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Stop Recommending Impossible SEO Content Strategies. Do This Instead.

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Years ago, I worked with a sales coach who insisted that I was selling my services all wrong.

She’d get on the phone with my prospects and tell them how their “site looked outdated,” their entire site suffered from sub-par content, and every page needed a rewrite.

Oh, and a redesign too.

At one point, she told a small-business prospect that his budget for writing services was “insulting” and way too low. But, of course, the poor prospect had a hard enough time trying to scrape together 5K for writing services…so my consultant’s quote of 20K was way out of his budget.

(This was the final straw and I fired her the next day.)

The thing is, my consultant wasn’t necessarily wrong. Often, the entire site’s content did suck. And many designs were terrible. 

But forcing the client to eat the entire content enchilada RIGHT NOW — when all he wanted was just a couple bites — was enough to mess up the sale. 

She was dictating a strategy that the client couldn’t implement — not right away.

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And that’s the problem.

I’ve been chewing over the statistic that 56% of SEOs say their suggestions get implemented less than 40% of the time.

Ouch.

On the one hand, it’s easy to blame the end client. We’ve all had the client or boss who gives excellent lip service to our brilliant ideas — and then refuses to implement them.

Maybe because it’s “not the right time” or because the company is in a busy period. Bottom-line, nothing happens, and the suggestions go nowhere.

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But then, Ammon Johns, a colleague and one of the original SEO folks in the industry, said something interesting on Facebook.

Ammon’s take on the statistic: SEOs suggest strategies that companies can’t implement for whatever reason. It’s not because they don’t want to change their process. It’s that they need a slower runway to make it happen.

We’re giving our clients (and prospects) a pie-in-the-sky, best-case strategy scenario…when what they need is something more baby-stepped and easier to implement.

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For instance, these SEO writing suggestions may overwhelm your client

  • Suggesting a client increase their blogging frequency to twice a week when the client is already time-crunched.
  • Advising the client to make a massive investment in SEO content services immediately rather than spreading the work over time.
  • Telling the client that what they want will take more work than they bargained for — for instance, they’ll need a redesign AND a content strategy, AND every page needs a rewrite.

Sure, the content and strategy suggestions may be on point. After all, sometimes, it makes more sense to do a lot of the work immediately. And some site designs do look outdated and have horrible usability.

But if you hit your client (or prospect) with everything at once, you run the risk of the client not implementing your suggestions.

(And guess who the client will blame when they aren’t getting the results they want. Even if they only implemented 10 percent of your suggestions.) 

Or, in the case of selling your services, overwhelming your prospect with ideas that she can’t implement may mean you lose the gig. She’ll take one look at your proposal and think, “This is way more than I bargained for right now. I don’t have the funds/time/brainpower for this.”

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Even if she agrees with your recommendations. 

It’s tricky.

You have to meet your SEO writing clients where they are.

That may mean suggesting a fraction of the actual workload now — and explaining a baby-step process that can help get everything done on a longer timeline.

That may mean suggesting a low-budget thing to get your foot in the door — and using that project to sell your skills.

Or sometimes, it means thinking super-creatively to help your client meet their SEO writing goals. For instance, video is fantastic for teams with subject-matter experts who hate to write — but they don’t mind being on-camera for five minutes.

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You can take that video (and the transcript) and transform yourself into a content repurposing hero.  

It’s OK to baby-step your content campaign and get things done super slowly. What’s not OK is suggesting deliverables and timelines that aren’t possible for your client/team to implement.

That’s a setup for learned helplessness (why can’t we ever master SEO?), poor results, and resentment. If you’re freelancing, it means lost sales.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

What do you think?

Have you received an overwhelming strategy that you had no idea how to implement? Or, have you accidentally overwhelmed a prospect or team member with all your fantastic ideas? Leave a comment and let me know!

Source: Heather Lloyd-Martin

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SEO

How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer’s Landscape

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How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer's Landscape

There is a new data revolution happening, and it’s sweeping across the industry so quickly that many SEO and digital marketers are struggling to make sense of the insights and intelligence at their disposal.

To utilize this opportunity, marketers need to evolve their mindsets and use technology to analyze multiple data formats and understand the new opportunities it can bring.

SEO marketers of today and digital marketers of tomorrow will need to extract, structure quickly, and manipulate data to drive the most critical business outcomes.

Data has always been mission-critical to digital decision-making.

The Economist, back in 2017, declared it the world’s most valuable resource.

Fast forward to today and the future, and we can see that the exponential growth of data fuelling this revolution is staggering.

According to the IDC, the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data made since the advent of digital storage.

