I have been asked the following question by many bloggers and webmasters :
My website rankings are dropping. What should I do?
You need to do something about it… Right away! .. But what?
Solution : Order a gig from Fiverr that offers .edu backlinks and blog commenting services and build tons of backlinks to that post to rank it on first page of Google for a specific keyword. Next step?
Get hundreds of fake social signals to build authority and improve ranks.
But… Keep calm boy, these tactics don’t work any more, neither they are good for your site’s health and SEO!
So, NEVER EVER IMPLEMENT THESE BLACK HAT PRACTICES TO BOOST KEYWORD POSITIONS IN SERPs.
You buy links to your website, ranks will boost for the short-term and finally your blog will be sandboxed or penalized by Google, so what’s the use of following black hat tactics when you can improve your keyword search results by following the below simple steps.
How Can You Improve Your Keyword Search Results?
Internal linking is a crucial step to improve your keyword rankings in Google search results. Inter-linking is generally ignored by bloggers or they might do not link naturally and just link to gain high ranking.
Using keyword rich anchors for higher rankings used to work very well before. But now, Google has become much smarter and you need to link naturally wherever it’s relevant.
What is Internal Linking?.. Internal linking is a process of linking your website inner pages to pass the link juice effectively from one page to the other.
But why Google consider internal linking as an important factor for keyword rankings?
This is because Google aims to deliver the best results to the users that they really need! Internal linking helps your visitors to browse other pages of your website that are relevant/related to the page that they just visited. This helps them in getting more information and when your readers are happy, Google loves it and in reward you get high ranks.
Let me give you an example :
Suppose I wrote a post on Niche Marketing in which I mentioned a post on driving targeted traffic.. and few months back I have written a good post on “How To Drive Traffic Without SEO” … which is really relevant to my recent post.. hence I mentioned that post in my recent post with a hyperlink. Check the below screenshot for a reference.
Now, you must have noticed one thing, I haven’t linked the post with a direct keyword : Traffic, Drive Traffic or Drive Targeted Traffic. I made my anchor text look natural and I never cared about the keyword. I just wanted to improve the user experience on my website and ranks will automatically improve.
How To Do Internal Linking Correctly?
I am going to share some internal linking tactics that are working really very well for me since the last past two years.
- Link the top pages of your website to the less visited pages.
Visit Open Site Explorer and enter your blog URL.
Hit the top pages button and you’ll find the best pages on your website. Find the old pages which are relevant to the new ones and interlink them.
This tactic helps in keeping your old pages alive and helps the link juice pass through all the pages of your website.
- Never use keyword rich anchor texts
- Do interlink gradually – Don’t interlink many posts at a time.
- Make sure that the interlinked pages are relevant and not just to fool the Google bots.
- Interlink posts and pages too!
- Don’t point too many links to the homepage, focus more on inner pages.
- Use DoFollow Links – It will help in passing the link juice.
- Never do too much interlinking for a single post. Don’t cross the limit of max. 100.
- Don’t interlink too much from the Sidebars and Footers to boost rankings.
2. Get natural social shares
Once, my keyword got stuck at 11th place and you might know very well :
So until and unless it doesn’t reach the first page, it will not drive the traffic that it deserves. So, what I did was, I gave them a case study related to that post to download for free for a social share in return.
I made use of social locker and offered readers an opportunity to download the report with a social share. Soon, I reached the #7 position for that keyword without even building a single link or over-optimizing that post for the money keyword.
To improve your keyword search results, you should also aim to drive natural social shares. Here are some tips that you need to follow :
- Deliver SUPER HIGH QUALITY AND UNIQUE CONTENT
- Use responsive social sharing buttons. I use monarch by elegant themes.
- Provide a CTA ( Call-to-action) at the end. e.g. If you found this informative, please share!
- Give something for Free. Either it can be an Ebook, Case Study, Report, Softwares,etc.
