This is a question that makes chills run down our spines.
Brands don’t often think about how impactful SEO truly is. The reality is that maintaining your website’s search strategy is a never-ending process. You’re always going to be fighting it out with competing brands trying to rank for the same keywords and win authority on Google.
You may be able to ward off your competitors now, but will that be the case next month, next week, or even tomorrow? The reality is that growing your brand online requires a robust SEO strategy. SEO strategies are never a one-and-done campaign. They are constant and need to be maintained often if you want your site to be found organically on search engines, and if you want to outperform your competitors.
Your SEO strategy should include relevant and strong content that supports your business and brand’s message. Many businesses feel overwhelmed by the pressure to continuously push out new content, and ultimately give up as a result. However, high-quality content is king in the digital realm, and quitting can ultimately result in any of these pitfalls:
- The number of links you earn significantly decreases. If you want to be found organically on search engines, then your goal should always be to create more pages that can be linked and traced back to you. When done right, creating more pages means that your chances of making it to the first page on the search engine results page (SERPs) will increase. But when this objective is neglected, you’re only creating opportunities for online users to gravitate towards your competitors. The content that you could be curating and linking to your site, will likely be executed by your competitors instead, which will ultimately cause organic traffic on your site to drop significantly.
- With backlinks, comes toxic links. Toxic links are backlinks that can actually harm your domain authority rather than help it. Toxic links are often attributed to spam posting, which is a black hat SEO tactic. This might have happened through a previously mishandled SEO strategy and is hard to discover without someone actively monitoring your search performance. These links aren’t forever, and they can be disavowed through Google Search Console webmaster tools.
- You’ll stop targeting new terms, and new keyword rankings and traffic will significantly dwindle. Just like links, brands should be striving to dominate as many relevant keywords as possible. Ranking for more keywords (and for page one positions where visibility and click through rates are significantly higher) will drive a lot more traffic to your site and increase your brand’s visibility. When you pause your SEO campaign, you have fewer new keyword rankings and your high page one positions will fall. This will inevitably lead to less traffic.
- Fewer visitors on your site can wreak havoc on your remarketing campaigns. Consistent traffic on your site allows you to run remarketing ads to frequent visitors, and advertise to them multiple times. However, you can’t remarket ads to new users if they’ve never visited your site to begin with. Typically, we rely on our content to drive new visitors to our site and increase organic traffic. Your goal should always be to increase your audience list - whether you’re striving to increase your push notifications list or your email list - and ultimately, your content will be the key player.
- You’ll have less content to link throughout the rest of your site’s existing content. Search engines reward pages with a lot of valuable links; so the more content you have to work with, the easier it will be to incorporate internal links that backup any existing content. On the contrary, less content means you have fewer opportunities to link users to your other webpages. Internal linking is also user experience best practice to keep site visitors navigating through your site.
- Your social media engagement will significantly decrease. With 2.96 billion social media users worldwide, brands can’t afford to not capitalize on the opportunity to grow their online community. But when you stop creating content, there’s less to be shared on social media, and thus, less traffic will drive back to your site.
- The lack of new posts gives visitors less of a reason to return to your site. Consistency helps build your audience, and engagement will grow as a result because online users prefer to follow brands that post on a predictable schedule. But once you disrupt your posting routine, users will notice, making them less reluctant to return. Over time, your branded search rates will significantly decrease, as well as direct traffic to your site.
- Algorithms are constantly changing, and you need to keep up. Google, the world’s top search engine, is changing constantly. Sometimes as often as weekly. While not every algorithm change is important and will affect your site’s performance, it’s vital to stay on top of them in case one does affect the way your SEO strategy is implemented across the site. When that algorithm update happens while you’re on an SEO maintenance plan, crises can be averted quickly. One of the largest algorithm changes recently was BERT back in October, which changed the way content is evaluated in search.
Technical SEO is Important, Too
SEO is more than just inserting keywords here and there. SEO is a powerhouse, and like any powerhouse, there will always be maintenance involved. But when it’s not monitored correctly, technical SEO errors will jeopardize your campaign.
Technical SEO errors include:
- You block your website with robots.txt. This is no surprise, as it is one of the easiest text files to mess up on your site. We rely on text files to direct crawlers to our site, or block them from reaching certain parts of it. However, it’s possible to actually instruct crawlers away from the sections that you want to be indexed. Such a simple error can cause a dramatic drop in rankings overnight. To avoid this from occurring, try performing a test to determine whether a page has been blocked by a robots.txt file.
- You generate duplicate content. There’s a misconception that publishing duplicate content will increase organic traffic and improve your search rankings; in actuality, the opposite occurs. Google is engineered to rank original content and ignore duplicates using canonical tags, which are put in place to prevent just that from happening. Properly setting up your canonicals is crucial if you want original content to be ranked on search engines. The process involves setting up your canonical tags with your ecommerce platform, HTTP headers, internal links, sitemaps, and with 301 redirects.
Check out this checklist to ensure that you have properly set up all canonical tags.
- The speed of your site takes a hit. If you think your SEO campaign is top-notch, but your search rank doesn’t reflect your efforts, then we recommend testing your site speed. Oftentimes, people don’t make the correlation between their site’s speed and their performance on Google. However, Google has revealed that it does indeed take site speed into consideration. This makes sense when you take user experience into consideration. As a user with limited time to spare, you want quick and easy answers. Thus, long load times will ultimately result in high bounce rates and lower average time on page; this might also negatively impact conversions as a result. Search engines will also be affected as they can only crawl a few pages, which impacts your indexation.
These errors could regularly appear, which is why it’s important to monitor your site consistently. Developments are constantly advancing search experiences, and as a result, SEO experts are forced to adapt to these changes.
There’s a snowball effect on SEO errors. Initially, your errors start off small, which is the best time to address them. However, these errors quickly grow, becoming bigger and bigger; and the longer they go unresolved, the harder it is to address the root of the problem and make the correct changes.
Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
You should never stop refreshing, or updating, your website. Most people think that the best way to increase site traffic is to keep producing new content; but truthfully, it’s a lot more time efficient to update old content, and you can even boost SEO traffic by 10 to 30 percent.
That’s because Google acknowledges new and accurate content, and as a result, will want to rank it higher than older, more outdated sources.
Try these refreshing tips:
- Update your FAQs page regularly
- Provide credibility by including other sources
- Constantly update dates and facts
- Make your text longer
- Add schema
- Update page templates
Incorporating all of these strategies will have a lasting effect because you're refining your content in order to provide the most relevant, solution-focused result. Search queries are constantly evolving, becoming more specific over time, so do research on your industry and business to figure out what those new emerging questions are. Once you research what those relevant search queries are, refreshing your page to match that specific search intent. Once you’ve refreshed your most essential content, you will see what’s missing in your current content strategy and can fill the holes with new content.