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In this post I’m going to show you how to get more views on YouTube.

In fact, these are the exact techniques that I used to grow my channel to 244.6K views per month.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails

It’s no secret that your video thumbnail is HUGE.

In fact:

According to YouTube, 9 out of 10 of the most-viewed videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail:

And YouTube themselves state that:

“Thumbnails are usually the first thing viewers see when they find one of your videos.”

The question is:

How do you create a thumbnail that stands out?

BOGY Thumbnails.

BOGY Thumbnails are thumbnails that use these four colors:

  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Yellow

Why is this important?

Well, if you look around YouTube, you’ll notice that the site is mostly red, black and white.

And if your thumbnail also uses red, black and white… your video will blend in.

But when you use BOGY thumbnails, your videos stands out and grabs attention.

(Which makes people MUCH more likely to click)

For example, I use green as the main color in my thumbnails:

This is partly for branding reasons (green is the main color on my blog and YouTube channel).

But it’s also to stand out on the YouTube platform:

How about another example?

The Bright Side Channel (which has 19 million subscribers) uses yellow, orange, blue and purple in most of their thumbnails:

Of course, you can use a little bit of red, white and black in your thumbnail.

You just don’t want to make them your main thumbnail color.

For example, I use some black and white in this thumbnail.

But 80%+ of that thumbnail is green.

And now it’s time for…

2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template

YouTube has confirmed that your video descriptions “let YouTube’s algorithms know what your videos are all about”.

With that, I have some good news:

I recently developed a YouTube description template that works GREAT.

Here it is:

Now I’ll break down each section in detail.

First, you have the Strong Intro.

The first few lines of your description are SUPER important.

Specifically, you want to include your target keyword once in the first 1-2 sentences.

That’s because YouTube puts more weight on keywords early on in your description.

So make sure to mention your target keyword in the beginning of your description.

Here’s an example from my channel:

You also want to sell your video.

Why?

The first few lines of your description show up in YouTube search:

And if that snippet is super compelling, more people will click on your result:

Plus, some people even read your description after they land on your video page.

So it’s important that the content above “Show more” really sells your video.

Next, you have the 150-word outline.

All you need to do here is outline what someone will learn from your video.

And don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details here. In fact, I recommend writing AT LEAST 150 words here.

That way, YouTube can fully understand what your video covers.

For example, check out this description from one of my videos:

It’s 233 total words.

And that thorough description has helped my video rack up 299,173 views to date:

Finally, you have your description links.

I actually got this tip from YouTube themselves:

The goal here is to send people to your website and social media channels.

I’m most active on Twitter, so I only include a link to my Twitter profile:

But there’s nothing wrong with linking to several different sites that you’re active on.

And if you want to get more subscribers, I recommend adding a call-to-action to subscribe here too:

Which leads us to…

3. Alternate Playlist Layouts

If you’re like most people, you include a ton of playlists on your channel page.

(Which is smart)

Well, I recently discovered a simple way to get MORE people to watch your playlists:

Alternate vertical and horizontal playlist layouts.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Why is this important?

If you only use one playlist layout, your playlists don’t stand out from one another:

But when you alternate layouts, each playlist really stands out:

To change layouts, head over to your channel page. And hit “Customize Channel”.

Then, click on the little pencil icon next to one of your playlists:

And choose the layout:

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We analyzed 12 million outreach emails to answer the question:

What’s working in the world of email outreach right now?

We looked at subject lines. We looked at personalization. We even looked at follow-up sequences.

Along with our data partner for this study, Pitchbox, we uncovered a number of interesting findings.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. The vast majority of outreach messages are ignored. Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response.

2. Outreach emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher average response rate compared to those with short subject lines.

3. Follow-ups appear to significantly improve response rates. Emailing the same contact multiple times leads to 2x more responses.

4. Reaching out to multiple contacts can also lead to more success. The response rate of messages sent to several contacts is 93% higher than messages sent to a single person.

5. Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on outreach campaign results.

6. Personalizing outreach email body content also seems to be an effective way to increase response rates. Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate than those that don’t personalize their messages.

