Tag Archive | "Tasks"

Don’t skip these critical recurring SEO tasks

As we near the end of the year, it’s time to review broken links, plugins, functionality and page speed before there is a crisis.



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How to prioritize SEO tasks by impact

How do you know if the SEO and content changes you’re making will benefit your site? Contributor Casie Gillette looks at ways to prioritize resources so they impact your bottom line and support your business objectives.



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SearchCap: Google Search Console beta live, PPC tips & SEO tasks

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Search Console beta live, PPC tips & SEO tasks appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Prioritize SEO Tasks [+Worksheet]

Posted by BritneyMuller

“Where should a company start [with SEO]?” asked an attendee after my AMA Conference talk.

As my mind spun into a million different directions and I struggled to form complete sentences, I asked for a more specific website example. A healthy discussion ensued after more direction was provided, but these “Where do I start?” questions occur all the time in digital marketing.

SEOs especially are in a constant state of overwhelmed-ness (is that a word?), but no one likes to talk about this. It’s not comfortable to discuss the thousands of errors that came back after a recent site crawl. It’s not fun to discuss the drop in organic traffic that you can’t explain. It’s not possible to stay on top of every single news update, international change, case study, tool, etc. It’s exhausting and without a strategic plan of attack, you’ll find yourself in the weeds.

I’ve performed strategic SEO now for both clients and in-house marketing teams, and the following five methods have played a critical role in keeping my head above water.

First, I had to source this question on Twitter:

Here was some of the best feedback from true industry leaders:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 1.59.39 PM.png

Murat made a solid distinction between working with an SMBs versus a large companies:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 2.03.26 PM.png

This is sad, but so true (thanks, Jeff!):

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 2.00.16 PM.png

To help you get started, I put together an SEO prioritization worksheet in Google Sheets. Make yourself a copy (File > Make a copy) and go wild!:

Free SEO prioritization workflow sheet

TLDR;

  1. Agree upon & set specific goals
  2. Identify important pages for conversions
  3. Perform a site crawl to uncover technical opportunities
  4. Employ Covey’s time management grid
  5. Provide consistent benchmarks and reports

#1 Start with the end in mind

What is the end goal? You can have multiple goals (both macro and micro), but establishing a specific primary end goal is critical.

The only way to agree upon an end goal is to have a strong understanding of your client’s business. I’ve always relied on these new client questions to help me wrap my head around a new client’s business.

[Please leave a comment if you have other favorite client questions!]

This not only helps you become way more strategic in your efforts, but also shows that you care.

Fun fact: I used to use an alias to sign up for my client’s medical consultations online to see what the process was like. What automated emails did they send after someone made an appointment? What are people required to bring into a consult? What is a consult like? How does a consult make someone feel?

Clients were always disappointed when I arrived for the in-person consult, but happy that my team and I were doing our research!

Goal setting tips:

Measurable

Seems obvious, but it’s essential to stay on track and set benchmarks along the way.

Be specific

Don’t let vague marketing jargon find its way into your goals. Be specific.

Share your goals

A study performed by Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found that writing down and sharing your goals boosts your chances of achieving them.

Have a stretch goal

“Under-promise and over-deliver” is a great rule of thumb for clients, but setting private stretch goals (nearly impossible to achieve) can actually help you achieve more. Research found that when people set specific, challenging goals it led to higher performance 90% of the time.

#2 Identify important pages for conversions

There are a couple ways you can do this in Google Analytics.

Behavior Flow is a nice visualization for common page paths which deserve your attention, but it doesn’t display specific conversion paths very well.

Behavior flow google analytic report

It’s interesting to click on page destination goals to get a better idea of where people come into that page from and where they abandon it to:

behavior flow page path in google analytics

Reverse Goal Paths are a great way to discover which page funnels are the most successful for conversions and which could use a little more love:

Reverse goal path report in google analytics

If you want to know which pages have the most last-touch assists, create a Custom Report > Flat Table > Dimension: Goal Previous Step – 1 > Metric: Goal Completions > Save

Last touch page report in google analytics

Then you’ll see the raw data for your top last-touch pages:

Top pages report in Google Analytics

Side note: If the Marketing Services page is driving the second most assists, it’s a great idea to see where else on the site you can naturally weave in Marketing Services Page CTAs.

The idea here is to simply get an idea of which page funnels are working, which are not, and take these pages into high consideration when prioritizing SEO opportunities.

If you really want to become a conversion funnel ninja, check out this awesome Google Analytics Conversion Funnel Survival Guide by Kissmetrics.

