SEO Tips

200+ Actionable SEO Tips In One ‘Noob Friendly’ Guide

David McSweeney
David is the blog editor here at Ahrefs, the owner of Top5SEO and a white hat SEO evangelist. SEO case studies make him a lot happier than they should, and he has a tendency to overuse ellipses…
Looking for a collection of no-nonsense SEO tips, that you can easily implement to boost your site’s search engine rankings? Then look no further.

We’ve created a list of over 200 SEO tips and best practices and split them into logical sections to cover various aspects of search engine optimisation from on-page factors, to keyword research, user experience, link building and more.

For most tips you will also find a link to further reading; including official Google guidelines where relevant and a hand picked selection of some of the very bestSEO guides on the web.

To jump to a specific section, use the quick links on the left, otherwise, let’s get started!



1. Don’t Write Another Blog Post Until You’ve Conducted THOROUGH Keyword Research

Keyword research should be the starting point for any SEO or content marketing campaign.

Without researching which keywords people are actually searching for in your niche, you’ll be relying on luck, rather than data to guide your decisions.

And that’s no way to run your business.

After switching to a keyword focused approach to our content strategy, we grew our search traffic by 89% in just 3 months.


With solid keyword research informing your SEO you can do the same.

2. New Website or Low Authority? Find Lower Competition Keywords For The Best Shot at Ranking Quickly

When your website is reasonably new or has low authority, you’ll find it harder to rank for competitive keywords.

It certainly can be done, but you’ll need to go the extra mile and create something super awesome. Then promote it like crazy.

So when looking to quickly grow your search traffic it makes sense to first target less competitive keywords.

Fortunately it’s easy to figure out how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and our ‘keyword difficulty’ metric.

In the example below we can see that most of the suggestions for ‘search engine optimization’ have very high difficulty scores. But there’s one that has a low difficulty score and should be easier to rank for.


You can find out how we calculate the difficulty score for a keyword here.

3. Find Out Which Keywords Are Driving Your Competitor’s Search Traffic… Then Steal Them For Your Own Site!

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could find out exactly which keywords your competitors are ranking for and how much search traffic those keywords are bringing in?

Yep, it would… and it is!

In fact, you can do it in seconds using Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Just enter your competitor’s domain and then go to the ‘Organic keywords report’. You’ll get a list of all the major keywords that your competitors are currently ranking for.

Site Explorer > Enter competitor’s domain > Organic search > Organic keywords


Use the organic keywords report to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for.


* Top 20 positions with ‘Lite’ Ahrefs account. Top 50 positions available with Standard Account and top 100 with Advanced/Agency.

4. Find Lucrative Keywords With High Volume In Your Target Country

To build your search traffic, you’ll want to try and rank for keywords that have solid monthly search volume in your target country.

The first step in your process should be to enter your topic into Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and generate some ideas.

Keywords Explorer > enter topic > select country > Explore


get keyword suggestions with search volume using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

The report will be sorted by volume, so you can quickly find attractive keywords to add to your content plan.


5. Group Similar Keywords Into Topics (Then Rank ForALL of Them!)

Google is getting much smarter at figuring out relationships between keywords.

For example, the keywords “guest blogging” and “guest posting” are pretty much the same thing right?

Now, a few years back, you would probably have had to write up two articles if you wanted to rank for both keywords.

But these days, if you write up a great article targeting the keyword “guest blogging”, then Google knows that you should also be ranking for “guest posting”. Even if you don’t actually use that phrase anywhere on the page.


So while it’s important to pick out the right “main” keywords, you shouldn’t necessarily create separate content for everything you want to rank for.

Think about keyword “buckets” or topics. That’s groups of keywords that all mean basically the same thing (or are very closely aligned).

It won’t hurt to sprinkle a few of these related keywords through your content, but don’t get too hung up on it.

The most important thing is to create the best available content for the keyword topic you are targeting and build some high quality links to it.

6. Look Out For Upcoming Keywords and be the FIRSTto the Traffic Party

Keyword data is great. But, it does have one fundamental problem — it’s always slightly out of date. After all, we’re looking at data from the past.

So be on the lookout for “up and coming”, or trending keywords, where search volume is on the rise.

Google Trends is a great way to find out which way the curve is going for a particular keyword.

Here’s a quick (non-commercial) example.

You’ve probably seen the latest “challenge” going round Facebook. 22 pushups each day for 22 days to raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention.

Now, if we look at keyword data for “22 pushup challenge” we don’t see much.


But, if we put the same keyword into Google trends, we can see that there are aHUGE amount of searches for it at the moment.


The good thing is, when you catch a keyword that’s starting to gain popularity you have an opportunity to get in early.

Which means you can rank before the competition gets super high.

Google trends can also help with local keyword research. Here’s how.

7. Avoid Keyword Unicorns by Considering Search Intent

Sometimes you might spot a particularly juicy keyword when conducting your research. But just because a keyword has high volume, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a good one to rank for.

You have to consider what the “intent” was behind the search.

For example, the keyword “Google Analytics” might seem like a good one to try and rank for at first glance.


At 1 million US searches per month there’s certainly a LOT of volume there!


The vast majority of those searches are just going to be people looking to sign in to Google Analytics. They probably won’t even notice the site at position 2.


I probably search for Google Analytics half a dozen times a day at least (should really bookmark it…).

Now if we scroll down we find the keyword “how to use Google analytics”.


That gets 1,900 searches a month and is definitely going to be someone searching for a guide.

So that’s one that would be good to rank for. Although with a KD score of 71 it’s going to be tough!

Find out more about keyword and search intent here.

8. Use Google’s Related Searches to Find Cool Keywords to Target

For many results Google will include a list of related searches at the bottom of the first page.

For example if I search for “seo tips” then I get the following suggestions from Google.


These related searches can trigger ideas for cool keywords to target.

9. Mine Google’s Autocomplete for Up-To-Date Keyword Ideas

Start typing any query into Google and you’ll get a list of suggested searches.


These are normally the searches performed most most often in Google that begin with the phrase you entered.

This can be particularly useful for newer queries.

For example when I searched for “seo tips” one of the autosuggest results was “seo tips 2016”.

Now if I check in Keywords Explorer there’s not much volume data yet.


But it stands to reason that this would be a very common search term this year.

And on that note…

10. Use The Current (or next) Year in Your Titles

For certain queries, searchers will often use the current year in their query.

So, if it makes sense for your content, then stick a year in the title (like “How To Build Links in 2016”).

Just remember to update the date after New Year 😉

11. Use Ubersuggest to Save Yourself The Hassle of Manually Checking Autocomplete Results

Ubersuggest is a cool free tool, which collects autocomplete suggestions from Bing.

Just enter a keyword and Ubersuggest will give you a ton of keyword ideas.


12. Use Wildcards with Autocomplete for Even More Keyword Ideas

You’ll find a few ways to do this online, but a lot of them don’t work anymore. This one does!

Write a full query, like “how to make coffee”. Then go back and delete the bit you want suggestions for.

So for example if I delete the word “make” I get this:



13. Select One “Main” Keyword for Each Page On Your Site

Ideally, each page on your site should target one “main” keyword or topic.

Try to avoid targeting the same keyword on multiple pages. Otherwise Google will pick one to rank… which may not be the one you want it to!

14. Use LSI Keywords & Synonyms to Reinforce Your Topic to Google

LSI keywords are words that are semantically related to your main keyword.

You can use this free tool to generate LSI keyword ideas for any topic.


Synonyms are words that basically mean the same thing as your main keyword.

You’ll find them by looking up a Thesaurus.


Sprinkling both through your content will help to reinforce your topic to Google.

15. Find Questions that Need Answered… Then Answer Them With Content

Question and answer sites (like Quora) can be a great source of keyword/content ideas.

A useful tip is to look for questions that have been asked multiple times. This indicates that there’s no good answer to be found on Google.


After all, isn’t Googling the first thing you do when you want to know the answer to a question?

Recommended Reading: How to Uncover Conversion Focused Keywords Using Quora and Reddit

16. Set Up Alerts to Spy on Your Competitor’s New Keywords in Real Time

Monitoring your competitor’s new keywords is a great way to keep tabs on their content strategy.

If your competitor has recently targeted a new keyword, that’s probably going to be one you will want to cover as well.

You can set up an alert in Ahrefs, which will send you an email summary of all new keywords we have discovered your competitor ranking for.

Alerts > New keywords > Add alert > enter competitor’s domain > set report frequency > Add


17. Find Content Gaps on Your Site and Fill Them!

Content gaps are keywords your competitors rank for, which you don’t.

That sucks right?

