From time to time, we have prospects come to us and ask us to put together a project quote on search engine optimization. Folks, search engine optimization is not a project. It's not an effort that you can actually finish because you're attacking a moving target. Everything changes with search:
- Search engines adjust their algorithms – Google is constantly adjusting to keep ahead of spammers and, most recently, content farms. Understanding how to present your content when these changes take place can improve your results. Not adjusting can get your site buried. It's typically not that drastic, but we do see changes occur with our clients.
- Your competitors are adjusting their search engine tactics – Your competition is making changes to their sites and probably have some great SEO consultants assisting them as well. If you're solidly ranking and making a great return on investment, it's only a matter of time before your competition begins investing in a strategy.
- Your company's strategies, products and services change – How your company distinguishes itself from the competition often changes over time as you grow, shrink or develop new features, products and services. Your search optimization needs to keep up with this.
- Keyword usage changes – At times, the words that users will search on also change over time. As an example, application, platform, and software all have different search volumes in the technology industry. Even though they all might be utilized similarly, their usage has changed in popularity over time.
- Search volumes change – Time of the day, day of the week, monthly and seasonal changes can all impact search. Your messaging and content may need to adjust to accomodate.
- Platform technologies change – We've seen some beautiful sites that have virtually disappeared from search results since their CMS is not optimized nor communicates with the search engines. If you've got an old CMS that hasn't been updated, you're probably losing the ability to leverage search engine traffic.
- Relevant sites change – What was once the most popular site in your industry may no longer be… site authority changes all the time. Ensuring that your site is promoted on the top sites will continue to increase your site's popularity and ranking.
Having a consultant or ongoing subscription with a great SEO provider will provide your company with a positive return on investment if the search demand is there. If your company has the resources internal to work with search, a subscription to SEOmoz or gShiftLabs with some monitoring tools is well worth the investment.
When our clients are able to keep up with these changes, we continue to see the return on investment increase, their cost per lead continues to drop, and they are able to fully leverage search for new customer acquisition. It requires continuous monitoring and improvement, though. If your company is being solicited by an SEO firm that has a standard project fee where they'll optimize your site for a set fee and walk away, you may want to rethink the investment.