Interesting question in the Warrior Forum from someone who had recently set up a new website and was worried because it had disappeared from the search results.
So here's the thing: initially, new sites often do appear quickly in the natural search results.
But then they bounce up and down a bit, going from maybe a top 20 position down to 10 pages back, and then back to the top 20 again.
After a while the results performance will settle down. Where it settles, though, is entirely up to you and how you manage your site, especially in those early months.
How to Achieve a More Consistent Search Results Placing
Here, then, are some suggestions on the best way to achieve a solid and more consistent search results placing:
1. Make sure all your on-site SEO is in good shape.
That means meta title, meta description, image alt and image title tags are all in place, H tags (down to h3) are properly used, relevant internal linking is in place and permalink/page URLs are optimised.
2. Do not stuff keywords or write for the search engines.
I thought people had got out of this habit ages ago, but I was asked to look at a newly developed site just last week which was written entirely for the search engines.
Don't do it! Write for people.
3. Don't buy links.
And don't outsource link building unless you're very sure the people you're outsourcing it to are not going to use spammy link-building practices.
Avoid link exchanges.
Build your links naturally (forum postings, guest posting, commenting on other blogs, etc.). It takes time but it's worth the effort.
4. Produce valuable content.
I hate that expression. It means completely different things to different people and it's thrown around all the time, but here's what I mean by it:
Write articles that are well researched, detailed, well structured, grammatically correct, spell-checked and take a position. If you write something based on your experience spill the details - all of them.
Valuable content means practical stuff that people can follow, step-by-step, to enable them to do something they could not do before - and do it properly.
Or stuff that provokes meaningful thought and discussion, and changes people's minds.
5. Make sure your site is well structured.
I wrote back here and here about how I use categories and tags in WordPress, and internal linking, to make my site as intuitive as possible to visitors.
If it's easy for people to find their way around your site, it will be easy for the search engines.
6. Focus on building up as much quality content as you can.
Whether it's articles, videos, audios or images, build up as much high quality (valuable!) content as you can. But beware! Don't burn yourself out.
You're better off writing 1 or 2 quality articles a week than 6 or 7 crappy ones. The emphasis must be on quality - there's enough rubbish online already without adding to it.
See point 4 above for what I mean by 'quality'.
7. Don't outsource your article writing.
Outsourcing your article writing is like giving away the core of your business.
In many cases people who take on article writing contracts are re-spinning articles they've already written, because that's how they scale their business.
The more that happens the worse the quality will be, and the less unique (and useful) the content on your site will be.
If you don't like writing, or aren't a good writer, use video or audio to deliver your content.
If you do outsource your writing restrict it to one person so the writing style remains consistent and gives your site a distinct voice.
And make sure they write good stuff.
Consider this: I've been a fan of Problogger for a long time, but about a year or so ago Darren Rowse took a decision to use guest posts to provide the majority of new content going forward.
He hired someone to edit guest post submissions and ensure the quality of the content remained high - but the blog's voice got diluted and, frankly, the quality of articles has dropped, despite the best efforts of his editor-in-chief.
Since there are 6,000 articles on that site now, and it does have a well established reputation, it's been able to sustain its momentum.
But it's living off its reputation, and that would have been a bad move for a new site.
As I wrote back here, search engine optimization is a lot different today than it was just a couple of years ago.
Google, in particular, is focusing a huge amount of resource on improving their ability to find and present high quality, detailed articles to searchers.
Google doesn't care about keywords. It cares about content.
So the best way to achieve better search results is to forget about the search engines.
Write for people. Concentrate on developing your site into a really good, high quality resource for information on your subject.