If you haven’t heard of SEO before, here’s a general description of what it is: The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the practice is that of improving and promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from internet search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. We all know how difficult it can be to catch the attention of potential customers— and SEO can often give businesses the edge they need to get noticed over their competition.
A large portion of SEO involves giving websites helpful makeovers. SEO strategists improve written and visual content, ensuring that the right words to grab the attention of search engines and customers are placed in all the right places. They make sure that the various pages of the website are arranged logically and efficiently, making it easier for Google and the rest to troll through your content. When a website is organized well, it tends to appear higher on search results pages and to get more attention from prospective clients.
Many companies (including my own) offer ongoing SEO services— a monthly package which ensures certain optimization services over a long period of time. And for many webpage owners, this can be confusing. “Why should I pay for monthly services?” many of them ask. “Just optimize my page and be done with it!”
Well, hypothetical skeptic, the answer is that there is more to SEO than just optimizing a website. Here’s a quick rundown of some reasons why SEO isn’t just a one-and-done sort of practice.
1. Search engines are constantly changing how they look at websites
Sometime in the last few months, you might have heard something about the Pigeon Update. That’s what people have been calling the latest major overhaul that Google made to its algorithms. Put simply, Google is constantly trying new things in an ongoing effort to help people find the best content possible through their search engine.
What that means is that your website is only temporarily well-optimized; when Google runs an update, your website needs to be optimized all over again if you want to stay competitive. And Google is constantly updating and trying new things. The Pigeon Update began a good three months ago, but things are still changing all the time as Google tests and tweaks, looking for the best results. Many websites that don’t have ongoing SEO are finding themselves virtually invisible to Google because their optimization is out of date.
2. Not all search engines look for the same things
To make things even more difficult, Google isn’t the only search engine out there. Bing and Yahoo can pull in a lot of traffic to your website. Like Google, they are constantly updating and adjusting. The tricky thing is, though, they aren’t all looking for the same things.
For instance, Google places a lot of emphasis on businesses that have a My Business profile on Google Plus. It’s their social network, after all, and they designed it to help with their search engine. For Bing and Yahoo, however, Google Plus isn’t quite as important. Part of ongoing SEO is ensuring that websites are visible to all search engines at all times.
3. Potential customers are changing
Part of SEO practice is finding keywords—words that are often used by potential customers in their searches—and ensuring that all of the right ones are in the right places on your website. But people aren’t always looking for the same things! What was a popular keyword yesterday might not be so popular tomorrow, and in a week or a month it might have ceased to be useful to your property at all. Even if the search engines themselves weren’t changing, people would still be moving and progressing, and you’d need to keep up with them.
4. SEO is about building a network
One of the largest ongoing aspects of SEO is making your site visible everywhere. If major sites like Facebook, Rentler, and Apartments.com have links to your website, it will make your site more visible to search engines and potential customers. A site that is well-connected to other prominent, visible sites is a highly-visible site. Inter-linking is a valuable tool for SEO, and it is a slow process of building a strong network. Plus, sites that produce new content frequently will be more visible out there in search engine land— which is a service that many SEO companies offer.
Keeping your website optimized for search engines is like trying to stay abreast of modern, cutting-edge technology— you might have the best phone and the nicest computer right now, but something newer and better is just around the corner. Paying for ongoing SEO services might seem expensive, but it will keep you visible in the ever-changing landscape of the internet.