5 Daily Habits Guaranteed to Give You More Links and Higher Rankings

SMS Text
5 Habits Guaranteed to Give You Higher Rankings | SEJ

You know that good daily habits are good for you. If you brush your teeth, eat right, exercise, and drink plenty of water, you’ll improve your healthy. Daily habits produce lifelong well-being.

Could the same principle hold true in digital marketing? Can you start daily habits that will make your site rank higher? Will a few simple practices produce business success?

The answer is yes.

It is possible to build daily habits that guarantee improved SEO and greater marketing success. Here are the habits you should cultivate.

1. Write and Publish One Article

Time required: 1 hour

Writing an article is one of the most time-consuming things you can do, but it is also the most valuable.

Creating new content is the single best way to drive traffic to your site. I’m a proponent of creating long form content. That’s why most of my articles, especially on my blog, are more than 2,000 words.

Long form content gets higher rankings, but it also takes longer to write. If you invest at least one hour a day in writing, you should be able produce at least two long form articles per week, and probably more.

Don’t simply create content for the sake of creating content. Instead, make sure that your articles are focused, relevant, and high quality. This is one habit that will most definitely pay off.

2. Update One Old Article

Time required: 10 minutes

Why should you update an old article?

Just like everything, content can get old. Even if your content is evergreen, I recommend you update it.

Content that is changed frequently is more likely to rank higher. Beginning in 2007, Google unrolled an algorithm feature known as QDF, or “Query deserves freshness”. The idea is that any given query should have a search result with a recent publication date. The goal is to give user up-to-date information on a given topic.

Look where we’ve come since then. Now, Google has the Knowledge Graph, which displays up-to-the-minute news topics.

5 Habits Guaranteed to Give You Higher Rankings | SEJ

In addition to the Knowledge Graph, Google’s freshness factor influences virtually every aspect of the SERPs.

To update an old blog article, here are some things you can do:

  • Change the article title to be more relevant and keyword-focused.
  • Change headings (H1, H2) in the article.
  • Rewrite the introduction.
  • Add a new section to the article.
  • Add new links to other sites.
  • Delete a section from the article.
  • Rewrite the conclusion.
  • Gain a link from a fresh site.
  • Share your site to gain more user activity.

The science and research behind some of these issues is discussed in detail on Moz.com.

By daily updating an article or two, you can breathe new life into old articles, gain more links, get more visibility, and strengthen your entire site.

3. Post a Link to an Article on Every Social Media Platform

Time required: 5 minutes

Search engine optimization depends heavily on social activity. The more you can promote your content on social networks, the better that content will do. Social metrics, however relevant they may or may not be, have some level of impact on search.

Why is this true? Because social drives traffic to your website, which improves its user metrics. Those users, in turn, may encourage other people to read and link to the site, creating a ripple effect that pushes your article far beyond what it would normally be able to accomplish.

Simply tweet, retweet, and let the social impact take care of the rest.

5 Habits Guaranteed to Give You Higher Rankings | SEJ

To get a visual perspective of the ripple effect, use Google+ Ripples to analyze the shared extent of a Google+ post.

5 Habits Guaranteed to Give You Higher Rankings | SEJ

Moz’s algorithm survey and research indicates that social metrics, especially on individual pages, is one of the top ten categories of ranking factors.

5 Habits Guaranteed to Give You Higher Rankings | SEJ

You can save a lot of time on this step by scheduling your social updates using a platform like Buffer.

4. Interact on One Forum

Time required: 10 minutes

Forums are a great way to get visibility, get answers, share knowledge, and grow your brand.

I don’t recommend you use forums simply as a platform for promotion. That defeats the entire purpose of the forum. I do, however, recommend that you use the forum for what it’s intended to do — promote intelligent discussion and answers.

Some of the forums in the marketing space include the following:

LinkedIn and Reddit also provide a forum-like context for almost any niche.

A forum gives you a place to get noticed and provide help to others. I’ve discovered that helping other people is one of the best and most legitimate marketing techniques available.

