Ongoing SEO vs. One-Time Optimizations: You Should Do BOTH

Do you really need to do ongoing SEO to rank on Google?

It seems like a scam, right!?

  • SEO Company: “Yeah, we’ll need to take your money every month so you can rank on Google.”
  • You: “Really?… Why can’t we just do some one-time stuff to help my rankings?”

This article explains why you may (or may not) need to do ongoing SEO, the differences between ongoing SEO and one-time strategies, and more.

Quick note, don’t skip!

This isn’t some article that you skim and get the gist of. It’s jam-packed with actionable advice. So, if you’re not motivated to sip on some coffee and dig deep for 10-15 minutes, we recommend you leave this article now! Don’t waste your time.


One-Time SEO Changes vs. Ongoing SEO

Think about a house.

ongoing seo 1

That’s a pretty cozy house. I like it.

Now, how in the world do you build a house?

Yes, that’s correct. You start with the foundation.

One-Time Changes = The Foundation; Ongoing SEO Improvements = Adding the Lovely Details

One-time SEO changes (if done right) should target improving the foundation of your website.

They’re setting the stage for what can be added to it. 

One Time-Changes CAN Be Helpful for Immediate SEO Results: 3 Recommended One-Time Changes

1. Technical SEO Errors

Many websites have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of technical SEO errors.

Things like:

  • 4XX errors
  • Sitemap issues
  • Duplicate title tags
  • Slow load times
  • And more  

For example, we just discovered a CRAZY important technical error with a new client yesterday during our initial audit process.

Their sitemap wasn’t dynamically populating new content.

If that sounds like gibberish to you, I’ll explain in layman’s terms.

A sitemap is basically a file that tells Google ALL the pages on your website. Google can quickly crawl this file and see every URL on your site. Easy peasy for Google.

The file itself looks like this (this is our sitemap). Might look confusing to you but it looks quite delicious to Google.

ongoing seo 2

Now, this client of ours… When they published new content (pages or blogs) on their website, those new page or blog URLs were NOT added to the sitemap. AKA, Google couldn’t find those pages.

And, if Google can’t find pages on your website, how do you expect those pages to rank?

Therefore, we fixed (a one-time fix!) their sitemap to ensure it automatically adds every new URL published on the back-end of their site. Now, every time we, or they, publish a new URL, Google will be able to find it much easier. Voila.

2. Setting Up a Site Architecture for Longevity

Google loves when your site is hierarchically laid out well.

Let’s say you’re a physical therapist in Portland, OR and you offer a bunch of services.

  • Strength training
  • Surgery rehab
  • Sports injury recovery
  • Fall prevention for the elderly
  • Etc

Lots of companies have their initial website structure (before thinking about SEO) like this.


You’re probably thinking… “Okay, I don’t understand. Is this a good way to do it or a bad way to do it?”

Well, the issue is that these pages are directly under the .com. They’re not “nested” in a thoughtful way under a “Services” directory of the site. 

This is valuable because every time you add a new service, it can live underneath that directory and Google knows RIGHT AWAY that this is a service you offer.

It would look like…

  • (new service!)

The issue is a lot of websites don’t think about this architecture when they initially build it.

Therefore, there are instances where one-time SEO optimizations to fix this site architecture is necessary.

Okay, another quick example:

Let’s say you’re a single location physical therapist in Portland, OR.

But, you’re ready to open a new location in Beaverton, OR (sweet!).

SEO for physical therapists is a bit different if you’re a single-location business or a multi-location business.

You’ll want to create a site architecture to accommodate any new locations:


The mid-level “locations” page simply lists all your locations. Users, from that page, can then click on the location they’re interested in to go to the specific landing page for that location.

Again, setting up this type of structure would be a one-time SEO optimization vs. ongoing.

P.S – if you want to learn more about location pages for SEO and how to do them, click that link.

3. Important Service or Product Pages

Let’s say you’re launching an ecommerce site and have a bunch of cool products you’re hoping will rank on Google.

Well, one frequent one-time SEO strategy would be creating specific product pages for each product.

Everything from…

  • URL structure
  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Adding images
  • Adding testimonials/reviews so that users can leave those on your site
  • Writing a product description
  • And more

And, once the product pages are published… well, they’re published!

