Having the freedom to flex your SEO expertise in a campaign is a beautiful thing. In an industry with more hypothetical metrics & signals than provable ones, though, it’s all too easy for theory and speculation to throw your productivity off balance. Here are a few different lenses to try on to bring your campagin back into focus.
1. Re-examine the Nature of Your Metrics
Does your company examine Toolbar Pagerank for each of its incoming links? If not, why are you? We all know how silly TBPR is as a metric, so find new ways to measure value of those links, some of which might be industry-specific.
Proprietary metrics such as TBPR, Klout, Moz, and others measure websites using formulas that obviously can’t be shared with the public. It’s okay to take those metrics into consideration. It seems a little extreme to believe that doing A and B is definitely going to give you +5 in your Klout score when you will never, ever have a full understanding of how Klout works.
Need a place to start? Try tracking these on your website and link hosts:
- frequency of organic incoming links
- quantity of backlinks (of link host)
- bounce rate
- SERP movement for low-hanging-fruit keyword phrases
Remember to take everything into account – and not to measure quality on a single scale.
2. Establish Firm, Time-Sensitive, and Realistic Goals
Emphasis on the word ‘realistic’.
Get on a project management system, even if there’s only two of you on a campaign. Create goals for each department, each person, assign tasks & deadlines, and follow up with each.
Work with each person and explain how important their input is. Their deeper understanding of social media or email outreach, for example, and their ability to kick complete ass in their field is why you hired them in the first place, so allow them their own ability to flex their expertise. They’re probably going to be as excited as you are about it, and may need some additional resources, which you should be ready for.
It might help them to feel more appreciated by being part of a bigger goal, which might be to increase CPL by a certain percentage or to recover falling traffic numbers to a falling subpage.
Not sure where to start? Try these PM Tools:
- ClientSpot is a paid software that works really well for small teams, because of invoicing and reporting capabilities. ClientSpot has apps for mobile devices, too.
- 5pm is popular among university websites and non-profit websites, but could easily integrate to SEO campaign functionality.
- WordPress Task Manager is a plug-in that works best with small teams and websites based off of the WordPress platform.
3. Get Second Opinions, Forever
There’s a lot of conflicting, overemphasized, or just plain false information floating around about SEO. This industry has been around for over a decade, so pay attention to the dates on each tip or blog post you read – and if there’s no date, don’t take it to heart without further research. Footer links, cloaking, keyword stuffing – these things used to work magically. Nowadays, they’ll either get you in serious trouble or waste your time (or, well, both!) It’s crucial to vary your sources, especially when major updates are rolled out.
When something is impacting your website and your rank suffers, you need reliable and up-to-date information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or become active on forums – not when your bottom line is at stake.
Instead of listing out a finite number of names of consultants, I would recommend asking a colleague you trust to refer you to a handful of people they trust. You might be surprised at the contrast of opinion, but at least you’ll feel better informed.
4. Educate Yourself Daily
Unless you’re on vacation or seriously ill, you need to stay on your optimized little toes at all times. Self-education is a habit: it’s up there with “eating” on the priorities scale. Experience with campaign successes and failures provides a world of priceless education, but it’s an insular education. You still have to foresee industry changes and be ready to adapt to client/vertical changes.
Encourage your team to educate themselves, too. Share industry news with each other, discuss wild SEO quandaries you stumble across (they’re like ‘Clue’ for SEO!) and ask for their opinions. A fueled & curious SEO is a motivated one. Stay curious!
Need a place to start? Try these:
- Webmaster World
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Watch
- Set up a Google Alert for interesting concepts, such as data visualization or Google patents.
5. Experiment with New Tools
Every SEO campaign has different needs – a DUI lawyer in Texas just doesn’t need the same tools as a major airline, for instance. But getting your hands on a new set of tools can shed insight on how other SEOs in other verticals measure their success (or lack thereof) and inspire organizational reform in your own campaign. It might also question how you measure the success of your competitors, as we can’t help but look through distorted lenses.
Need a place to start? Try these free trials:
6. Early Adopter? Use a Short Leash
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen local SEO companies or campaigns lose focus by spending too much time on a novel SEO tactic. How many requests did you get about social media campaigns after Bing & Google’s confirmation about social signals? Since then, I’ve personally seen an SEO bankrupt his business by investing almost 100% of his time building rock solid social media accounts, building a link network around them, and shun the things that actually made money.
When novelty comes a-knockin’, ask yourself:
- Do you need this (such as an instagram) account?
- Is there anything scalable about this yet, for anyone?
- Does my client have a common demographic with fellow early adopters?
- Am I having difficulty budgeting my time to make room for early technologies?
If it’s not worth your time yet, don’t let its sparkly lure distract you from the things that put money in the bank.
7. Don’t Let Your Website Get Dusty
On-page SEO is finite, but sometimes we don’t have enough control to make enough changes. You may have no control at all, and in that case, I would implore you to open the discussion of your website’s needs and your ability to contribute. If your competitors have a kickass mobile campaign – maybe even a couple of apps that feed them traffic smoother than fortified organic baby food – your company needs to be alerted to it. They may someday wonder why you never said anything before.
Whether you have the authority to make on-page changes or not, it’s easy to fall into campaigns built solely around external factors. If you aren’t constantly trying to improve your user experience or site speed, for instance, and let your website sit out for a while, it can become noticeable to an unbiased eye.
Need a place to start? Your competitors might not pay enough attention to these:
- Alt text on images – every live image should have alt text.
- Broken internal + external link removal, especially if your company has a blog with outdated information or seasonal products.
- Placing fresh conent + calls to action on subpages with the worst bounce rates.
About the guest author: Rae Alton is the head of content at Link Fish Media, based out of sunny Greensboro, NC. When she’s not SEO-ing it up, she enjoys supporting local music and making collages.
Photo Credit: Señor Codo
This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.
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