Driving organic traffic to one’s website is the biggest challenge new Internet brands face.
I have experienced it before, and I see other business owners struggle with the same problem time and time again.
The worst part is that without search engine traffic, we’ll be at risk on losing sales and looking amateur to perspective clients.
So if your site is getting low or no traffic at all, doing few actionable techniques can rack up your sales.
In this article, I am going to give you the top actionable and powerful tips that Neil Patel followed to double his SEO and organic rankings.
Neil Patel has co-founded numerous digital agencies including Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, and KISSmetrics that helped companies like Viacom, Amazon, and NBC increase their revenue.
He has been doing marketing for various companies for 7 years now. He was cited a New York Times bestselling author and one of the top 10 marketers in the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30.
Now, let’s dive into the tips Neil Patel followed:
Prioritizing the best content for optimization opportunities
In March 2017, Neil Patel’s team together with the MarketMuse’s solutions was able to conduct essential update on over 400 blog posts.
With the help of the optimization software, his content that ranks was differentiated from the non-ranking.
Here are the solutions that made it possible:
Step #1: Identify Under-Performing Blog Post
“Why aren’t my blog posts performing well?” At some point, every small business or entrepreneur has asked this question.
It might be a common question, but tackling this problem is way pricklier than it seems.
Unfortunately, not every blog you create will attract the attention of the audience. Many marketers still struggle with creating content that is engaging enough and worthy of traffic.
So here’s what you should look for to identify the underperforming content:
a. No social engagement
One of the easiest ways to track the underperforming blog posts is to look at the number of shares and direct engagement.
This problem usually points back to issues with the content not matching the user’s search intent and poor call to action.
b. Poor organic traffic and post metrics
High exit rate, loss of referral links, and changes in organic search rank are probably the contributing factors for poor content metrics and organic traffic.
Ideally, you want the audience to completely read your post, but that is not going to happen if your content is poorly optimized.
Get more organic traffic by executing advanced marketing techniques and using SEO traffic tools.
c. No follow through
Despite seeing a fair number or engagement and shares, without a follow through from an extended audience could also lead to loss of steady organic traffic.
Step #2. Identify a Focus Topic
Once you’ve found under performing blog post, you need to find a focus topic that’ll help you improve your outdated content.
How do you find a focus topic?
Follow the below techniques.
a. Identify content gaps
Another great starting point for doubling your SEO and organic ranking is through identifying content gaps. Using a web analytics, you will be able to scale the conversion and traffic of content.
So how did Neil Patel identify content gaps?
First, he made a map of all the existing content. This entails the goals, target audience, keyword use, usability, social and organic traffic and conversions.
Then, he looked at measures the current performance of the content to the goals and desired results.
In other words, before you can structure necessary steps to bridge the gap, you first need to have a clear definition of what your goals and desired performance are.
The ultimate solution to this problem is to perform the historical optimization consisting of modifying content to match the user’s search intent, creating a profound blog post that will boost shares and social engagement, changing links, adding visual elements, and improving keyword use.
According to Rachel Andrea Go, you need to;
- Look at the best performing articles of your competitors.
- Look at your current posts and analyze what’s lacking –look for gaps to be filled.
- Keep a list of questions your clients ask, and build out articles based on what they want to know.
b. Focus on promoting content in all possible ways
Old content promotion strategies won’t work anymore. Before, continuous posting of content, tweeting, and keyword stuffing will get you the traffic you desire.
However, Google analytics have improved and it is putting more emphasis on domain authority and links.
To increase blog posts popularity, Neil Patel made a prospect of or a list of possible shares before he publish.
He retargets his audience to grow his connections then email people to let them know about the updated content.
Let’s see what Sawaram Suthar founder of Thenextscoop.com recommends;
- Write what customer or reader love- you can write content focused on the readers, but at the same optimize them for the better search engine.
