Q: I have been paying a SEO company for 9 months to help our company rank for a competitive keyword phrase. Last month we reached the first page and are approaching a top 3 position. Our contract is for 12 months and we think we can maintain our position or continue to rank once it expires. True or false, your rankings will maintain once you stop utilizing paid SEO services?

A: FALSE – You will be able to maintain your ranking if you have been trained in SEO. You would need the SEO company you hired to educate you and your team on how they achieved your competitive ranking. If you aren’t fluent with SEO chances are you will lose your ranking. Why? A lot reasons come to mind, but consider this metaphor: You start a specific weight loss and exercise program. Your days are now filled with activity, sweat and tears. Your meals have changed and are now healthier. You get the proper amount of rest, water and vitamins every day. This process continue and the results progress in a positive direction each month. At 9 months you have almost reached your goal and the target is near. Then you decide to stop exercising every day. After a week you start eating at Mc Donalds once a day. You start to change your positive ways and the results you achieved are now going in a negative direction.

While this example may be a little extreme, you get the point. Once achieving a target ranking you now have to maintain that position. While the efforts may not be that extreme as it took to get you there, regular maintenance and new work is necessary. Competitive analysis is now a must. If you bump a top competitor out of #1 they are going to notice and will most likely retaliate. New competitors may come up as well. You need to be able to maintain a competitive advantage when it comes to your SEO campaign.

So no, I would not flat out fire that SEO company. I would discuss your options on how to maintain that ranking and become more proactive and reactive to changes. You may be able to take on some responsibilities and save some money.

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