How to Increase Website Traffic by 250,000+ Monthly Visits

By | Last Updated: | Content Strategy

web-traffic

I’ll be honest… the title of this post is a lie.

The number is actually larger… but I thought you wouldn’t believe me.

The accurate, true-to-life title I should have used is “how to increase website traffic by 500,000 monthly visitors”… because that’s what we achieved.

And we did it for our clients not once…

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Not twice…

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but three times in the past 24-36 months.

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To be fair, by no means are we the only ones responsible for these lifts. Each of the above three are big, highly-visible companies with talented marketing teams.

But the numbers above directly represent the SEO increases in the past 24 to 36 months… numbers which we were specifically hired to help increase, and are strong contributors to.

And to be even fairer, since these numbers are only organic traffic, they also omit other impacts like social, referral and direct traffic, which we also helped increase.

As a team of ten that achieved that (now twelve), I’m pretty proud of those numbers. More importantly, I’m proud of the process behind them: a repeatable, achievable strategy that anybody can accomplish, even at a smaller scale.

As long as you implement the process appropriately and put in the work to get there, this kind of growth is achievable.

The Process Behind Exponential Growth

So… how do you do it? What’s the process?

In summary, you can achieve this growth by repeatedly creating and promoting top or middle-funnel content that ranks for keywords with significant volume, that also tie back to bottom-funnel landing pages that are pushed up through the connective effects.

In this post, I’ll give you the step-by-step rubric we use to identify the right pieces to create, what to promote, what not to promote, and how to make sure your content will rank well every time.

We’ll lift the lid on the internal process on how to get more traffic we’ve been heads down creating, iterating on and implementing for our clients—which has already created massive impacts, but for you, can be used in its almost-perfected form.

All the techniques, all the strategies, all the lessons learned—all in one post. 

Free Download: Click here to download a beautiful 28-page PDF version of this guide, along with a free step-by-step content marketing checklist.

How to Increase Your Website Traffic by 250k+

  1. Upgrade The Skyscraper Technique For Increased Success
  2. Prioritize Topics You Can Rank For Today
  3. Create Content 10x Better Than Competitors
  4. Generate Links to Your Content… Every Time
  5. Increase Your Link Volume by 21% with Roundup Discovery
  6. Grow Long-Term Website Traffic by 66% With Last Updated
  7. Put it All Together [Additional Resources & Checklists]
1. Upgrade the Skyscraper Technique for Increased Success

The Skyscraper Technique is a four-step process popularized by Brian Dean that unveils a clean, straightfoward path to building a massive audience. The steps are:

  • Step 1: Find link-worthy content around a topic with search volume
  • Step 2: Make something even better
  • Step 3: Reach out to the right people to generate the links needed to rank
  • Step 4: Repeat with a new topic

Brian uses the metaphor of a skyscraper for this technique to elicit the idea that to stand out in a city, you need to build the biggest skyscraper. Nobody cares about the 8th biggest skyscraper—they only care about the tallest.

So, in summary, your job as a content creator is to create the biggest, baddest content out there—and then tell people about it.

Misinterpretations of the Technique

I fully believe in Brian’s idea, and it’s an immensely effective method of building your business, and hitting that 250,000+ increase goal. However, the technique is not without its critics—and I believe this is due to how Brian simplified the concept.

In essence, if you read the post on the Skyscraper Technique, Dean essentially says that in creating the best thing for a given keyword, and then building a ton of links to the page based on that quality, you’ll have enough for that page to rank. This isn’t always true.

Tower
The element that’s left out is the need for domain authority. If you’re starting from scratch and going against CNN, The New York Times and Business Insider, 40 links to a single page won’t be enough. You’ll need more combined authority in order to outpace them, even if their pages don’t stack up to yours.

It’s possible to build best-in-class content for a keyword, generate 40 links, and then keep building similar content like it to eventually get that page ranking #1. But that’s not the fastest growth model—and most businesses would like to see the revenue and benefit from ranking other pages in the interim.

Enter Keyword Opposition to Benefit (KOB) Analysis.

KOB Analysis, combined with the Skyscraper Technique, is the completion of your business-building equation.

How to Use KOB Analysis to Level Up Growth

What a KOB analysis does that the Skyscraper Technique doesn’t, is also consider revenue potential in combination with competition.

By looking at competition early, we can understand in advance if we are capable of ranking, even if our domain authority is low.

By looking at revenue potential, we can understand in advance that if we do rank, we’ll actually generate some business benefit from the activity—and not just rank for something without any buying intent.

A smart content strategy starts with the highest benefit content you can actually rank for, first, and then builds from there.

And after enough time, effort, and subsequent rankings, you can then consider creating the Empire State Building.

The KOB Equation for Top-of-Funnel Content

Originally popularized by Todd Malicoat, KOB analysis can have many different forms and levels of complexity. For the purposes of this analysis and your own implementation, we’ll keep it relatively simple.

