The Difference Between One Time SEO & Ongoing SEO

Are you trying to decide between one time SEO work and ongoing SEO work? This article will help you understand the differences and help you decide which is the better fit for your business.

Written By Matthew Martin


August 3, 2017

One-Time SEO or Ongoing SEO – What is the Difference?

Full disclosure: I’ll start off by saying, that my company is in the business of ongoing SEO. Since Spade Design does not offer one-time SEO, you might argue that my business decision means I despise one-time SEO and consider it worthless.

Well, that isn’t true.

Now I am biased towards ongoing SEO, I’ll give you that, but there are a few situations where “one-time SEO” could be a good fit for your business.

Before I go to explaining which method is the best fit, I need to explain the differences. That way we are all on the same page about I’m what I’m talking about.

So here we go…


The argument for one-time SEO:

Some people may disagree so but for this article, please note what I mean by one-time SEO. One-time SEO is when a website is being built from scratch, optimized for launch, and no longer monitored or maintained for ranking changes. The other situation would be a company that wants their site optimized, but no ongoing monthly management for after the initial optimization is done. I can already sense all of my readers yelling at their screen for even discussing that as an option, but read on and let me explain.

The argument for ongoing SEO:

There are many reasons for an ongoing SEO campaign, but this takes time, labor, and budget. I can’t imagine any business that would not benefit from being found when potential clients/customers are looking for their services. In order for this to happen, your website must be optimized better than your competitors. Regular review and analysis of analytics are required, and then, changes to the website are made based on that information. (Enter conversion optimization here, as well, but that is a different topic.) Enhanced ongoing SEO, or continuous SEO, may also include content creation and link building.

Now Which SEO method is right?

Now that I’ve explained that, I think there can be a time and a place for optimizing a website and letting it “marinate” in the various search engines without immediately starting a maintenance schedule.

One-time SEO could be right if it is for a brand new website. Of course, there is so much more to do in order to get the business found, but sometimes, starting an ongoing SEO campaign right away for a brand new site might be putting the cart before the horse. For one thing, there is no data to go off of to see in what direction you need to optimize the site. After 6 months or so, you start getting a glimpse into the data that can give you an idea of what is and isn’t working on the site.

Another example would be a small company (when I say this, I usually mean less than 2 million in annual revenue) that wants local optimization, but their current site doesn’t even mention their hometown. After you’ve done the initial optimization, it is wise to wait a few months to see the impact of the new updates before you start tweaking things on a regular basis. This will help make sure that something that was working, doesn’t get deleted or changed., but you weren’t aware because the data hadn’t accumulated?

Side note: Many small businesses do not realize that optimization is not instant. It is not unusual for SEO work to take 6-12 months to positively impact your brand. You must be patient. Do not get frustrated and delete the work that was done in 3 months, just because you haven’t seen a change. You will more than likely do more damage than good.

So do you just sit back and wait 6 months?

No, of course not! Link building, which I consider to be more of a SEM (search engine marketing), would be extremely valuable at this point, or PPC (again, SEM in my book) would really help to send some traffic to the website. Then after a certain amount of time, you can sit down and review all the data/statistics that you have collected (make sure you have to set up tools to collect this data). This should tell you what is, and what is not, working for you.

This is the point where you should be able to implement an ongoing SEO campaign. Now you may want to read my article on Why Your Site Needs Ongoing SEO.



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