1: Do your Research by Performing a thorough SEO Audit
You can’t know what to improve until you know how your site is performing as is.
Take the time and have the patience to follow each of the steps listed below in order to get a clear view of what works and doesn’t work on your site. You might be surprised at how little technical tweaks (ensuring that you have included Alt Txt for your image captions or meta tags throughout your site) can make quite a difference.
How good and how relevant are your backlinks? What about your competitions’ backlinks? Comparing the two can be a very useful analysis to give you an idea of just where you fall in the backlinks rating charts.
You need to find out if any poisonous inbound links are affecting your site rating. You can get a list of all inbound links to your site by using the Google Webmaster Tool, clicking on Search Traffic, and then clicking on the Links to Your Site tab. Check all inbound links carefully to see which of them may be having a negative effect on your site.
You need to know whether the search engines can place your site in its proper context based on the keywords you use. Again, this is where Google Webmaster Tool is very useful. Access your account, click on the Google Index tab and then on Content Keywords.
Google likes to evaluate a browsers’ site experience and uses the speed at which your site loads as a way to do this. Find out how your site fares by going to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, entering your URL and following the recommendations on how to optimize things for a more efficient user experience.
Do the relevant social media sharing icons feature clearly on your site? It is very important that these are very visible so that users can go on to share your content easily with their friends and colleagues. This is an easy fix but one that can make a huge difference in how your content is shared and dispersed throughout the wider web.
There’s not much Google hates more than plagiarism (remember Google was set up by academics!).
Find out if your content is original or not by running your pages through the Google Webmaster Tool, click on Search Appearances and then on HTML Improvements. This will let you know if Google has already indexed a similar version of your material and will indicate which areas you need to correct.
Be sure that your meta keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, URLs and other website attributes are SEO-friendly, relevant, unique and work effectively to assist your page rankings. Make them match with the sort of search queries site-browsers will use.
Having done the analyses, you now know your websites strong and weak points so you can see where to focus your efforts in SEO so that they can have optimum effect.
Re-analyze after each adjustment to be sure you are making improvements and not unwittingly creating new weak points.
Making changes to your site is all very well but you can only really know the effect your SEO efforts are having if you continue to track and monitor your ratings after each change and on a regular routine basis.
There are numerous online free and paid tools to assist with this, including:
Start by clicking on Acquisition, then Search Engine Optimization, then Queries in order to see how your webpage ranks and the major keywords it ranks for.
As discussed earlier, this powerful tool can provide insights into a wide range of website elements including site ranking, inbound links, duplicate content problems, numbers of browser clicks, impressions, click-through-rates, etc.
This Moz-powered SEO tool is useful for regular reporting on how your pages rank for specific keywords.
The key message here is that you need to be make regular routine audits to be aware of how your site is performing and be prepared to constantly make adjustments so that you can continually improve.
Maximizing your SEO does not necessarily mean reworking all your content: often smaller technical tweaks can go a long way to making it Google friendly and improving your ranking.
Following the simple steps listed here will go a long way to getting your website rankings back on track.