SEO rankings are a subject of obsession for most business owners, and for good reason. Where you rank on SERPs determines how many people see and find your business through organic search. And organic leads are the holy grail. Why? You don’t have to pay for them individually as you would with leads coming from PPC and other forms of paid advertising. Instead, you invest in great SEO for your website, and watch as floods of leads find you all by themselves.

You still need to invest in your SEO, but the return on investment is far higher because you’re gaining a potentially infinite number of leads, rather than spending a fixed amount on a single lead and having to spend again for the next lead, and the next, and the next.

PPC is great when you have no organic SEO presence, but it’s not the most cost efficient or effective way of driving traffic, leads and sales to your site. What is? SEO. And your SEO rankings are critical to ensuring you don’t just get a trickle of traffic here and there, but enjoy a consistent flow of leads that is sustainable and grows over time.

Here’s why SEO ranking is a perpetual motion machine with endless potential for growth…

Everything You Need To Know About Rankings

Before I start prattling about how awesome it is when you start ranking for things, let’s be completely clear on what is meant by SEO rankings. In a nutshell, rankings in an SEO context refer to where your website appears on search engine results pages (SERPs).

As a whole, SEO is a complex subject that takes years to master, but there are some basic tenets it’s useful for any business owner to understand, so they can fully appreciate the value of this form of marketing.

To that end, what follows is a bit of a crash course on ranking your site on SERPs, the various factors that will impact it, and why it’s so important. Once we’re clear on that, I’ll dive into the whole perpetual motion and growth goodness.

SEO Rankings Differ Depending On The Search Engine

While we generally refer to Google as the ubiquitous search engine, it’s not actually alone. Sure, it’s the most well known, it’s the most popular, and it’s certainly the leader when it comes to search, but there are others out there. One thing to bear in mind is that your SEO ranking will vary depending on the search engine. 

So, you might be ranking #1 for something on Google, but if you hop on over to Yahoo or Bing or DuckDuckGo (yep, really a thing), you may find you’re ranking a little lower down the first page. You may not even be on the first page. Likewise what you don’t rank well for on Google you may rank highly for on other search engines.

The reason for this is simple: each search engine has its own algorithm that’s used to calculate where a page ranks for terms. 

You’ll also find that, even within Google, your rankings can vary depending on the country you’re in and the language used. If you’re only operating in one country this isn’t an issue; pay attention to where you rank in your native country. But if you’re an international company or work with clients around the globe, you might want to monitor your rankings separately for different countries and languages.

Why SEO Ranking Is A Perpetual Motion Machine With Endless Growth Potential

What Can Influence SEO Rankings?

If you’re trying to figure out how search engines decided where to rank content, brace yourself. While it used to be a fairly simple system based on keywords Google (and the various other search engines) quickly realised people were gaming the system by stuffing in keywords as much as humanly possible, leaving the quality of the content shit. Since the only objective of a search engine is to show searchers the best possible answer to their query, the algorithms evolved, and now rank content based on a myriad of factors. Most of these factors revolve around two core questions: how relevant the content is to the search term, and the quality of the user experience while viewing the content (including whether or not the content itself is authoritative and high value). 

While the algorithms are extremely complex and there are nuances to them that nobody understands outside the inner circle of Google (or whichever search engine you’re looking at), there are certain factors we are aware of that influence your SEO rankings. How much weight is given to each of these factors is another closely guarded secret and not publicly disclosed. You can, however, effectively ensure your content ranks higher by systematically improving all these areas:

  • Your sitemap and internal linking.
  • The number of backlinks to your website (side bar, these need to be good, healthy links!).
  • Your use of keywords in text, including the body of the content and metadata (titles, meta description, alt text etc.).
  • Optimising content for terms relevant to the topic, based on other content on the same topic e.g. using LSI terms, creating topic clusters, WDF*IDF (‘Within document frequency*Inverse document frequency’, essentially how often relevant terms are used within content compared to other content on the same topic).
  • Your URL structure
  • Your website’s domain authority and trust.
  • Website speed and page load time.
  • How much time users spend on site as well as bounce rate (how long a user remains on site before returning to SERPs).
  • Click through rate (CTR) on SERPs.

Additional factors include things like how up-to-date a piece of content is, overall page traffic, authorship, etc. 

Why SEO Ranking Is A Perpetual Motion Machine With Endless Growth Potential

The Perpetual Motion Machine Created By SEO Rankings

Right, now we’re clear on exactly what we mean by SEO rankings and how they’re determined, here’s the part you actually care about: the perpetual motion machine that is SEO. It’s like some kind of magical steampunk device.

What on earth am I babbling about? Well, physics…kinda. Perpetual motion describes the motion of bodies continuing eternally in an unperturbed system. The notion of a perpetual motion machine is basically a hypothetical idea that something can be created that works forever without needing to be refuelled.

While physicists have yet to actually invent such a machine the benefits are obvious: if you could create a machine capable of heating your house indefinitely without having to feed it any kind of energy you’d save a fortune. Not only that, the environment would be very happy we’d stopped burning it to create heat and various other forms of energy.

But I digress. The point is the creation of a system that does what you need it to do, and continues to do just that, without you having to constantly put more into it.

