EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do I Need to Adjust My SEO Every Month?



Sorry. Allow me to elucidate.

I get the question all the time and not everyone likes my answer. The question generally comes from a client or potential client who heard from someone something to the effect of: "Yeah, Google's always adjusting its algorithm, so you've got to mix up that SEO every single month to keep up."

The Plan

Say you or a service provider puts together an all-inclusive, rear-kickin' SEO plan and executes it perfectly. Every page has a definitive focus, reinforced by the page title - h1 - copy Holy Relevance Trinity. Your meta data is tuned (if not always used), alt and title attribute tags are playing some killer backup and your copy is sufficient but not overkill, readable but keyword-dense.

What then?

Well, assuming the necessary submissions, robots.txt, autodiscovery are in place and nothing is done to accidentally sabotage the outcome, you've got a pretty good chance Google et.al. will begin indexing your pages or raising your rankings. After a couple weeks to a couple months, that is.

The Someone Quote

"Yeah, Google's always adjusting its algorithm, so you've got to mix up that SEO every single month to keep up."

The first problem with that general idea is the timing. Yes, you can be certain that the good folks at Google don't take one day off making tiny changes to the algorithm. But as we just mentioned, it may take a couple months to get moving. So what were you tweaking?

The second problem with the quote is the absolute arrogance it encompasses. That Someone does not know a whole lot about the algorithm, let alone the little adjustments; if they did, they would be busy on a yacht.

The last problem is necessity. If you already have a clear focus on your pages and a solid search engine optimization setup, how much can you accurately make that better by small tweaks from month to month? The answer is: you can't.

The Con(clusion)

The person who tells you that you need SEO adjustments every month either does not understand search engine optimization or is lying in order to perpetuate that myth - and perhaps even rope you into an unnecessary, expensive 12+ month SEO contract. Their gain, your loss.

In a worst-case scenario, you're looking at a never-ending game of ghost cat-and-mouse: "Sorry about the lack of any measurable results, but we're doing everything we can and Google keeps switching it up."

(Can you guess which parties do not appreciate my answer?)

A Recommendation

Search engine optimization does change, but except for the HUGE revisions (hint: they have names), the little tweaks aren't going to drastically affect your rankings, and the little tweaks that would be done to your site monthly are something a small- or medium- sized business has absolutely no need for.

After I explain this to a client, I give them a realistic recommendation: Yes, Google does change, but your focus does not, not by much. So after 90 days we'll take a look at analytics, at rankings, (at no charge) and if we see something that could increase your rankings, at THAT time we'll put together suggestions with justification into a proposal for additional SEO work.

In my professional opinion, anything else is either ignorance or deception.

(Sidenote for another post: Be wary of anyone separating web design from SEO, e.g. "And this is our SEO Package." "SEO Friendly" is what you get if you don't choose that package, which generally means "If you want it later, we'll tear out the drywall in your house to add the electric. Until then? Nothing, and we'll wait for your call.")

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