#3 Crawl your site for issues

While many of us audit parts of a website by hand, we nearly all rely on a site crawl tool (or two) to uncover sneaky technical issues.

Some of my favorites:

I really like Moz Pro, DeepCrawl, and Raven for their automated re-crawling. I’m alerted anytime new issues arise (and they always do). Just last week, I got a Moz Pro email about these new pages that are now redirecting to a 4XX because we moved some Learning Center pages around and missed a few redirects (whoops!):

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 9.33.40 PM.png

An initial website crawl can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. I get anxiety just thinking about a recent Moz site crawl: 54,995 pages with meta noindex, 60,995 pages without valid canonical, 41,234 without an <h1>… you get the idea. Ermahgerd!! Where do you start?!

This is where a time management grid comes in handy.

#4 Employ Covey’s time management grid

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.04.15 PM.png

Time management and prioritization is hard, and many of us fall into “Urgent” traps.

Putting out small, urgent SEO fires might feel effective in the short term, but you’ll often fall into productivity-killing rabbit holes. Don’t neglect the non-urgent important items!

Prioritize and set time aside for those non-urgent yet important tasks, like writing short, helpful, unique, click-enticing title tags for all primary pages.

Here’s an example of some SEO issues that fall into each of the above 4 categories:

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.03.55 PM.png

To help prioritize Not Urgent/Important issues for maximum effectiveness here at Moz, I’m scheduling time to address high-volume crawl errors.

Moz.com’s largest issues (highlighted by Moz Pro) are meta noindex. However, most of these are intentional.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.41.12 PM.png

You also want to consider prioritizing any issues on the primary page flows that we discovered earlier. You can also sort issues by shallow crawl depth (fewer clicks from homepage, which are often primary pages to focus on):

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 12.44.50 PM.png

#5 Reporting & communication

Consistently reporting your efforts on increasing your client’s bottom line is critical for client longevity.

Develop a custom SEO reporting system that’s aligned with your client’s KPIs for every stage of your campaign. A great place to start is with a basic Google Analytics Custom Report that you can customize further for your client:

While traffic, search visibility, engagement, conversions, etc. get all of the reporting love, don’t forget about the not-so-tangible metrics. Are customers less frustrated navigating the new website? How does the new site navigation make a user feel? This type of monitoring and reporting can also be done through kickass tools like Lucky Orange or Mechanical Turk.

Lastly, reporting is really about communication and understanding people. Most of you have probably had a client who prefers a simple summary paragraph of your report, and that’s ok too.

Hopefully these tips can help you work smarter, not harder.

Image result for biker becomes a rocket gif

Don’t miss your site’s top technical SEO opportunities:

Crawl your site with Moz Pro

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How to Prioritize SEO Tasks & Invest in High-Value Work Items – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

One thing we can all agree on: there’s a lot to think about when it comes to your SEO tasks. Even for the most organized among us, it can be really difficult to prioritize our to-dos and make sure we’re getting the highest return on them. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand tackles the question that’s a constant subtext in every SEO’s mind.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about how to prioritize SEO tasks and specifically get the biggest bang for the buck that we possibly can.

I know that all of you have to deal with this, whether you are a consultant or at an agency and you’re working with a client and you’re trying to prioritize their SEO tasks in an audit or a set of recommendations that you’ve got, or you’re working on an ongoing basis in-house or as a consultant and you’re trying to tell a team or a boss or manager, “Hey these are all the SEO things that we could potentially do. Which ones should we do first? Which ones are going to get in this sprint, this quarter, or this cycle?” — whatever the cadence is that you’re using.

I wanted to give you some great ways that we here at Moz have done this and some of the things that I’ve seen from both very small companies, startups, all the way up to large enterprises.

SEO tasks

Look, the list of SEO tasks can be fairly enormous. It could be all sorts of things: rewrite our titles and descriptions, add rich snippets categories, create new user profile pages, rewrite the remaining dynamic URLs that we haven’t taken care of yet, or add some of the recommended internal inks to the blog posts, or do outreach to some influencers that we know in this new space we’re getting into. You might have a huge list of these things that are potential SEO items. I actually urge you to make this list internally for yourself, either as a consulting team or an in-house team, as big as you possibly can.

I think it’s great to involve decision makers in this process. You reach out to a manager or the rest of your team or your client, whoever it is, and get all of their ideas as well, because you don’t want to walk into these prioritization meetings and then have them go, “Great, those are your priorities. But what about all these things that are my ideas?” You want to capture as many of these as you can. Then you go through a validation process. That’s really the focus of today.

