Hacking SEO: 9 Ways to Get Your Website Higher on Search Results
There are few things more frustrating for a business owner than spending thousands on a beautiful website no one is visiting. Everyone assures you that a high-tech website is worth your investment, but you aren’t seeing the return.
Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but a website isn’t a “build it and they will come” situation. Creating a professional-looking website is only half of the job. The other half is search engine optimization (SEO) to help people find your website.
Most of your web traffic will start with a user’s search on a search engine. If you aren’t showing up high on the search engine’s list, it’s time to focus on your SEO. Jumpstart your performance with these tips for hacking SEO.
Tips for Hacking SEO
Don’t let the term “hacking” fool you. Despite what people think that term means, these tips are all above-board ways to improve your SEO.
1. Focus on Getting Backlinks
A recent study found that backlinks were the #1 factor Google used to rank sites in their search results. But what exactly is a backlink?
When another site includes a link to a page on your site, that’s a backlink. Google loves them because they’re a sign that your content is relevant. After all, no one will link to a page that doesn’t have helpful information.
The bad news is that backlinks aren’t always easy to get. They require you to find other sites who will link to you, and this is difficult if you don’t have an established reputation. That’s why most sites have more success when they hire an SEO company that already has these connections.
2. Create a Blog
Another key piece of data Google notices is how frequently you update your website. One of the best ways to update your site recently is to add a blog to your website. Post a new blog consistently, around once per week or even more often.
To make the most use out of your blogs, make sure they’re well-written and don’t sound like 1000-word sales pitches. You should also base them on the keywords you want to optimize for (more on that later).
3. Take a Closer Look at Your Metas on Each Page
Each page of your site should have a few pieces of metadata: primarily a title and a description. This information is written into your site’s code. However, when Google shows your site as a search result, the title and description are what the user sees.
This metadata affects how the search engine ranks your page, but it’s also the only information a user gets to determine if they want to visit your page. Write your metadata carefully and use Google’s metadata tips to your advantage.
4. Remove Any Duplicate Content on Your Site
Part of a search engine’s job is to sift spam sites and irrelevant sites out of search results. One way they do this is by looking for duplicate content.
If you’ve copied and pasted the same copy from one page of your site to another, or if they’re very similar, it could be working against you. Weed out duplicate content on your site and re-write it or remove unnecessary pages.
5. Claim Your Google Profile
Put yourself in Google’s shoes. If someone’s searching for, say, a plumber, do you want to show them a company with questionable legitimacy or someone you know is in their town?
One of the best ways to show Google that you’re a reputable company is to claim your Google profile. You’ll complete a verification process to prove that your phone number and address is accurate and up-to-date.
In this case, your Google profile will show up on the right side of the search results if your site is optimized. You’ll also get the added bonus of managing your reviews and correcting any inaccuracies. To max out your customer service, make sure someone will answer the phone number on your Google profile at all times. Click here to find out how to make that happen.
6. Build Links Throughout Your Site
Another metric search engines use to rank your site is your bounce rate. This is the percentage of users who only view one page and then leave your site. This is a sign that your content might not be as useful as it seems.
You can improve your bounce rate by building your link structure. Depending on the amount of content, each page should contain several links to other pages on your site.
7. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
More and more web traffic is coming from mobile devices as opposed to desktop browsers. This alone should be a reason to make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
However, as of 2017, Google is lowering sites’ rank in search results if their sites aren’t mobile-friendly. At this point, a mobile-friendly site is more of a necessity for your SEO than a nicety.
8. Generate Shareable Content and Share it Everywhere
It sounds like a catch 22, but the more views your site gets, the more visible it will be in search results. That’s why you need to put thought into writing content people will actually want to read and share.
This is why your social media marketing and email marketing impact your SEO as well. Write (or hire someone to write) helpful content people want and share it like it’s hot.
9. Be More Mindful About Your Keywords
We mentioned keywords when we talked about the importance of a blog. The keywords are the search terms for which you’re optimizing each page of your site. Each page will have its own keywords.
Many businesses choose keywords by saying, “Yeah, that sounds like something someone would search for.” Take a more strategic approach by using a keyword ranking tool.
Kicking Your SEO Into High Gear
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it takes time to build up your site’s SEO performance. Still, many of the tips for hacking SEO above can be done quickly to give your site a boost.
For more ways to boost your site’s performance, check out our other SEO resources.