Work Smarter Not Harder in 2018: Actionable SEO Tips to Keep Your Eyes On the Ball This Year
It’s 2018, which means for the past month or two you’ve likely heard all sorts of tips, tricks, and advice for reorienting your SEO strategy in accordance with all the forthcoming changes. Well we wouldn’t be one of Top SEO companies in Seattle if we didn’t weigh in on the state of SEO in 2018. With that in mind, here are a few actionable tips to help you work smarter and not harder on your SEO in 2018.
Always Keep in Mind That Rankings Are Not the End-All-Be-All
Too many SEO’s, while incredibly insightful and technically savvy, often focus too closely on SERP’s and ranking factors, and not enough on the actual problem they’re trying to solve or the specific numbers they’re trying to hit. Part of working smarter not harder means focusing on real-world, measurable metrics; ROI on your SEO spend is a great place to start. Remember: rankings are not the ultimate goal, they are just a measurable vehicle by which you or your client can achieve your goals. It’s less important to rank #1 for a KW than it is to sufficiently achieve rankings that will impact you or your client’s bottom line. The unfortunate piece of this puzzle is that it can take a matter of months before one realizes the ROI from SEO efforts, but ultimately, it pays dividends. Additionally, these are expectations that should be built into your SEO strategies and proposals.
Clicks and ranking are hugely important and directly related to SEO ROI, but understanding user intent and how to convert clicks into dollars is what will help your and your client’s thrive.
Stop Trying to Rank for Overly Competitive KW’s
This is closely related to our previous point, but it’s worth reiterating. You should stop trying to rank for massively competitive keywords that require an inordinate amount of time and effort. That is, unless you have the time and budget to compete with big dogs in your vertical. Instead focus on ranking for higher performing, less competitive keywords. Of course, this is easier said than done, but the unfortunate truth is that a lot SEOs focus too closely on achieving home run rankings out of pride, rather than focusing on realistic goals and strategies that are much more likely to move the needle. It’s not always a race to the top of the steepest mountain; specificity and achievability are the pillars of a successful SEO campaign.With that in mind, try and focus on long-tail keywords that users rely on to find the exact offerings you provide. When putting together an SEO strategy, make sure the keywords your targeting are always specific, relevant, and achievable.
Build SEO Business Cases
Get in the habit of building detailed, yet transparent SEO business cases. This is no small task. A SEO business case is essentially what you’ll hand to your client or your company’s executives that explains how a particular SEO strategy will affect your bottom line. Your SEO business case should always include these five parts:
1- Well-defined, core keyword set
Your core keyword set is what’s already driving traffic to your site or page.
2- Assembled, Well-organized Data -
Not all keywords are the same. Compiling and sorting data will lead you to an understanding not only of which keywords are relevant, but whether or not they are currently ranked, as well as which keywords present new ranking or business opportunities.
3- Create detailed ranking scenarios based on ‘best’ and ‘worst’ results
Provide different scenarios for a rankings forecast. Different keywords have different base ranks, which you should already know. From there you can create a table that estimates rank position gains over time, provided that your tactics are successful.
4- Provide Estimated traffic by keyword
How much traffic is each keyword estimated to provide? Based on industry averages (which are quite well-known) you should have enough information to be able to provide a realistic estimate of average conversion rates based on the increased percentage of traffic
5- Track everything
This is one of the most important steps. Whether your business case follows your estimates or not, it’s crucial that you track each and every one of your efforts in order to track progress and make additional optimizations down the line.
Prioritize Ranking Factors
Your SEO business case isn’t only your campaign pitch, it’s also your blueprint for the campaign. A good business case will illuminate what ranking factors are important to drive traffic, and those factors should be prioritized accordingly. Some ranking factors, like most On-Page SEO elements, are well-within your control and should be highly prioritized. Off-page SEO and link building is less in your control and, while these tactics can have a massive impact, should only be attended to after the low-hanging fruit has been dealt with. You never know the impact simple on-page changes can have.
Get Buy-In From Company Stakeholders
Again, a good business case accomplishes many things. Buy-in is one of them. SEO is a complicated field with many moving parts. Which is why it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees when you talk about it. The reason SEO exists, and how you’ll get stakeholders to buy-in is by explaining that SEO drives revenue; increases brand awareness and visibility; creates more relevant metrics for marketers; drives content. Don’t get hung up on the deeply acronymic language of SEO. Many people don’t even know what SEO stands for; utilize language that speaks to the lexicon and interests of your audience.