If you maintain an older, established site that has been existence for over ten years, you may be noticing that newer sites are supplanting your positions in the search results. Of course you may be curious as to why this is occurring. What factors are causing you to lose your treasured positions in the SERPs?

Matt Cutts recently created a video for Google webmasters to address the actions an established site can take to maintain its rankings.

Cutts points out, that at times, the webmasters of older sites can become complacent with regard to their site. They may fail to update it and refresh its content periodically. 

This is not an unusual occurrence, since webmasters are reluctant to change a site that has ranked well for an extended time period. They don’t want to do anything that could alter its favourable rankings. Consequently, the site runs the risk of becoming outdated, causing searchers to look for fresher sites. 

Cutts advises webmasters to examine their site anew. Quite often, older sites have not altered their site’s template or page layout for a number of years. These sites tend to appear stale, and older, which may be a turn-off to users. 

It Can Be Dangerous To Be Complacent 

Cutts warns webmasters not to rest on their laurels. Just because you have been ranked #1 in the SERPs for a long time, does not mean you will continue to enjoy that ranking. Newer, more agile sites that are offering their users a superior experience may supplant your site if you do not keep evolving and adapting with changing times. 

Quite often newer sites arise and claim the top search engine positions from older, well-established websites that failed to update their site and provide their users with the user experience they were expecting. 

You have to ensure that you are providing your users with best experience that is available in your niche. If your user experience does not match up well with that offered by newer sites, your visitors will eventually migrate to the new sites and leave your site far behind. 

There is not a specific algorithmic reason that provides newer sites with an advantage with respect to older sites.  Newer sites eclipse older sites by creating a superior user experience for site visitors. For instance, most new sites use a responsive design so that their sites work well on mobile devices. If an established site is not updated with a responsive design, it will be unable to compete with new sites, particularly in the fast growing mobile market. 

Bing has also weighed in on this issue. Duane Forrester of Bing also reminded webmasters that those that have enjoyed success in the SERPs in the past are not guaranteed of future success. 

The Need To Diversify 

Basing your site’s future on one tactic, such as social media, organic SEO, email marketing, or paid search may be courting disaster. The internet is very dynamic and things can change rapidly. One or several of these changes could adversely affect your site. If you are investing the majority of your time and effort in SEO, then it is unlikely that you are diversified. 

If your vertical or business concept suddenly becomes unfashionable, what will you do?  Or perhaps, it becomes increasingly lucrative so that your advertising costs skyrocket.  Does your business have the means of weathering these changes? 

Many internet businesses are very focused on a single approach or concept and when a sudden change occurs, they are dumbfounded to see that their traffic has vanished. 

Older Sites Must Evolve With The Times 

Times change and the internet is constantly evolving. User’s expectations from the web are constantly changing. Consequently your search engine marketing must change with the times. 

Business models that were sensible five years ago may not work so well going forward and tactics that were effective as little as three years ago may no longer be viable.  When marketing any type of site, regardless of its age, you must ensure that you are providing your users with the user experience they are seeking, while still protecting your site from a comprehensive SEO perspective.  This will include having high-quality original content that is frequently updated and ensuring that your older site does not appear stale. 

There is no single action you can take to ensure that your site ranks well in the SERPs. Search algorithms are complex and take many different factors into consideration.  In general, the best way to ensure that your site continues to rank well in the SERPs is to ensure that you are continually providing your site visitors with the user experience they expect.