TOP 7 SEO HACKS TO GET YOUR WEBSITE RANK #1 ON GOOGLE(2019 UPDATED)
Understanding SEO is crucial to significantly increasing your traffic and brand awareness
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of those things that’s always crucial to your marketing strategy – and always changing. Because of how quickly search algorithms evolve, it can be difficult to keep up with the newest best practices, especially when you have several other marketing channels to manage.
But if you aren’t ranking for the keywords that are important to your business because it's too much work to keep up with SEO, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers.
Fortunately, good SEO doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. To help make your SEO work as efficient as possible, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite hacks to boost your rankings. Some of them are easier than others, but they’re all doable – no matter how new or advanced a marketer you are.
#1Complete an SEO Audit on your website
Auditing your website helps you discover why you’re not getting enough search traffic and sales. Many SEO companies offer this service, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
In general terms, auditing is a systematic examination of an event, a result, a concept, or financial books that is done in order to figure out where you stand and how to make smarter decisions in the future. In the SEO world, auditing is a growth hacking technique that will help you attract and retain customers.
An SEO audit means you’re closely examining your overall site performance, setting new goals based on what you find, and implementing tactics to reach those goals. This process helps you increase your profits by making the best use of the content you already have.
This may not sound like an advanced SEO strategy, but you’d be surprised how many websites are missing basic on-page SEO like page titles or descriptions. It’s easy to overlook when creating your website, but easy to fix with an audit.
Here’s what you should be looking for during an audit:
Check #1: Do all your website’s pages have SEO meta titles and descriptions?
Check #2: Is each page on your website optimized for SEO keywords?
Remember, optimize appropriately without keyword stuffing!
Check #3: Is your URL structure optimized for search engines?
Your URLs should be simple, short, and easy for a search engine to tell what the page is about. Here’s an example:
I bet you can guess that article is about 21 ways to improve your Bing ads!
But what if the URL looked like this instead?
Seems a bit complicated, right? A search engine would have a tough time determining the topic of that post since the keywords are broken up by folders and dates. It’s not very clear.
When it comes to URLs, simple is better.
Check #4. Is each page and blog post formatted properly?
By properly, I mean is each page:
- Broken up with headings and subheadings (h1 and h2 tags)?
- Using 2-3 sentences per paragraph?
- Bolding or italicizing important points?
- Optimized with a call to action?
43% of people skim blog posts instead of reading the whole thing. Make it easy for people to read!
Check #5: Do all your images have keywords in their ALT tags?
Check #6: Are you using links in your content?
This includes both internal links (to your own content) and external links (to other websites).
I cover linking in detail later in this article, but it’s very important for SEO as one of Google’s top three ranking factors.
Looking for an easier way to perform a website SEO audit? Here’s how to use QuickSprout to conduct a site audit and discover opportunities for improving your search traffic:
Step #1: Go to QuickSprout. Enter your website URL into the box, and press Analyze website.
Step#2: You’ll be taken to a results page outlining all the SEO items you should fix.
From the results above, you can see that forbes.com does mostly everything right except for a few things in orange. The page title for the homepage is too short, at just 6 characters, when the recommended length is between 15-65 characters.
Additionally, there are several subheadings on the page that are too long which QuickSprout lists for you:
The best heading tags contain 15 to 65 characters. We can easily edit the ones above to be under 65 characters.
Example: Introducing the Forbes SportsMoney Index, The Definitive Money Ranking in Sports
That’s 80 characters. Let’s reduce it to 65 or less, but still keep the keywords and intent:
Introducing Forbes SportsMoney: Money Ranking in Sports
Now it’s 55 characters. Easy, right?
Some other options could be:
Forbes SportsMoney: The Definitive Money Ranking in Sports (58 characters)
Forbes SportsMoney: Guide to Financial Rankings in Sports (57 characters)
An SEO expert will tell you that this single tweak may not improve your page rankings or authority very much, but it will get more clicks. More clicks means more search traffic.
Heading tags, including meta tag components, are important SEO elements and should be created correctly.
A heading tag is an <h1> or <h2> tag, typically the title of your page or blog post or an important heading within it. They’re basic, standards-compliant HTML, which is why Google expects to see them on your site. Optimizing heading tags can get you more traffic.
