Website design and their rankings are the two major aspects of taking an online business to the epitome of sales leading to success.
A lot of businesses are emerging online these days. Amidst these, there are those businesses that have worked on each and every aspect of website design and development, and the online marketing very well, ensuring that it reaches the top of the search engines; whereas there are those that are finding it difficult to take their site to the top of the search engines as there is something missing.
What is it that they are missing out which the others ranking at the top have got?
Many a time, I used to wonder where we could go wrong when we have designed a great website, followed all the Google’s ranking algorithm guide while working on the SEO part and even boosted the social media part, but still, we fail to rank.
I wish there was a shortcut to finding a place in the first four results in the SERPs.
A lot of SEO experts and webmasters have come up with a checklist of factors that you need to be considered when designing, developing and optimizing your website. But, sometimes our websites still fail to reach the top, despite all the efforts and struggle.
But, do not worry, here we are going to share with you some simple tips that have been customized after researching and analyzing the words and experiences of some of the experts, who are the proud owners of websites that rank at the top positions on the search engines.
Of course, there is no easy way, but there are steps to optimizing your web pages exactly so that the search engines find them and rank them at the top.
These are the old school on-page SEO tactics that most of us are aware of, but fail to implement either knowingly or unknowingly.
Keep this checklist handy and check through to ensure that you have accomplished all of the following steps, each time you optimize your site:
Firstly, the most important point that you need to keep in mind is that you need to be on the first page of Google, as this is where more than 90% of the world’s population comes in whereas the next five pages receive the remaining percentage of the traffic share, which is really poor. This means that your aim is to take your website to the first page of Google.
1. Start with the Google algorithm
As far as the webmasters and SEO experts are concerned, Google algorithm is not a new word to you. But, it is mandatory that you have an in-depth knowledge of Google and its algorithm. One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind is that the Google algorithm is not a static piece of material to leave it untouched. It is constantly changing.
There are those updates that are announced, while there are those days when your website suffers a fall in its ranking without any prior notification, which is caused by an unannounced Google algorithm. This is why you need to keep a track of what is happening there.
This is one of the ways Google ensures that only the best results are accessible as per the statement made by Google:
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
As Neil Patel puts it, if we were all to know how to rank our sites without implementing black hat SEO techniques and if we are all experts when it comes to Google’s algorithm, then it would become difficult for Google to rank the best of the websites.
Some of the Google algorithm updates that created many a hype include the mobile-friendly update, Panda update, Penguin update and Hummingbird update.
The best knowledge we have about these updates are available from some of the online sources, which share the best of the ideas, but still, research shows that only up to 40% of these results are approximately accurate.
So, how do you keep the algorithm update?
Track down the updates that Google comes up with every time and implement these changes. Where can you find these?
Google Webmaster Central, The Webmaster and Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History are some of the places where you can find the updates.
2.Measuring and monitoring the appropriate metrics
While you keep on monitoring your site and tracking down the various factors that lead to the site’s ranking, you need to track and analyze what are the factors that need improvisation to help your site rank better.
Here is a quick glimpse into these metrics that most of us tend to ignore, but could acquire us a higher ranking if worked upon:
- Organic traffic
Doing SEO the right way is one of the techniques to ensure that your site will derive traffic the organic way. Forget those non-organic or paid methodologies that include PPC and even social media, which we can use as a last resort if after all the attempts our SEO seems to fail in acquiring the expected results.
But, you do not have to worry about a phase where SEO can fail because never in the history has an SEO done appropriately failed to acquire results.
Remember organic search drives in most of the search traffic accounting up to 51% across all industry sectors whereas the remaining traffic comes from other verticals such as emails, referrals and even social media together. To improvise this traffic, you need to find out the number of people who reach your site, which is possible only by logging into your Google Analytics account and tracking the acquisition channels report.
- Traffic conversions that are naturally accomplished
Now, you know how to track the traffic to your site, but you need to find out which are those keywords that drive the traffic to your website to work on it further
Utilize the tool SERP Scan to identify the keywords that drive organic traffic to your website.
This tool helps you identify those keywords that have been driving traffic to your site in the past 12 months. Also, take a look at the on-page SEO keyword performance chart that comes with this tool which will help you understand the keyword performance of your site.
