OMG I'm Ranking High on Google - Now What?!
So, you’ve finally climbed the mountain and you’re ranking in the number one position for your targeted keywords. Congratulations, you deserve a pat on the back! All of the hard work is finished, and you can capture organic traffic streams until the next Google update without lifting a finger, right?
Sorry folks, this is a bit of a joke...and a bad joke at that.
As you probably know, competition for keywords in most industries is staggeringly fierce, and your competitors are always going to try to dethrone you and knock you down a peg or two. The honest truth is that you’re going to need to maintain your SEO rankings.
But how do you do that? I’m glad you asked; just follow these five practices and you'll be on your way to keeping those top organic SEO rankings.
1. Keep Your Site Updated
Gee, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer, right? Even though it sounds like common sense, you’d be surprised at many people lose some of their organic traffic simply because they fail to keep their site as fresh and updated as it needs to be. And no, we’re not only talking about your last active post. We’re also talking about the quality of the content and the information it contains.
You’ll also want to adapt to the latest trends to stay on top. For example, text-only posts are largely a thing of the past, and using such an outdated type of post can harm your SEO efforts. Including other forms of content - video, images, infographics, etc are great ways to keep on top.
Not only do you need to keep your site updated with regular posts and content, but that content needs to be updated to reflect the latest trends and Google updates. Adopt the mindset of constant improvement. Through the miracle of A/B testing, you'll probably find opportunities and areas of improvement.
2. Keep Your Site Well-Oiled
Believe it or not, speed is certainly one of the ranking factors in the Google algorithm. But let’s take a moment and look beyond raw SEO potential and consider that slow sites really irritate and bounce your users. Even the slightest fractions of a second could mean the difference between bouncing 10% or 15% of your users.
Don’t believe me? Then check out some of these statistics.
Once upon a time, Google lost a staggering 20% of its visitors due to a 0.5 second decrease in page load times. Imagine that! One fifth of their visitors vanished over a mere half a second. And if an ecommerce site fails to load in less than three seconds, you're risking losing almost half of your traffic!
Obviously, page load times are a big deal, both from the user’s perspective as well as Google’s. So naturally, you should always strive to find ways to shave off fractions of a second of your page load times. You may very well want to use plugins and tools that load images differently for mobile devices so users have access to the raw textual content as soon as possible, too. Though a professional will be able to help you get your page load times extremely low, consider the following tips:
- Use a faster hosting service with reliable connections
- Enable image compression
- Increase download speeds via a content delivery networks
If your page load times are horrendous and you just can seem to figure out why, then you can use Google PageSpeed Insights for clues that may help you find the smoking barrel.
3. Redouble Your Link Building Efforts
Even though you rank number one, you will still want to proceed with your link building strategy for two reasons. First and foremost, more links will help put some distance between you and the competition. Also consider that many back-links will go stale and decay over time due to changes in domains, changes of ownership, and other similar reasons.
Secondly, there’s a certain degree of value found in channeling traffic from a post on another website. Organic SEO isn’t the only means of driving traffic to your site, and gaining back-links is among the most effective long term methods.
4. Don’t Forget Outbound and Internal Links
If you thought that outbound links didn’t carry much value, you may want to reconsider. Though on the surface it may seem counter-intuitive, (after all, who wants to send a visitor away from their site!?) remember that Google always awards bonus points to websites that are focused on a great user experience. You see, the number of outbound links your site contains that link to authority sites within your niche helps Google quantify the relevancy of your site.
However, you’ll want to verify that the pages you link to do actually have relevant content.
Furthermore, you’ll want to take full advantage of internal links as well. Not only will it make your site more navigable, but it will also keep users on your site for a greater period of time. And when it’s done correctly, it will even help Google qualify the topic of focus for each post. But don’t go crazy with either type of linking – overdoing it could make it confusing for your visitors.
5. Bolstering Your Social Media Profiles
To date, we still really don’t have hard evidence that show whether social media engagement is genuinely a ranking signal for the Google algorithm. That said, we are aware that all of the social media giants are seen as authoritative sites in the Google rankings, and links to/from these sites do posses a certain degree of value.
And the more people that digest, like, and share your content will only drive more traffic to your website and increase your brand’s visibility. If you’re content is really high quality and engages your visitors, they’ll even do some of the work for you and share it with their friends as well – so long as you include social media buttons on your site.
Instead of letting your site go stale and losing your hard-earned organic rankings, remember to use these tips to maintain your spot in the SERPs. Most of these techniques and tips have ancillary benefits as well, such as driving more traffic to your site to grow your audience and scale your bottom line.
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