For many businesses, SEO is the main source of traffic to their website. To be effective in SEO, you need to continually add new content and maintain your existing rankings through SEO maintenance.
SEO takes ongoing research, planning, and analysis to ensure that you are consistently staying ahead of your competition. In this article, we will explain the benefits of SEO maintenance and show you an SEO plan that will set you up for success.
What is SEO maintenance?
SEO maintenance is an ongoing process of uncovering new keyword opportunities, analyzing your search competition, creating high quality content, updating your existing content to meet search trends, and tackling technical SEO issues with your website.
This may sound pretty overwhelming at first, but with a proper SEO maintenance plan in place, it not only becomes easier over time, but also becomes a lot of fun seeing your content gaining attention from Google and attracting potential customers.
The value of ongoing SEO maintenance
There are many benefits of ongoing SEO maintenance that, if not done properly (or at all), could actually end up harming your appearance in search results. Below are some of the main benefits of ongoing SEO maintenance.
Strategically outranking your competition
Believe it or not, even in the most competitive industries, there are still hundreds, even thousands of opportunities to rank for niche keywords that your competitors are not appearing for in the top 10 search results on Google.
The focus here is the term “niche keywords”. Niche keywords are longer phrases that people are typing into Google to find a specific product or service. These are higher-volume, low-competition keywords that provide quick wins for your content to rank in the top 10 on Google. We’ll explain a little more about this strategy in the SEO Plan section of this article.
There are billions of search queries being made every day. As a result, there is an ever-growing list of new niche keywords that you can discover and add to your marketing strategy to stay ahead of your competition, no matter what industry you are in.
Attracting more visitors
Frequently targeting new keywords and keeping your content fresh will bring more visitors to your site. Doing so will increase your brand exposure and the chances of converting your website visitors into customers.
As I mentioned before, the list of new keyword opportunities is vast and ever-growing. Therefore, maintaining your list of new keywords to target can help you stay on trend with the expectations of your target audience.
Maintaining your existing rankings
SEO is not something that is done once and left alone. Not only do you want to continually explore new keyword opportunities, but also monitor and maintain the content for keywords that you are currently ranking for in Google.
Google likes websites that keep their content fresh. Leaving your website pages static for long periods of time can cause content decay. This doesn’t mean that you need to update your pages every day, or even every month. Monitoring your page rankings and adapting to negative changes as they happen will ensure that you are maintaining your relevance with Google and staying ahead of your competition.
Adapting to algorithm changes
Google is constantly changing the criteria in which they rank websites. Keeping track of how your pages are performing is critical in adapting to algorithm changes. If you notice a dip in your rankings after an algorithm update, you can review and update the affected content to comply with the new criteria.
An SEO plan that works for any business
Ongoing SEO maintenance is a lot of work, but with a proper SEO plan in place, you can ensure that the time you are dedicating to SEO is producing positive results for your business.
Analyze your website performance
In order to understand how your pages are performing and where new opportunities are to improve them, you should be monitoring your website performance on a regular basis. This is especially important when publishing new content to ensure that your newly published pages are getting the results that you expect.
Two tools that are a must-have for analyzing your website performance are: Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics gives you insights on page views, time spent on those pages, how your visitors found those pages, and bounce rate. Monitoring these data points will give you insight into what to improve when you see negative results, and what to keep doing when seeing positive results.
Google Search Console gives you insights on search performance, indexability, and user experience. Monitoring these data points will give you insight into critical factors that determine your position in search results.
Fix broken links
Linking to internal pages on your site is a great way to pass link equity to other pages that are relevant such as your services offerings or other articles. Linking to external websites is a great way to cite credible resources in your content. When Google crawls your page, if there are broken links, your internal pages will stop getting link equity, which can cause those pages to drop in ranking. Linking out to broken external pages will decrease your relevance with Google and cause distrust with your visitors.
We use a tool called Ahrefs to monitor and fix broken links. It crawls your entire site and provides recommendations for SEO improvement. Not only is it good for fixing broken links, Ahrefs is what we use for the majority of our SEO maintenance tasks as you will see below.
Monitor your search rankings
As we’ve mentioned many times in this article, SEO is not a one-time thing. In order to maintain your rankings, you need to monitor the keywords that you are ranking for to ensure that you are staying ahead of your competitors.
We use Ahrefs to automatically generate and update keywords that our website is ranking for. It shows valuable data such as search volume and ranking position. Each keyword in the list also shows the top competitor pages that are ranking for that keyword.
If you notice a drop in rankings, it may be caused by a competitor who published content that is more thorough, using more keywords, or gaining more backlinks to their content than you.
Continually monitor your search rankings and adapt your content to stay ahead of the game!
Uncover new keywords and content opportunities
There is a lot of skepticism about the effectiveness of SEO in competitive industries. SEO gets a bad rap because some SEO consultants promise 1st page rankings for competitive keywords. This is nearly impossible unless your domain has very high authority. A brand-new business will never have a chance to rank for broad keywords like: “landscaping” or “shoes”.
The strategy for staying competitive is to target high-volume, low-competition keywords, also known as niche keywords. Niche keywords are longer phrases that people are typing into Google with the intent to look for something specific.
For example, the term “landscaping” is a very broad and competitive keyword. These types of keywords are not something that you should spend time trying to rank for. On the other hand, “monthly lawn mowing service cost” is a brilliant niche keyword that could be an opportunity to get you in front of someone who would become a potential customer.
We use Ahrefs to find new keywords by analyzing competitors’ keywords and getting search suggestions on keywords that we are trying to target. There are other resources you can use to help brainstorm new keywords that can then be added to Ahrefs to determine their feasibility. Our top resources are:
You’ll find people posting questions on a variety of topics. These are questions that you should be answering in the form of a new piece of content on your website. When you’ve found your keywords, remember to analyze the volume and competition in a keyword monitoring tool such as Ahrefs.
Update existing content
As your target keywords change, so should your content. Along with monitoring your keyword rankings, you should make changes to your existing content to ensure that you are staying on trend with what your target audience is searching for.
Monitor your competition
Your competitors are also doing SEO. This means that you need to continually monitor their keywords and content and adjust your SEO strategy to stay relevant. Your competitors are a great source for new keyword opportunities.
Again, we use Ahrefs to track our competitors’ keywords, but you can also run a few searches in Google to see where your competition stacks up. It’s not as strategic without the help of a tool, but can get you started in the right direction.
Find the pages on your competitors’ sites that have thin content. This gives you an opportunity to produce better, more thorough content, and will give you a competitive advantage.
Ensure your local listings are consistent
Frequency: Monthly and around holidays
Maintaining your local listings is essential if you serve customers in a specific area. Incorrect business information such as wrong hours or bad contact information can frustrate potential customers. This is called Reputation Management.
Popular places like Google Maps, Yelp, social media, etc. are great places to get your name out there. You can keep a spreadsheet of your listing information and make updates manually, or use a paid service such as Moz Local that will do the work for you.
SEO is a critical marketing strategy for your business, and can be effectively implemented with a proper plan. Using the information above, you should be able to create a schedule for ongoing SEO maintenance that works for your business.
Need help with your SEO maintenance? We’ve got you covered! Send us a message and we will show you how we can get your site ranking consistently on Google.