More importantly, it creates a better experience for your users.
Proper headings make your subheadings and body text stand out so readers can skim your content and read it quickly.
When you perform a full website SEO audit, you’ll likely find at least a few errors or suggestions for improvement. No one’s perfect!
QuickSprout is a great SEO tool to monitor the performance of your website and blog posts.
Learn what your users want
Google isn’t an advertising company. They’re a big data company.
Every tool, platform, and device that they design has one purpose: to get data from users and use it to build a stronger search engine.
Think of yourself as a big data company.
You need to focus on what your target customers want. When you understand what they want, you can develop content that draws them in.
When you listen to feedback from your target customer, it guides the content you create to attract more of them.
The opinions of your users count. The public determines whose idea, article, product, or concept gets shared or funded.
Think about Kickstarter. Most campaigns languish unnoticed for days until a few people donate some money. Then, other people follow.
So, how do you get relevant data about your users’ interests?
And how do you get feedback from your ideal customer if you’re just starting out and don’t have any real customers to ask?
There are several ways to find out:
- Use social media platforms like Quora
- See your most popular pages in Google Analytics
- See what posts get the most shares
- Listen to visitor comments on your blog posts
Let’s cover the first one: social media platforms.
Ask yourself, “Where do the people I want to attract hang out online, and what topics do they talk about?”
I personally like to use Quora.
It gives me an idea of what my target audience is talking about and I can learn from experts in the process. If I wanted to write a book or course, the things people ask on Quora would be useful sources for content ideas.
Here’s how to find out what people want using Quora:
Step #1: Go to Quora. You’ll need to sign up for an account, or sign in with Google or Facebook to get
Once you’re logged in, type in your primary keyword (e.g. blog traffic) and hit enter.
Step #2: Review the questions people are asking.
If you know how to answer one of these questions, write a blog post about it.
You already know that people want to learn about that subject. If one person asked it on Quora, chances are there are hundreds of other people wondering the exact same thing.
Step #3: Extract ideas from experts for your post.
Quora is a great place to learn new things. When it comes to advanced SEO, you can never know everything so I visit it frequently to learn from others.
Use these answers to form the outline for your next blog post.
Here’s how to use it:
Step #1: Go to UberSuggest. Input your keyword (e.g. website traffic) in the search box and click Suggest
Step #2: You’ll get a list of long-tail keywords for that topic. This is a great place to start getting ideas for your blog post or to find the perfect keyword when you already have an idea to write about
Research like this is useful because it tells you what real people want to read online. If you just guess, you don’t know if your content will be successful or not.
You can also use Google Analytics to find out what your readers want.
Step #1: Login to Google Analytics. On the left-side menu, click on Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages.
Step #2: Look at what your most popular pages and posts are.
The total number of page views is important, but also take a look at the average time spent on the page (the higher the better!), the bounce rate, and the exit percentage.
Here are my top pages from May 14th to June 14th 2017:
The average time spent on the page tells you if people actually took the time to read your full post, or just skimmed it.
Anything under a minute should be a sign that people are quickly skimming and not reading your article?
So if I see an average time of thirty seconds, I’ll know that people didn’t find my post that interesting to stick around for long.
The bounce rate tells you the percentage of people who landed on this page, but then left without visiting any other pages. It’s not an indicator of success or failure by itself, but ideally you want people to stick around and check out at least 2-3 pages.
The exit percentage tells you that for this page specifically, x % of users left your site after visiting this page. Like the bounce rate, it’s not an indicator of a problem by itself, but if your exit rate is 99%, well, that probably means users aren’t finding what they want to know on that page and don’t want to explore any further.
Another great way to find out what people want is to see how many times your content gets shared on social media.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for this. Just enter your website URL and hit Go.
It will give you a list of your most popular content, sorted by the highest share counts.
This lets you know which articles people love enough to share. The most common reason people share content is when they think it will be useful to others.
With that being said, the total number of shares your post gets is a good way to tell if people find your content useful.
You want to know the easiest way to find out what your users think? Just read their comments on your posts.
When you answer real user questions with your content, your search traffic will improve dramatically.
3. Create SEO optimized landing pages
A well-designed landing page can improve your lead generation and sales. The more landing pages you create, the more gateways you open up for incoming search traffic.