3. Keep updating your blog/website
Publishing fresh content at short intervals makes Google crawlers to visit your site frequently and hence it delivers you high rankings for some specific queries. I read on Moz that the Google Freshness Update aims to show up the fresh pages for certain queries. Fresh content degrades overtime when it becomes irrelevant for some specific queries.
But.. there is an implication!
For some queries, old pages might play a better role while for some queries, fresh pages might deliver the best results. It actually depends on the queries and your niche. Some searches require fresh content, as explained by Amit Sighal :
The implication is that Google measures all of your documents for freshness, then scores each page according to the type of search query. While some queries need fresh content, Google still uses old content for other queries (more on this later.)
Singhal describes the types of keyword searches most likely to require fresh content:
- Recent events or hot topics: “occupy oakland protest” “nba lockout”
- Regularly recurring events: “NFL scores” “dancing with the stars” “exxon earnings”
- Frequent updates: “best slr cameras” “subaru impreza reviews”
The websites that publish content by adding new pages often tends to drive a high freshness score. Google also takes user behaviour into consideration while deciding the freshness score for your pages. If you keep getting good comments and shares overtime, it means your content is still relevant and providing value to readers. This makes Google reward you with something good i.e. improved ranks.
So, what you need to do is :
- Keep adding new pages to your website regularly. Make a schedule. Don’t publish many posts at a time and then go for a long holiday. If you’re working or a student, write posts on weekend and schedule them throughout the week!
- If you don’t have time to write a new post, update the old one. Add more value.
- Interlink new posts to the old one to pass fresh link juice to old posts
- End your post with a Call-To-Action e.g. What tactics are you following to drive traffic?. It will help drive more comments.
4. Improve your organic Click-Through-Rate in search results
Click Through Rate plays an essential role in improving or dropping your keyword rankings. If your page meta title is enticing enough to drive a good click-through rate, your keyword rank would be maintained or might even improve. But if it’s not getting enough organic clicks, you ranks will certainly drop.
Recently, as 2015 passed, I forgot to replace ‘2015’ to ‘2016’ in the meta title of one of my posts, and the keyword rank dropped to #12 from #8. Once I made the corrections, the keyword reached to the first page in the next 20-30 days of the change.
To increase your click-through rate, you need to make the Meta title enticing using the following words :-
- _ Steps to…
- _ Tips to…
- How To
You can also make use of Google console to check the posts with low CTR and work on them to improve!
5. Duplicate Content Impacts Rankings
Do you know.. Around 25-30% of the content on the web is duplicate content! But.. Google needs to ignore duplicate content sometimes !
I need not explain the definition of duplicate content. When you generally copy a piece of content from Quora or any other website and give a link back , it generates a duplicate content issue. But Google ignores it, why?
It’s not spam actually and if Google keeps treating this as spam, it might hurt the quality of search results.
But if you are copying a larger part or content from other websites and have a number of pages with copied content, be sure to get hit!
The duplicate content issue arises when same content arises at more than one place.And believe me, sometimes it’s not your fault when your keyword rankings drop due to duplicate content issue. When there are two pages on your website that land people on the same page with same content creates a duplicate content issue.
Let me explain with you an example –
www.universalbloggingtips.com/red-colour-widgets & www.universalbloggingtips.com/red-colour-widgets?colour=red lands the user to the same page. The parameter in the second URL can create a duplicate content issue.
This issue can be easily resolved by 301 redirect using the Rel=”canonical” tag from the duplicate page to the original page.
<link href=”http://www.sitename.com/canonical-version-of-page/” rel=”canonical” />
By solving the duplicate content issue, you can improve the rankings of your original pages and it helps Google in number of ways :
- Now search engines know which URLs they need to exclude/include.
- Now search engines know whether to pass the link juice from backlinks to both pages or to a single page.
- Now they very well know which URL to rank high.
So, after resolving the duplicate content issue, you can improve your keyword rankings if your website is dealing with duplicate content issues!
