Let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO). You know you’re supposed to do it, but it always sounds super boring and time consuming to you. You may do it occasionally, but you quickly lose steam.
You know what’s NOT boring? More sales.
At the heart of search engine optimization is more sales. It is more people visiting your website, which means more leads, which means more sales, which means more mojitos on the beach with all that cha-ching you’re going to rake in.
But before you get there, you need to put the time (or money) in. As a business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, adding one more thing to your plate can be exhausting just to think about. Hey, I’m a big advocate of SEO and even I struggle to find the time.
The following tips are suggestions to help you focus your time, free up time, and a few involve spending a little money to save time. You don’t have to do all of them, but you’ll likely find a few that work well for you.
Here are my 24 time-saving tricks for SEO, so you can get it done and stop ignoring it:
Know where you want to be
Know what your current organic traffic is and know where you want to be. There is no point in attempting SEO without an understanding of your goals for the next month or year in terms of how much extra traffic you want or pages you want improved on your website. I find many are lost when it comes to SEO because they don’t have a goal they’re striving for. Start small if you need to but have a goal in mind. Once you know how much extra traffic you want to generate to your website or a topic you want to rank for on Google, each time you sit down to do some SEO, you can ask yourself “is this helping me reach my goal?” That will help you focus, which saves time because you’re not being aimless.
Recognize not doing SEO is costing you time
Chances are you’re creating content for your business, whether via social media posts, blog posts, YouTube videos, emails to clients, etc. If you’re not optimizing your content to help your website show up on a non-paid organic search on search engines like Google and Bing, you’re wasting time because you’ve not taken advantage of getting more traffic for free.
Set a 5-minute time limit for research
Keyword research and inbound link building research can very quickly lead down a dark road of never ending time suckage. The best way to keep yourself focused is to set a timer for 5-minutes per keyword idea or potential inbound link. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but it’s plenty to research one idea when you’re focused and by the 5-minute mark, you’re probably drifting off focus so it’s good to have that buzzing alarm to snap you back to being efficient. When the timer goes off, reset for five minutes and move on to the next topic. Do this for about an hour and you should have researched about ten topics and likely found several viable ones to pursue. If you’re finding 5 minutes is too short, make it 10. Whatever is a comfortable amount of time for you before your mind starts to wander or you’ve gone down a bunny trail that’s leading nowhere.
Stick to the next 3 months of content
If you’re creating content as part of your SEO strategy (which you probably should), you don’t need to be a hero and plan the next five years of content. Setting aside an hour or two to hash out how you’ll approach content in the next few months will save you time trying to pull something new out of your ass when you sit down to create content later. When you’re ready to create content, you’ll have a clear idea of what you will be creating and how it fits in to your website and SEO goals.
Things that go into your plan:
- Blog or video topics, at least one per month
- They should be topics you can create links between in the content itself (because internal links help your SEO) and related to the overall service or product your business is about (because multiple content on a topic helps your site rank for a broader topic)
- Plan research needed for your content
- Note that you don’t need to do the research right now, but have an idea of some of the quotes, stats, images or information you want to add to your content
- Once you have an idea of the research and elements that are needed for your topics, save even more time by having an assistant or VA do the research for you and summarize
- Drip schedule to share each piece of content regularly
- Plan when the content will post to your website. You don’t have to fill it in all at once, but it helps to see it laid out so you can quickly refer to it when needed.
- Use a simple drip schedule sheet for a timeline of when to post to social media for an entire year. Download my Social Media Drip Schedule below to easily batch nine posts per content that lasts a whole year.
Check your data for 15 minutes each month
Setting aside 15 minutes a month to check the data from your Google Analytics can save you time because you’re not trying to compile a bunch of information all at once. Keeping it top of mind and consistent will help you stay familiar with the information and help you see quickly and confidently that your SEO is on track.
Use a custom dashboard in Google Analytics
I love my Google Analytics custom dashboards to quickly get the stats I need for SEO. They’re easy to set up, and they give me the info I need at a glance. Google has a how-to video for setting it up when you navigate to your analytics > customization > dashboards. You want to concentrate on “organic traffic”, new vs. returning visitors, bounce rates, time on page, and whatever else is important to you. This saves time because you have the important info ready on one page.