7. Wednesday is the “best” day to send outreach emails. Saturday is the worst. However, we didn’t find an especially large difference in response rates between different days that messages were sent.

8. Linking to social profiles in email signatures may result in better response rates. Twitter was correlated with an 8.2% increase, LinkedIn an 11.5% increase, and Instagram a 23.4% increase.

9. The most successful outreach campaigns reach out to multiple contacts multiple times. Email sequences with multiple attempts and multiple contacts boost response rates by 160%.

10. Certain types of outreach get higher response rates than others. Outreach messages related to guest posting, roundups and links have an especially high response rate.

We have details and additional data from our study below.

Most Outreach Emails Are Ignored or Deleted

You may have heard that it’s challenging to get people to reply to cold outreach emails. According to our data, poor response rates do appear to be the norm.

In fact, we found that only 8.5% of all outreach emails receive a response.

This response rate is similar to what several cases studies, like this one from the Moz blog, have previously found.

The fact that 91.5% of cold outreach messages are ignored may not come as a surprise. After all, generic outreach emails like this are extremely common:

Fortunately, our research found several factors that helped certain outreach emails outperform the average. We will cover these findings later in this post.

But for now, it’s important to note that very few outreach emails receive a response.

Key Takeaway: 91.5% of outreach emails are ignored.

The Ideal Outreach Email Subject Line Length Is 36-50 Characters

Our study found that long subject lines get a significantly higher response rate than shorter subject lines.

Specifically, subject lines between 36-50 characters get the best response rate.

To compare subject line response rates, we placed them into 5 buckets: short, medium, long, very long and extremely long.

And we found that long subject lines outperformed short subject lines by 32.7%.

Why do long subject lines do best?

It’s likely because longer subject lines give you an opportunity to fully describe the content of your message.

For example, imagine a super short subject line like: “Quick Question”.

At 13 characters, it’s impossible for your recipient to know what your email is about. It could be a question about their sales process. Or their lunch plans.

Plus, because it doesn’t note anything specific, it makes your outreach email seem generic before they’ve even opened it.

Contrast that with a subject line like: “Quick Question About Your Latest Blog Post”

This subject line is much more specific. That way, if the recipient decides to open your email, they know what to expect.

However, it’s possible for your subject line to be too long.

For example, “Quick Question About Your Latest Blog Post About The Top 10 Paleo Diet Myths” is an extremely descriptive subject line. But it’s likely to get cut off by most inboxes (like Gmail):

Key Takeaway: Long subject lines get 32.7% more responses than short subject lines.

Sending Follow-up Messages Significantly Improves Response Rates

Should you send follow-up messages to people that don’t reply to your initial outreach?

According to our findings, yes. We found that multiple outreach messages work better than a single message:

While sending 3 or more messages results in the best overall response rate, sending just one additional follow-up can boost replies by 65.8%.

Why do follow-ups work so well?

Simply put: people receive lots of emails in their inbox every day. In fact, The Radicati Group found that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day.

With 100+ emails to sift through per day, the chances of your single outreach email getting seen, opened and replied to is pretty slim.

But when you send more than one message, you have yet another chance to stand out and push through the noise in someone’s inbox.

Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to send follow-up messages.

Annoying follow-ups like these can damage relationships, lead to spam complaints, and overall, do more harm than good.

However, gentle follow-ups that provide additional context can improve conversions without burning bridges.

Key Takeaway: Follow-ups can significantly improve outreach conversion rates. In fact, a single additional follow-up message can lead to 65.8% more replies.

Reaching Out to Several Contacts Increases the Odds of a Response

We looked at the effect that reaching out to several contacts at the same organization had on outreach conversions.

And we found that, compared to a single contact, sending emails to more than one contact improves response rates by 93%.

We also looked at how outreach success rate correlated with number of contacts. We found a clear pattern that more contacts leads to more responses.

However, we did find a point of diminishing returns at 5+ contacts.

If you’re reaching out to a single-author blog, you probably don’t need to worry about sending messages to several different contacts.

