If you're looking for the top white hat SEO techniques for 2017 you've come to the right place.
In this guide I will show you all the white hat strategies that I use which have achieved me and my clients massive results.
1. The Skyscraper Technique
This is by far one of the most underutilized techniques in 2017.
If you're unfamiliar with the technique here is a quick overview:
The skyscraper technique is actually a term coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko and it's used to create massive skyscrapers of content that are proven to give you a HUGE competitive edge in ranking.
I'm talking like 3000 - 5000 word articles.
The reason this technique works so well is because
A. Google has more stuff to read and better understand what your content is about.
B. People are more likely to link to or share long form content.
C. Visitors are generally more likely to stick around when they your massive amount of content and Google likes to see those positive UX signals 🙂
If you'd like to see a Skyscraper post I did that contains over 10,000 words on it check out: SEO Strategy 2017 (11 SEO Videos To Skyrocket Your Rankings)
2. Re-purposed Content
One of the things I see a lot is that people will do one blog post share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +, email a friend or two, and then call it a day
There is so much more you can do with that blog post!
In an ideal situation, this is what you can do for your article:
- Create article
- Share article
- Turn article into slide share and submit to Slideshare
- Present slides on a Youtube video and rank in the second largest search engine in the world for similar keywords.
- Turn article into a Podcast discussion by presenting the main points which you can debate or contribute to a discussion.
- Turn into an Infographic which you can also list on the post and highly increase your chances of getting links.
- Use as cornerstone content by generating link silo's
- Use for broken link building via Pitchbox
There's even more you can do! Before I put you to sleep with it all here's a video I made that shows you in more detail what I do: How To Re-purpose Content
3. Branding + Social Social Signals
I have tons of people come to me and say, "Chase, I don't need social media. My audience isn't on social media because my business is mainly XYZ and (insert excuse for why they wouldn't have Facebook."
Let me clue you in on something.
And that number is still growing.
Either way, social signals are a thing and we know for sure Google indexes Tweets.
So it's important not to overlook what you can be doing on social.
Here's what I recommend:
- Get a buffer account for $10 a month and get a months worth of posts scheduled. What I like to do is schedule my different blog posts and feature reviews I get from my GMB location.
- Social Media Optimization: Make sure your brand is consistent and is optimized to convert visitors into whatever funnel you are promoting with CTA's.
- Start looking into automation. I know, this is a bit grey, but unless you have a team to do all the legit social media for you, some of this stuff may have to be a little automated. And no, I'm not saying start using web 2.0's to create tons of tier level accounts to automate syndication for you. I'm talking about using stuff like managed flitter, crowdfire, and instagress to help you reach more people by automating your interactions.
- Get involved in groups, you'd be surprised what you can do these days by joining or creating your own groups on Facebook. If you'd like to join my Facebook group for SEO send me a request and ask me to tell you more about it 🙂
4. Branding + Search Engine Marketing
You can't get away from SEM these days.
Google has not only made it so that the top four positions on search have the possibility to be ads but they have also made them appear in green instead of yellow.
Not to mention they have also been continually adding to the arsenal of extensions you can use which makes ad's appear even larger on search!
That's why it might be important for you to start looking into how you can use some of your budget to engage in PPC or at the very least re marketing.
5. On Page SEO
Contrary to popular belief, on page SEO is more important than off page SEO.
Ok, I know what you're thinking.
"but Chase links are the most important ranking factor."
This use to be the case but with Google's changes in AI and turning up the dial on the supposed humming bird, links are proving not to be the most important ranking factor anymore.
The main ranking factors now are: UE (User Experience) and UI (User Intent).
This means that when a searcher on Google looks up the word Panda they will get the rap song they are looking for.
Google is able to tell that most of the people looking up the word Panda want the rap song (user intent) and when they get to the video Google see's that people are happy with the result by having low bounce rates, high click through rates, and high AVG. time spent on page (user experience).
Google looks at some other stuff like pogo sticking but we won't dive into that right now.
All I'm saying is try to make sure you have your on page SEO targeting what people are actually looking for, not what you're trying to sell for any high search rate keyword you can get.
