How to Launch an SEO Campaign In 2023
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How to Launch an SEO Campaign In 2023

Brian Dean

Written by Brian Dean

How to Launch an SEO Campaign [Template Included]

This post outlines exactly how to create a successful SEO campaign.


The best part?

You’re going to see lots of real-life examples of these steps in action.

Let’s dive right in.

What Is an SEO Campaign?

An SEO campaign is a coordinated effort to improve a website’s search engine rankings. Common elements of SEO campaigns include finding keywords, publishing content, and creating backlinks.

With that basic explanation out of the way, let’s get into the specific steps:

Step #1: Find Keywords

Keyword research is the first step of any successful SEO campaign.

Specifically, you want to generate a list of about 10 different keywords.

(These are keywords that you’ll optimize specific pages on your site around,)

1. Find Keyword Ideas With Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool from Google.

Google Keyword Planner

The great thing about the Google Keyword Planner is this:

All of the data comes straight from Google.

To use it, just enter a word or phrase and you’ll get a list of keyword ideas:


2. Find Long Tail Keywords With KWFinder

KWFinder is designed to generate lots of different keyword ideas.

KWFinder – Homepage

Which means it’s great for uncovering low-competition, long tail keywords.

KWFinder – Results

3. Copy Your Competitors’ Keywords

Here’s where you see the exact keywords that your competitors’ already rank for.

To do this, you’ll need to use a tool, like SemRush or Ahrefs.

SEMrush and Ahrefs

No matter which tool you end up using, the process is exactly the same.

First, find a competitor that’s doing really well with their SEO.

Then, pop that competitor’s homepage into the tool:

SEMrush – Backlinko

And you’ll get a complete list of keywords that the site ranks for:

SEMrush – Backlinko keywords

4. Choose 10 Keywords

Now that you have a list of keywords, it’s time to choose the best 10 from your list.

But how do you choose the “best” keywords?

You want to pick keywords that have the best combination of these 3 key factors:

1. Low Competition: This is especially important if you’re just starting out. But even if your site is already established, you still want to go after keywords that aren’t super competitive.

So: how do you know if a keyword is competitive or not?

Your first option is to look at the search results:

Google SERP – Authoritative sites

If you notice that they’re packed with authoritative sites, you probably want to go with another keyword.

And if you want a more accurate system, you can use a keyword research tool. Most tools have a feature that shows you how competitive a keyword is:

KWFinder – SEO

2. High Search Volume: Now it’s time to see how many people search for the keywords on your list.

Obviously, the higher the search volume, the better.

That said, popular keywords also tend to be more competitive.

For example, 368,000 people search for “paleo diet” every month.

KWFinder – Paleo diet

This partly explains why that search term is competitive.

KWFinder – Paleo diet – Keyword difficulty

So you’d want to go with a keyword that’s less popular… which means it’ll also be less competition:

KWFinder – Paleo diet food list – Keyword difficulty

3. Customer Fit: You want to find keywords that your customers actually search for.

That said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be ready to buy something right that second.

For example, take my site:

Backlinko is an SEO training company.

In my case, people that search for “best SEO courses” would probably have a really high conversion rate for me.

Unfortunately, very few people search for super-specific keywords like that:

KWFinder – Best SEO courses

That’s why I target keywords that my customers search for when they’re not looking for courses.

(Also known as “informational” keywords.)

In my case, I target terms like “Google ranking factors”, “link building strategies” and more.

Backlinko – Informational keywords

That said:

You still want to make sure people searching for information keywords will become buyers at some point.

To do that, just check out the “Top of page bid” in the Google Keyword Planner:

Google Keyword Planner – Top of page bid

This represents the PPC cost for a single click in Google Ads.

And if people are paying money to advertise for a keyword, that means that the traffic can be monetized.

Step #2: Publish High-Quality Content

Now that you have a list of 10 keywords, it’s time to publish content optimized around those terms.

Specifically, high-quality content that’s optimized for SEO.

1. Write Long, Comprehensive Content

Back in the day publishing short, 500-word blog posts worked really well for SEO.

Not anymore.

In fact, one industry study found that longer content clearly ranks best in Google.

Average content word count of the top 10 results is evenly distributed

As you can see in that chart, there’s a correlation between word count and search engine rankings.

I’m not saying that you should write 3,000 words of fluff.

Instead, your goal is to cover an entire topic on one page.

(And it usually requires a lot of words to do that.)

For example, some time ago I decided to write a post about Mobile SEO.

Backlinko – Mobile SEO guide

Instead of a post like “5 tips for optimizing your site for mobile devices”, I wrote a complete guide:

Mobile SEO Guide – Contents

And because my content covers pretty much everything there is to know about mobile SEO, it ranks #1 on Google for my target keyword:

Google SERP – Mobile SEO

2. Create Visual Content

Visual content can be a great way to get more social media shares and backlinks.

For example, Mike Bonadio runs a digital marketing agency in NYC.

A few years ago one of his clients asked him to improve their SEO.

The problem was:

His client was in one of the most boring industries imaginable: pest control.

Which meant traditional content formats (like blog posts) were out.

