Now that you have reached the end of your SEO journey you can sit back and wait for the results to come pouring in immediately, right? Wrong! Firstly, if you are expecting immediate results you should be looking into a marketing technique that can provide them, such as Pay Per Click Advertising. SEO takes time, as the search engines gradually refine which sites they believe provide the best results (and that’s one of the reasons people trust search engine results).
In the world of search engines, you need to constantly be honing your strategy and building on your results – your competitors do so, and if you don’t keep up you’ll be left in the dust. There are three fundamental elements to this, updating and keeping your website fresh, refining your keywords and monitoring and expanding your inbound links. Let’s look at each of these:
- Updating your website. This doesn’t mean giving it a different design or changing the colors every few months. Search engines really don’t care what color it is! This means creating new and interesting content (which is where having a blog can be really useful) and making sure existing content is up to date. This will have a couple of benefits. Firstly it will keep spiders and humans coming back to see if there is anything new. Secondly, when human visitors do reach your site, they are less likely leave if the content is accurate, up-to-date and interesting. The last thing you need is to get visitors from search engines and then have them leave as soon as they enter your site because it’s out of date or boring. One way to monitor this is to use a website analytics program such as Google Analytics. This will help you identify pages with a high “bounce rate”, meaning people land on your pages but leave without doing anything. Pages with a lot of traffic but high bounce rates should be the ones you focus on. Google Analyics is easy to install and use and will help you convert the traffic you are getting.
- Refining your keywords. Assuming you have set up Google Analytics, you will be able to see which of your keywords are being used to find your website in Google. If you want to see what’s happening in other search engines, you’ll need to set up accounts with them too. You can set up an account with Yahoo! Web Analytics and a Bing Webmaster Tools account to track your performance in each of those. If this all seems like a lot of work, consider setting up an SEO Optimizer account where you can track your keywords in all three search engines from one place. The SEO Optimizer tool also offers a feature that helps you find new keywords and add keywords that may perform better for you. You can then track and analyze them on an ongoing basis.
- Monitoring and increasing your inbound links. As we’ve learned, search engines place a lot of value on the quality and number of inbound links. Therefore it’s essential to check your links for quality and try to increase the number of good links. If you signed up for the webmaster tools accounts mentioned above, you will be able to check what each search engine has in its database. SEO Optimizer can also show you all of you inbound links and you are able to sort them by the date they were added and also the strength, or value, of each link.
(Note that search engines don’t find every link as soon as it is added, so you may have to wait a while before seeing your links in the search engines and your reports. Local listings that you submit to search engines directly may appear more frequently.)
So, to sum up, SEO is an ongoing process but you will find that it can really help your website get ranked well in search engines if you keep working on it. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so you should try to allot some time every week to work on either optimizing your site, joining the social media conversation, or your link building plan. Remember that while you are doing specific things to keep the search engines interested in your site, a website that has worthwhile information and is easy for humans to use will win out over one that is built around marketing to search engines.