The Internet has revolutionized our planet and made it real what in the 1970’s was the dream of Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) of the world becoming a “Global Village.”

And, at the heart of this revolution is search engines such as Google that aim to make information available in the Internet easily accessible to everyone.

So, if you are a webmaster building websites and blogs, you have to dance to the tunes of the search engines for them to love you and give you remunerations in terms of high search rankings.

Of course, if your site ranks high, you will receive many visitors and the results will be evident by the size of your bank account.

Also, Google and other search engines are also constantly working day and night to fine tune its robots and eliminate unfair practices in the Internet.

The big G has been hitting webmasters with various updates to their search algorithms , including Panda, Penguin, Google EMDs, and Private Blog Network deindexing.

If a site does not oblige with these latest requirements, Google will penalize and remove it from its network.

Google is driven by the mission to make sure it is providing search results that are appropriate, useful and timely.

If it starts dissociating from this mission, then users will stop using the search giant and consequently its $60 billion in revenue earned from ads will be at stake.

If you want to rank high on Google and increase the number of visitors to your site without being fallen by the sword of penalties, then you should grab a cup of coffee and ingest it with this post from the Legit Blogger.

This article is divided into two sections:

  1. Analyzing current state of your site
  2. Taking measures to improve the ranking of your site

Step #1: Analyzing the current state of your site

You will be pouring water into a leaking can if you embark on initiatives of improving your search rankings before analyzing the current state of your site.

If your site is unhealthy and does not oblige to Google’s webmaster guidelines, then you will not be doing any profitable initiative.

So, you will need to do the following:

i) Check the keyword rank of your site

ii) Check the load speed of your site

iii) Check whether your site has been penalized

i). Assess the keyword rank of your site

Checking the Google keyword ranking for any target keyword is an important step for improving the ranking of your site. This step is essential even if you have just launched your site. The Internet is full of various tools and resources that can assist you get this important information.

Here are some tools you can use.

If you use any of the tools above, you will see where your blog ranks for the chosen term as well get other important statistics on your site.

ii). Assess the load speed of your site

Waiting for a site to load is not any different from waiting in line to be served with a mouth-watering piece of cake. You will get either bored or angry that the line is moving too slowly. Importantly, the time your site takes to load is critical ranking factor in Google.

If your site takes ages to load, it is likely to be pushed towards the bottom of search engine results. According to a study done by eConsultancy, most people expect sites to load in two seconds or less.

Here are some tools to help you assess your site’s loading speed.

Let’s analyze this result given by Pingdom (tools.pingdom.com).

site load time test

The idea is to ensure that you are the performance of your site is as high as possible. If your site gives a reading of anything above 50, it’s a good place to start. Your site’s load time should also be equally competitive.

If these metrics reveal that your site is not performing well in terms of speed, you need to task drastic action of improving it.

Here are some things you can do.

  • Go for a professional and reliable hosting company
  • Use caching whenever possible
  • Use content delivery networks (CDN)
  • Optimize your images
  • Optimize your databases

iii). Assess whether your site has been penalized

To know whether Google has deindexed or banned your site, you can check for the following indications.

  • Have you noticed an abrupt or steady drop in organic traffic?
  • Check your Google Webmaster tool for any indications of drop in traffic after months or years of consistency
  • Google can also send you a message in the Webmaster tool explaining why its penalty bullet has struck your site.
  • Use various online tools to check whether your site has been thrown out of Google or not
  • Use PixelGroove’s Google penalty checker tool available here
  • Use IsMyWebsitePenalized.com (IMWP) tool available here

Here is a screenshot of a site checked using the PixelGroove tool.

Check if site is penalized by Google

If you discover that the Google sword has fallen on your site, this post has essential tips to assist you reclaim your lost glory.

Step #2: Taking measures to improve the ranking of your site

After you’ve analyzed the current state of your site, you are now ready to take tangible measures to ensure your site ranks high in the search engine results.

So, you will need to do the following.

a) Identify and remove unhealthy links

b) Start building healthy and reputable links

a) Identify and remove unhealthy links

Links are very essential in improving your Google rankings. But, for you to escape the Google sword, you need to build them professionally and naturally.

