Question: How often should you refresh your search engine marketing tactics?

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Answer:  No matter how effective your current search engine marketing campaign is, you’ll eventually need to face a simple fact: Without occasional updates, any program is bound to fade. Between shifts in your competitors’ tactics and tweaks in the algorithms and business rules employed by the search engines, the industry is constantly changing.

Against this backdrop, a business should modify its search engine marketing tactics on a quarterly basis at a minimum. This reflects the reality that the programmers behind the search engines regularly alter the algorithms—or logic-driven mechanics—in an effort to consistently generate an optimal result set.

Within more competitive industries, monthly adjustments are probably more appropriate. As search-savvy peers review and modify their efforts, your tactics will likely lose their effectiveness unless you’ve similarly refined your strategies.

Which situation applies to you?

Consider the roles search engine optimization and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising play in the marketing plans of other influential companies within your industry. If you’re consistently out in front of the pack, a quarterly refresh should prove sufficient. Conversely, if you find that relevant keyword results regularly rotate and PPC bids are surging, a more frequent update is likely in order.

Ultimately, the lasting success of any search campaign relies on active analysis. By regularly checking results, monitoring changes in outcomes and assessing the impact of new tactics, you should have a solid sense of what’s needed going forward.

Jim Grinney is a principal with 90octane, Denver. He can be reached at [email protected] .

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