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Why Great SEO Is Not “Set It and Forget it”

SEOIn a great post by Drew Sanocki called “Here Is the AdWords Method That Is Helping My Ecommerce Clients Achieve *Epic* Growth,” Sanocki discusses one of the biggest mistakes that people make with PPC, which he dubs the “Set It and Forget It” strategy.

People who “Set It and Forget It” forget that search engine optimization requires constant and consistent attention. SEO is not a rotisserie chicken and losing focus will result in a steady decline in traffic, leads, and sales.

Sanocki describes people who “Set It and Forget It,” saying that they:

“select keyword phrases, build out their Ad Groups, choose bids that get them a desired position, then move on to more sexy things like content marketing. These businesses ignore the fact that AdWords is a multiplayer game. … Your actions impact competitors’ actions. You change your bid, they change theirs — along with their ad copy, landing pages, CTRs, etc.”

One of the most common mistakes I see with brands and small businesses is definitely related to setting and forgetting. Often these businesses stop SEO once their site is optimized. Though the initial optimization proves successful at first, sales, traffic, and leads dwindle as the site’s hard-fought rankings are lost to other more SEO-diligent websites. It’s often more expensive to ‘reacquire’ top rankings than it was to reach them initially, forcing CMOs and digital marketers to invest more resources to return to previous levels.

An ongoing SEO campaign is much more effective in the long-term for brands, and here’s why:

1. Searcher Demands and Interests Changes

The way people search has changed over the last couple of years due to the greater usage of smartphones and tablets. According to a study by BIA/Kelsey, mobile search volume will surpass desktop search in 2015.

The mobile movement is having a profound impact on organic search as users search differently on their phone than they do on their desktops.

Searches are more local with stronger commercial tendencies on mobile devices, while engagement is as much as 9% higher on tablets than desktops.

It is not just the B2C market that is being impacted by mobile. According to data from Scott Design, more than 1 in 3 US technology decision-makers read B2B content on mobile devices.

Continual optimization for words and devices that your target audience is using is necessary to compete in the digital age.

2. Google Makes Hundreds of Changes Every Year

CMO/Business owners who say that that they are in a traditional industry and that the words used to describe the products and services has not changed in years are not paying attention.

One of the main reasons that “Set It And Forget It” does not work with SEO is that Google changes its search algorithm 500–600 times a year. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

Companies that are actively working with SEO’s are able to adjust to the algorithmic updates that the search engines make and can take advantage of the opportunities they present.

3. Links Erode
The third reason why an ongoing SEO campaign is better than “Set It and Forget” is because of link erosion. According to a report from the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group, over a five year period (2008-2013) 44% of the URLs they monitored became inaccessible.

Their data showed that 256 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link erosion was 44.2% within six years.

Narrowing it to the last two years (2012-14) that link erosion was 19.85%, meaning that one in five links in existence on January 1st of 2012 were no longer active on January 1st of 2014.

So, if you have neglected your links in two years, the odds are high that at least 20% of your links have atrophied or disappeared. That change is enough to make you fall from a high ranking on Google to page three, four, or five—where nobody will see you.

That is why great SEO programs include active link building so that you can continually add new links to replace the ones that have eroded.

Summary
Great SEO is an activity that is constantly evolving with a dependency on the changes in searcher behavior, search engine updates, and competitor moves.

Companies that view SEO as “Set It and Forget It” will see their search engine visibility and traffic erode over time, but companies that engage in great SEO
will see increased visibility, traffic, leads, and sales from their website.

Got an SEO question? Leave them in the comments section below or Tweet them @BraveheartDM.