Read this to find out when you should consider updating your SEO plan

by Patrick Cumming

“When should you consider updating your SEO plan?” 

As a digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) agency, it’s a question new and prospective clients often ask us.

Especially ones who’ve recently experienced a drop in valuable organic website traffic.

Hint: If you’re currently experiencing the above problem, it’s 1,000% time to update your SEO strategy...

But, even if you’re not losing traffic, there’s always the possibility updating your SEO plan could help you gain more.

However, many businesses miss out on this potential traffic as they treat SEO as a one-off task.

But it isn’t.

Instead, SEO for a website is a lot like a healthy diet or fitness routine for your body. 

You can’t do one workout or eat one salad and expect to be healthy. 

You need to make eating healthy meals and working out a habit before yielding positive results.

Since Google implements small tweaks to their search ranking algorithm daily, the goalposts always change.

To keep up with these changes you need to conduct regular SEO work to suit.

It’s for this reason, there’s really never a bad time to update your SEO plan.

That’s not to say you should update it every day. But even making micro strategic tweaks as often as once per fortnight wouldn’t be a wasted effort.

That’s how dynamic SEO can be.

Of course, not every business has the time or resources to allocate this much time to SEO strategy.

So, to help you make the most of your digital marketing budget, this article outlines the most important times to update your SEO plan.

Let’s get to it.

Magnifying glass hovering over Google Analytics graph.

When you’re not seeing positive results after 6 months

Despite what a handful of snake-oil SEO professionals will tell you, there’s no fast route to the top of Google.

Like completing a marathon or summiting a mountain peak, you have to put in the yards if you want success.

That’s why trustworthy digital marketing professionals like us advise clients that it takes 6-12 months of consistent effort to see results.

However, though it can take up to 12 months, you should see positive signs after 6.

It’s normal not to reach a coveted top 10 spot within 6 months, but you should be seeing keywords creeping up the rankings (eg. from position 50 to position 20).

If you haven’t seen these types of marginal gains, there’s a good chance your SEO plan’s a dud.

And, if that is the case, it’s either time to update or time to hire a new SEO agency.

Woman looking deflated due to poor digital marketing results.

When Google announces a major algorithm change

I mentioned earlier that Google regularly implements micro enhancements to their search algorithm.

Alongside these small updates, they’ll also intermittently implement large updates.

These larger updates, called Core Updates, often change the rules of search. This can radically change where your website ranks on Google.

A particularly devastating update is thought to have cost Leaf Group (formerly Demand Media, Inc) $6.4 million due to lost website traffic.

Put simply, if your website doesn’t play by the new Core Update rules, Google may penalise you.

For this reason, whenever they release one, it’s best to refactor your SEO plan to suit.

Woman pointing at SEO content calendar.

When you’re changing direction or introducing new products & services

Thinking of repositioning your brand, releasing a new type of product or introducing a new service? 

If you answered yes, you’ll need to update your SEO plan.

Here’s why. 

Let’s say you run a skincare brand and you’ve historically sold only moisturisers.

As your business scales, you add shampoo to your catalogue.

If you don’t update your SEO plan to account for the new product type, you could miss out on a tonne of shampoo related search term traffic.

Similarly, repositioning your brand or introducing a new service may open up a wealth of new search term possibilities.

And all of these possibilities need to be factored into your SEO plan.

Sure, not factoring these potential new terms into your plan might mean business still ticks over as normal.

But you’ll certainly miss out on an opportunity for growth.

How often should I update my SEO strategy?

We’ve covered the essential, non-negotiable times to update your SEO plan above. 

However, if you’re truly looking for SERP success, you’ll need to update your SEO plan every 6 months. Minimum.

Doing this should account for any Google Core Updates or business development actions on your end.

That said, it’s better to update your SEO plan – or at least assess the SEO landscape to establish whether re-strategising is necessary – every 1-3 months.  

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an overall strategic goal of acquiring [x] amount of traffic or [x] amount of #1 ranked keywords over a longer period. 12 months, for instance.

But it does mean you should be prepared to adjust your strategic approach as and when required.

Time for another example.

Let’s say your current SEO plan spans 12 months and prioritises keyword research.

2 months into your plan Google releases a Core Update favouring websites with rapid load times.

At the end of the 12 months, despite all your hard work, your search performance ends up worsening. 

You didn’t update your plan to prioritise increasing website speed and Google penalised you for it.

The top search positions all went to the competitors who shifted their strategy in line with the Core Update instead.

If you’d have updated your plan after 3, or even 6 months, you’d have been able to pivot your strategy and avoid taking a plunge in the rankings.

Do I need an SEO agency?

Much in the way you don’t “need” a builder to build your extension, you don’t “need” an SEO agency to optimise your website.

But, if you want an optimum result – like a conservatory that doesn’t collapse or a website that ranks well on Google – it makes sense to enlist an expert.

First, an SEO agency provides the complete skill set you need to thrive on search. 

It’s also often a better choice than hiring someone in-house since you’ll have access to multiple professionals as opposed to just one. 

Usually at a fraction of the cost too.

Second, agencies employ experts whose primary job is to stay on top of search trends. 

For this reason, agencies are well-positioned to regularly update your SEO plan based on these trends. 

This equates to better keyword rankings for you.

Wrap up

Google’s mission is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

It’s an unending task that’s going to require an unending number of algorithm updates to achieve.

As such, Google will always favour agile businesses that quickly adapt their websites, content and SEO plans to these evolving requirements.

So, to dominate search, regularly updating your SEO plan is non-negotiable.

Decided it’s time to update your SEO plan? We’d love to talk. Follow this link to get in touch.