However, multiple contacts becomes important when reaching out to large websites with dozens of employees. That’s because it can be hard to tell who exactly is responsible for which task (even with the help of an org chart and “About Us” page).

For example, let’s say that you’re sending an outreach message to a large publisher as part of a link building campaign. Should you email the author of the article? Or the editor of the blog? Or maybe the best person is the head of content.

It’s almost impossible to know without an intimate understanding of the organization’s inner workings. That’s why it usually makes sense to reach out to a single person. Then, if you don’t hear back, try again with another contact. That way, over time, your message should get in front of the person that is most likely to add your link to the post.

Key Takeaway: Having multiple contacts to reach out to increases your chances of getting through. In fact, outreach emails sent to multiple contacts can boost response rates by 93%.

Personalized Subject Lines Lead to More Replies

Personalizing emails is considered an outreach best practice. However, to our knowledge, there hasn’t been any research done to support this strategy.

That’s why we decided to investigate the effect of personalization on outreach email replies. Specifically, we compared the response rates between messages that did and didn’t use personalized subject lines.

Our data showed that personalized subject lines got nearly 1/3rd more replies than those without personalization.

Why do personalized subject lines lead to more responses?

Although it’s difficult to fully answer this question from our data alone, my theory is that personalized subject lines help you stand out in someone’s crowded inbox.

For example, take a non-personalized subject line like: “More Leads”. For someone that’s hurriedly scanning incoming emails from their iPhone, “More Leads” doesn’t compel them to see or open the message.

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Today you’re going to learn exactly how to create a content strategy in 2019.

In fact:

This is the same approach I used to grow my blog to 392,441 visits per month:

Let’s get started.

Step #1: Choose a Content Topic

Your first step is to find a topic.

But not just any topic…

A topic that your target customer is interested in.

Here’s exactly how to do it:

Competitor Blogs

First, head over to a popular blog in your industry.

And look for posts that tend to get lots of comments and social shares.

For example, a while back I looked at what content performed best on the Moz blog:

And I noticed that content about “site audits” tended to do REALLY well:

So I created a blog post called: “The Ultimate SEO Site Audit”.

Because this post was based on a proven topic, it was a huge hit on day 1:

And quickly cracked the first page for my target keyword:

Pro Tip: If one of your competitors has a podcast, check out their episode list on iTunes:

This can reveal some killer topics that you’d be hard pressed to find any other way.

Online Communities

Online communities are GREAT for finding burning questions that your customers have.

For example, when I head over to the Paleo subreddit, I notice lots of questions about dessert:

Why is this important?

Most people ask questions on Reddit because they couldn’t find their answer on Google.

Which means there’s a HUGE opportunity for you to swoop in and answer that question with your content.

You can follow this same process using Quora:

If you want to scale this technique, check out Answer the Public.

It’s a free tool that hands you popular questions that people have around your topic:

Pro Tip: Check out conference agendas in your industry. People are literally paying (and traveling) to see these talks. So you KNOW these topics are in high demand.

Ahrefs Content Explorer

Ahrefs Content Explorer is very similar to BuzzSumo.

You type in a keyword…

…and get a list of content that people recently shared and linked to:

Nice.

Your Best Content

Here’s where you double down on what works.

First, log in to Google Analytics and go to “Behavior” → “Site Content” → “Landing Pages”:

This shows you which pages on your site bring in the most traffic.

Then, identify what those pages have in common in terms of:

  • Format
  • Topics
  • Author
  • Writing style

Finally, outline your next piece of content based on what you find.

For example:

Last year I noticed that definitive guides brought in a ton of traffic:

So I decided to publish more definitive guides:

And those new guides helped increase my blog’s traffic by 29.63% compared to the year before:

Which leads us to…

Step #2: Find a Keyword

Now that you found a topic, it’s time to find a keyword that people use to search for that topic.

Here are 3 easy ways to do it:

QuestionDB

QuestionDB is a free keyword tool that generates lots of question-based keywords.

