Posted by Aaron Wheeler

Hello everybody! My name is Aaron Wheeler and I do customer service here at SEOmoz; if you call us or email us, there’s a 50% chance you’ll end up talking to me. Oh well! Your loss is my gain. =) Anyways, one of my new tasks in the office will be video production so you may end up seeing my gob around the blog every once in a while. I’ll be the main one posting these Whiteboard Fridays in the future as well as some of the other glorious cinema we create to vitalize your ears and eyes. It’ll be fun! If you have any feedback or ideas, I’d love to hear them; you can reach me by email or twitter at my contact page: Aaron Wheeler. Nice to meet you!

This week, our very own Danny Dover discusses some important and scalable ways to optimize your SEO resources. We all know that pickins’ can be slim when it comes to many companies’ budgets for SEO, so why not make the best of what you’ve got? Danny has some ways that you can make the most bang for your (and your boss’s) buck.

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Video Transcription

Hello, everybody.  My name is Danny Dover.  I do SEO here at SEOmoz.  Today we have something a little bit special.  We’ve bought all new equipment and new microphones.  We heard your comments in the blog posts that our sound quality was a little bit "meh."  So, we’re trying to make it a lot less "meh."  So, please give us your continued feedback in the comments below.

For today’s Whiteboard Friday, we’re going to be talking about optimizing your SEO resources.  So, according to my research, this is the most meta SEO Whiteboard Friday we’ve ever done.  We have optimizing and then, of course, the O in SEO stands for optimization.  So, if there is some kind of time warp or something that goes on, just expect it.  It is kind of the things, part of the downside of this job is that sometimes you disrupt the universe.  Oh, well.

So, I’ve broken this down into three categories that I recommend.

1. Define Goals

The first one is define goals.  Just like self-help books, goals are very important, right?  That analogy didn’t work per se.  Maybe I need to read more self-help books.  That would be a good idea.  Define goals, right.  I have broken that down into three subcategories.

Find your highest ROI customer.  This is a little bit counterintuitive but it makes a lot of sense.  I recommend doing this first.  If you have an established website and you’re trying to optimize your SEO resources, you’re already going to have some data on who your customers are.  Let’s say you are a newspaper website.  I’m sorry, first of all.  Hard times for you, but good luck.  So, if you’re a newspaper website, you’ve got to figure out if it is your politics readers who are going to make you more money or if it is going to be your sports reader that are going to make money.  Then based on this information, you get this from your analytics and some Excel stuff, figure out what you can do to target those customers specifically.  So, really maximize the money you are already getting.  So you have these resources in place.  Make sure that you are getting the most out of them.  That is kind of the key to optimization.

Identify your budget.  They say the creativity is limited by, or creativity is dictated by limitation.  The Google homepage is always the example I hear about this.  Although, if Google is watching, you’re kind of getting overboard lately.  The one where the balls went flying everywhere annoyed the heck out of me.  Please don’t do that again.  Identify what your budget is.  This is going to dictate everything that you are able to do.  Are you going to be able to hire on a whole team of content writers?  Are you going to be able to get SEO consultants onboard with you?  How are you going to do all of your web development stuff?  It’s all dictated by budget.  So, know what that is going forward.  Get it on paper.  Make sure you know what this is.  Make as elaborate a budget as you can upfront so that you know what you are going to be able to do going forward.

Develop a Content Strategy. this is the one where I see mistakes made the most times, myself included.  I mess this up all the time.  Develop your content strategy.  The key to SEO — and you have heard lots of talking heads like myself talk about this in SEO spaces  — is that content is the key for SEO.  That’s because when people go to search engines, be it Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whatever it may be, they’re going there to find content, right?  That’s the purpose.  They want some kind of question answered.  The key to SEO is content, building that thing that Google is going to want to index and provide in their search results.  You need to figure out how it is going to happen.  Who is going to be writing these contents?  If it is a blog post, is it going to be Jamie from marketing, is he going to be the one who is going to write it every week?  Is it going to be every week?  Is it going to be every day?  Do you have a signed contract from Jamie saying he’s going to do this?  What happens if he is out on vacation or something?  How are you going to get the content produced every week?  Who’s going to write it?  Who’s going to edit it?  How is it going to get published?  You need to figure out these details early, as quickly as you can.  Get them ironed out on paper.

2. Calculate Impact vs. Effort

Calculate impact versus effort.  This one is kind of core to optimization.  Figure out what are your lowest hanging fruits, this is the first one.  I found the best way to do this is using, this is super self-promotional here, using OpenSiteExporer.org, which is a SEOmoz product.  It’s free.  You don’t even have to sign up to use the basic version.  But with OSE, with Open Site Explorer, you go in there, put in your URL or your competitor’s URL if you are really clever.  Click on the tab that says top pages, and it will show you all of the top pages by links, so which page has the most links to it.  It will show you the status codes.  So, if it is like a 404 error, it means you have links going to that page, but you are not getting any SEO value from it.  The same thing with a 302 redirect.  If it is not a 301 redirect, it is not going to help you from an SEO perspective if it is a 302.  These are links that you already have.  You’ve already done the effort to make these work, but you aren’t getting any benefit from them.  They’re the low hanging fruit.  Again, that is OpenSiteExploreer.org.

Meet with stakeholders.  I would say it is about three months ago now, we did this at SEOmoz.  We brought in all the heads of the departments here and then a couple other important influencers for the company.  We put them all in one room.  We were like, "Okay, what are everyone’s top priorities?"  What do they want to see happen in the year to come at SEOmoz?  We wrote our suggestions on sticky notes, put them up on the board.  It was not surprising that they varied by department.  I am in the marketing department here and mine happened to be marketing goals, whereas the developers wanted some more back end things to happen.  The bus dev people wanted more, like, "We should make more money. That’d be a great idea, right?" That’s why they’re the bus dev people.  Then we had operations who were doing other things like that as well.  We put all of these on a whiteboard, discussed them all, and then voted on them as a team.  Based on this, based on how much effort it is going to take from the marketing department, how much benefit are we going to get globally for the entire company as a whole?  We found that this exercise provided a lot of value for us.  It is actually the roadmap that we are using today.

3. Document Repeatable Processes

Document repeatable processes.  This is kind of self-explanatory.  In SEO, there are lots of tedious projects you have to do.  Let’s say it is link building. You’re going to go do the keyword research, figure out what anchor text you want to target, then you are going to go through and find out what the relative link sources are for that.  You’re going to contact the right people and ask them if you have a template probably.  Or you’re going to do some kind of, build some content so it can attract the links naturally.  That’s the way I like to do it, just as a side note.

With these, whatever your process is, whatever you find works for you and your organization, document the processes.  Write down every single step.  I do this for two reasons.  The first one is so that I know I am not missing a step when I go through this.  A lot of times when I have done a process for the umpteenth million time, I skip a step just because I am human, I get bored of it, and I stop paying attention.  But if I have a checklist in front of me, I can go through and make sure I don’t do it.  The other reason is for scalability.  If you can take this process and hand it off to more people to do the same process as you while you are doing it, then it is going to scale, right?  You’re going to get more throughputs on this process.  I have found this to be extremely successful here and especially when I was doing SEO work with clients in the past.  If I push this off to other people who are working for the company who are doing similar things, we can maximize the amount of impact we get with minimal effort from the people involved.  So, it’s fantastic.

That’s all the time I’ve got today.  I look forward to hearing all your comments below.  Thank you.  I’ll see you next week.  Bye.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Follow Danny on Twitter! Even more to your benefit, follow SEOmoz! Alternatively, you can always follow me, Aaron.

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