KOB

Breaking it down, Traffic Cost is SEMRush’s way of showing the hypothetical value of a page. Traffic Cost estimates the traffic a page is getting by estimating clickthrough rate (CTR), and then multiplying it against all the positions it ranks for. From there, it looks at what others would be willing to pay for that same traffic using Google AdWords’ CPC.

This gives us an estimated Traffic Cost, which is a strong estimator of the real value of a page. We use page-level traffic cost, and think less about individual keywords, because keywords are becoming less relevant due to Google becoming increasing intelligent at determining topics because of their recent Hummingbird update.

Given that, what we really need to do is grab the page ranking #1 for the main keyword, dump it into SEMRush, and then see what other keywords that page ranks for—showing the true “topic value” of that keyword set.

If we only use a single keyword, we almost certainly sell ourselves short.

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Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool gives us a quick snapshot of the competition on a given keyword set, to allow us to determine Difficulty. Although we can’t really glean topic difficulty at this given time, grabbing the difficulty of one of the biggest keywords is a pretty good indicator of the entire topic set – so we’ll do that.

Although Traffic Cost is a great metric to start with, and scales well throughout a team of beginners, it is suggested you modify those numbers appropriate to your own business. Not every topic will be valuable to you, and it’s possible some topics will be even more valuable than the metric listed.

Proceed as appropriate.

KOB Analysis Example: Content Marketing

To give an example of this process in action, let’s look at the keyword “content marketing”. Inputting it in Moz’s keyword difficulty tool, we get back the following data:

kob-analysis

Editors note: As of August 2016, Moz has shifted away from their difficulty score to a new tool, Keyword Explorer. It has its own difficulty metric that’s slightly different from what’s laid out here. AHREFs and SEMRush also have their own scores. Really, what tool you use is up to you/personal preference/assessment of accuracy, but there are several options for determining SERP difficulty.

At this surface level, it’s easy to see that yes, the keyword is extremely competitive, and also, that a lot of people search for this keyword each month.

But we’re missing some inputs—namely, what’s the potential value of each of those visits, and also, does this topic have lots of other long-tail that make it a much bigger keyword?

We uncover this using SEMRush and the search results. Go to Google, and grab the number one result—or whatever result you think you are capable of creating 10x content for. In this case, that result is the “What is Content Marketing?” page from CMI.

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We then input that URL into SEMRush to get the breadth of the opportunity available, and also, a guess about the value based on what other people are bidding on similar traffic.

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In this case, we see that the estimated traffic to the page is 13,300 visits a month, based on 1,100 keywords. That would have been a lot of missed long-tail if we had just settled on the singular keyword.

Using their estimated traffic*CPC equation, we see that the estimated value of ranking #1 for “content marketing” and other keywords in the topic area is $228,000 per month.

Once we have the traffic cost number, we divide it by the keyword difficulty, 76%, to get the KOB score. In this case, our KOB score is 300,000.

Out of context, that score means nothing. We need to do more research, and build a topic database we can utilize to appropriately prioritize the content we create.

Suffice to say, though, this keyword is an extremely valuable one. However, its difficulty means it’s not something most companies (including our own) can get even close to ranking for in the short-run.

We need to ladder up to taking a shot at it, even with amazing content—because we won’t be able to sniff page one without more domain authority. We’ll get to that soon in our upcoming section on choosing the right topic.

Scaling Keyword Research

Now that you know how to identify and properly value a topic, it’s time to aggregate as many topics as possible that make sense for your given vertical.

The SEO world has always been focused on keywords, so the idea of doing topic research is a somewhat novel concept. However, it can easily be done, it just takes a few extra steps. Here are a few hacks we’ve learned to quickly build a list of top-and-mid-funnel topics.

SEMRush’s Page Analysis

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SEMRush has a relatively new feature that allows you to quickly see the highest-trafficked pages for a given domain. It’s a bit buried, so can be easy to miss, but it’s a no-brainer shortcut to quickly unveil the topics with massive traffic. Unfortunately it doesn’t immediately give you traffic or traffic cost, but one extra step will solve that for you.

We like finding the big publishers in our clients’ verticals and then opening up this feature in SEMRush—it’s a quick way to uncover topics we think we can replicate—and improve—as a method of building valuable traffic.

Don’t limit it to publishers, though—you should actually do this for any competitor or business worth a salt in your space—it’ll open up a wealth of opportunity you might miss otherwise.

Keyword Planner’s Ad Group Ideas

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Although initially intended for bidding purposes, Google’s ad group ideas nicely mimic topics, and can give you a decent snapshot of the true potential of a given group. Don’t rely on the average monthly searches, though—use the same process mentioned above to build on Google’s initial research to get a more accurate snapshot.

A Video Walkthrough of the Process

If video is more your thing, I’ve created a tutorial walkthrough showing you some of the basics of the keyword research process.

