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Defending your position as the first Google result

It takes a lot of effort to get to the top of the Google results, and if you’ve managed it, well done. Being number one (and you can see these searches in Google Search Console) can be a hugely valuable marketing asset. But if the terms for which you’re top are competitive, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. Here’s how you should be defending that position against competitors.

Google likes quality pages, so you can never have too much relevant content on the page. But it also likes ‘freshness’. There’s a ranking element of how long the page has been around, but equally, there’s an important element of how recently the page has been updated. So while Google will be impressed by a page which has done well since 2006, it won’t be as impressed if the page hasn’t changed in that time. You should make a diary note to improve the page content regularly.

It’s also good practice to check the site’s response time remains fast. There are several online services to measure this. BMON clients can ask us to do that for them; we’ve seen many websites steadily get slower over the years. This could be caused by a content management system beginning to struggle, or by reduced service levels from the website host. Whatever the case, response time is something to keep your eye on, because Google does build it into its ranking calculations.

Finally, don’t forget link building. It may be that good inbound links were what got your page to the top in the first place, but if you just stop getting links, you may be overtaken.

Oh, and one more thing. Competitors might not be able to outrank you in the natural search results, but they can quite simply buy the top spot on the page through Google AdWords. With many searches, all we now see without scrolling are advertisements, and I’ve seen the top ad bring in more visits than the top natural search result. It might not always be good value to bid for the top ad spot, especially if you already have the top natural search result, but sometimes there are so few clicks around that it can make a lot of sense to grab all of them.

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