Over time, your search engine optimization program grows weary and slows down. It may lose momentum so gradually you don’t notice it’s happening.
The good news is there are ways to revitalize a stalled SEO program. In this post, I will discuss eight of them.
Revisit the impossible. A common reason SEO programs slow down is a refusal by management to try new initiatives. “No.” We can’t do that.” “It’s too hard.” “We don’t have enough resources.” “We can’t work with that team.”
There are seemingly a million reasons.
Rethink those ideas that were shot down: How could they be approached differently? Maybe circumstances have changed so that the impossible is now possible. New tools in deployment may help, or new processes formed or extended teammates hired. A lot can change organizationally since your last “No.”
Brainstorm with SEO champions. Surely you have other proponents of SEO on other teams. Collect those people and form a council of champions. Get in a room (or web conference) and discuss all those “wouldn’t it be great if we could” ideas. List them out for everyone. Each item in the list could spark more ideas and help the team gain momentum.
Treat your brainstorm as a blue-sky discussion where the sun shines on everything and anything is possible. Allow no negatives or reasons why an idea can’t work. Don’t worry about categorization, valuation, or anything practical at this stage. Just dream.
After the brainstorm is over, apply structure to your list of the ideas. Combine similar items and group things into buckets based on the type of program or team you’d need to work with. Don’t strike anything from the list. The champions who helped dream up the ideas should get back together with you and have a second brainstorm on creative ways to make those dreams a reality.
Educate the masses. Enlist the help of the broader organization, starting with the basics: what SEO is and how it can be used to reach goals. Explain it as a way that can make everyone’s life easier and improve the company’s bottom line at the same time.
For example, copywriters may have a perception that SEO is shoehorning as many repetitive keywords as possible into a paragraph of text. But as SEO professionals, we can help them understand that keyword research data applied strategically across the site can act as a guideline for copywriters to understand what searchers are looking for on each page.
SEO can also serve as a fountain of ideas when a copywriter needs inspiration. The cherry on top is that applying the learning from keyword research will help lure additional visitors to the site to engage with their content and spend more money on products.
Since roles and goals differ across the organization, consider targeting different groups with training that focus on the value of SEO to them.
Attend an SEO conference. It’s impossible to attend a good SEO conference and not get excited about the opportunities. You will come home with more energy and lots of ideas for projects to tackle. How do you pick a good one? The SMX series is always a safe bet. Pubcon is a big one. SearchLove is gaining steam, and MOZcon is a perennial MOZ crowd favorite. For more specifics, here’s a list of SEO shows.
Keep in mind that most SEO tools companies put on “conferences.” But they tend to focus on the usage of those tools and case studies. Attend those conferences if you’re all-in on an SEO tool and want to learn to use it to its full potential. But if you’re looking to learn more about the SEO industry and trends, consider an industry-focused show.
Research the future. If you can’t afford a trip to a trade show, read up on the future of search online. Look especially for reputable articles on content strategy, mobile search, voice search, visual search, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Audit competitors. Inspiration comes from many places, including what your competitors are up to. Maybe they’re doing well and you can do something even better. Or maybe they’re doing poorly and you can determine what to avoid. But there’s no point in putting on blinders and focusing only on your own site.
Identify your true competitors — the sites that rank for the keyword theme you need to rank for — and then deconstruct their content, technology, and link profiles to determine how they’re succeeding. For more, see “How to Do a Competitive SEO Analysis.”
Change up the team. Consider removing people who may not be performing. Is your agency or consultant effective? Is it time to bring SEO in-house? If you’re not working with an agency or consultant, should you consider adding one? An injection of new ideas and a fresh look at your site and your plans can be just what you need to get back on course. For more on the pros and cons of each model, read “For SEO, Better to Hire an Agency or an Employee?”
Look to yourself. Stop taking “no” for an answer. Beef up on your powers of persuasion by taking a seminar or reading a book. Two of my favorites are Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
Or maybe it’s not your SEO program that’s stuck. It’s you. Try learning about a field that’s heavily related to SEO, such as content strategy or user experience. A different perspective can start the wheels moving again. If that’s not enough, try reading (or listening to) a motivational book.
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