The short answer? Forever. Never stop.
We know you need more than that though. We understand SEO is an expense. It’s difficult to justify when tangible results are hard to achieve; especially when every SEO you speak to says the same thing over and over again, “SEO takes time.” But we promise it’s worth it. Even as professionals, our own site took years to reach the first page for our desired keywords. But now that we’re here, we’re not stopping now.
It might seem like a long road to getting your keywords to the first page, and even longer when you’re trying to reach that first position. But once you land there, if you really want to shoot yourself in the foot, you pull the plug on SEO. It’s not like you’ve landed in that first spot and can say to Google, “Alright, show’s over, everyone can go home.” You have to hold that spot and that becomes difficult to do when it’s coveted and your competition is after you. It’s like McDonalds hoping that that one commercial they aired back in ‘93 was impactful enough to persuade consumers to continue to buy today.
We often forget that Google itself is a business. It simply wants users to return to its search engine, it’s how they make their money. They don’t care about your rankings, not even ours. They want the best for their users and they want to provide the most useful, qualified results for their users’ queries. So sometimes, Google might find that you’re the best top result now, but maybe they’ll try out number 2 or number 3 on for size. Or maybe number 3 just updated their site with some fresh, new content; what user won’t love that? Google wants to keep providing up-to-date information and businesses/sites that know what they’re talking about to its users. So keeping that number 1 spot isn’t as easy as landing it and saying goodbye to your SEO. You have to work to hold it – you’re up against Google and your competition.
In regards to competition, it’s never safe to assume that your competition isn’t doing SEO or simply, you don’t have competition. Even if it’s not direct competition to your business in the traditional sense, if it’s showing up for the same keyword – it’s competition. Even big brand names like Yelp or Nike can be your competition. It’s best to put your efforts towards competition that you know that you can beat (you’ll never beat Nike, unless Adidas, if you’re reading this, hit us up). With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with ranking second underneath that big brand. We call that the ‘second first.’ Some users want to specifically bypass the big brand, so you can treat the second position as the ‘second first.’ No matter who the competitor is, you’ll need to remain consistent for that first or ‘second first’ position.
How Do I Stay at the Top of Google?
Consistency is key in a lot of things, but especially SEO. It might seem easy on the wallet to pull back on SEO once you’ve reached the top and readdress when things start to slip. But like we said earlier, SEO takes time. So if you slip, it’ll take some time to get back up there. It’s best to remain consistent with your SEO – aside from trying to climb back up, the SEO best practices, algorithms, industry standards, etc. continue to change daily. We don’t do SEO the same way we did back in 2010. We don’t even do it the same way we did back in 2020 (that’s a year ago). Even being in tip-top shape this year doesn’t mean you will be next year. It’s best to team up with professionals to assure your site is up-to-date in all of Google’s demands they don’t outwardly demand.
When Google has a new algorithm update, it doesn’t politely email every business owner and SEO agency in its trillions-tall index that it’s making some inconvenient changes and you should buckle up. Nor does it tell you how to combat those changes. Sometimes it’s something tiny that might be a blip on your ranking radar and sometimes it’s such a big algorithm change that it completely knocks you out of the first ten pages. We don’t get the luxury of any forewarning from Google itself, so you’ll need an SEO or team on standby to start digging into what’s going to protect your site from pesky algorithms or even more importantly, get you back to ranking and gaining leads.
Earlier, we mentioned fresh content on the site. We know you’ve heard the term “content is king” but it’s really true. At least during these days in SEO. And it’s become more and more important to SEO as the years go on. Remember, Google wants loads of relevant information to present to its users. If you haven’t brushed off that article about the top 5 ways to use your beeper, Google probably doesn’t want to put you at the top. Users want quick, relevant information that’s going to answer their questions or get them what they need in the click of a mouse. Consistently adding new content to the site and revisiting old content will keep you top-of-mind in Google’s eyes and it shows that you’re a business that cares about being relevant. Nobody wants to rely on a business that hasn’t seemed to care about being the industry leader in the last 6 years – and Google doesn’t want to serve that to you as a user.