6. Use readable WordPress comment system
WordPress comments play a significant role in your keywords results. You might be knowing that keyword spamming has been an major problem of Google search and gone are the days when you used to rank high by repeating the targeted primary keyword in a post no. of times.
Nowadays Google is focusing more on LSI(Lemantic Search Indexing) keywords and it improves the quality of your article as it looks natural and looks like you’ve written for humans and not just for bots.
When a user comments on your post, he/she will not spam.. they will naturally write a comment as feedback to your post but the comment will definitely relate to the targeted keyword. In this LSI keywords would be targeted and your keywords ranks will improve.
But… what if your comment system is not readable by bots?
Your comments will not have any impact on your rankings and your keyword ranks might drop. If you install Google Plus or Facebook comment system, your comments will NOT be readable by bots and your traffic will drop.
Hence, you need to use a readable WordPress comment system and I recommend you going for Disqus or just use the default WordPress comment system.
7. Increase your post length
Content length has an essential role in boosting your conversions as well as traffic.
CONTENT IS KING and it will be,always!
Do you know the benefits of writing lengthier post for SEO?
Here are some…
- Long posts earns higher no. links (Earning links is better that building links).
- Lengthier posts drives higher no. of social shares ( Social signals are essential for SEO)
- Lengthier posts have higher chances for ranking for multiple long tail keywords ( Beyond your imagination )
More traffic = Improved keyword rankings = Higher conversions
But… By lengthier posts, I don’t mean crap content. Focus on originality. insert images, videos and data in your posts.
8. Avoid thin content
Thin content is the content with less no. of words. Right?
But.. according to Search Engine Watch, number of words has no correlation with the thinness of the content.
The Google considers the quality of your content! It considers the ‘time to long click’ metric. If your content satisfies the user’s query, the search will end and if your content doesn’t satisfy the user’s query, it will get back to Google and search again related to that query.
So, what makes the content thin?
Its the Quality of the content, not the WORDS.
To be on safe side and prevent panda penalty, just improve the quality of your content and it will improve your keyword search results too!
Read more about the best way to get rid of thin content.
9. Use LSI Keywords
LSI refers to Latent Search Indexing. LSI keywords are related to the queries that users are searching for. LSI keyword is related to the primary keyword that you’re targeting in your post.
Suppose your primary keyword is : Long tail keywords
Your LSI keywords could be :
- Long tail keywords research
- Long tail keyword examples
- Best tool for long tool keywords
Also read: Learn how to find long tail keywords
How to search LSI keywords :
- Use Google Related Searches
Search your ‘primary keyword in Google’. Scroll down at the end and you will get some queries related to your primary keyword. That keywords can be used as LSI keywords but make sure that they’re relevant.
Click on a relevant query and you’ll get some more related queries on the next page.
2. Use Google keyword planner
Visit Google Keyword Planner and sign in with your Google Id. Search for the keyword and click on the ‘keyword ideas’ button. There you’ll get the related queries to your primary keyword.
3. Use SEMrush
Here I analyzed ‘Best Fitness Supplements’ and I found these related queries to my primary keyword.
Hit any keyword and you’ll get more related queries. What you need to do is just sprinkle the relevant LSI keywords throughout your post and make sure the keyword density doesn’t exceeds 3-4%. I use SEOPressor to sprinkle the most relevant related keywords to get a ranking boost.
10. Lower the bounce rate
Lowering the bounce rate can have a significant impact on your keyword rankings. Bounce rate is a percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing only one page. Now, you have got a good clue on what you need to work on to reduce your bounce rate!
Also Read : 5 SEO misconceptions that you need to get rid off!
What is leading to a high bounce rate of your website pages?
Here are some:
- Web Design : Using flashy popups or poor navigational structure might lead to a high bounce rate. Showing them useless offers and coupons that they don’t need can make them uncomfortable and make them quit your website. Or you website might not be responsive, can also be a reason of high bounce rate.
