Lots of people ask me about their page or website ranking. Years ago, we could find out if we had a PR2, PR3, PR5 scores etc via a browser plugin. But today these terms and numbers have fallen into disuse and are largely redundant. There are other, more accurate tools to see your ‘website ranking’.
In recent times, with their panda and penguin updates, Google has made SEO and improving your own ranking more attractive to the amateur. The bad boys of SEO, primarily suspect SEO companies and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ that sold paid backlinks and used dubious practices against Google’s terms of service, have been largely banished from the game. Which means it’s now easier for the smaller guy using legitimate, natural practices to get ranked well and get more traffic to their website.
As a Google engineer stated in a recent interview
Manipulating Google results shouldn’t be something you feel entitled to be able to do. If you want to rank highly in Google, be relevant for the user currently searching. Engage him in social media or email, provide relevant information about what you’re selling, and, generally, be a “good match” for what the user wants.
So, let’s measure your page and website ranking
Ranking is more practical these days. Not a single number assigned by google, but the actual number of times your website appears in the first few pages of a Google search result. It now actually has a relevance, providing a better guide to the amount of traffic and sales leads you could get. And it is largely controlled by how much work and effort you put in.
Us geeks will use Googles own search and webmaster tools, plus SEO services like the SEOMoz and a dozen others. However tools like SEOMoz are often over way over the top for the average website owner, marketer or designer.
The other one I use each week and recommend key clients use is SEO Profiler. This provides a quick check of how your site ranks – How often it has appeared on Google with the phrases it is ranking from page one down to page five. (We’ve set the profiler link to give the results for a typical ‘low quality, low traffic’ small business site many local developers churn out). Once you subscribe to SEO Profiler, you have full access to loads more tools and superb tutorials. This encourages business owners to do more themselves and take control - Well worth the $1/day subscription cost.
Our own ranking with SEO profiler isn’t that great. 47 ranked phrases and 220 links. My excuse is that this is ‘only’ my blog and I’ve not optimised articles or added quality backlinks with a view to getting ranked higher. Sadly, a figure of 47 pages is still way better than the average NZ small business website. Most are lucky to have ten pages showing and maybe one on page one. And it’s multiple entries on page one we aim for.
A 50+ page ranking figure with many on page one is the goal. This will ensure a steady stream of sales leads and online enquiries. If your website is running on a Google-friendly platform like the WordPress CMS, then it makes the SEO job that much easier. This platform gives the most control over the content, titles, friendly-urls plus there’s some built-in SEO tools included free. Most effort will be on building up quality backlinks.
The other two traffic and SEO tools I can’t live without
For your own site, examine these SEO Profiler reports together with Google Adwords Keyword Analysis right, that tells us what search terms people are using online. The other thing to monitor is your own website traffic. But many people find the default Google analytics too overwhelming and confusing.
Have us setup Clicky analytics as well as Googles for you. Clicky provides a simplier and more useful overview of what’s happening. And if you go with their paid-for version, has fancy alerts and much more.
It all keeps Web Designers & SEO people honest
This is the other big reason I love the SEO Profiler tool and will be encouraging my clients to sign up for the service. Why? It’s too easy for SEO people, web designers and developers (large and small, here and out of India,) to scam business owners when it comes to SEO and traffic expectations. Many web design companies here include ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and will tell you how their expertly designed sites will ensure steady search traffic and ‘business results’.
But in most cases these claims are false and I’ve mountains of reports using SEO Profiler and supplied analytics data to prove it. As mentioned in earlier, similar articles, is this enough to take to the commerce commission, that has a thing against false advertising? Perhaps. It would certainly clean out the cowboys from the industry or force them delete any reference to SEO expertise on their sites.
To be fair, it may not be deliberate. Ignorance is bliss. One owner of a long-established Auckland website company with 200+ clients recently informed me they added meta keywords to all their sites, as well as an xml sitemap they then submitted to Google. SEO done. Unfortunately both these practices by themselves do nothing, other than telling me his SEO ‘techniques’ were ten years out of date. They’re not alone. In fact some of the longest established developers are the worst offenders – Change is hard.
Don’t be afraid of the truth – Use the data
So, armed with SEO Profiler you can quickly lookup your own website ranking, as well as any other website on the planet. Perhaps a good question to ask or email back to your web designer or SEO expert is this. "Show me a few websites you’ve done SEO on?" Within seconds you can get a report out of SEO profiler that tells you how many pages that site is ranked for, and how many of those rank on page one! Scary stuff..
Now everything is now out in the open. No more lies or half-truths. Just loads of valuable data site owners can use to work out a practical, traffic-building strategy over the next 3-6 months. I even admit that with SEO Profiler some of my own client sites obviously need work. Yikes! But obviously website owners will know something is wrong, since they’re not getting enough traffic or sales leads. We shouldn’t be afraid of the facts or the truths presented by this technology.
Use it to learn and move forward. Just email me to discover more and I’ll try to answer any questions you have around these SEO tools.