The short answer to this question is 'Yes'. The more thorough answer is 'Probably not'.
First, let's define what I mean by 'One-Time SEO'. It's very common for a company to 'redo' their website and request that it be optimized for search engines when the site is redone. From our perspective, this entails a bunch of tasks including:
- Up front research & strategy
- On-site technical aspects (e.g., making the site as easy as possible for Google to evaluate/index)
- Content evaluation and recommendations
- Providing SEO-friendly platforms and tools for ongoing content
In this SEO "project", we're making sure the client is optimized at launch. When the site goes live, we've optimized for the current best practices and strategy. After that, unless we have an ongoing relationship to improve SEO, the effort is now in the client's hands. This often means nothing will happen from an SEO perspective until another redo o their website.
Common Results From an SEO Project
When we do up-front, "project" SEO, we always see positive results in terms of increase in rank in the search engines. Many of the focus keywords jump dramatically in a 3-12 month time frame. Much of this is due to the more technically optimized site.
So, as I stated above, the short answer is 'Yes'.
There is an improvement in rank, but it is not anywhere near as effective as having an ongoing effort to take short term, incremental successes and turn them into longer term, BIG WINS.
For example, with a one time, up-front SEO project, you may see a keyword go from page 200 of the search results (which is obviously invisible and useless) to page 10 or 3. From there, it may improve slightly, or degrade over time. With an ongoing strategy and effort in place, we could potentially get that keyword to page 1 or 2.
Results of an Ongoing SEO Partnership
When we have an ongoing partnership with a client to improve their SEO, we always see positive improvements in rank for keywords. The biggest difference is that the improvements are more substantial. Unlike an SEO project, we are able to capitalize on the up front improvements in rank to bring a page 5 keyword to page 1.
I don't need to spout off a stat about how useless it is to be on page 5 versus page 1 in Google. Your experience with searching for anything combined with common sense will no doubt tell you that the impact on your website traffic will be much more substantial with a listing on page 1.
Benefits of an Ongoing SEO Partnership
Change Is A Constant
If there's one constant with web marketing, it's that there is always change. Google changes, users change, devices change, best practices change, competition changes and what works changes. This is a HUGE drawback of an SEO project versus an ongoing partnership with an SEO provider because an up front project doesn't account for ongoing change.
If you have a partnership with an SEO company, you benefit from an evolving focus on your keywords, including adapting to the changing environment.
Your Competition Is Adapting
Whether they redesign their site with a focus on SEO or someone's personal blog starts ranking better than your site for important keywords, you are facing competition that is constantly in flux. If you want to stay ahead of them, an ongoing SEO partner is the way to go.
Hail Mary Passes Are Risky And Ineffective
We compare an SEO project to a Hail Mary Pass in football. Can you score with it? Yes. Can you fail with it? Yes.
SEO, just like football, is more effective when planned out and executed 10 yards at a time. An SEO project is a lot like throwing a Hail Mary on 1st down, every time you have the ball. It will work sometimes, but often times, it's not the best path to success.
Strategies Need Refinement
Every strategy needs fine tuning over time. An ongoing SEO partnership allows your strategy to be improved upon on a regular and consistent basis. This means a shorter path to profits.
Unlike an SEO project, an SEO partnership allows you and your partner to assess the progress made, new opportunities that have presented themselves and execute on strategy adjustments.
Quality Traffic From Search Is A Fundamental Component of Inbound Marketing - Do It Right
An effective Inbound Marketing strategy requires high quality website traffic from searching prospects. If you partner with an Inbound Marketing agency, you will benefit from ongoing SEO as well as an ongoing content marketing, conversion and lead nurturing effort.
Set yourself up for success and a steady stream of leads with an ongoing partnership with an Inbound Marketing agency.