How to Improve Search Rankings on Existing Websites

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Existing websites with high domain authority typically need a different search marketing plan. Below is our checklist when analyzing an existing website that wants to improve in search.

  1. Check for broken links and fix.
    We found that broken links are a negative factor to search rankings. Start with this easy task and make sure all site links are fixed and working.

    • Broken Link Checker Plugin for WP
    • XENU Link Check Report for broken links.
    • Also, with a XENU and Broken Link Checker report, you can easily fix redirects to new pages. Update those too.
  2. Run Ranking Report for Core Phrases
    • Create a Merge Words list of all possible keywords you want to target.
    • Get Search Volumes of Keyword Phrases, so you can see what you should be targeting. Make the keywords with higher search volume your ultimate goal.
    • Prioritize Keyword Phrases
      1. What is easy to rank high? We recommend targeting long tail keywords first to show results to management. You can see if your concept works.
      2. Highly competitive keywords will require 10x content and will be much more difficult to rank for quickly – start a long term plan for this.
    • Create Google Spreadsheet
      1. Current URL
      2. Primary KW targeted phrase
      3. Content update needed?
      4. Additional content needed?
      5. New URL needed?
      6. New pyramid structure needed?
      7. New inbound links needed?
  1. Content
    • Update content for your targeted keyword phrase list to be 2,000 words per page and become THE ultimate resource for a practice area or a particular service.
      1. H1 – Main headline is primary keyword phrase
      2. H2s on page – other synonymous terms that are related
      3. Content – Write in short blocks of content that have a H2 tag.
      4. Add in related content from your blog with links to those articles. If no related content exists, add in links to offsite related content.
      5. Add in offsite government or non-profit links.
    • Update title tag to have primary phrase, call to action, company name.
    • Update meta description to include primary phrase in content and call to action for better click through rate.
    • Structure – Moreover you should setup pyramid structures for your content areas. Each practice area should be its own portal of content. Further, if your competitor has 2 pages of content, you should have more than that.
  1. Submit to Google Search Console for Indexing
    • Make sure your XML sitemap is current and submitted
    • Perform a “Fetch as Google” for URLs with content changes for faster indexing
  2. Back link Cleanup – Often existing websites have hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks pointed to their domain. Usually about 5% to 10% are dead, spam, or odd links. We recommend reviewing, cleaning up, and disavowing any odd backlinks.
  3. Build back links – usually less than 10 is actually needed, but they need to be high quality. Need to create an outreach plan to other sites and sources. Also consider a release as you may get additional press mentions (real world articles), if this is newsworthy. Google does not value the release itself, but real live traffic is awesome if your PR gets noticed in the media.
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