Yes! You’ve made it to the first page of Google. It looks like your hard work and SEO strategy are finally paying off. But is that where the ranking battle ends? Once you’ve made it this far, do you still need SEO? The short answer is, “Yes.”

Unfortunately, SEO is a never-ending race. Just because you made it to the first page doesn’t mean you get to stop running. You have to maintain your pace, and even push further, to overtake the few others who are ahead of you. If you want to maintain your rankings, here are some things you need to do to keep up your SEO strategy.

1. Get Ahead of Competition

Begin by assessing your current competition. If you aren’t the first result on the list, you still have a few competitors to beat. If you are, there are hundreds of competitors vying for your spot, so you must protect it. If you cease maintaining your SEO services, you’re likely to lose your position as your competitors take over.

The best way to keep your position as long as possible is to continually monitor both your position and your competitors’ positions to ensure that you’re staying a cut above the rest. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to keep an eye on the competition’s current ranking status and data, not just your own. For more on how to get ahead of the competition, read this article from Search Engine Watch.

2. Stay Abreast of Algorithm Updates

The whole point of search engines is not to benefit your company, but to benefit the searchers. To do this, Google and other search engines have created algorithms that factor in features that searchers love. This enables search engines to deliver more relevant content to their searchers, and it rewards, with higher rankings, the companies who have searcher-friendly features. For this reason, it’s integral to keep up with these algorithm updates.

Google’s most recent algorithm update mandates that websites be mobile-friendly. Websites that haven’t been optimized to work quickly and look good on a small screen will receive penalties, lowering their rankings.

Other updates worth mentioning:

  • Hummingbird: Emphasizes keyword phrases rather than single keywords.

  • Panda: Penalizes websites with poor quality or duplicated content.

  • Penguin: Penalizes websites with spam links.

  • Pigeon: Emphasizes more accurate local search results.

  • Payday: Emphasizes cleaning up spam queries.

  • Pirate: Protects from copyright infringement.

  • Exact Match Domain: Prevents websites from ranking well just because a query keyword is in the domain name.

  • Top Heavy: Prevents websites from ranking based on the number of ads they display on the top of their website.

Keeping up with these updates and future ones will significantly improve your chances of staying ahead of competitors.

3. Continue Delivering Fresh Content

One of the most important elements of Google’s algorithm, according to the Panda update, is having current and relevant content on your website. The algorithm particularly dislikes content taken from content mills, which do not protect the rights of the content they offer. This often leads to duplicated content, and companies with duplicated content on their websites will receive drops in rankings.

But, if you’ve made it to the top of Search Engine Results, you probably know all of that. Now, it’s up to you to continue to avoid the content mills, and crank out high-quality content that your readers will share across social media. Keeping up with fresh, quality content is one of the most important things you can do to keep your position.

4. Analyze Traffic and Data

Now that you’re on the first page, your traffic and data analysis is more important than ever. You can use the information found through Google Webmaster Tools, or other analysis tools, to avert problems before they happen and keep things running smoothly.

As you analyze the data, you can see what you have done to cause you to rank well. You can also see where you are projected to fall short, and take preventative action to rectify the problem. Your traffic and search engine data are your biggest allies when it comes to maintaining your first page position.

5. Use New Keywords and Links

A large part of making it to the top of search engine results is researching and using the right keywords to get you there. The strategy isn’t much different once you get there. Continue to figure out which keywords are used by those who would be interested in using your site.

As mentioned earlier, also monitor which keywords your competitors use, and be sure you’re using the same ones (and more). In order to avoid being knocked out by close competitors, it’s important to use as many relevant keywords as possible, scattered sparsely throughout your blog’s content.

6. Constantly Revamp Strategies

Finally, never be satisfied with your current SEO strategy. Even if it’s the most successful strategy you’ve ever used, it shouldn’t be the one you use forever. Search results and Internet content are always changing, and online marketing with them. If you get stuck using the same strategy you were using when you got to the top of search results, you won’t stay there very long.

Continue to revamp your strategy, and come up with new and improved ways to keep your company at the top of the list. For example, before Google announced that they’d be giving more ranking credit to websites that are mobile-friendly, many companies didn’t have mobile-friendly capabilities as part of their strategy. When the algorithm update hit, they suffered greatly. As you can see, changing your strategy to meet the current demands of online marketing is your best bet for retaining your position. Keeping up with the never-ending race is tiring, but if you’re patient and work hard, you’ll be sure to see results!