Speed: How it can improve your working life
I thought that I’d share some observations about online marketing and speed: basically, the relationship between the two and how you can inject speed into your daily process. Speed matters. If you’re not getting things done quickly then your content isn’t getting online quickly and those blind search engine spiders aren’t going to find the great new stuff you’ve done. Remember, planning, brainstorming, blue sky thinking are all an important part of your process, but once you’ve found your challenge and decided upon how it should be resolved then, my friend, you need to put down your skinny latte and get on with it!
Enough with the Facebook status updates, this is important!
There are many different aspects of your website that need checking and monitoring and I’m not going to bore you with all the tools and apps that can alert you to changes. Change happens, and as SEOs or online marketing people you already know how important it is to react to change. It might be a PR Tweetstorm or a change in ranking for one of your key terms, either way you should already be using tools and applications to spot trouble as it happens, if not before.
Technical challenges need to be properly identified and the source of the issue highlighted fast. You need to know that you’re dealing with the underlying problem, not just its results. Try to get to the nub of the matter fast and stop whatever is occurring from continuing. Kludges, workarounds and sticky plasters are all well and good but they are seldom permanent solutions and the original issue may come back to bite you.
Creating something new
Once you have identified that change has happened you might want to do something about it. This is where Google Analytics or Twitter or a.n.other tool comes into its own, allowing you to identify what exactly has happened and build a response. This might be responding to negative publicity or rectifying a simple bit of code on a website, either way you need a process in place to get it done sharpish.
This is where the ‘process’ needs to be thought through. You have identified the problem, who do you need to implement the change and who do you need to inform that you’re going to make a change? Can this change get to the front of the queue? SEO changes are important and in bigger organisations this is sometimes lost in translation, even when you saying change ‘this’ to get more money, don’t change ‘this’ and lose money and your competitors will pick up the bit you have left behind.
Change can be difficult for some to accept but luckily change is sometimes out of our hands. There are three people in any SEO relationship: the SEO, the client and the search engine. And one of the three is deaf, dumb and blind (it’s the search engine, maybe not dumb, but they don’t give much away).
Once you have the backing of your client and they realise that change needs to happen, great things can happen. You can become like Usain Bolt, you can speed to make changes, you can update content and change code and you can make things better for your end user, you can ‘sell more widgets’.
Change for changes sake
The one thing that all great tools and applications give you is data, and data can tell stories. All life is a story and everyone understands that if explained properly, you’re making changes to result in a happy ending to the story. SEOs never make changes for changes sake, they make changes because they can see a bad ending and they want to make things better. The great thing about online marketing is that you can see results really quickly, so if you do ‘fail fast’ you can get on and correct things.
There is a lot of forecasting that happens in the SEO industry and some big long complicated algorithms that need to be applied and worked on to try and predict outcomes to changes, but the one thing that keeps me interested and keeps me coming back for more each day is no one ever gets it licked, some may get close but you’re never done.
Some Ideas for adding speed to your workflow
- Good monitoring. Make sure you have someone monitoring stuff like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools. Also consider a big ass application like Linkdex because when it all kicks off you want to have all the information in one place. There are also some automated applications that will ping you messages when you have multiple accounts to look at, like Robotto
- Find problems fast. Screaming Frog is always my go to application when I need information fast.
- Stand up meetings are great. No one wants to stand for too long so everyone gets on with what they need to say.
- Massive white boards. Sometimes explaining things to people needs something visual, get a massive white board and write ‘Do this NOW’ on it, or draw a picture of what you’re going to do. Seems to get people’s attention and helps everyone understand why.
- No coffee, no biscuits. Just wastes time, you could be making changes to the live site instead of bleating on about biscuits from your childhood.
- You need the key peoples’ phone numbers to hand, have them on your mobile, have them on Skype.
- Only copy people into your email who need to be CC’d. Remember, it’s speed, not broadcasting.
Embrace your change and enjoy speed, its exhilarating once you get going!