In 2023, achieving business success might sound challenging when you hear about it, but it’s more manageable than it may appear at first glance. In the contemporary landscape, the key to prosperity lies in your ability to excel both offline and online. While many businesses thrive in the offline domain, often, this success comes at the expense of their online presence.
Just as each business or company has specific departments, all interconnected, to see through the operations in a seamless manner, the online part to needs a proper SEO Strategy and a competent SEO Consultant who can manage the online operations for you in accordance with your vision and mission. Why because all of it demands a certain level of perseverance, inventiveness, and of course, technical know-how.
You can press no magic button to boost your online rankings instantly. Much like any other endeavor, there are right and wrong ways to ascend to the top. The improper methods can lead to penalties for your website, while the suitable approaches may or may not guarantee a top position but will undoubtedly enhance your chances.
We’ve undertaken extensive research so that you don’t have to. We’re continuously engaged in experimentation and refinement. However, before we delve into the following steps, we must grasp what we’re dealing with, understand what a Google Penalty is, why it occurs, why it’s imperative to avoid it, and how to navigate this landscape. Let’s dive into it.
WHAT IS A GOOGLE PENALTY?
A Google Penalty harms your website’s search engine rankings for various reasons, resulting in a significant drop in rankings or even removal from search results, often without any notice to the user.
Such penalties can arise from either a manual review conducted by Google’s human evaluators, uncovering underlying issues on your website that violate their guidelines, or they may result from one or more of the frequent Google Updates. It’s important to note that Google continually evolves its algorithm, with most updates not being publicly announced. Google tweaks its algorithm daily. This underscores the importance of focusing on the Webmaster’s Quality Guidelines in shaping your online business strategy, as Google Updates should be less concerned.
WHY AND WHEN DOES GOOGLE IMPOSE A PENALTY?
A website can incur penalties for various reasons, ranging from the presence of unnatural, untrustworthy, and spammy backlinks to adopting a thin content strategy that lacks originality, needs to be better written, or contains duplicated content that fails to meet user expectations. Other potential reasons include engaging in practices like cloaking or employing sneaky redirects, where the page indexed by Google differs from the one to which the user is directed. Additionally, unchecked spammy comments on your pages or posts and the grave situation of a compromised or hacked website can all contribute to penalties. However, it’s essential to recognize that these are just a few examples, as numerous other potential factors could lead to a website being penalized. You can read about them on Google’s Webmaster’s Guidelines.
HOW TO DETECT GOOGLE PENALTIES AND FIX THEM?
Whether your website is well-established or relatively new, it’s prudent to conduct regular diagnostic tests using Google Webmasters, now known as Search Console, every few days to ensure its proper functioning. However, suppose you’ve observed a consistent decline in your website’s traffic and rankings, and your efforts to reverse the trend have proven futile. In that case, there might be underlying issues that require attention.
A straightforward examination through the Search Console can unveil the factors responsible for your website’s diminished rankings or its absence from search results altogether. Encouragingly, over 90% of these issues can often be swiftly resolved, leading to a prompt re-crawling of your website by search engines in a few days.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that, more frequently than any other problem, it’s the presence of detrimental backlinks, often referred to as “Bad Backlinks,” connecting to and from websites that violate Google’s guidelines. Addressing this issue can be time-consuming, requiring diligent efforts to rectify.While you can instantly identify (and subsequently remove or disavow) bad links from your website using Search Console or Monitor Backlinks, asking other websites — that play fast and loose with Google’s guidelines — will require some tact and a humble request or two via email or over a call, to remove links to your website. It is a painstaking process, but certainly doable. And it must be.
As far as correcting Manual Actions on your site, there is a proper procedure that needs to be followed:
- Log in to Search Console
- Expand Manual Actions panel to see what all pages are affected and what exactly are those issues
- Fix all the issues on all the affected pages
- Request a Review
Please be aware that the process of Google reviewing your reconsideration request can span from a few days to several weeks. You will receive an email notification once the review is completed.
