Forget About SEO, Here is What to do Instead

What has been the most popular marketing topic in the past 15 year? If you answered SEO, then you are probably right.

In this article, I will teach you the method I use to get hundreds of visitors to my sites within days of getting started. Oh, and this method does not rely on dirty SEO tricks or any crap like that.

For over a decade now, most internet marketers have been focused on the SEO world. Everything we wrote about, talked about, had conferences about, had something to do with SEO and gaming Google.

We went from “how to stuff our sites with keywords”, to how to “create link networks”. Just like caveman gathering over a fire, our world has evolved around what Google does and how we can game it.

I personally tried it all.

When I first started, I did what most new marketers do. I paid attention to the latest “tricks” and strategies, I visited forums, practiced”black hat”, “white hat”, “leprechaun hat”, I even tried on Santas hat. You name it, I tried it.

seo-hats

Eventually, I came to my senses and began to think on my own. I stopped visiting forums and other websites. I studied what truly made successful marketers successful. In most cases, it wasn’t what they were teaching.

Before you start bashing me for condoning SEO, I do believe that there are certain aspects of SEO, like page optimization and other things that should still be used in most cases. What I’m saying here is that SEO should not be your focus, your focus should be on creating awesome things!

Clear your mind of all the old crap that you’ve learned that has gotten you nowhere and give me a few minutes to introduce you to this concept. I promise if you follow this strategy, you will exponentially increase your chances of success.

I’m ready if you are…Let’s get started!

Find Something Good and Make it Better

Like I mentioned earlier, 

Look even deeper and you will see that most successful companies and ideas were things that already existed but were made better. The first step to our strategy is to find things that are already popular and make them epic.

Most people find a keyword, and write some average content around that keyword. Then they sit back and hope for Google to rank their piece of shit content.

But the fact that you are reading this far tells me that you are not like most people. So, what do we do instead? Simple, find average content that has gone “viral” or is popular and make it better.

You see, most of the content ideas published in blogs have already been published in some other place just with different words. There’s so much information out there that it’s almost impossible to come up with an entirely new idea.

How to Find Popular Content

OK, so I mentioned that the first step is to find content that has already become popular. But how exactly do we do that. Here’s the process I go through when trying to find content to write about.

Step 1: Gather a list of your competitors

Go to Google and search for other competitors in your niche with a blog. Create a word document or bookmark all the pages you find of possible competitors.

google-search

If you are in the social media marketing niche, then search for “top social media marketing blogs” or something along those lines. You will find sites like SocialFresh, SocialMediaExaminer, Jeff Bullas etc, etc…

Step 2: Find the most popular article on their sites

There are many tools you can use for this. Here are some of the ones I use:

  1. Open Site Explorer: Moz has a tool that allows you to see your competitors most popular pages, ranked by links and social shares received. You can sign up for a free trial and use the tool for 30 days.open-site-explorer
  2. Social Analytics: This site lets you type in a URL and it will show you the social signals of the last 10 articles that site has posted. You want to look for articles that have exploded and have more social shares than the average article.social-analytics
  3. Link Tally: Allows you to see the social media signal count for any article or page on a website. What I do is I go thru a competitors site and check each article. I look at their social shares. If I see that the average article they write gets 100 social shares between Twitter and Facebook then I look for articles that have a lot more than that.For example; Chris Brogan gets less than 200 social shares for his average article, but this article: 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business got 4509.

50-ideas-on-using-twitter

This is the kind of article you want to add to you list of potential material.

Go thru each competitors website and gather a list of possible content that has gone viral. Then look at each article individually and try to determine what you can do to make it better.

Perhaps you can create a more in-depth list with 100 ideas on using twitter for business, or maybe you can create a visual version that makes the article more appealing.

Again, find things that have already gone popular (proof of concept) and make them fucking Epic!

Step 3: Write a bad-ass headline!

The most important part of your article is the headline, period. If you can’t entice your reader to click on the article then obviously they won’t read it.

While studing the vitality of things online and what causes things to go viral, I created experimental sites similar so Upworthy.com, and ViralNova.

These sites find content online with the potential to go viral and curate it in one place. Glen recently covered this type of viral farm sites with a couple of articles.

When asked what made them so successful, Upworthy said their number one factor was their headlines. In fact, each of their writers has to write 25 headlines before selecting one.

I created an experimental site called Surfier.com – you’ll notice similar logos 🙂 – to study this viral phenomenon. I found content on Youtube that I thought has a chance to go viral and I added it to my site with a much better title, headlines that created curiosity.