Instead, Mike decided to create a piece of visual content: DIY Pest Control for the Savvy Gardener.

infographic animated gif

How did this content do?

The infographic he created for his client generated over 4,000 social shares:

Pest control infographic shares

An influx of backlinks from 28 different domains.

Pest control – Ahrefs

As you might expect, these links and shares boosted his client’s search engine traffic:

infographic traffic

3. Publish “Authoritative” Content

BuzzSumo recently analyzed 100 milion articles.

And they discovered two interesting things:

First, most content gets “zero” links or social shares.

Second, “authoritative” content is great for acquiring links.

What is “authoritative” content?

It’s content that:

  • Is written by a legit expert
  • Isn’t regurgitated info
  • Brings something completely new to the table

Let me illustrate this with an example…

In 2019 I realized that voice search was growing fast.

But when I read articles about voice search, they tended to repeat the same info.

So I decided to create a piece of authoritative content on voice search SEO.

Backlinko – Voice search SEO study

And because that content contained so much original stuff (and was written by an authority in the field), it generated 5.6K backlinks so far:

And ton of traffic:

Voice search study – Traffic

Step #3: On-Site Optimization

Now that you’ve created a piece of high-quality content, it’s time for the next phase of your SEO campaign: optimizing content.

As you probably know, search engine optimization has changed a lot over the last few years.

And in this step, I’ll show you exactly how to optimize your site the right way in 2023.

1. Short, Keyword-Rich URLs

When it comes to on-page SEO, most people underestimate their URLs.

But as it turns out, your URLs are really important.

Short URLs tend to outrank long URLs

Specifically, you want your URLS to be short and keyword-rich.

For example, take this post from my site about SEO copywriting.

Backlinko – SEO copywriting guide

As you can see, the URL is only two words… and contains my main keyword.

SEO copywriting – Post URL

2. “Frontload” Your Target Keyword

Whenever possible, put your keyword at the beginning of your title tag.

(Why? Search engines put more weight on terms that show up early on in your meta title.)

Going back to my SEO copywriting post, you can see that I include that keyword early on in my title tag:

SEO copywriting – Post title

(In fact, my title tag starts off with that term.)

3. Use Keyword in First 150 Words

Next, use your target keyword in the first 150 words of your content.


When Google sees a keyword early in your page’s HTML, it lets them know that term is important.

For example, you can see that I use my target keyword within the first 20 words of this post:

SEO Tips Keyword In Intro

4. Internal Link

Now it’s time to use internal linking.

Specifically, you want to:

  1. Link from your new post to other pages on your site
  2. Link from other pages to your new content

These internal links help Google find and index all of your pages. They also send link authority around your site, which helps all of your pages rank better.

Internal links rankings boost

For example, let’s look at this post from my site.

Backlinko – Increase website traffic

As you can see, I included internal links that point to other pages on my site:

Increase Website Traffic – Internal linking

And I also link from other pages to that post:

Hub – YouTube traffic link

5. Sprinkle In Synonyms

Finally, include synonyms of the main keyword on your page.

This helps give Google a deeper understanding of your content.

For example, let’s look at my post: 19 New SEO Techniques.

Backlinko – SEO techniques

My target keyword for this page is “SEO Techniques”.

So I made sure to optimize my content using the 4 tips I already showed you.

But I also sprinkled in synonyms of “SEO Techniques”, like “search engine optimization strategies”…

SEO Techniques – Simile, Search engine optimization strategies

…and “SEO tips”:

SEO Techniques – Simile, SEO tips

No SEO campaign would be complete without link building.

That’s because links are still an integral part of Google’s algorithm.

Ahrefs domain rating correlates with higher first page Google rankings

And in this step I’ll show you how to build quality backlinks.

1. Email Outreach

If you want to get backlinks to your site, you’ll usually need outreach to do it.

(At least at first.)

In other words: when you promote your content to people that have the power to share it, you can get legit links from authority sites.

For example…

Remember Mike Bonadio, the guy with the pest control client that I talked about earlier?

Well, Mike didn’t just publish his infographic and hope for the best.

Instead, he actively promoted it with email outreach:

Mike outreach and reply email

Because Mike wasn’t pushy or spammy, his campaign landed him backlinks from Lifehacker…

Mike – Lifehacker link

…and a popular newspaper website in Maine called The Bangor Daily News:

Mike – Bangor Daily News link


2. Guest Posting

Guest posting doesn’t work as well as it used to.

That said, it’s still a solid link-building strategy.

(When done right.)

Specifically, to get the most out of guest blogging, follow these 2 simple rules:

Rule #1: Don’t use exact match anchor text.

Google doesn’t want your guest post links to use exact match anchor text, like this:

Exact match guest post

Instead, use branded anchor text, like this:

Branded anchor text

Rule #2: Post on related sites.

If your site is about coffee, don’t guest post on a site about digital marketing.

(Even if you can find a way to “make it work”.)

Why? Guest posting on unrelated sites can get your site penalized.

For example, my site is about SEO.

So I make sure to only guest post on sites that are about SEO or closely related topics like social media, blogging, and content marketing.

3. Copy Your Competitor’s Links (Reverse Engineering)

Reverse engineering is a tried-and-true link-building strategy.