Get these two major tech issues fixed
The two major tech issues that hinder SEO are mobile responsiveness and not having a secure HTTPS connection. I won’t get into why because you’re already pressed for time, so just trust me on this one. You can check if your site is mobile responsive at Google’s mobile test page. If it’s not mobile responsive, you absolutely need to make your website responsive. The other thing you need is a secure HTTPS connection. You can install your own HTTPS by following my blog “How to apply HTTPS to your website and improve SEO”. These save you time because you must have them to make all other SEO efforts effective. If you do very little else, at least do this.
Run an analysis and only fix important issues
There are many free tools you can use to analysis your website and outline what are the “must fix” to improve your overall SEO. Most show you the “would be nice” and “not necessary” as well as the important stuff. Stick with the “must fix” and forget the rest. The very biggest and best companies are prioritizing traffic and great content over the nitty gritty that pop up in analysis reports.
Here are some tools you can use:
Carve out one morning per month to find inbound link opportunities
Inbound links (aka referral links, or back links) are links from other websites to a page on your website and is one of the pillars of SEO. Because inbound links are so crucial to your overall SEO health, spending time on them is saving time in otherwise wasted energy in the wrong direction.
Things to consider in a worthy inbound link:
- Must be a “follow” opportunity. If you’re not sure, you can ask the site owner if they’ll make it a follow link.
- Website should be relevant to your industry, like a non-competing service that serves the same type of audience, or if your product serves families, a mommy blog would work.
- Think of those non-competing blogs, products, people, or services that would be good to solicit for a collaboration that results in a inbound link for you.
- The website should be popular on its own and not seem spammy.
When looking for link opportunities, think of the real people in your network who have a blog or place on their website with referrals who you could partner with. Maybe you can do a guest blog post, or host a contest on their website… think of ways you can turn your real life connections into inbound links for your website.
Concentrate on your high traffic pages to up conversions
If you truly only had a couple hours to spend on your SEO and that’s it, optimize your high traffic pages for conversions. That way you can get more leads out of the pages that most people are visiting already. Many people have at least one blog post that is naturally doing better than the rest. Make sure you are maximizing that traffic by having a lead magnet or offer on that blog post. Keep it high up in the page and adjust the wording and images if it’s not converting well. This way you’ve spend a minimum amount of time, but still increase leads which means more money for your business (cha-ching!)
Improve what is already working
Find the pages on your website that are almost on the first page of Google for certain keywords and improve those ones first. Get them up onto the first page (and hopefully number one) to start capitalizing on traffic you could be getting. It’s easier to boost up a page that’s almost at the top than create a new page and start from scratch. Ways to boost the page include: ensure good keyword placement, gear the title towards user intent (ie how, what, where, where, why, etc), bring more traffic to the page by sharing that post several times on social media and at least once on your mailing list, and make the content on page even better if it needs a spruce up. Consider asking someone in your network who has a larger audience to share your page if it matches up with their message. This will bring in new traffic and maybe a inbound link as well.
Ask clients what content they want to see
Don’t want to do a lot of research into the perfect topic or keyword? A quick way to know what content will work to bring in more visitors to your website is to ask your current clients what they want to see more of. This can be as simple as emailing your clients and asking what they want you to post about or creating a short survey and asking your network to fill it out. You can even look back to some of the frequently asked questions you get from clients or potential buyers and create posts on those topics. You’re guaranteed to have content that people are interested in because you’ve got proof that people are asking about it.
Create an expert round up post
This is my favorite way to save time on SEO because it’s a quick way to create content and allows traffic to come in to your website, and inbound links. I wrote a quick how-to guide to creating an expert round up post.
Do new content right the first time
I see dozens of business owners who spend two or more years creating blog posts and content without SEO in mind and now feel the need to go back and fix the errors they made. If you take a small amount of time to do it right the first time when you produce the content, you’ll save yourself countless hours later trying to fix the past.
Copy your competition
You can reverse engineer your competition to find inbound link opportunities. You can put a competitor’s website into Moz.com Open Site Explorer and see the inbound links they have along with an indicator that says whether it is a spammy link that shouldn’t be pursued. If your competition has an inbound link that is on a website you could also be featured on, you can email that potential site and ask them for the same opportunity. This saves time because if the competition has the link, you’re likely to also get a link, and you’re not searching the internet for inbound opportunities like a needle in a haystack.
