SEO doesn’t have to be complicated, but at times it does seem so.
You’ll find many businesses struggle to rank above their competitors even after getting the basics right, such as targeting the right keywords, creating great content, and having an XML sitemap. No wonder proving return on investment is the topmost SEO challenge.
While there are a number reasons as to why your website isn’t ranking higher than your competitors, you can always try out various ideas to see if they make a difference. We’re talking about applying some simple SEO hacks to improve your chances of boosting your ranking.
In order to succeed with SEO, it’s important that you have a different mindset and understand it is possible to achieve better rankings with the right amount of effort. If you’ve been taught that SEO has to be challenging unless you spend a ton money on it, think again.
You can always apply some of the simplest SEO hacks used by the pros and see amazing results come your way in as little as a few months. Yes, a few months is quick! SEO is a long-term marketing strategy.
But first, ask yourself…
Are You Making these 3 SEO Mistakes?
Before we get into how you can use the best SEO hacks to improve your rankings, let’s go through some of the mistakes that you might be making when applying SEO to your site. Because after all, you need a strong foundation before applying anything else.
1. You Still Depend on Outdated Practices
Google (along with the other major search engines) is constantly changing/improving. So if you’re not up-to date with the latest SEO hacks and techniques, you might not see any favorable results. It’s as simple as that.
If your campaign isn’t getting a good ROI, find out if you’re still depending on outdated SEO practices. If you are, then it’s time for a change.
2. You Haven’t Worked on Your Website
Gone are the days when SEO was mostly about external factors such as the number of links. Today, you also need to have user-friendly website design along with great content on your website to win more SEO points.
Not improving your website will not only make people leave your site but will also make a bad impression on the mighty Google.
3. You Continue to Play the Blind Game
It doesn’t matter what niche you’re operating in or what kind of business you run, you cannot depend on guesswork if you want to improve your SEO. In other words, you have to set up website analytics (a.k.a Google Analytics) and track your goals. How else would you know what’s working and what’s not?
In order to improve your SEO game, you need to have access to the right data and use it effectively to understand the reason behind your failures. Stop playing the blind game and get some real SEO vision.
Alright, time to look into 9 simple yet effective SEO hacks that can help you outrank your competitors in Google and other search engines.
#1: Focus on Creating Evergreen Content
Evergreen content isn’t complicated. It’s pretty self-explanatory. It basically refers to content that once created remains valid and valuable for a long period of time.
And since this type of content isn’t decaying or time-sensitive in nature, it has the ability to attract new readers consistently. Which makes publishing evergreen content one of the most simple yet effective SEO hacks out there.
If you look around, you’ll find that most of the evergreen content focuses on topics that retain relevance regardless of when they are published. This not only leads to traffic growth (both organic and social), but also helps generate high quality leads for months or years to come.
There’s no doubt that news-based or “time-bound” content has its own place and is crucial. But if you think about content in terms of getting a higher ROI, then evergreen content wins hands down.
It helps your brand build real trust and authenticity in the long run. It makes you stand out of the crowd, especially when it is backed by proper research.
Although not many brands realize this, but focusing on creating evergreen content can help you improve your content strategy over time.
Here are some common ideas for evergreen content:
- Detailed how-to guides
- Relevant case studies
- Authentic product reviews
- List-based articles
- Curated blog posts
- Series of tutorials
- Expert interviews
- Best practices
#2: Make Use of Rich Snippets
Rich snippets make your listings in the search engine result pages look different, unique and informative. Once you reach the first-page listings of Google, you need to ensure you’re getting a higher number of clicks. There are various SEO hacks to help you rank higher. But when it comes to getting a better CTR, rich snippets take the cake.
If you’re not aware of rich snippets, here’s a quick intro:
The term “rich snippets” refers to “structured data markup” that you add to your site’s existing HTML. This not only helps search engines understand the content of your website better, but also helps visitors get more information about your page before visiting it. So yes, richer search results equals to better user-experience.
Now, the reason why you need to use rich snippets is because they simply lead to better SEO results. Of course, the title tag and meta description are already there to inform people about your site’s content. But a rich snippet makes you look like a star amongst all other listings that aren’t using it.
When you use a rich snippet properly, you are actually tapping into an opportunity that others are ignoring. Because the rating that shows with your snippet tells the searcher that your product is worthy. The positive experiences of your past customers is social proof that can help you get more visitors. And that’s exactly what you’re leveraging here.
