Imagine training for a marathon. You put in the work, the hours and hours of running and pushing yourself to your limits. The day of the marathon comes, and you’re running; you’re running; you’re running. The millisecond you cross that finish line you’re exhilarated and know every ounce of energy you poured into preparing for this personal victory was worth it.
Now, think about your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Keywords are researched and chosen. Web content is updated and new content added is keyword rich. Any broken links are mended. Your site is optimized for the search engines like never before. You’ll know you crossed the finish line when your website lands on the first page of the results for your top keywords.
It’d be divine if you could slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the sense of accomplishment. And, you certainly can after a marathon, but there is no finish line in SEO.
SEO is an endurance marathon, never a sprint to the finish. It can take some time to gain ground, which is quickly lost if you start to slack. The competition is putting in the work—the same hard work you did to optimize your website. They will always be nipping at your heels because companies are in a constant battle for better positions in the search engine rankings. Leave a little room open for your target keyword(s), and the competition can quickly move into that spot, giving them the upper hand to hold on to it.
How to Give Your SEO Ongoing Attention and Maintain Your Lead
In every form of competition, it is far easier to maintain a lead than to win one back. Your SEO efforts require ongoing attention to ensure you keep ground you gain.
Here are five things on which to keep a close eye.
1. Keyword Rankings
What keyword is number one today in your industry could be number 12 soon enough. Why does this happen? Keyword rankings are based on search volume, which constantly changes based on what people are searching. For example, this week “spring plants” may be in the top spot. Next week, after a rain torrent, it could be “draining plant beds.”
With an eye on your top keywords, consistently write and update content using those words in your blogs or new website copy. Not only does new content help your search engine rankings, it offers your audience new and relevant information. People reading your content on your website and how long they spend on your site positively affect search engine rankings, too.
2. Competitors’ Moves
Watch out for your competitors’ services and products and when they add new products. This might spur the need for you to follow suit to stay competitive.
3. Backend Optimization
Optimizing the backend of your website is just as important as optimizing the front-facing content. Broken links or irrelevant information on the backend of your website can affect how search engines crawl and rank your site. If your site can’t be crawled easily, your search engine position will drop.
4. Missing Pages and 404s
Something breaks on your site that does not allow it to be crawled or goes missing and users can’t visit the page to which they are directed. Missing pages and 404 error codes can happen without you even realizing it. They’re usually caused by adding a new page or plugin to the website. Someone should actively monitor your website for these problems before the search engines catch them.
5. Google’s Updates
Search engines and their algorithms are changing constantly. You can stay on top of this by having a dedicated team optimize and report on your SEO tactics, wins and losses. This will help quickly catch competition in your backyard, allowing you to react before it’s too late. Read Google’s news releases. They explain any changes coming, so your website can be prepared for what comes next.
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We can walk you through it. Bring you a bottle of water. Run the marathon for you. Let’s talk.