I wrote an article and immediately after being indexed it ranked on page 1. Now it is #3 on page 1. It brings me about 50 visitors per day and it's about 700 words. I know the keywords that I wanted to target when I wrote the article, but I didn't expect it to rank so high so fast for those keywords. Honestly, I just lucked out. Now, I would really love to know:
How can I find more keywords like this? How can I predict where a page will rank on SERPs once it's published? How can I determine how tough the competition for the keyword is?
You're overlooking many things, not least of which is internal pagerank distribution. The article is well written and focused for sure to have been ranked #1 immediately however it's also benefiting from being linked to from your index page and category/archive pages if any. It's not buried deeply in the site, additionaly if you use any kind of "recently posted" widget to display your latest stuff somewhere... it's linked to from that and possibly any site reprinting your stuff via rss. It had a lot of instant links pointing to it from your best pages but those vanish as the article gets "pushed off the bottom by new articles".
In time as the article gets buried within your own internal links it will likely slip from #1 unless it gains lots of backlinks or is in a relatively non-competitive sector.
Writing lots of articles just like it will hasten it's drop from the prominent position on your site it now has which affects internal "weight" dramaticaly.
edit: you could counter balance the drop in weight by removing other links from the index I suppose but eventually you just run out of "juice" to go around. The trick is to keep the articles that bring in 1000+ visits a day linked from the index and reduce the number of other links to keep those strong until natural links build up and you can safely unlink them from the index. It's not as simple as that, hundreds of variables exist, but that is a very basic explanation.
Hope that helps.
[edited by: JS_Harris at 7:02 pm (utc) on Nov. 6, 2008]