Will rich snippets help you rank higher? No. But can they improve your chances of getting a higher click-through rate? Of course yes.
#3: Spread Homepage Link Authority
Your homepage is obviously the star of your website. It’s where most people go or enter your website through. When compared to other pages of your site, it’s also the page that naturally attracts the most amount of backlinks.
If you are not smart at SEO, you will not do anything about the link authority of your homepage and let it be. But if you are keen on applying one of the simplest SEO hacks, you will ensure that the link authority of your homepage gets directed to other important subpages of your website.
If you look at your website’s top navigation bar, you’ll find that it already links to the main category pages of your website, which is fine. However, if you are also not linking to pages that you do want to rank in the SERPs (from your homepage’s body), then you are making a mistake.
It doesn’t matter what pages are important for you. These could be individual blog posts or product pages or landing pages. Adding links to them in the body of your homepage will eventually help you pass on link authority to them. And since these links are contextual in nature, they’ll pass even more link authority than your regular navigational links.
#4: Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Have you noticed that sometimes the web pages that you open on your mobile look stripped down and simple? That’s due to “Accelerated Mobile Pages” or AMP, which is a coding standard for publishers. It’s one of those useful SEO hacks that usually gets ignored.
You have to understand that because of the growing popularity of mobile devices, giving mobile users a great user experience is becoming integral day after day. Not only to search engines, but also to people. So the main aim of AMP is to help publishers give their visitors a more refined user experience by making their sites load quickly on mobile devices.
Mobile responsive websites are great, but there are times when they can be slow and clunky. And that’s the problem AMP wants to combat.
Now, when it comes to the speed of your website, even a few seconds of delay can make a huge difference. Take the example of Amazon, known to lose 1% of sales for every 100ms delay in their site loading speed.
While you may not be as big as the ecommerce giant, it goes on to show how important it is to have a speedy website, especially on mobile. Because according to SimilarWeb, mobile devices account for 56% of traffic to top websites.
So how do you go about implementing AMP on your website?
First off, you are required to maintain a minimum of two versions of your content page:
- The main, original version of your blog post or article page.
- The AMP version of the same page.
Here are some benefits of AMP in context of search engine optimization:
- As you implement AMP on your website, you’ll find that your site is displayed in the search results with “green highlighted text. This can lead to a higher click-through rate in the long run.
- If your website pages don’t lag behind and open quick, the chances of getting people to convert increase. So yes, implementing AMP can help you achieve higher conversion rates as time goes by.
- One of the most obvious reasons for having a high bounce rate is slow speed. Which can make your visitors frustrated and even bored in some cases. Since bounce rate is an important SEO Google ranking factor, using AMP to improve site loading time on mobile devices makes real sense.
#5: Increase Organic Click-through Rate (CTR)
A lot of times brands/companies do not realize the importance of having a high click-through rate (CTR). They only focus and work on improving their search engine rankings, which is great.
But what’s the use of hitting the first page of Google if only a handful of people are going to click on your link? Unless you are in the top three search results, you have to do more to generate more clicks.
When it comes to SEO, maximizing CTR is crucial to getting a high return on investment. Having a good CTR shows that your website is relevant to the search query. The more people that find and click your website in the search results, the more relevant your site becomes in the eyes of Google and other search engines. And yes, it also justifies your site’s ranking position.
Now, there’s no doubt that you will have a favorable click-through rate if your site’s has a high ranking. But is it enough to rank well? The answer is no.
In order to attract more number of clicks, you need to focus on other factors too.
Here are a few things that you can work on to ensure more people are clicking your website instead of your competitors.
- Long-Tail Keywords: Create content around long-tail keywords because they are more specific and easier to rank for. Also, by integrating long-tail keywords on your site, you boost the overall volume of related search queries that you’ll be able to rank for.
- Meta Descriptions: Your listing in the SERPs can stand out from the rest with an effective meta description. Having a clear meta description tells potential visitors what your page is about, increasing the chances of them clicking on your link.
- Descriptive URLs: Regardless of the keyword you’re targeting, you can include it in your page’s URL and make it more descriptive. Which can get more people to click and visit your site.
- Title Format: When people scan through the search listings, the first thing they notice is the title of your page. And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t make it complicated by adding your brand name or something else in the beginning. Instead, simplify it by focusing on the core benefit of visiting the page so that more people are inclined to click on it.
