Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Jonathan in San Diego. He asks:
Once I have optimized all my on-page elements and reached a plateau, what’s next?
An SEO’s work is never done.
Technical SEO is just the beginning of the most successful SEO strategies.
Just because your audit tool of choice says everything is finished doesn’t mean that it is.
I don’t know one SEO who has ever ranked in the top spot for every keyword they would like to rank for.
Aspirationally, we all want to rank for everything.
That’s impossible, but it doesn’t mean we stop trying.
On-Page Optimization Is Just the Beginning
Most SEOs start with on-page optimization.
The code on your site might not make you rank, but bad code can certainly keep a site from ranking.
It makes sense to fix the code of a site at the beginning of an SEO project for many reasons.
Working with the site’s code helps an SEO to become familiar with the overall structure of the site, which is essential to understanding what to do in other parts of the optimization process.
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But if you want to have the most success possible, it’s not an option to stop working after the code is fixed.
Words Mean Things
Typically, after the coding issues are fixed on a site, I like to move on to the content.
Creating content for content’s sake is not the best use of your time.
You need to create quality content that actually provides value to your site visitors.
Sometimes this means creating content that isn’t designed to solicit a direct sale.
Creating content that establishes thought leadership, but also includes many of the keywords and phrases you want to rank for, is a great use of an SEOs time.
If you have an ecommerce site, look into expanding your product descriptions, but be careful not to go overboard or you may find your conversion rate falling.
Evergreen blog posts are a great way to create content that will benefit your site visitors for a long time.
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But you can also create content that addresses current events.
Blog posts around current events can be a great way to engage visitors and rank for phrases that are currently being queried.
You can always build links.
You can never have enough quality links pointing to your site.
The keyword here is quality.
A link from a quality site like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times is worth a thousand links from Joe Schmoe’s blog.
Building links is hard.
Link building takes time, creativity, and sometimes a little bit of luck.
If an SEO ever says that they don’t have anything to do, I look at their link profile.
Even if your site has amazing links pointing to it, you can always add more.
If you do have a healthy link profile, look to expand it into other areas.
For example, if your site is about shoes and you have thousands of links talking about how great your shoes are, it may be time to expand into getting links about basketball and the performance of specific products.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are always keywords that you want to rank for but don’t.
Look at where you are ranking and where you are not, and put together a plan to engage with influencers who can link to you and help you rank for those additional keywords.
Our Work Is Never Done
SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it discipline.
You can have all of your ducks in a row, and then Google or Bing will change the rules.
Technical SEO is just one part of the overall SEO puzzle.
Moving to off-page optimization and content is the way to continue to have rankings success.
Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!