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The No-Nonsense Guide To Website Maintenance & SEO

Web Development,  Website Maintenance

16 Mar, 2022

Guide To Website Maintenance & SEO

Putting all your eggs in one SEO basket?

SEO is a great strategy to build a loyal customer base and get your website to the top of the internet world.

But if you want to get anywhere with your SEO, your website needs to be consistent, reliable, and safe.

We’re not just saying that in general.

Outdated content? Not valuable for your audience. Broken links? Your internal linking game is ruined.

Your SEO strategy can’t overlook web maintenance. Speaking of… when’s the last time you did it?

Yikes.

We know you’re busy, and you’re not going to be maintaining your site yourself.

So you just need to know the important bits:

  1. How to know what needs to be done and why it’s worth the investment
  2. How to spot a qualified expert who can handle it for you

We’re about to break it down so your eggs are never unprotected again.

Regular Website Maintenance is Crucial for SEO. Here’s why.

How consistent can you be if your site isn’t protected?

What can great, industry-specific content do for your audience if it’s way past its expiry date?

The reality is, SEO makes you trustworthy and consistent only if your website is regularly maintained, so your strategy has got to include it.

You probably know why SEO matters for your business…

But if you don’t, let’s list some benefits real quick:

  • Increases traffic to your website through organic search
  • Gives you domain authority and ranks you high on search engines
  • Helps establish your brand identity
  • Connects you with your target audience and helps you convert
  • Helps you build trust and become a credible source over time
  • Provides heaps of value for your customers and improves UX
  • It’s a measurable and long-term sustainable tactic

We can agree this is a huge asset for your company.

But let’s examine how this works.

See, SEO is just a set of tasks that make humans, bots, and lizard overlords all agree your site is legit. These people all have some rules you need to abide:

Humans want value, great UX and UI, quick and easy access to anything they desire online.

Relevant to all industries, really. But before you can provide all this for the users, they first need to find you.

And that’s where bots come in to inspect if you’re worthy.

Bots need you to respect humans’ wishes, but also some of their own:

  • Use external links in content to prove your info is credible
  • Use internal links so they can tell which pages on your site are important (and so users can find related content easily)
  • Be mobile-friendly
  • Don’t spam or post copied content
  • Have meta titles and descriptions
  • Load quickly (for everyone’s sake)
  • Review analytics and make informed changes
  • Adapt to Google’s algorithm updates
  • Maintain your site’s safety
  • Publish and update content consistently, etc.

If you can tick all the boxes, Google rewards you with *the results* everyone wants.

So here are some examples of how you could improve your SEO in professional services or eCommerce.

SEO Improvement Why it helps eCommerce/professional services
1. Use Strategic internal links
  • Tells Google which pages on your site are important = stronger domain
  • Helps people find relevant/related info
  • Keeps customers on your site via “related products” and similar tactics
  • Improves navigation and UX
2. Don’t spam or post copied content (duh)
  • Original content is more valuable to readers and helps your company stand out
  • Search engines hate plagiarism
  • If you have something new and useful to say and users enjoy it, you’ll see an improvement in engagement metrics = Google points
3. Have meta titles and descriptions
  • Helps add context to your content for users and crawlers

Pretty important stuff.

But without maintenance? It’s not enough.

Here’s why.

Regular website maintenance is essential for your SEO strategy to be effective

You know that awkward situation when important guests arrive and you didn’t have the time to tidy up, so you’re trying to hide the mess by shoving everything into random drawers and cupboards last minute?

That’s fine once in a while, as long as you remember where you put everything and eventually clean.

No one wants to have that yogurt go bad without knowing where the smell is coming from (trust us).

The same applies to SEO and website maintenance.

At some point, you’ll have to do some deep cleaning unless you’re fine with losing your stuff and the mess spiral rendering your house uninhabitable.

Here are some examples of website maintenance and SEO working together to show you that regular cleaning isn’t optional:

  1. Website maintenance tasks boost page load speed and help people to actually read the content that you’re producing as part of your SEO strategy
  2. Eliminating broken links helps improve your domain authority so you can be found on search engines
  3. Security tasks help your site resist attacks so your domain doesn’t lose authority and your SEO strategy keeps working
  4. Regular performance reports help you spot and address potential problems so you know which aspects of website maintenance and SEO need more work, etc.

