traffic you’re getting.

To do that, head over to Google Analytics.

Then, go to Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels.

Hit “Organic Search”.

And you’ll see exactly how many people visited your site from search engines last month.

Next, set the dates to the last 6-8 months.

And you’ll see whether or not your organic traffic is trending in the right direction:

As you can see, my organic traffic has gradually increased over the last few months.

Now:

If your organic traffic is flat (or declining), no worries.

The goal in this step is just to see where you’re at.

Things should start to improve once you finish this SEO audit.

Speaking of…

Step #7: Improve Your On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is HUGE.

That said:

You probably don’t have time to optimize every page on your site.

Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Here’s what to do instead:

First, identify your 5 most important pages.

These can be pages that:

  • Target an important keyword
  • Get less traffic than they did back in the day
  • Already rank well… but have the potential to crack the top 5

For example…

I recently published a massive guide to using BuzzSumo.

Besides the basics (like including my keyword in my title tag), I didn’t do much to optimize this page.

And because it’s already on the first page for my target keyword…

…it has a good chance of cracking the top 5.

Then, optimize your page with the strategies in this video.

Now:

If you’re REALLY pressed for time and don’t have time to implement everything from the video, focus on these 5 strategies:

  • Include your keyword in your title tag
  • Include your keyword in first 100 words
  • Add 5+ external links
  • Add 5+ internal links
  • Use LSI keywords

Once those strategies are in place, let’s dive right into step #8:

Step #8: Set Up Keyword Rank Tracking

Now it’s time to start tracking your rankings in the SERPs.

There are a million rank tracking tools out there.

But to me, the best out there is SEMrush.

Why?

SEMrush is awesome because it doesn’t just track the keywords you give it.

(Although it does that too)

What’s cool about SEMrush is that it automatically finds keywords that you rank for.

Nice.

Step #9: Analyze Your Backlinks

There’s no doubt about it:

Backlinks are still REALLY important.

In fact, our study of 1 million search results found that backlinks correlate with rankings more than any other factor.

And now it’s time to analyze your backlink profile.

Here’s how:

First, enter your homepage into a backlink analysis tool.

(I’m using Ahrefs for this step. But you can also use Majestic SEO, or Moz)

And you’ll get a report on your links:

Then, check out referring domains and Domain Authority.

Referring domains = the number of sites linking to you.

Don’t sweat the exact number too much. You’re just benchmarking where you’re at.

You also want to take a look at your Domain Authority.

Every tool has its own name for “Domain Authority”.

(For example, Ahrefs calls it “Domain Rating”)

But the idea is the same:

Domain Authority tells you how much authority your site has… based on a combination of the quantity AND quality of your backlinks.

Finally, look for toxic links.

To do that, check out the most common anchor text in your link profile:

If you see a lot of branded anchor text (like “Backlinko” and “Backlinko.com”), you’re good.

Fortunately, that’s the case with my link profile:

But if you notice lots of keyword-rich anchor text (like “SEO blog” and “SEO training company”), that’s a sign of a toxic link profile.

Here’s an example of a link profile with spammy anchor text:

And if you want to dig deeper, take a look at some of your backlinks.

Most of your backlinks should come from REAL websites.

For example, you can see that most of my links come from blogs and news sites that write about digital marketing and SEO.

(Which is good)

But if you notice that most of your links are from shady sites, you might want to disavow those links.

Pro Tip: Spammy links are a normal part of any link profile. So don’t stress if you see a few shady links

Step #10: Fix Broken Links

A few years back Google stated that they don’t “lose sleep” over broken links.

That said:

Broken links are bad for user experience… which CAN hurt your SEO.

(More on that later)

With that, here’s how to fix broken links on your site:

First, find broken pages on your site that Google can’t index.

You can find this info in the Google Search Console’s “Index Report”.

I stay on top of broken links, so I’m in the clear.

Here’s what you’ll see if your pages are giving Google 404 errors:

Sometimes you deleted pages for a reason (for example: you deleted a bunch of Zombie Pages).

If so, you don’t need to do anything. Google will eventually stop reporting these broken pages as problems.