 

 

Building from There—Hard Work

In my experience, good keyword research, beyond the above quick hacks, basically comes down to hard work. Get creative, grab lots of different keyword variants, use phrase match to grab a massive list of relevant terms and crop from there, and etc.

That’s not to say there isn’t lots of more detailed, in-depth resources on the topic to help you build on your list. I can go on from there, but it’s slightly outside the scope of this post to do so. If a keyword research newbie, I recommend checking out some of the following articles, which go into more depth on the topic:

An Example of the KOB Research Process

So, what does this process look like? What should your spreadsheet of research contain? To fast-track your learning, we’ve created a 100-topic research set for a hypothetical vertical—our own.

Click the below image and you’ll see a list of 100 topics, including traffic cost and traffic numbers, we built out for our own content marketing business. You can copy the spreadsheet and clear out the data to make it pertinent to your own business.

get-spreadsheet

You might think I’m kinda crazy giving out that competitive research for free, but honestly, I don’t think it matters. Research is one thing, but past the research—as you’ll see in the 5,000+ other words in this guide, execution is everything.

2. Prioritize Topics You Can Rank For Today

With your research in hand, it’s time to start segmenting the content you need to create, and then prioritizing appropriately.

KOB is a great metric that helps nudge lower competition, high benefit terms higher on your list, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically pick the highest KOB topic. That would be “SEO” on ours, and with a difficulty of 86%, it’s not something we’ll be in a position to rank for even three years from now.

What you need to do from here is establish a baseline based on the authority of your domain, how good your content is going to be, and also, where in the funnel your content fits.

To give you an example, our domain authority is currently a mediocre 41 due to not putting a lot of emphasis on it in the past. For that reason, we want to (almost) automatically scratch off any keyword with a difficulty higher than 70%—we just can’t rank today. Even the 60% range as a starting point is gutsy, but it’s achievable if the content is good enough.

difficulty-gif

On the flipside, if your domain authority is in the 60s or 70s, your analysis isn’t about whether or not you can rank – you instead are trying to determine what keywords you can rank for without promotion, a nice luxury to have. In the 40s, you most likely don’t have that ability – every topic will require cold outreach in order to see the first page.

This baseline can vary on a few different variables, such as your topic authority. If you own Flowers.com and all your content and likes thus far have been about flowers, you can probably stretch for a higher difficulty term.

On the converse, if you’re a flower company trying to create more general lifestyle content, you might need to inflate the difficulty to make up for a lack of perceived authority.

Content Layering: Your Growth Multiplier

Content layering is the most powerful part of this process, and one of the pieces of this strategy that many haven’t realized the power of.

If you can create content that generates links, ranks well, and layers directly on top of one of your landing pages, you’ll not only see the value of that additional traffic, there’s also a strong certainty you’ll push your more commercial landing page to #1 as well.

Confused? Let me show you an example.

Before buying a snowboard, you probably want to know what size makes sense for your frame. Therefore, you’d probably search for something like “snowboard sizing” or “snowboard sizing chart”. These two searches are right before the purchase—but not directly commercial.

As a snowboard provider, if you could get content in front of the end user in that position, there’s a stronger-than-normal chance they’d buy from you.

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Evo does exactly that. They have a nicely done guide that ranks for pretty much every keyword in this set.

But the value here doesn’t just lie in the normal marketing purchase funnel stuff you’ve probably read a million times before. The power lies in the additional SEO benefits that come from layering a page like this on top of their core landing page.

Creating this page does the following things to help Evo rank for “snowboards”:

  • When people then search “snowboards”, they are more likely to click Evo due to the brand awareness that was just generated. The CTR increase may lead to a later reranking based on perceived (and real) brand authority. You might not have a massive brand, but you can generate similar signals with layering.
  • Generating links to this page (that links to the landing page) may increase topic authority/funnel relevancy to the landing page. Nothing groundbreaking, but there’s no doubt that increasing your authority through links, and more content around the subject, may impact the bottom-stage ranking as well.
  • Enables them to get landing page links in the outreach process. Although this is something Evo didn’t actually do, it is possible to get landing page links in the outreach process due to the semantic closeness. We go more in-depth on this strategy on our post on how to get landing page links with blog content.

When these three things are combined—particularly part one, you can push many bottom-funnel landing pages higher. We’ve seen it happen—time and time again.

Imagine ranking for a snowboard sizing page that gets you 8,100 monthly searches, that then pushes you to one for terms that get you 38,000 – like in Evo’s case.

Imagine doing that for wakeboards as well, and seeing 1,900 searches from that mid-funnel set, which powers you to #1 for wakeboards and 13,200 more visits.

Imagine doing that for every product in your product line. One by one. Layer by layer.

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That’s how you see 500,000 increases in web traffic.