I spend about $20 promoting some of the posts on Facebook to create some initial attention and here are the results:

surfier-stats

Almost 4,000 page views on a 4 day old site. But what I found interesting is that I would create a normal headline and the article would barely get any visits, but when I spiced up the headlines and re-posted it, that same article would blow up!

I could have named this article, How to create good content, but for some reason, Forget About SEO, Here is What to do Instead works much better. It challenges something you know and creates curiosity towards a different method.

Spend time on your headlines and write different versions before you decide on one. Test different styles to see which one works best for your site.

Step 4: Promote the content

I’m tired of reading articles saying things like “great content promotes itself”. Bullshit!

Unless you have a popular site already or a lot of real followers on social media to leverage, your content is just binary code. I don’t care how good your shit is, if people don’t see it, then they can’t share it. If no one shares it then…you get the point.

Epicster.com is only a few weeks old, and its already averaging just under 100 visitors per day with only a few articles and less than 2% comes from Google. Yes, part of it is due to the content but most blogs don’t average 100 visitors per day in their first month.

The hardest point of starting any site is the early days because its hard to get traction. This is why 95% of people quit blogging after the first few months. They never give themselves a chance to succeed.

But I have a secret that will help you gain that initial traction, keep reading 🙂

We have established that your content has to be epic and that you should be creating the type of content that has already shown popularity on other sites (with your own twist and personality of course).

But what you do after you hit publish is even more important. Here are two awesome tips:

Tip 1: Contact Influencers

It amazing how antisocial we are becoming. Some of us are even afraid of sending a simple email. On a previous post, I covered how to email influential people and I even showed you how to find their email address.

If you missed that article, you might want to take a few minutes to read it. One of the best ways to promote your content is to email people you have mentioned in your posts.

Here is an email I got a few days ago:

email-tip

Simple, and to the point.

I read his email and took the time to visit his article. He brought his article to my attention by mentioning how he wrote about me, which got my curiosity going. Now I’m mentioning it here and will probably share his article on twitter and other social channels.

I’m not the most prolific figure on the internet but this works with powerful influencers as well.  Again, if you want to find out more, read the article on emailing important people.

Another thing you can use is Twitter, Facebook, or site comments to connect to industry influencers.

On one of our recent articles, I created some simple caricatures of some influential people and shared it on twitter. I then tagged those influencers on my tweet. I got a response from all those people I mentioned in the article except for Tim Ferriss.

On a previous site I ran I created another quality article and mentioned Tim Ferriss, who retweeted the article. My site got flooded with thousands of visitors and even got a notice from my web host at the time.

*Please, don’t ruin these methods by bombarding people with tweets, be smart about it and  don’t expect anything in return. Offer them something instead.

Tip 2: Facebook Ads

My number one way of drawing traffic to my a new article…. Facebook advertising is an art, but once you figure it out, you can get hundreds of shares and visits for less than what it cost to buy a cup of coffee. 

facebook-ads

Yes, it’s incredibly cheap, and they allow you to target audiences down to the details. Got a social media blog?

You can target people in Canada, between the ages of 30 and 50, who liked Social Media Examiner, are divorced, currently away from their family and have an old computer. The more targeted the ad the better.

Every time I create an article I think of who is the most likely person to share and enjoy the article. I then create a quick ad to promote the post on Facebook. My budget is usually $5 to $10 per article, which is really cheap considering most blogs publish once a week.

This will drive initial traffic of interested readers to your site and eventually; if your content is good enough, could even cause one of your articles to go viral.

This is the secret behind many of the Viral Content sites like Gawker, Upworthy, and ViralNova. These sites are using Facebook ads and fans to make their content go viral.

You can even get ads for free when you use web hosts like Ipage. They give you $50 coupons to use on facebook ads, and last time I checked they also offered $100 for free Google ads.

The secret when starting out is to leverage other mediums to gain traction. Once you have a following, your content will indeed promote itself. But in the meantime, use those methods to propel your site.

Be Different, Be Bold, Be Epic

If you only take one message away from reading this site, it should be to create things that are much better than your competition.

Follow guys like Neil Patel at QuickSprout, Brian Dean at Backlinko, Pat Flynn at SPI, or Peep Laja at CoversionXL. These are the few people that are creating epic content and are dominating their industry because of it.

There is no coincidence here,

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and others, or come up with different angles to old established beliefs.

Keep working on it and come back to this article if you ever need to. It’s a bit hard at the beginning, but it’s fucking awesome if you learn to have fun with it and experiment.