This process may appear somewhat intimidating, especially for those new to it. That’s why each of our monthly packages includes a Google Penalty Check. Our team is dedicated to assisting you in clearing any issues flagged by Webmaster tools, rejuvenating your website’s health, and enhancing its traffic and search engine rankings.
Now that we’ve cleared this crucial initial milestone on the journey ahead let’s establish the benchmark for enhancing your website’s SERP Rankings in 2023, all while avoiding any further penalties from Google.
10 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SERP RANKINGS IN 2022 WITHOUT BEING PENALIZED BY GOOGLE
1. Perform a Comprehensive Site Audit and Competitor Analysis
A comprehensive site audit will, ideally, identify a wide range of issues (other than and at times including Google Penalties) that need to be put under the microscope and bettered upon so your website can be ranked better. The misconception is that an audit is usually a few hundred pages long, discernable actions from which take months to implement. Well, that is not entirely true. Sure, a good audit will take time and implementing those actionable concerns will take even more but not as much as you think. Using tools like SEMrush Site Audit Tool, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Page Speed Insights is the best way to go about the whole process to identify and isolate various issues.
Once you have done that, you should waste no more time in trying to fix them. However, it is important that you prioritize which issues need immediate attention and which can wait lest it all becomes too overwhelming to handle. The most common and also the most important issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible are mentioned below. FYI, a Free Extensive SEO Audit is also one of our top priorities whenever a new client gets on board with us.
2. Remove Dubious, Bad Backlinks
As previously discussed, one of the primary culprits behind poor SEO performance often stems from undesirable links originating from questionable, non-compliant websites that disregard Google’s guidelines entirely. Acknowledging that you can’t always control who links to your website is essential. Unfortunately, this can adversely affect your website’s SEO. While some instances may be intentional, such as actions by competitors with ill intentions, most are unintentional and can be resolved.
In many cases, a simple email requesting the website owner to remove the link to your website suffices. However, there are occasions when a more persuasive approach is necessary.
With that said, it’s equally vital to exercise caution regarding the links you incorporate on your website or permit in the comments section. Avoid linking to low-quality websites with shallow content, and discourage spam-like comments. Implement moderation for comments, ensuring each is verified before approval. Avoid concealing outbound links with white-colored font and steer clear of linking to malicious websites—a practice that should go without saying. Lastly, routinely review and repair broken outbound links to maintain the integrity of your website’s link profile. Bad Links Removal forms the core of our monthly packages is the one of the first steps we strictly follow before moving on with the hardcore SEO for any website.
3. Perform In-depth Keyword Research and Analysis
Once you’ve successfully removed all unnatural links to and from your website, it’s time to embark on the next crucial step. This step serves as the cornerstone upon which your future efforts will rest. While high-quality content works wonders for your website, it becomes mighty when it aligns with what your readers are actively seeking, how many individuals are searching for it, and their preferences regarding information presentation. This combination forms the perfect recipe for SEO success.
We cannot overemphasize the significance of these points. Your audience isn’t merely composed of readers or website traffic; they are your potential customers. It’s imperative to comprehend who they are and how to tailor your offerings to maximize their benefit.
When conducting keyword research, consider the following factors:
- Search Volume: Assess the keyword’s search volume to determine its popularity.
- Keyword Type: Differentiate between popular and long-tail keywords, which are more specific and less competitive.
- Target Keyword and LSI Keywords: Identify the primary target keyword and its related Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.
- Competitor, Seasonal, and Regional Keywords: Explore keywords used by competitors and those influenced by seasons and specific regions.
- Query Type: Determine the nature of the query—whether it’s informational, transactional, comparison-oriented, or navigational.
- Search Console Analysis: Evaluate your current keywords in the Search Console to identify high-performing keywords and areas that require improvement.
- Natural Targeting: Ensure you naturally incorporate target keywords into your content to maintain authenticity and relevance.
A thorough Keyword Research and Analysis is integral to our SEO strategy and related monthly packages.