PPC and paid advertising, as I’ve said, requires you to pay every time you want your add to be seen or clicked. SEO, on the other hand, doesn’t require you to pay to send traffic to your content. Your content instead draws traffic to itself.

Now, an effective SEO strategy requires ongoing content creation and maintenance of your website. So in that sense, you SEO as a whole needs to be ‘fuelled’ in order to continue. However, you’ll find that once you have content that ranks, it will continue to rank – and in fact rise in the ranks – over time without you having to do much.

You see, while there are plenty of factors considered by the algorithms when determining ranking, age is one of them. And it works in your favour; the longer your content is live, the better it will rank.

Now, this is even more true when you’re doing ongoing work to ensure it, but even when you’re not, even when you completely abandon your website for a year or more, the content and work you created will still be attracting traffic.

It will continue attracting traffic as long as it exists, even if you never look at the site again.

Attracting Traffic With Zero Effort

The best example I can give you of this is my own site (this one you’re on right now). A while ago I took a job as Head of Marketing at a digital agency for a while and it took over my whole life somewhat. There was no time for anything, least of all keeping this site updated. Despite that, a year or so after I completely abandoned it, the site was still getting regular traffic and leads. Without me doing a thing to promote the site, I still gained several new clients through it each year I was working at that agency. One of those clients alone was worth over £100K in revenue.

In my absence, my website’s SEO rankings for terms relating to health and wellness writing had continued to attract traffic, and some of that traffic had converted into leads.

All without me doing a thing. SEO never dies. When your site ranks for valuable keywords it becomes a perpetual motion machine consistently sending you traffic and leads.

There is nothing more valuable to a business than that. Imagine how powerful it is when you continually work on maintaining and improving those rankings.

Why SEO Ranking Is A Perpetual Motion Machine With Endless Growth Potential

Good Rankings Drive Great Traffic

And of course this is the whole point of SEO. The driving force behind any SEO strategy is to gain and maintain good rankings in the SERPs for terms that will drive as much organic search to your website as possible. The more organic traffic you get, the more leads you get that you didn’t have to pay for, the more profit you make.

The higher up the SERPs your content ranks, the greater the chances users will click on it and land on your website. This is why there’s a direct correlation between rankings and traffic; when your rankings go up you also see an increase in traffic. 

That correlation is at its highest when you’re looking at the top tier results on a SERP – the result in spots 1, 2 and 3. So, the higher you rank for a search term, the more traffic you’ll receive as a result. Not only that, the better quality that traffic will be (assuming you’ve done a good job of optimising for relevant search terms). 

If the Google gods have deemed your content to be relevant enough to warrant one of the top spots, and you’ve optimised for high intent terms, you’re in for a lot of really great traffic. High intent terms (in case you don’t know) are search terms used in the moment a person is ready to take the specific action you want them to take. 

So, if you want them to buy a thingamabob from your site,  you want to optimise for the specific terms people use when they’re ready to buy that exact type of thingamabob. Often businesses end up optimising for terms that relate to the thingamabob, but are searched by people who don’t know what it is, and are curious, or who may want to buy one further down the line but aren’t interested yet. While there’s benefit to ranking or these terms as they may result in sales at some undefined point in the future, what you really want – and what makes great traffic – is attracting people who are already to take the action and buy the damn thing. 

Using Rankings To Monitor Performance

At the end of the day your SEO rankings serve a vital function: driving traffic. But they also form a vital metric that gives you a means of monitoring how well your website – and specifically your SEO and content – is performing.

SEO is fabulous for its ability to perpetually drive traffic to your site with little to no effort. But before you hand the fate of your business’ marketing over to the perpetual motion machine that is SEO please bear in mind that abandoning it completely may not be the best plan. Like I said, rankings are a great metric for monitoring performance. If you expect your website to perform, you first need to get it to a stage it is ranking highly for things – those top three spots are the most valuable! You also need to maintain – if nothing else – your monitoring of your rankings.

That way, when you start to drop (and you will if you stop working on things) you’ll be aware enough to know what needs doing to ‘top up’ your rankings.

This can be as simple as updating a blog post when it starts to slip down the ranks. Or it might mean investing more in ongoing content creation. It will depend on where you’re ranking and what you’re trying to rank for.

Just keep an eye on those numbers. It’s a lot of effort to get a site ranking well, and you don’t want all that to go to waste by failing to maintain your rankings.

Realistically, for your website to be as effective as possible you need to put consistent work and attention in to maintain it. That idea of a perpetual motion machine is, after all, theoretical – nobody’s been able to actually do it yet! A monthly audit of your site to pick up on any issues that have arisen will allow you to fix problems before they affect your rankings. Keeping your ranking content regularly updated will ensure those rankings don’t slip. And adding fresh, regular content will constantly give those hungry SERPs more things to rank you for.

Just remember, whatever you’re investing in your SEO comes back to you again and again and again. It’s not just a one shot deal. The same cannot be said of pretty much every other form of marketing. 

If your website isn’t currently ranking so well and you’re looking for ways to improve your SEO rankings get in touch. I’m not just a copywriter, I’m also an SEO expert and would be happy to run a courtesy audit to see where you’re up to and what you need to do to get higher up those SERPs. And (naturally), I can also pen all the content you need to boost your site.