Prioritization questions to ask yourself

The prioritization questions that I think all of us need to be asking ourselves before we decide which order tasks will go in and which ones we’re going to focus on are:

What company goals does this task serve or map to?

Look, if your company or the organization you’re working with doesn’t actually have big initiatives for the year or the quarter, that’s a whole other matter. I recommend that you make sure your organization gets on top of that or that you as a consultant, if you are a consultant, get a list of what those big goals are.

Those big things might be, hey, we’re trying to increase revenue from this particular product line, or we’re trying to drive more qualified users to sign up for this feature, or we’re trying to grow traffic to this specific section. Big company goals. It might even be weird things or non-marketing things, like we’re trying to recruit this quarter. It’s really important for us to focus on recruitment. So you might have an SEO task that maps to how do we get more people who are job seekers to our jobs pages, or how do we get our jobs listings more prominent in search results for relevant keywords — that kind of thing. They can map to all sorts of goals across a company.

What’s an estimated 30, 60, 90, and 1 year value?

Then, once we have those, we want to ask for an estimated range — this is very important — of value that the task will provide over the next X period of time. I like doing this in terms of several time periods. I don’t like to say we’re only going to estimate what the six month value is. I like to say, “What’s an estimated 30, 60, 90, and 1 year value?”

You don’t have to be that specific. You could say we’re only going to do this for a month and then for the next year. For each of those time periods here, you’d go here’s our low estimate, our mid estimate, and our high estimate of how this is going to impact traffic or conversion rate or whatever the goal is that you’re mapping to up here.

Which teams/people are needed to accomplish this work, and what is their estimate of time needed?

Next, we want to ask which teams or people are needed to accomplish this work and what is their estimate of time needed. Important: what is their estimate, not what’s your estimate. I, as an SEO, think that it’s very, very simple to make small changes to a CMS to allow me to edit a rel=canonical tag. My web dev team tells me differently. I want their opinion. That’s what I want to represent in any sort of planning process.

If you’re working outside a company as a consultant or at an agency, you need to go validate with their web dev team, with their engineering team, what it’s going to take to make these changes. If you are a contractor and they work with a web dev contractor, you need to talk to that contractor about what it’s going to take.

You never want to present estimates that haven’t been validated by the right team. I might, for example, say there’s a big SEO change that we want to make here at Moz. I might need some help from UX folks, some help from content, some help from the SEOs themselves, and one dev for two weeks. All of these different things I want to represent those completely in the planning process.

How will we capture metrics, measure if it’s working, and ID potential problems early?

Finally, last question I’ll ask in this prioritization is: How are we going to capture the right metrics around this, measure it, see that it’s working, and identify potential problems early on? One of the things that happens with SEO is sometimes something goes wrong — either in the planning phase or the implementation or the launch itself — or something unexpected happens. We update the user profiles to be way more SEO friendly and realize that in the new profile pages we no longer link to this very important piece of internal content that users had uploaded or had created, and so now we’ve lost a bunch of internal links to that and our indexation is dropping out. The user profile pages may be doing great, but that user-generated content is shrinking fast, and so we need to correct that immediately.

We have to be on the watch for those. That requires validation of design, some form of test if you can (sometimes it’s not needed but many times it is), some launch metrics so you can watch and see how it’s doing, and then ongoing metrics to tell you was that a good change and did it map well to what we predicted it was going to do.

General wisdom regarding prioritization

Just a few rules now that we’ve been through this process, some general wisdom around here. I think this is true in all aspects of professional life. Under-promise and over-deliver, especially on speed to execute. When you estimate all these things, make sure to leave yourself a nice healthy buffer and potential value. I like to be very conservative around how I think these types of things can move the needle on the metrics.

Leave teams and people room in their sprints or whatever the cadence is to do their daily and ongoing and maintenance types of work. You can’t go, “Well, there are four weeks in this time period for this sprint, so we’re going to have the dev do this thing that takes two weeks and that thing that takes two weeks.” Guess what? They have to do other work as well. You’re not the only team asking for things from them. They have their daily work that they’ve got to do. They have maintenance work. They have regular things that crop up that go wrong. They have email that needs to be answered. You’ve got to make sure that those are accounted for.