All you need to do is use a tool like Ahrefs, Majestic or Moz Link Explorer to find a competitor’s inbound links.

Ahrefs – Site explorer – Backlinks

For example, my site has a link from this page.

Single Grain – Digital marketing trends 2021

And let’s say that you’re one of my competitors.

Do you have a digital marketing trend on your site worthy of this list? Could you find one?

If so, you’d have a good chance of getting a link from that page too.

Step #5: Track Your SEO Results

Your last step is to see how your SEO campaign is performing.

To do that, we’re going to use two excellent (free) SEO tools: Google Analytics and the Google Search Console.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Track Organic Traffic With Google Analytics

How do you know if SEO is working or not?

My answer? Check your organic traffic in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics – Organic traffic

If it went up, then you’re on the right track.

If it went down? Then you probably want to change your approach.

(Note: SEO results don’t happen overnight. Depending on the niche, it can take weeks or months to see changes kick in. That said, if you followed the steps above, you should see some positive movement within 4-6 weeks.)

2. Track Keyword Rankings With The Google Search Console

Google Analytics gives you a high-level overview of how your search engine traffic changes over time.

But if you want to dig deeper, check out the Google Search Console.

Just like with Google Analytics, the Google Search Console tells you how many people came to your site from Google:

Google Search Console – Backlinko performance

But it also tells you the exact keywords people used to find your site…

Google Search Console – Exact keywords

…and the pages that bring in the most organic traffic:

Google Search Console – Pages with most organic traffic

Step #6: Prune “Zombie Pages”

“Zombie Pages” are pages on your site that don’t add any value.

In other words, they’re pages that don’t bring in any traffic… or sales.

And when done carefully, removing Zombie Pages can help improve your site’s Google rankings.

(Why? Google updates like Panda mean that Google penalizes sites that have lots of low-quality pages.)

For example, Sean Falconer is a Backlinko reader that wanted to improve his site’s SEO.

And the first thing he did was delete over 10k web pages from his site.

Deleting those 10k pages is one of the main reasons that he improved his site’s organic traffic by nearly 90%:

organic traffic increase in google analytics part 2

Sean isn’t alone…

Blogger James Pearson recently axed hundreds of blog posts from his site… and his organic traffic increased by 30%:

James Pearson – Huffington Post

Step #7: Optimize for RankBrain

An AI algorithm called RankBrain is now an important part of Google’s new-and-improved search algorithm.

RankBrain article


So, how do you optimize your content for Google’s RankBrain algorithm?

Optimize for “User Intent”.

Google uses RankBrain to determine whether or not someone’s happy with the search results.

If a searcher likes a specific page in the SERPs, Google gives that page a boost:

Pogo stick effect – Up

If not, they drop it down a few spots:

Pogo stick effect – Down

That’s why it’s important that your page satisfies “User Intent”.

In other words:

Does your content give the searcher what they’re searching for?

For example, a while back I wanted to rank for the keyword “SEO tools”.

But before I wrote a single word of content, I asked myself: “What does someone searching for ‘SEO tools’ actually want”?.

And I realized the answer was: a thorough list of the best SEO tools on the market.

So I created a post optimized for that user intent: SEO Tools: The Complete List.

Backlinko – SEO tools post

Because the page is optimized for User Intent, it ranks in the top 3 for my target keyword:

Google SERP – SEO tools

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope this post helped show you how to create an SEO campaign from scratch.

(And gave you a step-by-step plan that you can use for future campaigns.)

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which strategy from this guide are you going to use first?

Are you going to start internal linking?

Or are you ready to start writing long, comprehensive content?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.


  1. Hey Brian,

    Awesome case study I’ll definitely gonna try this on my site

    Hope this help to boost my organic traffic


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Prince, sounds like a plan.

      Step #1 is to create an infographic people want to share. So I’d start with that 🙂

      1. Jimmy Winskowski Avatar Jimmy Winskowskisays:

        This is the most solid advice. Great content with a nice promotional plan with go a long way. Crappy content – even with the best promotional efforts – won’t get shared naturally or picked up by the sites you *really* want to be on. Great case study. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          You’re welcome, Jimmy. Absolutely. You can’t just have promo or just great content. You need both.

    1. Suprabhat Kumar Avatar Suprabhat Kumarsays:

      Well done Mike..

  2. Farhan Avatar Farhansays:

    Disappointed first time ever by brian post!
    Looking like it was just to give backlink to mike SEO agency and FCE Pest Control

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Are you serious? This case study rocks.

      1. Maria Gudelis Avatar Maria Gudelissays:

        It totally rocks Brian! Thank you so much for this case study!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          You’re welcome, Maria. Glad you liked it 🙂

      1. Exactly, it does rock. My heads spinning with great ideas for my site I have here in Oz and I will be crediting Mike and Backlinko for any content I use, or just their ideas !! Why are you using Brians exc FREE Info and then bagging him. Here in OZ, our polite way of saying pissoff is “Onya Bike”. so “Onya bike, this i9nfo rocks”. Brian Exc as always,Mike.

