How Often Should You Update SEO?
Ever feel like you’ve got this whole SEO thing down, only to hear about another update or trend? You’re not alone! Keeping your website at the top of search results is a bit like staying fit; you’ve got to keep at it, or you might lose your edge.
Sure, if you’re following best practices, you shouldn’t see a major drop in your rankings. But Google and its algorithms never sleep, and it feels like there’s always something new around the corner.
That’s why staying updated and adjusting your SEO strategy is like eating your veggies – it’s essential for staying healthy in the SERPs! So, let’s explain why SEO isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it deal and how you can stay ahead of the game.
Why is SEO an Ongoing Process?
SEO is an ongoing process due to several factors – search engine algorithms, consumer behavior, competition, etc.
Every good strategy that will remain effective and relevant must be revisited occasionally.
It’s more important to note that SEO is not a once-and-done strategy. Updates to your website impact user experience and how search engine bots crawl and index your site.
For instance, if you update old content, like adjusting the meta title or adding/updating new content, Googlebot must recrawl and update its index to account for your changes. If your content passes the quality mark and answers users’ questions more accurately and more comprehensively, it’s likely your rankings will improve.
Other reasons are:
- SEO algorithms are constantly changing: Google, as well as other search engines, are continually rolling out new updates to improve user search experience.
If you’re not ahead or abreast of these updates, your website may slowly slip to the second or subsequent pages of the SERPs. Maintaining and adapting to these changes is crucial to getting meaningful results from your SEO campaigns.
- Consumer search preferences are dynamic: Besides search engines, customer search preferences are equally evolving. For instance, the rise in voice and image search. This presents new opportunities to rank for new keywords and attract more quality traffic.
- The competitor effect: Obviously, you’re not the only one vying for the top spot on the SERPs. Your competitors are working to achieve the same. This calls for ongoing competitive analysis when creating an SEO strategy for your business.
How Often Should You Update Your SEO?
You should update your SEO strategy as often as you can.
There’s no one-answer-fits-all to this question. This is because each SERP is different and some require more freshness than others. In addition, every brand is unique and has different goals. Therefore, updating your SEO strategy should largely depend on what you’re trying to achieve.
Is organic traffic the primary conversion for you? Then, you should focus on improving existing pages and publishing new articles to rank for new topics. Or do you want to generate sales? In that case, optimizing product pages, improving conversion funnels, and running targeted campaigns should be considered.
Remember that your SEO update frequency should align with your business objectives.
The answer also depends on the type of updates you need to make. Let’s analyze this using possible use cases.
- If you are trying to rank for a certain topic or keyword that requires content freshness, you must update your page content and dates to align with what the SERPs show. A great way to see this is to look for dates in the SERP. If you see them showing in the top 10 and they are fairly recent, your publish dates should align.
- If your competitor’s website performs better than yours for a particular keyword, you might need to review how they’ve optimized their web pages to attract quality traffic. How often are they updating the page, how many new links is the page getting (link velocity), etc.
- Your website usability also matters. Adding new functionalities to your website can impact your SEO, so whenever you make these changes, you’ll need to closely monitor how it affects user experience compared to the previous design. Usability tests can be conducted consistently every three months before and after significant changes.
- When you identify content gaps in your content strategy, probably some new keywords your competitors are ranking for and you aren’t, you might need to create new content to fill those gaps. This can be done monthly or bi-monthly, depending on the results of your SEO analysis.
Tip: The rule of thumb is to revisit your SEO strategy at least quarterly. Before you do, conduct SEO audits on your site to discover issues that can be resolved.
A better option will be hiring an agency that provides an all-encompassing SEO service (including website maintenance). These agencies have technicians skilled in improving your organic positioning, traffic, lead generation, revenue, and website performance. For example, here’s what we offer at HigherVisibility:
Signs you need to update your strategy
If you notice any or all of these telltale signs, then it’s time to review your SEO strategy:
- A decline in organic traffic
If you notice a sudden drop in your organic traffic, it’s a clear sign to evaluate your organic traffic to know what went south. However, this may result from algorithm updates, server downtime, seasonal trends, etc.
First, check out Google Analytics, Search Console, or any other SEO tool you use. What are the issues causing this decline? Are there specific pages that lost rankings, or it’s a general issue?
Once you can identify the root causes of the decline, you can take targeted steps to address the issues and re-optimize your site.
- Poor conversion rates
Generating high traffic is no longer enough.
Are your site visitors converting to customers? Are you getting the conversions you initially outlined when setting up your website SEO campaigns?
A decline in conversion rates is a clear sign that something is wrong. Poor conversion rate may result from making website changes or publishing content that doesn’t align with customer search intent.
- When you lose your ranking spot to your competitors
If your rankings for your primary keyword start to drop, it’s time to review your SEO strategy.
Check out your competitor pages. If their content is more comprehensive and up-to-date, conduct competitor analysis to discover what they’re doing that you’re not.
- Search engine algorithm updates
Search engines like Google and Bing are constantly releasing and refining their algorithms. Google, for example, releases at least 600 updates per year! These changes can impact your web content and cause your site to lose traffic.
If you notice fluctuations in your web traffic after a significant update, it’s a clear sign that you need to evaluate your SEO strategy.
- Evolving user intent
As technology advances, customer behavior online is similarly changing. The intent behind specific keywords and search queries also evolves as this happens. When this happens, you may need to redefine your SEO strategy to match customer behavior.
How Often Should I Update On-Page SEO?
Update your on-page SEO at least once in six months if you consistently get high conversion traffic to your site.
But if you notice a sudden drop or fluctuation in your website traffic, you need to update your on-page SEO more frequently.
Keep in mind that the frequency of your audits depends on:
- The size of your website: Generally, if you have more pages, you want to conduct regular audits to discover the possibility of new impediments that could be impacting performance.
