There are hundreds of actions you can take in a single SEO campaign, but not every action is created equally. That’s why in Episode #2 of The SEO Life podcast, I’ll be explaining the difference between high-impact and low-impact SEO actions.
Understanding the difference will not only save you precious time, but will also dramatically improve your SEO results.
Let’s jump in.
6 High-Impact SEO Actions to Focus on
I’ll start with the high-impact actions that every SEO should be focusing on or giving to a team member.
1. Creating Content Assets
The first and most important high-impact SEO action is creating SEO content assets. Content is the lead domino for any effective long-term SEO campaign. Not only can creating content around specific keyword phrases drive traffic to your website, but your content can also be your primary asset for acquiring backlinks as well.
It’s extremely challenging to acquire backlinks without content assets. But they will make your life a hell of lot easier when you have them.
I truly believe most of the focus on an SEO campaign should be on creating incredible content assets.
2. Performing Content Audits
The second high-impact action in my experience is performing content audits. Most websites don’t create content with SEO in mind and that’s why performing a content audit is critical in most cases.
An effective audit will help you identify pages that are outdated, thin, duplicate, or just outright bad. You can then decide to delete the pages, redirect them, or improve them and that decision is based on the existing data.
For example, if a page sucks, but it has 20 linking root domains, it may be worth the effort to improve it. However, if it isn’t worth improving or it’s no longer relevant, then you can redirect it to a relevant page on your website. This will help you retain the backlink equity.
3. Optimizing Site Architecture
The third high-impact action you can take is optimizing your website’s architecture. In short, an effective website architecture will help Google crawl your website more efficiently, will help users flow through your website effortlessly, and will flow backlink equity through your website. This alone will make your website more authoritative without needing a ton of backlinks.
You should be trying to squeeze as much authority of every backlink you get, so your website becomes an authoritative powerhouse. Acquiring backlinks is expensive and time-consuming, so it’s a wise idea to try to get the most out of them as you can. That’s why developing an effective site architecture is a good use of your time and effort.
4. Optimizing Technical/UX Performance
The fourth high-impact SEO action is to optimize your site’s technical and User Experience (UX) performance. Now this one is tricky because there are high-impact and low-impact actions within it.
I’ll focus on the high-impact actions because I’ll be hitting the low-impact ones in a second.
The high-impact technical issues that you must tackle are site loading speed, mobile friendliness, and crawling/indexing. Medium impact actions include fixing redirect issues, fixing broken links, and handling 404s (that have link equity).
The fifth high-impact SEO action is trying to acquire backlinks. Backlinks are the necessary fuel for almost every successful SEO campaign. Out of the thousands of keywords I’ve tackled over the last 5 years, I’ve only had a couple that ranked without backlinks. You need quality backlink in almost every scenario (whether you like it or not).
As I mentioned before, using a content-centric approach is the most scalable link acquisition strategy. But some non-content dependent link building tactics include landing guest posting, getting media mentions about your company, participating in expert roundups, getting listed in a relevant blogroll, or contributing to HARO requests.
6. Building Systems
The sixth and final high-impact SEO action is to build systems. I focused on this topic in Episode #1 of the SEO Life podcast, so make sure listen to that one to learn more. But to recap, there are many micro actions within the larger actions I mentioned above that can be documented, systemized, and outsourced so that you can spend your time on high-level strategy and high-impact actions.
4 Low-Impact SEO Actions to Avoid
Now it’s time for me to cover the low-impact SEO actions that you should either outsource, avoid, or don’t even think about.
1. Rewriting META Descriptions, Messing with ALT Tags, Etc
The first low-impact action is spending your time rewriting meta descriptions, messing with ALT tags, or fixing broken links. ANYONE can do these actions and that should be your basis for what you should be spending your time on. If ANYONE can do what you’re doing with little effort, thought, or guidance, then it’s a low-impact action.
As I mentioned in Episode #1, you need to be careful not to spend your time on Minimum Wage Activities. This isn’t a jab at people who work for minimum wage because I’ve worked for minimum wage several times in my life. But I also learned that if you want to maximize your time, grow your business, and make more money, you need to be extremely careful with what you spend your time on.
Think about how you can be more effective, not more efficient, as Peter Drucker has said.
Don’t forget that you cannot get your time back. That’s why it’s critical that you think about every assignment you get or attempt to give yourself. Can you systemize the assignment and hand it out to someone else? Always ask yourself similar questions before you get into the weeds of a project.
2. Caring About Keyword Density
The second low-impact action is spending your time manipulating or caring about keyword density. Do you know how much time I spend on keyword density for every new keyword-targeted content asset I create…?
…0 seconds because it’s a huge waste of time. Place your target keyword in the title tag, the URL, the first sentence, and then focus on writing naturally.
You’ll end up mentioning the keyword phrase or variations without even thinking about it. In fact, I create my content FIRST and then add the target keyword in the places I mentioned above.
Focus on creating incredible content, not trying to trick Google’s algorithm into thinking your content is worthy. Just make it worthy and your Google keyword rankings will stick.
The third low-impact action is spending your time getting non-editorial backlinks such as profile links, forum signature links, or any submission-based links. I’ll admit there are some diamonds in the rough on the niche and local level, but 99% of these links are a waste of time and will have little or no positive impact on your results. Plus, even if you want to get these links, it’s a process that can be easily systematized and outsourced.
4. Caring Too Much About Third Party Metrics
The last low-impact action that I can think of is caring too much about third party metrics.
Wow, I really hate this one a lot.
It makes me cringe every time someone asks me “how can I increase my DA?” or they frantically ask “My Trust Flow dropped, what do I do!?!” These are THIRD PARTY METRICS.
The only KPIs that should care about when it comes to SEO performance is your organic search traffic.
Listen to me carefully: THIRD PARTY METRICS DON’T MATTER.
You can have a successful SEO campaign without caring about DA, DR, or Trust Flow even for a second. Ahrefs, Majestic, Open Site Explorer, and SEMRush are fundamental tools for an SEO campaign, but their in-house metrics should NOT be guiding your SEO decisions or fueling any insecurities you might have about your campaign.
Focus on organic search traffic inside Google Analytics. If that goes up, you’re doing well. If it goes down, then you need to diagnose it. Simple as that.
I hope you enjoyed Episode #2 of The SEO Life Podcast! If got value from it, please subscribe and share because I want to help as many people as possible. We’ll talk soon! Thanks for listening.