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The Importance of Ongoing Optimization

December 8, 2011 by Andrew Symes

At Kaszas, we have researched and developed search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for a number of clients. We recently examined the performance of five optimized client websites. The best-performing sites are those that follow post-launch SEO best practices.

Measuring Performance

To measure performance of online content optimization, we examine a client’s rankings on important keywords about six months after the initial SEO project’s launch. We then compare those keyword rankings  to rankings we recorded before the optimized website was launched.

While the degree of improvement varies from client to client, those that perform specific post-launch SEO activities fare much better than those who launch the initial keyword and content optimization work with no subsequent effort.

Keyword Research & Implementation Options

All Kaszas SEO clients benefit from the same keyword research process. We first interview the clients to understand their desired target audience and their product offerings. We then take that information and use industry tools to determine the most popular keywords used online to search out that information. Finally, we provide a report that details our keyword findings and provides instructions for optimizing the website.

Once the keyword research and implementation recommendations are in the client’s hands, however, the client can choose to take one of three actions:

  1. Implement the recommendations independently – composing all new content and re-architecting the website with in-house resources
  2. Engage Kaszas and a qualified web partner to compose new content and implement the changes
  3. Engage Kaszas and a qualified web partner to compose new content, implement the changes andcontinually update the website on an ongoing basis

Of the five clients we examined, one implemented our research on its own, two engaged Kaszas to optimize the website, and two engaged Kaszas optimize and maintain the website.

Optimization Findings

Four of the clients we examined saw improvements in their search engine rankings, and one client saw virtually no change. The degree to which the rankings improved, however, differed dramatically between the clients:

Search Rank Improvements 
(# of improved keyword rankings)
In-house implementation
(one client)
Professional implementation(two clients)
Professional implementation + ongoing maintenance 
(two clients)
including seven #1 rankings

Client #1: In-house implementation

This client received our report and recommendations and implemented the changes on its own. When we examined the newly launched site, we noted that not all of our recommendations and best practices had been implemented. The client did not revisit its keywords or add new, optimized content throughout the year. This client performed the most poorly – its ranking improved for only one of its top seven target keywords, and its ranking on another top keywords actually dropped by one position.

Client #2: Professional implementation
This client engaged Kaszas and a web partner to implement the SEO recommendations. Kaszas helped by composing new, optimized content for the website. Before the SEO project, the client did not appear within the first 50 results in for any of its top 22 keywords. Today, four of its important keywords rank about the 35th position in Google – with one appearing on the first page of results.

Client #3: Professional implementation
This client also engaged Kaszas and a web partner to implement the SEO recommendations. Like the client described above, this client did not appear within the top 50 results in for its top 12 keywords. Today, 8 of its 12 keywords appear within the first 50 results, with 6 appearing on the second page and one in the third position on the first page.

Client #4: Professional implementation & ongoing maintenance
This client had Kaszas compose new content and maintain the website after launch. Working with the client, we engage in post-launch activities that include the regular creation of new, optimized, web content, e-mail newsletters and link requests from relevant third-party websites and partners. The SEO project and subsequent maintenance boosted the rankings of 22 of its 29 keywords – including six #1 rankings on keywords for which it had previously no search engine visibility.

Client #5: Professional implementation & ongoing maintenance
The last client examined showed very positive results. Its rankings improved substantially on 11 of its 22 top keywords – even appearing in the #1 position for the keyword that describes its entire industry. Today, seven of its keywords appear within the top six Google listings – keywords for which it did not appear within the top 50 results before the optimization project began. As with Client #4, this organization has us update its web content regularly, directs traffic to its website through a regular newsletter and revisits its keywords on a regular basis.

SEO Takeaways

It was no surprise to us that the best performing websites were those that continued to think about search engine optimization after the initial optimization work was completed. It’s not that we are performing any kind of magic – the best practices for SEO that we use are freely available public-domain knowledge. The key is that SEO is not a set-and-forget activity as search engines continually crawl the web in search of the most relevant websites.

Updating web page content (both keywords and content generally) is necessary to ensure that a site remains current, relevant and “fresh” in the eyes of search engine spiders. Clients #4 and #5 described above are experiencing the cumulative benefits of SEO because they have dedicated a capable and knowledgeable resource (in this case, Kaszas) to ongoing optimization.

Ongoing maintenance also provides the opportunity to re-evaluate keywords periodically to make sure that they reflect current industry usage and new, emerging terms. HTML titles and metadata keywords often become “stale” over time and can benefit from the addition of new, relevant terms.

Lastly, we encourage clients to be on the lookout for relevant external linking opportunities at all times – not only can these links drive traffic to a site, they can also increase the number of relevant links pointing back to the website, which can boost its search engine rankings.

If you would need help optimizing or maintaining the search engine optimization of your website, contact us!

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