• How can I dominate search engines?
  • How to write about things that already exist, but rank better than others?
  • How do I know which SEO strategies will work for me?

If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, you’ll be glad to hear that you’re not alone. Nowadays, everyone is doing their best to get to the top of Google’s SERP.  Not only do you have to compete against your rivals, but also play by Google’s rules while being judged by an audience.

Google’s search engine is more personalized than ever. Search results keep getting more relevant with each day and if you want to stay at the top of your game, you need to adapt to the ever-changing SEO techniques. Luckily, we have prepared some SEO tricks for you that can help you get ranked no. 1 on Google in 2017, so make sure to read on and find out how to use them to your advantage.

LINK BUILDING

1. Find Dead Links on Wikipedia

Finding dead links can be difficult, but very rewarding. The system doesn’t immediately remove dead links—it first gives readers a chance to confirm the links really don’t exist anymore.

Doing this is pretty simple:

  • Type the following text in Google’s search bar: site:wikipedia.org [your keyword] + “dead link” (I’m going to use “SEO tricks” as my keyword in the example below)

Find dead links

  • Find content relevant to yours (in my case, that’s the second link: “History of Google”)
  • Press ctrl+f and type “dead link” while on this page

Search for dead links

2. Create a Linkbait

Make sure to create great, timeless content. Do one piece that will be evergreen. Have that one post that everyone will want and be able to link to, over and over again (if necessary).

Some examples of great linkbaits are:

  • Contests and quizzes
  • Statistic graphs and infographics
  • Breaking news
  • Videos
  • eBooks and whitepapers
  • Any other quality piece of content

Whether your content ends up being provocative, shocking, scary, or just a funny pet video, depends on what your target group would love to see. This means that in order to create a piece, you really have to get to know your audience. Of course, don’t forget to promote it once it’s published.

3. Get Indirect Backlinks from Your Competitor

You’ve probably noticed that some of your competitors always link to content on all the same pages. If you’ve ever wondered why, here’s your answer: it’s because these pages are often very authoritative in your niche. You’ll have to do a little bit of research here, but try finding them and do your best to get backlinks from those sites. This way, you will also get indirect backlinks from your competitors.

Another way you can do your research is by using the Link Juice Thief tool.

Link research tools

This tool helps you find, analyze and compare relevant links, and get to those authority sites you’re looking for. Take a look at the tutorial on the official page and learn how to use the tool. If you’re after some other link building tactics, then make sure to take a look at our in-depth blog post: 13 Link Building Strategies: How to Get Links Without a Budget.

ON-SITE

4. Rank for Knowledge Graphs

Google is no longer an entity that shows results based on specific words. It now understands emotions, desires, and intentions, and the Knowledge Graph is probably the most revolutionary thing that proves all of this. Everything is about context and user intent.

So, how are you supposed to rank for Knowledge Graphs? There are three main things to focus on:

  1. Answer questions. What’s important to remember is that answers to questions people ask on the Internet get ranked the highest in search results. Here’s another useful tip: create content in the form of a question. For example, use a question that your users type in the search bar while looking for an answer as your title.
  2. Structure your content. If you know your audience, it won’t be a problem for you to organize the content on your website the way your users would like to see it. Make it easier for them to find what they want, and Google will recognize and appreciate that.
  3. Put yourself in your user’s shoes. Never forget it’s your users you’re writing for—not for search engines. Try thinking like them and writing what they’d like to read. Search for answers just like they would and see what’s relevant on the topic.

Knowledge graph

The example above shows what a Knowledge Graph is. If I type in “how to clean a leather purse”, the first result I’ll see is an article that gives me a straight-to-the-point answer to exactly what I’m searching for. The title is structured the same as my question, but it’s the snippet inside the graph that’s the most relevant part of the content. Google recognized my intent and, because of the results it provided me with, there are high chances I am going to open the said page to read more.

5. Optimize for Voice Searches

Google’s Voice Search option is widely used today, which is why you should optimize your content for voice search, too.

Voice search

To do this, you should focus on the form of your content. We already know that users like to ask questions, so why not create content that answers those questions and stays in the form of answers?

