The Benefits of a Long-Term SEO Strategy
There's really no denying the importance of SEO when it comes to marketing a website or business, or even for those who run an offline business (72% of consumers who conducted a local search visited a store within 5 miles).
So you set about optimizing your site to attract more traffic from Google:
- You create a sitemap for your website and submit it to Google
- You optimize your robots.txt file to ensure Google can access and crawl your most important pages
- You move your site to HTTPS to make your website secure
- You make sure your URL structure is optimized for humans and for Google
- All your images have alt text
With all the basics taken care of, you might be tempted to kick back and watch the traffic (and new business!) roll in.
But there's some bad news: SEO is much more than a series of tasks to check off your list. It's an ongoing, constantly evolving project.
But there's also some good news: this project isn't anything you can't handle and, with the right tool and support, it can even be quick, simple and (dare I say it?) fun.
In this piece, we'll cover what exactly about SEO makes it an ongoing job and how WooRank helps and supports website owners along the way.
Why You Need Think Long Term for SEO
First, what is it about SEO that makes it so much more than a simple checklist of one-and-done tasks? There are 5 main reasons:
- The web and Google are always changing
- SEO takes regular updating
- Your competitors are doing it
- SEO requires a long-term view
- Your SEO success builds on itself
With Google, change is constant
Take a minute to think about how much Google and the web, in general, have changed over the years. Websites and user preferences have changed immensely over the last decade or so. In the years since 2009, Google has introduced:
- Rich snippets
- Knowledge Graph results
- The map pack for local results
- Authorship (and then killed it)
- Featured snippets
- The Twitter carousel
And those are just the changes most visible in search results. Perhaps the biggest came in 2012: Google's Hummingbird algorithm.
The Hummingbird update fundamentally changed how Google processes users' queries, the content on websites, and determines how they relate to each other. It's what turned Google from a (relatively) simple search engine into an "answer engine".
And every time Google makes a change to the way it algorithmically ranks websites, it changes the definition of "good SEO".
Check out this website's Google traffic between 2015 and 2018:
Heck, if we look at just the summer of 2018 Google confirmed:
And that doesn't count all the unconfirmed changes and fluctuations that were reported in between.
Add in the shift to mobile and the continuing shift to voice search, that's a significant investment of time and resources in learning "” and then relearning "” what's best for your website and content.
So what does that mean for you? All those boxes you checked last year (or even just last month) could have changed. Just look at how much has changed in the last year alone. And without some sort of long-term SEO resource, you have to figure out what those new boxes are.
Using a long-term SEO tool helps keep you up to date on:
- The latest Google algorithm updates and how you need to change your SEO approach to keep up
- Implementing best practices for digital marketing
- What you need to do on your website to maximize conversion rates and user experience
- Key concepts and industry jargon as well as the latest tips and tricks
You're not the only SEO game in town
In search engine optimization, everyone has competition. This competition comes in the form of the businesses directly competing with you for new customers and sales as well as all the other websites that show up in Google search results for your target keywords.
So you need to outrank not only your direct competitors but all those other websites trying to outrank you.
And the kicker?
These competitors come and go and change all the time. That's potentially millions of websites you have to stay one step ahead.
And they're all doing SEO in an attempt to outrank you.
Just like you need to stay on top of the latest movements and developments in your particular industry, you need to maintain a constant eye on your search engine optimization
I'm not referring to occasionally reviewing a website and doing keyword research on your site as well as your competitors. Effective competitor analysis requires constant monitoring and updates over time. And it requires thinking in terms of months (or even years), not days or weeks.
SEO takes time "” a long time
Speaking of thinking in terms of months, that's how you need to approach setting expectations for SEO success. In fact, research by Ahrefs found the average page at the top of Google search results is just under 950 days. That's more than 2 and a half years!
On top of that, only 22% of pages in the top 10 results were less than a year old:
Even more, Ahrefs also found that only 5.7% of pages managed to make it to the top of the rankings within 1 year.
