You spent the time and money to optimize and promote your site, and got some really great traffic and rankings out of it. Congratulations! Now you can sit back, relax and reap the benefits. Right?
In fact, the last thing you want to do after a big initial SEO push is get complacent and see those hard won rankings slip away. I sometimes compare SEO to getting a pool, sure the initial investment is going to be the largest – but without a little effort going towards upkeep things could get ugly, quicker than you think.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month on an elaborate SEO plan (although that certainly doesn’t hurt and many top ranking sites do just that!). However, the internet is far from static and there are a few things you (or your SEO team) should be checking up on from time to time to ensure your website remains well optimized.
The General Checkup
Due to the ever changing nature of the web in general, it’s all too common for little errors to pop up here and there. If a website is left unchecked, the volume of these errors could get out of hand. We recommend using Google Webmaster Tools to keep an eye out for these kinds of issues. Running the diagnostic and responding to any errors that pop up, especially 404 and time outs, will lend to a more user-friendly experience on your site. In terms of SEO, having an error-free site allows the search engines to crawl and index your pages more quickly and easily – which is good news for you!
Links, both internal and external, are arguably the most important factor for SEO rankings. Check the links on your site every once in a while. Linking out to expired domains or out of date sites is not only frustrating to your visitors, it may also be a signal to the search engines that your site is losing it’s relevancy.
You’ll also want to make sure that the number of quality links pointing back to your site is increasing steadily. Setting some time aside each month to target a few new links will go a long way in helping your site stay relevant and at the top.
Content & Code
Keep an eye on your page titles and meta descriptions, doing so can reveal problems with page templates or cannonicalization issues. Even if you don’t find any errors staying tuned in could help you discover a missed opportunity or inspire you to test out a new strategy. If nothing else, make sure the code on the site is up to date with the industry best practices.
As far as content goes, the search engines love fresh stuff. If nothing has been updated for a while it sends the signal that the page/site isn’t relevant anymore, add a new page or change up the copy to breathe some life back in. Blogs are a great solution to the stale content issue.
If you choose not to commit to a long term SEO plan it’s important to set some time aside for maintenance tasks like these.