Your activity on forums impacts your reputation. Be a helper, and you’ll get helped. Be a giver, and you’ll receive.

Your reputation will endure. Forums typically have high SERP placement for long tail queries. Once you post something on the forum, it’s going to stay.

5. Reply to One Tweet, Google+ Update, Facebook Post, and LinkedIn Discussion, etc.

Time required: 10 minutes

Your social activity isn’t just your output, the stuff you post, but your interaction, the stuff you like, retweet, plus one, and comment on. Social, after all, is a conversation.

When you interact with regularity and frequency on social media, you’ll begin to improve your reputation, grow your marketing reach, and form a favorable reputation.

When you share someone’s status update, retweet their post, or +1 a comment, they notice you. In turn, they interact with you, find your website, consider your product, read your content, and engage with you.

Even though it’s a small expenditure of time and effort, interaction socially produces high value in return.


That’s it. In less than two hours a day, you can implement habits that will absolutely rock your world.

These habits have a snowball effect. Even though your forum comments, retweeting, and status posting may seem like they’re being sucked into a black hole, your efforts will gradually produce benefits. It starts small, but grows larger as you continue to work on the habits.

Not only do the results grow, but your ability improves as well. Your first few blog posts may sound stilted, but you’ll develop more skill and ability as time goes on.

It’s never too late to start these habits. Regardless of where you’re at in your marketing journey, you can take it to the next level.

What daily habits have improved your marketing ability?


Image Credits

Featured Image: Rido via Shutterstock
All screenshots taken June 2015

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Elissa

    Great article! One question – I’ve been reading a lot about the updating of old articles. What I’m not clear on is if you just update the old article on the existing url and re-promote, or if you update the article and publish it as a new article, new url – while still having the old article in your archives. I realize content is being updated, but if doing the latter, is there a risk of duplicate content?

    • R.Rogerson

      You are meant to update the content.
      That means you change what is on the page – not the location of the page.
      Keep the same URL, but add/revise/correct the content.
      (If, for some obscure reason, you create a new version, under a new URL – you should use the Canonical Link Element or a 301 redirect)

      • http://www.idigihub.com/seo/how-to-seo-blog-advance-seo-practices.html Ram Shukla

        Exactly..and this is highly helpful in adding fresh quotient and accelerating crawl visits.

  • http://www.knoxre.com Jeff Knox

    Great information. Already do some of those things but haven’t even thought of others you suggest.


  • R.Rogerson


    1 Hour?
    At 60 words a minute … 33 minutes just to type it. You then need half that to proof it, edit it etc., for a total of, lets round it to 45 minutes. That leaves 15 minutes to find (or create/edit) images … and do any research?
    (And that’s my typing average – the typical person is more akin to 45 wpm … so 50 minutes just to type it, ?)

    “… Long form content gets higher rankings …”
    In an of itself – not likely in many cases.
    A 500, 750, 1K and 2K version of the same thing, with the same ratio of target term and the same number of relevant headings etc. should pretty much rank about the same.
    The difference is in the perceived and reacted-to value. Long-form (or in-depth) content tends to be informative and more useful, and will get social shares/links. (It’s performance over time is also likely stronger).
    So the benefit is indirect – it’s not the length/size (no sniggering people!), it’s the value it provides and peoples reaction to it 😀
    (Test it – produce a 2K piece of absolute junk, and a 750 piece of pure gold. The 750 will quickly outstrip the 2K :D)

    Arg – not another one … and you know better!
    QDF = Query Deserves Freshness. Not “Content deserves freshness”.
    QDF pertains to certain topics/search terms that are rapidly occurring. Things like news on a tsunami, Formula1 racing positions, Olympic events etc.
    How to fix a Hotpoint MX7K washing machine is very unlikely to trigger QDF!
    On the other hand – fresher content “may” in certain cases, get a minor boost in the SERPs. This is so G can assess it’s performance and see if it is doing better. If the general reaction observed is the same as before, you will revert to prior position.
    (Other factors may also cause a SERP change – such as targeting a different term, or elements like the Title being changed)
    Then of course you have Link Acquisition – a fresh burst of links indicate both value and interest – so G will respond by changing position in the SERPs (again, this may flatter/lessen over a short period of days … and may return to usual, or slightly higher than before, but not as high as the initial shift).