Of course, there’s more to SEO than just content on the site. There’s plenty of opportunity off-site that’s going to keep you credible and the best choice for the first position in Google’s eyes. Nearly every SEO is going to do some sort of back linking. This is our way of showing Google, “You want credible? You want trusted? You want continually trusted? Here’s a source that proves that to you.” By linking from one credible site to yours, we’re showing Google you’re trusted at this moment in time by this credible source. If you get one good link and call it a day, sure, it remembers that one site said that one nice thing about you, but that’s not enough to keep you in Google’s good graces forever. Consistent link building is a great way to tell Google, time and time again, that other credible resources think you are too.
Link building isn’t as easy as heading to a link farm and buying up whatever your budget can afford like you could in 2006. Google’s a multi-billion dollar business, it has the financial resources to be as smart as it is. It knows when you’re buying up links for your SEO and when a credible site is actually taking some time out of its agenda to praise you via link building. These quality opportunities aren’t like picking up produce at the grocery store. It takes time, networking, and research to find these types of credible resources. So while it might seem like one or two quality links will hold you over and you can cut your SEO budget, you need to keep your backlink portfolio consistently updated with the help of your SEO team.
Do I have to do the same thing forever if my SEO should never stop?
Absolutely not! There are plenty of other opportunities to cast the net wider while maintaining SEO for those top positions. We know search trends are exactly that, trends. Sometimes, search volumes can change. Once was what a huge keyword for you might dwindle over time. Sure, you still want to be first because there’s still opportunity, but investing the same to hold that keyword just doesn’t feel right. You can cover many different keyword strategies when doing SEO, as long as you have a good foundation built. As an SEO team, we love to explore additional keywords and search trends. We know what the most searched keyword is that will bring you the most relevant business but we can find some other opportunities as well. Luckily, when you start off with the most searched, you’re starting with the most difficult and competitive keywords; so making additions to your keyword portfolio is usually quicker and easier to rank for. This typically means longer-tailed keywords. It’s safe to assume that the keyword “how to rent a dumpster” is going to get less search than just “dumpster rental,” but we know that longer-tailed keyword still has some volume.
A great way to target these longer-tailed keywords is through blogs. We’ve written an entirely different blog about creating blogs to get ranked and generate traffic that you can take a look at to learn more. Answering a question via blog is a great way to bring this type of longer-tailed traffic into your site.
Another great way to utilize your SEO budget while maintaining your first page rankings is to look ahead. Do you have any new products or services coming to play? Perhaps there’s a blossoming industry term that doesn’t get loads of search now but you predict it will in the future. Remember, SEO takes time. So it’ll take time to rank these new endeavors, no matter how obscure your new product is or that industry term might be. You can still build the foundation for new keyword opportunities while maintaining the old. The best part about SEO is that it’s done on a domain level. Meaning, if you dedicate an entire page to this new term or product, it already has a ‘boost’ because you’ve been doing SEO this whole time for your primary keyword strategy.
So SEO really is a long-term play?
It sure is. We understand the want to save a couple of dollars once you’ve reached your goals but the fact of the matter is, if you save those few dollars now by quitting your SEO efforts, you might lose out on many more dollars because you’ve lost your ranking and thus, your leads. It’s not easy to keep up with SEO, trust us, we know. But it’s well worth the curveballs Google and your competition throw our way. Organic leads are the least expensive leads you’ll get next to referrals. Organic traffic can create a steady stream of these nearly-free leads, but your SEO needs to hold steady as well.
Nowadays, with all of the online resources, dropshipping tools, and more, anyone can create a business. And a business’ first usual spot to get noticed is online. Competition is consistently cropping up – we advise you to not expect it doesn’t.
Google’s algorithms will always make uninvited appearances and they will probably increase the frequency of their drop-ins as time goes on. With each algorithm that goes un-optimized for, your rankings slip further and further from the first page.
There is always opportunity to cast your SEO net wider, so why stop now? Blogging, anticipating market trends, and keyword variations are a great way to utilize your SEO budget and resources flexibly while working towards maintaining the rankings you worked so hard for.
Feel free to reach out to any of our analysts to ask about your SEO or starting SEO today. We’re in it for the long haul if you are. With an airtight strategy and foresight to expand, we can not only build great foundation for your site but continue to build upon that, making sure your site is ready to be on the first page for a long time!