Decoded: Content Marketing and SEO with Brian Dean – Part 2
SEO and Content Marketing: These are Brian Dean’s recommendations
For content marketing and SEO, companies today face the challenge of standing out from the crowd by providing highly specialized content, developing new creative media formats and making user experience the focus of their website.
One digital expert who is knowledgeable about these issues is Brian Dean. We consider him an “SEO genius” and one of the world’s greatest link building experts. On his website backlinko.com, he regularly publishes comprehensive data-based studies, compact trainings and analyses on trends in content marketing.
In the first part of the #Decoded series on Brian Dean, we already looked at his success strategies for contemporary public relations, B2B online marketing and landing pages. In this second part, we will focus on keywords, SEO trends, back links, and videos as the content of the future.
By the way, check out the #Decoded blog posts on Neil Patel (SEO), Michael A. Stelzner (social media marketing), Noah Kagan (email marketing) and Gary Vaynerchuk (content marketing). You’ll find plenty of hacks and recommendations for you and your business.
Strategy #5: What the analysis of 306 million keywords via Google Search tells you.
SEO is one basic of any website and requires constant adjustments. With each new update for the Google search engine, the Internet giant puts new emphasis on providing the best possible experience for its users. That’s why it’s worth looking at the study conducted by Brian Dean on 306 million keywords in December 2020. The results can give you new approaches to your website’s SEO.
The paradox of long tail keywords
91.8% of Google searches are for long tail keywords – for the data-driven study, these are all keywords that receive fewer than 100 searches per month. This shows that users are very specific and expect the most accurate results possible for their queries. The long tails achieve rather low search volumes – a combined total of only 3.3 percent.
It therefore concentrates the largest search volumes on a few keywords: the most popular 500 of them provide a total volume of 8.4 percent. Even more interesting: 2-3 percent of the search volume is distributed among just four keywords: YouTube, Facebook, Google and Amazon.
What this means for your website
What conclusions can you draw from this analysis? Mid tail keywords combine the best of both worlds: They are more specific than single keywords and still bring traffic to your site. Shorter keywords between one and three words receive ten times more searches than longer keywords of five or more words.
Questions are popular long tail keywords
Brian Dean’s search analysis unearths other exciting facts: 14.1 percent of search queries are questions. Of these, users most often use questions with “how/how” (8.07 percent), “what/what” (3.40 percent) and “where/where” (0.88 percent).
Since users are increasingly searching for these long-tail keywords, it’s worthwhile to have a corresponding FAQ page on your website and to include questions in your blog articles. With the right answers to the most frequently asked questions on your topics, you can increase your traffic.
In the complete data report „We Analyzed 306M Keywords – Here’s What We Learned About Google Searches“ you will find further exciting insights, for example on the industries with the most keywords/search queries and on the connection between the SEO difficulty level of a keyword and the SERP features.
Strategy #6: How good Core Web Vitals improve your ranking
While we’re on SEO: Brian Dean has, of course, been thinking about the latest developments in search engine optimization. These include Core Web Vitals.
- Load Times: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Interactivity: First Input Delay (FiD)
- Visual stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
The better the values of a website are, the higher Google will show it in the search results. Of course, for the search engine, the information content of a page is still at the top of the priority list. Nevertheless, improvements to the Core Web Vitals can’t hurt.
Analyze your own values with the Google Search Console
You can find out whether and to what extent changes to your website are necessary with the Google Search Console. Click on “Core Web Vitals”, look at the results and take the measures.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe, as a Shopify-based site, for example, will need different updates than a WordPress site. What Brian recommends, however, is to bring the value for bad URLs to 0. He believes that Google is more likely to penalize bad URLs than promote good URLs.
Strategy #7: How to get your content into featured snippets.
6.83 percent of all search results have a featured snippet – and they take a lot of clicks away from the No. 1 spot in each search result. So how do you get your content to show up in Featured Snippets and drive more traffic to your site? Here’s how Brian Dean went about it:
Find appropriate ideas for featured snippets
In order for your content to appear above the top search results as Featured Snippets, you must already rank for the keyword on page 1 of Google. Ideas for these keywords can be found by analyzing the organic keywords on your site. For example, Brian ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. for 4,512 keywords, so he could create featured snippets for each of those keywords.
Integrate Snippet Baits on your website
Snippet Baits are baits for the crawlers that you can integrate directly into your content. Make sure your snippets are no longer than 40 to 60 words. According to a study by SEMRush, this is the optimal length.
Brian, for example, has formulated short definitions as snippet baits on his site “The Content Marketing Hub” and is now ranking for many important keywords related to content marketing.