- Not driving targeted traffic : If your visitors are not getting the info that they need, they will quit. Driving thousands of visitors/day can’t get you good conversions unless it is your targeted audience. I get around just 20-30 organic visits on one of my pages and make 3-4 sales monthly. So, no. of visitors don’t boost your conversions while no. of targeted visitors can help! Wrong keyword selection can drive you visitors whom you can’t retain them your page for a long time.
- Website Content : CONTENT IS KING. You are a blogger while writing. Take few minutes and think and research about your readers, how your content will benefit them, how can you deliver value to them through your content, how can you entice them to view more pages on your website. If they don’t find the content informative on your website or they see too much of affiliate links or offers on your pages and less informative content, they will quit generally!
- Meta Title and description : I have seen bloggers optimizing their title tags and meta tags for just increasing their CTR. But they don’t know boosting their pages CTR in search results can’t get good conversions as bounce rate would be high and would ultimately drop their rankings. E.g. Suppose you’re promoting 35% coupon of a Hostgator.. and your meta title is – Hostgator coupon – Get 85% OFF. Result : High bounce rate, keyword rankings will drop further.
How to lower your bounce rate and improve rankings?
- Target right keywords : Suppose you’re writing a post on How to increase your Adsense earnings.Search the exact phrase in Google.
Check out the top 5 results and have an idea, what information they are delivering and think, is it the exact audience that you need! If yes, copy the URL and plug it into SEMrush. Scroll down and you’ll find “Top Organic Keywords” of that post.
Hit the ‘full report’ button, plug the keywords into Google keyword planner and you’ll find the keywords that will drive you your targeted audience for that post!
- Improve your website design : Make sure you’re having a responsive design not distracting your users with useless popup ads. Entice your visitors and make them visit on other pages too! Use Pagination to lower bounce rate. E.g. Link few posts order-wise. Suppose, you wrote a guide on “Increase Your Website Traffic in 3 Easy Steps” . Write 3 steps in 3 pages and link them order-wise. This will make them navigate your users to other pages and would ultimately lower your bounce rate!
- Open external links in to new windows as it would not navigate the user away from your website.
- Show related pages to your visitors.
- Have a well-designed 404 page with a link to a homepage or some creativity to retain them.
- Have a search box as a sidebar widget.
- Write lengthier and detailed posts to increase the avg time spent by your readers.
Follow the above tactics to lower bounce rate and your keyword rankings will improve,definitely!
11. Build links for inner pages too
Generally, when my keyword rankings used to drop, I tried to build more links to homepage and I had little or no links to my inner pages. But to sustain your rankings in the search results, you need too have links to your inner pages too!
I don’t want you to start up commenting on hundreds of websites and expect rankings for that post to improve. You know what.. they will drop further! Instead on building links through blog commenting and following black hat techniques, focus on earnings links. Write good and well explained posts and you’ll get links from authority websites.
Do guest posts and link to your inner pages. If you want to rank a particular page “http://abc.com/boost-traffic”, don’t just build links to this page. It might drop its rankings even more, so build links to other pages and rankings of this page will eventually improve.
12. Don’t build too many links from a single domain
Driving too many links from a single domain can get you penalty.
If you content is informative, why only one site links to you each and every time?
If not a penalty, it will devalue the link juice that you recieved from that domain and would drop your keyword rankings.
Hence, you need to work hard to build high no. of root domains. Build them gradually and naturally!
13. Publish new posts regularly
Updating or old post or adding new posts regularly will make Google crawlers visit your pages frequently and will improve rankings of your old pages too.
I am part-time and blogger and due to studies, I was not able to publish new posts for months. Here comes the role of WordPress ‘Schedule A Post’ feature. If you’re working or a college student, write posts on weekends and schedule the posts throughout the week. And believe me, your rankings will sustain.
Don’t publish too many posts at a time and then leave it as it is for a long time. Keep updating your website/blog regularly and adding new relevant content.
