If you have a website, you know that SEO is important if you want to increase website traffic and get more leads for your business.
But SEO is not a one-time activity – it’s an ongoing process. You can’t just do things once and expect your website to rank high forever.
To maintain good search engine visibility, you need to consistently optimize your site and rank high in search results.
In this blog post, I’ll share a detailed ongoing SEO maintenance checklist of all the things you need to do on a regular basis to make sure your website is performing well in search engines.
Whether you’re just starting out with SEO or you’ve been doing it for a while, this checklist should help!
What is ongoing SEO?
Ongoing SEO is a continuous process of optimizing a website for higher search engine rankings.
It refers to optimizations that need to be regularly performed in order to optimize your website for a high ranking, such as link building, content creation, and social media engagement.
If you have a business, you should definitely invest in an ongoing SEO strategy in order to achieve sustained success.
What is ongoing SEO maintenance?
Ongoing SEO maintenance is the process of regularly updating and editing your website to keep it optimized for search engines so that you keep getting good organic traffic.
SEO maintenance is an ongoing effort and will require consistent attention and monitoring. But SEO is one of the most important criterion of what makes a good website. If you want your website to rank well in search engine results pages, conducting this maintenance is non-negotiable.
Why is ongoing SEO maintenance important?
There are a number of reasons why ongoing SEO maintenance is very important.
1. You can maintain and improve your search engine rankings
If you build a house or buy a car, to keep it in good condition, you need to maintain it well. The same is true of your website and SEO.
Even if you have achieved a top ranking for your target keywords, it’s important to optimize your website and continue working on SEO so that you can hold on to that ranking over time.
2. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and you need to keep up.
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so what worked last year might not work this year.
To stay ahead of the curve, you need to regularly update your website so that it is compliant with changes in search engines. You may also need to adjust your custom SEO strategy on a regular basis.
3. Ongoing SEO maintenance helps you beat your competition
Just like you, your competing websites also care about ranking at the top and are investing in SEO.
If you want to maintain or improve the search ranking of your small business website, you need to match or exceed their efforts.
What is the difference between one-time SEO and ongoing SEO?
One-time SEO refers to a single effort to improve a website’s ranking on search engines, typically through optimizing the site’s content, structure, links, and code.
For example, you may optimize your website for the keyword “SEO services” and then stop working on SEO altogether.
Ongoing SEO, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that you must regularly work on in order to maintain your rankings.
While one-time SEO can be helpful in getting a website started on the right foot, ongoing SEO is usually necessary to maintain and improve a site’s ranking over time.
The ultimate ongoing SEO maintenance checklist for your website
Ongoing SEO maintenance may seem overwhelming, or you may not be sure where to start.
That’s why I’ve put together this checklist, and also indicate below how frequently you need to do each SEO maintenance task.
1. Check that your pages are indexed
As part of ongoing SEO maintenance, it’s important to check that all pages on your website are being indexed by search engines.
There are a few different ways to do this.
1.1. Use a search engine’s ‘site’ command
For example, if you want to check if your home page is being indexed by Google, you would enter “site:example.com” into the Google search bar.
1.2. Check indexation on Google Search Console
You can also use search engine webmaster tools to check which pages on your site are being indexed.
Go to ‘Pages’ and it will show you the status of all the pages.
If you see that some pages are not being indexed, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue.
First, check to see if the pages are blocking search engine crawlers or are open to being indexed.
You can do this by looking at the page’s HTML code. If you see a “noindex” tag, that means the page is blocked and will not be indexed by search engines.
If that’s too technical for you, you can use WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast or Rank Math to check if your page is noindex.
If your page has an ‘index’ tag, try submitting the URL of the page again to Google.
2. Ensure that your pages are mobile-friendly
Google puts very high emphasis on pages being mobile-friendly.
I had a page ranking at position 2 of Google. But because of some error, my page was not mobile-friendly, and Google shot me out of the top 100!
