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By Greg DiFalco

You've integrated into your website all the initial search engine optimization delivered to you by your SEO company. The site is now search engine friendly. It has a focused keyword strategy with a heavy emphasis on keyword density within the meta data and body text. Its navigation links are text. And, finally, it has clean, user- and search engine-friendly copy.

You can now sit back and rest on your laurels, right?

No! The last step in the SEO process is the monthly maintenance phase. This is where you and your SEO account manager not only track progress of implemented work, but tweak and re-optimize the site constantly to be sure you are staying ahead of your competition.

Let's look at some important elements to keep on top of.

Reporting & Tools: First, you must decide what you want to measure. Subsequently, picking the right tools will help you stay on top of results. Just because sales totals are up doesn’t mean the SEO campaign is doing as well as it could be. For example, let’s say sales are up an average of 20 percent per month, but your site is ranked on page 3 of Google for your “Holy Grail” keyword. Imagine what the sales figures would be if you were ranked on page one. Or if you were number one on page one!

Keyword Rankings: You have a list of finalized target keywords. Starting one month after your changes are put live, you should start tracking the changes in keyword positions for your site. Your SEO account manager will most likely use WebPosition 4 ($389 Pro, $149 Standard) to track rankings. Once a baseline ranking report is created, WebPosition tracks changes in rankings for each word on all of the engines you choose to measure. It is easy to see which keywords are improving and which search engines are showing the most increases.

A word of warning: It's not unusual to see a dip in rankings the first month, especially if your site had good rankings before you started the SEO campaign. Don’t be too alarmed. Your SEO account manager should have everything under control.

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Greg DiFalco is an Independent Internet Marketing Strategist.
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