The first step in creating compelling content is having a clear picture of who you’re writing for. For example, if your business revolves around selling digital design solutions, you have to know what sort of people want design solutions, are they college students or small businesses? Do they want a quick fix or are they looking for permanent solutions? Where do they live? What sort of income do they have?
Customer reviews are the "social proof" that encourages people to join in on something. It's one thing for you to tell people to sign up for a campaign, but it's another thing for your happiest customers to say it too. Publish your best reviews from communities like Yelp right to your website. This adds genuine value to your landing pages when people are on the fence about submitting their contact information.
Include social sharing buttons and an "Email to a Friend" button in your marketing emails. That way, you'll gain access to their friends, colleagues, and networks and expand your contact list. At the bottom of your emails, include a "Subscribe" CTA as a simple text-based link so that the people receiving the forwarded emails can easily opt-in, too.
Search terms: You can find out the specific terms people are using to find your site, which will help you decide what the most popular topics for your readers are. However, Google searches are increasingly not providing the specific search terms that they used to, going with “not provided” instead, so this ability may decrease in the future (at least with the Google search engine).
A useful footer. Below your main content is the footer of your email. It should contain a clear and simple way for your reader to unsubscribe, as required by the CAN-SPAM Act. Mention why they are getting the email (they signed up), and how to contact you. Email apps often take care of this for you, but just be sure it is included. The footer area is where you could do “self-advertising” if you wanted to. Keep it simple, if you choose to do it, preferably just one or two “ads” or links.
Brian. You talk about how all these variables matter in getting this article to rank #1 for “list building” and how competitors have way more links than you, but then you also consider your DA and your PA together, you have almost the highest score out of the top 10 rankings; and when you consider you are more topical authority, then that explains why Hugpages (all purpose site) is not ranking higher. Maybe its not all as complicated as you suggest.