7 Essential Ingredients Every SEO Campaign Needs

By Neil Patel

seo elements

Aren’t you tired of reading the same SEO advice that teaches you how to optimize your meta tags? Although meta tags are important, they won’t have as much of an impact on your search traffic as some of these advanced SEO methods will.

If you are planning on optimizing your site for search engines, you need to start thinking outside the box and start leveraging a few uncommon, but essential, tactics.

So, what are these tactics? Well, let’s dive into 7 of them:

Tactic #1: Sloppy competitor link building

One way of building backlinks is to use tools like Ahrefs to see who links to your competitors and then beg those sites for backlinks. This tactic is typically ineffective because your main competitors are probably knee deep in SEO.

But have you ever tried this tactic with the sites that rank on page 10 of Google or onward for the keywords you are pursuing?

google results

What you’ll notice is that sites linking to competitors listed on page 10 or onward are more receptive to linking to you. Those links tend to be more natural; they are not bought; and they are typically from very old sites that need to be updated more frequently.

So, by emailing them and offering them to link to more valuable and updated information, you are more likely to get a yes. Plus, if the site has PageRank 4 or lower, it is also more likely to link to you as sites with higher PageRank tend to be owned by companies versus individuals.

Tactic #2: Gifographics

Infographics aren’t played out. They still work…just not as well as they used to work. A few years ago, you could pop up an ungly-looking infographic on almost any topic, and it would still get hundreds of social shares.

Nowadays, you have to make sure the data in your infographics is really good, and the graphics themselves are pretty. For example, this infographic on colors received over 800 Facebook likes, 600 tweets and 23,264 visits within 3 days. But then again, the data and the design look great.

Now, if you think those results are impressive, keep in mind that I get over 500,000 visitors a month to Quick Sprout, so it’s not too hard for me to drive traffic and social shares to an infographic.

On the other hand, guess how much traffic this infographic on how engines work received within 30 days? 350,000 visitors!

how engine works

That’s a lot considering the site that generated it barely has any loyal readers. This just shows that animated infographics (aka gifographics) do extremely well. Just look at this one on cheetahs


It has over 1,170 natural backlinks.

Tactic #3: Meta tag optimization via AdWords

There are two main elements that determine how much traffic you end up getting from search engines. The first is how high you rank, and the second is your click-through rate.

Do you know how to increase your click-through rate? By testing new title tags and meta descriptions for your web pages, right?

And although that’s correct, it’s a pain in the butt to test them. Wouldn’t it just be easier if you knew what worked so you could use similar text within your meta tags?

Luckily for you, there is a way to figure out what the most appealing text to increase your click-through rate is, without having to do much testing. See, Google AdWords has an algorithm that tends to place ads that pay the most and have the highest click-through rate at the top.

paid ads

Ads that are consistently clicked a lot tend to be placed higher in the sponsored listings section. By looking at those ads, you can see the text used there and then use similar text within your meta tags to increase your click-through rates.

Tactic #4: In-depth articles

Google released an in-depth articles algorithm update due to which its search results now feature thorough content pieces.

indepth articles

Using this tactic, we increased traffic to our KISSmetrics blog by 13.15% within 30 days.

indepth articles traffic

So, what do you need to do to get listed in the in-depth articles section?

  1. Focus on writing really good content that is at least 2,000 words.
  2. Write on broad topics within your industry.
  3. Make sure your code follows these Schema.org rules, or use this WordPress plugin.

Once you do that, just give it a month or so, and you should start seeing a bit more traffic from Google. If you don’t, it means that your content isn’t thorough enough. We found that the content that was around 1,500 words didn’t receive much traffic from the in-depth articles section of search, but when we increased our article length to over 2,000 words, we saw traffic increase from this algorithm update.

Tactic #5: Relevancy is the new PageRank

In his interview, an ex-Googler, who worked in the web spam team with Matt Cutts, mentioned that relevancy is the new PageRank.

Google is really good at spotting websites that build unnatural links, so instead of just going after them one by one, it released a Penguin update that focused on targeting sites that had irrelevant backlinks.

Most webmasters thought they could counter this by buying blog article links and by creating guest posts on topics that were related to their websites. The only issue with this tactic is that Google looks at the theme of the whole website. Getting a link to your marketing site from a blog on marketing is much more effective than getting a link from a marketing article on a business blog.

So, if you want to increase your rankings, don’t focus on PageRank or quantity of links. Focus on quality. By building relevant links, you are more likely to increase your rankings and maintain them in the long run.

Tactic #6: More authors equal more traffic

When Google authorship was new, content sites were seeing up to 150% increases in search traffic. Now that everyone has their images next to their search results, content sites are no longer seeing as big of an increase, but they are still seeing lifts in search traffic.


Although Google typically only shows one author image per website, if you have multiple authors, you can get multiple faces next to your listings. This is how Geekwire, for example, leverages this:

geekwire authorship

Not only does this help with your click-through rate, but it helps with your social signals. It helps encourage more social shares on Google Plus, which affects your rankings.

If you want to leverage this tactic, I recommend that you:

  1. Consider adding multiple authors to your blog or website.
  2. Encourage the authors to share the content via their social profiles as it will help with social votes.

Tactic #7: Broken link building via Wikipedia

The hardest part about broken link building is finding dead pages that a lot of people link to. One of the simplest hacks to finding broken links is through Wikipedia because if Wikipedia is linking to a page, there is a good chance hundreds of other sites are as well.

So, how do you go about finding broken links on Wikipedia? You first have to run this search query in Google:

site:wikipedia.org insert keyword “dead link”

All you have to do is replace the phrase “insert keyword” with the keyword or key phrase that is related to your business. This will then pull up a list of results of Wikipedia pages that are related to your website and contain dead links.

dead links

From there, you can click on the Wikipedia articles and search for the phrase “dead link” on the page.

wikipedia dead links

Wikipedia is looking to replace those dead links with valid links. So, what you want to do is see if the URLs of the dead links were pointing to a page that is related to your website.

You can do this by placing that URL into Archive.org. Assuming it is relevant, you want to go to Ahrefs to see if at least 100 other sites are linking to that URL. This way when you email those web masters, roughly 10 to 20% will end up linking back. If you pick a dead URL that only has 10 backlinks, it will be too much work for the small number of backlinks you will get in return.

broken dead links

Once you create a related page on your site, you’ll first want to go into the Wikipedia article and click the “Edit” button.

edit dead links

Now you can replace the dead link with the URL of the relevant page you created on your website. You’ll then want to email the sites you found through Ahrefs to see if they will replace the deadlink with the link to your website. You can use this template:

Subject: You have an error on [insert their website name]

Hey [insert their name],

I noticed you have an error on this URL, [insert URL of the page that links to the dead link]. The link with the anchor text [insert the anchor text of the dead link] is pointing to a dead page.

If you want, I found another, similar page that you can replace that link with. You can find it here… the page is even good enough for Wikipedia to link to it.

Keep up the good work!


[insert your name]


The world of SEO has changed drastically over the last few years. Not that long ago, you could clean up your code, build a few links, and rank high within six months. Now, you have to start thinking outside the box and leverage unconventional tactics that will boost your rankings.

Using a bit of creativity and following Google’s guidelines, you can continually boost your rankings with a long-lasting positive outcome.

So, what other essential ingredients does every SEO campaign need?

Source: Quick Sprout