    As far as we know – Social is Still not a metric/factor.
    What is happening is Shares – which are Links.
    (Seriously, after Shepard stuffed up with the +1 thing, you are going to cite them as a source? LOL)
    The major benefits of social shares are;
    1) Links (This includes PR, Relevance, Authority)
    2) Traffic (Which may lead to Conversions)
    3) Brand/Reputation (Gain traction, brand awareness, new followers etc.)

    Forums/Q&A sites.
    10 Minutes is unlikely to be sufficient. It may take you that long to find some worthwhile posts. Then you have to look through and see/understand their problem, and then provide a response.
    For the love of the Net – don’t be a drive-by-er. Don’t flit into a topic, post, and leave.
    Also, if you do contribute to a topic – follow it up! Few things are worse than some “know-it-all” poster flipping in a half-baked answer, and never coming back for the clarifications or additional info.
    Most Forums are communities. They require attention, nurturing, care. It’s not just your rep you are looking at, it’s every other regular there.
    So if you are going to do Forums – find one, watch it, see how the regulars are … and then decide to commit or not. If you don’t want to commit to a real community forum – go to StackExchange … you can happily throw in the odd post there (they have a community, but they tend to get a lot of common/simple topics you may find easier to contribute to).

    10 Minute Social Interaction?
    It can take three times that just to scan through the general comments on stuff I posted!
    To actually take the time and answer people takes more than that.
    As with the forums – if you are not going to commit – then seriously consider how you are going to play it. You can actually harm your image if you barely respond, copy-and-paste responses, or are somewhat flippant/fast (posting quick “thanks” etc.).
    Social is about Interaction – and that requires a bit of time, effort, thought and even emotion.
    If you are lucky – it also involved relationships … you can make friends, gain trust of peers, get attention of superiors, get closer to your customers/clients etc.
    You cannot do that in 10 minutes!
    Further – if you use things like Fb as a “communication channel” (such as some companies use it for complaints or customer services/support (Which you shouldn’t – for various reasons!)), then 10 minutes again won’t do the job … not even close in many cases.

    The key points are valid … but … well … you can see the but 😀

    • Abed

      Rogerson, seeing you here doing same things of mistake which is taking too much space to write the things you thinking. Needing to contact with you if you understand the not writing to many things in comments space. Is understood?

      • R.Rogerson

        [Copied and Pasted from SEW – somewhere else this guy tries to troll me :D]

        This is the one and only time I intend to reply to you.

        There appears to be some sort of confusion/misunderstanding.
        You appear to be under the impression that I give a flying fraggle what you say.

        Let me be utterly crystal clear – I do not care.

        If I happen to write something short – that is because I didn’t have much to say, or I could express something clearly with succinctness.

        If you struggle with reading long, detailed, comprehensive, multi-faceted text – I suggest you go and learn English better.

        Usually, I would ask if I was clear enough, or if I was understood – but … again to make sure you get the point … I couldn’t give a fig.


        For everyone else …
        it appears that Abed has some difficulty with longer comments.
        Though I’m not the only one that will post comments of substance, rather than fluff … he seems to find some inane amusement in following some of my comments, asking me to be less comprehensive.
        (Yes, I know! Chances are it’s a troll. But I’m feeling a little charitable. So just in case it isn’t some utter idiot, I thought I’d try to rectify the delusion of import he suffers :D)

    • http://tillison.co.uk Mark Tillison

      Well, I was going to point out a couple of things, but there’s nothing much left to say.

      Oh. Except Google+ ripples. They’re kinda gone. For about a month now.

      You’re forgiven, @Neil. Being 95% mobile, I’d not noticed either.

      On long comments – if the site allows it and you need the space to make your point(s), what’s the problem?