Fortunately, these content gaps are easy to find. Just run the report in Ahrefs Site Explorer, which is cunningly titled “Content gaps”.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > search > Organic search > Content gaps > Enter competitor domains > Show keywords


Here’s Tim explaining a bit more about how the tool works.

18. Google Your Keyword First Before Targeting it With Content

A Google search result page these days looks nothing like it did back in 1998.

For many queries the “10 blue links” (organic results) have been pushed way below the fold by things like

  • adwords ads
  • maps
  • shopping results
  • news

These days you can even search for flights without leaving Google!


So sometimes even if you do hit number 1, you’re probably not going to see much actual traffic.

Which is why it’s definitely worth Googling a query before you commit it to your content plan.

19. Use Ahrefs’ Toolbar to Quickly See Stats Without Leaving Google

Install Ahrefs’ free SEO toolbar (Chrome or Firefox) and grab a quick look at the competition’s stats without having to leave Google.


20. Install ‘Keywords Everywhere’ to get… Keywords Everywhere

Install the free Keywords Everywhere extension for Chrome and see search volumes and CPC (cost per click) data without leaving Google.


You’ll even get keyword data for related searches.


21. Track Your Rankings

Monitor the progress of your website’s rankings in the search results for your target keywords.

With Ahrefs Rank Tracker you can view historic data to keep track of progress of over time.




22. Want To Rank In Search? Then You Gotta’ Build Links!

In our study of SEO ranking factors we found that link popularity continues to have the highest correlation with Google rankings.


So, if you want to rank in search… you’re going to have to build links!

Check out our ‘noob friendly’ guide to link building to get started.

23. Get Links From Sites with High ‘DR’ Score to Supercharge Your Site

Sites with high DR scores have good authority. Which means that scoring a link from them will do great things for your rankings.

You can view the DR score of any site on the overview page of Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Explore



Ahrefs assign each site a DR score between 0 and 100 — with 0 being no authority (for example a new site with no inbound links) and 100 being the highest. This score is based on the site’s overall backlink profile.

24. Get Links From Pages with High UR Score

URL Rating (UR) is a metric that measures the authority of an individual page based on its backlink profile.

Pages with a high UR score are likely to have acquired a lot of links. Which means they have lots of lovely “link juice” to pass back out!

You can view the UR score of an individual page on the overview page of Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter URL > Explore


Recommended Reading: Ahrefs’ SEO Metrics Explained

25. Get Links From Within Content for Maximum Value

It’s highly likely that Google factors in the chances of a link being clicked when deciding how much weight it should pass. In fact, they’ve held a patent called “Reasonable Surfer” since 2010 (filed in 2004) which details how they would do just that.

Contextual links from within content are the most likely to be clicked. So it’s fair to assume they would have the most value!


26. Avoid Low Quality Link Building Like The Plague

If you’re serious about your business, then don’t waste your time building spammy links.

They simply DON’T WORK.

Recommended Reading: Find Toxic Backlinks & Remove Google Penalties

27. Get Some Anchor Text Links (They Still Influence Google Rankings)

We recently conducted a HUGE study across 16,000 keywords and discovered that keyword use in anchor text continues to have a strong influence on search rankings.



We also found that the “sweet spot” for exact match anchors was around 2%, with partial match around 30%.


28. Diversify Your Anchor Text to Avoid Getting Slapped by Google

That means only around 1 in 3 of your links should include the keyword you wish to rank for.

Anything above that might get you into trouble with Google Penguin, so make sure to diversify your anchor text.

Check out our guide to anchor text for more.

29. Build Links That Drive ACTUAL Traffic

Setting aside metrics, placements, and anchor text, what’s the best link you can get to your site?

Easy. A link that drives actual referral traffic.

After all, isn’t that what links are for?

Any link that brings in genuine referral traffic to your site is going to be good for your business and good for SEO.

It’s also going to be completely safe from any future Google updates.

30. Regularly Audit Your Link Profile

It’s important to check your link profile regularly for any low quality, or suspicious links. These could be a sign of negative SEO.

And of course, you’ll also want to keep track of the good links that are coming your way!

You can export your full link profile using Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Explore > Backlink profile > Backlinks > Export


31. Boost Your Success with Email Outreach by Reacting Lightning Fast to Link Opportunities

There’s a simple way you can boost your success rate with outreach — timing.

When an article is fairly new a blogger is much more likely to add your link.

To find fresh content for your keyword, just set up an alert for the phrase in Ahrefs.

Alerts > Mentions > Add alert > Enter query > Set frequency > Add


We’ll send you an alert whenever we find new posts mentioning the keyword.

Your job is to reach out quickly and grab a sweet backlink!

32. Tweet Before You Reach Out to Grab More Links

Do someone a favour and they are much more likely to help you out in return. It’s human nature.

So before reaching out and asking for a link, tweet the blogger’s article. And make sure to @ mention them so they see your tweet.

Then when you email them you can say that you already shared their post.

Before hitting them with that link request!

33. Set Your Tone According to the Prospect (Seriously)

For most outreach prospects, you’ll want to keep your emails personal and friendly.

But there’s also a time to be a bit more formal.

For example, if you’re reaching out to a University lecturer for a link on a resource page, you might want to start with

Good Evening Mr {surname}”

rather than

Hey {first name}!”.

So set the tone of your email according to your prospect.

34. Tap Into ‘Pop Culture’ to Help Your Content Spread

People love to share articles on subjects they are passionate about.

By connecting your content to a pop culture topic (e.g. a band, a TV show, a film etc) you’re going to have a ready made audience that you can target for promotion.


Those fans will help to amplify your content and get it in front of linking eyeballs.

Read more about how to do it here.

35. Monitor Your Competitor’s New Backlinks (Then Pinch Em’ For Your Site)

I already mentioned how timing can increase your success rate with outreach.

In addition to tracking new content that mentions your keywords, you should also be closely monitoring for new backlinks pointing to your competitors.

After all, if a site is linking to your competitor, you want to try and get a link from them too right?

Ahrefs can send a daily, weekly, or monthly email alert with all new backlinks we discover pointing to a particular site.

Just set up an alert for your competitor’s domain (or a specific page) and you’ll soon be getting a list of hot link prospects straight to your inbox.

Alerts > Backlinks > Add alert > Set frequency > Add


36. Create an AWESOME Map Instead of a BORINGInfographic

Infographics are cool, but there’s another visual format that’s killing it right now for link building. And it looks like this:


Simple maps like the one above are pulling in hundreds of links and thousands of shares.

Find out how in this tutorial.

37. Create BEAUTIFUL Data Visualisations For a Flood of Traffic AND Links

People love to share data.

Interesting fact and figures, presented in a simple to digest visual format can be great for both gaining traffic and links.

For example, this interactive visualisation on US gun deaths by FiveThirtyEightpicked up links from 245 referring domains.


For ideas on what makes for a popular data based post, check out the subreddit r/dataisbeautiful.

38. Combine Maps with a TON of Data for a Big Traffic Spike

Combining lots of complex data with an animated map is a cool way to mix both of the tactics above.

For example, this animated map from Yegg Inc, visualised 20 years of US oil imports in just 20 seconds.


The result: a big spike in traffic and a TON of buzz.

39. Hitch a Ride On The Back of Someone Else’s Viral Success

Notice someone’s cool content going viral on Facebook?

Then why not see if you can piggyback onto their success and grab some viral traffic (and links) for your own site.

Last year I tapped into the success of the Coke viral that was doing the rounds to pick up over 100,000 visits to one of my sites + links from the press.


Read the full story here.

40. Grab Your Competitor’s Links For Your Own Site

If a site is linking to your competitor, then you’ll want to grab a link from them too!

Use Ahrefs Site Explorer to export your competitor’s backlinks and work your through looking for opportunities.

Site Explorer > Enter competitor’s domain > Explore > Backlink profile > Backlinks > Export


If there are lots of links to work through, then check out this guide for some shortcuts and hacks!

41. Create an Incredible Curated Resource Page For Your Niche

Curated resource pages are simple to create, valuable for visitors, and can be link magnets.

By pulling together the best content on a topic in one place, you’re saving users the time and hassle of having to search through Google.

And to get the most out of your resource page, you can then build links to it from other resource pages!

Here’s how to do it.

42. Find Sites Linking to Multiple Competitors… and Make Sure They Link To You Too!

If a site is linking to several of your competitors, but not linking to you, then that’s a HOT link building opportunity.

Use Ahrefs Link Intersect Tool to find intersections sites linking to multiple competitors and let them know they should be linking to you too!