    1. If this happened to my business I would be stoked!

    1. Daath Boucher Avatar Daath Bouchersays:

      Dude! Don’t you see the value of this post?!?

      Thanks Brian, I will try this right now!

    1. Wow. Clearly missed it. Don’t be jealous, Farhan!

      Brian, this case study DOES rock and is very inspirational!


      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        Haters gonna hate, Darren.

        Also, glad you enjoyed the case study 🙂

    1. I would have to disagree. I am very new to learning SEO and building back links. I thought this was insightful, and most importantly doable.

    1. Jimmy Winskowski Avatar Jimmy Winskowskisays:

      Might have been just to give a link to Mike. But this is solid content marketing at its best. This is super solid advice for SEOs with clients in “non-sexy” injuries.

    1. Prateek Tripathi Avatar Prateek Tripathisays:

      I am sorry but really are you insane?

    1. Question for you then… how would you create a case study that didnt provide a sample walkthrough, images, quotes, and of course “links”? Rediculous! I bet you contemplated adding a nofollow link to your comment

  3. Wow, those are some super powerful links! Great article and another awesome way to increase organic search while getting some super link juice at the same time.

    A lot of good stuff to learn from this post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Franklin. I know, right? And links to a pest control company no less 🙂

      1. Hi Brian,

        This is a great post. It is so wonderful to see that these techniques don’t just work in the “healthy, wealthy and wise” niches but in a niche as “boring” as pest control.

        What this drove home for me especially is the fact that Mike put in the hard work. He put in e-mail pitches to 97 places and got 12 responses. A lot of bloggers and website owners are not willing to do that.

        I know when I started reading your blog I was like “Whoa, all that work ?” I know better now – especially when it comes to blogger outreach and getting those links.

        A second thing I enjoyed – you did not show us some website that was already getting 1000 hits per day and then grew that to 20,000 with your techniques. This is certainly relatable and is exactly where a lot of us are in our blogging journeys.

        Great post ! Thanks Brian.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hey Getrude, thanks!

          Absolutely, hard work is a big part of this. 99% of marketers aren’t willing to send 97 outreach emails 🙂

  4. Yet another awesome article Brian. Added to my buffer and shared on inbound. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Shounak, thanks for the complement and for spreading the word 🙂

  5. Awesome post. I shall follow all these instructions for my next project. Thanks for sharing it Brian 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Waseem.

  6. Darren DeMatas Avatar Darren DeMatassays:

    Awesome case study. I’ve read that people are turned off by saying stuff like “it was mentioned in big site xyz” so I’ve always avoided that.

    Ill give it a try though

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Darren. It seemed to work well for Mike but it’s something worth testing. If it’s, “Hey I was featured in X and therefore you should feature me too” then I can see how that would come off as bragging.

      1. Felix Avatar Felixsays:

        A good way to couch it might be to say “I think your audience will like this infographic, recently posted it and they got # comments and # shares”. This way you show them the value and social proof of your content.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Good call Felix.

  7. Loved the content idea and how the shoulder niche was leveraged to grab interest. Superb content marketing and excellent case study. Kudos!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Kundan. With an industry like pest control, Shoulder Niches are a must.

  8. Amazing, as usual Brian! Thanks for making this so simple that anyone could follow the process!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Jolie. As they say, the devil’s in the details 🙂

  9. Karlis Kikuts Avatar Karlis Kikutssays:

    Great article. One of my client also have a boring niche. Pallet collars (wooden packaging boxes). Now it’s perfect time to try your strategy. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Karlis, that seems like the perfect niche for the Shoulder Niche approach.

      1. Interested to see what you do with that, Karlis. What comes to my mind? The disastrous mess that occurs when the pallet collar fails — a spectacular mess of cutlery, chemicals, food, china spreading over an Indian highway. Can we get some chickens and a goat in that?

        1. Karlis Kikuts Avatar Karlis Kikutssays:

          Awesome and creative idea. Thank you! 😀

        1. James Darvell Avatar James Darvellsays:

          Janelle, I think you just leaked the plot to the next Michael Bay movie.

  10. Yet another great case study Brian. These are pure Gold and just shows that with the right tips you can tap into any market.



    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Gary. Exactly! You can have success in any market with white hat SEO. Just takes a little bit of creativity.

  11. Hey Brian, a very interesting case study. I have often thought about creating or getting an infographic created but have enver taken action on it. Not at the top of my to do list. My niche detox really lends itself to infographics but I would never have thought about approaching other bloggers with the idea of sharing it on their site. Certainly looks like it’s worth persuing. Would you get a decent infographic created on Fiverr do you think?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Sandy, thanks. That does seem like a topic that would lend itself to infographics. I’m sure you might find something good on Fiverr, but I wouldn’t expect greatness…

      1. Hey Brian, on that note, who (or what group) do you recommend for creating the best infographics? I recall you mentioning some guy in the past but I can’t seem to find my notes on Infographics. Thank you, Joe

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Joe, I actually only recommend specific providers that I use for SEO That Works students. But in general, I recommend hitting up sites like UpWork to find a designer that specializes in infographic design.

