Anyone with experience of working in SEO will know just how hard it is to stay up to date with ever-evolving technology, algorithm updates and new techniques which are created to drive bigger and better results. This excitement is one of the reasons why so many people enjoy working in this industry, but, it’s also why so many mistakes can occur if you’re not keeping your finger on the pulse. Here are some tips which will help you ensure that you are always working on best practices for consistent and reliable results.
Working as part of a team is great for knowledge-sharing and productivity, but it can also result in a lack of communication if you’re not organised. Everyone will be familiar with that classic scenario where someone in the company makes an update to the site without letting anyone else know. Before you know it, pages have been moved or lost, or content has changed resulting in a loss of traffic and a drop in rankings that are only discovered weeks later when it’s too late. Things like this are bound to happen from time to time in an organisation, however, much we try to prevent them, so the best way to minimise the risk is to stay on top of changes and to track them effectively.
There are a few ways to achieve this – one option is to set up change alerts. Tools like Uptime Robot and LittleWarden provide notifications of changes to your site so you can quickly see what’s occurred as soon as a change is made. You can also choose the type of changes you’re alerted to with certain tools, so you don’t have to worry about being updated about every minor adjustment that takes place.
Secondly, setting up a shared changelog will allow you to stay up to date with recommended updates and when they’re planned to occur. This is useful for changes that are planned in with your Dev team and are bigger than just an update to some copy. This way, if a page is removed or needs to be switched back to a previous version, you can quickly see what’s taken place for that area of the site. More importantly, if the site suddenly drops off the radar entirely, it’s useful to be able to see what drove it.
Keeping note of original messages requesting changes and what URL they’re in reference to will help you understand the motivation behind those updates several months later. Setting up a basic Google Doc is an easy way to do this and means that future discussions about pages will be a lot easier. In a busy company, maintaining good records is always a good idea – teams change, goals are updated, and it can be useful to be able to refer back so you can reaffirm why decisions were made, both the good and the bad.
Keep your data clean
When you’re creating reports or delivering evidence of results to other teams, make sure you’re using the right data from the start. There’s nothing worse than spending hours on a project only to have to redo it because you used the wrong information, or the client wanted particular data points taken out. In addition to ensuring you and your clients are on the same page, you want to ensure that your analytics are set up correctly from the beginning so you’re tracking everything you need to. Make sure the correct goal URLs are set up, that event tracking is working as it should and that tracking is included for all pages. SEO is all about demonstrating value and analytics data is crucial in achieving that, something that becomes even more challenging if your data isn’t right.
Don’t underestimate the power of education
When it comes to SEO, there’s a distinct lack of knowledge in the general marketing sector that can result in the value of SEO being questioned a lot of the time. The easiest way to combat this resistance from other areas of the business is to make sure you explain things in the right way to your audience. For example, how you talk to your digital PR team will be entirely different from how you talk to the PPC team. Different teams need varying degrees of knowledge about what’s happening and how it impacts the business. So, remember who you’re talking to and what their level of knowledge is, as well as what it is they really want and need to know.
Remember the consumer
As search marketers, it can be easy to prioritise strategy while forgetting the reason behind what you do – the customer. You don’t want to find that you wind up with unhappy clients despite all of your efforts and successes in increasing traffic because you’ve failed to consider how sales and conversions will be impacted. There’s a lot of pressure to improve positioning in the SERPs and this can lead to sales falling off the checklist, so make sure that the customer stays at the forefront of your actions.
Consider alternative routes
With search, there are always multiple ways to achieve results. The industry is packed with nuances and intricacies that can influence how you work and gain results, many of which are specific to certain platforms, tools or industries. We can often get caught up in the mentality that there’s a certain way to work, whether it’s how we want developers to do things or how long we think meta descriptions should be. But in order to really succeed in your ecommerce SEO strategy, you need to be able to compromise and experiment sometimes. There are always new lessons to be learned, new updates that shift how we work and new challenges to take on. The trick to tackling all of this is to evolve and learn as you go in order to become a better marketer. Your focus should always be what matters most to the business, the stakeholders and the customer.