If you’re interested in SEO for your business then a good feed to follow is Google Webmaster Help on YouTube.
The channel usually offers a few different people discussing different search issues, but the most interesting videos are the ones from Matt Cutts.
Matt is on Google’s search team. He’s also kind of the face of Google when it comes to organic search.
The videos are updated on a regular basis and do a good job of touching on the biggest questions webmasters or website owners or business owners have when it comes to search.
Maintaining Your Rankings Over Time
A recent video from Matt answered a question about maintaining rankings over time.
SEO has changed as Google as improved their system, but their intention has remained the same. They want to deliver the most relevant search results to their users.
This was a really great question. As Matt says, usually people are wondering how they can get new websites to rank, but it’s just as important to maintain your rankings over time.
Matt touched on a few important things in the video especially focusing on design and experience.
I’d like to expand on his ideas with a few steps for maintaining your rankings.
Step 1 – Continuous Design Improvements
This is the one that Matt touched on most in the video.
When talking with most people that own and manage websites they’re always talking about website launches. There’s nothing wrong with launching a new website or an updated website, but I think a better way to think about it is to think that your site is always evolving.
You should always look to make changes to your site all the time. Keep a designer on your team so you can change images, updated things and make little tweaks to always keep improving the site.
Taking the launch approach makes the changes too spread out and you can lose ground to the competition resulting in potential losses in rankings.
Step 2 – Continuous Experience Improvements
The design of your site is closely related to the experience. They’re not exactly the same, though, so we’re going to touch on this here.
Experience is the way visitors go through your site to reach your intended goals. If those goals are reached and your customers are happy, Google will recognize it and likely reward you with higher rankings or maintained rankings over time.
Always look at the processes on your website. Improve the experience. Increase the speed of the site with a better host. Things like that result in happier visitors and when Google recognizes that they usually reward it.
Step 3 – Fresh Content Strategy
Many websites have great content, but that content remains static over time.
People want fresh content and as a result Google wants fresh content too.
There are two parts to this.
First, you want an ongoing strategy for keeping your site updated, which a blog strategy can do. It keeps new content coming on to your site on a regular schedule.
Second, update your foundation-type content such as your pages or guides that you might have on the site. Refresh those every few months to make sure they are relevant with all the latest information.
Step 4 – Varying Content Types
This one is getting more important as time goes on. It used to be that text was great and it still is, but now people want more.
They want visual things like photos and images. They want infographics.
They also want video and audio. All these things make for a website with varying content types that are diverse enough to attract all kinds of different people with tastes for different content to your site.
Step 5 – Repurposed Content
Part of varying content is repurposed content. You can create a great blog post and cover the same topic on a video or turn a few blog posts into an interesting infographic.
The reason this works well is that different people enjoy different types of content. Some want to listen to a podcast. Others want to read a blog post on their phone while others want to watch a video on their iPad on the couch.
You can create new content for each channel or you can repurpose the same content for all channels.
Step 6 – Ongoing PR Strategy
These last two will go hand in hand, but they’re a little different.
A PR strategy is about doing things that get your brand in front of different audiences. Think of the new singer that has great songs, but needs to get people to listen to them. They go on tours. They open for other artists. They do radio interviews and TV interviews. They do all kinds of things to raise their PR profile.
That PR strategy helps raise your profile. You get more customers and you also get a higher public profile, which tells Google that you’re respected and trustworthy…and worthy of high rankings.
Step 7 – Industry Recognition
Recognition is also good for showing Google that they can trust you when it comes to your content. If you are winning awards and being recognized in your industry it shows that your brand is a good one and Google likes respected brands.
Maintaing your rankings is important if your business relies on organic search traffic for traffic and new customers.
Follow the steps above and avoid losing your rankings over time. It’s a lot of work to get there, but if you don’t keep up someone will pass you. It’s not about what you’ve done in the past with search as much as it’s about what you do in the future.