SEO Is an Ongoing Investment — There Is No “Set It and Forget It”
Your website was built and optimized using SEO best practices and now someone has raised the issue of ongoing SEO. For many businesses, this is a confusing proposition. Why does my website need ongoing SEO if it already was optimized?
As with other aspects of marketing, there is no “set it and forget it” when it comes to digital initiatives such as SEO if you want to remain competitive. You wouldn’t air the same ad over and over, nor would you market today’s products and services using yesterday’s research. The web is dynamic, and your website needs to keep up with the latest algorithm changes, continue to build quality links, and feature fresh content to stay ahead of the competition.
Search Engines and Visitors Reward Fresh Content
When you created your website, you researched the best keywords for your business and developed and organized content in ways that made it searchable. During this process you probably discovered that most SEO best practices lead to improved search engine ranking as well as benefits for your web visitors. Clear content organized around major keyword topics is more easily understood by search engines and also leads to enhanced communication with readers.
Beyond clear language, search engines such as Google want to see new blogs, web pages, and other content. Sites that include press releases or meaningful blog posts help your site rank for relevant keywords and be rewarded for freshness of content. As you update content, you can use analytics data to adjust your keywords or add new ones to expand your ranking.
In addition to posts, regular updates to the website are important as well. Adding new pages over time and updating content on existing pages prevents your site from being static and shows it is a source of current information. Web visitors will appreciate your efforts to keep your site updated as well. Sites that have outdated product and service descriptions, old contact information, or incorrect hours of business will turn away customers.
Algorithms Continually Change
The algorithms used by Google and other search engines to deliver results to web users are continually changing. The fast pace of these updates means that SEO efforts that worked in the past may not be as effective now. With over 200 unique signals, it is important to evaluate your efforts on a regular basis. Freshness of content, link quality, broken links, URL path, and many other factors are used to determine ranking. Even if you are not aware of an announced update, a minor change to part of the algorithm can lead to ranking changes. Keeping your SEO efforts current also can help you to avoid Google penalties, which can be assigned after a manual review or as a result of an algorithmic change.
Rank Builds Over Time
Since there are many signals that affect ranking, keywords and content alone won’t secure a top position. A successful SEO strategy also incorporates off page techniques, which encompass activity and promotion beyond your website. One of the most crucial off page elements is the number and quality of backlinks that point to your web content. Google and other search engines take these links as signals that a web page contains high quality content that will be interesting and relevant to users. When a website links to your content, this is interpreted as a vote for your page, and the number of links is then used as a ranking factor by Google and other search engines.
While a number of techniques were used in the past to accumulate links, many of these are now considered black-hat SEO that will get your site penalized. Ongoing SEO activities should be focused on acquiring quality backlinks methodically over time from authority sites. Major news sites are considered authorities on information generally, while blog sites may be authorities in their niche market.
In order to remain effective, your website needs to be refreshed and aligned with today’s search engine preferences. Make sure to build competitor analysis into the regular evaluation of your efforts. When another company changes its activities, your ranking may very well be affected. A dynamic and responsive SEO plan is essential if you want to achieve high ranking and stay there.