To use it, just pop in a topic that you found in Step #1:

And after a second or two, you’ll get a list of untapped keyword ideas:

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This is the most comprehensive guide to Ecommerce SEO online.

In this expert-written guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about optimizing your ecommerce site, from keyword research to technical SEO to link building.

So if you’re looking to get more targeted traffic (and customers) from search, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

The post Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide [2019] appeared first on Backlinko.

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This is the ultimate guide to writing AWESOME copy.

So if you want:

More traffic.

More leads.

More sales.

Then you’ll love the actionable copywriting tips in this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

The post Copywriting: The Definitive Guide appeared first on Backlinko.

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We analyzed 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing right now.

Specifically, we looked at how factors like content format, word count and headlines correlate with social media shares and backlinks.

With the help of our data partner BuzzSumo, we uncovered some very interesting findings.

And now it’s time to share what we discovered.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. We found that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition.

2. When it comes to social shares, longer content outperforms short blog posts. However, we found diminishing returns for articles that exceed 2,000 words.

3. The vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks. In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.

4. A small percentage of “Power Posts” get a disproportionate amount of social shares. Specifically, 1.3% of articles generate 75% of all social shares.

5. We found virtually no correlation between backlinks and social shares. This suggests that there’s little crossover between highly-shareable content and content that people link to.

6. Longer headlines are correlated with more social shares. Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.

7. Question headlines (titles that end with a “?”) get 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don’t end with a question mark.

8. There’s no “best day” to publish a new piece of content. Social shares are distributed evenly among posts published on different days of the week.

9. Lists posts are heavily shared on social media. In fact, list posts get an average of 218% more shares than “how to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.

10. Certain content formats appear to work best for acquiring backlinks. We found that “Why Posts”, “What Posts” and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts.

11. The average blog post gets 9.7x more shares than a post published on a B2B site. However, the distribution of shares and links for B2B and B2C publishers appears to be similar.

We have detailed data and information of our findings below.

Long-Form Content Generates More Backlinks Than Short Blog Posts

When it comes to acquiring backlinks, long-form content significantly outperforms short blog posts and articles.

You may have seen other industry studies, like this one, that found a correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings.

However, to our knowledge no one has investigated why longer content tends to perform so well. Does the Google algorithm inherently prefer long content? Or perhaps longer content is best at satisfying searcher intent.

While it’s impossible to draw any firm conclusions from our study, our data suggests that backlinks are at least part of the reason that long-form content tends to rank in Google’s search results.

Key Takeaway: Content that’s >3000 words gets an average of 77.2% more referring domain links compared to content that’s <1000 words.

The Ideal Content Length For Maximizing Social Shares Is 1,000-2,000 Words

According to our data, long-form content (>1000 words) generates significantly more social shares than short content (<1000 words).

However, our research indicates that there’s diminishing returns once you reach the 2,000-word mark.

In other words, 1,000-2,000 words appears to be the “sweet spot” for maximizing shares on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest.

In fact, articles between 1k-2k words get an average of 56.1% more social shares than content that’s <1000 words.

Key Takeaway: Content between 1k-2k words is ideal for generating social shares.

The Vast Majority of Content Gets Zero Links

It’s no secret that backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking signal.

Google’s recently reiterated this fact in their “How Search Works” report.

We found that actually getting these links is extremely difficult.

In fact, our data showed that 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links.

It’s fair to say that getting someone to link to your content is difficult. And we found that getting links from multiple websites is even more challenging.

In fact, only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites.

Why is it so hard to get backlinks?

While it’s impossible to answer this question from our data alone, it’s likely due to a sharp increase in the amount of content that’s published every day.

For example, WordPress reports that 87 million posts were published on their platform in May 2018, which is a 47.1% increase compared to May 2016.

That’s an increase of 27 million monthly blog posts in a 2 year span.

It appears that, due to the sharp rise in content produced, that building links from content is harder than ever.

A 2015 study published on the Moz blog concluded that, of the content in their sample, “75% had zero external links”. Again: our research from this study found that 94% of all content has zero external links. This suggests that getting links to your content is significantly harder compared to just a few years ago.