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Think about that for a second!

Flash drives, for example, were introduced in 2000.

This means that in the next five years, marketers will have to analyze and make sense of 2x the data created in the last 22 years!

The Data Revolution Means More Sources & Complexity For SEO

The data revolution has gone on for some time now, and it’s changed our concept of what counts as “data,” rightfully so.

In the past, we thought only numbers mattered.

But, in this new digital world where everything is converted into ones and zeros, data is broader and contains text, audio, and visual information – all bits waiting to be processed!

  • Machine-based and human-generated data are growing at a rate of 10x faster than conventional business data.
  • Machine-created data is increasing exponentially at a 50x the growth rate. This data revolution is primarily marketing-driven and consumer-oriented who are “always on.”
  • In just the last 18 months, the volume of site processing data we have been generating at BrightEdge has increased by 11x!
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As a result of these increasingly demanding trends, SEO and digital marketers need to adapt and become more like data analysts and scientists in approaching the extraction of structured data insights and business intelligence – without adding more manual work.

Fortunately, SEO is well-positioned to take advantage of this new data revolution.

  • Increasing your keyword universe – More keywords mean more data points to look at with reporting and fuelling insights. While focusing on conversion rate metrics is very important, it wouldn’t be possible without opening the scope of your audience and getting more people in the door. SEO has drifted away from writing for a primary dedicated keyword and is now way more advanced with advancements in search engines like Google’s understanding of intent of searches through RankBrain and BERT.
  • Increasing your search footprint – will also help you discover unexplored of informing your future content strategy or ideate new keyword ideas. However, sometimes you might miss the boat, like the transition of Content Management Systems slowly turning into “Experience Platforms” as they offer more functionality to meet the needs of today’s webmaster or marketer.

Read More On SEJ

Data Is The Currency Of An Accelerated SEO & Digital Age

By 2025, Worldwide data will reach 175 zettabytes.

But unfortunately, the human brain can’t process, structure, and analyze all that data.

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So technology engines have to help, and digital marketers should be the driver.

There is a massive opportunity for companies that can utilize data to create more engaging experiences.

A recent study showed that 95% of business leaders recognize this as their biggest growth lever over the next three years, which means there’s plenty at stake here!

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Robust data analysis ensures decisions are evidence-based and have more accountability.

Drawing on existing and new data sources to fully integrate business acumen and analytical skills into decision making, sourcing, managing, and analyzing large amounts of unstructured data will ensure continued use and success.

SEO began with data and has evolved.

From the introduction of real-time SEO in 2019 and Page Experience Updates in 2021, SEO’s future lies again with data and the creation of intelligent systems. Here marketers can leverage combined data sources that structures data for them.

As a result, they can achieve business objectives and stay ahead during all data and digital transformation stages.

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Technology & AI Are Helping SEO Evolve

Advancements in technology and, in particular, AI and Natural Language Processing has meant that SEO and digital marketers can become data analysts without having to become an actual data scientist.

This is key to unlocking structured insights from your company’s big data to make more precise predictions about what is coming next based on existing information.

Digital marketers can evolve, understand key trends, and learn in new areas such as:

  • Predictive modeling of future trends and forecasting based on multiple types of data.
  • Real-time identification of opportunities and intelligence.
  • Digital research at scale with both historical and real-time data.
  • Leveraging automated visualizations for various stakeholders.
  • Improved data security and compliance.
  • Market and business intelligence at a macro level.
  • Consumer behavior at the most granular level.

SEO and digital marketers can learn critical skills such as statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and strategy.

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AI, NLP, and machine learning are helping them do this without needing expertise in computer programming and software applications.

What digital marketers must do is combine their communication skills and analytics skills with stakeholders who cannot think outside of the advertising box.

Read More On SEJ

Data Analysis & Intelligence As Competitive Advantage

The application of technology will be the driving force behind the next generation of data analysis technology.

Therefore, SEO and digital marketers of today should learn how to better utilize insights from data analysis.

It’s becoming more apparent that the marketing platforms of tomorrow will require the capabilities of data analysis and science infrastructure at their core.

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The future of marketing will blend technological know-how, business sense, and an understanding of data analysis.

The next generation of SEO will touch all components of marketing, from video, email, and voice, to digital performance of content.

SEO and data science will converge into one evolved discipline that drives omnichannel acquisition and democratizes data.

Marketers who embrace this new era of SEO will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Data is reconfirming its role as the new competitive advantage, and as SEO and digital marketers, you must evolve if you want to be part of the future.

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Featured Image: ra2 studio/Shutterstock

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