How does SEO work? How to Hack Search Results

It's every niche site owner's dream.Every business craves it, every SEO marketing company promises it.

Ranking at the top of Google can change your life.

Getting the first place can generate residual income, passive contacts, multiple subscribers and emails and a huge number of viewers.It can give you the chance to go one step ahead of the competition and allow you to make your dreams come true with your website.

So how do you get there?

It's called search engine optimization.Read on to learn what it is and how you can use it to rank number 1 on Google.


SEO stands for "search engine optimization".Search engine optimization is the act of aligning the content or design of your website with user interest and marketing your website to appear higher in search results.SEO results in more traffic, better user metrics on the page, and a more authoritative website.

This is what SEO is , but how do you work?More importantly, how can we turn our websites into optimized, well-marketed machines that generate residual income?

To understand how to hack search results, we must first understand how search engines work.


Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, and Youtube work by providing users with the results the user is looking for.These results can be different on different search engines: if I type "camel" on Amazon, I get results for a bunch of stuffed animals and a very strange mug.

If I write "camel" on Youtube, I get camel concerts, a training video and a camel racing video (is that what?).

In both of these situations, the search results have different solutions to my problem, but both solutions solve my problem.

In the end, search engines are problem-solving machines.They provide users with the information, videos, or products users want.At the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), you always get the best of the best.

But how do search engines determine who is the best?If I go to Google and search for "protein", I get 731,000,000 results.

Google Protein SnakeGoogle can't determine the best among 731,000,000 results, right? 

It's wild enough to believe, but Google is very, very good at determining the best among millions of options.There are over 200 ways they look at each website and rank them.But instead of giving you 200 things you need to fix on your site, we'll narrow it down to top 3. If you can get these 3 right, then everything else will go into line.

The 3 most important things for your SEO are:

  • Satisfy
  • Inbound links
  • RankBrain (I'll explain what it is, I promise)

If you optimize your content, have quality inbound links, and make RankBrain happy, your site will perform well.These 3 factors are so important that when you do them right, all the other 197+ ranking factors align.

Let's take a look at each of these in depth.I'll show you what Google is searching for and how you can optimize your content.



Content is the holy grail of websites.Without good content, it doesn't matter how you perform with RankBrain and it doesn't matter how many links you have.

(But with poor content, you don't get any links)


Google wants to see that your content solves people's needs and responds to the user's search intentions.If someone searches for a question, Google wants to see an answer.If a person is looking for the best product, Google wants to see reviews.

This doesn't just mean that Google wants to see content that is fine.They want to see content that looks good.Try this: Open a new tab and look for the phrase "benefits of avocado consumption."

Here's what I get:

Featured snippets These are called foreground fragments.And there are not just one, but two.Do you notice any similarities?

Both of these foreground fragments include information in bullet points.When accessing the page itself, the information is not clumsy, does not extend across the screen and is not a burden to read.Here's an example from the Healthline page:

avocado healthIt has short paragraphs (1 sentence each), cited sources, and internal links. If you don't want to read all the information, they have a list box at the bottom.

Long gone are the days when content is full of keywords and flooded with advertisements, affiliate links or other distracting content.The content today must be two things:

  1. Digestible in large pieces of bite
  2. Comprehensive enough to answer any user questions

Your website now has to compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and Youtube.You need to capture a user's attention and maintain it.So let's talk about how you can do this and optimize your content for SEO.



The first step towards optimizing your content is to make sure you're solving someone's needs.In other words, you want to make sure someone is looking for what you're writing about.

That was the problem with the first niche site I ever made.Instead of writing things people wanted to read, I wrote about what I felt.Stuff that I thought might rank well.So I ended up with more than 7000 word articles on… nothing.

Want to guess what the traffic was on those monstrous items?


So how can you make sure your content is something others want to read?You need to do a keyword research. We already have an article on how to do keyword research, so I won't be too detailed here.But just a quick glance.

Volume pro long tailIn the red box, I highlighted the volume of each keyword.That's how many people search for the keyword every month.And don't be afraid of small numbers; Keywords with small search volumes are called long-tail keywords.

Spencer has written extensively about why they are the keywords you should target. He's writing almost every long-tail keyword he can find for Niche Site Project 4, even though the keyword only has 10 searches per month.