Key Takeaway: Building links through content marketing is more challenging than ever. Only 6% of the content in our sample had at least one external link.

A Small Number of “Power Posts” Get a Large Proportion of Shares

Our data shows that social shares aren’t evenly distributed. Not even close.

We found that a small number of outliers (“Power Posts”) receive the majority of the world’s social shares.

Specifically, 1.3% of articles get 75% of the social shares.

And a small subset of those Power Posts tend to get an even more disproportionate amount of shares.

In fact, 0.1% of articles in our sample got 50% of the total amount of social shares.

In other words, approximately half of all social shares go to an extremely small number (0.1%) of viral posts.

For example, this story about shoppers buying and returning clothes from ecommerce sites received 77.3 thousand Facebook shares.

This single article got more Facebook shares than the rest of the top 20 posts about ecommerce combined.

Key Takeaway: The majority of social shares are generated from a small number of posts. 75% of all social shares come from only 1.3% of published content.

There’s Virtually No Correlation Between Social Shares and Backlinks

We found no correlation between social shares and backlinks (Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.078).

In other words, content that receives a lot of links doesn’t usually get shared on social media.

(And vice versa)

And when content does get shared on social media, those shares don’t usually result in more backlinks.

This may surprise a lot of publishers as “Sharing your content on social media” is considered an SEO best practice. The idea being that social media helps your content get in front of more people, which increases the likelihood that someone will link to you.

While this makes sense in theory, our data shows that this doesn’t play out in the real world.

That’s because, as Steve Rayson put it: “People share and link to content for different reasons”.

So it’s important to create content that caters to your goals.

Do you want to go viral on Facebook? Then list posts might be your best bet.

Is your #1 goal to get more backlinks? Then you probably want to publish infographics and other forms of visual content.

We will outline the differences between highly-linkable and highly-shareable content below.

But for now, it’s important to note that there’s very little overlap between content that gets shared on social media and content that people link to.

Key Takeaway: There’s no correlation between social media shares and links.

Long Headlines are Correlated With High Levels of Social Sharing

Previous industry studies have found a relationship between “long” headlines and social shares.

Our data found a similar relationship. In fact, we discovered that “very long” headlines outperform short headlines by 76.7%:

We defined “very long” headlines as headlines between 14-17 words in length. As you can see in the chart, there appears to be a linear relationship between headline length and shares.

And this same relationship played out when we analyzed the headlines in our dataset by character count.

As you might remember from 2014, clickbait-style headlines worked extremely well for publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy.

And their posts tended to feature headlines that were significantly longer than average.

Although clickbait isn’t as effective as it once was, it appears that long headlines continue to be an effective tactic for boosting social shares.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. For example, this post with a 6-word headline received over 328k social shares.

But when you look at the headlines across our dataset of 912 million posts, it’s clear that..

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I’m SUPER excited to announce the release of the SEO Marketing Hub.

This free resource library covers over 35 key topics — including Schema, sitemaps, SEO software, content audits, link bait, rich snippets, and lots more.

You can check out the brand new SEO Marketing Hub right here:

Visit The SEO Marketing Hub

All in all, this resource library contains over 50,000 words, 700 screenshots, as well as 150+ custom-designed diagrams, charts and visuals.

Needless to say, this is the biggest content project my team and I have ever worked on.

I’m really happy with how The SEO Marketing Hub turned out.

And I hope you get a ton of value from it.

Check out the SEO Marketing Hub.

