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June 20, 2007

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Index

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Sara Holoubek had some good insights over at DMNews explaining to site owners that search engine optimization is NOT a one time thing. If you don’t take the time to monitor and dust off that SEO program, it will become old, stale and ineffective before you know it. Sort of like our Susan, and you’ve seen how cranky she is. [I told you, we're too busy for me to fire you this week. Don't be obnoxious.--Susan]

I can’t even believe this still has to be said, but I guess it does. Search engine optimization is not a one time deal. It’s an investment that you have to make good on for the entire life of your site. At this stage in the game, anyone who still looks at SEO as a one time fix or merely tech geek territory has clearly never done SEO. They’ve just read about it on Jason Calacanis’ blog. Or possibly even on Digg.

Just like you can’t set and forget pay per click, you can’t set and forget optimization. The variables surrounding it are changing constantly. You know where a site that hasn’t adjusted their search engine optimization tactics is ranking today?

It’s not ranking anywhere.

Two years ago you may have been a site using the Web to sell cowboy boots. You took the time to identify your keywords and incorporated them into your organic and paid search marketing campaigns. And it worked. You hit the right words, attracted the right customers and life was sweet. But chances are you’re not that same site anymore.

You’re two years older and a little bit wiser. You’re no longer just a site selling cowboy boots online; you’re a cowboy boot-selling site taking advantage of social media, trying to make the front page of Reddit and finding exciting new ways to attract customers while not ignoring the old ones. Your objectives are totally different and your search marketing campaign will have to change to reflect that. Your 2007 site probably wouldn’t even be friends with your 2005 site. They have very little common, they don’t hang in the same social circles and they speak almost completely different languages. That’s how fast things change on the Web.

It’s na├»ve to think that a year or 6 months can go by without you having to monitor your optimization efforts. You should always be tweaking and adjusting, looking at your referral longs, plugging up holes in your conversion funnel, and scoping out your competitors to see what techniques they’re using that seem to be working. I’ll share a small secret with you. As soon you put the finishing touches on your last search engine optimization campaign, fiercer competition entered, industry word usage and vocabulary changed and new users discovered they had a need for your product. Your mission now is to go get them.

If you let a layer of dust develop on your SEO campaign before you touch it again, you’re going to lose your rankings. Even if you were the kind of person who thought search engine optimization was going to be a one time fix, you probably spent a hell of a lot of time getting things "just right" that first time. Why would you want to risk that? Why throw away the initial investment when just a moderate amount of work would ensure that you continue to reap high rewards? That would be dumb.

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3 responses to “Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Index”

  1. Geri writes:

    I like when my competition fails to work their SEO program. It allows my sites to rank much better. I often wonder are they clueless, lazy, or distracted. I work at SEO everyday and I have the results to prove it… I have a blog on one of my sites. It was developed just to provide fresh content for the site. At first I never paid any attention to how it was ranking. Then one day I checked in with Google to find that it was ranked #5… I thought HMM… This daily blogging does pay off… So I continued to blog and it is now #1. So yes, paying attention to you SEO program does produce results.

  2. Janna Berg | Prime writes:

    This is something that we have dealt with with some of our clients lately. They are wanting to know why their 5 year old site is not getting as much traffic as it used to. Great blog!!

  3. sarasez writes:

    Thanks for the shout out, Lisa!



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