6. Crawl Rate Optimization
A huge problem I see a lot of these days is duplicate content.
It's really important that you spend time optimizing your site architecture to tell Google not to crawl / index thin or duplicate content pages.
Google likes to see that all the pages on your site are high quality and if it can't see that, it's going to crawl your content a lot less frequently.
This is especially important for eCommerce sites and I could dedicate an entire other article to just this.
7. Frequent and Relevant Updates
This white hat SEO technique actually dovetails off crawl rate optimization as your site will actually get crawled more frequently if you regularly update your site with content.
Here are some more reasons why creating frequent and relevant updates helps your site:
- You get content to link from and to. If you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of on page link building.
- You get more content to rank for and more content to share.
- Your site get's better understood by Google when you create relevant content for your niche. One word I recently heard for this is called, "Topical Seeding."
8. Content Relaunch
Another overlooked strategy is taking old content and relaunching as new content.
This technique is actually something that Brian Dean does very well.
Basically all you have to do is look at the content on your site that's ranking in positions 4-9 through search console.
And relaunch it as new content!
Get this. Before ranking number one in my town for the keywords, "SEO Santa Barbara." (I gave back the rankings to the agency that I outranked after they hired me) It took me close to 22 title revisions and on page content revisions.
What does this mean?
Generally, if you can continue to re optimize and relaunch your content for what people are looking for, you can continue to get ranking boosts.
Most people launch their content once and then never look at it again!
Older content also has a bit more authority because it's been around for longer and may have even generated more links.
Which is why you should really consider looking at your older content and perhaps consider re purposing it as well with your content relaunch 🙂
9. Schema Markup
Auw yes, how could we leave out Schema.
This is another topic that a lot of people try to avoid.
However, Schema is becoming more and more important and Google is starting really show a liking for Schema.
No, Schema isn't a direct ranking factor but it can help you improve your CTR's in many ways.
Some of the best features you can get from using Schema are:
- Aggregate rating (having reviews show underneath your organic search results)
- Knowledge graph (being listed in position 0 on Google by having correct markup that will help Google better understand what your topic is about)
- Knowledge panel (being listed as an organization in Google's knowledge panel using organization markup)
- Local business listings (having Google more heavily trust your local business and show you in the map results for relevant queries using local business markup)
- Product markup (show prices, discounts, reviews, and more with product markup)
There are many other things you can do as well with Schema but these are some of the main schema's implemented today.
Also, if you can try to use JSON-LD over microdata, Google can understand it better. Just make sure if you're using JSON-LD you can also find that information in your on page content.
Want to learn Schema basics, check out the video I made for it here: Schema Markup 2017
10. Page Speed Optimization
This is huge.
Google has clearly stated the page speed is a direct ranking factor.
So why overlook it?
That's why you HAVE to get a design that has a fast load time, is responsive, and isn't bogged down by thousands of plugins.
A great way to see what plugins are hurting your load times is to run the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler).
Also, if you are using bad hosting, you're going to take a massive hit. I personally use WP Engine and it works AMAZING.
If you'd like to learn more about page speed and how WP Engine can help you optimize for blazing fast load times check out this awesome infographic: How site speed affects your load times.
11. Frequent Audits
So you have a website or a client and you just don't know what to do next?
One of the things that a lot of people overlook is what can be uncovered just by simply performing a new audit.
You might say, "but Chase I just did an audit for them 2 months ago."
Doesn't matter, you can always uncover new things.
I personally use multiple tools to check for site issues.
Some of these tools include:
If you'd like help with an audit, I actually do them live on video and create actionable road maps for people who are looking to take their SEO to the next level.
12. Expert Round Up's
This technique is actually over utilized in the SEO industry but in most other niches it's not.
If you want to do one of these posts, I'd recommend combining them with your own native content sort of like what I did with my Complete Guide to SEO for 2017 mainly because you get extra content and possible links / shares to a piece of content that's centered around your own blog post.
You also stand out from what people are doing with expert round ups which only include expert tips and not much native content.