Those that did rank within a year take an average of 2 to 4 months to break into the top 10.
And the average time it takes to rank only goes up with keyword popularity (which makes sense, since keyword difficulty tends to go up with search volume).
As you can see, while there's no way to say exactly how long it will take you to rank a page in Google results, we can give a relatively certain answer of "a pretty long time."
That's a year of:
- Researching keywords
- Creating content
- Building links
- Optimizing local signals
Without the support of the right tool, that's a lot of time and effort to spend on search engine optimization. And you're not running an SEO company.
SEO builds lasting benefits over time
What's the point of putting all this time and effort into building SEO when you can just run a few campaigns in Google Ads and buy the traffic? The issue with paid traffic is that when you stop paying, it goes away.
When that happens, it causes what's known as the "spike of hope" followed by the "flatline of nope". Here's what the analytics looks like for a page that isn't being continuously optimized and promoted:
The solution to this problem?
Taking a long-term approach to SEO that goes beyond just ticking off an on-page checklist and fixing a few errors and incorporates:
- Finding new keywords for new content
- Finding opportunities to optimize existing content
- Building new backlinks
- Maintaining existing backlinks
- Converting mentions into backlinks
- Periodic SEO health checks to uncover issues for crawling or indexing
- Promoting your site on social media
This continuous approach to your site turns the "spike of hope" shown above into a nice and steady stream of traffic to your sites. Something that looks more like this:
A page like that second one is going to be much, much more valuable to your business than the first.
Good SEO never stops
When you combine the fact that Google (and the web in general) is constantly changing, your competitors are always coming for you and that SEO takes time to show results, you wind up at the conclusion that SEO is something that never truly ends.
When you stop doing SEO or view search optimization as a one-time checklist, you're going to see your keyword ranking start to slip as other sites move up the Google results. As a result, your website traffic is going to dwindle down as well.
It might take a while, depending on your niche, but if you stop working on your website you'll eventually hit that "flatline of nope", costing your business conversions and therefore revenue.
Continuously monitoring your SEO metrics, optimizing your content and promoting your site is how you turn that "flatline of nope" in the first graph into an evergreen earner for your business
You'll need to:
- Continuously publish fresh, unique and authoritative content
- Mine user behavior and other analytics data to improve user experience on your site
- Check your site technical issues that could cause duplicate content or crawl errors
- Find the right keywords to bring people to your website
Just because SEO is online doesn't mean it doesn't follow the classic business adage: if you aren't growing, you're dying.
Filling Your Long-Term SEO Needs with WooRank
If you decide to go it alone, that's a lot of time and effort you need to devote to your website to be successful. And for those who don't live and breath digital marketing that could really be an impossible task.
The good news: WooRank is here to help you:
- Keep you up to date on the latest industry changes and best practices
- Track and analyze key SEO metrics
- See how your website ranks and how that's changing over time
- Stay on top of your website's overall health
Staying on top of the changing SEO landscape
Here at WooRank, we stay up to date on the latest changes to Google algorithms and SEO and, more importantly, make sure our tools are up to date as well so our users can rest easy, knowing that they can quickly and easily ensure their websites are in line with the latest Google and SEO best practices.
We make constant updates and adjustments to our Projects, Reviews, Keyword Tool, Site Crawl and other features so our customers have access to the data they need to make the best decisions for their marketing.
WooRank customers and subscribers receive a full rundown of what's new each month.
With WooRank, though, you also get more than all that super important website data. We're also here to support and empower you to make sense of all that website data and take the next steps necessary to put into practice what you see in your Project.
We've got tons of resources for our users:
- The WooRank Reviews and Projects themselves. Each data point collected by WooRank comes with an easy-to-understand explanation of what it means.
