If your website is already ranking for your targeted keywords but you are not in the top positions, you can gain tremendous benefit by focusing on improving your existing search engine ranking. Improving your existing rankings will help you achieve a higher click through rate and increase website traffic and lead generation because you are showing up closer to the top of the page. Studies have shown that the number one organic result gets approximately 32.5% of clicks, compared to only 2.4% for the tenth position.

This checklist will help you to improve your existing ranking:

  1. Benchmark your current performance.

Before you can improve your SEO results, you need to have an understanding of where you are. If you don’t already have the Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools installed, start there first. These tools will help you uncover how much traffic your website is getting, what keywords you are ranking for, how many impressions those keywords are getting, how many clicks you are getting from those keywords and what opportunities exist for additional keywords. Note: Google Webmaster Tools is now called Google Search Console.

  1. Run a ranking report.

Google Search Console provides information on your average position for your keywords. However, I have found it to not always be accurate. CuteRank offers both a free and paid version that provides you with a fairly accurate ranking report that lets you know your position for all the keywords you are targeting and currently optimize. You will need to know this information in order to identify the keywords that are generating the best results and you would like to push further to the top.

  1. Ensure you have all the basics covered.

Your page titles, page url, H1, H2, H3 tags, alt tags, content and meta data should all be optimized with your focus keyword. It is the foundation of your SEO campaign and one of the most important things to focus on, right after selecting the best keywords to target.

  1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.

As of April 21, 2014 Google algorithms now take the mobile friendliness of your website into consideration as a ranking factor. Websites that are not mobile friendly generally rank much lower and have little or no chance of getting to the top. In fact, by simply improving your website mobile friendliness you will be giving your website an easy boost in rankings.

  1. Fix what’s broken first.

If all the basics are covered, next conduct an SEO Audit and fix what’s broken before taking any additional steps to improve your SEO. Start by looking at your Google Search Console; under crawl errors it will let you know if you have any broken links. Once you have fixed these links you can go back to Webmaster and mark it as fixed so it can be updated in the search results. In addition, run your website through a website auditing tool such as SEO Site Checkup to uncover any other issues that may need fixing.

  1. Review your website site structure.

Your website navigation and site structure is important to creating a great user experience for your visitors. In addition, a website with a well-organized and streamlined structure will help boost your SEO rankings in several ways. It helps your pages to get crawled and indexed by search engines, it helps link juice to flow from one page to the other. Your main website menu bar should consist of your main web pages that are text-based, not image-based. Ensure that your pages are organized into categories and link them to related sub-pages. For example, I offer both web design and SEO services. I will link all web design related pages under web design and all SEO related services under SEO Services.

  1. Create internal site links.

Link-building is a key component of a successful SEO strategy. However, one of the most valuable ways to build links is often under-utilized during the SEO process. Internal links, are links connected from one page on your website to another page. It happens to be one of the fastest ways to give your SEO ranking a boost, by linking one of your lower ranked pages to a top ranked page. This allows your page authority from a top ranked page to flow to the lower ranked page. Of course the pages have to be related in topic to each other.

  1. Research competitors’ links.

Firstly it’s important to identify the top competitors that are ranking for the keywords you would like to rank for. Once you have done that, run each one of those competitors through a link analysis tool such as OpenSiteExplorer.org or Majestic SEO to uncover their backlinks. Once you have compiled a comprehensive list you can begin an email outreach to each of the sites.

  1. Focus on building inbound links.

An inbound link is a link from another website to your website. It is one of the most important off-page SEO factors. Links to your website from other high authority sites are one of the pillars to higher rankings. It lets the search engine know that you are trustworthy. Start by getting published in local directories, search engines and industry directories. Look for guest posting opportunities on reputable websites that have high page rankings.

10.Create content based on what users are searching for.

Blogging creates a great avenue for you to improve your SEO on several fronts. If you don’t have a blog, it’s essential to start one and if you do have a blog, but it’s not producing results then it’s time to be more strategic. Rather than creating content on catchy topics, focus on creating content that people are actually searching for. Most people search because they have a question they need answered or a problem they need solved. By utilizing Google Keyword Planner, you can find topics and questions that people are searching for. Use this data to create content that will drive traffic to your website and bring your ideal clients your way.

11.Create shareable content.

A big part of successful SEO is creating content that can be shared. Content can be created in many forms: written, video, infographics, podcast, whitepapers etc. The key to successfully getting your content out there is putting out quality content that provides value and that readers will want to link to and share. Get an added boost by optimizing content that is published on your website or optimizing videos using your keywords.

12.Focus on improving your social signals.

Back in December 2010 Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, confirmed that social signal matters and links from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are used as a ranking factor. What this means is that the more your website content is shared the better it is for your search engine rankings. If you are currently not on all these social media sites you should aim to have a presence on them. As a place to start, the main site you should focus on is Google+ for sharing your content.

  1. Improve your page speed.

Back in 2010 Google made page speed a ranking factor. As you can imagine, users want a fast-loading website and usually expect your website to load in as little as 2 seconds. In fact Google ran their own experiment back in 2009, by slowing down search results. When they did this, users became less engaged showing that a slow-loading website means users are more likely to abandon your website, and as a result, decreases your chances of ranking high on search engines. Run your website through Google’s page speed test to see if you pass the test and if there is room for improvement.

  1. Improve your click through rate.

The goal of search engines is to provide the most relevant search results to their users. A low click through rate signals that your website may not be relevant to the users’ search, which affects your search ranking. Keep in mind that click through rate can also be affected based on how far down the results you are ranked. Improve your click through rate by creating Meta descriptions that appeal to the needs of your target audience and further optimizing your website to increase your ranking.

15.Give your SEO strategy time to produce results.

Most importantly, successful SEO requires time to bear fruit. Naturally you will be anxious to see your efforts pay off right away. Unfortunately, search engines don’t work on your schedule so don’t expect your rankings to jump to the top over night. Trying to influence the search engines with shortcuts may give you short terms results, but that approach will be costly in the long run with updates such as Panda and Penguin. Remember slow and steady wins the race.

Download the Proven Step by Step Guide to Getting Found Online.