But if Google can’t access a page that you want to rank, you obviously want to get that page back up ASAP.

Next, use a tool to find broken internal and external links.

You can use Ahrefs…

…or a free tool like Broken Link Check.

Both work.

Step #11: Competitor Analysis

Now it’s time to spy on your competitors.

Here’s how to do it:

First, find your competitors’ best keywords.

You can easily find this info using SEMrush…

…or Ahrefs.

Needless to say, these make GREAT keywords to target.

Second, check out the pages that are ranking for those terms.

Then, figure out what those pages have in common. That way, you know what type of content works best in your niche.

For example, if you look at some of my highest-ranking pages…

…you’ll notice that my content:

  • Is long-form (3k+ words)
  • Contains custom visuals and illustrations
  • Cites research studies, data and statements from Google
  • Isn’t super technical

Finally, see who links to those pages.

To do that, pop a URL into Ahrefs.

And take a look at the links pointing to that page.

This tells you who the influencers in your niche are. That way, you can start to build relationships with them.

(Which will come in handy when you get started with link building)

Step #12: Make Your Content 10x Better

Back in step #7 you SEO-optimized 5 of your most important pages.

And now it’s time to make the content on those pages 10x better.

Why?

It’s simple:

To rank in 2018, your content needs to kick butt.

With that, here’s how to make those pages 10x better:

1. VERY short intros.

No one wants to read long winded introductions like these:

Instead, keep your intros short and sweet:

2. Small paragraphs.

People don’t read online. They skim.

And small paragraphs help skimmers consume your content better.

3. Lots of subheaders.

Subheaders help break up your content into digestible chunks.

Use them early and often.

4. Use visuals, images and video

Multimedia makes your content MUCH more compelling.

(Plus, visuals help people learn and understand)

For example, in this SEO checklist post, I use lots of images:

Visuals:

And videos:

And because my content is easy to read and understand, the average user spends 05:08 on that page:

Step #13: Optimize For UX Signals

RankBrain is Google’s new AI algorithm.

Unlike the old Google, RankBrain measures how users interact with your site.

Which means:

To rank in Google today, you need to optimize for UX Signals.

In other words, your content needs to make users happy.

When you do, Google’s going to give you a HUGE rankings boost.

For example…

A while back I noticed that this post on my site wasn’t ranking that well.

(It was hovering between the 10th and 15th spots for my target keyword: “SEO Campaign”)

And when I looked at my content, I realized why…

My content didn’t give people searching for “SEO campaign” what they wanted.

Instead of steps, they got a case study of ONE specific strategy:

My post also had lots of outdated screenshots:

In short:

Because my content wasn’t optimized for UX signals, Google buried it.

So I decided to overhaul the entire post.

Specifically, I:

  • Replaced the case study with a step-by-step guide
  • Included more actionable tips for beginner and intermediate SEOs
  • Added examples from several different industries
  • Lots more

In the end, I had a piece of up-to-date content that was a PERFECT fit for someone searching for “SEO campaign”:

Sure enough, because my content is designed to make Google searchers happy, my page quickly went from #15 to the #4 spot in Google.

And it recently hit the #1 spot:

Very cool.

Step #14: Flatten Your Website Architecture

Your site architecture is simple:

It’s how the pages on your site are organized.

As it turns out, your website architecture is REALLY important for SEO.

Why?

Two reasons:

First, site architecture helps search engines find and index all of your pages.

When your site’s architecture is a big ol’ mess, Google’s gonna have trouble finding all of your pages:

But when your site architecture links your pages together, Google can easily find and index your entire site.

Second, architecture tells Google which pages on your site are most important.

In general, the closer a page is to your homepage, the more important it is.

The question is:

How should your site’s architecture look?

Well, I know I said that this SEO audit wasn’t going to be super technical.

So I’m going to keep this super duper simple…

You want to keep your site architecture flat.

In other words, not like this:

Instead, you want it to look like this:

(Super flat)

Or put another way:

It shouldn’t take more than 3 clicks to go from your homepage to any page on your site.

In some cases, you’ll need a developer to completely overhaul your site’s navigation.

