Should SEO Be One-Time or Ongoing?

One of the most common questions I've encountered in 10 years of running a web agency is, "Why should we do ongoing SEO? Why can't you just optimize our site once and be done?" Let's explore this question: should SEO (search engine optimization) be done once, or be ongoing?

Who Needs One-Time SEO?

Has your website never been optimized for search engines? Then a one-time SEO project will help search engines look more favorably on your site.

Do you not care how many prospective customers come to your site, because you get plenty of business from word of mouth or other forms of marketing? Then one-time SEO (or no SEO) may be sufficient.

Who Needs Ongoing SEO?

Do you want your website to function as a marketing machine, attracting prospects to your business rather than your competitors? Then one-time SEO isn't enough.

Let's look at a few reasons that you'll need ongoing SEO instead.

Keep Up with Search Engines

Search engines such as Google rank websites according to algorithms, complex rules for evaluating the quality of websites. Search engines frequently change their algorithms to improve results, make cheating harder, and keep up with changing technologies.

Google makes thousands of changes every year

History of Google Algorithm Updates, Search Engine Journal

Google reported over 3,000 improvements to search, more than 8 times the number of updates in 2009 — less than a decade ago — and an average of almost 9 per day

How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm? Moz

If you optimize your site to fit Google's preferences today, do you think it will still fit Google's preferences 3 years from now?

Ongoing SEO updates your web presence to keep up with search engine algorithm changes.

Keep Up with Competitors

No matter what industry you're in, some (maybe most) of your competitors will be doing ongoing SEO. Do you want to fall behind them? As with many things in business, if you're standing still, you're falling behind.

Ongoing SEO monitors your competitors so that you can keep up with, and, ideally, surpass your competitors.

Keep Up with Customer Demands

Do you use the Internet the same way you did 10 years ago? 5 years ago? Think of the changes in devices (phones, tablets, smart speakers, etc.) in that time! Your prospects' Internet habits change with time, too.

Do you do business the same way you did 10 or even 5 years ago? Think of the changes in your industry in that time.

If you optimize your site to fit the expectations customers have today, how do you think it will hold up to their expectations in 3 or 5 years?

Ongoing SEO updates your web presence to keep up with changes in customer demand.

Improve Over Time

Do you give performance reviews to your employees or team members? If so, you expect them to improve over time, based on the feedback you give them, right? Would you give an employee one review, then expect them to continue to improve for the next 5-10 years with no further feedback?

One-time SEO is like that single review. Without additional feedback, the employee isn't likely to improve over time. Nor is your web presence likely to improve over time based on a one-time SEO project.

Ongoing SEO adjusts your web presence based on analytics such as visits, conversions, and behavior on site. Each month, your web presence can improve based on what was learned in previous months.

Creating & Updating Content Takes Time

SEO is about relevant content and authoritative links. The first part of that means that your site's content (text, images, videos, etc.) must be relevant to your target audience.

Search engines love to see fresh content added to sites. That's one reason businesses should blog.

But you shouldn't put all your attention on creating new content; it's also worthwhile to keep existing content updated, so that it remains relevant.

One-time SEO can optimize the content on your site today, but it won't optimize your future content, or keep your current content updated. Ongoing SEO will take care of both current and future content.

Earning Links Takes Time

As I said in the last section, SEO is about relevant content and authoritative links. The second part of that means that you need reputable websites to link to your website. Why would they do that? Because you have valuable content (again, see the last section).

Search engines love to see a gradual, natural (non-incentivized) increase in the links pointing to your site. One-time SEO won't provide that, but ongoing SEO, which includes optimizing old content and creating and optimizing new content, will.

Ongoing SEO Results in Ongoing Leads and Sales

Yes, a one-time SEO project will cost less than the monthly fee for ongoing SEO. But is the price on the invoice the determining factor? Or are you looking at the big picture, seeking a return on your investment?

If you wanted to improve your health, would you diet for a day (or even a week), then eat whatever you wanted for the rest of your life? No, you understand that consciously choosing what you eat will be important for as long as you want to be healthy.

You know that marketing your business is a continuous process, and SEO is part of marketing.

If you want to get prospects to click or tap your business in search results, then you're not done with SEO until you’re done with your website. And you're not done with your website until you're done with your business.

Want to Know What SEO is Right for You?

Are you wondering what type of SEO is right for you? We'd be happy to provide an SEO audit to identify gaps in your web presence, understand the competitive landscape, and identify opportunities for improvement now and in the future. Contact us today!

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