  12. maria thomas Avatar maria thomassays:

    Yet another Awesome post by Brian,

    I need help for Promoting a Service page (Have no blogs), How to do backlinks ?

    Thanks in Advance,

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Maria. Short answer=create a resource on your site worth linking to…and link to your service page from that.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          No problemo.
          Like I said, I’d create a crazy valuable piece of content on your site in a Shoulder Niche. Doesn’t have to be on that specific page.

        1. James Darvell Avatar James Darvellsays:

          Hi Maria,

          In this case study, the resource was an infographic. Infographics are just one type of resource that you can use to attract links, and this blog is full of different ideas you can use as well.

          After taking a quick look at Buzzsumo, I’ve come up with a couple of topics you could build a resource around:

          1: How to pay less tax.
          2: Crazy tax advice from the IRS (eg. instructions to help drug dealers calculate their deductible expenses and taxable profit)

          These 2 topics came up a couple of times in content that went viral.

          Bear in mind that these are just a couple of topics I picked up on in a couple of minutes. If I was in your position, I might spend a few hours brainstorming to come up with lots of other related topics.

          I’m sure you can pick out some amazing ideas.

          Follow the steps in this post, and pretty soon you’ll have an appealing infographic. In the case study, the infographic was published in a blog post.

          Of course, that’s not an option for your site, as it isn’t a blog. One option is to add a new page to the site to host your new infographic.

          Then you would make a list of targets and reach out to them with a 2 step process.

          When people link to your new resource page, it will bring link-juice into your site.

          You can flow that link juice to the “Financial Advisors in New York” page with a link from the resource page.

          I have seen people use this technique to rank content that nobody would ever link to directly!

          I hope that all makes sense!

  13. Love the detail in this case study. Very excited to take it back to my team and strategize some new ideas


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome Jared. This should keep your team busy for a while 🙂

  14. Loved the way Mike found the content idea and how he reached out to people. Thanks for sharing Brian..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Definitely. I provided the blueprint with The Guestographic Method. But Mike took it and ran with it.

  15. Dallas Avatar Dallassays:

    Great stuff! It’s awesome seeing how infographics can help even “boring” industries. I bet a solid blog coupled with some decent content marketing could do great in the pest control industry.

    I’m about to finish up an infographic myself, your blog posts are definitely an inspiration on getting it put together. I’m pretty curious how it will do.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dallas. The format (like an infographic) is important for Guestographics. But like you said, Mike could have created some solid content as a text-based blog post.

      I highly recommend promoting your IG with the scripts that Mike used (or close variations). They work great.

  16. incredible post Brain. I also want to share a post that how i got traffic 0 to 469% in one day without any connection and also want let you know that how i got link from site and other smart links without any connection.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Wow, those are great results, Bilal. Were those results from Guestographics?

      1. Bilal Avatar Bilalsays:

        First, i did launch a roundup post then make a infographic of that post. May be it could become your next case study 🙂

  17. Nico Avatar Nicosays:

    Thanks for sharing this case, Brian! Cool to see real results.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Nico. It’s all about real results.

  18. Luis Maia Avatar Luis Maiasays:

    Excellent, very detailed case study. Where the infographics was created? It is possible to know?

    Thanks, keep the excellent work!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Luis. I actually don’t know who Mike used, but he’ll be around later today and will share his designer if he’s comfortable sharing.

  19. Carl Avatar Carlsays:

    Awesome case study as always Brian.

    I’ve started using similar outreach emails each time I post a new blog article or guide – the results are much higher converting than a standard “hey here’s my new article, I’d love it if you linked to me”.

    I recently tried guestographics too, and that went well. Hoping to tap into this technique again for some other clients – this guide will definitely help for those in “boring” industries!

    One thing I’d add – I find it’s a good idea to let any sources know that you’ve used their work in your content, whether it’s a blog post or infographic. This has certainly worked in getting a few additional shares and even links from top influencers. 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Carl.

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this approach works better than straight-up link begging. Yet I see a lot of people beg and plead for links.

      Good call there. Sometimes I even include sources strategically for this exact reason 😉

  20. Great article, Brian. Props to Mike on the excellent follow through. I’ve been in the industry since 2000 and get energized every time I read one of your articles. Keep the goodies flowing 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jonathan. I know, right? Mike killed it with this campaign.

      I’ll keep the good stuff coming. No worries there 🙂

  21. Great stuff as always Brian! This article couldn’t have come at a better time as we just recently started working with a pest control company. Looking forward to utilizing some of these techniques!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Wow, that’s amazing timing Paul. Let me know how Guestographics work out for you.

  22. yudha Avatar yudhasays:

    i don’t know if i can try site in indonesian language, and i don’t know if it will be worth the effort. a really good case study…

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Did you read the post, Yudha? This can work for anyone that’s willing to create something of value and promote it.

      1. yudha Avatar yudhasays:

        Hi brian, sorry if my comment yesterday offend you brian.