But you can also just add internal links to different pages…

…and add links to the sidebar:

As long as users can reach any of your pages in 3 clicks or less, you’re good.

Step #15: Rewrite Duplicate Meta Tags

Google recently said that your title tag and meta descriptions are “easy wins”.

And I’d have to agree.

ESPECIALLY when it comes to fixing duplicate titles and descriptions.

Fortunately, you can easily find duplicate metas in the Google Search Console.

Just head over to Search Appearance → HTML Improvements.

And you’ll get a list of duplicate metas:

In my case, I have 8 pages with the same description:

These are all different pages of my blog feed (which aren’t indexed anyway). So it’s no big deal.

But if important pages on your site have duplicate meta tags, I recommend rewriting them ASAP.

Step #16: Launch a Skyscraper Post

The last step of this SEO audit is to publish a piece of content using The Skyscraper Technique.

Why?

It helps Google quickly find and index all of the changes you just made.

For example, look at the spike in “Pages crawled per day” whenever I publish something popular:

And this video will show you exactly how to execute the Skyscraper Technique process:

But as a quick recap, here’s how it works…

First, check out the top 10 results for a keyword that you want to rank for.

For example, I recently published a piece of content called: “27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018”.

Before I wrote a single word, I analyzed the first page for keywords like “how to get more traffic”:

The content I found was pretty good. But nothing special.

Next, publish content that’s 5x better than what you found.

I took things up a notch with my post.

How?

I included lots of detailed steps:

Screenshots:

And techniques that are working RIGHT NOW:

Finally, it’s time to promote your post.

This part is key.

When Google sees a flood of people (and links) coming to your site, they say: “This site is blowing UP. We need to send Googlebot there right now.”

(Like I mentioned earlier, this helps Google quickly process all of the changes you made to your site).

In my case, I sent out a newsletter to my email subscribers:

And promoted it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter:

Bonus Step #1: Get More From Your Internal Links

Internal linking is one of the most underrated SEO strategies on the planet.

The question is:

How do you internal link the right way?

It’s simple:

Make sure you link to high-priority pages as much as possible.

You can see all of your site’s internal links in the GSC.

Go to Search Traffic → Internal Links.

And you’ll see the pages on your site that get the most internal link love.

Pro Tip: You might find a handful of non-important pages in this report. For example, you might have lots of links pointing to your privacy policy or contact page. That’s usually because you link to those pages from your site’s navigation or footer. Don’t sweat it.

Bonus Step #2: Use a Site Audit Tool

I tried to keep this SEO audit process as non-techy as possible.

But if you want to dig deeper into your technical SEO, I highly recommend using an SEO audit tool.

Which tools do I recommend?

Actually, I use and recommend two.

The first is Seobility.

Unlike most audit tools, Seobility is VERY easy to use. Plus, the reports are simple to understand and take action on.

Even though SEMrush is mostly known as a keyword research tool, it has a surprisingly in-depth site audit feature.

Bonus Step #3: Optimize for Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets can DRAMATICALLY increase your organic traffic.

For example, a while back I got this page to show up in the Featured Snippet spot.

And organic traffic to that page shot up like a rocketship:

How do you get your content in the Featured Snippet spot?

This guide (and study) has you covered.

To sum up the guide, to show up in the Featured Snippet, you need to…

  • Have your content optimized for mobile
  • Have HTTPS installed
  • Use lots of headers (H2 and H3 tags)
  • Include short answer to questions (42 words)
  • Link out to authority resources

That’s about it ????

Now It’s Your Turn

That’s it for this SEO audit process.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you have any questions about this process?

Or maybe you have a cool tip that I didn’t include here.

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

269 Comments

June 21

Google Local SEO

In order to ensure that your online business is fl [...]

You can get local SEO Services easily with the help of our JDM Web Technologies experts who always keep on updating themselves about the latest SEO trends. If you want to hire an SEO expert for your company, then it is always best to go for the experts of the renowned JDM Web Technologies.  They can no doubt provide you with the best possible services within the minimum possible prices.