Tools > Link Intersect > Enter up to 10 competitor domains > Show link opportunities


43. Use Shareable Assets To Pick Up Links While You Sleep

Use cool custom visuals in your content (charts, infographics etc), encourage visitors to share them on their own site, and watch the links flood in!

Recommended Reading: How To Get Backlinks With Guestographics

44. Repurpose Your Best Content to Squeeze Out Extra Value

Get more out of your best content by turning it into an infographic, a slideshare presentation, or a video and share it on relevant sites.

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Guide To Repurposing Content

45. Syndicate Your Best Content For EASY Links

Widen the audience of your coolest content by syndicating it on high authority sites like

  • Medium
  • Linked In Pulse
  • Social Media Today

And don’t worry about duplicate content. As long as you link back to your original article as the source, it’s all gravy 🙂

Recommended Reading: Syndicated Content: When, Why & How

46. Syndicate Your Worst Content… and DELETE it from Your Site!

Got a sucky old post that’s bringing in ZERO search traffic?

Why not delete it from your site and re-post it on Medium, Linkedin etc with a link back to your site?

47. Use Citation Labs ‘Link Prospector’ to FindTHOUSANDS of Link Opportunities

Find thousands of link building opportunities in a few clicks using Citation Labs Link Prospector.

Just fill in a few fields, set the type of link prospect you are after (guest post, resource page etc) and you’re good to go.


48. Fix Your Broken Backlinks for an INSTANT SEO Win

Use the Broken backlinks report in Ahrefs Site Explorer to easily find broken links pointing to your site.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Backlink profile > Broken


Fix them in a flash by either reaching out to the linking site and asking them to update the link, or simply setting up a 301 redirect.

Enjoy that sweet, freshly reclaimed link juice!

49. Grab links from Wikipedia… and Get Them To Stick!

Anyone can add a link to Wikipedia. But the trick is getting that link to stick.

So how do you do it?

The answer is simple:

Only add your link if your content is:

  • a) bang on topic
  • b) super awesome
  • c) adds to what’s already there

Link out to something average and the link will disappear as soon as a mod takes a look at it.

Link to something genuinely useful and 9 times out of 10 that link will stay up for good!

Recommend Reading: Wikipedia Link Building Hack — Get As Many Backlinks As You Want

50. Find Your Competitor’s Most Linked To Content

Find out which content is pulling in the most links to your competitor’s site by running the ‘Best by links’ report in Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Explore > Pages > Best by links


RD shows the number of referring domains for each page.

Create something even better and reach out to all the linking sites!

51. Find Your Competitor’s Recurring Backlinks (and Spy On Their Promotion)

Finding your competitor’s recurring backlink sources (i.e. sites linking to them multiple times) is a cool way to find quality link building opportunities.

Plus, you’ll also gain an insight into their promotion strategy.

Check out this guide to learn how to do it.

52. Answer Questions for Links That Drive Traffic

Links from question and answer sites like Quora may not provide the most SEOvalue in the world, but they can definitely drive traffic.

And traffic (and sales) is what we’re after isn’t it?

So get answering!

Recommended Reading: The Marketer’s Guide To Quora

53. Find Forums Related to Your niche… and Join Them!

Just like question/answer sites, by participating in niche specific forums, you’ll be able to share the occasional link that will bring traffic back to your site.

And the cool thing is, when people click through, they’re likely to already have built up a level of trust.

Which means they will be much more receptive to your offer.

54. Steal Your Competitor’s Broken Links

Stealing’ competitor links is a phrase that gets used quite a bit, but in this case it really is true!

  1. Find broken links pointing to moved, or deleted content on your competitor’s site
  2. Offer your own resource as an alternative

You can find all broken links pointing to your competitor’s site in seconds by running the “Broken backlinks” report in Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter competitor’s domain > Explore > Backlinks > Broken


55. Don’t Sweat nofollow — Worry About Link Quality Instead

While dofollow links are still better for rankings, it’s generally accepted that nofollow links do have some influence on SEO.

Either way, it’s natural to have a mixture of both types of link in your backlink profile.

So don’t get too hung up on whether a link is dofollow or nofollow.

If it’s a high quality link, then go ahead and grab it!

56. Turn Your Brand Mentions Into Links

If someone mentions your brand, but doesn’t include a link back to your site, that’s a prime link building opportunity.

They’ve already engaged with your business, so just reach out and ask if they would add a link too.

It’s super easy to track mentions of your brand.

Just set up an alert for your brand name and you’ll get notified whenever it is mentioned anywhere on the web.

Alerts > Mentions > Add alert > enter your brand name in the search query box > set frequency > Add


57. Swap FREE Stuff For Links

If you’re running an Ecommerce business then send out free samples to bloggers in exchange for links.

Google do say they are against this, but don’t go insane on it (like 1,000 links all at once) and you’ll be fine.

And if you’re really petrified of getting on the wrong side of Google, then just ask the blogger to nofollow the link. You’ll still benefit from the traffic and exposure.

58. Offer To Photograph an Event in Exchange For a Link

If you happen to be a dab hand at photography, then look out for upcoming events from local charities or organisations.

Offer to go along and photograph the event for free in return for a nice juicy link back from their website.

59. Stop Guest Posting on Crumby Sites and Post on High Authority Sites Instead

Guest posting is still cool for SEO if you do it right.

Here are a few pointers:

  1. Don’t bother with low authority sites. Focus on securing guest posts on the top blogs in your niche
  2. Make sure all your guest contributions are top quality
  3. Be careful not to include too many exact match anchor text links in the body of posts
  4. Include branded, or naked URL links in your bio

Here’s everything you need to know about guest blogging in 2016.

60. Find Your Competitor’s Guest Posts (Then Nick em’ For Yourself)

A good starting point for guest blogging is to figure out where your competitors have posted previously.

And once you know, you can look to become a contributor and replicate their links.

There are several ways to find where your competitors have previously been published. You can:

  1. Use Google search queries
  2. Look for author pages
  3. Use reverse image search
  4. Use Ahrefs content explorer

You’ll find the full process for each of the above methods in this post.

61. Get Credited for Use of Your Copyrighted Material (Yes, That Means a Link!)

If someone uses one of your images without your permission, then you could ask them to take it down.

But it’s much better (for both parties) to ask them to drop you a link instead!

62. Create a COOL Free Tool

This one takes a bit of resource, but if you can create a cool free tool for your niche, then it can pull in a ton of links.

For example, Coschedule’s “Headline Analyzer” tool has pulled in links from over 2,000 referring domains.


Find out more about the process here.

63. Give Your Best Content an EASY Boost by Adding Internal Links

Want to give your best content a quick boost?

Then add a few internal links to it from pages on your site with high UR (URLRating).

64. Use VoilaNorbert to Find Emails

Struggling to find an email address for someone you want to reach out to? ThenVoilaNorbert is a neat tool that can help.

Just enter the person’s name and domain into the tool, then hit “Go ahead Norbert”.


You won’t get a result every time, but the success rate is pretty high.

65. Use Buzzstream to Send Emails at Scale (and Keep Track of Everything)

Smaller outreach campaigns can be undertaken in your regular email client.

But when you have a large prospect list, or are working in a team, then it makes sense to use a tool to speed up the process. You’ll also want to keep track of all contacts/correspondence.

While it’s not free, Buzzstream is by far the best tool in the industry for managing scaled outreach campaigns.


66. Or Use Yesware to Track Email Opens in Gmail

Yesware is a useful tool that will show you who has opened your emails and which links they have clicked.


Look out for prospects who opened your email multiple times, but didn’t respond. They are prime candidates for a follow up.

And on that note…

67. Follow Up on Non-Responses (BUT don’t spam)

If you don’t receive response to an initial outreach email, then sending a follow-up a few days later can get you some additional replies.

Just don’t send more than one follow-up. There’s a thin line between marketing and spam. And that’s a line you definitely don’t want to cross!

68. Diversify Your Link Profile for the WIN

It’s important to have diversity in your link profile.

Never rely on one technique (for example guest posting) for all your link building as Google might see that as manipulation.

A natural link profile has:

  • a variety of different types of links
  • a range of sites
  • a mixture of dofollow and nofollow

Check out our link building guide for 22 ways you can build links to your site.



69. Use Your Main Keyword In Your Page’s Title Tag

There’s definitely cases where pages will rank without the keyword appearing in the title (links will trump pretty much anything). But this is still one of the strongest on-page signals.


So make sure every page on your site has a unique title tag and that your main keyword is included once.

Not twice… once!

70. Avoid Title Tag Truncation (Because It Looks BAD)

Title tags have 512px to play with in desktop search results, after which they will truncate.

That looks pretty sucky…

your what?!

replace your what?!