        I really like all of your case study, i have read a lot at backlinko.
        I think i have read every blogpost here.

        it give me so much , and i have try some.

        when i say, it doesn’t worth the effort, what i mean is for some method, the cost is much bigger than the return.

        i don’t know how to put it well. My english is not so good.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          You didn’t offend me, Yudha. No worries 🙂

  23. Rob Young Avatar Rob Youngsays:

    Hey Brian another great case study. On thing I think will make this successful is so many people won’t bother with it, because it looks like a lot of work. (It is a lot of work, right?) Any idea what sort of time commitment this took to pull of?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Rob, thanks! Very well said. And you’re right. This IS a lot of work. I’m not sure how many hours Mike put in, but he’ll be around later today to answer questions.

    1. Hey Rob,
      Yes there is a decent amount of work that goes into this. Though, I think having your email scripts in place and using an outreach tool to help streamline the process makes it less daunting and helps speed things along. I wasn’t tracking the time commitment on this, but I’d say it was about 1-2 weeks of a solid push.

      1. Rob Young Avatar Rob Youngsays:

        Thanks Mike – absolutely confirmed that it’s a lot of work! Can you share what outreach tool you used? That would be really useful

      1. James Darvell Avatar James Darvellsays:

        Hi Mike,

        Great case study and results, I’m sure it will continue to get great results for your client for years to come.

        Do you mean you spent 1 to 2 weeks working on it full time (on that job only)?

        Roughly how many hours was that?

        1. Hey James,
          The bulk of the work was in the prospecting stage and getting all your ducks in a row for outreach. I would say in all, it was roughly ~40-50 hours or so not including the research time which I wasn’t really tracking. Of course this was before my process was refined, so now it would probably take less time. 15% may not sound like a lot and by now it might even be higher than that. But for some businesses even a modest increase like that can mean thousands of dollars more a month that previously wasn’t there. Best of luck!

  24. Brian, thank you for the detailed case study! Mike at Backlinko created a great campaign, and the way you present it, it’s also an action plan we can easily follow!. Awesome.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jane. Actually, Mike doesn’t work at Backlinko (he has his own agency). But glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  25. Gerald Avatar Geraldsays:

    Pretty cool case study. I bet that graphic gets even more viral with time. The biggest take away is the free authority backlinks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Gerald. Well this isn’t exactly free because Mike put a lot of time and invested in a pro design. But the ROI is definitely there 🙂

  26. Julian Avatar Juliansays:

    Amazing history and guide. I really need to try this. Thank you!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Julian.

  27. Awesome, Brian! I’m going to do my best to follow this step by step, applied and modified for my niche.

    But I’m still not super convinced I can crack the code on “Wedding Post Production Services!” I’m hoping to report back with great results!

    Thank you always for your in-depth work that has already helped me gain ranking on my site. I had my first call yesterday from a lead who said she was just looking around on Google! 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Leon. You can totally do it!

      That’s where a Shoulder Niche comes in. It may be hard to create something on “Wedding Post Production Services”, but there are 1001 things you could cover for the more general topic of “weddings”.

      1. I will do my best, Brian! The tough part is my clients are professional wedding photographers, so it has to resonate with them. Thanks to your suggestions above I’m excited to do some work on this! 🙂

    1. Hi Leon,

      My brain just started ticking over when I was reading about your niche. I have a lot of photographer friends in North America and was pondering your services and how to get them out there.

      Have you ever thought about also promoting to the average Jo blow who is not a wedding photographer. Someone who say has taken a great photo but has no way to touch it up or no idea how to do so?

      How about parents who take pictures of their kids on the first day of school. Or even at Christmas when there are Santa booths around and they are in a quick rush to get those photo’s out.

      You have a great market to work with besides weddings.

      Also why not ask your clients for advice.. ask them what they would be interested in seeing some stats on.. is there a wedding photographer infographic out there which talks about what each state is charging.. how many hours on average they allocate for editing.. what cameras they are all using in 2015… are they niche photographers.. i.e they work with a certain religion.. or second marriages etc. How many say they would travel to another country to film a wedding.. what about do they have a certain distance they are willing to travel at all… oh and another one that often pops up from my photog friends.. what are the stats on people who have had their work stolen online and no credits.. etc etc

      Cheers Dianne.

  28. Jason Avatar Jasonsays:

    Hi Brian,

    Great post. I was wondering with your construction topic example – who would we promote it to? For example there’s no bloggers in construction?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Jason, really good question. It would be whoever covers the Shoulder Niche topic that inspired your content.

    1. James Darvell Avatar James Darvellsays:

      Hi Jason,

      I used to think there were no bloggers in construction, too. But I recently discovered a bunch of them for a project I worked on recently.

      I found them using Alltop, which is mentioned in this case study.

  29. This is awesome!!

    Exactly what I needed at the right time.

    One question from a broke marketer. Instead of “send to a designer”.

    Where can I make or hire someone to make an infographic if I have all the stats and info?

    Fiverr, freelancer, odesk. Or try myself but who has the best FREE graphics to use? CANVA

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Matthew, an infographic is one of those things worth investing in. You may have to save up 🙂

      1. Andrea Hewett Avatar Andrea Hewettsays:

        Great advice, Brian…you definitely get what you pay for!

  30. Andrea Hewett Avatar Andrea Hewettsays:


    What an awesome example of how marketing processes work, no matter what the subject! I loved this article, it’s not only very descriptive (both informatively and visually) in the exact methods to get results, but it also does a great job of showing the benefits of following those methods.