Yes, from position 2 to not ranking at all!
Plus, more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet, and if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.
So definitely make sure all your indexed pages are mobile-friendly.
You can do this in two steps:
2.1. Check Google Search Console for pages that are not mobile-friendly
Go to your Google Search Console and click on ‘Mobile Usability’. It will show you all pages that are not optimized for mobile, and will also show you three kinds of errors the pages could have.
- Text too small to read
- Clickable elements too close together
- Content wider than screen
2.2. Test the live URL
Test the live URL directly from Google Search Console or use the Google Mobile test.
If the live URL is mobile-friendly, or once you have fixed the error, just ask Google Search Console to ‘Start New Validation’.
3. Analyze your website performance and brand engagement
If you want to make sure your website is performing at its best, ongoing SEO maintenance is essential.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two essential tools that can help you track your website’s performance and brand engagement. Your branded website is after all, your most important marketing tool, and you need your visitors to want to return to it repeatedly.
So you need to know what is resonating with them and what is not.
With Google Analytics, you can track user behavior and how visitors engage with your brand. Here are some examples:
- Traffic source: Where your visitors come from
- Unique visitors: New vs returning visitors
- Page views: How many pages they visit
- Time on site: How much time they spend on your website
- Bounce rate: Whether they leave after visiting one page or browse more
This data can be really useful in understanding how people are noticing your website, using it, and how you can make your small business website more appealing to them.
Here is an infographic on how to read the data from Google Analytics to improve your SEO and content.
Google Search Console is another great tool for ongoing SEO maintenance. It allows you to see how your website is performing in Google search results:
- How many impressions and clicks you’re getting for your website pages
- Track the keywords you’re ranking for
- Get insights into any crawl errors
This data can help you identify any areas where your website needs improvement in order to better compete in search results.
4. Check for broken links
Checking for broken links is an essential ongoing SEO maintenance task because broken links can negatively impact your website in a number of ways.
- They can cause your website to load more slowly, which can lead to frustrated visitors and higher bounce rates.
- Broken links can also cause search engines to rank your site lower.
- Broken links can also create a negative user experience, which can damage your brand reputation.
So it’s important to periodically check for broken links or 404 pages on your website. You can do this with different tools:
- Screaming Frog
- Link Whisper
- Broken Link Checker plugin if you use WordPress
Another way to check for broken links is to run a site audit with an SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs. Every time you run an audit, it will alert you of any broken links. Fix them asap!
5. Track your search engine ranking
Your website’s search engine ranking basically determines your website’s SEO performance and whether or not your efforts are paying off.
Higher ranks = more traffic = more business.
Unless there is a critical issue (like a page not being mobile-friendly), your site may not drop a lot in the rankings. However, any drop of more than 2-3 positions, especially on the front page, can lead to big drops in traffic.
It is easy to track your keyword ranking by setting up position tracking on an SEO tool. While Semrush is my favorite, go-to tool, cheaper tools like SE Ranking, Mangools, and SEO PowerSuite are also good options.
Once you’ve selected a tool, set up keyword tracking for the terms you want to track. Make sure to include both broad and specific keywords, as well as any misspellings or common variations.
Next, check your rankings on a regular basis. I would recommend checking at least once a week. But if you’re making significant changes to your website or blog, you could check more frequently.
Watch out for sudden drops in ranking! If that happens, see who’s replacing you. Analyze how you can climb up the ranks again.
- Best SEO software for small business
- SE Ranking review
- SE Ranking vs Semrush
- SEO PowerSuite vs Semrush
6. Check on-page SEO optimization metrics
As part of ongoing SEO maintenance, it’s important to regularly check on-page SEO metrics. This helps to ensure that your website is optimized for both users and search engines.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to look for:
- Page title and title tags: The title should be clear and concise, reflective of the page content, and include your focus keyword.
- Meta descriptions: The meta description should be well-written, include your focus keywords for that page, and also entice users to click through to your website.
