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When working with SEO strategy for a living, it’s sometimes hard to figure out how to get stuff done. After all, search engine optimization takes focus, planning, and coordination. If your mind isn’t focused or you keep getting interrupted, it’s hard to meet the high quality standards you set for yourself and your business. This is compounded when interruptions are coming from clients themselves with questions or edit requests.
Thankfully, there are ways to improve your SEO productivity and get stuff done without hurting anyone’s feelings or burning yourself out. Let’s explore these strategies now.
Your SEO Agreement
Everything relating to your clients comes down to the written SEO agreement drafted at the beginning of your relationship. The agreement should outline what work you’ll be completing for them, including all related tasks. That way, there’s no confusion as to what you’ll be responsible for.
Previously, I’ve had clients make assumptions about what work I’d be completing, like posting on their social media accounts, creating web pages, setting up eCommerce features, and even sorting out why their emails were going directly to spam. And though these tasks certainly needed completing, I was not the person for the job.
Since then, I’ve developed a water-tight SEO agreement that lays out every part of the workflow I’m responsible for to remove any confusion including a list of responsibilities and a detailed description of what each means, including:
- An SEO audit that evaluates existing content for SEO errors, broken links, and so forth.
- Using SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush (and other keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner) to develop an online marketing plan.
- Competitor analysis.
- Using Google Analytics and other metrics-based tools for analyzing progress.
- Content creation that fits the overall marketing strategy and builds out key content areas like landing pages.
- Attending to on-page SEO details like meta descriptions and other meta tags.
- Technical SEO analysis and optimization.
- Acquiring backlinks through link building outreach.
The agreement should also include what is expected of the client. For instance, I ask that clients don’t try to tweak their SEO on their own — especially after I’ve completed work — as this can nullify my efforts. I also make it clear when I’m available. My contact hours and the response time clients can expect from me is included in the agreement, too.
Having a well-written and clear SEO agreement can solve a lot of problems but sometimes clients still go off and attempt to be their own webmasters and play around with their websites. Often, this nullifies the marketing efforts you’ve already completed. And as frustrating as that is, it shouldn’t mean you have to go in and make change after to correct mistakes.
I get around this issue by sending over a kind reminder that I won’t be held responsible if their SEO tweaking results in a lower rank in the SERPs. Clear communication often avoids extra work, wasted time, and hurt feelings.
Keeping focused on your SEO services work may be challenging at times when there are just so many distractions and other things that need doing around you. There are social networks to scroll, chore lists to complete, and messages to answer. Thankfully, I have a few tips for keeping your eye on the prize.
Working from home can be fantastic but for some it poses too many distractions. Though I don’t personally suffer from this problem, I do have a few ideas that may help you learn how to get stuff done:
- Put your phone into “work” mode. Most modern smartphones have this setting, so use it! Setting your phone to work mode means you won’t be interrupted with notifications or calls during a time period you specify
- Alternately, you can just turn your phone on silent and set it facing down on your desk to minimize distractions.
- Make your work hours clear to your family so interruptions are limited.
- If sustained focus is an issue, use a productivity timer or the Pomodoro method to promote very productive — but short — bursts of output. With Pomodoro, you set a timer for 20 minutes or so, get down to work, then take a 5 minute break. This process is repeated about four times to be followed by a longer 15-20 minute break. There are many free tools and timers that offer this feature.
- If noise bothers you, wear some headphones and play instrumental music or ambient sounds to drown out the distractions.
- Remove unnecessary clutter from your desk. This will get rid of distractions and create a calmer work environment overall.
- Rely on task management tools to keep your day organized and on track. Tools like Asana, Trello, and Teamwork can assist you in keeping you focused on what needs to be done today and what takes priority.
- Step away from your work for a bit. Sometimes when you’re too stressed out, it’s hard to focus. If you’re feeling too “in your head” to focus, get up and stretch, go for a brief walk, or do a quick exercise session.
- Pack up your laptop and head to a local coffee shop to work from there for a bit. Sometimes a change in scenery is all you need to boost your SEO productivity.
- Consider a co-working space. Sometimes being around others while working will encourage greater productivity.
Questions and Messages
Working online from home often means making yourself available to messages throughout the day. However, this can cause huge interruptions, especially if persistent. Messaging apps are great but you need to set aside distraction-free times to get the real meat and potatoes of your to-do list completed. Most work communication apps like Slack offer the ability to turn off notifications for a set time, so you can use that time to complete your content marketing tasks without interruption.
Similar to the above, being available via email is great and all but it can become a problem when you’re checking it and interrupting your workflow to respond to messages every five minutes.
It’s impossible to stay focused on a task when you’re constantly switching between tasks. Instead, set aside a dedicated time each day to read and reply to emails. For some, setting aside the first work hour of the day to read emails and respond to the most urgent ones is the best tactic. For others, they find splitting that into smaller chunks to be more manageable with a 15 minute session in the morning, 15 minutes after lunch, and 15 minutes before “clocking out” to be the most effective.
Boost SEO Productivity and Get More Done
When you work in digital marketing, it’s easy to get swept up in the “everything must be done right now” culture. However, you’ll get more done and see better results for your client’s Google searches and conversion rates if you take one thing at a time. Be clear about what clients can expect from you (and what you expect from them) and minimize your daily distractions and interruptions. Then all you have to do is put your skills to work.
Looking for SEO training? Check out “Bring Home the Bacon“.