A good rule of thumb is to keep the length of your title tags to 55 characters or less.

You can use this free tool to preview how your titles will look in search.


Google have been testing title tags of 600px in the SERPs, but we would still stick to the 55 character recommendation above.

71. Write AWESOME Titles That Are irresistible to Searchers (and Get More Clicks)

Sitting at position 3 on the search results and want to grab some extra clicks?

Then make your title a magnet for searchers that just begs to be clicked.

You might only have 55 characters to play with, but with a bit of thought you can squeeze a lot in there.

Make it compelling, grab attention, trigger emotions.

If you need some ideas for what works, then take a look at some of the viral sites on Facebook. Those guys rely on super high click-through rates and they split test like crazy.

For example, Upworthy write 25 titles for every post and then test out the best two or three before making a final decision.


You might not go that far, but you get the idea.

And what’s really cool is… if your click through rate goes up, then your ranking will probably improve too!

Recommended Reading: How To Improve Title Tag CTR By 20%

72. Grab Extra Clicks By Making Your Page Titles Stand Out

If all the page titles in your niche follow a certain format, then doing something different can make your titles stand out in the SERPs.

And standing out can gain you some extra clicks.

Recommended Reading: Not A +1,000,000 Organic Visit SEO Case Study

73. Don’t Bother Adding Your Brand To Your Page Titles

Including your brand name at the end of page titles is unnecessary.

Google will often add it automatically anyway.


And it wastes some of those limited characters.


74. Optimise Your Home Page Title For Your Brand

The exception to this is your home page, where your title should definitely be optimised for your brand.

I recommend brand first, then a strap line.

So something like:

Your Company: The Finest {main product} On The Web

But better than that 😉

75. Don’t Waste Words in Your Page Titles

With limited space to play with try and minimise use of stop/joining words — “a, and, is, on, of, or, the, was, with” — in page titles.

Google holds a patent, which suggests they ignore stop words in search queries

76. Use ‘Purchase intent’ Keywords for Ecommerce Titles and Make MORE Sales

If you’re running an Ecommerce store, you want to catch searchers when they are at the ‘buying’ stage.

For example, someone searching for ‘purple dresses’ could be looking for:

  • reviews
  • pictures of purple dresses
  • information on what purple dresses are (you never know!)

But someone searching for ‘buy purple dresses’ is much more likely to be ready to make a purchase.

So simply adding a word like ‘buy’ to your titles can catch more of these hot prospects.

A format I like to use for Ecommerce sites is:

Buy {Product Name} Online

The neat thing about this title is that it can be templated. Which saves you the hassle of having to write custom titles for thousands of products!

Recommended Reading: Ecommerce SEO Guide

77. Use ‘Best’ in Your Titles to Turn Information Gatherers into Buyers

On the flip side, using ‘best’ in your page titles can turn information gatherers into buyers.

Lots of people search for ‘best {product} for X purpose’

So using titles like:

Green back scratcher — the best scratcher for scratching your back

Can also pull in searchers that are likely to make a purchase.

78. SELL Your Content in Your Meta Description

Your meta description is like your advert in the search results.

It’s not always going to show up (sometimes Google will pick out text from your page that better matches the query). But when it does a well written description can nab you some extra clicks.

Write a unique, compelling meta description for each page on your site, that communicates USPs/value, and entices click-throughs.

Recommended Reading: 7 SEO Tactics for Writing Meta Descriptions That Rock the SERPs

79. Avoid Truncating Your Meta Descriptions

Keep your meta descriptions to around 155 characters (maximum) to minimise truncation in the search results.

80. Use Your Keyword in the Meta Description

While not having a direct influence on ranking, keywords in meta descriptions will be bolded in search results.


This can help to improve CTR.

81. Split Test Different Meta Descriptions to Get As Many Clicks as You Can

Experiment with different meta description formats to optimise CTR.

For example, in your’re running an Ecommerce store you might try including the price of the product in your description.

Keep testing and optimising your click-throughs.

Recommended Reading: Meta Description Magic: Think Less about SEO & More about Click-Throughs

82. Ensure Each Page On Your Site Has a Unique H1 Tag

Every page on your site should have a unique H1 tag.

So make sure you’re not duplicating H1 tags across multiple pages.

And definitely don’t wrap your logo in an H1 tag on every page!

83. Use Your Keyword in the H1 Tag

The H1 tag continues to be one of the most important on-page ranking factors. Which means you should definitely include the page’s target keyword.

But don’t overthink it…

For example, if you’re writing a blog post, then the H1 tag should generally just be your post’s title.

84. Include Secondary and LSI Keywords

Additional header tags (H2, H3) are a good opportunity to target secondary key phrases and LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords.

Recommended Reading: How To Use Heading Tags To Get More Search Engine Traffic

85. Avoid Using Header Tags in Your Layout

Many templates use header tags in their layout with generic words/phrases such as ‘More Details’.

Ideally, these should be replaced with CSS styled divs.

86. Give Priority to Your Content

Why do people visit your website? It’s for the content right?

So make sure that within a split second of hitting your page from search, visitors can find what they are looking for.

At a bare minimum your title should be above the fold. That’s visible without the user having to scroll.

Recommended Reading: Page layout algorithm improvement

87. Avoid Too Many Ads ‘Above The Fold’ (and Don’t Annoy Your Users)

Websites need to make money. And many sites rely on display advertising to generate their revenue.

But let’s be honest, ads are annoying right?

And one things for sure in SEO — anything that annoys your users is going to annoy Google too.

So while it might be tempting to have a huge ad (or three) in your header, that’s probably going to send visitors straight to the back button. Which is going to quickly flush your rankings down the toilet.

Here are two layouts with ads above the fold that are going to be Google safe, and one that isn’t.


Try and make your ads as unobtrusive as possible. If you simply must have ads above the fold, then make sure that they don’t push your content below it.

88. Create a Content Hierarchy to Funnel Link Juice Round Your Site

Allow PageRank to flow effectively round your site by carefully considering its hierarchy/structure.

Ideally you want every page on your site to be just a few clicks from the home page.


And for important pages, you might want to have them accessible from various entry points — giving them some extra ‘link juice’

Recommended Reading: How to Create a Site Structure That Will Enhance SEO

89. Ensure Navigation is Clear

Navigation should be easy to locate and intuitive for both search engines and users.

Recommended Reading: Guide to Site Navigation for SEO

90. Nofollow any paid/affiliate links — or Risk Incurring Google’s Wrath

There’s a common misconception that Google has a problem with paid links. They don’t.

What they do have a problem with is paid links that pass Pagerank and influence their search results. In fact they HATE them.

So to stay in Google’s good graces, any links you’ve received cash for should have the nofollow attribute added. This tells Google not to count that link when calculating rankings.

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Paid Link</a>

Why did I emphasise should?

Well, it’s your site. So if you choose to ignore this, then that’s up to you.


If Google catch you, expect to be hammered.

All paid links should have the rel=“nofollow” attribute added. This includes affiliate links.

Recommended Reading:Paid links and advertising

91. Use Short, Descriptive URLs For Your Content

If your CMS allows it, use short, descriptive URLs for your content pages.


Well, here are 3 reasons:

  1. They just look better.
  2. There might be a slight SEO benefit to using your keywords in your URL
  3. Naked anchor links (people linking to you with the URL) will include your target keywords.

Here at Ahrefs we tend to go for 2–3 word URLs separated by hyphens. For example, the URL for this post is ‘seo-tips’.


Recommended Reading: SEO Friendly URLs

92. Ensure You Have Clearly Visible Contact Information

Getting Google to trust your site is a big part of SEO.

So it stands to reason that your contact details should be clear and easy to find. Hide who you are and that’s probably going to be a big red flag that something’s not as it should be.

Plus, if you’re running any kind of web business you want people to contact you right?

Recommended Reading: Why Google Hates Your Site (Hint: It Has Something to Do With TrustRank)

93. Include Privacy Policy and About Page

Two other key pages which help with trust from both users and search engines. It’s also a legal requirement in some regions that your site includes a privacy policy.

94. Have Public Whois Details

Staying on trust, you’ll want to make sure your whois details are public.

If not, that definitely looks like you’ve got something to hide…

95. Minimise Boiler Plate Text to Keep Google Panda Happy

What’s boiler plate text?

Well, basically it’s big blocks of repeating text that appear on multiple pages on your site.

The thing is, you’ll get away with some duplicated text if you have a lot of other content on the page.

But boiler plate text can be a killer for Ecommere sites in particular.

I often see product pages where the only unique text is 50 words or so about the product. Then there’s 500 words about delivery terms etc repeated verbatim on every page.