- Header tags: Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) help to structure your content and make it easy to read. They should also include relevant keywords.
- Keyword density: Check that your keyword density is not too high or too low. Aim for around 1-2%.
- Alt text: Make sure your images have alt text that accurately describes the image and includes relevant keywords.
- Content body: Your actual content should be engaging and informative for your users, and also include focus and semantic keywords
On-page SEO optimization is an important element of updating your website regularly as well, even if you are not working on SEO maintenance specifically.
Here is a checklist of all on-page SEO optimization tasks.
7. Optimize and create content
If you want to maintain high search engine rankings, you need to work on your content marketing.
Not only do you need to optimize the content you have on your website currently, but you also need to continuously create more, for search engines to love you.
First, take a look at your current content. Is it still relevant and keyword-rich?
If not, make some changes to ensure it’s as search-engine-friendly as possible, and also delivers the best value to your audience.
In addition, add new SEO-friendly content regularly. A blog is a great way to do this, and you can also add new pages with fresh, keyword-rich content.
And don’t forget to promote your content!
8. Ensure that your pages are loading fast
If your website pages are slow to load, this can negatively impact your search engine ranking.
Start the site speed section of your ongoing SEO maintenance with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check your website’s speed. You can also use a tool like GT Metrix, but usually the Google tool is a good place to start.
These tools tell you what is slowing your website down and what you can do to fix it. Just follow the steps.
A few easy things you can do to help ensure that your pages are loading quickly:
- Serve resources from a CDN to serve static content. Most good shared hosting platforms like Bluehost or Siteground offer this for free
- Optimize images by reducing their file size
- Use caching to improve page load times
- Reduce the number of plugins you use on your website
Your site audit will alert you of any page that takes too long to load. You can refer to the recommendations in that as well.
9. Improve your internal linking
It’s important to regularly review and improve your website’s internal linking. Internal links are the links on your website that point to other pages on your site.
Internal links are important because they help search engines understand the structure of your site. Internal links can also influence your website’s search positions.
In addition, it helps visitors navigate your website more easily, and can help improve your website’s overall user experience.
Here are a few things you need to check in your ongoing internal link analysis:
9.1. Find orphaned pages
You can use your site audit or a tool like Link Whisper to identify any pages that don’t have any incoming internal links. You can also use the same tool to add the links directly to your content editing page.
Link Whisper is available for WordPress and Shopify.
9.2. Improve anchor text
Then, take a look at the anchor text used for each link. Make sure that the anchor text is descriptive and keyword-rich. If it isn’t, consider updating the anchor text to improve your site’s SEO.
9.3. Link to relevant pages
Make sure the pages you’re linking to are relevant to the context in which they’re being linked. Don’t just randomly link to pages for the sake of it; only link to them if they genuinely add value for users.
When you help your users find the information they’re looking for, your SEO improves as well.
10. Monitor your backlinks
One of the most important ongoing SEO maintenance tasks is monitoring your backlinks.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They are an important ranking factor for search engines. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in search results.
You can use an SEO tool to track your backlinks. Watch out for any major links you may be losing and try to reclaim them.
As part of your ongoing SEO maintenance, you should also take steps to acquire more high-quality backlinks from diverse sources.
Besides, too many toxic backlinks can hurt your website. Some SEO tools like Semrush also include a Backlink Audit feature to help you find and remove bad backlinks.
11. Ensure a good user experience
No matter how much you care for search engines, they care more about providing good value for the users. Good UX makes people stay on your website, so don’t take this element lightly.
As an ongoing SEO maintenance measure, be sure to monitor your website’s user experience.
Track your pages’ bounce rates, time on page, and exit rates.
If you see a significant drop-off in any of these areas, it’s likely that your website is not providing a good user experience.
Make sure that your pages are loading quickly, are easy to navigate, and contain compelling content.
