Productivity Tips for the Busy Search Marketer

February 12, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Okay, now, hang in there. We’ve got one more session until SMX West 2009 goes into the record books. I know, it’s hard. And my brain is mush. But we can do it together.

Speaking we have Thomas Schmitz, Jennifer Slegg, Stephan Spencer and David Wallace. Matt McGee is acting as moderator. He’s one of my favorite people in search.

Up first is Thomas.

Tools are prepackaged, they’re written by knowledgeable people, they’ll save you time by doing jobs you don’t know how to do and they’ll help you avoid aggravation. The downsides are that you’re limited to the program’s abilities, you’re stuck with their faults and they can be expensive.   He uses iBusinessPromoter, SEOToolBar, LinkScape and SEO Quake. They’re great for gathering data.

You want to learn their abilities. Understand their limitations. Learn to export data and learn to manipulate the options.

Scripts are executable programs that you or your company create. They can save time, money, help you to avoid aggravation and they’re custom & targeted. Use anything you can find and gather.  The cons are that you’re limited to accessible data or by your scripting ability.

PHP & MySQL are basic and easy to learn. You’ll want to learn how to grab numbers, links and parse XML. Don’t worry about fancy output. Once you get going, it becomes easier and easier. You can steal scripts from open source programs. Loop borrowed code to scrape data from multiple sites.

Brute Force are programs like Microsoft Office. There’s no wrong way to use them. Some examples:

  • In Microsoft Word, he likes using the Find & Replace. Isolating repetitive parts in HTML, like links. Formatting code.
  • In Excel, create formulas and functions. Data manipulation.
  • In MS Access, you can use graphical drag and drop, point and click menus or hand code yourself.

He shows an example of how to use brute force but it’s very code-y and it’s the last session of the show and my brain is unable to comprehend. Don’t look at me like that. You should have been here yourself.

Next is David.

To stay productive, you need to get a routine to get you started.

He begins with email, Bloglines and Twitter.  (me too!) He takes care of new emails that require little or no response right away. He categorizes his blog feeds so he can sift through them quickly.  Open new posts in separate tabs that he wants to write about.  Clicks on TwitterFox Icon and look for DMs or @ replies.  That takes him 30-60 minutes.

Writing New posts. 5 of 7 blogs he writes for covers industry news. Creative or resourceful post can be written any time, but news has to be up quickly. Read, write, publish. 30 minutes – several hours.

Every else: working on client projects, dealing with clients, responding to RFPs, developing new business, etc.

One of his biggest time wasters is email. He uses Outlook Express and has a very extensive category structure. He only keeps ‘pending’ emails. Important nonpending emails are saved to his hard drive.

Social Bookmarking: 3 forms of bookmarking – stuff he’s interested in, stuff he’s asked to and his own stuff. To manage the chaos, he uses Bloglines.  Limit your activity to the sites important to what you do. Avoid time wasters. When submitting content, submit where you’ll get the most benefit.

[I feel like we’re learning far too much about David’s personal habits. I feel uncomfortable. If I wanted to know what he does during a day, I’d just peek into his windows like a normal person. Him laying it all out in this much detail freaks me out.]

SEM Management: make sure all regularly scheduled work is done by the 20th of each month. That gives them a week and a half to work on their own projects. Still have to respond to client emails/calls, respond to RFPs.

Final Thoughts

  • Have some kind of routine
  • Deal with email wisely
  • Be selective with social bookmarking
  • Make Twitter Beneficial
  • Leave time for yourself

Jennifer is up next. She’s going to talk about non-desk time tools. Because you can’t always be at your desk. Tear.

Notebooks: She uses them all the time. They’re useful for writing down great ideas. Highly portable. Keep one everywhere. They’re relationship friendly. She says her presentation started off in a notebook.

Personal Voice Recorder: Not the voice recorders of the 80s or 90s! Keep one in the console of your car. It allows you to dictate everything from blog post ideas to detailed emails to complete print-friendly articles. Digital means file can be imported right into computer.

Dragon Naturally Speaking: Converts spoken words into text. Imports into Word, Dreamweaver and WordPress. You can either dictate directly into computer or use a Digital Voice Recorder which converts your voice file text when you import.

Netbook & Mini Laptop: Easily portable laptop. Quick start up. Can run most business software. Great for longer work periods.

Blackberries, IPhones, etc: Send quick emails. Twitter. (Leave a phone message and it is sent in an email to yourself. Starts at $3.95 a month). Various apps to make you more productive.

[Anyone else feeling a tad uncomfortable here?]

Stephan’s up last. Hopefully he doesn’t try to kill us like he did in the 301 redirect session. [We heart you, Stephan]


Multiple action lists running concurrently in your brain? Ideas buried within files, folders, emails, Post Its, to do lists? Bad, bad, bad! GTD stands for getting stuff done. Get stuff out of your head and into a trusted system that also tracks the open loops you’re waiting on. Reach a state of flow, mind like water. When you get everything out of your head, you become more creative.

You get stuff into a computer program and then at some point you process it. When you process it, you give it context. Is it home, office, errand, computer, email, blog, tweet, read/review, agenda, etc? Review your Next Actions by context. Do it in batches, In addition to Next Actions, you can also have Projects, Someday, Waiting For, Deferred, Agenda. A project is anything requiring more than one action. Selling your home is a Project, not a To-Do. :)

Procrastination goes away once you take that first step.

Horizons of focus: You have your runway, your 10,000 foot view (projects this year), your 20,000 foot view (ares of focus), 30,000 foot view (1-2 years), etc. Have a weekly review with yourself. If something can be done with 1-2 hours, just do it now. With GTD, it’s easy to fall off the wagon. Also easy to fall back on.

He shows a bunch of GTD applications

  • Mac: Things, Journler, OmniFocus, iGTD
  • PC: GTD Outlook AdOn

Hire a virtual assistant. You can outsource anything you want. Hire multiple VAs.  He suggests,, and

And that’s it, folks. Thanks for hanging out with us at SMX West. We hope you enjoyed the coverage. I’m off to go meet the other ladies for a nice dinner and some Outspoken Media bonding. I’m out! :)


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