What does that say to Google (which remember is an algorithm)?

It says “there’s only 10% unique content on all these pages”. And that means that Panda is going to CRUSH you.

Recommended Reading: Duplicate Content SEO Advice From Google

96. Targeting local SEO? Then Include Your Address in Your Site’s Layout

I already mentioned about making your contact details easy to find. That applies to every site.

But if you’re a business targeting local search, then it’s even more critical. In fact I would recommend adding your physical address and contact details to the footer of every page.

That way you’re both reinforcing your location to Google and sending solid trust signals.

Recommended Reading: 10 Guidelines for Putting NAP Info on Your Site for Local SEO

97. Use www. OR non www (Not Both)

This is something that surprisingly I still find a lot of sites doing wrong.

While it’s a bit smarter than it used to be, Google still might consider


as two separate (and duplicated) pages.

So pick either www or non www and 301 redirect the one you’re not using.

You could also set up canonical URLs. But to be safe, I’d just 301 redirect.

It’s also worth setting up the preferred domain in Google Search Console. You can do in a couple of clicks after verifying both versions.

Recommended Reading: WWW vs non-WWW – Which is Better For WordPress SEO?

98. Choose a Cool, Branded Domain Name Instead of Shoehorning in Keywords

There’s very little (if any) SEO benefit to having your keyword in your domain name anymore.

We did find a bit of a correlation in our on-page SEO study. But we figured that’s due to branded keywords skewing the figures a bit.

So go for a cool, branded domain rather than something ugly like

Setting aside SEO value… it just looks better!

Recommended Reading: Goodbye Exact Match Domains, Hello Brandable Websites

99. Optimise Your Site’s Load Speed

Page load speed is a ranking factor. All else being equal, a faster loading page will outrank a slower loading page.

When we studied page load speed as part of our on-page SEO study, the correlation between load speed and rankings was small, but there was a correlation nonetheless.


100. Test Your Site’s Load Speed with a Free Tool

Use a free tool such as Pingdom to test your site’s loading speed.


101. Or Check it in Google Analytics

You can also check to see how quickly your pages are loading in Google Analytics.

Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview


102. Implement As Many of the Recommendations from Google Page Speed Insights As You Can

Run your website through Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and implement recommended changes where practical.


I’ve found it’s pretty hard to get a perfect score, but fix all you can.

103. If You’re Running WordPress, Install a Caching Plugin

A good caching plugin will make a HUGE difference to your site’s speed.

Without a caching plugin WordPress is pretty heavy on database calls. This quickly slows down your site to a crawl when you’re having a good traffic day. And that’s just when you want things to be fast!

A caching plugin serves static HTML versions of your pages to visitors, which load in an instant and mean your server can deal with much higher volumes of traffic.

Plugin wise, I recommend using WP Rocket.


It’s not free, but having used a few different caching plugins over the years, it’s definitely the best one out there.

104. Set Up Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated mobile pages are stripped down versions of web pages that load super fast on mobile.

It’s highly likely that Google will give a ranking boost to AMP ready pages in the future, as they have already started marking accelerated pages in search.

You can see the AMP flag in the news results below.


If you site is running on WordPress, you can use the free plugin to easily set up AMP.

105. Crawl Your Site with Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider and See What Google Sees

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a powerful tool that crawls your website in the same way as Google.

When it’s done crawling, you’ll get a detailed report including:

  • Broken links and server errors
  • Details of page titles and metas for every URL on your site
  • Duplicate content warnings
  • Pages blocked by robots.txt (or noindexed)


You can also use the tool generate XML Sitemaps.

The free version is limited to 500 URLs, so if you want to crawl a large site, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version.


106. Use ‘Beam Us Up’ to Crawl Your Site for FREE

Beam Us Up is a free alternative to Screaming Frog, which offers similar reporting.

There’s no limit to the number of URLs you can crawl, but I have found it can be a bit slower when crawling large sites.

107. Set Canonical URLs to ZAP Duplicate, or Similar Content

Add the canonical link element to set preferred URL for pages with similar content.

<link rel="canonical" href="">

For example, eCommerce systems which allow filtering of categories by various attributes may automatically create multiple URLs with very similar content.

Recommended Reading: rel=canonical: the ultimate guide

108. Add noindex, follow To Pages You Wish to Exclude from Google (But be Careful)

Exclude thin/worthless pages from Google’s index by adding the robots meta tag with “content” set to “noindex, follow”.

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow">

Examples of pages you may want to exclude include tag and author archives in WordPress. However, use this tag with caution.

Recommended Reading: The ultimate guide to the meta robots tag

109. Block Spiders from Sensitive Content with robots.txt

Exclude Googlebot and other crawlers from sensitive parts of your site (such as admin) by blocking them in robots.txt.

Recommended Reading: robots.txt: The ultimate guide

110. Use Permanent (301) Redirects for Moved, or Deleted Pages

Always use 301 redirects to point old pages to new URLs.

It used to be the case that a 301 redirect would lose a bit of ‘link juice’, but Google recently confirmed that 301s now pass full link value.

At Ahrefs, we use a free WordPress Plugin called “Redirection” to manage our 301 redirects.



Google also said that they will now pass link value through 302 (temporary redirects). But we would still recommend using 301 redirects when a page has permanently moved.

111. Set Up Rich Snippets/Structured Data to Jazz Up Your Search Listings

Organic search is more competitive than ever. So it’s essential that you do everything you can to make your listings stand out and squeeze some extra clicks.

Rich snippets are descriptive HTML tags which help search engines to better understand the contents of a web page.

And the cool thing is they will show up in the search results for certain queries.


Which can help to boost CTR!

Recommended Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Rich Snippets

112. Install YOAST’s SEO Plugin for WordPress (It’s StillTHE Best)

If you’re running WordPress, then Yoast’s free SEO plugin makes it simple to handle most common on-page SEO factors.


As well as setting custom titles, descriptions etc you can manage indexing, set canonical URLs, integrate your site with Google Search Console and more.



113. Find Popular Content for ANY topic (or Keyword)

Looking to rank for a keyword, but stuck for content ideas?

Well, why not start by looking at the most popular content that’s already out there?

It’s easy to do with Ahrefs Content Explorer.

Just enter a topic or keyword, hit explore, and you’ll get a list of the most shared and linked to content for that keyword.

Content Explorer > Enter topic or keyword > Explore


So now you know what’s popular, the trick is to take those ideas, adapt them, and make something even cooler!

114. Find Your Competitor’s Most Shared Content… Then Create Something Even Better!

Want to know which of your competitor’s posts got the most social shares?

Then use the “Best By Shares” report in Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > Enter competitor’s domain > Explore > Pages > Best by shares


You’ll get a list of all their content, with the most shared articles at the top.

If it worked for them, it can work for you too. Just make sure to create something even better!

115. Find Popular Content on Reddit (and Subreddits To Share In)

Search for your keyword on Reddit to find the most upvoted and popular content on that topic.


And take a note of where the content was shared. You’ll probably want to target the same subreddits when it comes to promotion.

116. Find Your Competitor’s Most Popular Content on Reddit (in Seconds)

Finding your competitor’s most popular content on Reddit is a piece of cake.

Just enter the following URL format into your browser:

Click on “Top”, then set the time filter to “links from all time”.


You’ll get a list of the most upvoted content from that domain.

117. Create INCREDIBLE ‘Guides’ for More Links and Shares

The days of pumping out cookie cutter, 500 word blog posts to grow your search traffic are well and truly over.

If you want to rank for anything that’s even semi-competitive, then you’ve got to go the extra mile and create something super cool and in depth.

At Ahrefs, we’ve found that creating definitive guides (like our recent ‘noob friendly’ link building guide) generates more shares, buzz, comments, links and traffic.

118. Create List Posts With Numbers in the Titles (People Still Can’t Resist Them)

Buzzfeed have given them a bit of a bad rep, but list posts are still highly shareable and linkable.


It’s been proven again and again that having a number in a post title will help to attract more clicks.

The good thing about a list post is that someone clicking through knows exactly what they’re going to get. For example, in this post, you know you’re going to get over 200 SEO tips right?

And as they are naturally split into sections, they are also easy to scan. Which means a visitor can quickly find what they are looking for.

119. Include Real World Case Studies (Walk The Walk)

There’s one simple way to differentiate your content when targeting a popular keyword.

And that’s to include real world case studies.


Plus, including actual data and examples is great for building trust and showcasing your product or service.

120. Give Away Tips and Secrets That No-One Else is Prepared to (For FREE)

Scared of giving away too much information away for free in your blog posts?

Don’t be.

You’ll be demonstrating that you are the expert in your niche and will pick up more business that if you hold things back.