These volume numbers are proof that someone in the world wants to read your article.If there are only a few searches per month, you can be sure that there isn't much competition around that keyword. You have every best chance of showing up in search engines for this.


Once you've got a written article, you'll need to make it look good.Remember that now you have to compete with social media. You are competing with videos, fragments and an average attention span of 8 seconds .

A good rule of thumb is that you want to vary the content as users scroll through the page.Provide information in small chunks while keeping short sentences and paragraphs.It's hard to provide an exact standard for how short your content should be, but keep it on Twitter.

Here are some other things I do to try to make my content beautiful and easy to read:

  • Divide sections into topics and subtopics.In WordPress, these are your headers
  • Remember that adults are just children with work; Use lots of photos
  • Bullet lists are great, and Google often uses them for featured snippets
  • Videos when they fit the context
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short

When your content is optimized for the reader, it's optimized for SEO. 


There is a great opportunity in the modern website landscape to write great content.And I don't just mean big in terms of word count (although most of my articles end up being in 4k+ words).I mean big in terms of scope.

But what is the difference between number of words and scope?

It is possible to have a large number of words without having much space for your content.This is called keyword filling.In the old days, you could rank quite well with a grade A keyword filling.Put the "best protein shake" in your article enough times and Google believed it was an authority on it.

This is no longer the case.

We'll discuss this in more depth later when we get to RankBrain, but Google wants to see that you know what you're talking about.They want your post to respond to users' search queries and other search queries that the user might have.

This article is a simple example.The main keyword is "how SEO works" and I could answer in one sentence: "SEO is when you optimize your content for search engines".But then you should still look elsewhere to learn how to make SEO work.

Then I increase the scope.I explain the most important things in SEO (content, links, and RankBrain), then explain how you can optimize for those things.

On your site, it's important to write about everything that needs to be said.Make your content so complete that viewers don't have to look elsewhere for answers to their questions.Answer questions your viewers don't even know they have yet.

The goal here is not to increase the word count by throwing in useless facts and information.Keep it relevant.And when all is said, this is the end.

You don't need to be the longest article on the Internet.Be the best article on the Internet.And sometimes this leads to a large number of words.

One way to do it right is to include longer keywords in your articles.For this you will need a keyword research tool, but even one of the free ones can help you.Here is a list of keywords for "best protein shake" on Ubersuggest.

The best ubersuggest keyword for protein shakesIf you're writing the "best protein shake," you could write about the "best protein shakes for vegans," "the best protein shakes for pregnant women," and "the best protein shakes for weight loss."

These keywords that are longer than your main topic help your article to be complete.It depends on the competition for longer-tail keywords, but you might also end up ranking them for both the main keyword.

My rule is that I will write about anything that adds value to the reader, but I must keep my articles as short as possible.If a sentence does not add value, the cut.This rule helps me broaden the scope without stifling word counting.My rule is yours if you want 😉 it


  • Write down what others are looking for.Use keyword research, address long queues, and don't fear low search volumes
  • Make your content beautiful.Change the look of your content by adding images, videos, tables, charts, boxes, bullets, and headers
  • You go big, but don't count words.Don't fill your article with fluff, but make sure it covers everything the reader might need


A backlink is when other websites link to your page. Backlinks increase the "authority" of the page that gets the link and the authority of your site in general. 


Backlinks count as a kind of "vote" for your website.Links tell Google and other search engines that people aren't afraid to mention and promote your content.You can think of backlinks as a kind of vote that your site is pretty cool.

As with any good system, many people have found ways to play with it. Private blogger networks (PBNs) were all the rage just a few years ago.You can buy a few domain names, fill them with some content, and link to your main site.Google thought it was a bargain, and your site got a ranking boost.

But Google ended up cracking down on PBNs.Spencer swore them forever.And unless you're willing to risk a Google penalty, it's best to color between the lines.This means that there are no private networks of bloggers.No payment for links.


There are many ways to create links to your site.I will only cover one pair that I think can have a huge impact on your business. 


HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out.If you're on their email list, you get requests from journalists who want sources.The goal is to find a request that looks like something relevant to your site.Answer the journalist's questions, include a link to your site, and hope it gets published.

