So, you’ve done your crawl report, and you know exactly what problems you’re dealing with. But now comes the million dollar question; where do you start?
To action issues and see positive results from the work that you do, it’s essential that you have a rock solid digital marketing strategy and stick to it. Here’s our advice on how you can prioritise the SEO tasks you are faced with…
Think about the end
This may seem like a bizarre first tip – who wants to think about the finish line before they’ve even started? – but it’s essential that everything you plan to do has the end goal in mind. It doesn’t matter whether you have one big goal and lots of little ones along the way, but having a specific primary idea in mind is essential.
So whether it’s your own company or a client’s, make sure you have a thorough understanding of their business and the industry they work in. And don’t forget the infamous acronym for setting goals… S.M.A.R.T
Specific – Now is not the time for vague language and jargon.
Measurable – Set benchmarks for progress along the way so you know if you’re on track.
Agreed upon -Do all the SEO experts around you agree? More importantly, do the stakeholders agree?
Realistic -Anything out of your reach should be avoided. Think about the resources, time and knowledge available.
Timely – Do you have enough time at your disposal to complete the task and see the results?
Pages key to conversion
Now’s the time to get your hands dirty (metaphorically speaking) and start sifting through all the data your site collects. One of your first ports of call should be the Behaviour Flow tab in Google Analytics.
This section provides bright visualisations on the common paths that people take on their journey through your site. While it may now show exact conversion paths, it does highlight areas that deserve your attention. Here are some other top places to look…
Page destination goals – This will give you a better idea of how people get to that page and where they decide to leave it.
Reverse Goal Paths – This shows which page funnels are the most successful, and which could use a little TLC.
Utilise your data
In case you didn’t know already (and you probably should), Google Analytics is an absolute treasure trove of information. Everything you need to know about your customers is at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got your complete list of pages, it’s wise to pair that up with as much data as possible from GA. The amount of detail you want to go into is entirely up to you, but a good place to start is with page traffic and engagement (i.e. bounce rate and average time on page).
Using this data, you can start to figure out which of your pages to fix first, depending on where you want to see the most growth. Organising by page views shows ones that are more popular and you may want to get these optimised as soon as possible. On the other hand, you may want to work from the bottom up and give a little love to pages that are currently neglected by visitors for whatever reason.
When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to fall into a trap of marking every task that comes your way as ‘urgent’. Covey’s time management grid (shown below) is a perfect tool to use – but you have to be strict with yourself.
While you may feel useful and productive putting out small SEO fires, these aren’t going to get you the long term results that you need. And it’s incredible easy to fall into a procrastinating rabbit hole of non-urgent and non-important tasks to avoid tackling the bigger ones.
Use the template below to organise your tasks…
Eat the frog
Mark Twain once said – “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
The most productive and motivated among us swear by this quote and say it helps them to get more done throughout the day. But it’s actually related to the time management template above.
If your crawl of the site you’re working on has revealed some major issues – whether it’s a huge amount of thin or duplicate content or a complete lack of optimised meta data – don’t shy away from tackling these giant tasks head on.
When it comes to working through your SEO problems, the main thing is to start working smarter, not harder.