13. Click Through Rate Optimization
There's a little trick you can do with search console that I touched on earlier in the on page SEO tips.
To elaborate, if you look at your search console and click on a page that's getting tons of clicks put isn't ranking in the top 3 spots on Google, you can actually improve the CTR's by adding something called qualifiers.
Qualifiers are things that qualify people to read your article.
More specifically, your target audience.
You can find out what your target audience actually wants by seeing what your article is showing up for and seeing the quires with the highest CTR's.
All you have to do is include those high CTR variations in your titles and meta and BAM (in most cases) you should see a way higher CTR on your article.
Bonus tip: I like to add parentheses in my titles to really highlight what people are going to get. Brian Dean has proven that this also improves CTR's.
14. Competitive Link Sniping
If you want to get some really valuable, highly targeted links you can use this method.
All you have to do is find articles that are getting tons of links with a tool like Buzz Sumo
Grab all the links that are pointing to that article by downloading a CSV.
Once you have the export, plug those links into a tool like Pitchbox and start emailing these bloggers offering them your similar article that may be a good addition to the post they are already linking from to your competitor.
15. Long Tail or LSI Optimization
You may already know this but you can get some serious traffic by optimizing for not one but multiple keywords.
Furthermore, you can optimize for key phrases. Also known as, latent semantic indexing key phrases or (LSI)
LSI phrases are what Google semantically see's that other people are looking for around the subject you are searching.
You can find these phrases by plugging your main keyword into LSI Graph or by simply typing your keyword(s) into Google and scrolling to the bottom where Google show's it's related LSI phrases.
One of the best ways to optimize for LSI and long tail key phrases is to create long form content (2000 + word pages or posts.)
16. Broken Link Building
What better way to get links then by replacing broken outdated links with fresh relevant content that you created!
One of the best way to do broken link building is to crawl popular blogs with Xenu and see if they have any broken relevant links that you could replace your article with.
Then you can outreach either via contact forum or use the email hunter chrome extension to find contact info and let them know.
Brian Dean's also has an awesome technique called the moving man method that I suggest you also read up on.
17. Stockpile SEO Method
This is actually a phrase I coined myself.
The whole idea behind doing stockpile SEO is to look for articles that may become important in the future and start optimizing for them before hand.
Generally, if you can get the user signals high before your competitors do, you will have better chances ranking long term.
Check out the video I made explaining this method in more detail: Stock Pile SEO
18. Citation Building
Although widely debated, citations do matter for all websites.
Not just local.
Rand Fishkin did a video on just this which hopefully is evidence enough for you.
The idea behind this is that if you get citations from trusted sources, your brand will become more trusted in the eyes of Google as well.
If you want my top resource for citation building, send me a message and I can give you the guy for a $5 referral fee.
19. Clear Call To Actions
On thing that I notice a lot is websites without clear CTA's.
Especially home pages.
Look if you don't want more conversions that's on you.
But if you do, you need to realize that a lot of your traffic has no idea what you want them to do.
Which is why you need a clear CTA on your home page and other important pages.
The reason why your home page is so important is because it will likely be one of the most visited pages on your website.
So you need to use that opportunity to tell your visitors what you want them to do.
20. Proper Email Opt Ins
Another underutilized technique is proper email opt ins.
No, not giant banners spamming your visitors saying sign up now for my spam email list where I will annoy the heck out of you.
I'm talking about something that will give your guests TONS of value.
The best way to do this is to offer something invaluable in return for their email.
Which is why the content upgrade is probably the best technique you can use for this.
All you have to do is offer your visitors a free extra resource that will save them time or money and your in!
21. Optimization for Mobile / AMP
This is something that I'm sure most of you already know but it has to be apart of this list.
Google is clearly trying to provide the BEST user experience possible.
and while AMP is certainly not a direct ranking factor as stated by John Mueller, having high user experience signals is.
Also, if you have a sub domain for a mobile website you might want to consider moving that over to a responsive theme as you don't want to have separate links or content on your m. website.
22. Resource Lists
Another awesome white hat SEO technique you can utilize is building a list of resources that people can use to reference in their blogs.