In simpler terms, Evo, and many businesses like them, benefit from many mid-funnel terms that exist in their space. If you can create middle-funnel content that ranks #1, it’s a strong lock you can level up your bottom-funnel to #1 as well.

What if No Content Layering Topics Exist?

Unfortunately, not every business has topics that so easily layer on top of sales pages. Top of funnel is further out, more abstract, and a little less likely to have the CTR effect layering does.

For example, in a business like ours, it’s unlikely any term we could rank for would have a significant CTR impact on any agency or services related term. Therefore, it’s less likely we can create content that will have the multiplier effect that Evo is lucky enough to have.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t still pursue top-of-funnel content. But unlike Evo, it’s integral that you find ways to massage people through the funnel – such as email marketing, or latching them onto social accounts.

This isn’t anything new—what’s interesting and integral, though, is the how you pick those top-funnel terms.

The topic selection decision tree looks something like this:

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Distilled, this means that we generally are searching for topics we think have an outreach market, especially at the top of the funnel. Links are still super important, not just in getting those pages to rank, but also to help boost the domain authority as a whole.

Since not every topic is inherently linkable, there’s some finesse to selecting the right concept. I get into more depth in the above post on outreach markets, but also walk you through some topic selection analysis in the video below.

 

 

If we can generate links to something top-of-funnel, not only do we benefit in getting that page to rank, but we also boost the other bottom-funnel pages – creating a micro-effect comparable to what we saw Evo encounter above.

Therefore, if all else is equal in terms of time/effort/KOB, we want to select the content we can generate links to, as that’s the fastest path to the sharp incline Evo incurred – especially in overall revenue.

Of course, we are always thinking about cost/value/likelihood we can upgrade the best content in the vertical—it is almost always the case that the low competition content, although lower benefit, also doesn’t need the same content quality the high competition terms do, so we can sometimes capture more benefit at a faster velocity by hitting those terms earlier.

A Final Option: Keywordless Linkbait

If you don’t have much middle funnel, and you don’t have much top funnel, you might find yourself in the unfortunate bucket of folks that only have one area remaining – the bottom. For these people, searchless linkbait is what’s required to move the needle traffic wise.

By searchless linkbait, what I’m implying is that “linkbait” can be achieved – and should be aimed for, with topics that actually have search volume. I disdain keywordless linkbait. We still do it, but when we do, we’re almost always doing it with low cost, high reward pieces that are done with strong confidence in success.

The best, most powerful content in the world is keyword-driven linkbait. No, you probably can’t generate viral content from most search-driven pieces, but the value from those pieces will almost always be higher. And you can still generate 40-100 links for these, which will move the needle for your bottom funnel in the exact same way.

It is these keyword-driven linkbait pieces that will almost solely power massive traffic increases. Keywordless linkbait won’t do it. It has a place, and it has value for the right business, but it’s not what we put our heart behind.

The play by play on how to create linkbait is slightly beyond the scope of this article. I suggest the following pieces for more detail on linkbait best practices:

3. Create Content 10x Better Than Competitors
Hopefully you now have some comfort with researching and choosing topics that make sense for your business. Now comes the hard part—actually creating the content.

You see, not only do you have to create content around a topic, it’s also recommended that you create content that’s 10x better than the competition. Simply being two to three times better may not be enough to get yourself recognized.

You’d probably ignore a 1.25x better version of Facebook, right? You’d really need a 10x option to pull you away.

The same thought process applies to content, and also, appeasing the search engines. Don’t bet on your 1.25x piece winning the race—make it a no-brainer initiative that not even an imperfect search engine could mess up.

The following infographic summarizes all the best practice data that separates most 10x content from the 1x content. Combine it all, execute like hell, and you might even end up at #1.

10x

4. Generate Links to Your Content... Every Time
Now that you’ve got your 10x content, it’s time to tell people about it. Without this piece of the process, it’s almost impossible to drive traffic to your website of any significant volume.

Outreach has a lot of depth and complexity—but to operate at 80% of operational efficiency—plenty if you’ve got amazing content, it comes down to finding the right targets, and sending the right emails… at a good speed.

These are all the tools you’ll need to get to that level:

  • Link Prospector – Identify targets who may link to you using advanced search queries at scale, which are combined to create a prospect list.
  • OpenSiteExplorer / Majestic / Ahrefs – Identify who is linking to other content like yours, and reach out to them.
  • Link Miner – Identify broken links on other people’s pages. By telling them the links are broken, you’ll add value/give them a reason to correct the page and add your link.
  • BuzzStream / Other CRM – Long term, you’ll want to collect information on your targets, develop relationships, and make sure bigger teams don’t reach out to the same prospects.
  • TextExpander – Allows you to quickly paste outreach templates using text shortcuts for quicker efficiency.
  • Voila Norbert – The most efficient method of finding emails on the market using only the prospect’s fire name, last name, and website address.