That’s another frequent one-time SEO activity.

Quick note! Just because a product page is published doesn’t mean you shouldn’t track its performance and potentially optimize it later once you have data!

Ongoing SEO Improvements Are Focused on 3 Pillars

As you learned above, one-time SEO changes are all about ensuring your site has a ridiculously strong foundation.

The ongoing SEO stuff? That’s where you build a mansion on top of your foundation.

ongoing seo 3

1. Content

Shakespeare once said:

“A foundationally sound website without content on it is like a bird without wings.”

Nah, he didn’t actually say that. I just made it up. It sounds pretty good!

Shakespeare actually said…

“Content for content’s sake, on a plethora of topics, suppresses the soul.”

JK, he didn’t say that either. But that brings up a good point.

Your site should have content that’s topically relevant!

If you’ve got an auto body shop that specializes in supercars, yet you’re writing content on how to do a magic trick, that’s a problem. 

Your site should be hyper-focused on content that is directly related to the products/services you offer.

Topically relevant content on a site does a couple of things:

  • It increases your site’s topical relevancy
  • It can help you rank for specific keywords that your target audience is searching for, resulting in potential leads
    • I.e writing an article on “2016 Mercedes AMG GTS Review: Specs, Driving Experience, Cost, and More” will potentially allow you to rank for keywords like “what’s the cost of a 2016 Mercedes AMG GTS”
  • It can build natural backlinks
    • By creating valuable content, other websites may naturally find your content and link to it
  • It can give you the foundation to build internal website links
    • If you really want a service page on your website to rank well, adding internal links to that service page from relevant blogs can send positive signals to Google

If you need help figuring out how to create valuable content for ongoing SEO to build upon your foundation, you can check out some free SEO content templates we created.

Why is content an ongoing SEO strategy?

Unless you are operating in an incredibly niche market, you likely have hundreds, thousands, potentially tens of thousands of pieces of content you can create to educate your audience.

I know that within the SEO space, I could write 10,000 valuable articles that are actually educational and still have thousands more to write.

2. In-Industry Expertise to Build Natural Backlinks

One significant part of SEO is building a high domain authority score.

Domain authority score, according to SEMrush, consists of three things:

  • Link Power: quality and quantity of backlinks
  • Organic Traffic: estimated monthly average of organic search traffic 
  • Spam Factors: indicators of a spammy vs. natural link profile

Why is increasing your domain authority important?

At the most basic level…

The higher your domain authority, the easier it is to rank for competitive keywords.

So what ongoing SEO activities can you engage in to build in-industry expertise?

  • Get featured on an in-industry podcast as a guest
  • Create your own in-industry podcast
  • Respond to requests on HARO (help a reporter out) as a subject matter expert
  • Get quoted in other in-industry blogs/articles through manual outreach
  • Start a YouTube channel and publish ongoing content (yeah, Google owns YouTube!)

All of these activities are ongoing because there are likely “endless” opportunities. Just because you get featured on one in-industry podcast doesn’t mean your work is done!

3. Business Best Practices

This is actually something that most SEO experts don’t talk about.

But seriously, don’t skip this section.

I’ll explain just how important this is with one quick story:

Let’s say you’re a dentist in Portland. You have awesome content on your site… Your technical SEO is locked in.

But you have terrible bedside manner. Your staff doesn’t answer the phone. You get billing wrong all the time.

And as a result (here’s the kicker) you have TERRIBLE Google reviews.

You have 3.1 stars and 100 reviews.

Well, GOOD LUCK ranking with those reviews (which are a reflection of how you run your business).

Ongoing SEO Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Creating content trips up a lot of business owners. They say:

“I’d like to create content for my website. But I don’t have time running a business, hiring/firing employees, dealing with fires that I have to put out, etc.”

That’s where we come in.

Our team creates engaging, valuable, and SEO-friendly content that ranks.

Click the “Free SEO Audit” in the upper right corner of your screen and we’ll audit your site, share actionable strategies, and more with no strings attached.

Picture of Joey Randazzo

Joey Randazzo

Owner & CEO of Portland SEO Growth