These lists are way more likely to get links because website owners want to give their audience great info and what better way to do it then by linking to a list of resources you've already made.
You can also combine this technique with the link building methods we talked about earlier and get tons of awesome, highly targeted links.
23. Proper Open Graph Data
Another underutilized technique I see is not using proper OG data or taking advantage of the many capabilities that you can use by implementing OG data.
Mainly the ability to share videos on social media directly from your website.
If you want to see how I do a bunch of cool tricks with OG data check out the video tutorial I made here: Social signal hacking
24. Related Words From Co-ocurring terms (Bill Slawski Contribution)
This approach is one taken from Google's Phrase-Based Indexing patents.
Take a page that you would like to optimize for a particular query term, and search for that query term, and visit the top 10 or 20 ranking pages for that term (for the same sense of the term used on those pages).
Find meaningful phrases that are used on more than one of those ranking pages for that query term, and make a list of them.
Consider adding a number of those phrases (but not necessarily all of them) to the page that you want to optimize for that query term."
25. Focus On The Basics Before Advanced SEO
Before going and learning the entire schema markup library it's important to know the SEO basics.
The reason for this is, you can do a lot of good by simply fixing basic problems with a website before needing to implement more advanced optimizations like Schema.
Especially if you're new.
and even more so if your clients are new.
There's tons of things you can do to optimize a website but if you don't get your basics down, your clients are going to drop like flies in a lightning storm.
Which is why I almost always recommend on page SEO and cleaning up thin content / duplicate content pages before anything.
If you want to check out the video I made for on page basics head over to: SEO Basics
26. Keyword Research Done Right
If you are like most SEO's you know that keyword research is super important.
One of the things I see a lot of people do is optimize for keywords that are not right for their article.
Or keywords that have high search rates but low CPC value.
Let me tell you something you may already know, if you optimize your post for a keyword with low CPC value, likely people aren't going to be converting.
Unless you found the magic spring of untapped keywords with low untapped CPC value of course 🙂
So it's important to keep in mind two things when doing keyword research.
- Can I rank for this because the article I'm making is close enough to what people are searching for for the keywords I'm targeting.
- Can I get people to convert into what I'm trying to market with this article.
If you answered yes to both these questions then you've got the Chase seal of approval, you're good to go!
27. Not Being Careful Of Keyword Cannibalization
Nobody likes a cannibal, so don't let one roam your site.
If you're not careful, and you create too many articles targeting similar keywords, and your link silo's are pointing at these different articles with similar anchor text, Google may not show both.
Which is why it's really important that all your content is unique and targeting separate keywords that you're trying to rank for.
28. Category Siloing
Another tactic I see underutilized is siloing from your main, "top of the pyramid" pages on your site to other important pages you're trying to rank.
If you want Google to understand your site architecture it's really important to put at least a paragraph (preferably) at the beginning of your page explaining what that page is about and having it point to other important related pages or posts.
29. Conversion Funnels
As some of you probably know, you can set up conversion funnels in Google analytics.
That means you can track where people are dropping off on your site in a multi level buying process.
This is extremely important because you can find out where and why people are dropping off in your funnel and start taking steps to improve said funnel.
30. Switch to SSL
Although this isn't necessarily a white hat SEO strategy, this is something that needs to happen for all sites ASAP.
Even John Mueller said in a recent tweet (which I can't seem to find) that even though SSL is a pain to switch over to, you should bite the bullet and move over as soon as you can.
Moreover, Google is showing (site not secure on their chrome browser) and you really don't want your viewers seeing that and bouncing.
31. Multi Media
Want to keep your users on your site for longer and make your content more shareable?
Making sure that you're adding pictures, video, and awesome design to your posts will really up your authority when it comes to content.
Which is why it can really help to hire someone off of fiver or upwork (or if you have the money hire a professional) to help you create custom graphics for your post.
32. Not Using PBN's (Private Blog Networks)
This is huge right now.
I get tons people asking me how to correctly use PBN's.
I always reply with, "The best way to utilize PBN's is to not use them."