Use not only text snippets but also lists, tables and videos
Besides text snippets, there are also lists, tables and videos. Format each entry in a list as H2 or H3 so that crawlers can read the content accordingly. Tables should be clearly structured on your website so that they are displayed in the Featured Snippets. Of course, you should also process the appropriate keywords in the content here to improve your ranking.
And for videos, according to Cisco, online videos will account for up to 82 percent of traffic in 2022. So it’s the right time to integrate videos into your content marketing strategy and optimize them for featured snippets.
Strategy #8: Make video an integral part of your content marketing.
According to recent studies, nearly two-thirds of Internet users already prefer videos to text-based content. And nearly 40 percent of companies have already integrated this medium into their marketing strategy. And the trend is growing – for both sides.
Brian has some tips to help you stand out from the crowd and engage your viewers from the first second:
- Provide a compelling introduction and get right into the topic.
- Focus your resources on YouTube, because that’s where you’ll have the biggest audience AND the videos can still get views years later.
- Optimize your videos’ metadata for YouTube Suggested Video: Video description and tags should best match an exciting trending topic.
- Write a script and read from it: This will keep your videos compact and free from unwanted pauses.
If you want to know how to start a successful YouTube channel, check out this video by Brian Dean. Check out his playlist on YouTube marketing and video SEO for more proven strategies and tips.
Strategy #9: Optimize your website for visual search queries
More and more users – already 62 percent of Millennials – are using Google Lens, for example, to make search queries using images. Among other things, they want to learn more about specific plants, landmarks, or a product, as well as get directions or an ad hoc translation.
To rank better for these types of content, your website should be optimized for mobile devices. Images should also meet classic SEO criteria: optimized image sizes, filenames, and ALT text.
In addition, Brian has found that Google Lens pulls search results primarily from comprehensive pages averaging 1,600 words. So the associated text content plays a big role for ranking the respective images in the visual search results.
Strategy #10: How to gain quality backlinks with the “Skyscraper Technique 2.0
Brian is recognized worldwide as an expert in link building. And for good reason: for example, he’s amassed over 22,000 back links using his proprietary strategies – all for a single blog post in which he analyzes over 180 SEO tools. How did he do that? With the “Skyscraper Technique.”
More comprehensive and better content, optimized for shares and links
The major goal of version 1.0 of the Skyscraper Technique is to gain as many back links as possible. To do this, Brian first looks for a popular piece of content within his topic area, analyzes it, and makes an even better and more comprehensive article on that very topic:
- It covers ALL the points that are missing from the other post.
- If the other post is heavily text-based, Brian incorporates lots of images and graphics to make it more engaging.
- Does the popular post include a video? If not, he adds one to his post.
- If the original page contains ten tips, he gives 20 tips in his article.
- Are there links to the sources used in the original? If not, he adds them to his post.
Finally, he promotes the new content in the best possible way. The background is that a popular topic gets especially many back links.
Focus on user intent
With an SEO checklist that Brian published in July 2016, he could increase organic traffic on one of his pages by 652.1 percent within seven days. A short time later, however, the post flopped, receiving only four to five visitors per day.
Although the article had over 200 back links, plenty of comments and likes on social media, it suddenly ranked in the middle on page 2 of the SERP. This is because Brian had forgotten something crucial: the intention of users when they search for something.
Since Google attaches great importance to this so-called user intent, Brian optimized his SEO checklist accordingly and has since then driven consistently high traffic to the corresponding page again. He calls this approach Skyscraper Technique 2.0.
Other proven strategies for successful link building
The Skyscraper Technique is just one way to gain valuable back links for your site. You can also attract attention with data-based studies we presented in the first part on Brian Dean.
Another way is Moving Man Method 2.0: you can get back links by regularly updating your content and targeting other sources that contain outdated information. You can learn exactly how this works in Brian’s post „How to Build AWESOME Backlinks in 2021 (9 Proven Strategies)“.
The unique thing about all the content marketing and SEO strategies Brian presents: He’s tried them all himself and learned a lot from them. Whether it’s public relations, B2B online marketing, landing pages, link building or SEO, you too can use his strategies to improve your rankings, drive more traffic to your website and generate more leads.
And what does Gerrit from Crispy Content® have to say about it?
“Brian Dean shows with the example of his own website backlinko.com how much the investment in good content can pay off: Unique, extensive, instructive, objective and well-founded, he shares his knowledge and his readers thank him for it. The numbers speak for themselves, I eagerly await each new blog post.”
Creative, smart and talkative. Analytical, tech-savvy and hands-on. These are the ingredients for a content marketer at Crispy Content® - whether he or she is a content strategist, content creator, SEO expert, performance marketer or topic expert. Our content marketers are "T-Shaped Marketers". They have a broad range of knowledge paired with in-depth knowledge and skills in a single area.