With organic search traffic being the most effective driver of growth in business, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a good search ranking. However, SEO always keeps changing, and none of us wants a penalty for doing something that’s wrong. Google is always rolling out updates like Panda, Penguin and Google EMDs, with the most recent one being the PBN (Private Blog Network) deindexing updates.
It’s worth noting that the mission statement of Google forms the basis of the latest updates rolled out by it. “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” To get a high Google ranking, your content should be aligned with this mission.
In this post, I am listing down a few steps to get a high ranking in Google, so that your website sees a greater inflow of organic traffic, without incurring any penalty.
Step 1: Assessing your current SERP ranking
Before proceeding to improve the search ranking of your website, you need to know the current position of your site in the search results of Google. This is vital even if your website is a new one. Several resources and tools are there to provide you this information.
Use Serps.com for checking the keyword rank of your site:
If you are targeting certain keywords, make use of serps.com for assessing your rank. Simply type out your keyword and your website. In the results page, you can see the rank of your website for that term. It also shows the first page of your website, which comes up in the search engine results for that topic.
Check the speed of your site:
Next, go for checking the speed of your site, as site speed is a vital Google ranking factor. If your website is slow, its chances of getting a high search ranking are less, and this would adversely affect your sales too. So, it’s necessary for you to conduct a site speed test for your website. Some of the tools you can use to do the job are – Zoompf, Pingdom Website Speed Test, YSlow browser extension, WebPage Test and Google PageSpeed Insights.
Check the health of your site:
After checking out the site speed and keyword rank, check out your site health before going ahead to optimize it. Has your organic traffic dropped suddenly after years or months of consistency? Are you doubtful whether your site has been banned or deindexed by Google? To know what’s the matter, employ the Google penalty checker tool of PixelGroove.
Step 2: Tracking the Right Metrics
Next, you have to track a few important metrics for your website, to know what other aspects need improvement. Below appear the key metrics you should assess:
It’s essential for you to know the number of visitors coming to your website through Google. To find the number of visitors reaching your site, go to your account of Google Analytics, and go through the acquisition channels report.
Organic traffic conversions:
Besides analyzing the site traffic, it’s also important to focus on keywords generating traffic for your website. Serp Fruit makes a great tool for finding these keywords.
Keyword ranking in case of commercial keywords:
Brian Dean says that the #1 mistake in keyword research is not investing sufficient time on the commercial keywords. This is because the things that make money, are the commercial keywords. For boosting your ranking and earning money, understanding how informational keywords differ from commercial keywords, is important. If you have all informational keywords, your site would still get organic traffic, but it may be difficult to convert those visitors into buyers.
Create an SEO dashboard for tracking these metrics:
Consider setting up an SEO dashboard, in order to be able to track all vital metrics anytime. Along with creating a dashboard in Google Analytics, connect Google Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics, to avail a richer keyword data.
Step 3: Detecting and Analyzing Penalties
After understanding your site’s search ranking and setting up tracking for vital metrics, now is the time for examining your website thoroughly to check out whether or not any penalties are there in effect. This is very basic, since building links to or promoting an unhealthy website, doesn’t make any sense.
Link building has seen many changes:
Until 2012, spammy links led to improvement in SERP ranks for a huge number of sites. A case study by Moz states how a website employed link schemes for building inbound links. However, recent updates by Google make sure that link schemes do not work any longer. If you use them, you would get a penalty, instead of a reward. So, it’s important to determine the way you generate links for your website. According to Matt Cutts, links should not only LOOK natural, links should also BE natural.
For achieving this, the unhealthy links should be identified and eliminated. To do this, you first need to analyze the inbound links to the website. Some of the link analysis tools that can be used for doing this are – WebMeUp, Open Link Profiler, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs and Majestic.
Moreover, it’s vital to know the links that are healthy for the website, so as to eliminate the unhealthy links. Identifying the low quality links, has been made easy by Google Penguin 2.0. Low quality links are those:
So, gear up yourself to execute these steps, and let your website climb up the ladder of search rankings. If you follow these steps rightly, your site would eventually attain a high Google rank, resulting in higher inflow of organic traffic and greater sales.
Sudeep Banerjee is the Founder and President of B3NET Inc., a leading Orange County web development firm in California. His dimension of expertise lies in providing unique strategy for Internet marketing and agile mobile app development. He has helped more than 200 clients, from small startups to large Fortune 500 companies. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.