Have you worked hard to lift your site into the higher echelon of Google’s search rankings, only to see it gradually fall away again, despite your best efforts? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell why sites lose their hard-earned search rankings, even if site owners continue to add relevant, high-quality content. So what gives? Why do good sites slowly lose their ranking and what can be done about it?
Thankfully, there are several things that site owners can in response to a plummeting ranking, and all of them should be implemented if you want to maintain your coveted position on the first page of search results.
Ensure Your Site is as Fast as Possible
One reason for a falling ranking is raw speed. Faster sites are ranked higher by Google, and because users are turned off by delays, slow loading produces a double-whammy for your ranking.
Make sure all of your pages are as streamlined as possible, with loading times of less than one second if possible. Compress images and take out unnecessary elements. If this doesn’t work, it may be time to consider a new host. Do whatever is necessary to provide instant loading times for your site visitors.
Beef Up Your Inbound Links
Linking used to be absolutely central to SEO campaigns. It may have lost its luster somewhat, but you still need to have as many inbound links pointing toward your pages as possible. The trick is to ensure that they come from relevant, high-quality sites, not just random listings or comments pages.
You could secure a guest-blogging spot at an influential site, or comment on expert blogs. Writing complementary case studies of key clients can encourage them to link to your site, or you can create unique viral content, like infographics, that gains purchase elsewhere on the web.
Try to make sure the inbound links point to a variety of your pages as well, not just your landing page. This tells Google that your pages have broad relevance and reach, both gold-dust for ranking hunters.
Keep Your Content Fresh and Relevant
Relevance is SEO’s current buzzword, and for good reason. Google is trying to make its algorithm focus ruthlessly on content that is useful for web browsers, not just pages that are stuffed with keywords.
Freshness and relevance go together. Constantly update your pages, maintain a daily or weekly blog, add a Twitter feed to your main page, and mix videos and text to persuade search engine crawlers that your site is living, developing, and providing a great service to its visitors.
Perfect Your Internal Linking Strategy
Another way to make your site more SEO-friendly is by adding internal or outbound links. When you write a blog, try to add at least one link from that page to an authoritative source in your field. Don’t just link to an academic or blogger for the sake of it. Link to something they have written that truly relates to your own writing.
Add internal links as well (but don’t overdo it). This not only makes your pages seem more relevant to search engine bots but also makes it more usable for visitors and keeps them on the site longer, another ranking factor.
Fine Tune Your Social Media Channels
If your site is underperforming, social media is a good way to provide a popularity boost. Links from social media accounts on Twitter or Facebook are viewed by Google as “authority” sites, which add to your relevance score. Whenever you post a blog or launch new pages, tweet them and add them to your Facebook feed.
Your content might be less “shareable” than it could be, preventing it from having a major impact on social media. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add share buttons to your channels underneath every blog, and add a call-to-action for readers to share your content as well. When people start talking about your products or content, you will see a noticeable impact on your search engine ranking.
For many businesses, maintaining a prominent search engine ranking is a constant struggle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The task is made much easier when you strategically keep your content fresh, use inbound and outbound links, reach out to social media, and speed up your site. Without such a strategy, your ranking will slip no matter how hard you try.