You’re a success story. You’ve achieved that coveted #1 spot in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your targeted keyword. Now, you can just sit back, bask in your glory, and watch the money pour in, right?
The fact of the matter is that you have to work hard to maintain your prestigious ranking just as you worked hard to get there in the first place. There is no such thing as a search engine optimization (SEO) effort that is “done.” Your SEO rankings will always require some level of maintenance so that you can keep what you tirelessly worked to achieve.
Maintain SEO Rankings, Watch a Video or Read the Full Post Below
Video – Maintain SEO Rankings – John Lincoln
Use Custom Google Analytics Intelligence Events to Track Traffic
You almost certainly know about Google Analytics, otherwise it’s not likely that you would have achieved a high rank on the SERPs. However, even the most experienced marketers have yet to penetrate the depths of the riches offered by that tool.
Google Analytics provides a feature known as Intelligence Events that allow you to monitor significant changes in your analytics. The tool will actually alert you, for example, if there’s been a spike in your traffic.
The feature also allows you to specify your own custom alerts. For example, you can configure it to notify you if your revenue changes significantly in one day.
The Intelligence Events tool is useful if you want to stay ranked because you can use it to proactively monitor your site and determine if there’s been a significant change in key metrics. If such a change has occurred, you can respond to it right away. For example, if you find that you’ve unexpectedly ranked very high for a series of related keywords, you can create more content for those keywords to give your site more prestige. On the other hand, if the tool alerts you that traffic for a keyword has dropped noticeably, you can find out what happened and take the appropriate action.
Remember, it’s likely that you’ll encounter unscrupulous competitors who don’t like the fact that you’ve ranked #1 for a specific keyword. Some of them could even try black hat SEO. Intelligence Events will help you spot these efforts early so that you can do something about them before it’s too late.
Keep up the Internal Linking
Now that you’ve got a post or two ranked very high for a specific keyword, one of the easiest ways to make sure it stays there is with some judicious internal linking. In other words: Link to your great content yourself.
Internal linking is one of the best ways to build link juice for a particular keyword. However, be sure that you don’t go overboard in the effort. If Google sees an overabundance of links on one page, that’s could look unnatural.
The best strategy is one that seems natural. Every time you’re producing new content and stumble across on opportunity to link back to the post that’s sitting at #1 for a keyword, do so. Also, mix up the anchor text so that you’re not always using the same word or phrase to link back to the post.
Pay Attention to Your Site Speed
Yes, your rankings are, in part, determined by your site speed.
It’s possible that part of the reason that you’re ranked well right now is because your site is lighting fast. However, if you add more plugins, widgets and more content, you could slow it down. If that happens, you might lose that top spot.
For starters, make sure that you’re using caching technology. That’s a great way to prevent reloads of common resources throughout your website. It will help speed up site load times.
Also, be sure that your images are optimized for websites. You might come across some beautiful images in your portfolio of stock photos, but they aren’t always optimized. If you have access to PhotoShop, that application lets you save images so that they’re optimized for the web.
Fortunately, Google Analytics, Webmaster tools and the Google page speed tool gives you information about your site speed. More than that, the Google page speed tool will also give you advice about how to speed up your site.
Give Your Site an “Authority” Persona
Another great way to maintain a high rank is to make sure that your site is an authority resource for the keyword that you’ve already ranked.
If you go to Google right now and type “buy books” in the search bar, your first non-ad result will be Amazon. Why? Years ago, that company established itself as the “go to” place to buy books online. They mentioned it in every ad, they promoted it in blogs and press releases, they built a business around it.
If you’ve ranked to the #1 spot for “blue widgets,” keep that spot by producing other content related to blue widgets. Write about the history of blue widgets. Write about the inventor of blue widgets. Write about the future of blue widgets.
When you produce a boatload of helpful content related to blue widgets, you’re establishing your site as an authority on the subject. Google will recognize that and reward you accordingly. Take a look at our site, we have written over 300 articles on search engine optimization.
Optimize Your Title and Meta Description
You might be at the point now where you’ve ranked at #1 because you’ve offered something unique. Your competitors could change that.
When competitors start trying to rank for the same keyword, they’re going to pull out all the stops to surpass you. You need to make sure that your link in the SERPs is much more clickable than theirs.
Start by analyzing your click-through-rate (CTR). Fortunately, Google Webmasters offers you a tool that shows you your CTR for specific keywords. If you notice the CTR for a keyword dropping over time, then you can be sure that Google is noticing it as well. Your rank might drop.
The trick here is to entice people to click your link in the SERPs so that you maintain a healthy CTR. You do that by optimizing your title and meta description.
You may have to do some testing in AdWords to see what works best for your site. However, the following words generally work well for clicks:
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Keep in mind that you’ve got a little more room in the meta description than you do in the title, so if you’ve got something really catchy that you’d like to say, do it there.
Increase Social Shares
Although it seems as though social shares won’t increase your rankings, there’s no doubt that they generate buzz and can give your site a reputation as an authority on a particular subject. That’s why it’s still a great idea to encourage social sharing.
Make sure that it’s extremely easy to share your content. In other words, present social share icons alongside your content in a way that nobody could possibly miss them. Offer them at the top and bottom of the article. Alternatively, present a floating bar with social icons that stays on the side of the page as the visitor scrolls down the article. Above all else, ensure that your social share icons work properly. There’s nothing that’s going to discourage social sharing more than icons that don’t put the title and link in the pop-up window or generate an error.
Also, don’t be shy about asking people to share your content. You can post a link to your content on Facebook with the caption “Please share and enjoy.” There are people who will share that link just because they were requested to do so.
Finally, it is worth a minimal investment to pay for ads on Twitter and Facebook. After all, people are known to share paid content just like they share non-paid content.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Once of the best ways to make your site “sticky” is to encourage user-generated content (UGC). This is, as the name implies, content created by visitors on your site. If often appears in the form of reviews or comments.
You use UGC as a means of building loyalty to your site. It’s often the case that people in a discussion about your content will come back just to continue the discussion by responding to a point that somebody else raised.
Also, people are always looking for reviews of products or services before they buy them. If you’re allowing people to offer reviews, you’re making it easy for your visitors to make an informed decision.
With UGC, you’ll give people more reasons to visit your site. As a result, you’ll have more visitors and establish your site as an authority in its niche. You will also have fresh content that will improve your rankings.
Keep up the Backlinking Efforts
You probably arrived at the coveted #1 spot because you made an effort to build backlinks. You shouldn’t stop just because you met your goal.
Just pretend that you never reached the top and keep looking for people who will happily offer backlinks to your site. Remember, avoid looking spammy. Keep everything natural, or the Great Google will hurt you.
You’ve rightfully earned your spot at the top of the Google SERPs. Now, use some due diligence and continued SEO efforts to keep that spot.
9. Watch your Rank Tracking Tools
When it comes to maintaining rankings for SEO, you are going to want to watch your keyword themes and top terms. Use a tool like SEM Rush to keep track of this data. If your visibility index for your keyword themes starts to slip, or you lose ground on top terms, use traditional SEO methods to drive them back up. Fresh content is always the easiest first step.
One more thing, keep in mind all websites need to move to https. If you haven’t done that, don’t be surprised if your competitors start passing you up. In addition, I really feel all sites should be going responsive.