The Purpose of SEO Marketing
Ideally well-written and informative content on the web would beat out poor quality pages and rise to the top of the search engine rankings. However, content factories are constantly finding new ways to game search engines so their sites bubble to the top. You have to counter with a sound SEO marketing plan for your business website. Says Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica: "If you've ever wondered how some website that looks like it was an early draft from the proverbial infinite number of monkeys on infinite keyboards managed to get to the top of a search result page instead of something you actually want to read (or something you've written), you've been victimized by the dark art of search engine optimization (SEO)."
Google is constantly upgrading its search algorithms to weed out link farms and keyword-stuffed, nonsensical content, but it is a constant battle. When planning your SEO marketing strategy, you have to remember that "high quality" to a search engine is often quite different from what a human would judge as "high quality."
Some SEO Techniques Have a "Shelf Life"
Internet Marketing Ninjas Sale and Marketing Manager Jennifer Van Iderstyne tells Search Engine World, "SEO is not a phase, but a lifelong mentality; a permanent filter for looking at a website through the eyes of a search engine." You have to tweak your SEO strategy periodically to keep your content high in the search engine results.
If you do nothing else, you should review and tweak your SEO basics a couple of times a year, as if doing spring or fall cleaning. A quarterly check on how your SEO campaign is working is even better. You may not need to change much at all, but sometimes even minor fine-tuning can make a difference. You should also review and fine-tune your SEO when you make changes to your site and when you discover that a page has suddenly jumped up in the search engine rankings. Here are some guidelines.
When You Start Adding New Content Regularly
When you start regularly adding new content, make sure older pages have links to some of the newer pages. Additionally, when you add a new webpage on a subtopic that doesn't have much coverage in the rest of your site, make sure that the new page is easy to reach from the home page so it doesn't get buried.
It is also a good idea to add new content to older areas of your site. Stale content can (rightly or wrongly) indicate to search engines that the quality of that content is low. Adding new content to older parts of your website can help multiple areas of your site gain traction with search engines.
When You Redesign Your Site
Most people know that a major redesign calls for a review and update to SEO. You may need to get rid of some content and add new content. You may need to redirect some of your URLs, too. A site redesign calls for a reconsideration of how your old content meshes with the new design. Ideally you want a site re-launch that doesn't hammer you in the search engine rankings. Content you have consolidated should be reviewed to ensure you haven't left out any important information in the redesign process.
When Your Ranking Changes Significantly
Suppose a previously lackluster page suddenly becomes popular. Naturally, you want to analyze why so you can make the most of it, not only on that page but on other pages. If some of your content is picked up by other media outlets or goes viral, it is a good time to review your SEO strategy in light of this new occurrence so that you can take advantage of the situation and leverage some long-term improvements from it.
If, on the other hand, your page engine ranking drops (a common problem after Google's 2011 Penguin update), you need to do some digging to find out why. In some cases, remedying the situation only requires resubmitting your sitemap to the search engine and waiting until it gets crawled by the search engine bot for rankings to go back up. If your ranking drops after you've used keyword stuffing or paid for low quality links, it probably means the search engine algorithm is onto you and you need to replace affected content.
When You Can't Remember the Last Time You Tweaked Your SEO
Maybe your business is humming along fine, even though you haven't done much with your website lately. You don't have to overhaul your site for no reason, but you should get reacquainted with your SEO and determine how to update it to breathe some new energy into your site.
SEO marketing isn't a one-time process, but a process that has to be examined and tweaked periodically so that you can get the most from the resources you have invested in your company's website.
Photo Credit: Thomas Brownell