The most important thing to understand about SEO is that it is a long term process and that the strategy needs to be ongoing. If you optimize your site well and start in on some good link building, you may see an improvement within a few months. Don’t think that that means that it’s OK to scale back once you’re happy with the results. If anything, that should be motivation to keep going. SEO results can fade even quicker than they can be achieved. If you really want to keep your SEO in tip-top shape, you can’t just plug along building links on a monthly basis. You need to keep an eye on these other items throughout the process:
Analytics and Webmaster Tools
You don’t want to check your analytics every day obsessively. That will only make you crazy. But you do need to keep an eye on it and check in at least once a month. Analytics provides you with great insights into the performance of your website. You can see the success of your targeted keywords and which pages are bringing in the most traffic. If some pages or keywords are underperforming over a period of more than a few months, it’s worth looking into and revising the strategy.
In some industries, the keywords that people use to search may not change that much. In other industries (like the technology industry), they will change often. You need to be in tune with what’s going on in your industry and your business and be willing to add new keywords to the mix as necessary.
Search Engine News and Updates
The search engines are regularly tweaking their algorithms. Some updates are minor, while others are huge (Panda or Penguin anyone?). If you aren’t keeping up with industry news, your strategy will suffer. You don’t want to keep plugging along using outdated tactics that might get you penalized. The search industry is always changing, and you need to change along with it.
You don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing online, especially since they may be doing things wrong! But it is important to keep your eye on them. Using an SEO tool, run a competitor link audit every so often to see where your competitors are getting links from. This information can help when you are looking for more industry links to build for your business.
Other SEO Reports
There are paid SEO tools that you can use that will warn you of site errors that the search engines may be seeing. Your site may look beautiful, but there could be a lot going on on the back end that could mess things up. Run a technical SEO audit regularly to make sure that redirects are in place properly, and you aren’t duplicating any content or meta elements.