It's not a surefire way to get inbound links, and you could fill out dozens of requests before you get listed as a source.But these links come from renowned news organizations with authority of monstrous domains.To give you an idea, here are the domain authorities of some of the news organizations that get sources from HARO.

Organization name Reuters New York Times Fox News The globe and the post office Wall Street newspaper Mashable
Domain Authority (Ahrefs) 92 94 91 91 93 92


Imagine the impact a 90+ link from domain authority would have on your site.And unlike skyscraper links, your competitors will never be able to take a link off from a news organization away from you.This link is blocked on your site until the end of time.

HARO link building makes a lot of sense, no matter what niche you're in.


Oh, the good old bread and butter link building. This can be used in virtually every niche at various levels of effectiveness.The easiest way to find potential post customers is to use a special search query in Google.Something like this: intitle: write for us intitle: write intitle: contribution "[parola chiave]guest post by"Here's what I got by typing "protein intitle:[parola chiave] [parola chiave] write for us[parola chiave]"[parola chiave] Intitle: Write for usLook at all these opportunities.

But I bet my dollar is that every one of these sites gets flooded with guest mail requests.For my questions about guest posts, I like to use [parola chiave] "guest post by".This gives domains with a smaller domain authority, but they are much more willing to accept presentations.

[parola chiave] "Guest post by"I doubt you've ever heard of Protein Pow.But they are a 50 authority site of sweet domain.Landing a guest post would be very useful for your site.I used my Ahrefs bar to check the domain authority of all sites on page 1. Some are low (NergFitness is 2), but the average is in the range 40-50.

The beauty of this query is that you can rest assured that all of these websites have accepted guest posts in the past.I doubt they are launched continuously since they are smaller, but in this case the size works in our favor.You won't get the same amount of links per link as from a 70 domain site, but you're much more likely to get links.

And in the end, the medium-sized link you get is much stronger than the big one you don't get.

When you're reaching out to guest posts, you'll notice that they all say the same thing: no duplicate content, no plagiarism.And they don't care if it's your own writing you're duplicating.They don't want it.


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  • Show your orphaned content that isn't ranked
  • Create smart, relevant, and fast internal links
  • Simple but effective internal link reports: What has many links and which pages require more links? 

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Google only ranks one version of duplicate content, so I can refer to their concerns.But as a guest poster, it puts us in a strange position.Do we need to find new topics for every single guest post? How can we do this on a global scale?

Fear not, my little niche site builder.I wouldn't ask you the question if I didn't know the answer.Yes, you need a new topic for every single guest post.But this is much easier than you think.Here's how to easily find new topics.

First, I recommend opening a Google sheet.Column A will be Guest Ideas.Column B will be completed.Column C will be the location of Guest Mail.

Guest post Google SheetsIt's super simple, but you can take mine if you want.Click File ==> Create a copy

All ideas for your guest posts will go here.When you find an idea, you put it in Post Guest Ideas.When you transform the guest post, change the topic from column A to column B. When the guest post is published, enter the URL in column C.

To find ideas for your guest posts, you'll want to find articles about skyscrapers that have already been published.These articles always have more than a thousand words, often in the 3k+ range.Good skyscrapers are divided into secondary topics.You'll use each of these subtopics to create a guest post.

Let's say you hate yourself and you're in the health niche.To get some ideas about guest posts, you can search for "healthy eating."I clicked on the first results in Google.

And ideas are everywhere.

Guest ideas from GoogleGuest ideasEverywhere you see a red box is a place you might get an idea from.I only got ideas from one of the Google pages because it loaded first.Here's what my spreadsheet looks like now:

Ideas for guest posts in Google SheetsAnd it all took about 3 minutes.The longest part was typing ideas.

Within minutes, I have 12 guest ideas.And as mentioned before, this only used the first page of search results and the first page loaded on Google.I didn't search for more pages and only took a small part of the possible ideas on the page I opened.

When a guest post is published, don't forget to move the topic to the Completed section.You don't need to link to it in the Guest Mail Location section, but I like to see where my articles are on 😉

It will look like this:Completed article and url in sheets

You can make this spreadsheet a little more complex if you're using a bulk email tool with merge fields.But I wanted to make it as simple as possible.If you don't know what a bulk email tool or merge field is, don't worry.When you're at the point where you're making a significant portion of the changes to your site, then you can worry about it.