- Focus on the in-depth article (an article which is more than 1500 words with proper readability get more exposure and also have a chance to get rank)
- Write Unicorn content – it means a post should combine text, visual content, graphs, stats, and tables
- Promote everywhere – Readers never come to you until you approach them, so it’s better to focus on promoting content in all possible ways – email marketing, social sharing, community sharing, social ads (including Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon)
c. Use Yoast SEO plugin
SEO and readability analysis is essential to get audience engagement. The most important features of Yoast SEO plugin is its ability to check the length of content and the presence of transition words and passive voice that can influence the decision making of customers.
According to Joel Libava Founder of Thefranchiseking.com, the first thing he do, is to go over the original post with the Yoast SEO plugin.
He checks the sentence structure, and makes any needed changes to improve readability. He also tightens up the SEO.
Next, Joel does a search for recent news articles having to do with the original keywords he used in the content.
If nothing useful comes up, he search for other types of content; blog posts, infographics and/or videos. He always finds something he can use.
Generally speaking, Joel adds his take on the new information he found in the form of an “Update.” It takes him about a half hour.
But, sometimes something changes so much, he has to immediately jump in and change it.
For example, a while back, Joel wrote a post titled “How To Buy A Starbucks Franchise.” It turned out to become his most popular post.
Then, a few months after it was published, he discovered that Starbucks corporate decided to stop selling franchises.
So, he immediately added the following to the post, but not at the top: “Announcement: Starbucks Has Stopped Selling Franchises”
That way, Joel was able to keep the original keyword phrase, and add a timely update-without totally upsetting new visitors.
That post continues to be his #1 source of traffic.
As John Wessinger, put it:
I use the Yoast SEO Plugin for my blog posts to help create the title, the URL slug and the meta description. The plugin also helps determine a keyword for the entire post.
Through an analysis, you can see the density of the keyword or how many times it is used. Yoast can also tell you how long the post is and if you need to increase the total word count for the post.
As well as how many internal and outbound links you have on the page. All of this analysis helps to improve the article and ensures you are doing what is needed to make a post that is not only readable but drives organic traffic through search.
d. Circle back to promoting content that already exists
Publication is an important factor in content marketing. Your content should be able to offer enough value so that people will get interested. Promoting and nurturing existing content is a great strategy to achieve this goal.
What are the benefits of promoting existing content?
Alexandra Tachalova recommends that before you start any recommend starting any piece with a thoughtfully considered content promotion plan.
The “let’s post it and things will happen” approach doesn’t work. Before investing in a new post, it might make sense to circle back to promoting content that already exists.
In order to make thing happen, you need to estimate the number of links you have to acquire to outrank the other sites currently ranking in Google by a specific search query you’re interested in.
It sounds very simple, but few people actually do this. To analyze the current situation in SERPs, you can use any tool that allows you to do backlink analysis, such as SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, or Majestic.
Actually, some time ago I made a post where I compared the functionality of the above tools.
e. Rejuvenate the interest of audience
Promoting existing content is the best way to reach people who may be interested in your topic.
Knowing your blog post’s past popularity, you can redistribute and increase information that have been forgotten.
f. Improve visibility and maximize campaign effectively
By continuously promoting your existing content, you are subsequently increasing its visibility and the efficiency of your campaign.
The compound effects include: people get to see your piece, people get engage and share, and you will get more support from new readers or followers.
g. Started to research topics for each blog post
By using MarketMuse, Neil Patel was able to get a much broader list of topics he can promote in his content.
Since the software is a content analyzer focused on topics and user intent, comprehensive topic coverage was achieved.
h. Identify niche-focused content and answer questions that your audience cares about
The problem with low search volume can be attributed to the issues in your SEO and low niche-focused content.
Neil Patel realized that keywords are seasonal and therefore used in a particular time. Using resources, his strategy is to put extra focus on specific keywords and niche to improve search volume.
According to Ronsela, you might be the best copywriter, and blogger, but before you excel in your blogging business, you must learn how to identify the best blog topics in your niche. This can help connect you to your audience.
The primary aim of every blogger is to offer useful and helpful information to readers with the sole purpose of driving traffic to their blogs.
The biggest challenge many bloggers face is identifying the best topics in their niche.
Here are simple strategies that can help you.