I’ll cut the article here since I’m well past 2000 words. But if you have any questions, leave me a comment below or shoot me an email. I’ll try my best to answer it.

Before I go, I want to ask you for a quick favor, please share this article. It’s my way of knowing that what I write is helpful and enjoyed.

Thank you and go kick some ass!

47 Responses to Forget About SEO, Here is What to do Instead

  1. To sum it up.

    Better than SEO -> Content Marketing

  2. Just finding you… don’t know you… yet. But, love your attitude. Here’s to the future! – Jim

  3. Henley Wing says:

    What’s your opinion on BuzzSumo, which is sorta like SocialCrawlytics but lets you see what content has been popular for any topic?

  4. BrettASnyder says:

    Really enjoyed some of the strategies you recommended here, but I would argue that many of these are in fact SEO strategies. What it means to do SEO has changed so much over the years that it’s hard to say what is “SEO” vs. content marketing, inbound marketing, digital PR, etc. SEO is not an inherently dirty discipline, but as with anything there are countless people willing to cut corners and abuse the practice to make a quick buck. Creating authentic engagement with your audience (such as emailing high-profile folks featured in your posts) is absolutely something I consider to be part of any successful SEO campaign. To your point, claiming “great content promotes itself” is bullshit but a good SEO knows that successful campaigns are a result of promotion moreso than good content. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to promote shitty content, so content and promotion aren’t mutually exclusive, but getting your content in front of your audience is still something very much a necessity for any successful SEO (or simply…marketing) campaign.

    Cheers Evelio, I’ll definitely be checking back in for more posts!

    • Eveliop says:

      I see your point Brett. I was mainly referring to the SEO where people try to manipulate Google with linkfarms, networks, keyword stuffing, etc. I guess it does all fall under the marketing realm but I would not consider any of those SEO tactics a sustainable marketing strategy.

      Thanks for the comment and I look forward to seeing you around.

      • BrettASnyder says:

        No self-respecting SEO would disagree with you about the linkfarm, keyword stuffing argument… I feel a compulsion to defend SEOs who get a bad rep because lazy marketers consider these to be how SEO is practiced. The goal of SEO has always the same: reaching your audience. What is starting to change is how we measure those goals. The SEO community as a whole is starting to evolve the way we quantify that to get away from X number of links or Y references to your KW on a page and talking more about legitimate, authentic engagement.

        Thanks for the response, I’ve always loved commenting as a way to continue the conversation, your post was just the first step!

        • Eveliop says:

          I’m also starting to see the shift. Specially with the quality of content. The days of article spinning,

          But there’s a lot of room for improvement. I still get calls from outsourced call centers trying to rank my companies in the top of Google, emails selling me links and sites like fiverr with hundreds of top sellers selling facebook likes, links, and ” unique articles”.

          I understand no self respected marketer would engage in this now days but I have a feeling its still happening, its just not as popular as before.

  5. Brennan says:

    I’ve used Facebook ads and it was hit or miss, but the hits were HUGE! I get that narrowing down your target market seems ideal, but with a bigger net you get more fish. That’s the logic of it, but logic isn’t always what works.

    Nice article.

  6. Jud says:

    Thanks for the very cool post! Are these results from the post-nov-2013 edgerank algo. adjustment or before?

  7. Shawn says:

    Awesome post – if you’re just getting started in content strategy, this is a great way to build up your portfolio of successes pretty damn quick.

    Quick question: What theme are you using for Surfier?

    I’ve been searching for one similar to ViralNova on and off for the past couple weeks.

  8. Vivek Patel says:

    Hey, Your this post rocks. Learned a few important things.

    I wanted to know about the images which you use. I am talking about the image on top right corner of this post and all such images on other posts. Do you create them on your own or there is any tool to do that? If you create them, could I know the software used?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Eveliop says:

      Hey Vivek,

      Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

      I create all the images in this site myself. I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make them. Both software have a bit of a learning curve but I’ve never had any professional training so I’m sure anyone can make it work.

      Thanks again

  9. Eveliop says:

    Hey Plumber

    Glad you like the post. Just checked the link and it seems to be working fine. Let me know if it works for you now…

    Cheers.

  10. Keith Agnew says:

    Fuckin’ Awesome! Love your attitude and commitment to Epic’ness. We all need to raise our game. Evilio, good to meet you – you made my day! Cheers! Keith

    • Eveliop says:

      Hey Keith, your attitude is contagious bud! Glad you liked the blog and I look forward to seeing you around here and the pleasure is all mine. And keep up that inspirational attitude my friend!