      • R.Rogerson

        Wait, what … Ripples have gone?
        (I’ve only just gotten back online a while ago, and not touched G+ yet …. shame, as ripples were useful!)

        Long comments … are a habit (sorry). I think it shows I actually read, understood and knew enough to reply (beats the hell out of the typical “great – loved it” comments :D).

        “… Well, I was going to point out a couple of things, but there’s nothing much left to say. …”
        Don’t let that stop you! I’m sure there’s plenty more you could say, or rehash/rephrase better than I did.
        (Sidenote – love the “meet the team” page! )

    • Emile

      Your response to Abed has made my day. There is nothing wrong with being thorough, especially when you are playing devil’s advocate.

      • R.Rogerson

        😀 Glad I could bring a little light and laughter to your day 😀

        As for thorough … I’m just that sort of person, and considering the huge amount of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and misconception of things to do with SEO – I think being long-winded (but accurate) is important.

    • http://outspreading.com/ Michelle

      Thank you.

  • http://www.promozseo.com/ Soumya Roy

    First of all, I truly admire and follow Neil Patel, and his suggestions helped me a lot.
    But in this case, I am a bit confused. I mean, I completely agree on the points, those are surely useful and effective, but I am a bit unsure about the required-time for each process, especially the ‘writing and publishing one article’ in one hour.
    But the points are seriously doable and going to be really effective if followed and done consistently.

    Soumya Roy

  • Gayathri

    Thanks for the great information. I am not good at content writing. Can you please help me to building high quality links without content writing?

  • http://holbornassets.co.uk/ Charles Leahy

    I have a news website and find the best things for me are updating the site 6 times a day with new content and then creating 10 backlinks to each post, which all seemed to work very well and now have around 37,000 visits per month, the site is centered around Dubai for expats. If you need backlinks, I would recommend you use Odesk.com as it is full of hard-working and cheap SEO experts from e.g. India and will cost $0.50 per backlink, which is lots to them. Keep up the good work!

  • http://honesty.im Chenzo

    Neil, I was mentored over many years by some of the best in the game and it was a cardinal sin to ever go back and re-format content that had already been cached/indexed.

    Tweaking little things like grammatical errors and or design was one thing – but to edit the original content and especially mess around with the outbound linking was already frowned upon…

    From what you say here – your saying that it could increase the value..

    Do you have other examples and or some pages you could identify that would benefit on your KISSmetric site?

    Everything else made perfect sense and very helpful.

    Web therapist,

    • R.Rogerson

      There are actually Patents that cover this.
      It’s not a “sin” – it can be beneficial, so long as the changes add value, increase relevance and are not superficial.
      Updating links by removing sites/pages that return 404’s, or pointing to newer resources is a good thing for users.
      Adding more recent information/data to an existing piece can benefit users.
      Redacting some content, replacing it with more accurate information is good for users.

      Doing these things alone may not have any long term impact.
      G will see that changes, and may boost to see how it performs. If your performance is negligible, you will fall back down. If it improves enough, you will retain higher rankings.

  • http://www.brainybull.com Sweta Mishra

    Great article Neil, I appreciate your efforts.. Can you tell me after how many months a post should be rewrite?

  • http://www.mymagicfundas.com Nirmala

    This is an awesome piece of content for the bloggers, Neil!

    I think that these are some easy tasks for the passionate bloggers to do on a daily basis.

    I’m missing to perform 1st and 4th habits, will try my best to implement both on every day.

    Thanks for writing this inspiring post for us!

  • http://www.microzoneplus.com Sonam Asrani

    Really a Great article by Neil,

    I was always known about the importance of long content. But, never thought of adopting these habits can be so beneficial for any blogger. Updating old article is a pretty good idea. Thanks! 🙂

  • http://www.jakency.be/ Jan

    Great post thanks

  • http://torontoseoexperts.ca/ Neueseo

    Updating an old article may be little difficult, as some bloggers outsource their content. Therefore, the site owner may have no idea how to go about updating old articles.

