Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate favorites. For some reason, the thought of committing to one thing I love best, no matter how insignificant, makes me feel immediately trapped. As if declaring my favorite color is green means that I would only be able to wear green for the rest of my life or committing to a favorite movie means that it will play in a continuous loop in my house for all eternity.
So when Chris introduced The Two Things concept in a recent team meeting and asked us to apply it to each of our core disciplines, you can imagine my dismay. But I rallied and bought into the idea that at the very least, distilling your knowledge and beliefs about any subject into two statements forces you to really focus on what’s important. So here it is: not necessarily my favorite two things about SEO, but two things I think are really important:
- It’s a discipline, not a task.
- It’s not an afterthought.
1. It’s a discipline, not a task.
We all love crossing items off a to-do list. Heck, sometimes I put things I’ve already done on my to-do list just so I can cross them off – it’s a very satisfying feeling. But you’re gonna have to get your kicks somewhere else, folks. SEO will never be an item on your to do list…or at least not one that ever gets crossed off. Even if you happen to add a unique meta title, meta description, and friendly link to each page on your site prior to going live (which rarely happens), your work isn’t complete. It’s important to constantly be reviewing your site’s content and meta data with the assistance of some helpful reports in Google Analytics to make sure you’re attracting high quality traffic through organic search. If you’re doing SEO right, you’ll always be adding to, editing, and adjusting your site’s content, including the meta data.
2. It’s not an afterthought.
We recently started doing internal reviews before the launch of a new site. We noticed that it’s pretty common for a client to be “wrapping up” their content entry but to have not even begun to optimize their sites. In one of our recent reviews, it became clear that the majority of our clients think about content entry and SEO as two completely separate endeavors. But SEO should not be an afterthought to your content entry and strategy, it should be part of it. Chris Butler recently told us that when he writes a newsletter or blog post for our own site, he writes the meta data as part of his first draft. This allows him to think about that piece of content in it’s entirety. Each new piece of content – each blog post, each newsletter, each event – is an opportunity for optimization. If you remove SEO from that creative process and put it off until another time, your content loses much of it’s value. The best time to think about SEO is as you create your content.