I've always thought of SEO as a long-term process. More of a perpetual process, really. SEO firms (not to be confused with SEO consultants) tend to provide one of two different types of service.

  • Short-Term SEO: These firms provide a proposal for optimizing your entire site or optimizing for a set number of keyword phrases. Once that is done you are wither on your own or you can sign up for a "maintenance" plan.
  • Long-Term SEO: These firms provide a perpetual ongoing SEO process. This might include continuously uncovering and optimizing for new targeted keyword phrases, continuous link building, ongoing consultation and analysis as needed.

Here are a few pros and cons of each:

Short-Term SEO:


  • Pages gets fully analyzed, optimized and rolled out within a few weeks or months.
  • No long-term contracts.
  • No large re-occurring fees.


  • Nothing gets rolled out until its all complete. If the contract calls for a large number of keywords or pages to be optimized you might be in for a long wait.
  • Some important keywords many not get optimized as the contract has limitations as to how many pages and keywords are to be optimized.
  • Newly popular phrases don't get optimized without making an additional optimization purchase.
  • Reporting and analysis is limited.
  • Link building is limited.

Long-Term SEO:


  • New keywords are always being found and optimized into your site.
  • Ongoing analysis, maintenance, reporting and consulting.
  • Ongoing link analysis and building
  • You know who is ultimately responsible.
  • No fees for just keeping the status quo or a few reports
  • Pages are rolled out as soon as they are ready, no waiting for "everything" to be completed.
  • Constant analysis for new trendy keywords that can bring in targeted traffic.
  • Ongoing link building efforts
  • Ongoing reporting and in depth performance analysis


  • Some important keywords may take a while to get optimized and rolled out.
  • Larger ongoing fees.
  • Long-term contracts often required.

Both forms of SEO campaigns have their merit. Your particular budgetary and optimization needs will dictate which is best for you.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

January 4, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Long- vs. Short-Term SEO