Estimated read time: 6 minutes
Have you ever wondered what the most important SEO tasks were that should be performed on your website, on a recurring basis, in order to maintain the most activity for your time? With SEO, there is a lot you could be doing, but there are a few tasks that simply cannot be ignored. In this post, I list the top 4 most important SEO tasks that I believe should be done on a recurring basis, even if you’re not doing anything else, just to maintain “survivor” status.
If you’re not doing these basic SEO tasks, you’re only hurting yourself
By default, anything that is worth increasing in value is actually decreasing in value on its own. You know that emergency cash you have tucked away under your mattress? Well, it is decreasing in value by 3% each year due to inflation. Other prime examples are your body and your car. You have to maintain a minimal level of activity just to sustain value. If you’re doing nothing, you are decreasing, not “sustaining.”
This couldn’t be truer for business. Many business owners, especially small business owners, get to a place where things feel “sustained” when, in fact, they are going downhill.
Competition is fierce and is gradually eating away at your market share. Even if your company had no competition whatsoever, your solution would not satisfy everyone forever. Interests change, people change. You gradually become less important.
Please note, this list is by no means an exhaustive list of SEO tasks that you should be doing, it’s just the bare essentials. This can be compared to rinsing your mouth out after each meal instead of actually brushing your teeth on a daily basis. Yes, it helps, but it should only be done if you have absolutely no access to a toothbrush and toothpaste. You should be implementing a full SEO and marketing strategy for your business, but if you simply cannot for whatever reason, you should at least do these four things.
1. Identify “demand” and implement keyword opportunities
This process is also known as “keyword research.” Recurring keyword research is just as important as the initial keyword research process. Demand for your services change over time, so naturally, the keywords and phrases that people search for will change. For some companies, this change in demand happens often, for others, not so much. The important thing to be aware of, though, is that it does happen. One very common reason for a change in demand is the time of the year—“seasons.”
As an example, consider a plumbing company. In the winter, users are probably searching for tips on keeping pipes from freezing, while, in the summer, their searches are probably less freeze-related (obviously). If you, as the owner of a plumbing company, did not notice the new demand for freezing pipes in the winter, you would miss out on those SEO keyword opportunities.
Identifying demand through keyword research requires focus, but there are tools online for making it a little easier on you. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free resource that allows you to see the popularity of given search terms, while Google Trends allows you to find trending topics and timelines for keywords.
Once you’ve identified your keywords, put them to good use!
Once you’ve decided on which keywords to target, you need to implement them into your site. The most important places to place your keywords are in the:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Inside the appropriate headings
- In the content of your page
Don’t get crazy with pasting keywords in your page, however. Search engines will actually penalize you for “over-optimizing” a keyword on your page. There is no magic number of keywords you should or should not use, but if you prioritize writing for humans over search engines, you’ll be fine. Read and re-read your content after you write it and try to eliminate keyword redundancy.
As a minimum recurring SEO task, you simply cannot ignore keyword research and the process of proactively seeking the demand of your customers.
2. Performing technical SEO audits regularly
Performing regular audits on your website is not only smart, but it can save you a lot of headaches if something were to happen that caused search engines to stop indexing your pages. Technical SEO audits are quick and simple to perform, and they allow you to find problems that may be hurting your SEO efforts.
Unfortunately, a single audit is not good enough for a website that is actively trying to rank better. As you add more and more content to your site, there is always the chance that your pages may have a small code-to-text ratio, or be perceived as being a “duplicate” page. You’ll want to know about these issues and fix them as they arise.
Additionally, configuration changes or plugin updates may cause invalid markup errors, or negatively alter your robots.txt! This is very important when using a CMS and installing plugins, because not all code is created equal, and problems do happen. It’s good to perform regular SEO audits for your website to ensure there aren’t small issues creating big problems.
You cannot ignore technical SEO audits. At a minimum, you want to check your website on a monthly basis. Ignoring this step can lead to very poor SEO rankings and possibly even penalizations from search engines!
3. Create quality content on a regular basis
Creating quality content around demand will benefit your website’s SEO in so many ways that it almost seems silly not to do it. Yet, many companies are still behind on the “content” curve. People love new content just as much as search engines do. Creating quality content on a regular basis is good because:
- Search engines see that your website is being maintained as it should
- You get more pages indexed in search engines, which gives you better odds at being clicked all on its own (5:1,000,000 is better than 1:1,000,000!)
- You establish your company as a subject-matter expert
Unless you’re writing horrible content, there is nothing bad about creating more, and more, and more. Content is a long-term investment that keeps on giving.
You simply cannot expect to remain both “stagnant” AND “relevant” in today’s competitive business space—no matter what industry you’re in. You must be proactive in setting your company apart and you must be investing in quality content.
You cannot ignore content creation! As a minimum recurring SEO task, you want at least one blog post monthly, but aim for 1 blog post weekly! The benefits greatly outweigh the investment of a quality piece of content.
4. Monitor and track performance
Like with anything else that you want to improve, you need to track it. To improve your SEO, you need to know where you are, what’s helping, and what’s hurting.
A huge advantage of online marketing is that the data available to you for tracking is almost limitless. Popular small business SEO tools like Google Analytics can detail and monitor your website traffic down to their location, interests, and time on site! But numbers are just numbers unless you know what you’re looking for.
What metrics should you be tracking?
Three most common metrics that would apply to most (if not all) SEO campaigns are ranked keywords, referring domains, and site speed. Other popular metrics such as social channels, bounce rates, and landing pages are all very important as well, but we’ll focus on the first three.
Ranked Keywords and their Positions
This is important to track because it allows you to get an overview of which keywords are being picked up by search engines, and where you’re currently ranking for those keywords.
This data can give you an overall idea of where your website stands as a whole. As you can see in the image above, there are no first-page results, but there are a lot of results further down the line. You can dive deeper into this analysis and start improving on keyword rankings by adding new content and promoting old content.
Referring Domains, aka Backlinks
Who links to your website? The number of referring domains, also known as “backlinks,” that your website has, give search engines an idea of your popularity. Monitoring backlinks give you the opportunity to see who, if anyone, is finding your content helpful.
Monitoring backlinks will also provide insight into what “bad” websites are linking to you. A website with a poor reputation that is linking to your website can actually hurt your rankings, so be careful before you start posting your website links all over the internet!
Website Speed and Performance
People love fast-loading websites, naturally. So do search engines. The faster your page loads, the better your rankings.
Monitoring your website’s loading speed and working to improve it is a very small process that can greatly impact your website’s rankings. But are you doing it? Most companies aren’t. There are various tools online that can give you an overview of your current site rendering speed, such as Google’s “Pagespeed” tool, and “YSlow.”
Fixing page performance issues is a different matter altogether. This post is focusing on the most important SEO tactics that are recurring, so we won’t dive into this here. Page speed optimization is something, much like a large initial website audit, which should be completed before your recurring SEO campaign starts. Doing the majority of your page speed optimization, in the beginning, means there is much less to do on a monthly basis. But you should actively monitor it.
Failing to recognize the value in SEO and content as a business owner is a failure to actively grow your business. You can ignore the internet and your competitors as much as you’d like, but it’s not going away. These 4 important SEO tasks are the essentials that every business website, no matter how big or small, should incorporate–especially if you’re a local business.
Search engine optimization can get complex very quickly, but when resources are tight, focusing on these core tasks will ensure that you’re taking proactive steps to help sustain your business.