Identify niche-focused content
There are different ways you can identify niche-focused contents, which you can easily share. Here are some of the strategies that can assist you to identify those shareable topics.
First, you can use Ahref’s content explorer. You cannot ignore this most important blogging tool. It is not difficult to use this tool.
You will get more information about the most shared contents of your niche on the internet.
The information here is collected from different sources such as organic search traffic, as well as social shares, and referring domains and so on. You will discover many contents here.
Look for those that offer what you want, and do more research on them. This strategy will assist you to identify the best blog topics.
Moreover, you can get useful information from your blog or content followers, and your social media followers. You can ask your followers and your subscribers. These will provide useful information that can assist you to excel.
Furthermore, you can identify the hottest blog topics by using the Flipboard. This is a social media magazine.
This platform is not a social networking site; it can help you to identify topics of interests. By searching the various Flipboard magazines, you can identify important topics of interest.
Answer questions that your audience cares about
This is another strategy you can adopt today to identify the best blog topics. You can accomplish this in different ways.
First, you can use Answer the Public to identify those questions. Before you begin to search for blog topics, you can check out what your audience wants, and try to satisfy that.
Answer The Public is the most useful tool for this. This is perhaps the most important Google tool. It helps you discover those things people search for in your niche. You can fall back to this important tool to identify the most promising blog topics.
Secondly, you can search the Quora for those questions with the most attention. Consider Quora as an essential blogging tool.
It has many ideas, and you can always consult it to discover those questions people ask within your niche. You can repeatedly get fresh content through this strategy. You can make Quora your friendly tool.
Furthermore, you can rely on Google People Also Ask tool to identify the most promising blog topic. This tool offers excellent information to bloggers, and you can count on this tool to get the best blog topics in your niche.
Optimize your topics for your readers and search engines
Once an opportunity comes your way, you have to take full advantage of it. There are different ways of doing this. Start searching for the high volume keywords on your topic.
With this, you can discover those topics. In addition to that, filter for keywords based on keyword difficulty.
Most importantly, some other people may have discussed your topic niche before. Consider whether you can quote those influencers.
There are several ways of identifying the best blog topics in your niche. Implement those you can quickly do. Some of them involve money while many of them are free.
i. Talk directly with your customers
Communication with customers can make or break your business. Being able to talk directly with potential clients can lead to increased sales or referrals.
Consequently, it can also lead to frustration, negative reviews, and decreased sales.
The experience of people will improve once you are able to maintain a consistent good management and marketing techniques.
Brandon Hassler founder of Marketcampus.com stresses that; there is a lot of great information out there about using keyword research to identify the best topics to create content around.
His favorite way to generate content ideas, however, is to educate through questions.
Make a giant list of every question every customer and potential buyer has ever asked about your product/service.
Sit down with your sales and customer support teams and see what questions often come up.
Ask yourself “what educational content can our company make available so that potential buyers feel more confident in their purchase decision?”
Once you have a list of those questions, start creating blog posts and videos around each question and you will have valuable content that not only will make you more of an authority in your space, but also increase leads and customers.
j. Target different Buyer Personas with rich content
Buyer persona is defined as a fictional representation of your target audience. It serves as a method to structure product or service development and consequently attracts more potential customers.
Personas will eventually change and evolve as you learn more about the interests of your clients and as your business progresses.
Having a rich content will target various buyer personas and help in content marketing purposes such as delivering useful and relevant information to your audience.
Srish Agrawal founder of & CEO – A1future.com told me that, picking a new blog post idea isn’t focused towards flooding content on his websites.
It’s a well calculated idea to target different Buyer Personas with rich content which helps them get answers of their queries.
He always follow the following 4 steps to finalize a blog post idea:
Keyword Research: Gathering Keywords data & their trends/search volumes is the most important. Srish use Google Trends, SEMRush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest and Keyword Planner tool to finalize new keywords (based on buyer personas).
Gather Relevant Data: Apart from keyword details, understanding the user behavior is very important.
Srish tries to find the persona’s behavior for finalized keywords. For that, he checks his old posts, competitors’ posts, engagements on similar topics on Social Media, content types, etc.