Once you’re all tooled out, you’ll need outreach templates. From there, you’ll really only need two templates to get started—one for cold suggestions and one for broken link building.

For any sites without an existing page your content fits into, the cold outreach template is best.

Cold Outreach Template

SUBJECT: ASSET FOR WEBSITENAME: DESCRIPTION

BODY: Hey NAME,

Thought you might might like this ASSET for WEBSITENAME BECAUSEREASON.

You can see it here: HTTP://WWW.URL.COM/ASSET

If you like it, would definitely appreciate if you considered sharing it. Cheers!

For companies with existing, evergreen link pages, you’ll want to use the broken link building template. It is not suggested you use this on old blog posts, only pages webmasters will still update.

Broken Link Building Template

SUBJECT: Broken links and suggestion for WEBSITENAME

BODY: Hey NAME,

I was checking out your PAGENAME page and noticed a few broken links, specifically LINK1 and LINK2. Thought you’d like to know! COMMENT ON PAGE

I also wanted to suggest a resource I think you might like. It’s ASSET DESCRIPTION.

You can see it here: HTTP://WWW.URL.COM/ASSET

If you like it, would definitely appreciate if you considered it for your page. Cheers!

If you’re new to outreach and the above recommendations don’t ring a bell, I’ve also recorded a video walking you through how to write pitch emails, email finding, and the tools as well.

 

 

5. Increase Your Link Volume by 21% With Influencer Monitoring

I’ve been doing link outreach for seven years. I think I’ve seen a lot.

I don’t do outreach as much anymore, but I still do on occasion just to stay in touch, and get a feel for how things are changing. Just recently I got my hands dirty, did some outreach, and thought of something new.

That’s why I was so excited by a new strategy that increased our output by 21%… almost overnight.

If you’ve ever needed to generate links to your content, you know the power of link roundups. Links of the week, “the best links of the day/month/etc”, are very powerful methods of getting links… because they’re so low friction for publishers.

There are a few tools that exist that allow you to find these posts. Link Prospector (a tool that uses several Google queries to uncover the most and creative Google queries) and the free-version, Google, are amongst the most powerful.

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One of their weaknesses, though, is that you still can’t be certain they will identify all of them. Some of these link roundup posts, unfortunately, have some really weird names.

Some real examples: “Friday Finds”, “What I’m Reading”, “Positively Present Picks”.

What? How can we possibly identify names like these at scale?

The answer comes from leaning on the high authority publishers in your space. If you can find publishers who put out really high quality content with frequency, but not too much frequency (5x a week is the perfect amount), and have a strong domain authority (normally 70-90) you’ll have a goldmine of roundups at your fingertips.

To find these, I suggest putting the domain into BuzzSumo, and then sorting shares by the past month. You’ll get the most popular content, which definitely will correlate with the highest likelihood of being included in a link roundup.

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A good example of this is Moz, the blog of note in the SEO space. If I dump Moz into BuzzSumo, I’ll see Rand’s predictions for 2016 is the most shared post of the past month.

From there, you’ll want to get a glimpse of the most recent links to that post. Recent links are the most likely to be low friction roundups.

Take the URL found from your authority publisher and put it into your link tool of choice – my preference being Moz’s same tool, Just Discovered, because it’s most likely to get us links in the quickest fashion. Look at the links to that post, and that post only.

For these high authority sites, you’d get a lot of noise otherwise—so looking at recent posts, and recent posts only, is what’s most likely to give you good results.

If we do this for Rand’s post, we see the fruits of our labor—posts we would have likely never found otherwise.

… and more.

Imagine having a really good SEO post you recently published that doesn’t have quite the visibility Moz has. You can use this process for Moz, and other blogs like it, to uncover lots of these link roundups you never could have found otherwise.

You won’t just get four links to reach out to… you’ll likely have ten plus new ones… all of which will likely have a ~50% conversion rate, assuming your links are actually good enough to be included.

Do this for your search-driven content—especially the content likely to do worse from a links perspective—to create a well-rounded strategy that pushes most of your content above the fold on the first page of Google.

6. Grow Long-Term Website Traffic by 66% with Last Updated

One issue with this process—and the numbers, is sustainability. There’s no lock that your rankings will hold. Your content could get outdated. Your rankings could fluctuate.

That’s true, but it’s possible to avoid it. This comes from content maintenance, an often overlooked, and also stupidly easy, part of the content marketing mix.

Publishing a blog post does not mean you are banned from ever updating it again.  

In 2013, there was a trend of fake-updating your post timestamps to create an artificial sense of freshness that would benefit you in the search results. Google got called out for this.

It seems like its been toned down slightly, but the effect is still there. People click more recent posts, more often. As they should. This in turn enables more recent posts to benefit from engagement, hypothetically helping them rank higher. Turnover-heavy SERPs are littered with fresh posts.

The wheel turns.