14. Take care of link velocity
Link velocity is a rate at which other domains are linking to your pages or the rate at which your backlinks are growing.
Your backlinks should come naturally along the relevant and informative content that you’re publishing. If backlinks are growing at a higher rate in a short period, it will be considered as a red flag.
Here is a great example on what should be an appropriate link velocity :
On a serious note: Never go for drip feeding services. To maintain an optimum link velocity, publish relevant content regularly, engage with your readers, do blog commenting, guest posting, be active in forums and communities. Here are some other link building techniques that might help!
Also read: Learn how to do blog commenting, the right way!
15. Outbound Linking
Outbound links are the links that point out to other websites from your pages. Inbound links helps in improving keyword rankings, I agree! But… at the same time outbound linking for SEO should be considered for good SEO!
Why outbound linking is good for SEO?
- Helps the search engines have a clear idea about your content.
- Helps in getting backlinks and shares.
- Ultimately, plays a vital role in improving ranks!
Which sites to link?
Search for the phrases in Google that you are targeting in your posts.
Use the Moz toolbar to check out the DA and PA shown below every search result. Check their content and if it’s relevant, just link wherever necessary!
Do make sure that you don’t have too many outbound links on a page. It might distract your users and give a poor reading experience and might hurt your SEO too!
16. Diversify anchor texts while building links
Using keyword rich anchor texts for SEO, really hurts SEO and gives you lower ranks. If you want to rank a page with targeted keyword ‘Make money online’ and you build too many links with the exact keyword will definitely drop your keyword rankings in SERP’s and Google might hit you with a penalty too!
Anchor text is the just a clickable text in a link. Anchor texts can make your link building campaign successful or can deliver devastating results, so you should always take care of the anchor texts to be safe from Google penalties and drive ultimate results from your link building campaign.
Before the inception of the penguin era, you could easily build links with 100% same anchor texts and you have ranked! But now if you do that, get ready to be hit by a harsh penalty.
If you’re optimizing your post for the keyword ‘Graduate Jobs London’ and building links with 100% same anchor text, then Google will consider your link profile as a spam and your keyword rankings will drop further instead of rising!
Types of anchor texts :
- Branded anchors : Anchors that have your brand name in it. Suppose your brand name is UBT. The anchors could be UBT, http://www.UBT.com, www.UBT.com, UBT.com etc.
- Generic anchors : “Click here”, “Further reading”, “Visit website”
- Naked URL anchors : http://www.UBT.com etc.
- No text anchor : Leave the ALT tag of some images black and you’ll get ‘NoText’ Anchor
- Brand + Keyword anchors : 6 Make Money Online Tips By UBT
- LSI Anchors : They are just variations of the targeted keyword. E.g. Make money, How to make money online etc.
- Partial match anchors : “Learn how to make money online”, “Make money online guide”
- Exact match anchors : “Make money online”
Build links with :
- Branded Anchors – 65%
- Naked URLs – 25%
- Generic Anchors – 5%
- LSI and Partial Match Anchors – 4%
- Exact match anchors – 1%
When you’ll implement and test and you might build your own percentages.
17. Optimize your website speed
Your website speed is having a significant impact on your website rankings since 2010. You should make sure that your website loads under 3 seconds. Websites taking more than 5s to load tends to deliver a poor user experience.
Visit GTmetrix and analyze your website speed!
If your page load time is more than 3s and having a poor result, follow-up this guide to boost up your page speed.
I have been blogging since 2.5. years and I have experienced many keyword rank drops. Based on my personal experience, how I improved my keyword search results, I delivered this post. Here you learned some methods that can help you in improving your keyword rankings, however I have not shared technical SEO that might be important to give you higher rankings but I think, if you follow-up the above methods, you will see an improvement in your rankings.
Um.. I think I’m done. Please do let me know, if I have missed out any point and really, I need your feedback for this guide.
So, did you liked this guide on ‘How To Improve Your Keyword Search Results” ?