Developing a Competitive Advantage using SEO is important, however for many Rankpay clients, top ranking has already been achieved, so what happens next? Do they stop using SEO services? Rest on their laurels? What happens if they do quit using good SEO strategies?
The answer to what happens if you quit using good SEO strategies is simple – the website will very soon fall away from a high-ranking position.
Doing nothing means throwing away the competitive advantage developed, so this is clearly not an option!
Understanding What the SEO Process Is
SEO is a re-iterative process; this means it is cyclical in nature and once you have followed through all the relevant steps you will be brought back to the very beginning to assess what has happened, what has worked, what will work better and then to go through all the steps all over again…and again…and again!
Re-iterative simply means to continue repeating, and this effectively sums up the process by which SEO works.
Here is simple chart of SEO tasks:
- Select Keywords
- Assess Competitor Keywords
- Merge Keywords
- Optimize Web Content with Keywords
- Submit Content to search Engines
- Address the Sales Pitch for Users – Convertibility & Usability
- Link Building
- Assess the Search Engine Rankings
- and return to review Keywords in Step 1.
Why Do You Need to Keep Repeating Yourself?
The biggest reason is change – search engines do not stand still, in fact they are addressing changes in their algorithm every day, but there are also your competitors who will be trying to outdo your SEO efforts in an attempt to develop their own competitive advantage. Keywords themselves do not guarantee top rankings, and they do not guarantee that your website will continue to enjoy top rankings in search engine results either. This is why we have to continuously reassess the effectiveness of keywords used, compare them to the competitions and establish the optimum keyword mix for your particular website.
We have already mentioned how search engines will tweak their algorithm, a good example being the Mayday changes announced by Google earlier this year. This kind of change is happening all the time, and your SEO partners need to be aware of these changes as soon as they are made. Just because the new algorithm doesn’t “like” your website immediately is no reason to quit. Typically, the algorithm changes simply mean some slight adjustment to existing SEO strategies and rankings inevitably recover.
Your customers will also change; change in their outlook, change in their own habits as fashions and trends sweep the consumer markets; and change in how they use the web to find and buy what they want. You need to keep abreast of these changes which will mean changing how users find their way to your site, find their way around and deal with website issues, such as loading times and internal link navigation. You cannot expect to get usability and optimal conversions right the first time, and you cannot expect to get it perfect at anytime – you simply have to optimize, assess, and re-optimize in the light of the changes in consumer habits and the SEO impact being made by these changes.
Finally, we discussed link building at length earlier this month and this is such an important subject. In terms of putting the icing on the cake with a great big cherry on it, when it comes to SEO, the equivalent is building a quality portfolio of back links. Link building takes a lot of time and professional expertise and it is certainly not something which happens overnight, unless Black Hat SEO techniques are being used (which will get you penalized or banned from search engines). Quality is what really counts, and while you may have link volume, you can always improve both the volume and more importantly the quality to maximize the SEO impact.
Assessing and Implementing SEO Changes
Even with this simplified scenario, you can see how much change is driving the environment within which you have created a competitive advantage, i.e. top ranking. The key stage in an SEO campaign is to assess what has happened in respect of the changes already implemented and how that is working in respect of the competitive environment. Once you have identified what changes are required to positively improve and consolidate your ranking position then they must be implemented, but in turn these changes must be assessed to see if they are having the desired effect.
This underlines the key point – SEO works in an environment of constant change and for that you must see SEO as a process by which you rise to the top and stay there. SEO is cannot be about performing a project and then stopping; because the search engines, competitors and business environment are never going to stop!
Once you have developed a competitive advantage, you have a highly valuable weapon in the war for sales. You must maintain that advantage against the constant change which affects your online and real-world business.
Constant change is being generated by:
- Changes in search engine algorithms;
- Changes in keyword value and effectiveness, especially for users;
- Changes in what the competition is doing;
- Changes in consumer habits, both in respect of buying trends and web surfing habits; and
- Changes in the relative value of back links.
You must address all of these changes and assess the impact upon your SEO rankings and the effectiveness in terms of generating sales. This means performing all of the main SEO steps and then assessing the impact before deciding on what changes need to be made and implemented.
SEO changes also need to be assessed to see what their “new” impact will be, and so the SEO process continues.