Today I am spilling the beans on how I feel about SEO retainer packages, why I don’t offer them, and what truly matters when it comes to SEO maintenance. Plus, we even made you a little worksheet to manage all these metrics so you can track them and feel more confident in your SEO growth.
It’s no surprise that I feel incredibly passionate about this topic. Because I know that when you are running your own business, especially in the first few years, you need to be smart about where you spend your dollars and time. So let’s dig into one of the most asked questions I get; why don’t I offer SEO retainer packages?
Why I Don’t Offer Monthly SEO Retainers For My Clients
I only focus on organic SEO, in other words, non-paid search strategies and optimizations. Because of that, I don’t believe it’s necessary for you to pay a monthly fee for me to “manage” your website. There are a few reasons why I do this:
If your foundation is strong, your website will perform
Once your core web pages (think home, services, about, blog categories, etc.) are optimized, you shouldn’t need to make SEO tweaks unless you change your services, want to reach a different audience, start selling a new product, etc. If your foundation is strong, its performance will compound over time.
There’s a lot of bad SEO advice out there
Sadly, there are a lot of companies out there that offer bad advice. There are a lot of cheap and ignorant SEO experts who will fix your website, and you leave not knowing why or what they did. They’ll do some of the bad SEO strategies we talked about in episode 19.
Let me give you an example. Someone may go through your website and write your SEO titles and meta descriptions. Great. Now you won’t get an error that these haven’t been written. But if these aren’t filled in with the right keywords that drive traffic, they won’t do anything for you. I looked at a website just yesterday where this happened, and the SEO titles were super simple with “page name + brand name”. This will not perform and honestly is a waste of dollars.
Dig into episode 62 where we share how to actually write the best metadata for your website without relying on templates like that.
In my opinion, there isn’t a need for monthly maintenance
Are there things you can do monthly? Absolutely! Some great examples are creating consistent blog content, guest blogging or backlink outreach.
Do I do any maintenance for my clients? Of course I do, but not monthly. That would be silly. After all organic SEO takes time to see results and making tweaks every month wouldn’t be an accurate view of what’s happening. Quarterly is the minimum I recommend for this very reason.
What SEO Maintenance & Metrics Should You Be Tracking?
Even if monthly SEO maintenance isn’t necessary, there are some things you should check on every once in a while whether that be every 3 or 6 months. It’s time we got familiar with these metrics!
1. Track Search & Indexing Performance In Google Search Console
Just simply digesting your monthly insights report is great! Inside this tool you can understand:
- What pieces of content are performing the best?
- What keywords are trending?
- If there are any indexing errors.
2. Run A High-Level Website Audit
Tools like Ubersuggest are great for this. It will scan your pages and let you know if there are any concerns that need to be addressed. Things like missing meta descriptions, URL slug formats, alt text and so much more. This helps you stay on top of any new pages or blog content to ensure they can be indexed and improve their rankings.
3. Understand Your Core SEO Metrics: Traffic, Keywords, Domain Authority & Backlinks
In episode 69, I talk about the breakdown of my SEO process. I talk about four different metrics: keywords indexed, traffic, backlinks, and domain authority. These are numbers you should know intimately when it comes to your business, and they should be growing quarter over quarter.
4. Run A Competitive Analysis
Be aware of what’s working (or not working) for your competition. Again, we love using tools like Ubersuggest to peek at their keywords, content performance and overall traffic growth. This can give you an idea on what types of content you can create.
5. Focus On Creating Content
When it comes to SEO content, think blog posts or podcast episode show notes. Or even consistently digging into your old content and better optimizing it. The best way to drive more organic search traffic is by doing keyword research to find the right topics within your industry that serve your audience best.
6. Evaluate Your SEO Goals
Setting your SEO goals, yes even the organic non-paid ones, is extremely important for measuring your success and performance. It allows you to better focus on how you want to spend your time and money and which solutions see the best results. Here are some examples of different organic SEO goals you can set for your own business:
- I aim to drive 10% more traffic each month to my website by creating 2 blog posts / month and indexing for more keywords.
- I want to grow my authority and brand awareness by being featured as a guest in two podcasts each month.
- I want to drive more than 20,000 visitors to my website each month by the end of October so I can start generating revenue from ads.
- I want to appear in the top 5 positions in Google Maps for [this keyword] and I aim to do this by generating 10 new client reviews each month.
Whatever your goals are, you should understand what to watch for quarterly. Now, if your head is spinning and you need some help digesting this information, we made a free worksheet for you. It will walk you through each of these metrics so you can write in your data and start tracking your SEO with confidence.
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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