For now, the most important thing is that you don't let inaction stop you.Now you have the knowledge you need to create high-quality backlinks at scale using HARO linking and large-scale guest publishing.


If you've ever learned how to build links, you've heard of the skyscraper.Essentially, you create better content than your competitors. You then approach everyone who has linked to your competitor's article and ask them to link to you instead.

I will say it and the internet marketing community will crucify me for it.

Skyscraper died for the owner of the small website.

I was very careful about how I constructed this statement.I'm not saying that no one can do the skyscraper.There are people who have large masses of success with it.I'm not saying it doesn't work.It does.

But the biggest problem with the skyscraper is that it's famous.

Everyone does.Whoever you're sending an email has already received that email, and I bet they got it in the exact same template you used.Site owners see high-rise emails and don't see an opportunity to help you.They see an opportunity to benefit from it.

Email the skyscraper and you will be ignored.When you're not ignored, they'll ask for money, backlinks, or social shares.And you will be asked those things in that order.But most of the time, site owners just want money.

Large sites can withstand this storm.They can negotiate.

"I won't pay for links, but I will share four of your articles on my three social media platforms totaling 120,000 followers.""

I can't pay for a link, but I'll sponsor your product for free on my 50k mailing list."

Or, because they're a large site, they might just pay for the link.

Small sites do not have the same resources as large sites.And even for large sites, the conversion rate for these types of campaigns is low.You'd do well to get even a handful of links for every 100 potential customers you emailed.

But if you are a small site and still want to try the skyscraper, you will need a few things:

  1. A system for finding large-scale perspectives (you'll need many, thousands if possible)
  2. Incredible content that is better than the competition
  3. A great shade
    • They have a unique title
    • Make it clear what the site owner gets out of it
    • Don't use a template found online
  4. A lot of persistence

For small sites, I do not recommend the high-rise building.You can get a better return on your time, money, and energy with other link building tactics.


  • Use HARO to get unique, powerful, and non-replicable links
  • Guest posting is super powerful when you do it right
  • If you have to read an article about how SEO works, it's best to avoid building links to skyscrapers


And here we come RankBrain is a new part of Google's algorithm.The purpose of RankBrain is to make sure that the search results are relevant to what each researcher is looking for.RankBrain offers users " things not strings ".


RankBrain is all about adding context to your search results.Let's say you search for the word "hurricane" because you want to learn more about weather cycles.But Google is pretty smart.They know that some people want hurricane news in the world.Then they add both contexts.You can learn about hurricanes or view the news.

Google hurricane resultsBut if there's been a huge hurricane hitting the Caribbean and it's moving along the Florida coast, Google changes their search results.They know that now, people want to know about this huge hurricane that is doing so much damage.

Google applies context to search results.This is RankBrain. 

Here's another example.Type "horse" into Google and get information about horses.Type "saw horse" into Google and get information about a carpenter's tool.RankBrain is filtering millions of search results and finding the ones that are most likely to answer your question.


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He recognizes that "horse" is the same thing as "horses" and that "running shoes" means both "sneakers" and "tennis shoes."

So how can you optimize your site for contextWell, it's easier than you think.😉


RankBrain optimization is all about showing Google that you're relevant to search results.There are 3 main ways to do this:

  • Establish a local authority
  • Include similar keywords and longer keywords
  • Use relevant internal links

Topical authority is a rough measure of how much you know about a given topic.You might think of this as a measure of competence in Google's eyes. 

Establishing a proficiency on a topic involves rotating a section of your site around that topic.In WordPress, these are your categories.If you're in the paintball niche, you might have one category of paintball tools, another on paintball tactics, and a third section on beginner training.

These categories can be anything as long as they are relevant to your niche.And when you fill these categories with high-quality, good-looking content, Google listens.They begin to see you as an expert in your niche.Your topical authority increases.

To increase your topical authority, try writing content that falls into certain categories.We recommend that you get to know these categories before you start your site.It's a little extra work, but I promise it pays off.

All other things being equal, it's best to start small.Niche Pursuits has 9 categories, but we have many visitors and a lot of content.My personal niche site has only 3. Spencer's Niche Site 4 project also has 3 categories. 

As your site grows and you can expand, then feel free to open new doors for yourself.If you're just starting out, it's best to collect all your stuff into as few categories as possible.

