How to Run a Weekly SEO Check for Baidu and Google in 30 Minutes or Less

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 02:45
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For an SEO project, it's important to check up on a regular basis and make changes where needed. For most projects, I do this on a weekly basis.

Check Rankings

Check the website's rankings on Baidu and Google. I prefer to use software for this, such as Rank Tracker.

You'll need to look for fluctuations in rankings. Now, in any given week, rankings are going to fluctuate. That's normal. What you want to do is look for fluctuations that will impact your business. That means you need to be watching the right keywords, and only pay attention to fluctuations large enough to be of importance to your business.

Choose keywords that are valuable to the business. If you try to manually review the multitude of long-tail keywords that are rarely searched, you'll just drive yourself crazy. So, check keywords that are of a high-enough value to merit checking them on a weekly basis. Check my previous posts on how to generate a keyword list and how to evaluate keywords.

Identify Problems

What should you do if you see a major change in ranking for a keyword?

Check the Chosen URL

The first thing to do is check to see if the search engine has decided to display another one of your URLs for search results for that keyword. For example, let's say your keyword was "teddy bears" and your homepage usually ranked for that page, which is good because that's your main product and main keyword. But one day you check the results and see that when people search "teddy bears" on Google your ranking is 25 instead of 2 and Google is using the URL "....com/teddy-bear-faq" instead of your homepage. Baidu can be downright retarded sometimes when it comes to choosing the correct URL, but Google usually gets it right. To fix this problem, you may want to try one or all of these:

  1. Make sure the homepage is indexed and is still getting traffic from the affected search engine. If it isn't, you have a big problem.
  2. Change the keyword usage on both pages to signal Google which page to view.
  3. Link to the homepage from the Teddy Bear FAQ page with the keyword "teddy bears".
  4. If the homepage quality is low, you should improve it. Add new content or revise existing content.
  5. If the homepage is not regularly updated, you should do so. Baidu is especially sensitive to fresh content on the homepage.

Check Other Search Results

Search for the keyword on the affected search engine and see which sites are now outranking you. The ranking change may be due to an algorithm shift or new competition. One common cause of new competition is news. For the "teddy bears" example, perhaps you would do a search and find that there was recently some big news about a teddy bear factory explosion so several major news sites are now outranking you. If this is the case, I would advise just waiting. The rankings for news site results should drop for general keywords like "teddy bears" fairly quickly.

However, if you have suddenly found some new, strong competition, you'll need to revise your strategy.

Setup a Test

In order to get your on-page SEO as close to peak performance as possible, you may want to make changes to your main landing pages and then review results. You can try changing things like:

  1. The page title
  2. The body text, including headings
  3. The use of images
  4. Page format (how much text, the use of lists, headings, etc.)

Note that when it comes to testing, you'll hit diminishing marginal returns sooner or later. If you're an experienced SEO, your returns will diminish fairly quickly because you'll probably shoot pretty close to the target on the first try, but if you're a newbie, you may be able to continue this process for a while and still receive enough benefit to merit the expense of your time. So, make sure not to waste too much time tweaking landing pages when you could be applying yourself to creating valuable content for readers or having tea parties with your teddy bears.

And here it is - the totally irellevant picture for this blog post
"Teddy, we really don't need to tweak the keyword density anymore, let's just chill, OK?" Source

Make Sure Your Google Places Listing is Fine

If your site is on Google Places, which it should be if you're targeting a term that includes a location, such as "London teddy bears", search for the listing and make sure it is up and displays properly. Google Places is notorious for having all sorts of problems, such as merging listings. Plus, they still have no official method for managing multilingual listings, so such listings can often end up having problems.

Check Your Website

Make sure it shows up properly, without any bugs. Make sure it is displaying with the proper URL. If you have a schedule for fresh content, make sure you're meeting that schedule.

You may want to use Google Webmaster Tools to check for crawl errors. Other good tools for checking your website are Link Examiner (Windows only) and Screaming Frog.

Check Your Links

You should be keeping a record of the links being created for your website. Go over the links built during the week. Evaluate the links for the value they provide you. I recommend evaluating links for 4 types of value: SEO, social, branding and referral.

 

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