If you’re getting into SEO, it can be frustrating running into the same old information over and over. Sometimes you just want to get ahead, and need actionable steps to help you do so. In this article, I’m going to be breaking down 10 next level SEO hacks that can skyrocket your website to the top of search.
How To Come Up With Killer Content Topics
Focus on long tail keywords is what I was initially going to include on this list, but then I realized you’ve probably heard that already, so I’m going to throw a twist in here. If you aren’t familiar with long tail keywords, they are search phrases that are typically over 5 words long. The idea is that by focusing on longer keywords, you are hitting content topics that have less competition – and thus are easier to rank for.
Unfortunately, this advice is now commonplace. This means that lots of other people are also focusing their SEO efforts on long tail keywords. So here’s what you need to do.
Come Up With The Keywords Yourself
Don’t use keyword research tools! Yes, I’m dead serious. If all of your competitors are using keyword research tools to identify long tail keywords, you don’t want to be doing the same thing. Your goal should be to come up with different words than what these tools are spitting out. To do this, simply grab a pen and paper and begin jotting down ideas that come into your head.
What are the questions that people are asking?
Try to list 10 – 20 questions. It’s okay to come up with a few, and come back to your sheet later on. I’ve found that some of the best keyword ideas come to me either in the shower, or when I’m out for a walk.
In a few days, you should have a list of search phrases that you’re ready to create content around. Now comes the counter-intuitive part: don’t put this into a keyword research tool! Just start writing the content.
Here’s the thing: by doing this you most likely are going to be writing content around topics your competitors haven’t thought of. I do this all the time.
Another way to approach this is to write down different topics on index cards or sticky notes as you come up with them, then pop them onto a whiteboard or wall. I have a whiteboard that I use for all my video and blog post ideas.
Use Reddit & Forums
Another great way to get ahead of the competition is to use Reddit and forums to grab content topics. After all, why not leverage the power of the internet to see what real customers in your niche are asking about online? You can easily find questions in a matter of minutes by using a neat Google hack.
Simply type this into search:
[NAME OF NICHE] reddit
So for example, if my niche was landscaping I’d type:
This will allow you to find the subreddit (or section of Reddit) relevant to your business.
While this alone is great, sometimes this doesn’t find you questions. You still have to do a lot of scrolling around.
So another hack is to type in the beginning of a question followed by “reddit”.
So for example, if I were a car dealership I may type in “what is the best car” and then the word reddit. By using Quotes in my search phrase, I’m telling Google I want those exact words as I typed them to show up in the results.
So for example my search query would look like this:
“what is the best car” reddit
Boom! I’ve immediately found a content topic I wouldn’t have thought of.
I could write a blog post titled “The 10 Best Cars Ever Owned – According To Real People” and feature this discussion and comments in my post. Boom! Reddit has written my entire blog post for me – all I have to do is format it and plop it together.
Optimize Your Website’s URL Architecture
This one isn’t widely taught, and I don’t understand why. Your website’s architecture is an important part of building a website specifically so it ranks well in Google. So what is website URL architecture?
Well, as you probably know by now URLs are important for SEO. You can put keywords and related synonyms/words in your permalinks. But believe it or not, you can take this strategy to the next level with architecture.
Let’s say for example I run a local graphic design business. I’d want to make sure I show up for all the services I offer in search. Instead of having one service page on your website, with website architecture you’d have an individual page for each service you offer.
So for example, if I ran this business some of my services would probably be:
- Logo design
- Business card design
- Website design
Most websites unfortunately have one page only for services.
Generally, the URL looks like this:
With website architecture, we try to optimize for all relevance possible. Because this is a local business, the city name is important to include. A proper URL structure would therefore look like this:
But it doesn’t end there. As I mentioned earlier, we want to create sub pages for each service we offer. Using the example above, my full website URL architecture would ideally look something like this:
Now I’m telling search engines exactly what I do, it’s easy for them to understand because of how our URLs are laid out. Additionally, you have a higher chance of bringing people into your website for your services since each page has its own chance to rank. This is why architecture is so important.
Yes, it takes time to build out individual pages for each service you offer. But I promise it’s 100% worth it. If you’re using WordPress, this is super easy to do.