    I really appreciated that you didn’t just stop with the first method that helped Mike gain traffic…promotion doesn’t stop after the first go-round and I’m glad you chose to expand on that. While creating amazing content is critical (great job on the infographic by the way, Mike!)…promoting the content correctly is the best method to see real results.

    Thanks again for such a helpful article, I’ll be sure to share!



    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Andrea, very solid point. In many ways, promotion is everything. Just like you wouldn’t stop with a first draft of your content, you shouldn’t stop with round one of your content promo 🙂

  31. Dattaraj Shinde Avatar Dattaraj Shindesays:

    Hey Brian,
    This is an awesome article, specially for me as i have just entered into digital marketing and I am finding it really exciting. As you mentioned that “fitness” niche is really exciting, I second that as I am currently handling Fitness based website but not able to get good traffic. Can I have your input on how I can increase organic traffic with similar impact which Mike did for Pest Control website?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Dattaraj, thanks 🙂

      I’m not sure what I can add here that wasn’t covered in the post…

  32. Benjamin Avatar Benjaminsays:

    Brian, fantastic article! I love your writing style, the detailed step-by-step, and the analytics behind it. Found it both inspiring and actionable. Keep up the great work!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Benjamin. A lot of effort goes into each and every post (mostly to make them actionable) so it’s nice to hear that I’m close to the mark 🙂

  33. Great tutorial for how to get traction in social media. However, I’m not sure pest control is boring. If you’ve got a garden and the bugs are eating up everything you plant … you’re desperate to find a solution! And if you want to be enviro-friendly, even more.

    Dog chewing might start out being boring…unless you’re looking at a big hole in your couch!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Cathy. Good point. Mike’s client (as far as I know) do garden pest control. So if he only looked at things through the lens of his client’s services, he wouldn’t have unearthed this great topic (pun intended).

      Either way, as you said, “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder. It’s on us as marketers to make things interesting.

  34. Brian hi,
    Great case study.
    One thing that’s missing is – what Subject did Mike use for his intro emails.
    The first hurdle is to get people to actually read the email.
    Thanks, Ben

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ben. Good question. Mike will pop in later today to answer questions like this one. Personally, I use something like “Infographic about TOPIC” or “Infographic TOPIC”. I like to keep it simple 🙂

    1. Hey Ben,
      I think it’s in the email screenshots, but it was something like:

      Hey [NAME], about your site

      I didn’t do a lot of testing with the subject lines, but that seemed to work pretty well. I do like putting their name in the subject line as I think that helps grab their attention a bit more.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Johnson, might be tricky to use Guestographics without an infographic. What’s your plan?

    1. James Darvell Avatar James Darvellsays:

      Johnson, you know you could make an infographic around the topic of your post.

      In fact, you could make 9 (one for each strategy).

      You could make them one at a time and promote each one to the max.

      And as a bonus, readers would want to read about the other 8 methods, so the traffic you get from referrals would be very targeted.

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        Good stuff, James!

  35. Interesting case study Brian, I have an infographic coming out in September so I’m excited to see how email outreach within the guestographic technique help to push it up the rankings!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s good timing, Giles. Guestographics should help you get more exposure, links, placements etc. for your infographic.

  36. Jason Avatar Jasonsays:

    Hi Brain,

    Such a great post I read it twice. Just a quick question. I’m assuming we should never put a link in our first email? I’m torn between ensuring my efforts of writing an email are rewarded because even if they don’t reply, they can see my link if they wanted to compared to writing an email with no link and no reply. Seems like it could be a lose lose situation?

    Keep up the great work! Love your stuff!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Jason, Good question.

      There’s pros and cons to either approach. In my experience of sending over 10k outreach emails, people that link generally reply. So that’s not something you need to worry about too much.

      1. Very good point Brian. I was looking through all the comments to see if anyone had touch on tracking the “backlinks” from either version of the outreach emails.

        From a business perspective, this strategy helps with traffic and search engine rankings. Do you have a method for tracking leads generated from an infographic?

        This particular infographic is not posted on the FCE website (at least I couldn’t find it). Is that part of the strategy?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Luis, you can definitely track things in GA by looking at how the traffic source (in this case a site that shared your infographic) links to a conversion.

    1. Jason,
      I’d recommend you don’t put a link in your first email as it turns people off and comes off strong and a bit spammy.

      What I do is if they don’t reply to my first ‘feeler’ email, then my second email to them will be a direct pitch with my link.

  37. Hassan Avatar Hassansays:

    Valueable case study, I will try this in blogging niche with some more strategies to make this case study more useful.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds good Hassan. Keep me posted on your results.

  38. Hey Brian,
    very very good piece of content. One question: do we know whether Mike’s client got any business – new clients – from all this shoulder niche traffic? That’s what they were after in the first place…

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Dan,

      Good question. Considering their rankings went up for “exterminator NYC”, I’d say it helped them land some new clients :-).
      But Mike will be able to answer that better than I can.