However, this doesn’t mean there’s a dichotomy between manipulation and really old posts. You can update your timestamp, tell users they didn’t come out yesterday, and not be a complete liar.

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Enter this example from Brian Dean. Brian keeps a lot of his posts updated, but he doesn’t fake that the posts came out last week. He includes “Last Updated”, which goes a long way towards communicating that the more-outdated parts of this post have been changed, and you can trust the rest.

This way, if you see a post published last week and it mentions something from 2014, you won’t be jarred. You won’t auto-bounce-back to Google and never trust that site again. You’ll see the difference, and not hate Brian—as long as he actually updates his content.

We’ve adopted this. On our small site, we increased website traffic by 79%. On Anthony Nelson’s test of a much larger one, he saw a 66% web traffic lift.

new-data

It’s a simple solution. You can do the same thing on your WordPress site by replacing a single code snippet in your theme’s template. If you’re comfortable modifying code, then this tutorial from wphacks.com is easy to follow.

Track your topics, update your content at a pace that makes sense for the idea, and you’ll see great growth over time. Maybe even 250,000+ monthly growth. Sustainably.

7. Put it all Together [Additional Resources & Checklists]

This is not easy. It was easy writing the title of this post. It was much, much harder grinding out the process over three years. But I’m glad I could finally write a post with a title that made it seem easy.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t work. Hell yes it works. But it’s tough. It’s a grind. And it’s a process of dedication and execution. You need talented people in many locations, as well as strategic oversight to glue it all together.

And do it again. And again. And again.

As should be no surprise, that’s what this kind of growth requires. But it’s possible. In my opinion, the strategy itself is not that complicated. It’s the execution—and the repetition of that execution—that will allow you to achieve the results.

If this all felt overwhelming, I’ve put together a free checklist that’ll give you a rubric for executing this process right every single time.

Get it, and a beautiful PDF version of this post, by clicking the download button below. And if this process is a bit too complex and hard-to-implement for your liking, check out our content creation services to have it done for you. I’ll see you at 250,000 visits.

Checklist-Download-1

  • “execution is everything” – hit the nail on the head. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…

    Great post – now I need to go drink!

  • Basheir Hashim

    This is an excellent guide Ross, it builds nicely on the Skyscraper technique and explains in details all the steps involved. Thanks for sharing and putting it together.

  • One of the most epic distillations of the entire process ever, complete with multiple infographics and downloads. This is the new blueprint!

    Question: I’m a huge fan of SEMrush as well. I’ve been using their keyword difficulty tool instead of Moz’s. Do you prefer Moz’s because it’s more accurate? Or is SEMrush’s good enough to get a feel?

    • Hey Joe, I honestly hadn’t heard of SEMRush’s tool/didn’t realize it existed until now. It seems way faster, but I ran a few low competition SERPs and it reported the difficulty as being really high, which seems inaccurate. Have you seen different?

      • Yea SEMRush’s is fast, but the problem is that often their keyword database doesn’t have a lot of the low-mid volume keywords. So more often than Moz the keywords just aren’t there and you get no score.

        Would be worthy to see a side-by-side comparison for a few different keyword buckets.

      • I was curious so I compared the scores of both and made a copy of your doc – http://bit.ly/siege-kob – there’s definitely huge swings on some of them, with SEMRush’s higher on most of them

        One super useful other thing that SEMRush does with their difficulty is show the SERP features like News, Video, Images, etc for each KW

  • Michael Pozdnev

    That is an excellent post. Shared!

  • Nicely done Ross as usual. The point that a site’s DA can help you determine if you can outrank it is a viable one. I think too many people might read the Skyscraper Technique who have a DA 15 site and think they can outrank Forbes with a good post and some solid outreach. It’s best to pick your battles accordingly!

  • Awesome Post Ross!

  • This is like an encyclopedia, wow!

  • Derek Devlin

    Ha. What I love is that you just SkyScrapered, the SkyScraper Technique post itself. This post is living breathing proof of concept. Great Work Ross and team.

  • Hey hey Ross!

    I have a business built on this type of method and Im always on the look for better ways to add value to our clients. With that said…

    This is my favorite (!!!) post on this topic (the skyscraper)! Period!

    Loved it a ton!

    Be awesome!
    Keith Breseé

  • Great post as usual Ross! I really like your approach to the skyscraper technique, as I’ve always my reservations on that approach. Thanks for show the KOB analysis, as it really makes a difference.

  • A Blar

    Great post Ross but I have a question on scaling the work that goes into producing the Kob score: how do you recommend you go about getting the MOZ difficulty score – do you do it manually then VLOOKUP everything or some other way? My current membership at MOZ allows 750 searches a day for KW difficulty so this can be a limiting factor in this research. Would you agree?

    • I agree, Moz can be a bit limiting. Mostly we do the topic research then dump the 400 into a spreadsheet and pull it out. If it’s a massive list/repetitive, we outsource some of the activity.

