If you are reading this blog, you have a desire to improve your website ranking.

In our previous blog, we shared strategies to take control of your website’s ranking. Now, we want to share ways you can avoid having your ranking penalized.

Did you know that search engines can penalize your dealership website? A search rank penalty means a rank reduction in search results. This can happen if your website content and search engine optimization (SEO) don’t align with search engine standards. Without ongoing optimization, any website can fall out of compliance due to algorithm updates, which can occur several times a year.

The best method to avoid a search rank penalty is to maintain best practices for SEO and stay aware of any search engine updates that could affect your website’s ranking.

Does your website meet core ranking factors?

While algorithms can differ by search engine, these core ranking factors are universally applicable:

  • Responsive design (ie, mobile optimization) ensures that, no matter which device your shoppers use, your site will load and perform properly.
  • Intuitive website navigation organizes your site content in a natural and straightforward way so that visitors have a positive experience.
  • Long-form keywords increase your website’s searchability without sacrificing the informational value for readers. Avoid cluttering your website copy with duplicate or irrelevant content or keyword stuffing.
  • Helpful links that provide useful supplementary information 一 make sure your website linked remain active, and remove any broken or deadend links.

What next?

If your website has these fundamentals in place, you are off to a great start. Your next step is to forecast future updates by looking back at significant algorithm updates in search engine history:

  • Panda (2011) was launched to assign webpages a “quality score” to be used as a ranking factor. It analyzes web content for keyword stuffing, spam and duplicate or plagiarized copy.
  • Penguin (2012) looks for irrelevant and spammy links and over-optimized anchor text.
  • Hummingbird (2013) came about to help search engines better recognize search intent and provide better-quality search results. This disregards webpages that feature low-quality content or keyword stuffing.
  • Mobile (2015) represents the shift in focus from desktop to mobile websites and ensures that websites have good mobile usability.
  • Bert (2019) uses natural language processing technology to better understand nuances in search queries. Bert penalizes websites that have poor writing and lack context or focus.

Algorithm updates are launched to encapsulate the emerging trends taking place at that time in the world of digital marketing. They are designed to improve user search experience and generate high-quality search results. If your website ranking is penalized as a results of a new algorithm update, you usually can discover the reason through doing some research, looking at your previous website performance and looking for correlations between your decreased ranking and any recent search engine changes. In these situations, you may consider working with an SEO specialist to determine your website is compliant with best practices and who can identify any new search engine trends.

Keep on top of your website ranking by arranging a regular and consistent SEO audit and monitoring your SEO performance closely. You may find it in your best interest to follow industry-related news on search engine updates to predict any impacts to your website. Proactivity and consistency are the keys to protecting your website from penalty and helping prospective customers find your site in local searches.

Do you have search engine questions or need to get in touch with an SEO expert? Contact ARI today to speak with our team!