Does this sound anything like you:
“I’m overworked and don’t have time to train anybody to help me. I feel like I’m drowning some days. How do I free up some of my time? Can any of my SEO work be automated so I don’t have to keep doing the same repetitive tasks over and over?”
Hey, that used to be me, too! But I’m happy to say that it isn’t anymore. Read on to learn how I wrestled the overwork beast to the ground and got serious about scaling my business — saving lots of time and energy in the process.
My Scaling Problem and How I’ve Solved It (So Far)
One of the biggest challenges I had scaling my business was that all of my SEO knowledge was inside my head. Since I couldn’t just “mind meld” that information to someone, I was faced with the reality that it would either take hours of my time to train someone or lots of detailed technical documentation (which I’d have to put together myself — yikes).
So, I did what any sane person would do — put it off doing anything about it for as long as possible!
But inevitably, I became more overworked and stressed because my schedule was crammed full of SEO work, yet I wasn’t scaling my SEO company (which would help solve the first problem). It was a growing catch-22. And, as the weeks dragged on, it was clear I had to do something about it, and fast. If I didn’t, my SEO company’s growth would grind to a halt.
Since my overwork problem was getting more painful than actually solving it, I finally got serious about documenting my SEO processes. I needed to create step-by-step technical documentation that would be detailed enough that anyone with little SEO training could follow, yet they would do the work my way.
To achieve this, my documentation had to include:
- A local SEO timeline of what tasks needed completion and when.
- A complete set of SEO audit templates for technical SEO, content, citations, reviews, and backlinks.
- Clear and thorough step-by-step instructions on how to complete all the above tasks and with what tools.
It took a lot of time and effort, but after six months I had finally put together enough documentation that I could hand off most local SEO tasks to my team. Yippee! While it wasn’t the funnest of undertakings, it was definitely one of the best things I’ve done for scaling my business. Now I can focus on other things, while being reassured that work is being done to my standards.
If you haven’t already, you may also want to consider setting aside a few hours per week to document your SEO processes for your team. Not only will this save time in the long run, you can help ensure that all processes are being done on the same level. Or, you can buy my complete set of technical documentation, which I’ll be offering for sale soon!
Signs You Should Automate Your SEO Work
Too busy to shower or eat lunch on a typical workday? Here are some other signs that it’s time to automate your SEO work:
- You find yourself continually bogged down with SEO work and don’t have the time to train anyone. Who are you kidding?
- You’re wondering how to scale your SEO business, to free up time so you can focus on running your business.
- You want to know how to automate common SEO processes, and what SEO tools work well (there’s so many to choose from).
I can tell you that automation is a great thing. But the truth is, you can’t automate all of your SEO work. But you can automate and streamline a good portion of your processes to be more productive and I daresay, happier. Here’s how I do it.
How I Approach Automation in My SEO Business
From vetting leads automatically to the tools in my “Local SEO Stack,” here’s a brief overview of some of my more important automations that help me get work done faster.
1) Qualify SEO Leads Before Speaking to Them
Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than following up on leads that go nowhere. Instead, you can use an email automation platform like Autopilot or ConvertKit to help automate this process and vet your leads before you even pick up the phone to chat.
Here’s my general lead vetting process:
- Someone comes to my site via word-of-mouth referral, a business card, or an internet search.
- The person fills out my contact form, along with a few drop downs.
- An automated email shoots off a few minutes later saying I got their email, but that I’m a little backed up and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.
- The next day, my automated system sends another email asking several important questions which will help me gauge their level of interest and seriousness.
- Depending on their answers, I’ll personally reply to their email and engage them in further conversation.
This is a great way to weed out bad clients. If they completely ignore my questions and start venting about what they want, I immediately disqualify them. They’re already showing they can’t follow simple directions and don’t respect my time. I’ve learned it’s better to avoid clients like this, and go for the really good ones.
2) Streamlining SEO Operations With My “Local SEO Stack”
But what about SEO tasks and getting work done for your clients, you ask? The answer is, I have a host of tools I use. I fondly refer to them my “Local SEO Stack.”
Here are a few of them:
Why Asana Rocks
If you want to get work done, Asana is the best!
The free version has almost everything you need, but can use the premium version, too. With Asana, you can view all your tasks in a list or kanban board style, like Trello. This is super handy if different teams (such as SEO, dev, email, paid) are working together, as it centralizes everything in one place.
The Asana interface is simple and uncluttered, and assigning tasks using drag and drop is a breeze. It also comes with heaps of integrations, including Slack, Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive.
Besides using Asana to manage my entire SEO operation, I also use the following powerful tools and automation strategies:
Creating Tasks in Bulk
My website audit template is constructed in such a way that it can be uploaded to Asana and it includes instructions on how to fix each issue discovered. It has over 100 SEO items that I check.
After I complete the website audit, I clean up some of the data and upload it to Asana in CSV format. This imports all the SEO tasks from the audit that need to be completed. It includes the task name, analysis of the issue, recommendations on what needs to be done and links to best practice guides (if available). Then I can simply assign these tasks out to team members and add due dates. Boom!
If you’re interested in what’s on it and how it works, I’ll be releasing my website audit template soon.
Crawl Error Detection
I’ve set up an automation that sends Google Search Console crawl errors to Asana and creates a task. It assigns it to me, and adds tomorrow as the due date. Then, it quickly pops up in my task list and I can review the error to see if it requires action.
Monitoring Negative Reviews
I’ve also got an automated task that alerts me if a Google My Business listing receives a 1 to 3 star review. If so, it creates a task in Asana. While this doesn’t happen often, it gives me the opportunity to contact the client to resolve the issue or reply to the review.
But that’s not all. I have systems for automating consultations, creating monthly client reports, link outreach, and tracking payments, and much more. They work so well for me, I’m confident they can help you save time, energy, and money, too.
If it’s time to get serious about automation, be sure to check out “Bring Home the Bacon”.