SEO, in general, takes a lot of time to work. It can’t be helped that much as Google’s algorithm is more sophisticated than ever, and the competition is more numerous and more educated than ever.
However, not all SEO takes ages to work. In fact, in this guide on the Wishpond blog, I’ll show you 5 SEO hacks you can do in 10m or less (per each hack), where each of these hacks will significantly improve your rankings pretty much as soon as Google recrawls your site.
I know you are so let’s go!
#1- Use an HTML Sitemap to Funnel Authority Across the Entire Site
The truth is that at the beginning of an SEO campaign you don’t know what will rank and what will tank.
Quite often, you publish a page expecting it to rank quickly based on competition level, and your page is nowhere to be seen in Google.
And then, some other page, competing against the heavyweights in your industry, is soundly beating them and is already on page #1 after only two months
Google is unpredictable and that’s why you need to feed PageRank to all posts on your sites simultaneously so you can see the initial performance of each in search.
The way to do this is to funnel PageRank from your homepage (and from each page and post on your site) to every other post and page on the site.
Sounds complicated, but you can do this by creating a simple HTML sitemap.
An HTML sitemap is a list of links on a page whose purpose is to help the user find their way across a website.
They’re great for user experience as they help those who’re lost, but also for SEO because search engines use those links to crawl a website and pass PageRank.
Matt Cutts describes it best here.
Here are the steps:
First, install this free plugin:
Second, create a new page in draft mode inside your WordPress dashboard.
Third, copy one of the shortcodes this plugin provides (I recommend the “posts” shortcode) and then paste into your draft page and publish it.
And it’ll look like this:
Fourth, put that sitemap in the footer of your site.
That’s good for UX because site visitors will be able to find it easily, and it’s perfect for SEO as you’ll be linking to your HTML sitemap from every nook and cranny of your site thus passing a ton of PageRank to it, and from it to every post and page on a site.
And after you’ve implemented these changes it’ll take Google 2-4 weeks to recrawl your site and attribute new PageRank values to each page, and then you’ll be able to see how each page responds.
Some will start ranking significantly better, while others won’t budge.
Focus your efforts on the winners.
#2- Internal Linking on Steroids
Internal linking is the strongest SEO lever you can pull behind content itself.
It’s so strong that even if you internally link willy-nilly you’ll still end up getting a boost.
If doing it wrong gives you a boost, you can only imagine what will happen after you’ve done it right.
But you don’t have to imagine.
Here’s how I ranked my target page with internal linking and how you can do the same.
First, the page in question is my Black Friday HostGator deals guide which I currently rank at position #3 with Google constantly testing me for position #2.
This ranking, come Black Friday, will earn me a lot of money, so it’s a success for me and I was able to achieve it after I implemented a specific type of internal linking.
The type of interlinking I implemented is a combination of contextual and programmatic internal links.
This approach takes advantage of both the Google PageRank algorithm and Google’s preference to rank the most relevant pages.
Note: before I delve into the nitty-gritty, contextual internal links are those within the content body, while programmatic links are those in the menu, sidebar, footer, or related posts widgets.
In this case, I added my target link in the footer and I explain why below.
Internal links pass power (PageRank) and relevance through their anchor text.
So I made sure to supply my money page with both in ample quantities.
First, I went to SEMrush and researched all keywords related to HostGator’s Black Friday deal.
The keywords I found were:
- HostGator Black Friday;
- HostGator Black Friday sale;
- HostGator Black Friday offer;
- HostGator Black Friday deals.
This step was important so I could know which keywords to target with my internal anchor text.
Second, I worked on building up my target page’s PageRank. I put a direct followed link in the footer so that all content on my site links to that page. As an added bonus I used a keyword-rich anchor text containing “HostGator” “Deals” “2021” This helped a ton.
Third, I visited my Black Friday category page and from 40 articles there I sent 4×10 contextual internal links targeting the above-mentioned 4 keywords.
This built-up relevance for all the keywords listed above.
And the result of me interlinking with the plan instead of willy-nilly is that I now rank at the top of Google for every targeted keyword and across all different regional Google search engines.
This internal linking strategy is super powerful and it works.
Note: before we continue I need to explain the importance of footer internal links.
The truth is that Google pays much more attention to the menu links of the site than to the footer backlinks.
It’s because links higher in the HTML are deemed more important.