Another important part of creating these subpages is to make sure they are menu items that appear below the “Services” option when people hover their mouse over it. This is also easily done with WordPress, you can drag menu items under Appearance -> Menus to be under another page.
Make Videos Too
Besides blog posts, videos are a form of content that is mainstream now. I know a handful of people who actually would prefer watching videos to reading. And besides that, YouTube is also owned by Google.
I know a lot of business owners get turned off when they hear video marketing, but hear me out. Did you know YouTube is easier to rank on than Google with your own website? Because Google owns YouTube, they trust their own platform.
Videos aren’t hard to make, either. One of the biggest excuses or objections I hear when it comes to video marketing is: “Gabriel, that’s great and all but I don’t have a camera.” Well no worries, because we all have a smartphone. Your smartphone is literally good enough!
All you have to do is talk about your business on camera, and if you’re a business owner you like doing that already anyways. You can make videos describing the products and services you offer, or answering common questions you get asked by customers.
The best part of getting into video though, is that there’s a good chance your competition isn’t doing this. That means you will immediately rank #1 – especially if you are a local business. By starting video marketing, you’ll also be avoiding putting all of your eggs in one basket – or that is to say, Google search. Having more than one source of traffic can be a really great safety net for your business.
Share Your Content More Than Once
This one is really big and even I was guilty of not doing this until recently. If you’re taking the time to write a blog post or publish a video, share it more than once on social media. Seriously.
You might as well get the most reach you can with your content.
What’s the worst that’s going to happen…? Some dislikes? (And you’d be surprised, but people really don’t even mind this from my experience.) The pros far outweigh the cons and doing this has helped me double the amount of traffic I’ve been getting.
You can use a free tool like HootSuite or IFTTT (which I’ve covered before on the YouTube Channel) to auto share the post out at later times. We’re living in a time where automation is super easy and affordable or even free. But let me use an example. Let’s say I publish a blog post at 10AM.
I can schedule that post to be shared to my Facebook and Twitter profiles at noon, and again at 6PM. These are times when people are most likely on lunch and home from work. When it comes to your niche, I’d recommend trying sharing at different times till you find the time with the most engagement.
Use Social Share Buttons On Your Blog Posts
This one is really important, and goes along with the previous point. You need to make it as easy as possible for users to share your content. You’ll notice on this page I have several social media share buttons on the left hand side as you scroll down.
There are many free plugins that automatically add this to your WordPress website. Additionally, some themes add this to your website automatically. I personally use Thrive Theme Builder on this website along with Thrive Architect.
By including social media share buttons, not only does your content get shared (obviously) but it also increases user engagement on the page. This is really important because it sends a positive signal to Google when users stay and click on elements on-page.
Optimize For Voice Search
Everyone’s on their smartphones nowadays. If you are a local business, you especially need to be optimizing for voice search. A voice search is when a user talks into their phone with Google Assistant or Siri.
This is commonly done when a person has a headset on, or when driving their car. Because this is common practice now, you’ll want to make sure you show up for these searches. 90% of the time voice search includes the phrase “near me”.
Try optimizing your service pages to include the keyword “near me” as part of your overall keyphrase. Plugins like Yoast SEO make this easy to do. If you aren’t a local business, you still want to be optimizing for this.
An easy way to find out what keywords are being used here is to do a voice search yourself. See what your phone’s assistant types in for you when you do your search. Then try using that wording for your product and services pages.
Do This With Links
Links have always been an important part of SEO. The more links that point to your website, the higher authority you have in the eyes of search engines. What I’m talking about here isn’t backlinks, however.
When it comes to outbound links on your website, there’s a few things you need to be doing.
There are going to be some links you don’t want search engines to follow. What I mean by this is when Google’s crawling bots come to your website, for example, they’ll look at the links in your content. If you are promoting one of your products or a product as an affiliate, for example, these are promotional types of links.
These aren’t links to cite your sources about what you wrote in your content. These are monetary links. Any time you have a monetary link, you’ll want to set it to no follow. This is easily done in WordPress by checking the “no follow” checkbox while your link is selected.
