While catching up with my RSS feeds this morning I caught this post from Jeremiah Andrick. In it, he politely (well, sort of politely) asks those New Year’s Resolution People to just stop. Admit right now that you’re a flake and won’t keep up with that workout routine. He doesn’t want you crowding his gym and I agree 100 percent with his sentiment. I agree with it both as it pertains to your physical wellness (dude, get off my machines!) and, of course, to your 2012 search engine optimization campaign.
Resolutions are shiny and, as such, rarely stick. If something wasn’t important enough to you last year to get it done that won’t magically change because the ball dropped again in Times Square. You’ll still ignore it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have the power to make changes and better use new budgets when we really choose to. We absolutely do; it’s what new success is built on.
So don’t start 2012 with false resolutions; start it by building momentum.
Here’s how that pertains to SEO.
Set Clear Goals
Your direction for 2012 is set (or not) in your ability to set clear, actionable goals. I hope I’m not bursting your SEO bubble when I tell you “increasing conversions” is no more of a clear goal than promising yourself to “lose weight” in 2012. Clear goals not only identify the end goal, they also break down the action steps you’ll need to achieve it. It’s for this reason that if you’re serious about bettering your Web site and your business in 2012 I recommend you start the year with a full SEO audit to help you understand what’s happening on your site so that you know WHAT needs to change and where you’ll need to invest in your site to make it happen. If you’ve never performed an SEO audit on your site, it involves looking at elements like your internal and external linking, code validation, URLs, redirects, digital assets, mobile presence, conversions, etc, to find areas of strength and weakness. With your audit in hand, it can be a lot easier to develop an actionable plan and build that momentum.
Work for Integration…in Everything
Whether it’s search and social, social and email, online and offline marketing – the more you can integrate each of your different marketing channels, the more motion you’re going to build your for your business. That’s how you accomplish more, how you measure more, and how you create a unified marketing message. While the concept of “silos” was a cute SEO buzzword a few years ago, thinking that way in 2012 is going to do you more harm than good. Stop fragmenting your efforts and figure out how you can get more by making everything move together.
Adopt A More Effective Workflow
It’s the first official work day of the New Year.
Before you dive into 2011’s routine, stop and re-evaluate. Take another look at the tools you’re using, the applications you’re depending on, and the work environment you’ve set up for yourself. Is it working or are you still struggling to spend your office hours as productively as you can? Back in 2010 I shared 11 ways I increased my work productivity and though that worked for me then, I know I’m constantly tweaking it. While I still may use tools like my trusty egg timer, I’m also using apps like Rescue Time to turn my work day in a productivity competition. I use Dropbox to give me access to the documents I rely on whenever I need them; I use Shoeboxed to help me track expenses, and we use Harvest in the office to easily tie time to budgets. You may not think tweaking your workflow is all that important in helping you find direction in 2012, but I’d argue it is. The less you have to worry about HOW you work, the more you can focus on what you’re working on.
Be Mindful Of The Ultimate Metric
Before I signed off for 2011, I shared a cautionary tale of SEO drummers, the same old tune & how it results in people doing a whole lot of nothing.
Don’t follow the drum, follow the dollar.
The bottom line of your SEO campaign is not how many times you’re “right” in that Twitter war or how many people you can bring to your Web site, it’s your ability to make more money this year than you did last year. That means SEO’s bottom line, like it or not, is conversions. It’s not traffic, it’s not engagement, it’s not the success of your viral video. If you need to write that down on a piece of paper and tape it above your monitor to remember, do it. Let this be your focus all year long – Money. As cold as it sounds, nothing else matters. And if it’s not making you money, it’s wasting your time.
Stop Being Such A Pimp
SEOs were handed quite a few lessons in the year that was 2011, but Panda was perhaps the loudest lesson and most hard-hitting of all. Through Panda we were once again reminded to act like strategic producers, not mindless pimps. Our goal is not to throw out as many useless pages, keywords, strategies, links, etc, as we can. It’s to be mindful and to actually have a strategy, not simply constant action. As you head in 2012, use that thought to help guide your direction.
You have a choice this year. You can build momentum or you can you build up a list of false resolutions and distractions that will throw you off your game.
Oh, and don’t worry. One of the cool things about New Years is that you can celebrate it as often as you want, regardless of what your calendar tells you.