Plus you’ll make your content super shareable and linkable.

121. Make Your Content SUPER Easy To Read!

The best writing is informative, clear, and easy to read.

Separate your content into logical sections (which is good for SEO!). Write in short, simple sentences. Use bullet points and numbered lists.

At Ahrefs we try and keep our paragraphs to a maximum of 2 or 3 sentences.

Recommended Reading: Grammar Mistakes, Fixes, and Writing Tips for the Excellence-Minded Blogger

122. And if You’re Not Sure, Then Use Hemmingway Editor

Hemmingway Editor is a great, free app, that will give you hints on where you can improve (and simplify) your writing.

Just paste your draft into the editor and work your way through the hints and tips.


123. There’s No Excuse For Bad Grammar. Check Yours With Grammarly

Use Grammarly to check your draft for grammatical errors.

ThereThey’re Their free Chrome plguin will even check your Facebook statuses for bad grammar!


124. Brainstorm Your Titles (To Write AWESOME Ones!)

An awesome title can be the difference between a post that generates a ton of buzz, social shares and traffic, and a post that generates this…


I already mentioned how Upworthy write 25 titles per post. This is probably a bit extreme, but one thing we’ve found works well is bouncing around title ideas with your colleagues.

After all, 2 heads (or 3) are better than one right?

Recommended Reading: 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work

125. Use Your ‘Main’ Keyword AT LEAST Once in The Content

While we found lots of examples where content was ranking without including the “main keyword” within the body text, we would still recommend including it.

There did also seem to be a tiny correlation with the keyword appearing near the start of an article, but we wouldn’t sweat this too much.

If it makes sense to include your keyword early, then do so. Otherwise, just include it somewhere on the page.

126. Long Content Still Correlates With Higher Rankings

Numerous studies have concluded that there is a correlation between long form content and higher rankings. Although the caveat should be that this may have more to do with quality than actual length.


Either way, the takeaway is to go in-depth and create the authority page for your target keyword.

127. But DON’T Write Words Just For The Sake Of It!

If something should be short…

Then keep it short.

128. Forget Keyword Density — It Makes ZERODifference

Don’t sweat keyword density.

Write naturally and you will tend to use your target keyword several times within your content without having to think about it.


We wouldn’t worry about keyword frequency either.

129. Use LSI Keywords In Your Content (Yep, Them Again!)

LSI keywords are words that are semantically related to your main keyword.

They are useful for cementing a page’s topic and also for differentiating homonyms (same words with different meaning, i.e. “bark” the sound a dog makes, “bark” the outer layer of a tree) in search queries.

When writing about a topic you will tend to use these naturally, but it can be an idea to do some research beforehand.

130. Use LOADS and LOADS of Images. Then Add Some More!

Images help to break up your content and make it easier to read.

They also help to keep your readers engaged, leading to increased time on page, and a reduced bounce rate.

Plus they make your posts look nice and pretty 😉

131. Add Multimedia To Your Content

Adding multimedia to your content — videos , slideshows etc — makes it more engaging, shareable and linkable.

There may also be some direct SEO benefit.

132. Add Embedded Youtube Videos to Keep Visitors On Your Page For Longer

Adding an embedded video to your content will help to keep visitors on the page for longer.

And longer time on page (dwell time) will help to boost your rankings.

Recommended Reading: Dwell Time: The Most Important Metric You’re Not Measuring 

133. Add Internal Links To Lower Your Bounce Rate

Adding internal links to other pages from within content allows link equity to flow around your site. They also encourage reader exploration, lowering bounce rate.

And of course with internal links you have complete control over anchor text.

While we haven’t yet studied whether internal anchor text influences rankings, we would say that there is likely to be some SEO benefit.

Recommended Reading: 3 Internal Linking Strategies for SEO and Conversions (plus, 10 tips for internal link building)

134. Link Out (Because It’s Good For Your Readers and *Might Help SEO)

Linking out to high quality, authoritative, and topically related content aids relevance and builds relationships with other site owners in your niche.

Reboot conducted a study earlier this year, which showed that outbound links appear to help with rankings.

Best practice is to open external links in a new tab/window to keep visitors on your site.

135. Keep Your Content Up To Date (and Get a BIGTraffic Boost)

Regularly update old/archive content to keep it fresh, relevant and rankworthy.

Check out this case study to find out how simply updating old content can lead to a big boost in search traffic.


136. Find Gaps in Your Content and Fill Them!

Use Ahrefs Site Explorer to find out all the keywords your page is currently ranking for.

Site Explorer > Enter URL > Explore > Organic search > Organic keywords


Then make sure your content effectively covers all those queries.

Find out how David Attard saw a significant boost in his search traffic by following this process.


137. Work To A Content Schedule That MeansEVERYTHING You Publish Is AMAZING

With the exception of large publications, and news sites (which require lots of daily content), most sites will get more benefit by focusing on content quality, as opposed to frequency.

Publishing 1 great article a week (or even 1 a month) is better than publishing 1 mediocre article daily.

138. Include a Table of Contents for Long Content

Include a table of contents with internal links to specific sections on long pages to benefit from Wikipedia style ‘jump to’ links in the search results.

You won’t always get them. But if you do, they can help to increase your clicks.


Recently I’ve noticed that Google tends to be including links to other pages, rather than internal links, so this may not work any more. Either way, including internal links (and a table of contents) is good for your users, so I would still recommend it.

139. Become a Source of News for Your Industry and Get Into Google news

The requirements for getting into Google news are pretty tight. But if there’s no news source for your industry, then it’s well worth giving it a go.

If you do get accepted, then you’ll benefit from lots of extra traffic as news content is regularly featured above the organic listings.


Recommended Reading: Getting Into Google News: 10 Steps to Guaranteed Acceptance

140. Quote Influencers to Piggyback on Their Authority

If you’re just starting out, then quoting influencers in your content can help to give it some extra weight.

You’re effectively piggybacking on their authority. A visitor who doesn’t know you is more likely to trust what you say if it’s backed up by a quote from someone well known in your niche.

Plus, there’s the ‘ego bait’ aspect. Let an influencer know you’ve quoted them and most will be happy to share your content, which will help to amplify its reach.

141. Write a KICK-ASS Introduction That Hooks The Reader In Straight Away

We already know that titles are super important for getting people to click through to your page.

But that’s just half the battle.

Your next job is to keep them there.

Which is why your introduction needs to be absolutely kick ass.

Keep it short. Let them know exactly what they will get from reading your post. And hook them in.

Get them excited to read on… and keep them away from that back button!

142. Weave Story Telling Through Your Content (And Live Happily Ever After)

Whenever I can, I like to tell a story in my blog posts. And if possible, that includes weaving in a little suspense.

I like to hint at the takeaways at the start, but hold a little back. This helps to keep visitors engaged and reading to the end.

Check out this post for an example.

143. Finish With a Compelling Call To Action

Do you want your visitors to share? To comment? To sign up to your email list?

Or perhaps all of the above.

Whichever it is… ask them!

If they’ve read your post through to the end, they are engaged with your content and will be primed to take action.

144. Just Starting Out? Then Focus On Creating Content That Will Bring In Traffic

It takes time to build your site’s organic traffic — particularly if it is new.

But that doesn’t mean you have to sit staring at stats showing ZERO visits for months on end until Google starts to show you some love.

By focusing on creating super interesting, shareable content, and promoting it heavily on social media, Reddit etc you can launch your site with a bang.

I did just that with a site I launched last March.


And here’s the thing:

Google doesn’t want to make websites popular. It wants to rank popular websites.

So by following this approach, you’ll find that Google starts to sit up and take notice.

145. Reach Out To EVERYONE You Mention in Your Content

Quote someone in your post?

Or link to their site?

Then drop them an email to let them know.

Most will be happy to share!

146. Create a Content Promotion Strategy That You Run Through for ALL Content

There’s no point publishing amazing content on your site if no-one ever finds it.

For every article you publish you should have a clearly defined promotion strategy. This could include:

  • Sending it out to your email list
  • Sharing it on your social media channels
  • Reaching out to everyone mentioned in the post
  • Emailing people who have shared similar content
  • Emailing people who have linked to similar content
  • Sharing your post on Reddit
  • Sharing your post on niche communities (i.e. and GrowthHackers for marketing content)
  • Answering questions on Quora and linking to your post

The exact strategy will depend on your niche (and resources), but a good rule of thumb is that you should spend at least as much time promoting your content as you do writing it.



147. Add Relevant Alt Text To Your Images (Otherwise Google Won’t Know What They Are)

Google image search can drive BIG traffic to your site — particularly if you’re running an Ecommerce business.

