Everyone wants to be visible on the web, rank higher and increase their organic traffic, and there are many ways to achieve that. It’s a tricky process and, in order to do it right, it requires a lot of knowledge, skills and, most importantly, patience. There are those who claim they can help you rank higher in no time, but most times, they mean using blackhat SEO techniques – and you shouldn’t look for that. It can be fast and effective, however, it may put your online presence in danger as well.
Google Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Pigeon, RankBrain, Hummingbird, Fred, Mobile-Friendly Update, and Possum are the names that every SEO expert and website owner dread, and these are only those names that are publicly known. According to Google executives, they actually do changes and updates every day, and not all of them are announced, nor described. Google grows smarter, and that’s how you can get penalized – by trying to cheat it or by being oblivious. You can even end up with worse rankings than before.
So how can you avoid it when most of the changes made to the Google algorithm are unknown to the public? How can you improve your website ranking without getting penalized?
First of all, you need to find out what there is to improve or if you already are at risk of a penalty. It’s worth identifying your page’s backlink profile, page metrics, social metrics, relevant keywords you’re missing in your content, etc. You can use backlink and competitive analysis and many available SEO tools, like Rankitor, to know your current position and identify your problems or oversights. There’s also a possibility to get an outside site audit to determine all of that for you.
If you’re aiming for improving your website traffic and ranking higher on SERPs, you need to make friends with the right keywords, but always remember to use them properly. Avoid keyword stuffing – don’t ever force them into your text, make sure you use them correctly and make the whole content sound as natural as possible. If the writing is of high quality, useful and relevant, even the most desired long-tail keywords will come naturally while putting it down. There are tools that can help you determine which keywords might be the most relevant and receive a lot of searches.
Quality over quantity. Forget about stuffing your content with low-quality links, as it may not seem too credible for Google and you may be considered as a spammer or cheeky advertiser; what’s more, it won’t make you look trustworthy in the eyes of potential readers. Instead, focus on gaining the links from respectable authority pages. The most popular way is to get a backlink to you by writing guest posts for high-quality sites. Tools for checking the domain authority are available online for you to find pages worth writing for. Plus, remember to check all your content regularly; there are tools that may help you stay up to date with your links – a lot of sites cease to exist or they move their articles or change the address. You don’t want any empty references.
Google crawls your site regularly and, among other things, it checks it for valuable content. As it was already mentioned, there’s no place for keyword stuffing, buying links and spammy articles; Google thinks about its users and it looks for unique quality content; it wants you and other people to find what you may be looking for. Don’t repeat yourself. Every piece of writing and all the links need to be relevant and useful – try solving people’s problems and answering their questions. Gain their trust and Google will see you as trustworthy as well.
It doesn’t matter what else you do – if your page is slow, you won’t rank high in SERPs. Site speed is one of the most important ranking factors for Google, and it’s totally understandable. If it takes forever to get access to information, no search engine user will wait, and Google knows it. What’s more, these days there are more people browsing the web on their mobile devices, and they often have a much weaker internet connection. And if your conversion drops, you’ll certainly get penalized.
Everything comes to those who can wait. Blackhat SEO techniques may seem tempting because of their potentially fast results, but too many things are out of your control in this case and instead of improving, you can make your rankings far worse. Then it would take even more of your time and your resources to get you out of trouble, and that would be truly frustrating. It’s better to keep on doing the good work and be patient – you’ll be rewarded both by Google and its users.