- The WooRank blog for the latest on industry news, Google updates and the latest improvements to WooRank
- Our SEO Guides for in-depth explanations to the SEO fundamentals and key concepts so our non-marketer customers can cut through the industry jargon
- The WooRank Help Center to help our users set up, understand and analyze the data provided by WooRank so they can get the most out of their subscription
- Our Monthly Roundup newsletter that delivers the most important developments in the world of Google, WooRank and digital marketing so you don't have to seek it out yourself
At WooRank, we eat, sleep and breathe SEO so you don't have to.
"Use it - it's great! Read the descriptions under each item if you are unclear as to what it means. I learned a lot in the early days by reading each and every description, and even clicking the links for more info." - Trent Millermore, Millermore Digital Marketing
Website and search analytics data
In order to take a long-term approach to your SEO, you need to make sure you're measuring and tracking the right data so you can actually do the optimization part of SEO. Sounds easy enough, but it can be difficult and time-consuming to not only access all that data but also to figure out which metrics matter when trying to make decisions on your next steps.
When you sign up for WooRank and start your first Project, you'll be able to integrate all your Review data with the important metrics from multiple sources:
- Google Analytics for website visitors (including visitors using mobile devices), traffic sources and user behavior.
- Google Search Console for top keyword data including clicks, impressions, click-through rate and average ranking with week-to-week changes.
- Facebook analytics data such as how many people see your posts, how many people engage with them and audience demographics.
Don't worry about logging in to multiple tools and hunting through all sorts reports to find the data that matters. WooRank picks out the important metrics from each place and brings them together in one place.
And if you sign up for our email notifications that analysis will be delivered right to your inbox each week as part of your weekly Email Digest.
"In order to understand how a website was performing I had to do it all the hard way - checking all the data in various tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console, if they had been set up - and it took a long time to find and analyze the data and then feed it back to the client in a way that they understood." - Hazel Jarrett, SEO+
Tracking keyword rankings
Keywords and keyword rankings absolutely still matter in SEO, despite the claims of some in the SEO world. And this is especially true when you're trying to measure the effectiveness of your SEO over time.
While you're analyzing the data from your Review and optimizing your site, use WooRank's Keyword Tool to
- See how your SEO is performing over time and tie changes to specific actions taken on a page
- Get a birds-eye view of your site's overall search optimization
- Find opportunities for new content to improve your keywords' rankings
- Find keywords to track based on your website content
- Understand who your competitors are from both a sales and SEO perspective
- See what keywords you should avoid based on who's already ranking for them
- Gain insight into how Google sees relevance and intent behind a specific keyword
When you add a competitor to your Project, they'll automatically show up in the Keyword Tool as well, so you can compare rankings side-by-side.
"I constantly try new meta tags, keywords, phrases and also look for keyword opportunities. WooRank shows me where we are ranking for each of our selected words so we can build content around improving our ranks on those words" - Celso Prado, Mars Campers
Regular website health checks
Over time, it's normal for websites to go through significant changes as they update, redesign, publish new content and launch new campaigns. No matter how carefully you do things, you can still end up with:
- Broken links
- Duplicate pages
- Content that Google can't access
- Pages that aren't fully secure
Websites with these errors can cost businesses revenue without their owners ever knowing.
Fortunately, WooRank customers have access to the Site Crawl tool for their Projects. Site Crawl is a tool that accesses and reads up to 2500 of the pages on a website to find these errors before they cost you any more rankings, traffic and money.
Site Crawl takes a deep technical look at a website's SEO health. Performing regular SEO health checks with Site Crawl"¦
- Gives a picture of your site's overall health for both SEO and user experience
- Lets you spend less time and effort gathering data and more helping your business
- Prevents errors from accumulating over time, causing bigger problems down the line
Move Beyond the Checklists Now
We understand the value of checklists and why they appeal to website owners who don't live the digital marketing life. Heck, WooRank has published its fair share of checklists for our users. They're easy to digest and give people a sense of satisfaction when they're done.
The problem is, SEO is never really done, it's a constantly ongoing project.
But don't worry if SEO isn't really your thing (you've got lots of other things). WooRank is here to support your marketing at each step of the way for as long as you want to improve Google rankings and increase website traffic.