Disclaimer….I wrote this post in the quiet week before Christmas and guess what? Things got busy and I never got to post it. However, there are still some good tips in there that I wanted to share with you. Just ignore the Christmas references or better, find those playlists and turn it up!
I have to admit, I’m an elf when it comes to Christmas. I bake cookies, decorate the house, listen to cheesy carols and develop an unhealthy attraction to Santa beards! This year, I’m giving myself a little marketing gift: quiet time! Although I’ll be working most of Christmas, I’m hoping no-one else will and that this will give me the chance to clean up on some activity that I’ve been avoiding for a while!
Here are the three things I really want to clean up:
1. SEO Review
When was the last time, you checked Google Search Console to see whether you had any search appearance issues? Have you gone through your site in the last few months to refresh old content, check that each page is fully optimised? Are you sure no photo without alt text has snuck in? Me neither! So here’s what I’m going to do:
Firstly, head over to Google Search Console and check whether any issues are popping up. I’ll fix these first.
Secondly, I’m going to use the 2015 Google Ranking Factors to create my own checklist that I want each and every page on the site to tick. I use Backlino.com as it’s just a simple list. Don’t get overwhelmed by the 205 factors listed. Not all will apply to you and even if you start doing a handful of these right in 2016, you’ll see the impact.
Thirdly, I’ll be reviewing my past keyword research. Are we ranking? Are we converting on these terms?
Fourth, armed with my list and keywords, I will head to every page on the site including the blog posts and ensure that I’m hitting all the main ranking factors.
As an elf, I tend to put on some classical Christmas tunes to help me concentrate.
2. Blog Topics
When we moved our website onto HubSpot COS our blog categories and topics got multiplied. And honestly, I haven’t had the patience to fix it. On the last count we had about 20 topics. But hold on, we sell very specific software, how can that happen? We just went too granular and, like many others, ended up with categories that have one post in them. Useless.
I’ve now decided on 5 topics that cover news, our products, industry knowledge and tutorials. Also, search engines appreciate clean categories as it helps them see what you are all about.
To make going through and assigning each blogpost less soul destroying, I’m guessing a soulful Christmas will be my playlist here and perhaps even a cookie or two.
While a lot of planning for 2016 has already taken place, I haven’t yet updated my templates to accommodate 2016. I’ll be setting up metrics sheets, graphs, the 2016 marketing plan, blogging calendar and keyword lists (handy to do this after your SEO cleanup).
Metrics and Graphs: This is my way of reporting on our inbound activity. It includes visits, sources, new contacts, new sales qualified leads and customers. For us, product downloads are vital, so I record these as well. I set up growth numbers (month on month / quarter on quarter) and corresponding graphs. Here I ensure that I provide useful graphs that either show growth or provide an accurate comparison between certain metrics (for example contacts and sales qualified leads).
2016 Marketing Plan: While the plan may already be formed, it hasn’t been put into the format yet. It’s a simple spreadsheet I use. See here for more.
Blogging Calendar: I have a few ideas for blog campaigns and themes. With the plan in hand, I want to sit down and look at when these fit and how topics can best be grouped.
Keyword List: Just a simple sheet again that shows our most important keywords and where we currently rank. I fall back on this sheet throughout the year to see how I need to focus our content.
As organising makes me pretty happy, I’ll be joined by a bit of Wham! and Mariah for this one. Good old Christmas crackers!
I’m looking forward to starting 2016 with a clean slate and strong plan. What are the things you are sorting out before the new year starts?