Unfortunately, not many B2B companies fully grasp the importance of using specific landing pages to capture new users.
According to the SEO research firm, MarketingSherpa, 44% of clicks for B2B companies go to a homepage, not a landing page. Sure, the homepage is important, but a landing page is where you can initiate a strong relationship.
Here’s an example.
Copyblogger creates high-quality landing pages on popular topics. They go the extra mile with professional graphics and a clean, modern layout.
Then they drive traffic to the landing page through press releases, email marketing, and SEO optimization.
Here’s one of their landing pages about landing pages.
As you scroll down, you learn more about landing pages:
The key elements of a good landing page are:
- No navigation (you want users to stay on the page!)
- Useful, informative content
- A call to action (to sign up for your product, service, download a lead magnet, or another type of action)
On Copyblogger’s page, they have useful content with links to relevant articles:
And, a noticeable and clear call to action
Do you think these landing pages have good SEO value?
Do people actually link to them and share them on social media?
Let’s find out.
As you can see from the screenshot above, this landing page has 799 trusted inbound links, over 1,000 tweets and 446 Facebook likes. This landing page is clearly doing its job of converting visitors into leads.
Landing pages can generate a lot of income.
Conversion Rate Experts made $1 million for Moz, using a single optimized landing page and a few emails.
Recent research found that businesses with 10-15 landing pages have 55% more conversions than those with less than 10 landing pages.
Businesses with over 40 landing pages have 500% more conversions!
Basecamp has a great landing page to sign up for a free trial of their product.
It draws you in with a big, bold headline. It highlights the key points in a list for easy skimming. It also features a noticeable sign up form.
But good landing pages don’t always need to be just one page. Check out this example from Bills.com:
It features an interactive way to draw visitors in. First, you select how much debt you have.
I’m going to pick $50,000.
The landing page then asks me a series of questions, which are the company’s pre-qualifying questions for new leads.
To see my results, I need to enter my contact information. Some visitors may not want to and abandon the landing page at this point, but those who really want to know if their debt relief program will help them will fill it out.
This is a very simple landing page to set up that results in thousands of leads per month for Bills.com.
It’s a great example of how a simple design and interactive elements can easily come together to generate huge results.
Here’s how to make sure your landing page is SEO optimized.
Step #1: Find a long-tail keyword and use it throughout your landing page. For example, Copyblogger targets the keyword “SEO copywriting” on one of their landing pages.
If you use Optimizepress or another landing page creator for WordPress, make sure that you add title tags, a meta tag description, and keywords.
Use the keywords naturally throughout your content to avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffing. Include your long-tail keyword in the headline, at least one subheading on the page, and a few times in your body content.
Your landing page content has to be useful.
Write to persuade people to take the next step. Every SEO expert will tell you that the #1 goal of all compelling copy is to get you to read the next sentence.
Remember that the anatomy of a successful landing page begins with the headline. Your body content is also important and should include a testimonial or review from a customer to add trust and credibility.
You also want to make sure your landing page looks modern with a professional design.
“Design is King,” says Derek Halpern. If your content is useful, but your design sucks, you’ll most likely fail.
The design is part of what makes the page unique and relevant to your target audience. Paper Anniversary’s landing page was professionally designed with Unbounce software. They’re converting their users at 67%!
Their landing page has strong copy, a persuasive video that’s emotionally appealing and testimonials from satisfied customers, which go a long way toward swaying new customers.
Finally, build links from your existing content to your new landing page.
Without quality links, your page will probably not rank very high in search, even if you have excellent copy or use every other SEO ranking factor out there. Since 75% of users never look further than page 1 of search results, it’s important to rank as high as possible.
4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
It’s more important than ever to make sure your website looks good and performs well on mobile devices.
In May 2016, Google introduced an update to their search algorithm that significantly boosts organic search result rankings to websites that are mobile friendly, or in other words, responsive.
Over 60% of daily searches are now performed on a mobile device.
When it comes to e-commerce, the numbers are even more surprising. Business Insider predicts that by 2020, 45% of all e-commerce sales in the United States will be completed on a mobile device. That represents $284 billion in the US alone!
All these statistics are pointing to one thing: you simply cannot afford to not have a mobile-friendly website anymore.
