Imagine sitting at your computer looking at a spreadsheet and suddenly an 83-foot tsunami of numbers hits you like a data cannonball. You now know what it’s like to do proper SEO. With tools like Google Search Console and Analytics, I swim through data like Michael Phelps at the Olympics.
There are many misconceptions about what an SEO professional does, so I thought I’d give you a little glimpse of my daily life.
Spreadsheets and Graphs Are My Jam!
While much of the SEO changes made to a webpage are content, it’s not a “go write a blog post” kind of thing. We need to know what to write about, what keywords to use, what pages to link to and on and on and on.
It’s like those memes of the iceberg where you only see a small part of it and underneath it there’s ton more that you don’t see. I need to determine the right keywords to go for. So, I look at the site, ask the customer, run my own applications and end up with a massive spreadsheet of keywords, rankings and search volume.
It then gets whittled down into a small list of core keywords that I keep a close eye on and compare rankings from week to week and month to month.
At any time, I’ll have three or more spreadsheets up and 10 browser windows open with pie charts, bar graphs and more numbers than phone book. It’s like staring at computer code in The Matrix and seeing buildings, trees and people and not just the numbers and symbols.
Keywords Are Just One Part
Your keywords are important, but they’re not the end-all, be-all of SEO. I audit your site to check for common SEO errors and try to fix them. I’m comparing your website to competitors to see what keywords you have in common and compare ranks. This also tells me if they do SEO and how well it’s working for them.
I check to see how many people come to your site from various sources such as organic search, PPC and referrals from social media sites. I compare from month to month to see how SEO impacted traffic and conversions. The goal isn’t just more traffic, but more conversions from qualified traffic.
What pages on your site are the most popular and why? Do people love your blog and visit it often or do they visit your main page and go into your site from there? All of this and much more gets looked at before a single thing changes on your site. Every piece gives me a better picture of the puzzle that is your SEO.
Hey Look, The Entire Industry Changed Again
Changes for many professions tend to happen gradually. You see methods and products phased out as new ones are developed. In SEO, you wake up and your whole world can be upside down. SEO is at the mercy of Google and its fickle algorithm.
Google doesn’t usually tell us when the make a change, so a site you’ve been working diligently for months on to rank for certain keywords suddenly tanks because Google wanted to try something new. As you’re picking up the pieces and strategizing, Google sends out a cryptic tweet saying they did something a week earlier. Thanks, Google.
You live and you learn…and learn and learn. The content and user experience of your website may help it rank, but the real hero of SEO is the endless amounts of data we examine. When the data tsunami is barreling towards you and you dodge it like a Redbull drinking ninja, sit back and look at all the stunned faces and say “It’s all in the reflexes.”