So a link from the menu would’ve been better for my SEO.
So why didn’t I link from the menu? Because of the first anchor rule. Remember, “the first anchor rule,” says that if page A links to page B several times within a document, only the first link’s anchor text counts, while the others are ignored.
So, footer internal links pass less power than menu internal links, but they are still better for SEO because they allow for internal link anchor text diversity.
Namely, because footer links are below the main content, you can use different anchor text within the content body to “suggest” to Google what you’d like to rank for.
My footer link’s anchor text is “HostGator Black Friday deals 2021” but I was also able to build relevance with internal links for “HostGator Black Friday sale” and “HostGator Black Friday offer”.
Pro tip: mega footers dilute the effectiveness of this strategy.
In my case, this strategy worked wonderfully because I have a pretty simplistic footer. Only 7 links.
But it wouldn’t have worked so well if I had a mega footer where a ton of PageRank is spent on many different pages on a website.
For example, every blog post on Twine.net boasts a footer with 39 internal and 3 external links.
That is a bit too much for my liking and in their case adding new links would confer limited SEO benefits.
#3- Content Updates on Steroids
Google loves fresh content and they have several patents around them.
And you need to be updating content regularly if you want to compete.
“What else is new?
Everyone knows this, right”?
Yes, but a stumbling block for most bloggers is they aren’t sure how much of the content they need to change to get a freshness boost.
So they either don’t update their pages, choosing instead to stubbornly stick to their content calendars, or they make huge changes to articles which is both time-intensive and also disruptive to rankings.
It’s because when you make big changes to a page Google has to re-evaluate it and assign a new content quality score to it.
And that takes some time.
Below you’ll learn how to get a full freshness boost with minimal content changes made.
The key is to make changes across the page, not just rewrite one sentence and call it quits.
Here’s my content update SOP for a quick and full freshness boost.
- Change a sentence or paragraph at the top of the article;
- Change a sentence or paragraph in the middle of the article;
- Change a sentence or paragraph near the end
- Add a new image (best); or change an existing image (also effective).
- Change the publish date to that day;
- Submit to GSC and also submit an XML sitemap;
- Promote socially using a tool like Social Pilot or Bulk.ly (my social automation tools of choice).
And that’s it.
These minor optimization changes don’t take more than 10m per post and they bring you the full freshness boost and increased rankings.
One thing that I need to stress is changing the published date. That is the most important step and if you do all of the steps save that one the boost you’ll get will be minimal.
Pro tip: Occasionally, the changes you make can bring you a host of other benefits, for example, a featured snippet.
You just need to be creative a bit and also have some SEO chops.
For example, this page on the topic of HIPAA-compliant hosting lists out the 6 best HIPAA compliant hosts.
Once it ranks in the first five it’ll become eligible for getting shown as a featured snippet (the list type created from the heading tags).
But this website can speed up the process and also help Google decide faster by taking those six hosts and listing them as bullet points under the most relevant H2 subheading.
Note: this tip comes directly from Hubspot’s featured snippet playbook as they use this “hack” everywhere they can to boost their chances of getting shown as a featured snippet.
For example, here is where you see a relevant heading + bullet point list.
Very easy for Google to extract for a featured snippet.
#4- Home to Home Links
I know I said these are all 10m SEO hacks, but actually, you can do this one in 1m and the SEO gain you can get from it is nothing to sneeze at.
Home to home links are internal links on a page that point to that same page. For example, Wishpond’s homepage links to itself through its logo. That is the home to home link.
But the real magic of this strategy comes from having a money page link to itself with keyword-rich anchor text.
That way you get a boost from exact match internal anchor text from one of the unlikeliest places of all, the source page itself; and because that page is 100% relevant (it’s linking to itself) you get a full relevance boost as well.
For example, this blogger on this page targets the keyword “how to start a blog in India” and look, right off the bat he has that keyword internally linked.
This simple on-page SEO hack definitely helps him rank higher.
The problem here might be that this link is in the caption and literally the first thing users see. Some of them will click it, be confused as they land on the same page again, and maybe bounce back because of it.
The solution to this is to have a home-to-home link at the bottom of the page, in the concluding paragraph.
That’s what I did with my guide on getting a Grammarly student discount.
People who click it are effectively returned to the top of the page which gives me a new shot at converting them.
