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December 12, 2008

SERP Survival Tips to Avoid Ranking Predators

Since keyword positioning can make or break a business, surviving algorithmic hiccups through SEO defense is the first step in securing long-term visibility and survival for your keywords.

Ensuring your website can survive a Google shakedown (relevance audit) is paramount if you have ever seen one or a series of your main keywords responsible for 40% or more of your traffic take a temporary hiatus.

With the various types of ranking predators (your competition) looking to siphon your traffic at a moments notice, relevance is the prize and those who amass hordes of content or links can sway the algorithm through the fresh content or link factor.

Attention is market share online and once that attention is acquired through devouring keywords, your site has to perform to maintain its position. Click through percentages, user engagement time, rss popularity, bounce rates and multiples of algorithmic diversity are measured to determine which sites gain authority and which are essentially brushed under the rug for specific keywords and phrases.

Just getting in the top 10 is a feat for most competitive phrases, staying there requires that you constantly reinforce and fortify key relevance points that pertain to the topic or market.

Measuring Performance

There are essentially two kinds of keywords, keywords that people actually click that drive relevant traffic to your site and keywords that do not much like the analogy “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, will it make a sound”.

Keywords that do not deliver traffic or worth to your website are essentially inert, but it is easy for a site to be pigeonholed or typecast due to not fighting for anything further up the food chain.

If you cannot remember the last time you added a page, tweaked a few internal links or revised meta data for your content, then chances are you either don’t have real competition for those phrases or your position is in jeopardy from a ranking predator.

Remember most search engines are showing cached data a month to six weeks old. So, just because you are here today, does not mean your pages will survive a shift in prominence or relevance for other key indicators. Any keyword could potentially slip or rise based on which PHD’s formula gets to dominate others in Google’s intricate blend of layers that determine SERP position.

SERP Survival Tips to Avoid Ranking Predators:

1) Know Your Enemy – Comfort, Laziness, Ignorance or Fear. Engage any one of them and your website becomes a fossil and goes on display beyond page four in search engines where only loyal employees would tread to find it for an occasional click.

2) Keep Content Fresh – Nothing like a fresh ping from your server to a search engine spider to keep you in the game. Creating a post a day or a white paper a week will do the job.

If you are an expert in your field, then surely comprising a gem of sorts that gives back to the industry responsible for paying your bills every month is not too much to ask. If you don’t have the time, then find a writer who specializes in your topic.

The value of content creation and fortification through internal linking is currency for market share and attention, not to mention each keyword co-occurrence or phrase can serve as an anchor point for rankings.

3) Build links – Before you even look outside of your own site for support, use blogs or RSS Feeds for SEO value.

Getting into the search engines’ index is the original objective of new pages, after that, aging your pages with fervor is the next objective so they can augment other topically related pages as hub pages to support your key landing pages.

Think of each page as a mini-site, rankings are by the page, not by the site, so it is possible to acquire more than one position on a page. Relevant titles, relevant internal links and relevant external links (per page as well as site wide) matter.

Search engines reward great information, so, once you establish a foothold for a series of related keywords, sometimes just blogging about a topic or mentioning it every 3-4 weeks is enough to keep your collective pages alive rising and defending themselves in the SERPs (search engine result pages) with SEO defense until website authority kicks in.

Jeffrey Smith is an active internet marketing optimization strategist, consultant and the founder of Seo Design Solutions Seo Company He has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and fresh marketing strategies to individuals involved in online business.

6 Responses to “SERP Survival Tips to Avoid Ranking Predators

    avatar webmaster forum says:

    Excellent post. Working constant getting links from related sites do help big time staying on top of this game. From my experience I been able to stay on top 7 for a few very competitive keywords following the methods you mentioned.

    Yeah, something like this happened to me a few months ago. After I slowed down on making new content and started relying on just a few places to get bookmarked links, my rankings suddenly tanked and I had serious problems getting new posts indexed properly and promptly.

    After writing a bunch of new content and getting a lot of links from new domains, everything quickly shot back to where it was before and in some cases higher.

    I guess the moral of the story is to never be content with your rankings today because they could be gone tomorrow without serious follow-up work.

    Thanks for reading the post. This is aimed at John and Todd’s comments.

    Social bookmarks are fine, but they are only one line of link insurance.

    They are great if you need them, but fresh posts build inroads with search engines (like hash marks). Once they find your site relevant, they will visit within minutes of posting once enough authority is there, which is always a plus.

    Also, the benefit of getting spidered and indexed quickly is, if someone scrapes your content, you will be quoted as the original source according to the time-stamp on the post.

    At Todd: If you copy modify and paste, this is just sphining the original.

    If more than 17% remains unchanged, you could flag a search engine and get dinged with a duplicate content filter. Search engines grab information in small blocks of text known as shingles, not to mention it can assemble and cross reference them in non linear ways.

    The bottom line is, you are better off starting fresh or having a copywriter write content which you can always set up for release over time.

    3 posts a week will keep you in the game, 5 is even better, but yes, quality and originality do matter since search engines can be the most fussy readers we know.

    avatar Todd Valuable Links says:

    The question is how to “keep content fresh”. If we don’t have enough time, can we just copy, modify and paste?

    avatar IBSGG BLOG » Blog Archive » SERP Survival Tips to Avoid Ranking Predators says:

    […] SERP Survival Tips to Avoid Ranking Predators […]

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