There are some people who think that when you perform internal linking, you only need to link within each category.They say that if you have one category of paintball tools and another category of tactics, you should not have internal links from each other.This is called the silo technique.And all your internal links remain in their silo, in their category.

Spencer doesn't put much in stock.Look at Wikipedia; They have internal links that go everywhere.There are no strong and clear categories and they do more than good.I'm undecided, but I try not to have internal links between categories unless it's very relevant.

You don't need to be too technical here.The important thing is that you should limit your content to as few categories as possible.Increase the content in these categories and show Google that you are an expert in that area of your niche. 

Google trusts you to have the current authority.They place you higher, as experts in a niche are always more relevant than newcomers.


We talked about this a bit in the Content section.I said you should have large articles.You want to be able to answer all of a reader's questions without the reader having to go to another page.To do this, you can include similar and longer keywords in your content.

If you are writing the best protein shake, you could mention the best protein shakes for women, vegans and for weight loss.These longer-tail keywords add reach and show Google that you have a local authority.You are an expert in your niche.

This allows you to rank your article for further queries since you are relevant for multiple searches.

But again, don't put keywords in your article.Keywords don't need to be present in every header or paragraph.Google is pretty smart; They can tell when you're trying to make one.It's much better to talk like a normal person and let your keywords be natural. 

Instead of filling in your keywords, allow keywords to determine the direction your article will take.Once you know your direction, just write .If you're doing a good job, the keywords will fit in on their own.


Once you've established categories and your content filled with a good number of keywords, it's time to show Google what's important.It's time to add some internal links.

Internal links are links from your content to your content.I have added many links to Niche Pursuits pages in this post; Those are internal links.

When you use internal links, you're telling Google which pages are important on your site.These pages share the "link juice," so when one of them gets a backlink, they all get a share of the authority of that backlink. 

It is important to be responsible with internal links.You want to have internal links where they are relevant, not just when you can apply them.

Let's say you have a post about protein.It's a fantastic post; It has 10k words, lots of backlinks, has a huge reach, and is extremely relevant to your reader.On your site, you also have a post about fruit smoothie recipes.If you talk about protein in your article about fruit smoothie, then you definitely have an internal link to your article on protein.

If you don't talk about protein, these two posts are not good candidates for internal linking.They are not relevant to each other.

Before adding an internal link, ask yourself if the two posts are relevant to each other.If someone goes from one post to another, will they be confused?Or will the second post help the reader even more?Use your judgment here because there are no rigid and fast rules. 

It is better not to add irrelevant internal links.This doesn't paint a clear picture for Google of what you want to succeed in every category you own.But in relevant posts, internal link away.Help your reader, spread authority, and show Google your top content (which will then rank better).


  • Establish topical authority across categories
  • Include similar keywords and longer-tail keywords: Use in-depth content to build more topical authority
  • Use relevant internal links within your content

You can imagine that the internal connection is a pain.To show Google what's important, you shouldn't just create an internal link to everything, but to what's relevant.Finding relevant links and pasting them into anchor text can be a rather tedious (and time-consuming) task.

This is a problem with which Spencer himself has long struggled.The solutions involved long hours or VA (but even at a few dollars an hour, the expenses added up).So, to scratch the itch, Spencer created a software called Link Whisper.

Link Whisper uses artificial intelligence to locate all relevant anchor text on your site and uses that anchor text for internal linking.It's never out of your control, and you can edit anchor texts if you wish.Link Whisper provides the easiest way to add internal links to new and existing content.


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Spencer made Link Whisper to solve his own need.You can use it to:

  • Make internal connections faster and easier
  • Show Google your most valuable content with relevant internal links
  • Improve bounce rate and other user experience metrics

You can click here to access Link Whisper and improve your site's rankings



Thank you for reading my post on how SEO works.If it was helpful, please let me know in the comments below.If not, what would you like me to have covered?Give me a shout in the comments.

The basics of SEO aren't complicated, but SEO is a field that many people never spend time learning.Even the experts aren't sure about everything, so don't be afraid to ask if you have any questions. 

If I could make an improvement to the SEO of any site, I would tell them to do excellent keyword research.You can read my article on the best keyword research tools here (and don't worry, many of them are free).


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