Use PPC ads
Pay per click ads are an excellent way to bring in extra traffic to your website to give yourself a little SEO boost. It can shorten the time it takes to build an organic presence and help you get to the top for other keyword terms faster by bringing new visitors to your website. Focus on being honest with your ads to decrease bounce rates and entice visitors to click through to other areas on your website by having great content and making it easy for people to navigate.
Invest in a tool like moz.com
Having a tool like Moz can save you time because the free tools needed to get research done or key information can take time to navigate and collect data from. Moz is an all-in-one solution to research and tracking your rank on Google or other search engines. It is pricy, but keep in mind the idea is to save time. If this tool allows you to spend your time on clients instead of SEO, then it’s money well invested.
Get a VA to handle it
Virtual assistants come with all sorts of talents and can be an affordable solution to fixing some issues on your website, contacting potential inbound opportunities, or applying SEO to your blog posts for you so that you don’t need to worry whether you’ve filled out all the areas you need to when creating new content. They can also check your SEO reports and quickly let you know if you’re on track or not based on the goals and outcomes you’ve decided on.
If you make more money per hour working with a client than you do hiring a professional or agency to do your SEO for you, then hire a professional. Freeing up your time to work with a client can be a more profitable use of your time. You can inquire about SEO services with Geek Unicorn. Or if you want to work with another agency, make sure to have a clear understanding of goals and work with a team that will walk you through monthly reports, so you can understand the outcomes and whether you’re on track.
Divert time from social media
Screw you, social media. There I said it. But seriously – spending more time on social media vs. beefing up your own website is like renting your house vs. owning property. Social media is the easy way and can seem like less of an investment because there is little learning curve and gives quick bite sized results. But you don’t own your social media channel and can be kicked off in an instant, subject to algorithm changes, and past content is useless as it only produces traffic or engagement for a few days. If you spent that time instead beefing up your website, you’d have a consistent flow of traffic to your website on a platform that you own and control the outcomes of. Don’t ditch social media entirely because it is likely a source of brand awareness and some traffic but consider diverting some of your energy/time away from social media and invest that time into SEO.
Take a networking event off the table
If you’re running the networking event circuit, you should take a good long hard look at the results you’re getting. I imagine you spend money on a ticket to the event, spend time cleaning up and dressing slick, traveling, probably paying for transportation, then one to several hours schmoozing strangers and acquaintances. Chances are you get one or two leads out of all that time spent. But if you took all that time and money invested in getting one or two leads out of a networking event and put it back into getting a page on your website to haul in thousands of visitors per month, you’ll see a higher return for the same amount of time spent. I’m not saying never go to another networking event again but consider trimming out the events that might not be worth your time if that time was better spent on a solid SEO plan.
Keep your ideas in the cloud
When you’re doing research or keeping track of your ideas, do so on software like Evernote or Google Drive so you can access your notes from any of your devices. This saves time by allowing you to collect information in the in-between moments whatever device you’re using are without needing to power up your desktop. They are also searchable and allow for you to save articles or images from online sources which saves you from rifling through information later.
Research while you wait
I sometimes have to watch my kids play in the bath for half an hour (or more) because they’re too young to be alone in the water. Those buggers can’t be trusted. It’s the perfect time to bust out my phone and gather some research, write a blog post, or plan my SEO because I’m just sitting there. I admit I don’t always make bath time productive (slither.io is addictive) but it is unused time I can put towards SEO. Are there any unused hours of the day that you’re waiting or doing something boring that you can use for SEO? When you follow point #22 and keep your stuff on cloud storage, you can access it from anywhere.
Sit with an expert for an hour or two
Save yourself dozens of hours trying to learn SEO tips or trends and sit with an expert for an hour or two to get all the must-know elements that are pertinent to your business. You can save time in the confusion of where to start and have a clear picture of what will give you the most impact for your website. If you’re interested in this, book a time to chat with me on my contact page.
There you have it. Drop a comment below to let me know if any of these where helpful. Or if you have any other suggestions for saving time on your SEO that I should know about.
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