- Headline Testing: There is no perfect formula to write a great, click-worthy headline. Which is why you need to test your titles to ensure you’re using the best one. You can test your headline variations with the many free tools available online, on your social media page and through pay per click ads.
#6: Use HTTPS Over HTTP
Google has been very vocal about favoring websites using HTTPS over the HTTP ones. In fact, they’ve officially announced that your website can rank higher if it is HTTPS. Which clearly makes this one of the easiest to apply SEO hacks.
The reason why HTTPS sites are more preferable in the eyes of Google for one simple reason: they’re more secure, and therefore more trusted. You see, Google has always been about serving its users in the best possible way. So if it had a choice to choose a website, then it would obviously try to go for one that is better for its users.
HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol is an efficient system for exchanging information over the web. This protocol is more concerned about how the information is being presented to an Internet user, but not so much about how it reaches them from the source.
HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol is self-explanatory. When compared to HTTP, it essentially follows the same protocol, but is secure. Which means, when data travels from point A to point B, it goes through a secure route. Anyone trying to crack it wouldn’t succeed as they would with an HTTP site.
If and when you switch over to HTTPS, it can help you get in the good books of Google, and send the right signal.
Here are three core SEO benefits of doing so:
- More referrer data to read into
- Increased ranking in the long run
- Enhanced privacy and security
Along with the many SEO benefits HTTPS offers, it’s simply a wiser choice to make for your website as it makes it more secure. And there’s little doubt that securing your site for your visitors should be one of the main reasons for making this switch.
#7: Publish Quality, Long-Form Content
There’s something about long-form content that simply works. Even though people have a short attention span online, properly formatted and well-executed long-form content can help you get more SEO traffic.
And also get people to spend more time on your site.
Publishing long-form content needs to be on your list of “must apply” SEO hacks because it can help you:
- Look like a real expert with real field knowledge
- Boost the amount of engagement and shares your content receives
- Improve your overall search engine rankings for your preferred keyword
- Increase the size of your audience that sees you as a subject authority
- Grow more brand awareness for your brand, product and services
When it comes to SEO, nobody really knows what algorithm Google uses to rank a website and take it to the top. But what we do know is long-form content can easily outperform pages with thin content.
According to a study conducted by serpIQ across a list of 20,000 keywords, they found that the average content length of pages that appeared in the top 10 results was 2,000 plus.
This just goes on to show that in order to reach more people via Google and other search engines, you should be using long-form content as it helps you rank better. Which ultimately leads to a much higher return on monetary investment and time investment, both.
#8: Optimize Your Images
Do you use images in your content? If not, you should. And if you already are using them, then make sure you’re not forgetting to optimize them for the search engines.
When it comes to SEO hacks, image optimization is one of those hacks that is often overlooked just because it’s not written content. However, keep in mind that visual content can pull people to your website. So getting your images in front of your target audience can make a big difference. Which makes it an integral part of your on-page SEO strategy.
Image optimization on the surface may look hard, but it is far from it. Here’s what all you can do to optimize your images efficiently:
- Use simple/plain language to name your images.
- Name each image in a descriptive manner.
- Optimize the image’s ALT attribute properly.
- Bring down the file size of your images.
- Choose JPEG for your image file type for best quality.
With time, your images can be optimized better. But for now, focus on building a strong foundation for quality image optimization.
#9: Listen to Your Customers
Customers are the backbone of any business, yours is not different. With no customers, you have no business to run. So why not hear them out? Out of all the SEO hacks out there, listening to your customers and understanding them sounds the most obvious, but still, many don’t focus on it.
Quality SEO is about serving your audience in the best possible way so that they find you at the right time. Your potential customers may already be searching for you, but what’s the use if your website is invisible to them?
You need to focus on what your customers want. You need to get into their shoes to understand their needs. This will allow you to create content that is not only relevant but also sticky enough to attract your target audience.
Creating content that is based on what *you* think is important is a failing strategy. You want to create content that attracts the attention of your customers/prospects. And also potential link partners who’d want to give you a backlink. You should produce content that *they* see as important.
The bottom line is: listen to your customers closely to give them what they are looking for in terms of content. And you’ll find that creating great, high ranking SEO content becomes easy.
Put These SEO Hacks to Work
As we mentioned before, SEO is only as complicated and time consuming as you make it. Yes, it will take effort to do it correctly, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Which is why we wanted to share these SEO hacks with you.
If you need a little more in-depth help to get your site optimized the way it should be, that’s what we’re here for.