Seems obvious when we put it like that, right? But get this:

A lot of companies don’t track how their site is doing and are just hoping that everything stays fine. In fact, 17% of them don’t even back up their business data.

Small businesses particularly feel like they’re “too small” to be attacked…

To which hackers must be cracking their fingers, saying: “Is this a business opportunity?” Because 50% of all malware attacks are aimed at small businesses in 2022.

Point is, regardless of your size or industry, you need help.

Let’s be honest, you’re not the one handling this stuff

It’s a big homework you’ve got between your individual maintenance and daily SEO tasks.

Especially considering these things change quite often.

I mean, your website maintenance and SEO today can’t look like they did a few years ago.

You need to stay on the pulse of Google updates, best web design practices, and your industry needs, which means you’d need to think about this stuff all the livelong day.

Let’s face it: you ain’t got time for that.

But you’re not about to blow your budget on so-called “SEO experts” or web design agencies that aren’t connecting website maintenance and SEO.

So we’re going to show you exactly what a web design and development agency should be doing to maintain your site, keep it secure, and help you see results from the SEO strategy you’ve invested in.

6 Website Maintenance Tasks An Agency Should Do To Boost SEO

Right. So you need an agency to manage your website maintenance and security.

Before you can decide who to delegate this to, we gotta go over what exactly they need to be doing on your site so you get your budget’s worth of website maintenance SEO.

In other words, let’s make sure you don’t get ripped off. Sound good?

1. Malware monitoring

Malware attacks cost American businesses $2.4 million per year on average.

It’s dangerous out there and it keeps getting worse.

Ransomware attacks, computer viruses, worms, trojans, and other threats keep looking for backdoors and weaknesses to exploit.

Weaknesses like…

  • Unprotected files and folders
  • Lack of any security measures
  • Small businesses feeling they’re to small to be targeted (and couldn’t be more wrong)
  • Outdated plugins, etc.

Any decent website maintenance and SEO expert has a website protection plan.

Here’s what that should include:

Site protection element What it entails
1. Prevention measures
  • Permission limiting and securing files
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Updates and content optimization, etc.
  • Daily backups
2. Red flag monitoring
  • Learning how to spot potential problems
  • Regular reports and data analysis
3. Disaster-specific scenarios
  • Education on possible dangers
4. Recovery plan
  • Patches and backups
  • Emergency response plan

This stuff needs to be locked and loaded so you reduce the risk of any damage to your website.

2. Regular updates

Next up we have updates!

Just like those boring things for your laptop that you get a notification for, signaling it’s time and you know you won’t be able to watch Netflix for the next couple minutes… or hours.

But you reluctantly do it because it sounds important.

Well, it’s very important for website maintenance and SEO, as it turns out.

Leaving your website outdated not only looks exactly like it sounds (which makes a bad impression on new visitors and impairs the UX)…

It also leaves the door open for hackers.

These guys are lurking out there looking for weaknesses.

And maybe you think you’ve got this covered, so this may surprise you:

Even if you update your core website regularly, but forget about plugins, that’s all hackers need to pounce.

For your site to be fully functional, protected, and attractive, your website maintenance and SEO expert needs to keep updating your core, themes, plugins, and content.

How often should you do this?

Monthly is good. Weekly is better. But here are some other times where updates are a good idea:

  1. When it’s been a while
  2. You need to fix a roadblock
  3. Your theme’s latest version rolls out
  4. Now, probably

Just saying.

3. Backups

You need to have your data safely backed up in case something happens.

And, this is the internet.

Something always happens, and yet, everyone is always surprised. Because that sounds like an “other people” thing, right?

Until it happens to you. Like when you work for three hours and your unsaved file shuts down without a warning so your heart does a mini cartwheel.

And then if you’re lucky, you come back to the little “autosaved” sign and have a big sigh of relief.