Here’s The Full Breakdown:

The SEO Marketing Hub is broken down into 7 core topics:

  • SEO Fundamentals – Here’s where you catch up on the basics of search engine optimization. You’ll learn what SEO is, how it works, strategies for finding keywords, tips for SEO-friendly web development, and more.
  • Content Optimization Strategies – Learn exactly how to optimize your site’s content in 2019. You’ll also see how to take advantage of “SERP Features”, like Rich Snippets.
  • Technical SEO – Sitemaps. Crawl Budget. Website Architecture. They’re all important for making sure that Google can crawl and index your entire site. And in this section you’ll learn how to improve your site’s technical SEO.
  • Link Building Techniques – Here’s where you’ll learn how to build links to your site using white hat link building techniques like Broken Link Building, evergreen content, original research, and more.
  • User Experience Signals – Learn how to optimize your content for “UX Signals”, like bounce rate, dwell time, searcher intent and organic CTR.
  • SEO Tools and Software – Here’s where you’ll learn how to make your SEO campaigns more effective using popular SEO software platforms like Ahrefs, Moz Pro and SEMrush.
  • Advanced SEO Strategies – Learn how to take your SEO skills to the next level. You’ll see how to build an SEO team, do a content audit, and measure results like a pro.

Visit The SEO Marketing Hub

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear what you think about the new SEO Marketing Hub.

Specifically, I’d like to know:

What’s the #1 thing you want to learn about SEO right now?

Also, I plan on adding more resources to the hub soon.

So let me know if you have any topics that you want me to cover.

The post Introducing: The SEO Marketing Hub, A Free Library of SEO Resources appeared first on Backlinko.

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Today I’m going to show you a VERY effective SEO strategy for 2019.

(Step-by-step)

In fact, I recently used these exact steps to rank #1 in Google for “Video SEO”.

And “keyword research tool”.

Let’s dive right in…

Step #1: Find an “Opportunity Keyword”

Let’s face it:

A #1 ranking isn’t what it used to be.

That’s because Google keeps adding stuff to the search results.

For example, look at the keyword “SEO Tools”:

You’ve got ads at the top of the page:

A Featured Snippet:

And a “People also Ask” box:

THEN you get to the #1 result:

That’s why you want to focus on Opportunity Keywords.

Opportunity Keywords are keywords with a high organic click-through-rate (CTR).

How about an example?

I recently created a post optimized around the term “SEO Audit”:

And “SEO Audit” is an Opportunity Keyword.

Sure, there are ads:

But that’s actually a good thing.

(More ads=higher commercial intent)

Other than ads, there isn’t a lot to distract people from the organic results:

You can also estimate organic CTR with Ahrefs.

For example, when I put “SEO Audit” into Ahrefs, it says that 61% of searchers click on a result.

Not bad.

Which leads us to…

Step #2: Analyze Google’s First Page

OK, so you found an Opportunity Keyword.

Now it’s time to see what’s already working for that keyword.

To do that, just type your keyword into Google.

Scan the top 10 results:

 

And jot down any patterns that you notice.

For example, the first page for “SEO Tools” is PACKED with lists of tools:

So you’d want to jot down: “lots of list posts”.

Then, move onto step #3…

Step #3: Create Something Different… Or Better

When it comes to content, you’ve got two options:

Option #1: You can create something different.

Option #2: You can create something better.

Here’s how…

Different

Sometimes you want to create something bigger and better than what’s out there.

(aka The Skyscraper Technique)

But sometimes you’re better off with content that’s completely different.

Why?

Because it helps your content STAND OUT.

For example:

A few months ago I sat down to write a piece of content optimized around: “Mobile SEO”.

And I noticed Google’s first page was littered with list posts, like: “X Ways to Mobile Optimize Your Site.”

Now:

I could have created a BIGGER list post like: “150 Ways to Mobile Optimize Your Site”.

But that wouldn’t make any sense.

Instead, I created something totally different.

Specifically, I published an ultimate guide to mobile optimization.

And because my content stood out, it got a ton of shares:

Comments:

And most important of all, backlinks:

Better

This is a lot more straightforward.

All you need to do is find out what’s working…

…and publish something WAY better.

For example:

A while back I noticed that most content about “SEO tools” only listed 10-20 tools.

And I knew that publishing another list of 20 tools wouldn’t work.

So I decided to create a list of 188 SEO tools.

And it did GREAT.

In fact, it now ranks in the top 3 for the keyword “SEO Tools”:

Step #4: Add a Hook

Here’s the deal:

If you want to rank in 2019, you need backlinks.

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