Understand Goals: He finds answer to these questions before proceeding. Is the blog relevant to his business? Will it serve to his business goals? Is it practical for his buyer personas? If all his answers are ‘YES,’ he’s good to go!
Follow Reader’s Discussion: This is perhaps the best way to keep your audience hooked and interested in your next piece.
Keep following the questions, comments & discussion on your blog posts. That thread will help you more than anything else in finalizing your next set of questions.
k. Work with another brand in your industry to promote the new content
Focusing on your brand’s vision entails connecting and sharing with other influencers. It is one of the most important techniques that are often overlooked.
If you don’t have anyone who can add expert advice on your blog posts, you will be providing something with less substance, and consequently lose potential clients.
A webinar or a podcast is a great method to partner with influencers to reach out to people and promote awareness on your product or services.
By hosting a webinar, you will be able to directly engage with your audience and gather information that will help you improve your business.
Patrick Whatman Head of Content at Mention.com says that, one good strategy to get new eyes on a piece of content is to work with another brand in your industry to promote it.
Every content marketer has something new they need to promote, or a high-value piece of content they want more people to see.
So why not find one or two of those people your network and offer a “share for a share” arrangement.
The simplest version of this is on social media. Choose a friendly brand with a similar audience and offer to share their latest piece if they’ll share yours.
They’ve even had success in the past including other brands’ content in our email newsletters, in exchange for the same from them.
You want to make sure that both pieces are of good quality, since you’ll be sharing an outsider’s ebook or blog post with your customers.
But since they’ll do the same, it’s an easy way to bring new eyes to your work and get a ton of quick traffic, and even downloads.
l. Utilize structured data
The key to let search engines easily crawl your site is structured data. Structured data is necessary to generate information that will be visible in the search engine result pages.
Your website should be using this technique to improve SEO strategy and let search engines weave complex search intent.
According to Shama Hyder founder & CEO of Zenmedia.com, the first part of any SEO strategy needs to be ongoing and active evaluation/improvement of your website to ensure you are staying current with changing algorithms and the ensuing evolution of best practices.
For example, brands that have been taking shortcuts in their mobile platforms are now going to either scramble or suffer to stay relevant with Google’s new Mobile First approach.
The lesson learned here: don’t take shortcuts. Do it right the first time and never stop improving.
Beyond just a backend and technical approach, brands can also leverage existing content when keywords shift or algorithms and search behaviors change.
When that evergreen piece of content starts browning around the edges, because it was written at a specific time and place that resulted in a specific structure, don’t be afraid to refresh it.
Maybe article titles or key sections can be rewritten to incorporate natural language patterns, to address changes coming with the growth of voice search.
Maybe industry terms or consumer labels can be updated with more relevant keywords.
Finally, to incorporate both of these tips into one simple action: utilize structured data. If you aren’t utilizing this powerhouse through Schema.org and Google Search Console, you are missing out on a major competitive advantage.
Step #3. Improve Your Old Content
After getting the ‘recipe cards’ or content briefs, Patel’s team of creative writers began working on updating his posts.
Focusing on the quality of content and SEO are the best practices to increase traffic and rankings.
So when update an old post to the best quality, you are reaching for a wide and loyal range of audience.
a. Create long-form, quality content
Ultimately, creating a long-form content will give you more authority and expertise in your industry.
A 4,000 or 5,000 words article or eBook may seem hard to write, but there are various ways you can make an awesome long-from content.
The combination of Neil’s skyrocket content and MarketMuse’s content optimization software brought increased organic search growth.
This technique also proved that market growth is possible even without URL change, which is the primary contributing factor for Patel’s increase in traffic.
According to John Wessinger founder of Lateralussolutions.com, his strategy for promoting and improving content is to first create long-form, quality content (4,000 to 5,000 words).
He likes to read, and he prefers content that has depth, so John try to create that type of content versus shorter posts that simply generate clicks.
His focus is on creating a series of articles versus one-off topics. It’s a better way to engage readers and it allows you to walk them through a longer process instead of posting short takes that may or may not be of interest.
