It’s that time of year where we make our resolutions, promise to be better people and try to start the year fresh. It’s also the time of year where people like me put out “ways to make 2018 better” posts and everyone’s eyes roll into the back of their head. But bear with me!
See, every December, as we pull together reports and commence planning for the new year, we spend an enormous amount of time thinking about all the new things we can do come January. We come to the table with fresh ideas and the “next big thing” to keep our clients or bosses excited.
That’s great! We want and need new ideas, but they often come at the expense of our old ideas — which, given the cyclical nature of SEO, shouldn’t be forgotten.
So, as we make our way into the first month of the new year, let’s look at three key ways we can set ourselves up for SEO success in 2018:
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Between the daily tasks at hand, the pressure to hit goals and the ongoing updates from search engines making life difficult, it can be hard to step back and get a holistic view of your site and how it’s performing.
At KoMarketing, we start every new program with a full-scale technical audit, followed by a keyword roadmap and content audit. It ensures we not only understand the landscape but also get our clients’ sites in the best shape possible, as soon as possible.
But what happens when you’ve been working with a client for two or three years? What happens when hundreds of changes have been made, messaging has shifted and company goals have evolved?
While we try to perform quarterly technical audits, they aren’t always as in-depth as that first time. In addition, after a few years of writing and adding new content to the site, that initial content audit likely no longer applies.
Start your year off right by giving your site a full audit, evaluating everything from technical issues to content to competitor performance.
Were new features added in the past year? Were brand guidelines put into place? Did the competitive landscape change a bit? Whatever the case may be, it’s important to revisit your overall messaging to ensure your target keywords still make sense and you aren’t missing any major opportunities.
Take for example this scenario: A few years ago, I had a client in the logistics space who was targeting “shipping” terms. Our content was geared toward shipping, our SEO efforts were geared toward shipping, and overall, performance on the terms was pretty great.
Fast-forward to the following year, when those terms started driving much less traffic and leads. Why? The landscape had shifted toward “transportation.” Searches were up, the types of results had changed, and more competitors had started using the term.
By revisiting our keywords and content, we were able to make some updates to existing content, shift the focus a bit and adapt to the changing landscape. The client now targets both to ensure we are capturing the variety of searches.
Here’s another example: Mid-year, a different client in the technology space launched a feature dedicated to improving customer engagement. While the initial messaging, and in turn, keyword targets, were closely tied to engagement, it turned out the search intent didn’t match. After revisiting the messaging, the keywords and the search results themselves, we shifted the focus toward CRM and saw an immediate jump in time on page and form inquiries.
It’s no secret search results and business landscapes frequently change. As search marketers, it’s our job to make sure we are on top of both. Now is the time.
BUT IT’S SO AWESOME!
Look, we spend a ton of time coming up with new ideas — and frankly, it’s hard. Plus, you just did a content audit (right?), so you should have a pretty good idea of what content is working, what content isn’t working and what content you need to create.
This year, spend some time looking at existing content and figure out how you can do more with it. Here are a few ideas:
Freshen it up
Have older evergreen pieces that could be spruced up? Have timely pieces that can be updated to the current year? Either way, start identifying older pieces that have potential to drive traffic and new eyes to the site. A tweak here and a new sentence there might be all the changes needed.
Reduce & reuse
Assets like videos, infographics, e-books, webinars and product guides are huge undertakings which are often promoted once and left for dead. Take a look through these assets and figure out how you can better utilize them. For example, e-books can be turned into blog posts, webinars into sales landing pages and infographics into social content.
Is there a theme on your site that performs really well? Is there an idea that you love and think deserves more than one chance? While I am not advocating you simply go out and republish old content, I am suggesting you go find the things that work and figure out a way to take advantage of it.
As you dive into 2018, focus on your resolutions and work to build successful programs, remember that sometimes looking back can help you move forward, especially in the world of SEO. Cheers!