12. Check your local listings
To make your business more visible in your area of operation, you need to work on your local SEO regularly, particularly your Google My Business profile, as part of your ongoing SEO maintenance. 56% of actions on Google My Business listings are website visits.
Ensure that your GMB profile is accurate and up-to-date, as part of your ongoing SEO maintenance. Once you’ve claimed and verified your listing, there are a few key things you can do on an ongoing basis to keep your listing in good standing.
- If any of your contact information changes, be sure to update your listing right away.
- Pay attention to your reviews and try to respond to both positive and negative feedback as soon as you can. Not only will this help to improve customer satisfaction, but it will also show potential customers that you’re attentive and care about their experience.
- Add products, photos, and create new posts with relevant local SEO keywords.
13. Keep an eye on your competition
If you want to win in SEO, you need to be better than your competition. Which means, you need to regularly review their SEO strategies and tactics as an ongoing SEO maintenance task.
By monitoring their activities, you can see what they’re doing well and identify any opportunities for improvement. Here are some of the things you should look out for:
- Are they using any new keywords or phrases that you’re not targeting?
- Are they getting more high-quality links than you are?
- Are they appearing in more search results than you are?
- Are they generating more social media engagement than you are?
SEO tools can help you get a lot of data about your competition’s SEO, especially in comparison to yours. Check out this Semrush guide to see all the insights that Semrush can provide you on your competition, for instance.
It’s always a good idea to visit their website regularly to see what’s new. By keeping tabs on your competition, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are always one step ahead.
How often should you do SEO maintenance?
If you want your website to rank high in search engine results, you need to regularly perform SEO maintenance.
Depending on the size and complexity of your website, you may need to do these tasks weekly, or monthly.
The answer may depend on how much effort you’ve put into your SEO initially, how competitive your industry is, and how quickly search engine algorithms change.
Not all ongoing SEO maintenance tasks need to be done with the same frequency.
However, at a minimum, you should be doing some form of SEO maintenance on a monthly basis.
The most important thing is to keep an eye on your website’s performance and make changes as needed.
Here’s a plan I recommend to keep your SEO metrics in good shape.
- Do extensive ongoing SEO maintenance every month, for the big issues
- Do quick weekly SEO maintenance for the key issues
1. Weekly SEO maintenance checklist
Every week, keep at least a few hours to work on your SEO. Here’s what you should include in your weekly SEO maintenance:
1.1. Check for broken links
Quickly review if you have any broken links or 404 pages. It’s better to do it every week than to face any negative impact on your SEO for weeks, till you fix the issues during your monthly SEO maintenance.
1.2. Check your search engine rankings
If you publish frequently on your website, your weekly SEO maintenance checklist should definitely include reviewing your rankings to watch out for sudden drops.
1.3. Add internal links for new content
If you have published any new content during the week, keep some time to review it and check if you could optimize it further with better internal linking.
1.4. Monitor your backlinks
If you have lost a link from a high-quality domain, it could be because your content was not fresh anymore. You can try improving your content and reaching out to the linking site to re-include your domain. Do a weekly check because the sooner you can reach out to them the better.
1.5. Check for non-responsive pages
Did a page suddenly stop being mobile-friendly this week? Maybe you changed a page layout and something went haywire? Check your Google Search Console every week to make sure all pages are performing well on mobile.
1.6. Check your sitemaps and indexation
Your weekly SEO maintenance should always include a Search Console check. Make sure all your pages are indexed, and if not, try resubmitting the sitemap.
1.7. Optimize new content for SEO, if any
It would be great for your website if you could create content every week! Just make sure your new content is optimized for on-page SEO.
Sometimes while publishing content we get restless and just want to hit publish, but make sure you have done all the right tagging, included the keywords, included semantic keywords, etc.
2. Monthly SEO maintenance checklist
Your monthly ongoing SEO maintenance may not include fixing critical issues as you may have already done them in your weekly SEO maintenance.
However, it will include more elements, so set aside sufficient time for it.