  • http://www.tekuse.com Rohit Gaikwad

    This is awesome article Neil.

    I think these are some simple and easy task for full time bloggers to do on daily basis, but for part time bloggers it’s difficult. But they can follow some of these tasks on daily basis. Updating old article is good idea. It’s very good suggestion by you to active on blogging network on daily basis.

    Thank for sharing this article with us..!!

  • http://www.eblogit.com/ Shahid Irfan

    Great Article. I read yours all posts on Quicksprout and Neil Patel blogs. I astonish to see your productivity. It is a great piece of content and give me new ideas to get more traffic on my newbie blog. Thanks Neil

  • http://www.onlinetechguru.org Davinder

    Enlightening post! I admit to the above ideas. The long form content in reality, attracts the attention of the viewer and keeps him engrossed in the article if the article is informative and have a catchy detail. But still i am not sure about writing a content of 2000 words in just an hour. It will take for me at least one and a half to two hours writing such a content.And keeping the article fresh with the infusion of updated material really helps. Rest, being active on the social media platform and interacting with some of the visitors with some tweets does not take much of your time and pays huge when it comes to loyalty.
    Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.focusallmedia.com Lola Doherty

    Hi Neil Patel,

    This really great work done by you. I also noticed mostly user not follow these all tricks. Some are just only share content but they doesn’t believe to updating, social sharing and other all activities. So here we should have to follow all tactics which are mention by you. I have little confusion but first i want to say that i have no any doubt regarding to your article. Now i come on my question or confusion that 2000 words article is good for users? because it will be lengthy and mostly user don’t have time for this. I also noticed that short & descriptive content is more valuable.

  • http://scoop.it Julie

    Hi Neil,
    Totally agree and can relate to this, I try to do those 5 things everyday because I’ve seen the results. 2 comments: I myself prefer writing an entire article even if it takes me half a day to complete it, that way I can let a few days go by and have a fresh look at it then – and for a long piece it takes me more about 6 hours to write it!
    Second thing is I added one item to that list: content curation.


  • http://bestcmsplugins.com/ jenifer thomson

    I’m just wondering, after updating the content will it effect the authority of my site and also the trust of visitors ?

    • http://epfindian.in/ Nirav Suthar

      jenifer, yes it will. Since search engines always wants to serve updated content to visitors,they will defiantly consider the last updated content for sure. and this way your site’s authority will increase. But this isn’t enough, Do read Neil Patel’s article on how to improve CTR for SE traffic, it helped me a lot :).


  • http://www.babydoodah.com Jillian

    I have read approximately 6 different articles by Neil this week and each and every one of them has been amazing. I’ve either learned something new, or was smacked in the face by a new perspective of something.

    It blows my mind that one single person can write content that is ALWAYS so rich in information.

    I’m already pretty good about replying to followers on social media. I think my first order of business will be to spruce up some of my older content.

    Super stoked about this!! Never stop writing, Neil!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick @ Brick Marketing

    This is all excellent information, and I agree with many of the points you’ve made here. It is essential for your SEO to consistently be posting new content. And not just new content, but great content. While you’re producing your content on a daily basis, like you said, it’s important to be sharing on all of your social media channels. You also made a great point about engagement. Social media is a two-way street! You have to interact with your followers, and it really does help.

  • http://mizmizi.com/microblogging-sites-list-advantage/ Yasin Rishad

    Hi Neil,
    Great tips to make habit which will really help to get higher ranking on google. I extremely love your tips on update a content. Here you also describe how to update an content it help me to make my content more updated.

    Also glad to see your tips on engage on social sites. Thank you for your impressive tips.
    Kind Regards
    Yasin Rishad

  • Chirag Mishra


    I liked Your rply to @Mark Tillison… “Long comments … are a habit (sorry). I think it shows I actually read, understood and knew enough to reply (beats the hell out of the typical “great – loved it” comments :D).” I agree with this and I am impressed with your narration. Great!

  • Johnson Julong

    Thanks neil for the great post, from today i’ll start implementing your methods to get visibility of my page.