There’s never an end to the number of things you could do to improve your SEO campaign. However, sometimes the biggest barrier to SEO success is inefficiency. Here’s some ways to make your life (and SEO campaigns) more productive.


Inbox Zero

Source: hyperdashery badges on flickr

I’ve been working with clients for over a decade. Over that time I’ve seen some important SEO efforts lost in inboxes. Not only does this delay potentially impactful changes, but they can be lost forever. I wish I could quantify how much better each of my clients results might have been had things not gotten lost.

If you simply aim at keeping your inbox at zero, a lot of SEO efforts won’t be lost. Here’s some ways to reach “Inbox Zero”:

  • You might not be able to do this every day (at least, at the start) so try to reach this every week. Maybe start after lunch on Friday and aim for inbox zero by the end of the day.
  • A lot of email providers allow snoozing an email- which will bring it back to mind at a later time. While this might allow procrastination, it’s better than things getting lost.
  • Unsubscribe! When our email is full of various, irrelevant emails, we won’t keep up with it. Don’t just delete those emails- unsubscribe from them! This keeps your inbox free from clutter.

Email Manners

Improper email manners can be a big waste of time. For example:

  • Don’t “reply all” unless you have a specific answer to their question. Stop filling peoples’ inboxes with “no” when someone asks, “do you know where this is?” It’s not helpful. It wastes people’s time!
  • Don’t cross email threads. If an email thread is about one topic, keep it on that topic. If you segue into another topic, send a separate email. I think a lot of great ideas or important initiatives get lost in email chains to which they don’t belong. If someone does this to you, change the subject line of the email, as you respond.

Task Management

I’m a big fan of Trello to keep track of what I’m working on.

In order to manage my SEO tasks, I crease a new board for each client. Within each board I have several lists:

  • Doing– this is where I put that list of things that I’m currently working on or things that people are waiting on me to do.
  • Waiting– this is where I put things that are currently being worked on but upon which I’m waiting for someone else.
  • Someday– this is where I put ideas for things I’d like to work on someday. I find it useful to store these somewhere else (besides my “Doing” list- or my inbox) so I don’t forget it. Perhaps more importantly, this prevents me from being distracted from what I’m currently working on!
  • Reference– this is where I put things that I need to access regularly. Some people use their inbox for this. That’s a bad idea. I lose things in there frequently. A list of cards for items I need to remember helps keep things in order!
  • Done– this is where pat myself on the back for having accomplished something. It feels good to move things in here! Not only that- it helps me remember when I did something. That can be a helpful piece of information when reporting to clients or tracking the success (or failure) of my marketing initiatives.

One of my goals with The SEO Game Plan is to allow you to add each process to a Trello card. Stay tuned- it’s in the queue!

Close Browser Tabs

Source: davidak on flickr

I get it: you’ve got a lot of things you’re working on. You don’t want to forget it! You’ll get back to it later. That’s why you’ve got that browser tab open.

Unfortunately, you’ve got so much “to get back to” that you can’t even read your browser tabs that you’ve got open! This causes a lot of problems:

  • You’ll never be able to get back to what you found because you can’t find the other tab. Instead you end up creating new tabs that only make the problem worse!
  • If you close your browser, it can take a lot of time to load all those browser tabs. That’s time you could be doing something that actually helps your SEO campaign.
  • You’re throwing off your Analytics numbers! Each time your browser opens, you’re loading a new visit on your website for each tab that’s open on your website. You can’t make good decisions for your SEO campaign if your data is off because you keep loading your site in a buried browser tab!

Don’t be that person! Close those tabs! You might be able to find a browser plugin to close your tabs in bulk. At worst, you can change your browser setting to not remember your open tabs when you close your browser. This can, at least, get you started with a clean slate.

One tool I use to remember things that I want to get back to is Pocket. This is an app (and browser plugin) that takes copies of web pages you save, for you to return to later. When you save a page in Pocket, you can even add tags, to remember why you saved it. What I like most about this: if you open the app on your phone, it downloads a copy of the page for offline viewing. I’ll sometimes even review pages like this, when on a flight. It’s a good time to catchup!

Of course, this is another good use of Trello, too.

Multi-Tasking is a Myth

I know you think you’re getting a lot done at the same time. However, let’s be honest: you’re really doing everything half-ass at the same time. Don’t believe me. There are lots of studies that confirm multi-tasking is baloney.

Instead, focus on one thing at a time. Here’s some tips to help:

  • Make appointments for your to complete tasks in my calendar. This not only keeps you focused but gives you the feeling of accomplishment. It also prevents people from trying to distract you from important tasks by assigning meetings when you’re working on another project.
  • Turn off those email notifications. Set times of the day when you check your emails and don’t look at them until those times. I know someone who only checks their email three times a day: when he arrives at work, when he returns from lunch, and before he leaves for the day. This not only allows him to get something done (and just doing email all day is not really getting anything done!) but trains his colleagues that they can’t constantly interrupt him. Tangent: this is also why Slack is not really a productivity tool (file this under reasons why I hate Slack).

If you want to have an effective SEO campaign, you’ll need to finish an SEO task (now and then, at least). If you’re trying to multi-task several things at the same time, I bet you’ll never get done with a lot of things.

I’m writing the processes of The SEO Game Plan in a specific order for effectively doing SEO for your company. If you’re distracted by cool tactics or new ideas, you’ll get nowhere fast.

Good Productivity = Good SEO

There’s a lot to a good SEO campaign: measurement, technical SEO, content, links, etc. However, I could produce the best SEO processes ever (at least, that’s what I’m trying to do here) but if wasting time, it won’t help.

Do yourself a favor and try to improve your productivity. Your SEO campaign will benefit for it!

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