By Heather Schallert As we step into a new year and a new decade, we are also stepping into a new definition of normal. Smartphones have changed the landscape of the internet. Everyone is walking around with mini computers in their hands, making getting information in...
The Importance of an Ongoing SEO Program
By Heather Schallert
The Importance of an Ongoing SEO Program
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is quite literally everything when it comes to traffic and conversions. We use search engines for just about everything, and unless you’re going directly to a known site, you use them to find everything you need.
Trends change, consumer behavior changes, company goals change, and SEO needs to be able to keep up with all of that. This isn’t a “one and done” approach, however. Regular evaluation and adjustment are crucial. The importance of an ongoing SEO program is very high, no matter what kind of company you have. SEO is all about playing the (very) long game.
While there are many other search engines out there, Google is by far the most used, and the most important in terms of SEO. Google puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the SEO they are being fed by companies is legit and can be trusted to share with their users. The first page of Google is the most important and that real estate doesn’t go to just anyone. It’s all about the algorithm, which changes frequently, to keep up with the demands of advertisers and users. Because of this, Google makes the rules in the internet game and everyone has to learn to play by them, and play nice. Blackhat SEO or over-optimization won’t make it past GO.
With the continuous improvements and changes that Google makes, it’s the companies who also continually make improvements and evolve who are going to see the most return on their effort and investment in high-quality SEO strategists. Ongoing SEO is vital to maintain and improve the visibility of your website in SERPS (search engine results pages). SERPS is defined as, “the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, although the pages may also contain other results such as advertisements.”
Sure, you can make a website and let it sit there. The SEO will aggregate at first and you’ll see some traffic trickle in. But eventually that traffic will slow and then plateau. This also halts sales, engagement, comments, reads, and whatever else the goal of the site is.
It used to be that you could create a website and let it sit for a few years. Now, most people have access to the internet in the palm of their hand with smartphones. This increase in accessibility and speed has driven the internet to become a business rather than a pastime.
So what’s the key to play the game and win? Ongoing optimization over a long period of time with a clear goal. Sounds simple enough, right? Let’s dive into the real reasons why SEO is an ongoing process and one-time SEO will drive your traffic down.
7 Reasons for an Ongoing SEO Program
- Competitors: As SEO has become the driving force of traffic, companies “in the know” are implementing ongoing SEO strategies and winning. To rank at the top spot on the first page of Google, the SEO strategy has to be ahead of the curve and changes that Google implements.
- Content: Content is King and Google agrees. Continuously published content that is relevant and attractive to an audience is a massive driver of SEO. Posting/publishing new and optimized daily and even weekly will boost your rank and help more people find you.
- Rank: Again, rank is everything. Most people don’t look past the first page of Google when searching. They are more likely to change the search terms than go to page 2. By implementing continuous SEO, your rank will stay strong and high.
- Evolution: Since becoming a major part of life for consumers and companies alike, the online marketplace has continuously evolved. It’s important to revisit everything after a period of time to ensure it still aligns with goals and audience, and with any internal company changes.
- Behavior: Consumer behavior changes with the wind and keywords that once performed well may be falling flat. Staying on top of trending and relevant keywords is vital.
- Analytics: As evolution happens and behavior changes, that means your analytics will as well. Studying analytics to note changes, spikes, drops, etc will help you better understand what’s happening and why.
- Reputation: Establishing yourself as an authority in the market with a good online reputation takes time. This doesn’t happen with a “set it and forget it” strategy, nor with one-time SEO. Rankings will remain high along with positive information about your company.
Ways to Establish an Ongoing SEO Program
- Continuous Content Creation: When you’re continuously creating content that is SEO driven and appeals to the wants and needs of your audience, this is participating in an ongoing SEO program. Post or publish daily. Even if it’s just on social media or a blurb on the blog. It’s easy to create regular content when you know what your audience wants to read. SEO optimize each piece of content you publish and you’ll be participating in an ongoing SEO program.
- Keyword Research & Analytics: The performance of keywords is going to change over time, as mentioned above. By researching what is trending, popular, and widely used, you’ll have a good read on what your audience is searching for and what your competitors are using to drive traffic. Google Adwords is the best tool for this as it is tracking within the most popular search engine in the world. From here, you can determine what is best for your needs and what the monetary demands are.
Once you’re clear on what keywords to use, study Google Analytics. This is the best overview and specific insight into the performance of the site, where traffic is coming from, what users are searching for, and how to better reach them. Overtime, you’ll have tons of data to analyze and compare. Makes notes of when you make changes and track the performance closely.
- Serve a Purpose: All of the on-page optimization needs to serve a purpose and predict what your audience is looking for. Determine who your ideal visitor is and speak to them. This also ties into keyword research as you are looking for interests and pain points of your audience and user. Make every word count, every CTA direct and engaging, and visuals on brand. Purposeful design will take you a long way.
- Fast & Responsive: Does your website load quickly? Is it responsive for mobile? More than 50% of users are accessing the internet from smartphones or tablets. If your site isn’t responsive or loads slowly, the bounce rate will be high and the conversions will be low. You can test your site speed at speedtest.net. Have your developer work on the responsiveness of the site for all devices. It’s also important to look into Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) if the majority of your users are on mobile.
- Link Building: Links play a huge role in SEO, perhaps one of the biggest. This is also one of the most difficult things to do well. Link building is the process of getting high quality links to your website. This involves a link being placed in content on another site, as well as linking internally. Link building can be done by building relationships with reputable non-competing companies to place your link in their content, referral partners, and brand building by establishing you as the authority. If you’re using link building correctly, you’ll see a huge uptick in traffic and rank.
- Intuitive Flow & Structure: When you land on a site for the first time, there is an intuitive flow and silo structure that is important to have in place. Top level pages need to be visible and easily accessible in navigation as they will be the most highly visited pages. Subpages come next and will be the least visited pages. Organizing this in an intuitive way will help your user convert and decrease bounce rates.
These foundational elements are best enacted from the beginning, but that may not be an option for many and that’s still okay. Working with a savvy developer and SEO strategist can turn around any site to perform better—which will only increase over time.
The Bottom Line
Are you effectively using SEO? Ongoing SEO is absolutely vital if you want to get on and stay on the first page of search engines. All of the reasons and tactics listed here are enough to help you take control of your SEO strategy and transform it for the better.
If you’re not sure where to start, hiring a professional will help you better tackle the project and implement a long-term strategy that is aligned with your audience and needs.
At Pico Digital Marketing, we highly suggest taking a deep dive into your current strategy. We offer assistance to overhaul your SEO and get you on the right track to maintain a strong ongoing SEO program. Our awards and accreditations in Google Adwords, Google Analytics, and Bing Ads will help you take your business to the next level. Get in touch!