Because they are black hat and Google has said for years now not to buy links.
And with Google's Penguin 4.0 update is getting harder and harder to not get hit with a penalty by using PBN's.
Just don't do it.
33. Staying Away From Over Optimization
The other thing I see on a lot of sites is either under optimization or over optimization.
Over optimization happens when inexperienced SEO's do some of the following:
- Put way too many internal links on a page.
- Keyword stuff in every heading, title, paragraph, alt tag, and link they can.
- Building way too many pages with similar content to try and achieve topical seeding but end up having their content cannibalized
- Focusing on quantity of quality. (This is a bit of a grey area)
A great tool for on page over optimization (in fact the best I've found so far) is SEO Profiler. I did a walk through on this tool here: SEO Profiler Walk Through
34. Stop Using Too Many SEO Tools
I get it.
You want to use the best tools possible so that you can achieve the best results.
But you have to realize that if you use too many tools and only rely on them alone, you will actually be wasting your time.
Think about it this way.
If you go to the gym and work out every day and don't take any supplements, you will still likely get buff.
If you take supplements every day but don't go to the gym, you're likely not going to achieve any results.
Which is why you have to rely mainly on your SEO knowledge and use tools to get a small competitive advantage.
SEO tools are meant to amplify not implement.
35. Follow The Right Information
It's so easy to get sucked into the massive vortex of misinformation and unreliable SEO tactics.
That's why it's important to tune into the people who are actually achieving massive results and who are heavily involved in the SEO industry.
That's why I like to follow:
- Brian Dean
- Bill Slawski
- Barry Shwartz
- Rand Fishkin
- Alan Bleiwess
- Yoast Blog
- Nikolay Stoyanov
- Chase Reiner (this is unbiased of course)
36. Realize That You Can Always Be Useful
It doesn't matter whether you are starting out or you are a seasoned veteran of SEO.
You're always going to know more (or less) than somebody else out there about a certain topic.
Even if that just means optimizing page titles for clicks!
So try not to compare yourself to the SEO legends out there who are getting millions of people to their site.
Remember, they were just like you at one point.
Anything is achievable if you work for it.
Just remember, you have to BEGIN to work for it.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." -Lao Tzu
37. No More 80 / 20 Rule. Go 99 / 1
In order to really stand out you have to just start giving stuff away.
No I don't mean your car but with the over saturation of free information out there it's hard to direct sell things that people can easily get for free.
So instead of trying to direct sell your products 20% of the time, just keep giving away free valuable information and people will start to convert at a way higher rate.
Why is this?
Because people want to know that the stuff you are sharing with them isn't just a sales pitch.
They want to actually extract value from your what you're offering and then go and convert within the free information you're giving them.
The one percent you ask? This is the offer they can't refuse no matter what.
This offer is so good that you only have one of it and it's gone.
No i'm not talking about the one time offer you have every week.
I'm talking about taking the huge email list you have because tons of people decided to opt in and pitching them the best thing you have to offer for the year.
38. Take A Break
Another underutilized SEO technique that even I don't use enough.
There's actually a study that's been done which has proven that breaks and meditation help you in tons of way and amplify mental clarity / decisions making abilities ten fold.
39. Start Listening To Podcasts
Not only is it important to read about SEO but by hearing people talking about SEO or psychology you will actually enable yourself to view your techniques and marketing in different ways.
It's also really important to start associating yourself with winners.
Just by listening to people who are really knowledgeable about what they do you will eventually begin to act like these people as well.
Just like Jim Rohn says: "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
So make sure those people are winners.
40. Learn A Little Bit About Related Niches
Although you don't have to know anything about social media or search engine marketing to be good at SEO, it helps you understand different marketing funnels and more importantly what's possible for your business.
The other important factor is that you will know what to look out for when hiring some one to help you with your social media when you decide to get the help.
There are people out there who get almost all of their traffic / sales from social media and next to nothing from organic. Which is why this topic really shouldn't go overlooked.
I actually created a whole series of video tutorials for 2017 social media marketing if you'd like to check them out.