You’ve worked hard to reach the top spot on Google — now you have to defend your position. Columnist Daniel Faggella provides his advice for staying on top.
Generating a consistent source of website traffic is the foundation of every online business. If you don’t have visitors coming to your website, it’s impossible to convert them into prospects and loyal, long-term customers. When you establish yourself as an authority through the lens of Google, it will increase your visibility in search engine queries.
But what happens after you’ve earned yourself a top spot in Google search results pages?
Contrary to popular belief, ranking for particular keywords is only half the battle. The core tenets of SEO are constantly evolving, and marketers need to stay up to date with the latest trends.
Today, I am going to talk about how you can sustain the keywords for which you’ve worked so hard to achieve rankings. These strategies will also help safeguard you from any potential algorithm updates.
1. Update your site
This sounds intuitive, but it’s one of the most common mistakes in the internet marketing niche. Google takes into account both content quality and content freshness as part of its ranking algorithm, so keeping your site current is a great way to maintain your position.
Antiquated strategies such as “text only” articles can potentially hinder your search engine rankings. If you want to maintain your keywords, you should update your content by adding an assortment of videos and images to your articles. This will enhance the experience of your readers and entice other people to link to your site.
Take the time to improve the visual appeal of your brand. Optimizing the layout of your site will reduce bounce rates and increase the likelihood of your visitors engaging with your content.
2. Speed up your site
Site speed has long been a ranking factor in Google search, yet many websites still don’t load very fast — especially on mobile, where a majority of searches now take place. Keep in mind that there are over two million blogs posted each day, so if your website isn’t loading fast enough, your visitors will most likely resort to an alternative solution.
Google urges webmasters to get their page load time down to less than one second for mobile devices, which is very fast. However, even if you can’t get it that low, consider that every second you shave off of your page load time reduces page abandonment.
Fortunately, making your pages load faster shouldn’t require you to hire a tech expert in your niche. Below are three easy to implement steps that will improve the speed of your website:
- Switch to a faster, more reliable hosting service.
- Enable compression on all images on your website.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to increase download speeds.
If you’re still having issues with your loading speed, then you can also try out a tool called Google PageSpeed Insights, which will help identify the specific issues slowing down your website load time and suggest ways to fix them. You can read more about Google’s page speed suggestions here.
3. Expand your link building
One of the most common mistakes that marketers make is focusing on the quantity rather than the quality of their backlinks.
If you’ve ranked for a particular keyword, there’s no need to build excessive backlinks to that page. Google can detect if a site is gaining links at an unreasonable pace. Building links too quickly can be perceived as a red flag that can potentially get your website banned.
Your rankings can also drop if you build the majority of your links to point to one particular article. Google wants their users to be able to access relevant, useful content on your site.
If you want to maintain your keyword rank, then you should expand your inbound links to all the various pages on your site. This strategy will diversify your backlink profile and increase your overall website authority from Google’s perspective.
4. Outbound and internal links
As counterintuitive as it may sound, links within your site can be just as important as backlinks to your site. Sending outbound links to authority brands in your niche helps Google determine the relevancy of your website.
Always make sure that the external pages you’re linking to provide relevant, valuable content to your readers. For example, if you’re in the outdoor survival skills niche, then you probably shouldn’t link to a Harvard University home page. Although .edu links are often considered by SEOs to be valuable, the content wouldn’t be congruent to a brand centered around survival and protection.
Internal linking, whenever you link to related articles on your own website, is another useful strategy that will help maintain your keyword rankings. When done properly, internal linking will help search engines to better understand the importance and topical focus of each page. As a bonus, smart internal linking can also keep users on the site longer by giving them easier access to additional site content.
Similar to outbound links, you want to use internal linking in moderation. Don’t overdo it by adding a plethora of links to your existing article content.
5. Build your social media presence
There’s some ambiguity as to whether social media engagement is a ranking factor in search, directly or indirectly. However, it’s abundantly clear that search engines view each major social media platform as an authority brand. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all possess a high PageRank in Google.
Getting links from these networks will help Google determine the relevancy of your website. The more people like and share your content, the more visibility you’ll receive from these social media channels. As you continue to garner quality backlinks, it may help to boost and sustain your rankings over the long term.
Here are a few quick tips that you can use to increase your blog’s visibility on social media:
- Add social media share buttons to the sidebar of your articles.
- Use explicit calls to action in your content (e.g., “If you liked this content, be sure to share it by clicking this button here.”).
- Offer a free piece of content to your users in exchange for a social media share.
Search engine optimization is a long-term process that doesn’t generate results overnight. Typically, you need a few months before you start noticing the fruits of your SEO labor. Implementing the above five strategies will help you maintain your authority long after you’ve ranked for a particular keyword.