Lots of people start their product research by browsing through Google images, rather than a regular Google search.


But there’s a problem:

Google isn’t (yet) smart enough to figure out what’s in your images. You have to tell them.

So add descriptive alt text (think captions) to all your images and benefit from extra traffic from Google image search.

148. Use Descriptive File Names for Your Images

You can also give Google an indication of what’s in an image by using descriptive filenames.

Good: <img src="photo-of-a-clown.jpg" alt="photo of a clown" />
Bad: <img src="1550111.jpg" alt"" />

149. Optimise Image File Size (With This FREE Plugin)

I already mentioned you should use a TON of images in your posts.

And we know that page loading speed is a ranking factor.

Which means you’ll want to make sure your images are compressed and optimised to download as quickly as possible.

To make this easy I recommend using a WordPress plugin called Imagify.

The plugin will automatically compress your images as you upload them.

And you can also use their bulk optimization tool to compress existing images. On one of my sites, the bulk optimizer managed to compress my images by almost 50%.


That’s a HUGE saving!

150. Turn Animated Gifs Into Silent Movies With a Play Button

Animated gifs are a great way to add extra movement and colour to your web pages. But they do tend to be pretty heavy on file size.

So use this free WordPress plugin to replace your animated gifs with a static image + play button.


Your animated gifs will instantly be turned into mini silent movies!

151. Don’t Use Your Big Images for Thumbnails

Lots of CMS systems (particularly Ecommerce sites) use the big featured, or product image on category pages for thumbnails and just squish them down to the right size in the template.

This creates a heavy, slow loading page — which we know is bad for SEO!

So make sure your CMS creates separate, smaller images for all thumbnails to speed up your category pages.

152. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to Serve Your Images

Using a CDN to serve your images can speed up your site and save on bandwidth costs.

Images (and other static files such as javascripts) will be cached on multiple servers, and loaded from a location close to the user’s physical location.

Cloudflare is one of the easiest CDNs to set up. Here’s how to do it.



153. Do Everything You Can To Lower Your Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of searchers that visit one page on your site and then leave (normally by clicking back) without visiting any other pages.

There are two types of bounce rate:

The first is the one you see in Google Analytics, that looks like this.


There are all sorts of reasons why that might be high. For example, your site might offer answers to questions and once someone has that answer, they don’t need to read anything else.

The second type of bounce (also included in the first figure) is the one that’s more important to search rankings. That’s when someone clicks through to your site from search, clicks back to the results page and continues to click on other results.

This is going to be a big indicator to Google that your page didn’t satisfy the query. Which means that over time you’re going to start moving down the rankings.

While it’s difficult to get an exact figure on this bounce rate (only Google knows how many people are clicking additional results) you can get a good feel for it by looking at time on page metrics. If the average time on page is only matter of seconds, then there’s a good chance that searchers aren’t finding what they are looking for.

So how do you lower this second type of bounce?

By making sure that your page definitely answers all queries for which it ranks.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find out which queries your page ranks for. Just run the organic keywords report in Ahrefs Site Explorer for any URL and you’ll get a list of all keywords that are driving traffic to the page.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Explore > Organic search > Organic keywords


154. Use Scroll Mapping Software to Find Out Where Users Abandon Your Page

Scroll map software will show you how far down an individual page users are scrolling before leaving.

This is super useful for working out where and why users are abandoning your page.


155. Use Heat Map Tracking to See Where Users Click

Heat mat tracking software shows you exactly where your visitors are clicking and interacting with your pages.

This is useful for optimising conversions and placing navigational elements.


SumoMe is a free wordpress plugin that includes scroll mapping and heat map tracking.

156. Minimise Annoying Pop-Ups

While popups can be good for conversions, too many of them can send a visitor straight for the back button.

Make sure they are easy to close and don’t go crazy.

I generally recommend delaying a popup until a user has been on the page/site for at least 20 seconds (or on exit intent) and also setting a cookie to not show the same popup for another 30 days once closed.

157. Be Careful With Interstitial Ads

Google has confirmed it may choose to penalise sites that display interstitial, full screen ads (below) to users on mobile devices.


(Let’s ignore for a second the fact that they offer exactly that as a product on adsense!)

So be careful with instertitials — particurly if they block users from reading content as soon as they hit your page.

Recommended Reading: Surviving Google’s New Policy Against Interstitial Ads

158. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile Optimised. Now.

If your website is not mobile optimised you are/will be missing out on a HUGEamount of traffic.

source: We Are Social

source: We Are Social

Make it priority #1.

159. Make Sure Your Website Looks Great on ALLDevices

Your website should be functional across a wide range of devices, operating systems, and screen sizes. It should also be accessible to users with a disability.

160. Make Your Content Easy To Read

Make sure text content is easy to read (bigger font sizes are normally better) and well formatted.

Proof-read your copy for spelling/grammatical errors.

161. Set Up a Friendly 404 Page

Create a user friendly 404 (not found error) page, which directs visitors to relevant content and minimises bounce.


For some inspiration, check out these examples.

162. Minimise Website Down Time

Ensure you have a reliable web host with minimal (ideally ZERO) down time. If Google regularly finds your site is down when visiting, then it goes without saying your rankings are going to tank.

So don’t skimp on hosting!

163. Install an SSL Certificate On Your Site

Moving your entire website to SSL should be considered. Google gives a small rankings boost to sites accessible over HTTPS, and it’s likely that in the future this will increase as a ranking factor.

At a minimum, any pages which capture user information should be safely encrypted.

You can use Let’s Encrypt to grab a free SSL certificate for your site.



164. Look Out For Manual Penalty Notifications

A manual penalty means that someone from Google has actually reviewed your site (or link profile) and found something suspicious. That could be:

  • overly aggressive, or manipulative link building
  • low quality content
  • suspicious outbound links
  • unmoderated user generated content
  • manipulative use of schema markup

Manual webspam penalties will generally be notified by email and a message in Google Search Console.

source: SiteReach

source: SiteReach

165. Look Out For Sudden Drops in Search Traffic

A sudden drop in your search traffic will normally be the first sign that you might have picked up a penalty.

But before you panic, make sure there’s nothing up with your site that might have caused the drop.

For example:

  • was your site down for a period?
  • is your analytics tracking code installed properly?
  • have you blocked search spiders by mistake (I’ve seen this a few times in the past!)

If everything looks ok, then you’ve probably got some sort of penalty 🙁

166. Check Traffic Drops Against Google Updates With This FREE Tool

Drops in traffic that align with Google updates are an early indication of algorithmic penalties.

You can use the free Panguin tool, by Baracuda Digital, to superimpose updates over your search traffic.


167. Remove/Minimise Thin Content

For penalties which align with Panda updates identify pages with thin/duplicate content and either remove, ‘beef up’ or de-index.

Recommended Reading: What is thin content and why does it matter?

168. Run a ‘’ Search to Find Out How Many Pages Google Has Indexed For Your Site

You can get an indication on how many pages Google has indexed for your site by running the following search:


If the number of pages is a lot higher than you expect, that’s a sign that you’ve got indexing issues that need to be fixed.

169. Remove As Many Low Quality Links As You Can

Conduct a link audit, flag all low quality links and reach out to linking sites requesting removal.

You can use the Backlinks report in Ahrefs Site Explorer to export all links pointing to your site.

Site Explorer > Enter domain > Explore > Backlink profile > Backlinks


Find a sudden influx of links from low quality sites that you don’t recognise? That could be a sign of a negative SEO attack.

Unfortunately, negative SEO is very much a thing particularly in competitive niches.

Recommended Reading: How To Protect Your Website From Negative SEO

170. Disavow Any Low Quality Links Which Can’t Be Removed

If you don’t get a response to removal requests, then add low quality links/domains to a disavow file and submit that to Google.

Recommended Reading: Your Start-to-Finish Guide to Using Google’s Disavow Tool

171. Check Your Site For Hacks/Inserted links

Ensure your website has not been hacked and that there are no suspicious outgoing links.

Recommended Reading: How to Protect Your Website from Being Hacked

172. Scan Your Site With Sucuri for FREE

You can use Sucuri’s free site check to quickly scan your site for hacks/security issues and find out if you are on any black lists (i.e. McAffee Site Advisor).


If you do have any issues, then Sucuri also offer a paid clean up service.

173. Remove Any Manipulative Schema Markup

Schema markup should be used to describe exactly what’s on the page.

Don’t try and be clever and add extra markup. Google is clamping down on thatbig style at the moment.


174. File a Reconsideration Request Once You’ve Fixed Everything You Can

For manual penalties, you should file a reconsideration request once all identifiable issues have been resolved.


