Today we will discuss about SEO maintenance: what it is, why you need to do it and what are the critical actions you must take. First of all, we want to exhort once again the importance of constantly monitoring the performance of your SEO metrics.
The SEO strategy is not a “set-it-and-leave-it” aspect of running your business. It is an organic element that changes all the time. One key factor of change is the user. Consumers are not looking for the same things all the time and even when they do, they do not use the same keywords.
Secondly, Google, as the dominant player among other search engines, is continuously changing its own rules for ranking websites and displaying them as search results. Thus, all these changes need to be taken into account and become a part of your ongoing SEO strategy.
What Exactly Is SEO Maintenance?
SEO maintenance represents the totality of actions you have to perform in order to keep up with the changes we explained above. These actions have a periodical character. For the purposes of clearer understanding, we will present the list of recommended actions for SEO maintenance grouped in time frequency:
How Important Is SEO Maintenance for Your Business?
When you look at the list above, you may feel that SEO maintenance is a daunting task. You have something to do practically every day to keep your SEO strategy up to date. In reality, once you start doing it, you will develop your own system for making your work easier.
For example, you can keep a spreadsheet file with a checklist for these tasks and open it every morning to remind yourself what you have to do. Soon enough, it will become a habit. And it is one of the best habits for a small business owner or marketer who does not want to lose the momentum after setting up an effective SEO strategy.
Your Checklist for Effective and Time Saving SEO Maintenance
As we explained above, it is important to create a system for performing SEO maintenance. Even if you delegate the task, make sure that the person in charge with it is accountable for every action they perform.
One missed item on the checklist may not be an issue per se, but it is our experience that skipping one step leads to several others. In the end, the SEO strategy gets completely out of tune with the realities of what users search for and the way the Google algorithm works.
With these ideas in mind, let us get started:
Daily SEO Maintenance Tasks
1. Stay in the Know
This is one of the basic things you have to do for your own good. Stay up to date with the latest news and developments in the world of SEO. Simply by subscribing to our newsletter o to various RSS feeds, you can get your daily digest of the most important news and changes in SEO best practices and strategies.
2. Monitor SEO Metrics
We have already published a blog post detailing the most important SEO metrics and KPIs. You should log in to the Google Analytics console every day and monitor their evolution. This SEO maintenance task should not take more than a few minutes, since you will find all the metrics side by side, in the same panel.
3. Advance Your Strategy
A successful SEO strategy needs constant effort, especially for on-page SEO. In this respect, you need to decide on:
- The keywords you want to promote
- Writing, posting and sharing content
- Curating content from high authority sources.
Weekly SEO Maintenance Tasks
1. Check for SEO Compliance
Every week, you should audit the SEO compliance of your website. The top frequently overlooked elements of on-page SEO are:
- Alt tags for images
- Page titles
- H1 and H2 tags
- Meta descriptions for each web page.
2. Review Keyword Performance
If you get constantly low rankings for a specific keyword, this means that you need to perform a new research and find a more relevant replacement. There are constant changes in the volume of searches for a specific keyword, prompted by the way users frame their search queries.
3. Check Search Engine Submissions
Every time you publish a blog post, you create a web page. And as soon as the page is created, it needs to be submitted to search engines for crawling and indexing purposes. If a page is not submitted, it is as if it does not exist for search engines.
As part of your ongoing SEO maintenance work, check that each new page is correctly submitted and crawled by search engine. To do so, go to Google and type in “site:YourWebsite.com”. The results will contain all the pages in your site that Google has crawled and indexed.
Monthly SEO Maintenance
1. Check Backlinks and Internal Links
Every month, analyse links that point to your website, as well as internal linking within your website. For backlinks, check that they come from high ranking pages. If your website has too many backlinks from low ranking (poor quality) website, Google will downgrade its rank.
As for internal links, make sure that they are not broken – that is, they do not point to pages that no longer exist, or whose URL structure has changed. Google penalises websites for broken links, so you must not overlook this aspect while you perform SEO maintenance.
2. Check the Sitemap and Navigation
This category of SEO maintenance tasks refers to identifying and correcting:
- Duplicate content
- 404 pages
- Page redirect errors
- Menu errors
- Txt errors.
You can easily perform these tasks using Google Search Console – the redesigned version of Webmaster Tools.
3. Review SEO Performance
Each month, perform an extensive review of the most important SEO KPIs for your business. Compare the results with the previous month, identify strong points and weak spots and optimise elements that do not yield the expected results.
For example, Conversions is the most important KPI for an ecommerce website. In this case, the monthly analysis should focus on this metric.
Quarterly SEO Maintenance
1. Audit Technical Issues
Every four months, spend time checking your website for the following issues, which negatively impact your SEO strategy:
- Page loading speed
- Mobile usability
- Obsolete and vulnerable plugins/extensions.
2. Audit On-Page Issues
One of the most important aspects of SEO maintenance is to make sure that your website has clean code and is not bloated with unnecessary content. Bloating mainly refers to files with a large size, usually images and videos. They can be easily compressed using online tools, without losing quality.
At the same time, look for and remove:
- Obsolete pages – for products you no longer sales, or landing pages for old promotions
- Pages with little content – less than 300 words
- Pages with duplicate content – for very similar products in the same categories.
3. Google My Business Listing Audit
Local searches represent a valuable source of site traffic and new customers. As you already know from our past articles, the Google My Business listing is one of the most important elements in ranking for local searches.
Each month, take the time to review your GMB listing, because Google updates the information with feedback from customers. These changes are not always accurate. And since you are reviewing your GMB listing, look over other NAP citations to make sure that they contain accurate contact details for your business.
Annual SEO Maintenance
The annual SEO maintenance session should focus on your overall SEO strategy. You should set aside a few days for this task to perform a general analysis of the results for the year ended and to update your strategy with the latest changes and developments.
For instance, in 2021 you will need to take into account a new ranking factor, Page Experience. You can find more details about this update to the Google ranking algorithm in this article.