I mentioned this before. Never, ever, ever estimate on behalf of other people. It’s not just that you might be wrong about it. That’s actually only a small portion of the problem. The big part of the problem with estimating on behalf of others is then when they see it or when they’re asked to confirm it by a team, a manager, a client or whomever, they will inevitably get upset that you’ve estimated on their behalf and assumed that work will take a certain amount of time. You might’ve been way overestimating, so you feel like, “Hey, man, I left you tons of time. What are you worried about?”

The frustrating part is not being looped in early. I think, just as a general rule, human beings like to know that they are part of a process for the work that they have to do and not being told, “Okay, this is the work we’re assigning you. You had no input into it.” I promise you, too, if you have these conversations early, the work will get done faster and better than if you left those people out of those conversations.

Don’t present every option in planning. I know there’s a huge list of things here. What I don’t want you to do is go into a planning process or a client meeting or something like that, sit down and have that full list, and go, “All right. Here’s everything we evaluated. We evaluated 50 different things you could do for SEO.” No, bring them the top five, maybe even just the top three or so. You want to have just the best ones.

You should have the full list available somewhere so if they call up like, “Hey, did you think about doing this, did you think about doing that,” you can say, “Yeah, we did. We’ve done the diligence on it. This is the list of the best things that we’ve got, and here’s our recommended prioritization.” Then that might change around, as people have different opinions about value and which goals are more important that time period, etc.

If possible, two of the earliest investments I recommend are A.) automated, easy-to-access metrics, building up a culture of metrics and a way to get those metrics easily so that every time you launch something new it doesn’t take you an inordinate amount of time to go get the metrics. Every week or month or quarter, however your reporting cycle goes, it doesn’t take you tons and tons of time to collect and report on those metrics. Automated metrics, especially for SEO, but all kinds of metrics are hugely valuable.

Second, CMS upgrades — things that make it such that your content team and your SEO team can make changes on the fly without having to involve developers, engineers, UX folks, all that kind of stuff. If you make it very easy for a content management system to enable editable titles and descriptions, make URLs easily rewritable, make things redirectable simply, allow for rel=canonical or other types of header changes, enable you to put schema markup into stuff, all those kinds of things — if that is right in the CMS and you can get that done early, then a ton of the things over here go from needing lots and lots of people involved to just the SEO or the SEO and the content person involved. That’s really, really nice.

All right, everyone, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments on prioritization methods. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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12 Must-Do Tasks for the New WordPress Site Owner

image of wordpress logo

You know you’re sitting on a gold mine, don’t you?

That freshly-installed WordPress site of yours is poised to be a source of income, prospects and possibilities for your business. It has the potential to be a powerhouse resource, but there are a few things you’ll need to get in order first.

This post shares the top 12 power sources you can plug into with your brand-new WordPress site.

It may seem like a lot to do, but they’re listed in order of importance. Work on the top of the list first. Once you’ve got those things set up, move on to the rest of it.

Before you know it, you’ll have a WordPress website that’s fully charged and ready to power your business.

1. Make a decision: homepage or blog page?

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is about how to structure your site.

When visitors type in your domain name, will they see a home page, or a blog page? With a WordPress site, either one is easy to create. The question is, what are the advantages of each?

Homepages with some general information about your site and an opt-in form are a great way to welcome new visitors.

But suppose you have a blog — won’t it get lost if it’s not on your home page?

Not necessarily. When you talk about your blog posts — either on social media, in an email or on another site — you’ll share a link that goes directly to them.

People can find your blog using your navigation menu, too.

On the other hand, if your blog is the star of the show, you may want it to be the first thing people engage with.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s a strategic decision that should be part of your overall site planning. And it’s easy enough to change later, so don’t over think it: just choose one and test it out.

2. Build connection with an email list

To build a genuine, ongoing connection with your readers, nothing beats email.

The email inbox is an intimate space, and a privileged place to inhabit. You’re there by invitation only, and because of that, you’re apt to get the attention you want.

Not sure what to include in your emails? There’s good information here on Copyblogger about creating emails people will look forward to and why you should treat your readers like dogs (really). Start with the ideas in these posts, and build from there.

3. Give us a reason to share our email address

That intimate, privileged inbox space is also pretty cluttered for most of us. We don’t want any more email than we already have, so you’ve got to give us a compelling reason to invite you into our inbox.

Unless your site is already well-known and an established authority, it’s not enough to promise “updates.” Give us something we can hold in our hands, listen to, watch, or look forward to.

  • Create an ebook that solves a sticky problem, and give it away in exchange for an email address.
  • Record a downloadable audio interview, conversation or presentation.
  • Make a video or tutorial that shows us a technique you’ve learned.
  • Create a short course you deliver by autoresponder, like Internet Marketing for Smart People.