The reason why I recommend doing this is because these links don’t add any visible value to your content to search engines, it’s actually the opposite. Always marking these as no follow is a good habit to get into.
Open In New Tab
This rule applies to ALL outbound links. Any links pointing outside of your website should always be set to open in a new tab or browser window. The reason for this is this:
Google doesn’t like users leaving your website.
The longer a user stays on the page, the better. By having external links open in a new tab, that user technically hasn’t left your website since they still have it open in a separate tab. And that’s why you want to ensure all of your external links open this way.
Higher on-page times sends positive signals to Google that your website and content are high quality, thus you will rank higher in the search results.
Use Schema Markup
Schema markup is special data added to a website’s HTML code to help search engines understand what the page is about. Schema helps Google, Bing, and Yahoo understand the different content on a web page such as the title, description, and images. What schema is mostly used for, however, is rich snippets.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve most likely seen a search engine snippet before. It’s typically displayed as featured content while doing a search. Here’s an example of one:
As you can see, Google is trying to pull information from a website’s content.
Winning the snippet is a big deal and can net you a TON of traffic and authority points with Google. You can choose part of a blog post as a candidate for a snippet using schema plugins for WordPress. I’ve worked with Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets (yes, that’s the name of the plugin) to do this before.
Speed is important for SEO. Nobody’s going to wait 15 seconds for your website to load. Luckily, this is very easy to optimize or fix. Typically there’s 3 big speed hacks you can leverage to speed up your website if it’s running slow.
Use A CDN
A Content Delivery Network, or CDN is a service that speeds up your site for users who are in other cities, providences, or countries. The way it works is the CDN will store offline (or cached) copies of your website. When a user loads your site from another country, for example, it’ll pull that from a server closer to the user.
That way load times aren’t super slow because of location proximity to the web server.
Cloud Flare is a great free service that allows you to easily set this up. I’m not going to sugar coat it: setting up a CDN can be very technical and overwhelming. Make sure to have your web developer do this if you aren’t sure what you are doing.
Images are by far the biggest culprit of slowing down websites. When it comes to types of content, they take the cake for turning your website into a bonafide snail. So how do we resolve this…?
Well, the good news is image compression is easy and automated! You can use a plugin like Smush to automatically compress all images you upload to your WordPress website. There’s also TinyPNG, a website that allows you to upload and compress individual images.
The way ideal compression works is images are compressed to reduce their file size, while having that compression be barely noticeable to the human eye.
Install A Caching Plugin
I already touched on caching a bit when I explained CDNs. Caching is the process of storing offline copies of your website on a user’s device. That way when the user revisits your site, it’s less demanding for both the user and the web server. Since parts of your website have already been downloaded on their device so they can view it, why should their device have to download it a second time…?
This is what caching does. You can easily set up caching with plugins like LightSpeed Cache for WordPress. I do want to note that some caching plugins can mess up your website if you aren’t careful, so I’d recommend having a developer do this for you, too. Always back up your website before messing with caching.
Write A Book
One of the greatest ways to build authority in the eyes of real humans is to write a book. If you run a business, you’re most likely already passionate about what it is that you do. Seriously, write a book.
Not only does it establish you as an immediate authority figure in your niche, but you are also creating an asset worth money in your business. You now have a product you can sell over and over again. You can mention your book in your content and generate even more revenue from the SEO efforts you are already doing.
And if it’s a digital book, then there’s practically no cost to do so. Yes, writing a book takes a lot of initial time investment – but I can promise you it pays off in the long run.
I also recommend selling physical copies, too. Amazon has a self-publishing program where you can upload a copy of your book as a PDF and they will print and ship it for you. Boom! Just like that you can become a published author.
And while I’m on the topic, I’ll shamelessly throw in some self-promotion, too. You can check out my SEO book the Rank Now Blueprint here. It walks you through how to easily rank #1 in Google step by step. It’s the ultimate resource for any digital marketer or business owner who wants to learn effective and proven SEO.
Want To Be A SEO Ninja…?
If you want to learn proven, powerful, and effective SEO strategies check out Local SEO Shuriken. It contains the blueprint on how to explode your business with Google step by step. It’s the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn SEO that just works.