Until 2012, you could create spammy links and get away with it. With the recent Google updates, however, if you currently try that strategy to improve your rankings, Google will use its sword to skin you. Do you want that?

According to a study by the Internet firm, Searchmetrics, titled “Ranking Factor – Rank Correlation 2013 Study”, the number of quality backlinks a site has is enormously important.

Therefore, it is essential you think about how your site can have quality links to enhance its reputation and authority in the World Wide Web. To realize this, you need to diagnose and remove unhealthy backlinks hurting your SEO efforts.

How do you know that a link is unhealthy? Here are some types of links that Google sees as unnatural.

  • Links having optimized anchor text in the content. For instance, there are several blogs in the Internet. If you want to start creating a blog, you will have to pick the best blogging platform. You will also need to buy hosting and a theme for your blog site. In this example, the anchor texts have been optimized with the link http://www.example.com.
  • Links from low-quality directory or bookmarking websites
  • Links from PR-n/a or PR0 sites
  • Links from sites on a similar IP class address
  • Keyword-rich, concealed or low-class links integrated in widgets that are scattered across different websites and blogs
  • Extensively scattered links found in the footers or templates of different sites
  • Forum comments having optimized links in the post or signature. Here is an example:

Thanks, very good comment there!

-Samuel

Samuel blog, blogging platform, best blog

Note that these anchor texts have been optimized with the link http://www.example.com

Here are some tools to assist you assess inbound links to your site.

You can use any of the tools and any other you may find useful to analyze the links to your site.

Several online tools are available to assist you identify unnatural links. The ones I love to use are:

After you have checked destructive links with any of these tools, you should not be in a rush to delete the page itself. You only need to remove the spammy links. Click here to read a guide on Moz on how diagnose links that can harm your site.

Thereafter, the next step is cleaning up your link profile. There are two ways of doing it:

  • Request manual link removal
  • Use Google’s disavow link tool
  • Request manual link removal

You can visit the blog or website where the spammy link is coming from and contact the webmaster with a request to take out the link (the best option) or add a nofollow tag to it.

Most sites have a ‘contact us’ page, so getting their contact information cannot be difficult. Remember to use a polite and persuasive tone in your request and avoid giving demands.

If you hired someone else to create for you the links, you can contact them directly and request for link removal.

Click here if you want to read more on how to remove unhealthy links from your site.

  • Use Google’s disavow tool

If the first option is not successful, your only alternative is to use Google’s own disavow links tool. The tool is part of the Google Webmaster Tools and you can find it here.

google disavow tool

Google advocates for the use of this tool only when the other means have failed. So, exhaust the other options before trying the disavow tool.

When you use the disavow tool, Google will not actually remove the unnatural links pointing to your site. However, this action will give permission to the search giant to desist from passing link juice (value) from those unhealthy backlinks.

b) Start building healthy and reputable links

After you have successfully removed the unhealthy links from your site, the next course of action is to start building healthy and reputable links.

Click here to read a detailed guide on this blog on how to build high quality links and escalate search engine rankings a notch higher.

 Conclusion

Keeping off the Google penalty radar is critical if you want to create a solid online presence with your site. To achieve this, you need to develop exhaustive, useful and actionable content using customer-specific keywords that will meet the needs of the intended audience.

When you succeed in doing this, your site will attract natural links and you will improve your search rankings tremendously. If your site has been banned because of some unnatural practices, you can still take some drastic actions and reclaim it from the penalty.

As long as you keep to the Google webmaster guidelines, your site will escape the big G’s sword and you will definitely rank high.

So, how do you keep your site from being penalized? Please share in the comment section below.

  1. A very thoughtful post Alfrick,
    Getting on the first page of Google is always the dream of any content marketer and while this can be easily achieved, there are so many factors that needs to be considered before succeeding at it.

    Indeed, the search engines are always evolving and if you must remain in the game for long, you must learn how to adapt to all their changes else, you will be kicked aside.

    All the tips you’ve shared here are indeed what will ensure that a marketer improves his ranking if well implemented.

    Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>