Whatever you decide to create, make sure it’s so desirable that your visitors will be willing to share their email address to get their hands on it.

4. Track your progress

Knowledge is power, and to understand exactly how your site is performing, you need Google Analytics.

Once installed, you can look under the hood of your site and see which pages get the most traffic, where it comes from, and how people are traveling through your pages.

Armed with this information, you can respond by creating more of what’s obviously popular, and adding offers to pages that are visited frequently.

5. Put the power of SEO to work for you

Search engine optimization may seem like One More Thing on your to-do list. The easy fix? Install Scribe, Copyblogger Media’s SEO and content optimization software.

Scribe analyzes the copy on your site. It suggests easy tweaks you can make to bring in more traffic.

It helps your site rise to the top of the search engine results based on the merits of strong content, to get you past the reaches of Panda, Penguin, Platypus, Potato-Bug, or whatever new Google update comes our way next.

And, in the near future, Scribe is going to be doing even more, so stay tuned.

6. Create a brand experience

To make your site memorable, you’ll want to brand it with a combination of fonts, colors and images that are unique to your business.

Start by using a premium theme. Why not try one you can customize, like the Prose child theme?

Choose a color palette that you use consistently throughout your pages. Select fonts that represent your business. And spend some time and effort creating a unique website header to brand your site from the top down.

Use this visual branding style consistently over time so people recognize and remember your site.

7. Supercharge your site with one single plugin

WordPress.com now offers the Mother of All Plugins for your WordPress.org site installations: the Jetpack plugin.

The Jetpack plugin is like a Swiss Army Knife: it’s full of tools and gadgets that make quick work of lots of website-related tasks:

  • Review your site traffic
  • Allow users to subscribe to comments
  • Share your posts and pages on social networks
  • Insert a basic contact form on your site
  • Check your spelling and grammar before you hit “Publish”
  • Add images to your sidebar
  • Create short links for your pages and posts
  • Embed videos using short codes

Install this one single plugin, and get all these features. And it’s free!

8. Make spammers work for a living

If you have a blog, you’ll want to activate Akismet in your WordPress Dashboard.

Akismet helps to filter out spam comments on your blog, and will save countless hours you’d otherwise spend looking at comments that says things like, “Hey! This post contains the most astonishing information I’ve ever read!” and trying to decide if they’re written by a real person.

Activating Akismet only takes a few minutes to set up, and directions can be found on the Plugins dashboard in your WordPress site.

9. Thank first-time commenters

If you write a blog, you know those minutes, hours or days that go by with no comments on a post can be agonizing.

Commenting for the first time on a new blog can be nerve-wracking, too.

Thank commenters for taking the leap right after they leave their first comment on your blog. Create a page with your thank you message, then use a plugin like Comment Redirect by Yoast to send first-time commenters to that page.

They’ll be impressed, and will want to return and comment again.

10. Plan your posts

Your content will work best if you’re writing with a broad vision for where you want your business to be in six months, a year, and five years. To make sure you consistently touch on your most important themes, install the Editorial Calendar plugin.

This plugin allows you to plan posts and easily move them from one day to another. You can keep your writing on track easily, and make sure  you’re touching on the most important themes consistently over time.

11. Bring commerce into the picture

Once your site is ready, you can bring e-commerce into the picture. You may want to sell an ebook, or offer consulting services. Or maybe you want to have a protected “members-only” section of your site.

In order to offer something for sale, you’ll need a sales page — a pared-down version of the page style on your site, with no navigation, sidebars or other distractions.

And in order to deliver your product or invite people to a private section of your site, you’ll need protected pages that you can offer access to only after a transaction has happened.

Luckily, the Premise plugin can do all this.

Once it’s installed on your site, you’ll be able to easily create sales pages, protect your content, and wall off parts of your site for paid members only.

12. Keep it safe and sound

All this hard work will go down the drain if you don’t have some kind of backup system in place. Daily database backups, and full backups every week are essential.

Your web host may provide backups, but it’s a good idea to keep your own, too. Look into backup plugins like the paid BackupBuddy plugin and free WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin to ensure your information is safe.

Charge up your site for business

If this list overwhelms you, just take it from the top, and work your way down. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully-charged WordPress site that will power up your business.

How about you?

What are your favorite ways to add power to your WordPress website? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About the Author: Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System has created a free course for website beginners. She and Wendy Cholbi will show you step-by-step how to create a site you’ll love. Click to get the first easy website lesson today.

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