Making your site look good on mobile is no longer a luxury, it’s a standard.
How can you tell if your website is mobile-friendly or not? Check out the example below from Google.
In the X example, the website looks just like it would on your desktop computer. The content doesn’t change size to fit a smaller screen better.
In the green checkmark example, see how the same content re-aligns itself to make better use of the small screen? It’s easier to read and scroll through. That’s what being mobile-friendly means.
If you use WordPress as a CMS for your website, you likely already have a mobile-friendly site. Pretty much all WordPress themes over the past few years are designed to be responsive, which is the design term for mobile-friendly.
According to Wikipedia, responsive design means:
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen or web browser one is viewing with. In addition it’s important to understand that Responsive Web Design tasks include offering the same support to a variety of devices for a single website.
Still not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Just check it out on your phone.
The mobile site is optimized for my screen width and is easy to read.
If you want to be extra sure your website checks all the boxes for being mobile-friendly, use Google’s free Mobile Testing Tool.
Enter in your website URL and click Run Test.
You’ll get a results page that lets you know if your site is mobile-friendly or not.
If your site comes back being not mobile-friendly, it’s time to redesign!
You can likely make a few tweaks to your existing website design to improve its usability on mobile. But it may be faster and cheaper in the long run to get a totally new website. Think of it as a good opportunity to freshen up your brand at the same time.
5. Grow your traffic with infographics
Infographics are popular because they allow you to display complex information in an easy to understand way. Since 65% of people are visual learners, a graphic goes a lot further than just a text article.
Here’s a good infographic on infographics from NeoMam Studios:
I’ve been creating infographics for quite some time now and the results are impressive. At KISSmetrics, we generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,000 backlinks within 2 years, using infographics.
Quality infographics can increase your website traffic by 193%. I did that in just one year.
Unfortunately, most people don’t pay attention to the “info” part. Instead, they focus on the graphics. Good design is important, but you need to have quality facts to back it up.
Why do search users and consumers prefer infographics?
It’s because the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than plain text. In addition, 65% of users are visual learners. Also, 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual.
You could generate up to 60,000 search visitors to your website with infographics!
Step #1: Get your stats. Find a trending topic or idea that people are searching for and put together some statistics on it.
For example, if you wanted to make an infographic about infographics, you could take the few stats we listed above:
- You could generate up to 60,000 visitors
- Your traffic could grow 12% faster
- An infographic is 30x more likely to be read
Don’t want to create it yourself? You can hire a professional infographic designer on Dribbble. Just search for infographics at the top.
From there, pick a designer and read their profile.
If you do want to create it yourself, here’s how to do that with Canva.
Login to Canva and click Create a Design. Choose Infographic under the Blogging & eBooks section.
Canva gives you some great layouts to start with. Pick one on the left-hand side. Click anywhere on the infographic to start editing it.
You can change the text and images until you’re happy with the result. Canva also has a library of free stock icons, photos, shapes, and charts you can find under the Elements tab.
Once your infographic is ready, click Download at the top and save it as a PNG file. This will automatically download it to your computer.
Step3: Write a blog post based on your infographic. Take the data from your infographic and turn it into an in-depth article to accompany the graphic.
People are more likely to share your infographic if it comes with a post that explains it.
For example, if your infographic is titled “10 ways to make your site load faster,” you can expand on each of the tips in your blog post.
If you can publish unique content of at least 2,000 words and couple it with your infographic, your search traffic will double over time.
Remember that Google doesn’t index the text on the infographic, that’s part of the image file. The only thing Google indexes is the image itself. But, when you create a blog post to go with it, Google will index that content and make it more likely for your infographic to come up in image search results for that keyword.
Step #4: Submit your infographic to directories.
Once you have your infographic, submit it to these top 20 infographic directories.
If you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself, you could find someone on a site like Fiverr to do it for you. Just search for “submit infographics”.
Click on the submission services and study them carefully. You should ask providers to show you the sites they intend to submit to. If you’re not comfortable with the sites they name, let them know. You’re hiring them which means you’re in control!
6. Optimize your content for RankBrain
Search engines have evolved a lot since Google first launched in 1998.
If you want to keep thriving in search rankings, you need to be aware of all the latest Google algorithm updates and SEO best practices.
