As an SEO consultant, I am generally brought in for set projects - advising my clients on their search marketing strategy and, often, implementing things like link building strategy, content production, etc. Obviously, an initial push of this sort of SEO work is bound to have some sort of positive effect on the site's search traffic (and if everything is as it should be, a positive effect on the level of conversions, too).
Many companies who don't have their own in-house SEO team seem to make the mistake of thinking that getting a consultant to "get their site to No. 1" and then leave is enough. They are then surprised when the results they paid for deteriorate over time. I have also come across companies who did have staff members in charge of SEO or a dedicated agency, but nonetheless failed to understand the nature of the beast and were content to put optimisation work on the back burner once they reached a certain point.
Unfortunately for them, you can never just rest on your laurels in this industry. While you are sitting back, admiring your coveted position, your competitors are hard at work doing their best to push you down. There is always follow up work to be done.
Whether you do the follow up work yourself or retain the services of your consultant, there are several things you need to keep doing over time if you want to maintain your positioning:
- Keep track of your inbound links and see whether you can improve them:
As your site gets more established, you will see a rise in natural links - those given freely without you having had to ask for them. Some of these could be further improved to bring your site more targeted benefit, so it doesn't hurt to email people, thank them for the link and ask if they could, for example, change the anchor text to something more appealing.
- Continue active link building work - even if you have a thousand inbound links, what was enough yesterday may not be enough when your main competitor gets a thousand and ten links or a juicy authority link. I've seen far too many companies neglect this issue and suffer the consequences.
- Competitive research: see what your competitors doing and make adjustments to your own strategy accordingly, if and when needed.
- When making changes to your site, always keep in mind SEO best practices to avoid making any changes that could hurt your ranking. Even seemingly minor changes to site structure or presentation could have far reaching results on your rankings.
- Keep growing and developing your site in order to remain competitive - add more optimised content, come up with suitable linkbait, etc.
- Keep abreast of what's going on in the SEO world and any major (and seemingly minor) changes that could affect your site's ranking. Although you shouldn't suffer too much if you follow clean, white hat SEO tactics, some changes can and do sometimes mean having to reconsider parts of your strategy.