The first step of your monthly ongoing SEO is to run a site audit. This will help you to identify any areas where your site may be lacking and make necessary changes.
Most SEO software lets you conduct site audits. Semrush is my favorite, but I also like the ones from Ahrefs and SE Ranking. They provide clear, actionable recommendations on the necessary changes to make on your website.
The most important elements of your monthly SEO maintenance checklist should include:
2.1. Website performance
Check your content performance and user behavior at least monthly, and then also quarterly. Is your site’s SEO improving over time?
If not, you might want to review and adjust your customized SEO strategy.
2.2. On-page SEO optimization metrics
Your monthly ongoing SEO maintenance should definitely include reviewing your on-page SEO for every page (not just new content) and making sure all of them are optimized.
Don’t worry, the site audit will give you plenty of recommendations! Just in case you missed any optimization steps in your weekly SEO maintenance, do them now.
2.3. Content creation
In case your weekly SEO maintenance didn’t include creating content, at least include it now.To retain and improve your search engine rankings you should create content at least once a month. #contentcreation #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
Fresh, relevant content is one of the most important items of a business website checklist.
If you can’t even do that, at least update some old content every month. While it won’t help as much as creating content, it will provide at least a small boost to your SEO.
2.4. Site speed
Site speed is important for SEO, but it is not so crucial that you need to spend time every week on it. Reviewing it once a month is fine.
2.5. User experience
A quick check on the user experience on your website should be a key element of your monthly SEO maintenance. If something is off, or doesn’t fit your brand story, or not optimal, it’s better to do it as soon as possible.
2.6. Update your local listings
You could add photos or posts to your GMB profile once a month to keep your profile fresh and relevant.
2.7. Do competitor research
Analyze your business and SEO competitors every month to see where they are improving and where you can also do better.
If you want to revise your SEO or content strategy, a monthly check is essential.
Here is a recap of an ongoing SEO maintenance checklist.
Should you do your ongoing SEO maintenance by yourself, or hire a specialist?
If you’re running a website, ongoing SEO maintenance is essential to ensure that your site remains visible to search engines and that your ranking doesn’t drop. But should you do this maintenance yourself, or hire a specialist?
There are pros and cons to both approaches.
Doing ongoing SEO maintenance yourself will undoubtedly save you money in the short term.
However, it’s important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process, There are many different factors that contribute to a website’s ranking, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of them.
It can be time-consuming to keep on top of all the latest changes.
Hiring a specialist will give you peace of mind that your ongoing SEO is being taken care of and that you’re not falling behind the competition.
Specialist also have access to tools and resource, not to mention the expertise, that you may not have, which can save you time and effort.While it is possible to do your own ongoing SEO maintenance, hiring a specialist will give you the best chance of success. #seochecklist Click To Tweet
The decision of whether to do ongoing SEO maintenance yourself or to hire a specialist depends on your own skillset and available time.
If you feel confident in your ability to stay on top of the latest changes and trends, then doing it yourself may be the best option.
However, if you’re tight on time or not confident in your abilities, then hiring a specialist is likely to be the better choice.
Ongoing SEO maintenance checklist conclusion
Even if you do everything on this SEO maintenance checklist, there’s no guarantee that your SEO will be perfect.
However, by implementing these website maintenance tasks on a regular basis, you can give your site the best chance at ranking well in search engines.
Do you have any other website maintenance tips that you would add to this list? Share them with us in the comments below!
This is such a rich guide. Optimizing new – and old – content for SEO is my favorite maintenance tip these days. At the very least, I try to update and re-publish one blog post daily but more than anything, adding helpful tips to old blog posts seems to be working for me. Google loves content, in the form of helpful, practical details. Keep adding those deets and the Google Gods will be happy.
Thanks, Ryan! Yes, optimizing old content definitely gets you brownies points from Google. I usually try to add a lot of extra value with tips and information, but I also update images and links. Thanks a lot for your value add!