Are monthly payments for SEO worth it?
Short Version: Google wants fresh and relevant search results. Fresh content, fresh backlinks, fresh citations, and fresh website visitors. It rewards websites that are constantly updating because it benefits their users. SEO addresses these ‘wants’ by Google and other search engines. There is a reason why Wikipedia is always high on search results. It is being both updated, linked to, and added to as you read this. An SEO plan for your website adds these features and more, analyzes them, and then adjusts accordingly.
So, what does search engine optimization have to do with search results?
If you’re a business, chances are you have a website. Your website acts as an online business card that people can reference when they need some information about your business. People can end up on your website in a number of ways. You could have given them a business card, a friend could have referred them, they might recognize your brand from around town, or they could search for your service online. People who are looking for your service but don’t know your brand will likely end up on your site through search engines (Google, Bing, etc).
When they search for your service, say ‘carpet cleaning in Bend’, they will likely click on the first result. If not the first, chances are they don’t get past the third search result they see.
Having your business in or near the top of the search results is crucial for obtaining new business online. There are two ways to get your business listed near the top of the search results, organically or paid. Paid advertisements, Google Ads being the most popular, allow you to pay Google to be shown above any of the ‘organic’ search results (anything that shows below the ads). While this is a great way to get your business in front of your desired audience, it can start to add up quickly. On top of that, some search engine users have trained themselves to look right past the ads on Google and go straight to organic listings. With paid advertisements, not every click will be a customer, but every click WILL cost you money.
Getting your business website listed organically in search engines is both a sustainable and profitable practice. The way to get your website ranked higher is through search engine optimization, or SEO for short. A good strategy gets your website listed near the top of Google and other search engines when people are searching for your service.
A common question is whether it should be done as a one time service or as an ongoing service. Here is my answer and I will explain a few reasons why below:
Why It Should Be An Ongoing Service.
Google updates its search algorithm constantly.
It’s not because they hate your site or that they have some sort of deal with SEO companies. Google and other search engines update their algorithm with the user in mind. Their mission is to provide the most relevant search results when the user types in their query. As technology evolves, so does the searching habits and phrases of the consumer. Google just wants to stay on top of those changes Moz reports, “Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times.” Needless to say, things change quickly in the land of search engines and if you’re not adjusting to those changes, your site ranking will suffer as a consequence.
The more links, the more trust.
The more trust, the more likely the websites are showing relevant content in regards to the keyword being searched. Search engines love high quality and relevant links pointing to your site. However, if you get a bunch of links all at once, Google will get suspicious. With an ongoing SEO strategy, you can build those out over time without looking fishy AND be opportunistic when new linking opportunities come up. High ranking sites have hundreds to thousands of links pointing to their sites. That process takes patience, research, and time. Your competition could easily pass you if you let your guard down.
Developing content takes time.
Google and other search engines likes to provide its users with fresh content. They don’t want outdated showing up in their search results, else the user might go and search somewhere else. By default, Google rewards sites that are updated and improved upon on a consistent basis. This is the reason many sites have blogs. Adding a blog section to your website is one thing, keeping it updated is another. Updating the blog with content that shows up in front of your target customers is where an ongoing SEO strategy comes in.
SEO requires analysis.
The web is changing at rapidly and always. If you’re not staying on top of the search engine algorithms and user searching trends, chances are your competition is. In other words, what works for you today, might not work for you tomorrow. Tracking and analyzing the keywords and traffic that are coming to your site should be a monthly, if not weekly, activity. Adjusting to changing trends and jumping on new opportunities, is where a quality ongoing SEO strategy can separate you from your competitors.
In a nutshell:
While I only covered some of the basics here, hopefully this has provided a better understanding of why SEO is more effective on an ongoing basis. Don’t get me wrong, you could do a bunch of optimization up front and see your site rise in the rankings anywhere from a few weeks to a few months later. If you want to keep rising to the top and then stay there, ongoing SEO is a service that will pay for itself.
Please free to add to the conversation with suggestions and questions in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts as I’m sure there are many more reasons (both for and against) that I didn’t cover here. Thanks for reading!