For example:

  • For a question starting with “How to find…?” use “You can find…”
  • Answer “What are the best…?” with “Here are the best…”

6. Rank a Video

You can do this either by recording your own video or by uploading a video from an external source. If you choose to record your video, make sure to optimize it the same way you would written content. If you decide to use a video from another source, make sure it’s relevant to your content.

Regardless of the strategy you choose, including a video in your content extends the average time spent on your page, which eventually ranks you higher.

Keyword reserach

Tips that will help you rank your videos better:

  • Pay attention to keywords. Research what type of keywords show video results on Google and plan your strategy accordingly. If you optimize for a keyword that doesn’t have any video results on Google, then you’ll optimize only for YouTube searches.
  • Optimize the title.
  • Choose an attractive thumbnail. This will drive more attention to your video and ensure a higher number of views.
  • Provide a transcript for your video. Although YouTube offers video transcripts to search engines by default, making them visible allows your users to choose how they’d like to consume your content. This makes you more authoritative and automatically better positioned in Google’s search results.
  • Create/choose a video at least 5 minutes long. Longer videos tend to get ranked higher.

What type of video content appears in search results the most?

  • Tutorials and how-to guides
  • Sports and fitness-related
  • Cute pets and babies

Video content in search results

CONTENT

7. Get New Keyword Ideas on Forums

Make sure to keep an eye on forums—they can be a great source of ideas for new keywords and topics. If certain questions appear more often than others, this means that Google doesn’t provide its users with enough useful answers and information for them. Answer those questions with content.

Keyword ideas on forums

However, be careful when it comes to this. If you write answers directly on forums, Google won’t treat them the way it would optimized content on a separate page, e.g. your personal website. You’ll also lose an opportunity to drive traffic to your page. So, instead of answering questions directly on a forum, redirect readers to your page with a clear sign that they will find what they’re looking for right there. BoardReader is a great tool for finding keywords on forums.

8. Think About Personalized Search

If both you and your user type in the same phrase in Google’s search bar, you won’t necessarily get the same results. Cookies affect the way users see search results on Google. Geo location, search history and device are just some of the components that may impact your keyword and SEO optimization strategy. Pay attention to localization and time constraint, as well.

For example, try optimizing for:

  • “The best coffee in Paris”,
  • “10 SEO tricks for Google UK”
  • “10 most viral videos in March 2017”

For example, I searched for “best coffee brands” on both my computer and my mobile phone, and the first three results didn’t match. Google gave me different results for my query just because I searched for it on different devices.

Personalized Google search

However, when I used a more specific query (“best coffee brands in Italy”), I got the same results on both devices. See the example below.

Personalized keyword search

We can easily conclude that the more specific you are in your keyword optimization, the more predictable your ranking position gets, regardless of a user’s location, chosen device or time constraint.

9. Rank for Keyword Synonyms

Google gets smarter on a daily basis. It can now detect synonyms easily, which is why you can lose a lot of traffic if you don’t optimize your page for your keyword synonyms, as well. Use the Google Keyword Planner to get the data you need about the synonyms for your chosen keyword.

Google Keyword Planner

As you can see in the example above, I typed “SEO expert” and got ideas for the most commonly used synonyms for that specific keyword, along with avg. monthly searches, advertisers bidding on the same phrase, and other useful information. Give the Keyword Planner a try and see how it can help you with your keyword synonym strategy.

10. Always Keep an Eye on User Intent

Before dedicating yourself to optimization, do a bit of research and see what type of content shows up for the keyword you want to optimize for. Is the content educational? Does it provide users with some services? This will show you what users find relevant when they search for that specific keyword. If your content marketing strategy doesn’t align with what you find in Google’s search results, try adding content that users actually search for to your page. Make sure that your website can provide your users with answers based on their keyword search.

Summary

A mixture of great, relevant content and up-to-date SEO tricks mentioned here will make sure you rank well in search results. It is now up to you to adjust these tricks to your specific SEO strategy. Keep in mind that SEO is not a fast process—it takes time for the results to start reflecting the effort you put in.

Good luck and don’t forget to share your thoughts and SEO plans for 2017!