4. Maximize Your Site’s SEO-effectiveness with On-site SEO
Believe it or not, implementing proper On-site SEO can significantly enhance your website’s SEO effectiveness in no time. The advantage lies in optimizing a page within minutes and witnessing results within days. Now that your keyword strategy is well-defined, with specific keywords assigned to each page, it’s time to fine-tune your website around these keywords. Here are some tried-and-true techniques you should consistently apply:
- Ensure the Target Keyword appears in the initial paragraph of your main content.
- Place the Target Keyword at the beginning of the Page Title and meta Title, and include it in the Page URL, Meta Description, at least one Subheading, and a few ALT Tags.
- Maintain uniqueness in Page Title, Meta Title, and Meta Description while keeping them concise and informative.
- Utilize the H1 Tag for the Page Title and H2 Tags for Subheadings.
- Maintain an optimal Target Keyword Density, typically around 6-8 occurrences within a 1500-word content piece.
- Avoid keyword stuffing to maintain the Target Keyword density.
- Assign LSI keywords to each page to enhance content relevance and search engine visibility.
By implementing these strategies, search engine crawlers will eagerly index your pages, much like Miss Pacman devours snack pellets.
Our On-page Optimization SEO service takes care of all of the above and more.
5. Publish Top-quality, Original Content But Also Make It SEO-friendly
Utilizing insights from Keyword Research and Analysis, create compelling, shareable, and precious content centered around your target keywords. Engagingly craft this content, complete with titles that, while not misleading or clickbait, pique curiosity and encourage readers to explore further. Keep in mind that titles may grab attention, but it’s the engaging content that retains it. Throughout this process, ensure that the content remains original inventive, and maintains its SEO-friendliness.
Here are some key pointers to consider while crafting exceptional content for your audience:
- Content-Length: Longer content tends to be favored by search engine crawlers, so strive to create each write-up with a minimum of 1500 words to enhance its ranking potential.
- Natural Tone: Write or type your content honestly, jargon-free, ensuring it’s comprehensible.
- Interactivity: Make the content interactive, as if you’re narrating a story to a longtime friend. Foster a sense of connection and engagement.
- Personal Experiences: Draw from experiences that resonate with your readers, making the content relatable.
- Structure: Begin with a strong introduction, incorporate engaging elements throughout, and conclude positively to entice readers to return.
- Multimedia Enhancement: Incorporate multimedia elements such as images, videos, GIFs, checklists, infographics, etc., as needed, along with captivating descriptions.
- Information Organization: Present informational segments of the write-up in a well-organized manner, using subheadings, bullet points, and other formatting tools to facilitate easy reference for users revisiting critical content.
But most importantly, write for users’ search intent because it would be all in vain if they don’t get the answers they came looking for. That is the key and always will be. We have always given prime importance to the content we write for our clients. If it is for Guest Posts, we make sure to share with the subject matter expert to be able to bridge the gap between what the client wants and what his customers are looking for.
6. Reduce Your Site’s Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate serves as a red flag, indicating that something is amiss in your strategy. Users who land on your website are swiftly returning to search results, suggesting either irrelevance or an inability to engage and provide value. To effectively reduce this bounce rate and surpass your monthly traffic, lead, or conversion targets, consider the following steps:
Content Organization: Rearrange your content to present key information (user intent) in an easily accessible format.
Pop-up Management: Avoid intrusive pop-ups that disrupt user experience.
Non-Obtrusive Ads: Ensure that ads do not obstruct the user experience and remain unobtrusive.
Compelling Call to Action (CTA): Implement a compelling CTA to encourage user engagement.
Content Updates: Regularly update your blog or content with the latest information.
Meta Titles and Descriptions: Pay close attention to Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions, as they are the first elements users encounter in search results.
User-Friendly Web Design: Focus on an attractive yet user-friendly web design, ensuring easy navigation for information.
Consistently fine-tune these aspects until you achieve the desired results. Above all, maintain consistency and stay updated to keep your strategy effective.