- Difference between commercial and informational keywords
Most of the time, people put in a lot of effort to improvise the informational keywords while they fail to improvise the commercial keywords part, which is another important aspect of keyword research.
Of course, informational keywords lead to organic traffic conversions, but, commercial keywords are the one that helps in converting social media visitors into buyers.
You can track the important metrics by setting up an SEO dashboard.
Also, connecting Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics is another technique of accessing keyword data.
3.What are your current penalties?
Bad links always result in penalties.
Link generation is important as well as the methodologies that you use for implementing these are important as this could be the reason for Google penalizing your site if you are not careful with the techniques.
How do you ensure that you do not get penalized for generating inbound links?
You can implement any of the following tools to analyze the inbound links linking to your site:
- Open Site Explorer
Here, are the aspects that need to be analyzed when acquiring links:
- Anchor text
- Link Influence Score
- Nofollow links
- Unique Active Backlinks
But, you need to identify the harmful links which can be done with ease using the Google 2.0 Penguin update:
- If the links come from the same IP class address
- If the links are from web pages with a lot of external links
- If the links come from sites with referring domain names with little or no traffic
- If they come from PR0 websites
- If these are sitewide links
To filter these harmful sites, you can use tools such as Liquidator and Monitor Backlinks, as suggested by Neil Patel.
Now that you have found out there are harmful links on your site, the next step is to clean your site of the waste.
Here are the two methodologies that you can implement on your site to get rid of the crappy links that can lead to your site getting penalized:
- Contact the site owner: You can manually remove the link, once you find out the site that is sponsoring this. Get in touch with the owner and ask them to remove it or you can do this by using the “Nofollow” tag.
- Take Google’s help: Google is ever ready to help when you are in need. If you cannot find any technique to free your site from these poisonous links, you can use the disavow links tool that Google offers.
We have already taken a quick look at how keywords play an important role in helping your site rank on the top of the search engines.
But, here are some of the other aspects that you need to be careful about when choosing keywords for your site.
Keyword research is the part and parcel of Search Engine Optimization, and we have been time and again notified that unless we are successful in this, we can never get ahead in the competition out there.
So, how do we proceed with keyword research that actually matters for your website?
- Analyze the keywords that your audiences are using to reach out to your site:
Simply use the Google Keyword Planner and find out the keywords that people are using.
This will help you find out what is the data that your people are looking for and how do they expect the service providers to provide them with it.
This will provide you with the most important keywords, which you can implement while writing headlines and content in favor of Google’s keyword ranking strategies.
To achieve this, you need to be specifically aware of your audience demographics, which you can easily access by using Alexa.
Find out the user intent and also, track the user-buyer journey, which will help you to identify their goals and what motivates them through their buyer journey.
Where are your competitors?
If they are ranking better than you, it’s time to take a page out of their textbook.
Use the Keyword Planner tool to get help on finding out what your competitors are up to and how to reach near them.
- Skyscraping low ranking keywords
Now you know the keywords that are ranking low are, but you could work on improvising these.
You can use the popular Skyscraper method introduced by Brian Dean of Backlinko to accomplish this.
You can analyze the keywords manually by tracking the Google search results which bring you what people are searching for.
Now you have the best keywords for you.
So, what is the next step?
It is nothing but generating high-quality content that will attract user attention.
Remember the Panda update that was rolled out in 2012. It focuses more on generating content that is well-researched, useful and serves the purpose of the users.
This involves a whole lot of aspects including the meta tags (meta title and meta tag descriptions), using informational keywords and writing content that is both useful and informative.
How do you get this done?
- Writing with sufficient backup information:
When you write information that comes with sufficient data in its most accurate form, people will achieve their goals and will be happy with you.
A lot of people have been utilizing this mode of writing information as it generates interest and keeps their audience engaged over a longer period of time.
- Behind the scenes:
Your experiences matter. You can include these while writing the content to ensure that people believe you.
This is another most important factor. Once you give them all that they are looking for, the next step is to implement a call-to-action that will lead them to the solution.
Also, while writing headlines ensure that you generate curiosity which will bring them to read what you have got to say. Including numbers in your headlines is something that Google loves when searching for relevant results.
These are some of the tried-and-proven techniques of generating traffic the organic way for your website.
You could provide us with suggestions if you feel that something is missing in the checklist.