Last updated on June 13th, 2023

3 Copywriting Secrets for Getting to Page 1 on Google

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar
3 Copywriting Secrets for Getting to Page 1 on Google

Ever see something so good that you think ‘I want to keep this to myself’? You’ll see how Brian Dean ranks on page 1 of Google by avoiding paragraphs, why he says you’re doing sub-headings all wrong, how he gets over that difficult blog introduction bit using the APP formula and how he keeps them reading through the boring bits.

Related: How to do SEO for your SaaS company when you hate SEO?

Also see: Got New Sign Ups to your App? Use this to Analyse them

Interesting read How Google Algorithm Changes Halved the Daily Mail's Traffic

First, see how Brian Dean never uses long paragraphs ----------------------------------------------------

Take a look…

Look at both Neil Patel and Brian Dean’s blog posts.

They both rank at the top in an incredible number of Google searches .

Notice anything similar in the layout?

They use 1 and 2 line sentences and even their really insanely long posts are comfortable to flick through.

They’ve made normal writing ‘skim readable’.

We wrote paragraphs in school because there’s only so much space on an A4 page but on the web you have all this space to work.

Why bother with thick paragraphs right?

If it’s easier to skim read then it achieves the purpose.

They also use something called ‘Bucket brigades’ to further break up writing and keep you reading. More on that below.

Key sections below

  1. How Brian learned that Google ranks according to reading time.
  2. Why ‘bucket brigades’ keep people reading.
  3. Benefits driven sub-headings are huge!
  4. Use the APP formula to get someone’s attention in 2 seconds.

Summary transcript of Brian Dean’s video

How Brian accidentally learned the truth.

A while back I published a post on my blog called ‘how to get high quality back links without guest posting’.

Like all my posts, I made sure to optimise my post around a key word and in this case it was ‘high quality backlinks’.

It quickly hit the first page for that keyword. Here is where things got weird. I was checking my google rankings and almost fell out of my seat.

I was ranking for ‘high quality backlinks’ but I also ranked for the keywords ‘How to get high

Needless to say, my post had nothing to do with getting high. Then I realised why google ranked me for that keyword. It’s because it said ‘how to get high’ in my content. Then things got really interesting.

Most people who got to my site from google, spent nearly 3 minutes on my site.

For this page the average was only 1 minute and 12 seconds. Less than half my site average.

They quickly realised that I was not going to teach them how to make their own breaking bad meth lab.

They hit the back button and left. This told google that people searching for ‘how to get high’ hate this page and google took action.

A few weeks later my page dropped from 6 to 21 to 33 in a matter of days. But check this out. My ranking for the keyword ‘high quality back links’ never dropped and instead continued to climb.People who search for that term stuck to my site like super glue.

My page ranks number in google for ‘high quality back links’. It does not even show me for ‘how to get high’. That’s the power of this new ranking factor.

**Understand user experience signals to rank on page 1. **Backlinks might be the cornerstone of google’s algorithm, it’s clear that user experience signals influence search engine rankings today.

Just how important are user experience signals?

Steven Levy wrote an inside account of google called Inplex:

‘On the most basic level, Google could see how satisfied users were. The best sign of their happiness was the long click’.

If people click on your site and stick around, it sends a strong message that your page makes searchers happy.

If they leave quickly, it tells google the opposite. It shows that your page is not a good fit for that keyword.

So, how do you get them to stick to your site so google sees you as a great result for that keyword?

Three ways!

1. Bucket brigades have been used by copywriters for decades.

Before I got into SEO I was a freelance copywriter.

People would hire me to write 6,000 word sales letters.

The problem I had was this, it’s hard to keep people on a page that’s 6,000 words long.

People don’t have the attention span to even skim that content let alone read it. I tried every trick like images / video / storytelling but the sales letters just were not compelling enough to stop people clicking backlink.

One day I had a breakthrough…

I discovered ‘bucket brigades’ that copywriters have been using for decades and they instantly made my content more compelling.

They are words and phrase that keep people on your page.

They make your visitors want to keep reading. e.g. ‘How to boost conversions by 1,200%’. The average time on that article is 4 mins. A good chunk of that time is due to bucket brigades like ‘Look:’ or ‘Bottom line?’ or ‘I can’t emphasis this enough’ and then a space.

Bottom line?

When you see one of those bucket brigades, it opens up an information gap in your mind and you can’t help but read the next one. If people are about to get bored anywhere in your post, add a bucket brigade.

More examples of bucket brigades?

  1. Here’s the deal,
  2. But there’s a catch,
  3. What’s the real story?
  4. How can you actually use this?
  5. The best part?
  6. Why does this matter?
  7. That’s not all.

Once you’ve added some bucket brigades, it’s time for strategy number 2.

2. Benefit driven sub-headings are huge.

Which of 2 posts would you rather read.

  1. Lots of thick paragraphs or..
  2. Broken up paragraphs with sub-headings.

In my experience, subheadings are huge. You can never use enough of them.

For example, my post on 17 insanely actionable list building strategies has an average time on page of over 5 minutes because the post contains lots and lots of sub-headings. Not just any sub-headings but benefit driven subheadings.

Most people use random sub-headings. It might break your content up into easy chunks but it won’t grab your readers attention and say to them ‘wow, there’s a ton of value here’.

The quick fix is to include benefits in your sub-headers. Instead of a bland subheading like ‘focus on your thank you page’ put ‘optimise this often-ignored page and increase your list by up to 25%’.

3. The APP formula is a proven content introduction framework.

Here’s the truth.

When someone visits your page from Google, you have 2 seconds to convince them to stick around. Not 10, not 5 but 2 and if you lose them in those 2 then you lose them for good.

You have to hit them with something amazing right off the bat. As you saw earlier in the video, this boost in timeline page can be huge for your google rankings.

Whenever I need to improve the time on page for an article, I turn to the APP formula. The APP formula is a proven content introdution framework that’s designed to keep google visitors on your page longer.

What is it?

APP stands for agree, promise and preview.

Let’s break that down and include a real life example.


You want to start your intro your video of with a idea or concept that someone searching for your video or keyword would agree with. This means you understand their problem. If they see that, they’re more likely to stick around.

Example, my article on ‘How to create a squeeze page that converts at 21.7%’. Here is the intro:

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s REALLY hard to convert ice cold traffic into email subscribers.


Now that you’ve got the nod in their head, it’s time for the promise. This is when you give them a peek into a better world.

Well, it turns out, that you can dramatically increase your site’s email signups by adding one simple page to your site…

… a page that’s converting 21.7% of my traffic into new email subscribers.


Finally, hit them with the preview. The preview just needs to tell your reader exactly what you have in store for them.

And in today’s post (and video) I’m going to show you what that page is and exactly how you can easily add one to your site

Once you put the finishing touches on your preview. You’re set. You now have an introduction that keeps google searchers on your site.


If you want to see some of these techniques applied practically for sales then see's great drip email campaign.

Recommended tool: Got New Sign Ups to your App? Use this to Analyse them

Related: If you’d like to know how topic clusters get you to page one on Google search then read this. This is essential reading for 2018.

See the full content distribution series of expert advice that will save you years of mistakes here.

Beginners: If you're new to SEO then here's a beginners guide by AdelSEO

Subscribe to his channel: We loved this video and subscribed to his channel. If you loved it then Get Brian Dean’s awesome Youtube channel here.

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.