It would be downplayed to say 2020 was a whirlwind of a year.
Many digital marketing companies packed their offices in February, and employees – from C-suite to entry level – had to adopt a new style of work that many were not used to.
While few digital employees were previously able to work from home, the industry – and the world at large – had to adapt to full-time remote working during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, as SEOs and digital marketers, we have vast experience in flipping and adjusting our work styles and strategies, regardless of the challenges we face. It comes with the job.
In this blog post, I'll be discussing the various tactics that work incredibly well for our customers and the industry as a whole, as well as advice on increasing productivity and overall satisfaction with moving from home to full time. I hope this post has ideas and potential projects that SEOs can work on in-house or with clients, and that my tips for working from home will also help you step back, relax, and improve your productivity and work -Increase life balance.
SEO tactic that worked really well this year
Low-hanging fruit initiatives
With the influx of users sitting at home spending more time online this year, one strategy we followed with our customers was to target pages 5-9 or 11-14 and optimize existing content, to increase the visibility in the SERP.
These tweaks consisted of simple but effective changes that match and match the user's search intent. Since it has been proven that only the first two words of a title tag are scanned, the importance of an effective title tag that accurately describes the content of the page cannot be overlooked. Title tag tweaks, H1 and meta description updates are some of the ways our customers' first page rankings have improved, winning Answers Box and People Also Ask results.
Above is an example of an increase in keyword rankings for one of our customers in the data intelligence industry. Thanks to the optimization of metadata and the targeted addressing of people who also ask questions, the rank rose from 13 to 6 within this year.
Direct questions to "people also ask"
We have found that as searches increase in 2020, the overall increase in users is asking questions and looking for detailed and valuable answers. Google's "People Ask Ask" SERP feature is the most effective way for businesses to answer regular questions and drive more visitors to their website.
PAA questions were an effective strategy in 2020 to drive traffic and increase brand awareness on our clients' websites. The main method for landing in the People Too section for customers was to tailor new and existing content to answer those users' questions. Tools like AlsoAsked.com were crucial in identifying these questions, and creative writers were extremely useful in attacking this SERP feature.
Plans to create new content + update existing content
Similar to a PAA strategy in 2020, another initiative we have taken with clients who have been successful this year is a holistic new content creation plan. These plans focus on a dedicated and consistent approach to content creation based on content gaps that our customers have missed and had the opportunity to attack.
This holistic approach included:
- Priority topics that should be written as soon as possible. These new page recommendations include targeting valuable keywords with the highest potential ranking chance as well as topics that are being dealt with by competitors.
- Content topic groups that display the full list of related keywords for our customers and their competitors. Each keyword is categorized according to an overarching topic and broken down into a broader topic. These keywords in each content topic group are addressed collectively with newly created content.
- Recommend posting frequency and competitive insights highlighting how often a customer should post different types of content relative to their industry. The publication frequency is formulated by identifying a customer's most important industry and search competitors, analyzing their publication frequency and making appropriate recommendations.
- Types of content where we think outside the traditional blog content box and recommend different formats, e.g. B. Videos, infographics and interviews (depending on the needs of each customer).
- Keywords to Avoid – While in Search Engine Optimization we understand that building the hub and spokes of a primary keyword by targeting relevant secondary keywords is beneficial, we want to ensure that a customer has associated keywords on different blog or website pages not used too often. To prevent the cannibalization of keywords on these pages, we put in place guidelines that focus on which keywords to avoid at the beginning of title and H1 tags.
- Placement Guide – Many different customers in different industries have multiple places to post content (blogs, resource libraries, press rooms, etc.). Through this guide, we are helping customers understand where certain content should be posted on their website.
While the above tactics have proven beneficial to our customers, the traffic gains and value increases we provide would not be possible if our work situations were below average. Next, I'll dive into some home-based tips that have helped me increase my productivity and grow as a remote worker.
Working Full Time From Home: An SEO Perspective and Learning
While many digital marketers were used to virtual meetings while they were working in the office, some were thrilled – and others overwhelmed – by the idea of unexpectedly working full time from home for months.
Workers around the world could not leave the house during the lockdown and had all the time in the world to focus on a new style of work. This led to growth and experimentation for me and many others in the room. Hence, I want to share the strategies that I found valuable.
1. Set limits for the compatibility of work and family
Wake up in the shower at 8:00 a.m. To have breakfest. Read the news. Sign up and start your day. Work eight hours. Clock off. Send emails by the hour. Think about projects for the next day …
And so on. It is easy to get into the routine – or trap – of feeling "always timed" when working from home full-time. Since we don't leave a physical location (and our work laptop) in the office, some of us feel the need to constantly check communications, emails, and other work that can really wait until the next day.
One strategy that I found beneficial was to have an area in my house dedicated to work and nothing else. Personally, this is my homemade desk – I use my two monitors for projects, meetings, and firing emails throughout the day. After hours, I leave my work items on my desk and will not use them until the next day or check e-mails and internal messages to set a defined limit between my personal time and my work time.
2. Productivity breaks
The aspect of work that I struggle with the most is how to strategically distribute my work. When I do a technical audit for a client, I start a project and do as much of it as possible in one session. Having a strong focus is always beneficial during your work hours – you can think more effectively, make informed decisions, and pull problems together to formulate a solution that will help your client or your company.
While you're providing strategic insights for an incredible content recommendation or uncovering technical issues on your client's website, your shoulders ache from bending over, your eyes being forced to look at a screen for over three hours, and you did it forgot to have lunch.
I find it extremely beneficial to schedule breaks for myself throughout the day. To go for a walk. Read a book. Staring at a wall. Take 15 minutes to stand up, stretch, step away from a screen, and relax. Your body and brain will thank you for the rest, and you can focus on one project again and maybe even come up with a ready-to-use solution that you haven't thought of before.
Overall, this year has forced us to leave our comfort zones and try new things – both at home and at work. And as SEOs, we keep growing and developing, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.
Given the way we have adapted in 2020 to gain meaningful insights into the SEO space, I am confident that our industry and the professionals in it will continue to be ready to adopt whatever the future holds . What strategies and tactics have worked for you this year? Let me know in the comments.