SEO, or search engine optimization, is absolutely crucial for any company today. Statistics indicate nearly 90% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and the top results receive more than a third of all of the traffic.
Hitting the number one spot in those search engines really does matter, but SEO has never been a one-and-done proposition. Instead, it’s an ongoing task, and SEO maintenance once you hit those top rankings is essential.
What is SEO Maintenance?
SEO maintenance is a fairly self-explanatory term. It just means the ongoing process of maintaining (or even increasing) your site’s rankings within the search results. There are a number of different tasks involved, and they must be performed on a routine basis. Some must be handled weekly, while others can be left to a monthly or quarterly basis.
SEO maintenance is necessary because rankings were never intended to be permanent. Even if you earn the number one spot, it won’t stay forever. Instead, as other businesses form, expand their web presence, and change over time, so too will the SEO results. More than that, though, is the fact that search engine algorithms are constantly changing to better reflect the needs of searchers. While some of these are very small changes, some are also massive updates that push you to shift your own site. For example, not very long ago, Google made a switch to list mobile sites first, which pushed many to create responsive designs.
You can be sure your competitors aren’t ignoring the need for SEO maintenance, so it’s critical that you invest the time and effort into your own maintenance tasks if you want to remain competitive.
Your SEO Maintenance Checklist:
To be successful, there are several ongoing SEO tasks that must be performed. This SEO to-do list can help keep you on track to success.
1. Track Your Site’s Performance:
This needs to be done on a regular basis. Expect to perform this task weekly, monthly, and quarterly. You’ll want to look closely at the metrics that most matter to your company. Typically you can use Google Analytics or Google Search Console to track your performance. The metrics you look at are those that are important to you, but most people look at rankings, the click-through rate, and page views above other things. The reason for this metrics check is simple - it’s a good way to understand where your digital marketing plan needs the most help at the moment.
For example, maybe your click-through rate is on the decline. If that’s the case, it’s possible you have a problem with your meta information or you’re just not meeting the needs of users with that content.
Links are a major factor for search engines, and at least on a monthly basis, you need to investigate any linking problems that may occur. Often this comes in the form of broken links, but it could also be redirected linking problems or simply a loss of backlinks.
2. Fix Your Linking Problem
The last thing you want is for users to reach a dead-end as they’re working through your site. If a search engine spider finds a dead-end, it will likely harm your ranking, so be sure you find the issue before they do. You’ll also want to continue to build your backlink profile on a monthly basis.
3. Keep Up with Local Listings:
Your site is likely listed in lots of local directories, and that’s important these days if you’re a brick and mortar company. Now more than ever before, people are looking for businesses through local listings, so be sure that you not only maintain your Google My Business Profile, but also your listing in other local directories like the Chamber of Commerce website.
If your hours change, your phone number changes, or something else shifts, update it. This matters because if local individuals cannot connect with you because of outdated schedules or something, they could leave a bad review, damaging your local search rankings. You’ll want to perform this SEO maintenance task any time changes occur.
4. Revisit Your Content:
On a monthly basis, you’ll need to revisit your content. You may have created content over a period of years that still applies. You may have content that no longer applies. Revisiting your content on a regular basis can help increase your rankings.
Take a closer look at everything on your site for accuracy, search intent, and keyword relevancy. If you find one that simply doesn’t meet where those three metrics are at right now, you’ll want to update.
5. Plan for Changes:
On at least a yearly basis, plan out your goals for the upcoming year, along with the associated strategy to help you reach those goals. Even though your plans may change over time, that will help you keep your site in the best possible spot on your Google results.
A Closer Look at the Real SEO Maintenance Cost For Your Site
Keep in mind that you don’t have to handle all of these things on your own. Instead, an SEO company can handle it for you. Obviously that kind of maintenance comes at a price, though. How much will it cost you to maintain that rating? Less than it cost you to get there, but even here, going for something cheaper never pays off.
When you initially built your SEO plan, you likely didn’t go with the cheapest option. You might have had an inbox full of ads that said something like “Page 1 Ranking For Just $99,” but cheap SEO comes at a price. Link schemes, private blog networks, and other similar problem tactics often mean Google penalties and other issues that could seriously harm your business.
Good SEO requires a commitment and some cash. On average, you can expect to pay around $2,000 during the building phase of your plan, particularly if you’re running a national campaign. You have to commit for at least twelve months if you’re going to show real progress.
Fortunately, when it’s time to maintain that presence, you can likely do so for around half of what you paid during the building phase. Keep in mind, though, that at times, it may get a bit more expensive, particularly if there’s an extensive Google update involved with lots of aspects that must be addressed.
Need a bit of help to maintain your spot? Give us a call today to learn how we can update your site and keep your spot in the rankings.