And for each series, John creates a directory page or a place where all the posts are listed with a short-description.
He want readers to go back to that resource again and again like it’s a menu of content options to keep them engaged.
b. Add new pictures and insights from experts
Many blog posts use methods that are not akin to solve the problems for the long run. Articles, video posts, and graphic designs tend to be erased or set aside instead of making the necessary changes.
But, before you hit the delete button, ask yourself “Is the content really failing?” Perhaps you just need to make additional visual elements and include expert advice in order to make your blog post relevant again.
Luiz Centenaro founder of Hammocktown.com reiterates that revitalizing old content is one of his favorite things to do.
- He look at Google Analytics to see which posts have a higher than normal bounce rate, and are out dated
- He repurpose those articles, fix broken links and add new pictures and maybe get a new quote
- And finally, Luiz re-share them under a new title
This has worked extremely well for HammockTown.com and the Hammock Blog which gets over 30k visitors a month now!
c. Add new case studies and examples
Case studies have huge impact on businesses because they cover stories and experiences that can encourage or discourage SEO improvements and strategies.
Different industries including Ecommerce, tourism, and manufacturing have the biggest benefits from conducting case studies.
Likewise, thorough research will improve the website’s content and you will also be able to map effective keywords to include in your blog posts.
According to Shanebarker.com, in order to improve old content, you need to add new and relevant information to update it.
Check that all links included in the content serve the purpose and that the information contained in the links isn’t outdated. If it is, change it.
Add new case studies and examples if the ones that are included in the post are outdated or no longer relevant.
You should also check the metadata and overall SEO of the post as well. And review the content for points that may need more information added to them, or which need to be updated based on changes in policies or the release of new or better tools.”
d. Use your competition’s “top pages” data
One of the best ways to devise your SEO strategy is by looking into the strategies of your competition.
Top pages refer to the total traffic, estimated search traffic, links and the keyword ranking.
Studying these elements is necessary to analyze and ‘steal’ your competition’s strategies.
Look how seriously Tommy Griffith founder of ClickMinded SEO Training breaks down the process:
- Sort top pages by SEO traffic in Google
- Export to Google sheets
- Create a new column for “last updated”
- Use Chrome plugin check my links to quickly look for broken links on each and fix them
- Use Google search console to find the highest volume keyword you’re not currently #1 for, search for that keyword and link out to other people in the top 10
- Do a Command+F on the document for old years (2017, 2016 etc)
- Use Ahrefs “Best Pages By Links) on your own site and make sure your top 5 – top 10 pages are linking to your refresh page with updated anchors
Once you’re done, re-submit your XML sitemap and do a public post on Google+ to index superfast
Step #4. Promote the New Updated Content
Now that you’ve improved your old content, it’s time to promote it and get the word out about it.
Here’s exactly what I recommend you do.
a. Use content aggregators for promoting content that most people overlook
Most of the channels often overlooked in promoting content include:
- Not having a specific niche
- Not becoming an online authority
- Not collaborating with other influencers
- Not using rich and interactive multimedia elements
- Not providing various versions of content
With the help of a content aggregator, you will be able to easily collect and ‘aggregate’ them for easy use.
Successful content aggregator will also be able to solve the problems mentioned above.
Some of the biggest names in this field include Alltop, Poopurls, WP News Desk, The Web List, and Blog Engage.
In other words, webmasters benefit from this method since they get more exposure, while the users get more interesting blog posts.
According to Jordan Kasteler, his best tips are to use content aggregators for promoting content that most people overlook.
A lot of people default to Facebook and Twitter, but overlook StumbleUpon and Reddit.
You can get thousands (he has even had pieces get millions) of visitors from those sites before.
These are democratic sites where people vote on your content. But it’s not just as simple as submitting, you need to have good content, submit with a power account, get power accounts to vote, etc.
What does Jordan mean by “power account”?
It means an authoritative account that has history with the site and is very active in the community.
