You either become a pro with SEO hacks or become a hack at SEO—there’s no middle ground. Okay, we’re kidding. There is a middle ground, and it’s called mediocrity. It’s when your website has the standard keyword optimization and content-is-king yaddayadda down, but hasn’t tapped into the wide world of SEO goodness.
There are so many techniques and methods out there—so many hacks!—that you could use to take your SEO from ground zero to the highest levels. With these SEO hacks, small businesses can shed that “small” label easily—by making their websites more functional, easier to use, and user-friendly.
You just have to give them a chance.
1. Optimize Your Website for Voice Searches
Back when we were kids, we knew only three people who had computers they could talk to: Batman, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory. And what great computers, too! All Courage the Cowardly Dog had to do was ask his computer something in warble dog-tongue, and the computer would answer—just like that; as if it had ears.
Well, those were the first Alexas and Cortanas.
More than a year ago, Forbes had predicted that voice searches would dominate the SEO world in 2019—and how right it was!Voice searches are listed among the biggest SEO trends of 2019, and have caught on—courtesy of apps like Cortana and Alexa.
In 2019, 59% of all organic searches were voice searches. The rise of voice search started some years ago and has reached a point where it’s actively competing with text searches. In some years, we can say that they will outdo text searches since most devices these days come equipped with a voice search option.
Customers love voice searches for a simple reason: they make life easier. Instead of typing out “best pizza Chicago?” they can just ask, “Alexa, where can I find the best pizza in Chicago?” It takes less time and is less of a hassle.
2. Copywriting 101: Bucket Brigade
Originally, when there weren’t any firefighters around, people would form a chain and pass a bucket of water from one man to another to help put out fires. Those were the first bucket brigades. However, in copywriting, it denotes a method of copywriting that helps you capture the reader’s complete attention and keep them hooked to your content.
But what is it really? Let’s dig deeper.
It’s usually a very formulaic thing and goes something like:
- Ensuring you have the reader’s attention in the first/opening paragraph. Give them something to chew on.
- Ask a question or propose to answer a question.
- Adding phrases like “let’s dig deeper” or “let’s start” in the content.
- Conclude properly, with a phrase—such as “to conclude.”
Want to see a better example of a content piece that has been bucket brigaded? Notice how we have used all of these techniques in this very post!
3. Make it Speedier
If you think your website loads fast enough—think again. It can always be faster. Viewers don’t like web pages that take an eon to load—especially if it’s on mobile. 70% of customers have claimed that site speed affects their online behavior and can change their willingness to make a purchase. Think of it as the digital equivalent of walking into a shop, liking something, and waiting for a salesman to sell it to you . . . and waiting for the salesman . . . and waiting. . .
You wouldn’t like that, of course. You would leave the store—after all, there are many other stores like that one around, right?
It’s the same case with your website, really. Focus on eliminating everything that’s slowing your website:
- Reduce image sizes because large images can take a long time to upload
- Reduce the number of plug-ins you’re using
- Enable caches to retain data once and for all—allow servers to remember you
- Go easy on the fonts. Giant fonts might sound like a great idea, but they also slow your site down
- Reduce redirects since those lead to additional HTTP requests, which, we have already told you, decrease site speed
- Don’t be stingy when it comes to choosing a web host—go for the very best because your site speed and usability depends on it
It’s like shedding weight when you have too many people aboard a rescue helicopter—because unless you do that, your vehicle is going to come crashing down.
4. Optimize for Mobile
3 billion people worldwide use smartphones. 4.7 billion people have active internet connections. In 2019, 1.92 billion people indulged in online shopping—this was before the pandemic hit. In the pandemic, online shopping rates were off the charts.
These statistics all ought to make you hurry up with your mobile optimization methods—because, before long, nothing else will matter. E-commerce is expected to grow worldwide, and people will be using their smartphones more than their desktops for the purpose. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re looking at a huge loss in the future since you’ll lose a lot of customers—even your most loyal ones—to your business rivals.
When optimizing for mobile, bear the following in mind:
- Go for a responsive web design, do not clutter everything—remember that mobile screens are smaller than a desktop and that space on mobile screens works very differently.
- Use structured data—featured snippets—to help Google’s algorithm identify you.
- Compress your images to avoid the curse of bounce rates and slow-loading pages.
- Features that aren’t compatible with a mobile screen need to go, although you can retain them on your website—such as sidebars, which would look out of place on a mobile screen.
- Go for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) since that makes your website far more functional and faster to load. AMPs are basically lighter, mobile-friendly versions of your desktop website.
- Test if your pop-ups are being a distraction or are disrupting/covering the content on your website when viewed on a mobile screen.
- Instead of images, use videos. With images, the viewer has to scroll down or squint—videos will play on one panel and don’t require scrolling on the part of the customer.
Mobile optimization is one of the make-or-break factors for businesses that require their customers to order their products/services on-the-go. Make the process easier and smoother for them—and they’ll reciprocate with conversions and purchases.
Joseph Dyson is an expert in SEO for small businesses and works for Search Berg as an SEO consultant. He believes that the smallest businesses can make the biggest differences in any saturated market if they know their way around SEO hacks.