If you have a low budget and wondering about SEO packages, then JDM Web Technologies is always the first choice.  They can provide you with all in one SEO packages at an unbelievable price.  It is very difficult to get SEO plans within the budget. Basically, SEO service providers charge sky-high rates from their clients. If you are looking for customized local SEO plans within a small amount, then contact JDM Web Technologies now.
JDM Web Technologies Offer Their Services in Worldwide



June 04

TRUMP’S WIN HAS AD AGENCIES RETHINK HOW THEY COLLECT DATA, RECRUIT STAF

Advertisers are grappling with a stark realization [...]

Advertisers are grappling with a stark realization: After spending years courting U.S. consumers with aspirational images of upscale urban living, they may have misjudged the yearnings of much of their audience.

June 04

2016 GEORGIA NATIONAL FAIR SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD

October 6-16, 2016 was a record setting 11 days of [...]

October 6-16, 2016 was a record setting 11 days of elite entertainment, pure enjoyment, and delicious food at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia!  

June 04

VIDEO MARKETING FROM THE PARK GROUP GETS RESULTS

Savy business owners are discovering the power of [...]

Savy business owners are discovering the power of online video when it comes to showcasing their products and services.  Early adopters of online video, who stayed in the game, now have an edge over those who have waited to get in the game.  The good news: it’s not too late.

May 23

SEO Adelaide

ZibMedia is a nationally-recognised integrated mar [...]

If you are looking for a dynamic, creative, forward thinking, results driven agency to convey your next assignment, then you've come to the right place. ZibMedia is a team of enthusiastic professionals to create stunning website design in Adelaide. Our effective services of graphic design, web design, digital marketing will bring results beyond your expectations at reasonable rates.

April 03

Macon SEO by Theparkgroup.net

Theparkgroup.net is an Award Winning Advertising A [...]

Theparkgroup.net is an Award Winning Advertising Agency in business since 2000. We provide affordable SEO service in Macon, GA and surrounding areas. 

March 16

Dlinkers - Digital Marketing & Consultancy

Dlinkers is a digital marketing agency with a team [...]


February 20

Featured in BNI’s Spotlight


February 10

List of 700+ Guest Posts Sites & How To Do Guest Blogging Guide

Here, you'll find the top sites that accept g [...]
Skip to content

List of 700+ Guest Posts Sites & A Definitive Step-by-Step Guest Blogging Guide

  • Your Keyword “guest post”
  • Your Keyword “write for us”
  • Your Keyword “guest article”
  • Your Keyword “this is a guest post by”
  • Your Keyword “contributing writer”
  • Your Keyword “want to write for”
  • Your Keyword “submit blog post”
  • Your Keyword “contribute to our site”
  • Your Keyword “guest column”
  • Your Keyword “submit content”
  • Your Keyword “submit your content”
  • Your Keyword “submit post”
  • Your Keyword “This post was written by”
  • Your Keyword “guest post courtesy of ”
  • Your Keyword “guest posting guidelines”
  • Your Keyword “suggest a post”
  • Your Keyword “submit an article”
  • Your Keyword “contributor guidelines”
  • Your Keyword “contributing writer”
  • Your Keyword “submit news”
  • Your Keyword “become a guest blogger”
  • Your Keyword “guest blogger”
  • Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
  • Your Keyword “looking for guest posts”
  • Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
  • Your Keyword “guest poster wanted”
  • Your Keyword “accepting guest posts”
  • Your Keyword “writers wanted”
  • Your Keyword “articles wanted”
  • Your Keyword “become an author”
  • Your Keyword “become guest writer”
  • Your Keyword “become a contributor”
  • Your Keyword “submit guest post”
  • Your Keyword “submit an article”
  • Your Keyword “submit article”
  • Your Keyword “guest author”
  • Your Keyword “send a tip”
  • Your Keyword inurl: “guest blogger”
  • Your Keyword inurl: “guest post”
  • allintitle: Your Keyword + guest post


January 11

GOOGLE RANKBRAIN: The Definitive Guide

GOOGLE RANKBRAIN: The Definitive Guide

GOOGLE RANKBRAIN:

The Definitive Guide

January 07

Recruitment SEO Guide

Recruitment SEO Guide

Recruitment SEO Guide