#5- Make Google Trust You More
There’s external trust-building, which are off-site signals that make your website look authoritative in Google’s eyes.
We won’t cover those here as it’s too vast of a topic. Here is a good resource by Kyle Roof to check out though.
And then there is internal trust-building where you use on-page/on-site elements to tell Google you’re a legitimate entity they can feel confident sending traffic to.
These are all easy fixes so let’s quickly cover them here.
#1- Email Address in the Footer
Take a look at this site’s footer.
Notice what’s missing?
It’s missing clear ways to contact them, especially the email address anyone can use to get in touch with the webmaster.
The site in question is in the baby care niche, which is a high-priority YMYL niche, and not giving clear ways to contact support is a huge negative point in Google’s eyes.
The solution here is to provide a “contact us” link along with an email address.
Kind of like how I do it on my site, even though my site is not in the YMYL niche (still helps me rank higher)
Now, here’s another level to this optimization.
Respona is seemingly doing everything right in their footer, but they could probably do better.
I say it because they’re a big and successful company, but they give only one contact email.
This is highly unlikely to help everyone who has a problem
What if someone has a problem with their tool? Should they use this email address to ask for help?
What if someone wants to buy the tool? This email as well?
This might work for them internally, but what Google would actually like to see is several help emails for several types of inquiries.
That way each inquiry lands in front of the person most qualified to solve it successfully.
Yes, this contact info is not in the footer, which would be ideal, but their about page lists a dozen ways to contact them for a dozen different types of queries.
It’s effective and portrays them as a real and helpful company.
Pro tip: If you’re a small site and brand unlike Healthline, you don’t need to go crazy with listing 20 emails in the footer or anywhere else.
Instead, I recommend you install RankMath and fill in their Schema and Local SEO settings with your site’s data.
This will EAT-proof your website, and it’s a free method that works.
#2- Author Bio
Author bios are an easy way to tell Google who wrote the content. This is important because Google’s aim is to surface high-quality content written by experts.
They have their millions of tiny algorythms to determine content quality but finding out whether an author is an expert is all about giving Google links in the bio to crawl so they can check the author’s expertise and what other sources say about him or her.
For example, here’s how Lisa Sicard has set up her author bio to be EAT friendly.
Several links for Google to crawl and see Lisa’s for real and she knows her stuff.
This helps her rank higher.
And here’s a not-so-good example from Voila Norbert, where the author is “Norbert” who is a brand mascot.
This author bio has no links to show the writer knows their chops on the topic, and it’s even possible Google understands Norbert is not a real person.
This is not a huge deal because Voila Norbert is not in a YMYL space, but Google might become more stringent in the future, and then it will become a huge deal.
I think it’s wise to future-proof a website by having real people with established author EAT write on them.
Pro tip: most modern themes give you an option to display an author bio. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret. Plugins can help.
#3- Who Owns the Website
Google also likes to know who owns the website they’re crawling
You can tell it to them easily with a carefully crafted about me page.
On your about me page, you get to talk about your hardships, struggles, and eventual success.
As you mention your accomplishments, you also need to be linking out to external sources that confirm what you’re saying is true.
Similar to what you’d do in a properly written author bio, except that here you have way more room to tell Google and site visitors who you are.
For example, here’s how one of Australia’s top marketers, Mies Burke, does his magic on his about page.
The page is meaty, with lots of links, + links to his social profiles + an image of him.
It works from an EAT/algorithmic perspective, and this page also builds trust for the human visitor, which is even more important.
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- 5 Advanced SEO Tips to Boost Your Organic Traffic in 2022
- 6 Tips to Easily Optimize Blog SEO for Search Engines
- 9 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid in 2022
- HTML sitemaps to funnel PageRank;
- Out of the box internal linking;
- Home to home links;
- Refreshing content intelligently;
- Building trust with Google.
These 5 SEO hacks really do work, and what’s more, they work in any niche AND you can do each of them in 10m or less.
So, what are you waiting for?
Go and improve your Google rankings right now!
SEO hacks that really work. Yes, they do exist! Click here to learn about 4 ways to improve your Google rankings in 10m or less. Guaranteed!
Written by our guest writer Nikola. He lives and breathes SEO and he blogs about his experience and results with internet marketing over at nikolaroza.com
Visit his site for some golden ranking nuggets.