If you rank for competitive keywords through using SEO, you have to work “every day” to acquire additional rankings to fortify them or defend their position.
If you relax at the top, you may very wake up and find out that someone has taken your spot or that the algorithm has found a suitable replacement for the conditions that support your temporal stint in the spotlight. It’s all about creating unique content and appeal that distinguishes your website above the rest.
In light of this, instead of theory or chit-chat, let’s just cut to the chase and get into some practical SEO tips that facilitate this process.
1) Meta tag Relevance – Without going overboard on this topic, try not to stuff your meta tags with irrelevant information.
If your page is about green widgets, then make sure you put that first in the title tag. You should also experiment with singular and plural versions of keyword modifiers to reinforces the topics continuity.
Example: Green Widgets – Make model “and hook”, or…
Green Widgets, (company) provides (affordable widgets in green, purple or blue).
In either case, a page can be returned as a relevant result from consistent keywords that overlap in the title, descriptions and body content. The more specific the title, the more likely your page will be considered as the finalist, granted you have additional on page (other pages) and off page SEO (sufficient inbound links) to support the content.
Also, being first is always nice, but having a hook ( a more compelling title or meta description) or the appropriate naming conventions can also increase click-throughs and conversion if your in the top 10.
So, don’t overlook the obvious and provide too much or redundant information in your tags or meta data, otherwise your page will be overlooked as irrelevant and nebulous.
2) Internal Link Mapping – observe prominence and location for links. Search engines weigh links in content higher than links in a sidebar or standalone without editorial context in the footer or otherwise. By creating a natural internal link profile, you increase your likelihood for obtaining a ranking in the SERPs.
If you have pages that you wish to provide precedence for, make sure they proportionately have the internal link flow to pull it off. One method is to look inside your Google Webmaster Tools section and look at the total number of internal links to each of your pages.
You can also download the table and observe with greater scrutiny the proportionate internal to external link ratio (which becomes increasingly more important with more competitive keywords).
If you know that Page A is optimized for a specific phrase and it is starving for internal or external links, map out other relevant pages and link back to it (preferably higher up on the page with content).
By finding 10-20 pages that Page A has continuity with and using them in tandem like Wikipedia does, your strengthen the continuity of your theme which is a precursor to generating genuine website authority.
Replicate this across multiple keywords and you will enjoy buoyancy for your keywords in the top 10 as the link cycles peak from inbound links is extended by reinforcing them internally.
3) Get rid of irrelevant pages – If you still have pages on your server taking up space, or pages that just didn’t make the cut, use 301 redirects in your .htaccess file to sacrifice them to a good cause (higher rankings).
If you have 10 pages that have age and authority but just not enough link flow to make them rise to the top, then redirect them to related pages so they can contribute to the cause and remove any dead weight you don’t need.
Keep each folder lean, supporting a topic and in line with sufficient inbound links to provide a layer of insurance for your relative search positions. Then, if you need more link weight in the future, you simply go back and add more content to funnel ranking weight around the site.
4) Exercise link diversity – You never know when a type of link will fall out of favor with search engines. Links from templates, blogrolls, off topic links, directory links, non-editorial links, etc. Search engines are becoming more savvy by the day due to competent programmers eliminating the loopholes that allow many sites to rse above the occasion unduly.
Search engines are studying co-citation of websites and topics, are looking at toolbar data from browsers, subscriber feeds and multiple other metrics to discern if your website is the real deal. The days of inflating relevance are coming to a close. As a result, the only solution is to build a better site than your competition.
5) Edit aged content for relevance – Trust Rank, Phrase Rank and other algorithms are making their mark on search. Its not just about fresh links and tons of content, you have to pay attention to the content that has already made it into the spotlight and revise it to maintain relevance.
Look for opportunities to link from aged content to bring up a new landing page as a double listing, ways to anchor pages together to fight for a common goal using the buddy system. New pages have a spike in link flow that wanes, older pages have bottomed out and continue to rise as time progresses.
If you can manage the two cycles simultaneously with your on page SEO, you will find you have more than enough power within your own website to provide hybrid rankings that have their own unique shelf life.
Some hybrids (from older pages supporting new content) can go for weeks or months without slipping in the SERPs (search engine result pages) and only require another fresh link from another internal page.
Never overlook your own site as the source of its own rankings. Relevant content creation, link mapping and relevant titles and tags can take a website on the fringes of obscurity and create a force to be reckoned with in search engines.
In closing, If you have a higher caliber of content, you win, and search engines win by showcasing it as a go to destination. Attract and facilitate links from a variety of sources unless you wish to see your rankings slip off the page from excess in one area alone.