- Goals of your SEO campaigns: If you’re targeting a specific amount of organic traffic per month, you’d want to conduct audits at the end of each month to know your performance metrics.
- Changes in search engine algorithms: As highlighted above, search engines consistently adapt to the ever-changing consumer search behavior. In this case, you should understand how your website stands before and after each update.
- Changes in user behavior on your site: If you’re working on adding or removing some functionalities from your site, you may want to examine how your web visitors react to these changes and your performance metrics.
- The level of competition in your niche: This goes without saying. If you’re competing to rank for high-volume keywords in your niche, you may want to see how your competitors currently rank for that particular keyword and how you can compete successfully.
- Current performance of your best-performing web pages: SEO is ever-evolving. You may rank position 1 for a particular keyword and be 10 tomorrow. The cycle never ends.
In this case, study your best-performing pages to discover what you’re doing that can be applied to other pages on your website.
What to look for that would prompt me to update on-page SEO
Look out for all vital on-page elements such as meta tags and descriptions, headers, product titles (if you run an eCommerce store), image optimization, etc.
An on-page audit usually encompasses reviewing the significant elements of your website that directly impact your rankings, conversions, and traffic – on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO.
It helps to identify major on-page issues such as broken links, content gaps, poor UX, loading speed issues, thin content, canonicals, etc.
Now to the real deal. Let’s discuss the major pointers that make you need an on-page SEO update.
- Your keyword performance:
Are you currently ranking for your target keyword? If yes, what position are you in on the search results? If you’re not anywhere in the top three results or on the first page, it’s a sign that you may need to update your on-page SEO.
According to recent statistics, the top three Google search results get 54.4% of all clicks.
This means 45.6% of clicks are split among the subsequent pages. And if your site is on the second page, you might not get enough traffic, especially if SEO is your primary client acquisition channel.
The way out?
Always ensure your keywords are relevant to user search intent.
Search engines prioritize pages with information that perfectly caters to search queries.
So, when researching keywords, look for keywords that will give you the maximum impact.
Pro tip: If you have lots of pages up on your site, ensure you check out for multiple pages ranking for the same keyword. This is called keyword cannibalization. Tools like Google Search Console or Screaming Frog can help with this.
- If your content doesn’t follow the E.E.A.T guideline:
Last year, Google updated its content quality rater guidelines to Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
This means if you’re not creating helpful, reliable, people-first content, you may have difficulty ranking well in verticals or topics that require EEAT like (Your Money Your Life Pages).
So, you need to evaluate your content.
According to Google:
Overall, Google advises webmasters to focus on people-first content and not ‘search engine-first’ content:
Read more about Google’s content quality update.
- Missing or Duplicate Title Tags
Web visitors first see Title tags when your page appears on the SERPs. Although Google’s John Mueller shared that page titles are irrelevant for rankings compared to the page’s primary content, it’s still worth optimizing to encourage strong organic click-through rates.
Conduct an on-page SEO audit to identify pages without title tags or duplicate title tags (especially if you’re constantly adding new or updating your web content).
Also, use SEO tools like Screaming Frog to evaluate your site and identify pages with duplicate or missing title tags. Then, replace them accordingly with compelling, accurate, and optimized content.
- Slow page loading speed
If your page loads slower, you may be out-ranked by another site with a faster page load. Slow page loading increases your bounce rate, has negative effects on user experience, and worsens your conversion rates.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify speed issues. Look out for the root causes, for example, large image size, too many plugins, poor server performance, etc.
- Outdated content
Is your content up-to-date? How recent are the statistics you included? Outdated content may also be the issue of why your website dropped in rankings.
How do you decipher if a piece of content on your site needs to be updated?
- When it loses ‘freshness’
- When it starts to underperform
- When there’s new information available
- When your competitor pages perform better
- Internal and External link
Links are valuable to search engines. Google, for instance, uses internal links to understand the structure of your website and external links to understand what your content is all about (for authoritativeness).
It’s an excellent opportunity to revisit your linking strategy whenever you make page updates or additions. Also, check out for broken or dead links and consider replacing them with working ones.
How Often Should You Monitor SEO?
I recommend conducting SEO audits quarterly. For websites with more pages, you’ll may want to update it more frequently. But you don’t need to monitor your SEO every day.
Here are ten metrics you should track:
- Keyword rankings
- Organic traffic
- Conversion rate
- User behavior flow
- Time spent on page
- Bounce rate
- Click through rate
- Domain Rating / Domain Authority
- Referring Domains
- Core Web Vitals
Luckily, there are a handful of SEO tools to track your SEO performance:
- Google Analytics: Best for website audit
- SEMrush: Best for Keyword research
- Animals Revive: Best in helping you find content that requires an upgrade
- GTMetrix: Best for analyzing website health
- SEObility: Best for finding sitemap problems
- Ahrefs: Best for competitor research
- Screaming Frog: Best in technical SEO analysis
The frequency of updating your SEO strategy is not a one-size-fits-all answer, but rather a dynamic process that hinges on various factors. The ever-evolving nature of search engine algorithms, the continuous emergence of new trends, and the changing behaviors of online users make regular SEO updates a necessity for staying competitive.
Businesses should aim for a balanced approach, where routine audits are conducted quarterly, and immediate adjustments are made in response to significant algorithm updates or notable shifts in market trends. It’s crucial to remember that SEO is not a set-and-forget task but an ongoing journey of adaptation and refinement.
By staying proactive and adapting your strategy you can ensure your efforts yield sustainable and effective results.
Want to improve your chances even further? Work with HigherVisibility. For over 15 years we have helped hundreds of businesses succeed in SEO. Let us do it for you! Request a free custom strategy today.