7. Increase Your Page Load-time
As previously mentioned, ensuring swift page loading is imperative for improving user experience and essential for reducing bounce rates. The longer it takes for a page on your website to load completely, the greater the risk of losing potential customers. Moreover, pages that suffer from extended loading times often rank lower in search engine results. You can check your page speed on both mobile and desktop on PageSpeed Insights by Google. It will not only tell you the page’s speed score but also highlight issues that are acting as a hindrance to it loading faster. Fix those issues and chances are you might end up decreasing your bounce rate as well as improving your website’s overall rankings.
8. Make Your Site Mobile-friendly
Google has officially made clear in the past that websites that are not easily assessable to a user on a handheld device (mobiles, tablets) will not rank as high as those that do. And Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a quick and easy way to discern whether or not your website is, along with page loading issues that need fixing. Let’s face it; the mobile user base isn’t going to grow any thinner in the coming years. Needless to say, your website needs to transition smoothly across devices and be highly responsive on each.
9. Perfect Other Aspects of Technical SEO
If On-site SEO is the foundation, then Technical SEO is the icing on the cake. There exists a plethora of techniques or strategies that you can leverage, giving your website that extra boost in rankings and traffic.
Here are some key Technical SEO strategies you should consider:
- SSL Certificate: Prioritize obtaining an SSL certificate if your website doesn’t already have one. Websites lacking SSL certificates often struggle to gain the trust of users and Google, leading to lower rankings.
- Site Structure: Maintain a flat and simple site structure to ensure search engines can crawl 100% of your pages. Complex systems hinder comprehensive crawling, diminishing your chances of high rankings.
- URL Structure: Create an easily understandable and navigable URL structure. Utilize breadcrumbs to guide crawlers effectively.
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): Implement AMP to enhance your website’s mobile SEO performance.
- XML Sitemaps: Don’t underestimate the importance of XML sitemaps, as they are crucial for search engines to discover URLs.
- Canonical URLs: Use Canonical URLs when dealing with similar content pages that differ slightly.
- Internal Links: Employ internal links to connect one page of your website to another, enhancing navigation and user experience.
- External Links: Include external links that connect your web pages to different pages on other websites.
- Noindex Tags: Avoid indexing category and tag pages, as they often provide little value and can result in duplicate content issues.
- Unique Content: Only index pages with unique content, as non-unique pages can be counterproductive.
Adhering to these elements of Technical SEO is crucial for improving your search rankings and organic traffic.
10. Build Quality Backlinks By The Books
Last but certainly not least, one aspect that demands particular attention. The nature of websites linking back to your site carries more weight in Google’s eyes than the sites you link to. In essence, your website’s reputation lies in the hands of others. To put things into perspective, over 70 million blog posts are published monthly, highlighting the formidable challenge of standing out in such a vast sea of content.
The key takeaway is that you must diligently implement all the above strategies to achieve high rankings and distinguish yourself. However, equally vital is the establishment of relationships that encourage websites with high Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Rating (DR) – those already holding esteemed ranks and Google’s respect – to link back to your site. In essence, this action signals to Google that your website deserves consideration.
So, here are some effective strategies to enhance your link-building efforts:
- Networking: Engage in networking activities as extensively as possible, as many of your initial links will come from individuals you’ve unintentionally impressed.
- Guest Posts: Despite the controversy surrounding guest posting in the SEO community, it can be a valuable tool when executed correctly and not solely relied upon as the primary link-building strategy.
- Resource Pages: Leverage the resourcefulness of Resource Pages, as they are designed to link to the best content on specific topics.
By incorporating these strategies into your link-building endeavors, you can strengthen your website’s authority and relevance in the eyes of both users and search engines.
Our Guest Posts Outreach service understands the value it can bring to both the contributor and the publisher.
Following these 10 steps (not an exhaustive list) is quite challenging, but once you’ve gotten a hang of it, the rewards are pretty great too, minus the penalties. If there is any specific step that we missed out on or something that you think helped you better your website’s Google ranks, do let us know in the comments. Stay safe. Stay strong. Peace out. Hail Google!