  • snavazio

    Respectfully, if according to you this “a repeatable, achievable strategy that anybody can accomplish, even at a smaller scale.” Then why don’t you fire everyone that’s not needed? Or are you saying that the percentage of “lift to work product” is repeatable even on a small scale? Again, with all due respect.

    • Hey there, I’m not sure I follow. What I mean by that is that not every vertical can achieve those numbers, nor would they want to because it would be non-qualified traffic. But for any market, even plungers, some smaller number is possible. Does that make sense? Or am I misinterpreting what you’re saying here.

      • snavazio

        Thanks for the response. I thought you were referring to the effort, I.E. 12 person team verse solo effort. Now I see you meant “vertical volume” . Thanks for the great article, BTW.

  • Brilliant article, Ross!

    “Top pages by search traffic” is probably my goto report whenever I want to research some website. (btw, we have that report in Ahrefs too)

    And as “hummingbird” is getting stronger, I see myself shifting all our learning materials from the concept of keywords to the concept of topics. Which you just nailed actually 🙂

  • Manoj Singhvi

    Great Article Ross!

  • Bill K.

    This was an awesome post! You definitely SkyScrapered the SkyScraper technique as someone else already mentioned.:)

    Next time someone tells me “SEO is easy, just get a plugin and it tells you what to do”, I will share this post. It does a good job of showing the amount of time and research a SEO professional has to commit if they want to be great!

    Very nice, really enjoyed this post.

  • Martin Rotstain

    This not to far from google’s ZMOT process, or “earn media” practice.
    Do not forget always to check the content with CQScore.com – researches found that if you to avoid penguin hit, a score above 70 is must to have.

  • This is incredible. Takes the best stuff I’ve read and absolutely add’s 10x the value. Thank you so much for sharing this process. Would love to see a version of this for a 1 man team who has a brand new website. Like…”How To Pick Your First 10 Pieces Of Content For A Brand New Business”

    • Hey Nathan, thanks for the kind words! I think that’s in there, you just have to dig deep. I’d just pick the lowest competition terms/start there, and make sure that you can generate a lot of links to those low competition terms. Then ladder up from there. Some of that detail should be in the Keyword Analysis video.

  • Thomas Roberts

    Great article Ross, thank you. I’ve come across an issue when calculating the KOB score as you outline above, and am interested to hear if you also noticed.

    When using the #1 page URL and inserting it into SEMRush, the traffic figure can be very misleading, as it shows all traffic for that page, not the specific keyword topic we’re interested in.

    This is particularly evident when a domain rank as #1, rather than an inner page which is on a specific topic, as the domain will generally attract traffic for a range of related topics.

    Obviously solution is to always select an inner page or domain name if highly related to keyword topic.

    • That’s true Thomas – this can happen when going after very competitive keywords. To avoid that you can just grab the first subpage you see ranking – subpages most of the time won’t have a lot of brand searches associated with them/you’ll see true topic value. It may be lower than normal, but in general can’t hurt to have a passive calculation when making arguments of what you might achieve.

      We’ll also do this if we feel like we can’t rank #1 but still think position 2 or 3 may be worth going after.

      • Thomas Roberts

        Thanks Ross

      • Webmastersquare

        Hey Ross, thank you for this awesome post. I’ve just put together an Outreach Tools collection:
        https://webmastersquare.com/outreach-tools/

        Hope it’s useful for anyone performing outreach as a part of the Skyscraper Technique. Please have a look, what do you think – maybe some important tools are missing? Thank you!

  • Adam Wesolowski

    Hi Ross! To be honest, this is the best piece of content about SEO I’ve read in ages! I’m thinking about the content strategy for a blog for securionpay.com (online payment gateway) and will definitely use the steps and research you provided, thanks! 🙂

  • Hi,
    Thanks for your valuable information. But here is a problem. I have created a blog( http://www.blogmehub.com ) in last month. But I cannot increase my blog traffic. I have applied many traffic methods, but may be those are not working. So what can I don right now?

    • tomsawyer

      your blog mobile speed score is just 59 :/ try to increase mobile speed.

  • ghostboi683

    I would like to thank Ross for this AMAZING post. There are too many internet marketers out there struggling to get traffic. How many people out there with mind-blowing websites that the world NEEDS that will never get enough traffic to get their ideas out to the public? How many people stuck at 9 to 5’s struggling to make money online only because they just CAN’T GET TRAFFIC? This is an extremely thoughtful post. The world needs more people who would create an article like this that could help the struggling moms out there trying to make money online.

    This article has helped me A LOT. You see, I’m starting a new venture. This is the first venture of mine where I will be really trying to drive good free traffic. I never really tried before. This new venture (site) is ‘the one’. It literally HAS to work if I can get enough quality, targeted traffic to it, and this site could make BILLIONS. So what I am looking for is high quality, PERMANENT (no work needed to maintain – long term – hands-free), targeted, free traffic, and this article has laid out one of these types of traffic sources. A very good one.