Google’s third most important ranking factor is an algorithm called RankBrain.
RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that helps analyze search results. It learns what a page of content is about and how that relates to keywords people are searching for. Essentially, it helps connect a search with relevant results.
Let’s say you search for “remote work”.
That could mean a few different things:
- You’re searching for remote, or distance/telecommute, jobs
- Your remote control for the TV is broken and you want to make it work again
How does Google know which one you want?
RankBrain goes to work and determines that you want the first option based on thousands of other web searches performed by people looking for the same term.
A more popular example would be the difference between searching for apple and Apple:
- A fruit
- A large computer company founded by Steve Jobs
So, how do you tell Google the exact “apple” that you’re referring to? Is it the Apple Company or the apple fruit? Or, is it something different-but-related?
RankBrain tells Google’s spiders how to index your content based on your intent.
Since Google is a lot more sophisticated these days, we no longer need to stuff our content full of keywords to make it understand our intent.
Whatever you do, don’t stuff keywords into your content!
Keyword stuffing is when you overuse keywords and phrases that relate to the main keyword in attempts to rank higher in search. It’s a bad SEO practice that you should avoid it at all costs.
For example, consider these related keywords: iPhone reviews, best iPhone reviews, new iPhone reviews. When you use all of these keywords in your content, it’s likely that Google won’t rank that page well, especially if the content falls within the 300 – 500 word count.
Here’s an example of a keyword stuffed paragraph:
Do you want to learn java online? Most java tutorials are not created to help beginners learn java online, because the online java learning platforms are not user-friendly. But today, in the Los Angeles area, you can easily learn java online from the comfort of your home and become a java online expert.
Not great, right?
The main keyword “java online” was mentioned four times, which is too often for that little amount of content.
There is a better way to change this paragraph and make it more user focused, without neglecting the main keyword – “java online.” All you have to do is find synonyms for the keyword. For example:
Are you ready to learn java online? It’s a good step towards upgrading your skills and giving you a better chance of getting that job. There are several places to learn java on the web, and within 2 – 3 months, you’ll be programming in java. Most people don’t like the idea of taking online java courses, but I believe it’s one of the most flexible ways to get access to a wealth of knowledge and become skilled in your life’s pursuit.
The difference is clear, right?
The second paragraph sounds better to users and still uses your keyword without overdoing it.
That’s the power behind RankBrain.
A few guidelines for finding synonyms for your main keyword:
- Find keywords with the same meaning as the principle keyword, but with different spelling and structure. Example: image, picture, photo.
- Don’t over-optimize for other keywords or you could get penalized. Only use them when necessary and make sure your copy flows naturally when a human reads it!
- Write in a natural tone. Make sure that the new keywords don’t override the main keyword that you want to rank for. The new key phrases are only there to give additional meaning to your content and to help Google understand the context of what you’re talking about.
A good example of these practices is Marketing Land.
Marketing Land optimizes content for a main keyword and several synonyms. They know that once YouTube is mentioned, terms like videos, channels, and video source need to be mentioned too.
Where Facebook is mentioned, social graph, sharing, liking, and commenting are also included as they’re all common activities that take place on the platform.
Google looks out for these key terms in your content. As long as you’re including them in a natural-sounding way, your search rankings will continue to improve.
7. Write at least 1,890 words
Backlinko analyzed 1 million searches and found the average first-page search result was 1,890 words.
There have been numerous studies and experiments on the correlation between content length and search engine ranking.
This graph from Backlinko shows their findings that the top five search results all had an average content length of over 1,900 words.
I did an experiment for QuickSprout. The results showed that my posts over 1,500 words received almost double the amount of social shares than the ones under 1,500 words.
Content length isn’t everything. A shorter blog post that’s higher quality will still outperform a longer, low-quality post.
The trick is to cover one topic in so much detail that every part of the post is valuable to the reader. Making it more valuable to humans makes it more valuable to Google as a page to display in search results.
A key benefit of longer content is that it will naturally contain more relevant keywords and rank for them.
A recent Ahrefs study found that the average first organic result in Google ranks for approximately 1,000 keywords.
That’s a lot of SEO power!
Consistently publishing informative content over 1,890 words will yield big returns in organic search traffic.