How to Spring Clean Your SEO Strategy (and Why You Should)
Spring is underway. For millions, that means in-depth “spring cleaning” in the home — decluttering, getting rid of what you no longer need, evaluating the functionality of what remains, and generally optimizing your living space.
Your SEO strategy needs the same treatment. Though you may not think of a marketing strategy as being in need of “cleaning” per se, and you may have started the year with a new trajectory, now’s a perfect time to evaluate the efficiency of your efforts, get rid of what doesn’t belong, and get your campaign in order.
Why Your SEO Strategy Is in Need of Spring Cleaning
What could happen to an SEO strategy that would require it to be cleaned? A few things:
· You’ve deviated from your original plan. The strategy you initially outlined may have been good in theory, but it’s hard to keep your efforts in line for the long term. A review can help you stay in line.
· You’ve become entrenched in bad habits. A random action one day can become a bad habit the next — over time, it becomes more difficult to recognize which of your habits are helpful and which are destructive. You have to make an effort to recognize these proactively.
· You’ve failed to recognize new trends and technologies. The SEO world is changing constantly; if you don’t occasionally stop to observe these changes, you could easily fall behind.
· You aren’t challenging your assumptions. It’s easy for your assumptions to get in the way of your campaign’s effectiveness. Taking a moment to clear your vision can reset your expectations and keep you more objective.
There are several ways to spring clean your SEO strategy, and you’ll need them if you want to keep your campaign in healthy working order.
1. Review Your Content Topic Performance
First, take a look at your content topics, and how they’ve been performing. Are you seeing a rising trend, or at least consistent numbers when it comes to likes, shares, organic search traffic, and click-through rates on your syndication channels? Are your topics fresh, interesting, and differentiated from the work you’ve done in the past? Are you keeping up with the latest topics? You’ll want to keep your campaign fresh, facilitating your position as a thought leader in the industry, and also target your audience appropriately to keep traffic moving.
2. Audit Your Tactics, Content Mediums, and Distribution Channels
Tactics, content mediums, and distribution channels rise and fall in popularity and effectiveness, and sometimes end up yielding little or no value. In these cases, it’s often easier to follow through with a habit you’ve already become familiar with than it is to cut your losses and test something new. Take the time to evaluate how much value you’re really getting from each of your tactics, content mediums and distribution channels, and cut the dead weight before it wastes any more of your time.
3. Conduct a Publisher ROI Analysis
If you’re working with external publishers as part of a guest blogging campaign (which I highly recommend), know that not all of them will offer you the same level of return, in terms of both SEO value and referral traffic. Take a look at the hard numbers for each of your publisher partnerships, and rebalance your efforts accordingly — spend more time publishing on your most valuable outlets, and dial back on your lower-ROI publishers.
4. Revise Your Target Keywords and Topics
It’s easy to get stuck on one group of target keywords and topics to optimize for, but it’s a better idea to periodically analyze and switch up your main targets. Keywords will rise and fall in search volume, and as you gain rankings in one area, you’ll need to switch your focus to another. Take a moment to review your top-performing keywords, your weakest ones, and come up with some new targets to replace or supplement them.
5. Review New Technologies and How You’re Accounting for Them
New SEO technologies come in many forms — Google updates, mobile devices, tracking software, online tools — and they’re always changing. When you’re in the thick of your efforts, it’s easy to miss some of these, or write them off. Take this time to see whether any of these new technologies could improve your work — or whether any of them need to be accounted for in your strategic approach. Your best bet here is to read up on the news, from multiple different sources, to keep track of what’s changing in the industry, and how you can adapt.
6. Set New Goals
Finally, you’ll need to set some new goals. Take a look at the goals you set at the beginning of the year, and whether or not you were able to achieve them. If you were successful, try implementing an even higher bar for yourself. If you were unsuccessful, evaluate why you were unable to hit those goals, and then set something more realistic.
With these strategies, you’ll effectively do a clean sweep of your campaign and hopefully, recognize key areas for improvement. Sometimes, all it takes is a few simple adjustments to take your campaign from average to successful. Even if you don’t see better results right away, you’ll at least optimize your efforts, and work more efficiently. You don’t have to wait until springtime to do this sort of cleaning, but you do need to regularly audit your campaign if you want to succeed. Only through evaluation and adjustment can your campaign improve over time.