Recovery from penalties is not straight forward and you should be very careful when removing links, de-indexing pages etc. If in doubt consider employing the services of an experienced SEO consultant. It should also be noted that Google is expected to transition to ‘real-time’, continuous Penguin/Panda updates in the near future, which may make identifying specific penalties harder.



175. Don’t Ignore Social Media!

While officially not having a direct influence on rankings (although opinions vary on this), social media helps to spread your content and get it in front of potentially linking eyeballs.

Additionally traffic from social may cause other factors that do directly influence rankings (i.e. traffic, buzz, brand searches, typed in URL searches).

176. Use Social Media To Share Your Content

Maintain active social media profiles on the major networks and share your content with your audience.

While you’ll want to have a presence on all the major social networks, it makes sense to devote most of your time to the one that drives most traffic in your niche. For example in marketing that might be Twitter, while for a food blog Pinterest might be the biggy.

177. Show Social Proof on Your Site and Get Even More Shares

Displaying social share counts acts as social proof and can lead to further shares.

If you want to be a little Machiavellian, many social sharing plugins allow you to ‘fake’ initial share counts. It might seem a little dishonest, but it’s a fact that visitors are more likely to share an article that already appears popular.

Your call 😉

178. Make it Ridiculously Easy To Share Your Content

Display social share buttons in prominent positions on your web pages to make sharing as easy as possible.

For desktop, you’ll probably want to have share buttons below your content and also a floating share bar that follows a visitor down the page.


Mobile is a little trickier as you have limited screen space, but it’s worth trying out a fixed share bar at the bottom (or top) of the screen to see if it increases shares.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Placement For Successful Social Media Buttons?

179. Include Open Graph Data To Get More Clicks From Social Media

Ensure your web pages are set up with open graph meta data for rich social shares.


If you have Yoast installed, then the plugin will handle that for you 🙂

Otherwise, here’s how to do it.

180. Set Up Rich Pins for More Pinterest Traffic (It Takes Seconds)

Enabling rich pins on your website can lead to increased traffic from Pinterest.

If your content already includes Open Graph data, then it’s super easy to do.

181. Write Custom Titles and Descriptions for Facebook

Sometimes it makes sense to write up a separate title for Facebook shares as successful title formats do vary from platform to platform.

But be careful as Facebook are clamping down on click-bait style “information gap” headlines.

Recommended Reading: How To Write Great Headlines For Facebook Readers

182. Create Custom Featured Images for ALL Your Posts and Get More Clicks

Custom featured images can help your content get more clicks from social.

Use bright, colourful images that catch people’s eye as they scroll down their timeline.

Recommended Reading: All Facebook Image Dimensions and Ad Specs

183. Quickly Grow Your Twitter Account by Following Your Competitor’s Followers

The best way to grow your Twitter following is to follow other people.

So it makes sense to follow your competitor’s followers as these are the users who are most likely to be interested in your own product or service.

Just be careful not to follow/unfollow too many accounts in one day, as you might get yourself banned!

Recommended Reading: How to Steal Your Competitor’s Twitter Followers

184. Growth Hack Your Way to Success on Pinterest

Similar to Twitter, the quickest way to grow your Pinterest account is to follow other boards related to your topic.

To make sure users notice you have followed them, first follow one of their boards, then like 2–3 individual pins. That way they’ll get several notifications including your account all at once 🙂

Here are some other ways you can grow your Pinterest account.



185. Sign Up For Google Search Console and Verify Your Site

There’s no excuse… it takes seconds!

And when you’re done you’ll get loads of great (FREE) feedback from Google on improvements you can make to your site.

Here’s the link.

186. Regularly Check Search Console for Crawl Errors. Fix em’

Use the crawl errors report to find any errors Google came across when crawling your site.

Crawl > Crawl Errors


If you see any 404 (not found) errors, then you’ll probably want to set up 301 redirects for those pages.

Server errors might be a sign that your site is suffering from down time, so that’s definitely something you’ll want to look into.

Needless to say, fix what you can!

187. Get Advice From Google on Things You Should Fix on Your Site

Run the HTML Improvements report to get quick recommendations on improvements you can make to your site’s SEO.

Search Appearance > HTML Improvements


If Google is telling you to fix something… then you should probably fix it!

188. Look For ‘Quick Wins’ in the Search Analytics Report

Use the search analytics report, ordered by impressions, to look for keywords with a high number of impressions and average search position 11+.

Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Check Impressions + Position > Order By Impressions


Adding some internal links to these pages, or even just making sure that the exact phrase is included on the page, can be enough to move the keyword into the top 10 and instantly boost traffic.

A great quick win!

189. Find High Ranking Keywords With Below AverageCTR — Then Boost Their Traffic

The search analytics report is probably the most useful report in Google Search Console.

As well as finding quick wins, you can also use the report to find keywords that have below average CTR for their ranking position.

Just order the report by position and look for keywords ranking in the top 5 spots with low click-through rate.

monitor your click through rate

When you find them, try split testing different title and meta description variations to boost your click-throughs and bag some extra search traffic!

190. Submit a Site Map To Help Google Crawl Your Site

You may want to add a sitemap, or sitemaps to ensure all pages on your site can be found, and to set crawl priority.

Crawl > Sitemaps

This isn’t such a big deal if you have good site architecture, but it’s one to tick off the list.

The more help you can give Google the better!

191. Force a Re-Crawl of Your Content When You Update It (To Get It Reindexed In Seconds)

When you update old content, you could wait for Google to recrawl it.

But with just a few clicks, you can force a re-crawl and get the page re-cached almost instantly.

Crawl > Fetch As Google > Fetch > Submit To Index > Crawl only this URL > Go


192. Set Your Target Country

Google is pretty smart at figuring out which country your site is targeting.

But just in case (and particularly if you’re using a .com domain), it’s always good practice to set your target country in Search Console.

Search Traffic > International Targeting > Country


193. Use The URL Removal Tool (With EXTREMECaution!)

If you find there are pages (or directories) that have creeped into Google’s index that shouldn’t be there, then you can use the URL removal tool to get them removed quickly.

But be VERY careful when using this tool.

You don’t want to remove something by mistake!

Google Index > Remove URLs




194. Sign Up For Google Analytics

Access to accurate traffic stats is essential for monitoring the effectiveness of your SEO and marketing campaigns.

Google Analytics is the industry standard + it’s free!


195. Regularly Check Your Stats and React To Any Changes in Traffic

Check your stats regularly to look for changes in traffic, landing pages etc and react accordingly.

For example, a sudden drop in search traffic could be a sign of a penalty.

Which is something you’re going to want to take a look at as soon as possible!

196. Link Google Analytics with Search Console

It used to be the case that you could get great feedback from Google Analytics on which keywords were driving your search traffic. But these days, when you check keywords you’re likely to see something like this:

Which clearly sucks!

Fortunately, by connecting Search Console with Analytics you can pull in the keyword data from Search Console’s “Search Queries” report. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement.

Here’s the process.

197. Filter Out Annoying Referral Spam

There’s been a big increase in referrer spam over the past couple of years. It’s a particularly annoying type of spam, where spammers trick Google Analytics into reporting referrals that never actually happened.


These ‘ghost referrals’ skew your data, leaving you with inaccurate reports.

Fortunately, it’s pretty straight forward to filter them out and clean up your stats.

Here’s how to do it.

198. Track outbound links with event tracking

The more knowledge you have about how users are interacting with your site the better, so it’s worth setting up event tracking for outbound links.


If you’re sending someone a lot of referral traffic, then they’ve probably noticed that already. So, they should be pretty receptive to outreach.

General SEO Tips


199. Don’t put your eggs in one basket

A good internet marketing campaign should be multi-faceted and include a mix of SEO, social media, and paid traffic.

Never rely on one source of traffic for your business.

Recommended Reading: The Importance Of A Multi-Faceted Approach To Online Marketing

200. Learn as much as you can

Knowledge is power.

There are a load of great SEO blogs offering free advice, so learn as much as you can. Subscribing to Ahrefs blog below would be a good start 🙂

And once you’ve done that, check out our list of 22 SEO blogs to follow in 2016.

201. Pay attention to updates

Things change in SEO, so keep up to date with those changes.

202. Be patient

Effective SEO takes hard work and time, but the effort and wait is worth it.

Studies have shown that SEO continues to provide the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel.

203. Avoid shady tactics

If something seems too good to be true then it probably is. (refer to the last tip)

204. Don’t spam and be cool!

And that’s that! Got any cool SEO tips you would like us to add to the list? Leave us a comment and we’ll look at adding them to the list!


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