There is no such thing as a stand-alone SEO hack that gets you ranking on Page 1 for a high-volume keyword. Without a doubt, you have to put in some time and effort into your SEO strategy.
That being said, let’s jump in to some things you can add to your SEO strategy that work almost every time! The pros won't always share these secrets, but we're blowing the lid of the top 3!
HACK #1. The Skyscraper Technique
This is by far my favorite SEO hack. It’s so simple and creates repeatable results.
First, find content related to your business that ranks on Page 1 of Google. You'll probably find articles that have a proven track record because there are a lot of links pointing to it.
Then, evaluate how you can improve the content* (more thorough content, more up-to-date, better design, etc).
Create a better version of the same article, using the same topics and keywords. DO NOT COPY the content word for word, you must make it your own, and it has to be done in a way that improves on the quality of the original article.
Because you want to improve your chances at ranking, you want to start trying to get some backlinks. That's where the links currently pointing to the article you found come in handy!
To do that you'll need to use a pro tool, like SEMrush to find all the pages linking to that article.
Sort pages by “importance”. This could be Page Score, or Page Authority, depending on the tool you use.
Then, find author contact information for all the top pages. This is a manual process, so if there are 1,000’s of backlinks, you will want to focus on the most important ones. Don't get discouraged at this stage - contacting the authors of these articles is the most important step!
You're going to personally reach out to all the authors and tell them about the great news - that you have a better article for them to link to!
If you're not used to writing emails to grow your online business, this part can feel like the trickiest step. It can be challenging to reach out to strangers online, and you don't want to seem too pushy.
Here is a quick TEMPLATE you can use for the email:
There are multiple variations to the Skyscraper Technique, but this version is the most straightforward way for you to start growing your web presence today. You'll also learn a lot by taking a look at the other content that is ranking for the keywords relevant to your online material!
HACK #2. Change Your Target Keywords After Publishing
When creating content, you always want to remember your target keyword so that you can optimize for it. Unfortunately, the truth is you won’t always make the top page of Google with your target keyword.
So, what do you do? You have 3 options:
- Continue to get links and optimize the page and hope it ranks.
- Do nothing and call it quits.
- Change your target keyword.
Lucky for you, there's a great hack based on Option 3. (And let's face Option 2 shouldn't even be ON this list).
It’s common that you will rank in the top 3-4 pages for a different keyword than the one you optimized for.
For example, let's say you write an article called: “How to Make the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”. Let's say you're trying to rank for “how to make chocolate chip cookies”.
Imagine this is your current Google Snippet:
After a few days, you might find that you're ranking for 2 keywords:
'How to make chocolate chip cookies' – 43rd (Volume 15,000 searches / month)
'Easy chocolate chip cookies' – 38th (Volume 5,000 searches / month)
So, you make a few simple changes to your meta data, heading tags and slight copy changes in your article to better reflect “easy chocolate chip cookies”.
This is an example of the new Google Snippet:
A few days later, here is an example of your new rankings for the keywords:
'How to make chocolate chip cookies' – 53rd (Volume 15,000 searches / month)
'Easy chocolate chip cookies' – 7th (Volume 5,000 searches / month)
This fictitious example is to illustrate that sometimes you just have to listen to what the Google Algorithm is saying. It's the boss.
If you are being ranked you for a given keyword that you didn’t optimize for, well then what are you waiting for? Optimize for it! You will get a major jump in rankings!
This will allow you to see immediate results, and help you get ranked higher, sometimes on lower volume keywords. Sometimes it's better to be a big fish in a small pond then completely invisible!
HACK #3. Improve your CTR, get people to click on you
*Warning, we admit this hack is a little bit controversial, because it’s slightly outside the scope of Google's Best Practices Guidelines. Although it does work, you should try to do it in the most “organic” way possible, so that it’s not considered black-hat SEO. You don't want to be penalized!
As with any hack, the goal is to send STRONG signals to Google about a specific page so that it ranks it higher. For this hack, we’ve selected the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
All you need to do is improve the CTR of your page listing, based on its current position. In English, that means if your link is ranked 65th, but is getting a CTR as high as a Page 1 listing, chances are it will jump.
If you could get 100 people to search for your given keyword, and then go page by page on Google until they see your listing and click on it, you would be getting great marks on CTR and drastically improve your chances at ranking higher. (Tip, make sure they don’t bounce). And no, if YOU click on it 100 times, it won’t count!
As you can see, when you understand Google’s Algorithm, you can come up with your own “hacks” so you're sending strong signals about your website.
Without a doubt, there are other hacks, but we can’t give away all of our secrets!
Always remember the first rule of Growth Hacking mentioned here by Sujan Patel:
“In my opinion, the first rule of growth hacking should be… Don’t talk about growth hacking!
Enough said. Happy hacking!