If you have niche content (e.g. marketing) you can use inbound.org, tech content (e.g. growthhackers), web design content (e.g. dzone), etc etc. Do your research on niche sites where people can vote on your content.
b. Contact all sites that have previously shared or linked to your content and let them know it’s been updated.
Aside from focusing on promoting your content, you should also review your list of audience.
Then, make a list of all the people who previously shared or promoted your content. You can contact them and let them know about the updates on your content.
Zac Johnson founder of Blogging.org reiterates that, all too often, sites create content and simply never update it again.
If you take the time to go back and update your content, not only will you make it more relevant and valuable, you can also increase traffic and backlinks to your site in the process.
A perfect way to do this is to contact all sites that have previously shared or linked to your content and let them know it’s been updated.
Another option is to add a few new resources and references. For each new reference link added, be sure to contact these sites, as they will likely share or even link to your content as well.
The more references, citations, and examples you can include within your content, the more authoritative and trustworthy it will be.
Follow these simple tips for updating and improving your previous content, while also keeping the backlinks and social shares flowing.
c. Treat it like a launch
One of the best content marketing strategies Neil Patel do is to take each piece of existing content as a launch.
Publishing is can be stressful and there is no secret formula to make the launch perfect. But, there is a checklist you can follow to increase your chances of making your content a success.
Publishing content for the first time or doing a Content relaunch, can be more effective with the use of digital tools such as BuzzSumo, Buffer, and Klout.
By using these tools, you can create a content strategy that will target the interest of your potential customers, receive suggestions, have a better way to promote and share on various social media, analyze the performance of your blog posts, and reach out to key influencers to support your piece of content.
According to Stephanspencer.com you need to treat your updated content like a launch. Jeff Walker launches his Product Launch Formula every year.
It’s substantially the same year after year, but each time he gets customers, both new and old. With a launch, you leverage your industry relationships to get the word out, often times compensating them for doing so, or at least returning the favor at some point.
You promote the launch with email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, public relations, and so forth.
Now if the content piece you are updating is nothing special, this approach won’t work.
But you’ll have to ask yourself, if I’m updating content that is nothing special, why do I have such low standards for my content?
In fact, as John Wessinger told me:
Treating new content like it’s part of launch is a great way to think about sharing and promoting content.
I try to do a weekly launch using similar content that can work together in a series of posts or do a long launch over a two-week period.
It helps to keep readers engaged and but also helps to build your brand around specific topics.
Daily posts that cover a wide variety of topics and those that are off-base from what you are building as your brand could turn off potential readers and followers.
It’s better to go deep on a few areas that are related versus trying to be a jack-of-all-trades to everyone.
Targeting a specific audience with a well-defined message will help you build an allegiance as well as find readers more willing to share your content within their network.
Here are the results
Prior to using the MarketMuse update, Patel’s primary website called NeilPatel.com ranked for 43,300 keywords.
This is an impressive start, and by August 2017, about six months after updating blog posts, his site rack up and double his keyword ranking to 92,400.
Organic traffic from ranking improvements also doubled his monthly visitors and shares.
By using the recipe card, Patel was able to reap big rewards for gathering more backlinks, increasing sales and social media following, and improving SEO and Facebook advertising.
Before the update, his Facebook ads only ranked for 1,700 keywords, but then increased to 3,900 by August 2017.
Now It’s Your Turn
Sites like Patel’s do well by using keyword-based techniques. However, old thinking such as long tail keywords optimization is not enough to improve SEO and organic rankings.
New technologies and methods goes beyond the benefits of keywords, but put emphasis on topic optimization.
Writing for topics that users are interested about, instead of competing for a phrase, could potentially double the number of audience, engagement, and ROI.
That’s because you are casting the net on a wider scale and the attraction you are making can reach an extended audience. Ultimately, there will also be increase in ranking keywords.
So what is the key takeaway from Neil Patel’s strategies?
- Identify the best blog posts and optimizing existing content
- Topic and comprehensiveness should come first before keyword ranking to match the user’s search intent
- Update content and add the necessary elements that can boost post ranking and metrics
What actionable methods do you use to increase your SEO and organic rankings for your site?