[Ed.: SEP Inc. acknowledges addictions can be ruinous on many levels. While the below post is in jest to make a point, SEP Inc. acknowledges addiction is a serious matter. If you or someone you know suffers from addiction please seek help and support.]
You just cant help yourself, can you? Like many marketing managers worldwide you are addicted to rankings. It was harmless in the beginning, you looked over your monthly SEO reports and watched for positive movement. Before you knew it you were checking weekly, then daily. Now you don't even wait until you get to work in the morning. You already know where you rank before your bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch turns soggy.
Like most ranking addicts you are probably stuck in the denial phase. You look in the mirror and tell yourself monitoring rankings has never hurt anyone. You could not be any further from the truth. A rankings addiction is a serious problem and you could be putting your website at risk!
A rankings addiction is a gateway to more serious crimes. Once addicts are too far in they often forget about users and clients. They turn 100% of their focus to Google (or even Bing in some more severe cases). Some even utilize black hat SEO techniques. Sure the high of a number one ranking is unparalleled but nothing damages an online business more than a run in with Penguin 2.0.
Quitting rank watching cold turkey is tough. That's why I have come up with a list of 7 tasks you should be working on to occupy your time.
1. Conversion Optimization
All ranking addictions start for the same reason. We draw a simple correlation between traffic, leads and sales. More traffic = more leads. More leads = more sales. How do we increase traffic. We rank higher.
A simpler solution is to ensure your site is optimized for conversions. Doubling your conversion rate will have the same net effect as doubling your traffic. Before you work on increasing traffic make sure that you are maximizing the value of the traffic you are getting.
2. Organic Click Through Rate
As a marketing manager you take pride in knowing your PPC CTR. Have you ever used Google Webmaster Tools to identify your organic CTR?
Writing better descriptions for your pages will not impact rankings but it can have a major impact on traffic.
3. Quality Content
Stop focusing on ranking for a few head terms and start paying attention to the volume of keywords that you rank for.
There are often long tail searches that are further along the decision funnel sitting there ready to be taken. By identifying these searches and developing quality content you will have an incredibly positive effect on your business.
Blogging frequently is strongly advised (plus this may even eventually satisfy some of that lingering desire to rank).
4. Utilize PPC For Faster Results
If you need more traffic and you need it fast PPC can provide the boost. Before you even consider taking this step it is important that you have satisfied items one and three. When you start to pay for traffic you need to make sure that you are able to convert visitors to leads and answer any basic questions they may have with quality content. If you already have a PPC campaign running make sure that you are not missing out on opportunities. Ensure that you are identifying negatives in an effort to maximize results with your budget. Remember, paying for traffic is better than finding yourself in a penalty situation.
5. Inbound Marketing Strategies
Inbound marketing is incredibly valuable, it is also very time consuming. For that reason many companies who should be using inbound strategies are not. Fortunately, you have just freed up a ton of time by committing to move your focus away from rankings. Now that you have a site that is driving more traffic and converting at a higher rate it is important that you start to filter those leads and nurture them through the sales cycle. This new found commitment will pay off more than you can image in the long term.
6. Email Marketing
Email marketing still offers one of the greatest ROIs available to any marketing manager. It is also a key part of any inbound marketing strategy. You may be discouraged by historically low open rates and a lack of results but those are a thing of the past. You now have the time to craft well thought out emails that speak directly to the needs of your leads and their stage in the buying cycle.
7. Get Social
Social Media Marketing is a key element for many businesses. You can build a following, generate new business and service your existing client base for a low capital cost. Remember social networks are not all about me, myself and I. It is about being a part of the community, being helpful and insightful. Delight people and keep them coming back for more.
When you are able to say that you have a fully optimized website with excellent content, your organic CTR is through the roof, your PPC campaigns are incredibly effective, your inbound marketing strategies are in place supported by email marketing and you gained an incredible social influence then and only then should you be talking about rankings. Until such time, you have a lot of work to do.
Close that incognito window and stop wasting your time searching head terms. Turn your focus to becoming a site that deserves to rank number one instead of trying to be the site that does rank number one. You will ultimately reap the rewards for your efforts plus you wont have to worry about that pesky penguin paying you a visit.