Seeing your business website start to fall in the search engine rankings can be devastating if the majority of your business comes through the web. However, the ups and downs of industry have persisted since the beginning of commercial trade and they’re not likely to change any time soon. That’s why having these parachutes tucked safely away in your proverbial emergency pack might mean the difference between smooth sailing into the next updraft – or watching as your business splats onto the concrete.
Enough of the metaphors. Let’s talk basics. Here’s what to do on that dreaded day when your website drops in the rankings.
1. Don’t panic
The internet is always changing. New content is being created moment-to-moment and this doesn’t mean that your business website will drop out of sight forever. However, it does mean that you’ve got some work to do. And the longer you delay, the more difficult it becomes.
2. Check the health of your website.
- Make sure that all your pages are optimized with current keywords
- Don’t over-saturate your keywords on the pages, and edit old pages that contain keyword densities that are too high
- Ditch all the pages on your website that have no clear purpose
- Use 301 redirects when certain pages from your site have been removed permanently
- Make sure you are using keywords in your page titles and h1 headers
- Using Google Webmaster Tools, check for 404 errors and make sure all the pages on your website are being indexed. Going forward, utilize Google Webmaster Tools on a regular basis to monitor the ongoing health of your website
3. Review your keywords
Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to do an updated search for keywords related to your industry. Keywords and common searches might have changed since you last updated your site.
4. Blog smarter
If you don’t have a regular content marketing plan in place, set one up immediately. One of the reasons blogging seems overwhelming (with results that seem difficult to track) is because marketers make the mistake of diving in without creating a clear plan. Setting up a content marketing strategy before creating content can save your business time and ultimately money.
Once you have your content marketing plan in place, you can start building relationships with online industry journals and outlets that can distribute your content to the correct target market. The right target market is one who is interested in your content because it directly applies to them.
Building online relationships takes time but can pay off big. Online journals need a constant supply of fresh content and if your business can provide it on a regular basis, you can quickly become an online industry darling. If your team is already overwhelmed, there’s no shame in hiring an outside company to blog for you. In fact, many mid-sized businesses do this very thing. Your team can convert each blog post into a press release that can help your content spread even wider. Every time your press release is re-published, your business is earning fresh inbound links.
5. Build the right kind of links
The keystone of your content marketing plan should be to build the right kind of links for your business. Shift away from linking to any sites that are not reputable. “Reputable” sites are esteemed sources on the web (think national or popular regional newspapers, wildly popular news blogs like HuffingtonPost.com, established online business journals such as BusinessInsider.com, or any of the most esteemed, highly visited resource websites in your industry).
Business, like life, has no guarantees. But an updated website, a clear content marketing plan, and some time and dedication can help you reestablish your position on top of the Google rankings. From there, it should be smoother sailing. For the next little while, at least.