This article was born out of google’s penguin and panda updates and the hugely negative effect they had on my website. My aim is to offer some tips to others that find themselves in a similar situation as well as to demonstrate that there are ways to overcome google’s omnipotence!
I am the owner of an established customer service providing website and possess a basic-to-intermediate knowledge of web design and SEO – just stuff I’ve picked up along the way. Until the P&P updates my site had been on the first page of google.co.uk for 4 or 5 years for 3 vital keyword phrases, which alone brought in 60-70% of traffic to the site each month. Yet after P&P, the site was booted to pages 3, 4 and 5 for said phrases and business was down by half.
Granted, when originally writing content for the site all those years ago we admittedly crammed in as many keywords as we feasibly could, throughout the whole site, by whatever means possible. However we never lost sight of the fact that high quality content was a primary objective. And all the other SEO techniques we followed were deemed white-hat at the time. The approach secured a 1st page position on google for several essential competitive keywords, until earlier this year that is…
The importance of a high organic position on google is enormous for any business. A first page organic listing on google is what every website owner dreams of. After all, it is often the difference between resounding business success and abject failure.
However, attaining such a coveted position typically takes a tremendous amount of time, money and effort. If the site has not been optimised, there is little chance of a top spot on google. And even if it has been optimised and a top spot is eventually achieved, there is then an awful lot of work required maintaining that position. Especially if you are negatively affected by a google algorithm revision, such as panda or penguin, as we ourselves were.
Given the importance of position on google for us as well as our competitors, and the fact that we were hit hard by Penguin and Panda, a few months ago we started looking around for some software to help in this respect. There are several respected programs on the market – I’m not going to name them since they are all easily found online. We trialled 3 that had the best reviews and discovered that one stood out from the rest. It was Advanced Web Ranking, or AWR for the purpose of this article.
AWR boasts a wide range of SEO tools, especially when packaged with Advanced Link Manager or ALM. Most notable features include
- Website optimization
- Keyword research and analysis
- Website rank tracking
- Social media monitoring
- The ability to tie in with google analytics
- A smart link building program
- * Frequent updates
- * A 30 day free trial that enables you to fully evaluate the software.
Installation and Web Rank Analysis
Following a straight forward registration we downloaded the software. After a clean install we ran the program which immediately updated itself accordingly and then presented an easy to follow wizard. In a few clicks our first ‘project’ was set up and ready to go. We opted to scan for results on both google.co.uk and google.com search engines and then inputted 6 specific key word phrases, 2 and 3 words long. Conveniently, for each phrase AWR displays the search volume as well as an option to have alternative keywords or phrases to consider, although we did not need the latter facility given that we are aware of our most appropriate keywords.
On commencing the search we were presented with a real-time progress display. The search was complete in a matter of minutes and the website ranking results were presented in a clear and easily viewable chart format.
Screenshot of ranking results over time.
You can opt to assess reports based on a wide range of useful and appropriate elements that included current website rank, keyword rank, search engine rank, top sites, overview, visibility, keyword analysis and competition. To be honest, we did not need the full range of reporting options available but they are there all the same for those that might require alternative assessment options. The primary reporting option was for website ranking, although we also found the keyword ranking report to be useful too, especially when the results of multiple searches are combined over time so that both you and your competitor websites ranks can be easily monitored.
We then inputted the web addresses of 4 competitors and ran the search again to see their own website rank for the chosen keywords.
Following on, we decided to take a look at the website optimization facility within the program, located under the Research tab. For us, this was an invaluable tool to possess. In essence we were able to analyse our site and identify weak or insufficient several areas that google and other engines were likely to be penalising us for. And then make corrections/suggestions based on the practical advice presented by the tool – all reasonably straight forward for someone with a basic understanding of HTML web design.
It was the depth of this particular tool that impressed us most – all areas of on-page SEO are assessed. In the interests of time I will however save the detailed analysis for a follow up article, otherwise you might be here all day.
As indicated at the start of this review at the time of trialling AWR we sourced quotes to resolve our on-page SEO. They ranged from $300-600 and the areas highlighted by the independent specialists were the same as the areas highlighted by AWR. Clearly it’s a powerful tool – and clearly the tool of many SEO specialists.
Competitor analysis is another useful weapon in AWR’s arsenal. Essentially, all the tools available to you for analysing your own site can be turned on your competitors… This was an unexpected bonus for us given that we are now able to analyse their websites, even for on-page SEO, and likely know where they are going wrong before they do! Or even review and assess their link building strategy and even find out their top inbound links based on google PR, with a view to developing a strategy to attaining links with the same sites!
Having reviewed the AWR tools that were most appropriate to us we then decided to take a look at the Advanced Link Manager (ALM) program that came with AWR free trial. As indicated, we were presently surprised that we were able to identify our competitors best inbound links based on google PR. We were also interested to find out that we could develop a link building strategy based on data sourced via the SEOmozLinkscape database. Not to mention the option to automatically verify inbound links from other websites that we have agreed to share reciprocal links with. Again, yet another extremely useful bonus facility, especially when we can assess and grade the links based on their Domain Authority and Domain MozRank.
Screenshot of domain information
AWR was an invaluable piece of software that helped us re-establish a 1st page position on google. It removed the need to employ the services of an SEO specialist and within 5 weeks of using the software, we managed to regain a 1st page position on google organics for 2 of the 3 vital keyword phrases that penguin and panda had penalised us for.
And it offers the means to accurately monitor rank and swiftly address future google updates if the need arises.
A 30 day free trial is available from AWR website. It’s more than enough time to make the necessary tweaks to your site. And who knows, you might even decide it’s worth investing in…
Author Bio:- Sean Keller, Administrator of a small service providing firm in London, UK. Company and website withheld to ensure our competitors don’t find out what we are up to. And google too, come to think of it! Anyway, this is his first attempt at blogging……about how we used Advanced Web Ranking to help us deal with google’s penguin and panda updates.