All New 9 Step SEO Strategy

All new 9 SEO steps

9 Step SEO Strategies are those which are bought to you after research conducted by Backlinko on how you can leverage search traffic from Google.

Let’s dive right in…

Step #1: Find an “Opportunity Keyword”

Step #2: Analyze Google’s First Page

Step #3: Create Something Different… Or Better

Step #4: Add a Hook

Step #5: Optimize For On-Page SEO

Step #6: Optimize For User Intent

Step #7: Make Your Content Look Awesome

Step #8: Build Links to Your Page

Step #9: Improve and Update Your Content

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”:


Like most search results, you’ve got ads at the top of the page.

Plus, a Featured Snippet:


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?

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


And “SEO Audit” is an Opportunity Keyword.

You can also estimate organic CTR with Ahrefs.


For example, when we 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 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…


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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…


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.


Because it helps your content STAND OUT.

For example:

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

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



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

But that wouldn’t make any sense.

Instead, they created something totally different.

Specifically, they published an ultimate guide to mobile optimization.



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


And most important of all, backlinks:



This is a lot more straightforward.

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

…and publish something WAY better.

Step #4: Add a Hook

Here’s the deal:

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


Question is:


First, you need to figure out WHY people link to content in your industry.

(“The Hook”)

Then, include that “Hook” in your content.

For example:

Last year they noticed more and more bloggers writing about voice search.


They noticed something else too:

When people wrote about voice search, they linked to content that featured stats and data:


So they decided to do a voice search study that was PACKED with stats:


And it worked!

To date, this single post has racked up 848 backlinks:


And 90%+ of these backlinks cite a specific stat from my post:


That said:

Data is just one type of Hook that you can use to get links to your content.

Here are 3 other Hooks that are working great right now:

New Approaches and Strategies

Think about it:

What do bloggers and journalists LOVE writing about?

New stuff!

And if you create something new, you’ve got yourself a hook.

For example, a few years ago, they coined the phrase “Guestographics”.


This was a new strategy that no one knew about.

And because Guestographics were new (and had a unique name), 1,200 people have linked to my post so far:


Massive Guides

When you publish a massive guide, your guide itself is The Hook.

They have explained it with an example…

A few years back they published Link Building: The Definitive Guide.


It was (and still is) the most complete guide to link building out there.

Here’s where things get interesting…

Every now and again a blogger will mention “link building” in a post.

But they don’t have room to cover the entire topic.

So they link to Backlinko guide as a way for their readers to learn more:

Very cool.

Case Study Results

Case studies are GREAT for getting links.

But to get links to your case study, you need to feature a specific result.

For example, a while back they published this case study:


This was a SUPER in-depth case study.

But they didn’t feature ONE result in the post.

Instead, they listed out 20+ results:


Which meant their case study didn’t have a single Hook for people to link to.

And very few people linked to it.

Flash forward to a few years later when they published this case study:


This time, I focused on ONE result (a 785% increase in my blog’s conversion rate):


And that single result was The Hook that led to hundreds of links:

Step #5: Optimize For On-Page SEO

This step is all about keyword-optimizing your content for SEO.

And here are the 3 on-page SEO strategies that are working best for me right now:

Internal Linking

Yup, internal linking still works.

But you have to do it right.

Specifically, you want to link FROM high-authority pages TO pages that need authority.


For example, I published Google Search Console: The Definitive Guide earlier this year.


So they found a page on their site with a ton of authority…


…and linked from that page to their new guide.


Short, Keyword-Rich URLs

Backlinko analysis of 1 million Google search results found something that surprised a lot of people:

Short URLs crush long URLs.


Semantic SEO

Finally, they optimized their content for Semantic SEO.

In other words:

They found words that are related to my target keyword.

Then, they use those terms in their content.

Here are the deets:

First, pop your keyword into Google Images.


And Google will give you words and phrases they consider closely-related to that topic:

google-images-related-termsSecond, type the same keyword into a normal Google search. And scroll down to the “Searches related to…” section.

Finally, sprinkle some of those terms into your content:

And you’re set.

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Step #6: Optimize For User Intent

In other words: The Skyscraper Technique 2.0.

They will show you how this works with a quick example.

A few years ago they wrote a post about getting more traffic to your site.


It did OK.

But it never cracked the top 5 for my target keyword (“increase website traffic”).

And when they analyzed Google’s first page, I realized why:

Their page didn’t satisfy user intent.

I’ll explain…

Most of the content ranking for “increase website traffic” listed bite-sized traffic tips.


But the post gave them a high-level process.

So they rewrote the content to match this keyword’s User Intent.

Specifically, they turned the process into a list post:


And now their content matches User Intent, it ranks in the top 3 for their target keyword:

Step #7: Make Your Content Look Awesome

The design is THE most underrated part of content marketing.

You can have the best content ever written.

But if it looks like this…


…it’s not gonna work.

That’s why you need to invest A LOT of time and money into content design.

Graphs and Charts

These work so well that they try to include at least one chart in every post.


Now it’s time to actively build links to your content.

Specifically, we’re going to tap into 3 link building strategies that are working GREAT right now.

Broken Link Building

Here’s where you find a broken link on someone’s site…

…and offer your content as a replacement.

For example, this is an outreach email that I sent to a blogger in the marketing niche:


Competitor Analysis

This strategy is old school.

But it still works.

First, find a site that’s ranking for a keyword you want to rank for.

For example, Backlinko is trying to rank for the keyword “SEO Audit”.

So they grab this result from the first page…


and look at their backlinks


They could see that the page had links from 160 domains


So now they were able to get at least a handful of the same links they have.

To do that, they went one-by-one through their backlinks.

And found pages where their link would add value.

This time, the link to Ahrefs was part of a big list of resources.

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Step #9: Improve and Update Your Content

This is working amazingly well right now.

You might have read about the time that Backlinko used The Content Relaunch to boost their organic traffic by 260.7%:

Content relaunch post image frombacklinko

For example, last year they relaunched this list of SEO techniques.

But they didn’t just re-post the same content and call it “new”.

Instead, they went through and removed old screenshots and images:

Removed screenshots images

Added new strategies:

Add new strategies images

The result?

A 62.60% organic traffic boost to that page.

Note: The content is originally published on Backlinko. Images and infographics are all owned by Backlinko.

Affiliate Note: This post contains the links which are affiliated to the sponsored products when you click on them and do the purchases, we get the small commission for those links.

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