    1. Hey Dan,
      Yes, even though the referral traffic was ‘shoulder’ traffic, it allowed us to get some awesome links that boosted us for the main keywords that drive sales. Sales for the client definitely increased due to the efforts from this campaign.

  39. Great Piece of Article Brian, that rotation of the infographic is too fast, I’m gonna start creating Infographics in the same kind with slow speed 😛


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Thomas. I actually took an animated GIF of the infographic. The real one doesn’t scroll like that 🙂

  40. Brian,

    You always post a topic that SEO industry is looking for, since I started my venture into online and started studying SEO from topics to topics and my search continued for good valuable topics because most of what I found was old or either limited with the information i.e. details were not provided. Anyways, since I found your site I had been reading topics that are shared here and I can say that your topics are complete and they have real useful information. I was reading this post in the morning in the train and I noticed that there was only one replay so I figure once I replay I will be on the top but I just saw a huge amount of replies. The reason why I entered SEO world was because as I started building my own ecommerce site I was very limited with the budget so I decided to do it myself and now I have very good knowledge and have been doing it okay but I’m looking to take it to next level… Well, this blog was very useful as I am just in the process of starting blog on my site. By the way, I would like to get in touch with you, what is the best way to get a hold of you?

    Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards,
    Shariq K

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Shariq, that’s right. Most SEO bloggers leave all the details out…even though that’s the most important part! The best place to reach me is via my contact page/form.

  41. Nice post Brian, way to reinforce some of the strategies you’ve suggested in the past. As you’ve said before, the great thing about “boring” industries is that it’s hard for everyone to links. I have a client in a similarly boring industry and with just a few links we were able to get some great results. This goes to show you don’t necessarily need a million links, just some creativity to get more traction than your competitors. I think the biggest takeaway here is to go after shoulder niches and spend time researching topics that will have wider appeal.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Daniel.

      Very well said. I love working in traditional, “boring” niches because most of my competitors gave up on white hat SEO. As you said, a handful of high-quality links can make all the difference in the world.

  42. John Smith Avatar John Smithsays:

    Brian, this is just awesome. A few month ago, i also made an effort to make an awesome infographic for one of my sites. however, i did not do email outreach and therefore got moderate results ..
    The 2 step Approach to email is something new that i learned. I definitely gonna try it next time i make Infographic for my sites.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey John. I’ve made the same mistake. It’s all about the promo 🙂

  43. Great article Brian. But I wanted to ask you a couple of things : In the graphics I see that the traffic increased only for a couple of days? Did that kept in the future? And how many articles a week did he wrote about his client?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ivailo.

      Good question. Like any content marketing campaign, traffic dies off after a while. But importantly, his client’s organic traffic stayed up over time.

      I’m not sure how many articles Mike wrote, but he’ll be around later today to answer questions.

    1. Hi Ivailo,
      The infographic was used as a means to get what really mattered – quality links to the site. Referral traffic eventually died off, which is fine anyway since the target customers are not gardeners. But the links that were produced from the campaign boosted rankings & organic traffic which has been pretty steady ever since the campaign.

      1. @mike – with an infographic like that, it would be considered “evergreen”, yes? Meaning, each spring you could recycle the outreach to new bloggers, do a SoMe campaign on it (if customer was willing to spend), and I’m sure a few other things I haven’t thought of on the spur of the moment.
        Great content like that may cost more up-front, but I can see how it would pay for itself many times over if used as an on-going content and link strategy.

  44. Iqbal Avatar Iqbalsays:

    Hi Brian,

    Great piece! Thanks again for the case study.
    Oh wow, guestographics is really engaging. Definitely going to try it once I launch my blog!
    Keep up the great work Brian


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Iqbal. Guestographics aren’t a bad way to get a new blog off on the right foot 🙂

  45. David Avatar Davidsays:


    awesome, as usual. Love seeing how many people are benefitting from your lessons.

    Quick question: would you add an intro video to the infographic post? (assuming you have access to pro-quality video production like in your Youtube videos).

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks David. I love it too 🙂

      Hmmm. I’d actually be reluctant to add a video as it might distract from the infographic itself. In my experience you want to put the IG front and center. But you could put the video after to explain some of the points in more detail, kind of like I did here:

  46. Hii Brian Dean !!
    A very nice post the main part which i like in this article is Shoulder Niche, i was unaware of this now i have got a good idea after reading this.. Thanks Brian Dean for sharing such a wonderful and interesting article..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sumesh.

  47. Eddie McGarrah Avatar Eddie McGarrahsays:

    Hey Brian,

    Organic traffic is what I am all about right now in my seo journey. Your article is great and gives a breath of fresh air toward the differnt ways of obtaining organic results. And best of all i appreciate you sharing such great ideas without any catches. Thank you and I wish you continued success.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Eddie, organic traffic is what SEO is all about. Glad you enjoyed the case study 🙂

  48. An awesome case study.

    I have a site that i write about eyebrow pencils and makeup. Do you think a Guestographic would help me boost my traffic?


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Besarta. Sure, why not?

  49. HI Brian,
    Great post as always!

    can you recommend an infographic designers or agency?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Oksana! I use a lot of different designers (it depends on the project).

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