SEO is a continuous rather than one-time investment. How often you need to update your SEO strategy and increase your efforts depends largely on two things: the stiffness of your competition, and how often search engine algorithms change.
Arguably, the first time you invest in SEO will be both the most important and the most resource-intensive endeavor. This is when you:
- Do a competitive analysis to identify what is and isn’t working for other companies in your space
- Conduct keyword research to see which easy-to-capture or untapped keyword opportunities exist in your industry, as well as what your keyword priorities are
- Do a full website audit to identify technical issues that may be affecting your SEO
- Explore partnership and PR opportunities to leverage your backlink profile
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After the initial research phase, you will:
- Optimize your existing content for desired keywords.
- Create new content targeting new keywords
- Fix high-priority technical issues
- Start building partnerships & off-site word-of-mouth
How quickly will you see results from SEO?
Fully-optimized content takes, on average, anywhere from one week to six months to get indexed and repositioned. Whatever efforts you’re doing for your SEO today are technically only an investment for the future.
People often compare PPC to renting a house and SEO to buying a house, but really PPC is like renting a house and SEO is like building a house. It’s going to take time to build, but then you’ll have a home that—with proper maintenance— becomes an asset rather than a bill.
How long will SEO results last?
How long SEO results will last is really individual to every business, niche, and SERP. Some industries have low SEO competition and may retain results for years. In tighter spaces, results may only last a few weeks without further optimization.
Once you’ve captured first-page rankings for your target keywords, you could arguably say that you’ve “completed” an SEO campaign, but that is only true temporarily.
Why Websites Lose Rankings
There are several reasons why a page’s rankings may drop that have nothing to do with the quality of your content – or the quality of your initial SEO campaign. Some of them may be:
- You had to push other websites out of high-value keyword SERPs to get your own rankings. When you stopped investing in SEO, some other competitor businesses picked up and is now pushing you out
- Google released a core update – which happens every few weeks. The new update focuses on different types of content than what you originally had
- You haven’t updated your website in a while. Google may see this as a sign that you’re out of business, or that your content is likely outdated
While you can scale down your SEO efforts once you’ve got a solid foundation, you cannot completely stop SEO and brush it off as a one-time thing. You have to at the very least continue monitoring high-value keyword rankings, improve under-perfomring content, and take advantage of new content opportunities as they arise.
The “best” long-term SEO efforts are naturally intertwined with other business processes (versus being an afterthought/separate thing).