  11. Great Article! As always, you make me see a different way to promote our pages. You, Sir, are Epic.

    Thanks! -Chris

  12. prad says:

    Count me as your new subscriber, came here from @cloudincome blog 🙂 Not relaying on Google is the best approach. Can you cover an article on how you promoted your article by using Facebook ads?

    • Eveliop says:

      Hey Prad!

      Welcome to the blog. Lewis does a great job over at Cloud Income. I will definitely add the facebook ads article to the list of future content. I’ve had a couple of emails asking for more info so stay tuned… Welcome to Epicster 🙂

  13. Enjoyed the strategies you recommended here. We’ve drifted away from Facebook in the past year or so but will try your advice on focused targeting with our newer blog posts. It’s been such a pay to play playground with Facebook lately so seeing whether its worth it and the payoff on what you say utilizing their “Promoted Posts” will be interesting.

  14. Tupperplanet says:

    Does this method work for E-commerce sites as well?

  15. Adam Finan says:

    Really great piece of content here dude.. I’ve been toying with the idea of hiring an illustrator or learning the ropes of infographics & vector art to turn already popular content into my own visual representations, with a humorous twist! I’ll drop you an email or a tweet when the site is finished 🙂

    • Eveliop says:

      Took me a little while to get the hang of creating vectors and things like that but I’m starting to get the hang of it. I like it because I’ve always been frustrated because I could never find the right image for the content so this way I can make my own images. Looking forward to seeing your blog and hearing from you in the future.

      Cheers,
      Evelio.

  16. Tommy Walker says:

    Hey thanks for the ConversionXL plug! (I’m the new editor over there)

    Great stuff here 😉

    I’m a big fan of the influencer outreach, it’s a little scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun!

  17. Evelio, brilliantly articulated, with exactly the right bad-ass headline to attract me to click in the first place! I’ve used some of these strategies myself and agree that trying something that the herd doesn’t, can work wonders. Keep up the awesome content.

  18. wow..great post!

    We haven’t had much success from Facebook Ads, but maybe we need to do a better job with some of our ad graphics and copy.

    Thanks again for this post.

  19. “Then they sit back and hope for Google to rank their piece of shit content.” That just won the internet for the day! Actually, visuals, infographics as part of our content marketing strategy have been helping us enormously. Great article along with details on how to find something and make it epic.

  20. […] Forget About SEO, Here is what to do Instead – A simple yet effective formular not many startups use; find things that are already popular in your industry, and make them even better. […]

  21. […] really struck a chord with me following my recent talk about building a site without Google, is this post from Evelio. In it he discusses the alternatives to SEO and how you can get traffic to your site at […]

  22. Aly Ahmed says:

    Man, I really love your article and the way you crafted your article and your attitude. Thumbs up Man! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Thanks,
    Aly Ahmed

  23. Ome says:

    This is the 3rd article I read here after just discovering your site twenty minutes ago, 🙂 another good one 🙂 am so adding this site to my news reader.

  24. Ryan says:

    Great information. Hustle your content.

  25. Thanos says:

    Man this is one of the best articles I have ever read …..

  26. Thanos says:

    and some more additional words.. You are a talent person and your thoughts are very interesting (no I don’t want you to loan me money 🙂 ) and for sure I will try to use your suggestions

    Thanks
    I will be honored to follow me @goSEOGreece

  27. Ishan says:

    Have spent more than 2 hours reading your content and making notes. You’re a goldmine of resource for me :D.

  28. Amy White says:

    Loved loved loved this article. When I started my personal blog, I did the whole produce good content and see what happens. Yeah – nothing happened. I’m still doing that blog occasionally, but ended up starting a business oriented blog which I’m more actively promoting and am already seeing better results. I can’t wait to try Facebook ads and email influencers. Thanks for the post.

  29. louise says:

    Do you help companies with marketing? You are great!!

  30. Jessika says:

    Hey, this post is very complete and useful, i think the SEO is a complement

  31. Phil Byrne says:

    An excellent post on what is, no doubt, a better way forward than SEO in 2016.

Leave a reply

Join the Epicster Exclusive VIP List!

We've created the Epicster VIP Club. As a member, you will receive unique content not shown on the website. You will also receive the following things:

  • Free Case Studies
  • Exclusive Training Videos
  • In-depth Articles and Much More!
Close this message

We will never spam or sell your information, EVER!