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The SEO Honeymoon: Keep the Flame Alive

February 8th, 2011 | | Basic SEO Tips

We’ve all heard of the classic newlywed syndrome: the Honeymoon Period.  Essentially, everything is perfect and running smooth, but six months later, it’s usually not the case and those newlyweds are experiencing what we like to call marriage.  Your SEO is susceptible to this honeymoon experience as well.  If you take some calculated moves to avoid it, your SEO can make it through.  Today, I want to talk a bit about what causes the SEO honeymoon and expand on some ways to keep up the results after this period ends.

The SEO Honeymoon occurs when you’ve made simple changes that have lightning speed results.  This period is not sustainable, and it’s important to recognize it for what it is, and avoid falling into the trap.  Here are a few key tasks that can lead to your site experiencing its own honeymoon:

  • Keyword research
  • Title tag optimization
  • Prioritizing content for crawlers
  • Site redesign
  • Call-to-action
  • Internal linking
  • Including keywords in your anchor text
  • Installing an analytics program
  • Newly indexed content

If you’re ever in a situation where you inherit a client from another agency or a team member in your own agency, you need to determine if the site actually is doing well, or if it too is experiencing an SEO honeymoon.  Before beginning, it’s best to have a good understanding of that account’s history, and what to ask for during the transition.

Keeping Things Going Post-Honeymoon

As content and the domain ages, the honeymoon phase will begin to taper off.  An important method to combat this is to plan long-term.  As we like to remind our readers frequently, SEO is never over. You’ll want to start looking for new opportunities and goals to reach.

Social:  If the website hasn’t been involved in social media, it’s time to act!  Facebook and Twitter are growing every day, and the search engines are now including social media in their results.  Don’t forget other social sites outside of the “big two.”

Sponsorships and Donations:  Sponsoring relevant events (these can be online or in-person) or making charitable donations is a way to become visible within your community.  Make sure to request a link from the host’s website in exchange.

Blog:  Get the website involved in blogging.  Relationship building with customers and others in the industry helps to grow reputation.  Try and get involved in other’s blogs too.  You can do guest blogging to help bring traffic to your own site.  When you get into blogging, make sure you’re updating your content regularly to see the most benefits!

Link building:  Your page rank and website reach will typically see a boost when you do this the right way, as a site’s Google ranking is partially based on sites that link to it.  There are a number of helpful link building tools to help you accomplish this.  Keep an eye on your competitors so you can catch on to any new efforts they’re making.  Especially pay attention to sites that your competitors link to so that you can request one too.

Content:  SEO thrives on new content.  Make sure your page titles, Meta description, header tags and body are consistently optimized with 3-5 target keywords per page.  Unique copy is an important piece of this puzzle, as search engines can easily recognize duplicates, which hurts your rankings.  Search engines like to get new information to index.

All For One and One For All

Here at Hanapin, we like to do occasional account reviews when one of our team members gets stuck.  If you work in an agency, try setting up a team review effort.  Typically, we have one of two goals with these reviews.

1.)  The site performance has dropped and we need to determine what’s causing it and how to fix the issue.

2.)  The SEO consultant needs some general recommendations of what to do next.

The theory behind a group review is that it’s easy to overlook something that our own eyes see every single day.  Perhaps something tiny that you might have missed could have positive consequences!  Depending on the size of the website, you can decide to let each team member do their own investigating or to break up into smaller teams and each tackle a different area.

This is a great method for generating ideas on overcoming the honeymoon period.  After you’ve decided on the structure for your review, begin checking the following for problem areas:

  • View source code of the page
  • Check Meta title and descriptions
  • Check canonical tag
  • Notice where the copy is located on the page (shouldn’t be located at the bottom in the code)
  • Check alt tags on the site
  • Check anchor text
  • Check 301 Redirects
  • Look at target terms list – can you incorporate more keywords?

These are just a few examples of places that you and your team can begin to look for problems.  Each team member should take a deep dive into the site and start pulling reports in Google Analytics, webmaster tools (Google and Bing), and any other tools you can get your mouse on (SEOmoz, compete.com, websitegrader.com, Google Trends, etc.).  Does your company have something special you do for “problem accounts?”  Feel free to share in the comments below and thanks for reading!

Resources:

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/are-you-on-an-seo-honeymoon/11717/
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/inheriting-a-website-seo-honeymoon/12813/

Jessica is an Assistant Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

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