When you create quality content on your website, sometimes you may notice that the page ranks on the first page of Google right away. If you are a blogger, a content curator or a webmaster, I am sure you have the habit of Googling your own posts, to check to see whether they are ranked for targeted keywords on Google search results.
When you publish a new blog post or add a new page, you might see that the page ranks on the first page of Google for the first 2-3 weeks. Eventually, the rankings drop and the page doesn’t rank at all. This may sound very filmsy but thats how it is, you can never predict which page is going to rank well and which page is not going to rank.
Google engineer Matt Cutts explains in a video why new pages rank well in Google search when they are fresh and why their rankings fall over the course of time. The question which was asked is given below:
When we create a new landing page with quality content, Google ranks that page on the top 30-50 for targeted keywords. Then why does the rank get decreased after 2-3 weeks? If the pages didn’t have required quality, then why did it get ranked in the first week?
Matt explains that when Google finds new content on a website, it has limited information about the page it just crawled. If the content is related to a breaking news, recent event or something which has happened very recently, Google has very meager information on finding the original source of the news or information. Hence, new pages tend to rank higher for the first few days or weeks.
Eventually, what happens is that Google algorithms figures out additional signals and more pages revolving around that specific topic, news or story. As more and more pages are crawled, more information is processed and more signals are taken into account, the rankings change over the course of time.
Moreover, when you first publish a piece of content, it will have no traction to being with. No backlinks, no social mentions, no votes on Google Plus and so forth. However, if your content is really unique in nature and offers value, it should gain some traction over the course of time. For the bare minimum, it should gain some social signals, some backlinks and draw some positive signals towards it. Hence, immediately after a new content is posted, it is ranked on the top of search results so as to see how users react to your content, whether they like it or not, whether they link to it or share it with their friends. If your content is engaging and adds value, it should satisfy Google users (keep in mind that Google has ways to determine whether their users are happy or not).
If their users are happy, it is more likely that your page will retain its rank, there won’t be much turbulence. However, if your page does not satisfy Google users, they do not share it with their friends or they hit the back button in the browser and repeat the same search on Google; your page fails to qualify in the “user engagement” level. Hence, over the course of time, the ranking of a new page may drop.
There can be other factors e.g algorithmic updates, competition and other things but the important thing to note here is that just becaue a new page ranks on the first page of Google in the first couple of weeks, does not guarantee that it will continue to rank there. Even if your page is better than competitiors, you need to build traction, user engagement and social signals – if you want to retain its rank.
It goes without saying that you should do the things on your side to ensure that the page you want to rank higher on Google search, retains its rank. Here are a few things you can do from your side:
1. Build sister pages surrounding the main page. Link to the main page from your sister pages.
Example – if you have a page on “blue widgets” which was doing well in Google search, curate more content around blue widgets and interlink the pages.
2. Ensure your target page wins links over the course of time. Links won over the course of time are strong signals towards its authority.
3. Keep updating the page every once in a while, keep expanding it and adding more useful juice to it so that will keep your visitors coming for more.
4. If nothing works, go re-invent the wheel from scratch. If you have lost the rankings, their is nothing much you can do other than create a new page and try to make it rank.