But in this case, the relief comes only if your backup was stellar.

Unfortunately, 60% of the time that’s not the reality because half of all restore attempts fail.

To be safe, you really should be backing up your data on the daily.

No amount of effort you put into amazing content will help your SEO if you lose your data.

But speaking of content…

4. Website edits and optimization

We’re talking image optimization, content edits, and updates, etc.

And not only from the standpoint of being relevant, as in, updating your evergreen content from a few years back to match today’s best practices.

Optimization is also important for accuracy.

For example, eCommerce website optimization needs to reflect the real-time changes like stock, discounts, new releases, etc.

Failing to do this could be seen as false advertising.

You know how you sometimes find the best deal on some groceries and then the store clerk says “yeah no we don’t have that discount in the system.”

The difference between that situation and your online website is, there’s no underpaid clerk or line of angry mob pressuring customers to buy anyway like it’s their fault.

As soon as they don’t like something online, they won’t think twice about abandoning that shopping cart forever.

It’s not all so grim, but:

  1. Images need to be crisp and load quickly
  2. Your site needs to be mobile-responsive
  3. You need to have fresh, quality content.

We’ll bet there’s something on your site right now that could be optimized.

No, we didn’t read your mind. There just always is something to be improved:

  • When you have new information and better advice
  • When you get testimonials
  • You find a way to improve your design elements
  • There’s a trending topic in your industry you want to address
  • You have a change to announce, like spring collection coming up
  • When you haven’t done it in a while
  • You need to improve your messaging or try a new content form
  • There’s a problem to fix, etc.

Here’s an example of audience-oriented, modern but uncomplicated updating from Revolve:

audience-oriented website sale example for swim ware Source

And this “shop from the ‘gram” section? Shows they know their target audience.

instagram feed Source

It’s helping their customers easily find what they already saw and liked in the Instagram feed – while also giving them an incentive to follow the company there in the first place.

Trendy, well-optimized, plus a great website engagement idea. We approve.

But how does all that help your SEO?

Well, one of the most important things for Google ranking is user engagement. Happy users = your website is worthy of a high rank.

It’s not as straightforward as buying property in Scotland and becoming a Lord.

But your site goes up on SERPs, and that’s fair enough.

5. Integrations maintenance

SSL is like an additional padlock on your customers’ data that shows Google (and everyone else) that you’re legit.

Safe. Verified. You’re concerned with your customers’ info and don’t take their trust lightly.

It’s a certificate you can install to enable encryption and make transactions and customer info private. But if that’s not enough, guess what it also does?

That’s right, it boosts your SEO.

Accounts, payments, processes, and integrations maintenance in general simply adds another layer of security and ease to your customer relationships.

For us, this is a no-brainer.

We’ve already talked about the risks of inadequate security measures, and the additional SEO benefit is just a neat bonus for professional services and eCommerce brands.

6. Performance reports

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

When you have scheduled performance reports, you don’t need to wait until you actually notice something is wrong.

And with SEO, it could take months.

It’s more like a leak than a fire – there’s no alarm for it, you only notice it when you step in the puddle.

If that happens, it’s already pretty late and you can’t expect the fixes to bring immediate results.

Regular performance reporting is the efficient and budget-friendlier alternative.

You can stay on the pulse and anticipate problems before they’re a huge hassle to fix and already damaging your SEO.

We like to do performance reports monthly.

This way, if you need to fix some broken links, improve your loading times, or refresh content, you’ll know as soon as it’s time.

Conclusion: Need Website Maintenance and SEO? We Got You

SEO is all about long-term results like domain authority, high-ranking content, and a steady stream of traffic you’re helping convert.

But any local SEO checklist is worthless if you don’t have regular backups and monitoring.

How can Google rank you high if your links are broken?

Why would your audience want to buy from you if they get safety warnings while browsing your site?

As an award-winning web design agency, State Creative has been building and maintaining top-performing websites for years.

We know a thing or two about how it’s done.

To keep learning, we suggest you head over to this website security article on our blogblog.

And if you’re already “there,” give us a yell!

We can help with your website.

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