Let me be very clear, when I talk about “hacking” SEO, I’m talking about saving time and doing things as efficiently as possible. I’d never encourage gray or black hat techniques in an effort to game the search engines!
So with that in mind, let’s look at a few ways to speed up the process of performing proper SEO on your site. SEO rules must be followed closely, but that doesn’t mean that you need to waste time doing things the hard way. The following five hacks will cut back the amount of time you have to spend on SEO, while simultaneously improving your natural search performance:
Hack 1: Get keyword ideas from your internal search data. When people search inside your site using your search bar, they’re doing so because the content they’re looking for isn’t immediately apparent. By tracking these searches, you’ve got a supply of fresh new keywords that you already know your customers are interested in. Building content around them automatically pays off in terms of SEO, as you’re helping to satisfy both visitors and the search engines.
The analytics programs of some websites will automatically return this data, but if you have a Wordpress site that doesn’t, take a look at the Search Meter plugin. It’s free to install and will automatically help you uncover the most popular search terms from within your very own website.
Hack 2: Find keyword suggestions using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Since most Google Analytics data has turned into “not provided,” you’ve got to get a bit more clever when it comes to getting keyword information from the search giant.
Log into the new Google Adwords Keyword Planner and select the “Search for keyword and ad group ideas” option. Then, enter your site’s URL into the “Your landing page” field, set the targeting option to your country and run your search. The “Keyword ideas” tab that appears will give you a series of phrases Google believes to be related to your site -- all powerful options to target with onsite SEO and content campaigns if you aren’t already.
Hack 3: Add Google Authorship code to your site’s header. There are a few different ways that you can set up and claim Google Authorship (which you really should do for SEO purposes), but the easiest has to be the following:
If you have a Wordpress site, don’t worry about plugins or email confirmations. Instead, simply plug the following code into the header.php file of your site (making sure to replace the profile link with your own code):
Doing so ensures that your profile code will be propagated to all pages of your site – right where Google can find it and give you credit for your efforts.
Hack 4: Submit entire domains to the Disavow Links tool. When the Disavow Links tool first came out, SEOs were super cautious about submitting individual links only. Certainly, it made sense to be cautious before it was known exactly what impact the tool would have on a site’s performance. If the tool immediately devalued any links submitted, cutting off an entire domain could have an unnecessarily widespread impact -- taking down good links, as well as bad.
However, in a June 2013 video, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, made it clear that webmasters didn’t need to be too picky about the links they submitted using the tool. Instead of submitting individual links, Cutts recommended submitting entire URLs -- saving tons of time for formerly nitpicky SEOs.
If a backlink analysis of your site’s inbound links reveals a few negative issues (perhaps, a series of articles submitted to link farm networks back when this technique carried SEO weight), don’t worry about being selective in your disavowal request. Submitting entire domains is a good SEO practice, and it’s a good time-saver as well.