    High quality, permanent, targeted free traffic is the best type of traffic you could get. It’s hands free and pure ROI. So I highly recommend that anyone reading who needs traffic look into it. Some good high quality, permanent, targeted, free traffic sources you could use are number one, BaLooZo ( http://baloozo.com/get-instant-autopilot-targeted-website-traffic.html ), an ad site where you could post a permanent ad and push it to the top of the search results for your keywords and your category’s page 10 times a day, and there are advanced ad statistics. There are also feature PPC ads that go on top of the free ads that you could bid on for the first position, with a $0.001 load minimum and a $0.001 click minimum, in case you want to eventually pay for traffic, as well. You just sign up, post a permanent free ad and you’re getting permanent, free traffic forever.

    Number two is http://flickr.com, a photo sharing site. To get traffic with this site you have to create interesting, niche targeted images or take interesting niche targeted photos or screenshots, sign up, upload the photos using proper tags (keywords) to make the traffic targeted, and say in the description of the photo: “Feel free to use this image, but give credits to http://www.yourwebsite.com.”, and then you’re getting permanent, targeted, free traffic forever from people sharing your photos and crediting your link.

    Thanks a lot, Ross. You really don’t know what this means for me and how much you’ve just helped me.

    Does anyone know any other ways I could get permanent, targeted, free traffic? I would be ever-thankful if you could share one with me.

  • Harrison Okoyibo

    Deep thanks to you for posting and sharing this really valuable and great
    information about SEO here.

    The most important aspect of SEO is keyword research. It is the foundation of
    every successful web businesses. In addition, having relevant keywords in your
    titles or articles can get you to the top of Google over more “authoritative
    sites”; all because of keyword relevancy. This is an absolutely critical aspect
    to understand!

    I was really upset and discouraged when I was not able to come up with keywords
    ideas for my website. I found an agent @ https://goo.gl/ptLv7F
    who provides me with real keyword suggestions and info for my website. I have
    been using his services for sometimes now and he has been of assistance to me.

    As long as people use words to communicate with search engines, keywords will
    be a pillar of good SEO.

  • Jenny

    Really great blog Ross. These are really great tips. I would like to add one more point.

    Engage with your visitors. Talk to them , ask question , and tell about good points of your project. I am using Revechat software to engage with my customers. I talk to my visitors, whenever they need, I help them. It is the best practice to increase time. Show them other stffs related to their interest, share blog URLs. sometime I do videochat with my customers.

    Again thanks for this post Ross. Keep writing. 🙂

  • Nirav Patel

    its a nice blog . very help full for increasing web traffic. we are leading web traffic provider in india. you can buy traffic http://buywebtrafficindia.in/ here . Easy and cheapest way to increase your web traffic as well as your site revenue .

  • A good link i have found here backlinko and its SEO tool.

  • Great post, lots of new things to learn and implement on my own website. However, i do adopt strategies and most of the techniques on my website http://www.byte-notes.com but daily traffic fluctuates between 4k to 6k for the last three years. Dont know what to do.

  • Jason

    Very useful article. I like how you’ve combines videos, images, graphs, text and an infographic all in one piece Ross, very cool. I also like the KOB analysis info. I think I met you a few years ago Ross at a search love in Boston, ever present there? Also, here is an article that lists some good data on conversion optimization: http://www.oakwebworks.com/what-influences-online-consumers-most.htm

  • Gabriel St-Germain

    Hey Ross,

    Congratulations on the great post. I like how in-depth you go into the topic, especially the bit about the Skyscraper technique. Captivating read!

  • dont know there are so many methods to do to increase traffic

  • Great post Ross. I’ve a question regarding this section, if you don’t mind:

    “To give you an example, our domain authority is currently a mediocre 41 due to not putting a lot of emphasis on it in the past. For that reason, we want to (almost) automatically scratch off any keyword with a difficulty higher than 70%—we just can’t rank today. Even the 60% range as a starting point is gutsy, but it’s achievable if the content is good enough.”

    You have a DA of 41 — what is your process behind picking an (admittedly gutsy) target with ~60% keyword difficulty? Is there a rule of thumb that you’re using? What if you have a new site, and your DA was, say, 20-25 — how would that change what you targeted?

    • Hey Brian — it really comes down to confidence. For example this post/KW is really high competition, we’re currently bottom page one/I’m confident we could rank higher if I we actually did outreach for it/weren’t so focused on client work, but I knew I was writing something that was significantly better than other people had put out.

      So, if the degree to which you’re confident your resource will be better than the competition is significant, that can inform choosing a higher difficulty post because you know you’ll generate an outsized number of links to it. If you’re just as good, that’s probably going to get you stuck on page 2-3 because you don’t have the DA to compete.