Breakdown of the Working Hours of an SEO professional

by Saba Mushtaq October 3rd, 2012 

computer-cockpit

Search Engine Optimization is a dynamic field, one of those professions where you get no time to put your feet up and relax. You've got to be on top of your game, like a General on the battlefield. At one frontier you've got hundreds and thousands of sites and blogs targeting the same set of keywords you are going for. Another front is opened by the big G, who continues to come down hard on all the tactics employed by SEO guys, and then you have got the ever increasing importance of social media, not to forget the other SEO professionals (or agencies) who will be vying for the same job.

You cannot turn your back on any of these fronts, all of them should be tackled at the same time, or you will get run over by one of these adversaries sooner than later. At the same time, you have got a life and you cannot allow yourself to get bogged down by the challenge, and spoil your work life balance. You need to make the most of your working hours, so that you don't have to worry about your work when you are home with your family or friends. Therefore, it is important to breakdown your working hours to confront all of these challenges.

Following is, what I believe to be the best breakdown of working hours. Of course not all of you will agree, and this is exactly what I want; please share your disapprovals and preferred breakdown via comments.

Reading (9:00 – 10:00)

reading-ipad-news

This is the first thing I do when I sit down to work, going through half a dozen SEO and Internet Marketing blogs and forums that I have bookmarked. Remember that being an SEO professional, it is your duty to stay abreast of all the new developments and happenings in the SEO world. That's primarily the reason your employer or client is paying you. In other words, you are not just there to clean the debris after the storm has passed, your job is to anticipate the changes even before Google rolls out an update, you should be aware of a link building tactic even before it becomes widespread and every Tom, Dick and Harry starts using (or abusing) it. In short, you need to be on the ball and one step ahead of your competitors all the time.

And it is possible only if you are spending enough time on studying. SEO is a funny subject, you can lay down the basics to someone in just one sitting, but when someone is looking to master the subject, there's enough reading and learning to last a lifetime.

Link Prospects (10:00 – 11:30)

link-prospecting

From the early days of keyword stuffing to the recent emphasis on social media, things have been changing fairly rapidly, but one thing that hasn't changed is the importance of the back links. Back links are truly the meat and potatoes of an SEO mix. However, it's certainly not about numbers anymore, which means you cannot leave the link building task to some "copy pasting maestros" who will be building links via directory submission, or article syndication. You need relevant and high quality links and this link building will require you to work on each and every link, and the first step will be to single out the websites that you should be targeting.

Remember that a quality link is not easy to attain. You will have to invest some time, money, and efforts to get these links, so it is important that you are choosing the link prospects carefully to make sure that your efforts are not going to waste. You need to browse the web with the eyes of an eagle to spot an opportunity. You can start from competitor's analysis or simply surf around the web while focusing on relevant sites.

Link Building (11:30 – 1:00)

link-builder

As earlier suggest, a quality link will take a lot more than a simple comment or a copy pasting job. However, the difficulty level will differ from one site to another. Generally, the higher the difficulty level, the juicier a back link is going to be, but of course the difficulty level should be in accordance to the metrics like DA, PR, and the likes. You can make use of the services of some content writers to write guest posts, graphic designers to create infographics, or programmers to create a widget that you will use as the bait for getting a link, however, it is your duty to do the homework and come up with the topics to write on, the directions they need to take, the information to include in the infographics, guidelines, wireframes, or whatever is needed for the job.

And obviously, your link building efforts shouldn't be confined to writing guest posts, or creating link baits. There are at least a hundred different ways of building links and an ideal link building strategy should undertake as many most, if not all of these methods (if you can't think beyond half a dozen methods despite trying, then you have to spend more time on studying).

Break (1:00 – 2:00)

real-break

Whatever you do, don't spend this time on your seats and in front of your PC, for the sake of your mental and physical wellbeing.

Train The Juniors (2:00 – 3:00)

training-interns

Unless you are working as a freelance SEO consultant (making recommendations instead of carrying out the tasks) you will need some helping hands. You can never grow as a freelancer or as an SEO agency if you are not ready to entrust the responsibilities to some juniors, so that you can have the time to do the more important work, for example finding and negotiating with the new customers.

SEO has a lot of dirty work involved, and some of it doesn't require high levels of expertise. Also you need to mentor your assistants into experts instead of turning them into subordinates who needs to be spoon-fed. So that you can rely on them when you are going through a dull phase or you don't have the energy or time to go through heaps and heaps of data to decipher a tweak in the algorithm. Having a right arm is always handy in a job like SEO, where you have got a lot of work on hands, and you are always running a risk of getting the work burnout.

Social Networks (3:00 – 4:00)

watercooler

A big majority of webmasters or SEO guys aren't really fond of the social networks; however you cannot simply ignore the platforms like Facebook that claims to have a user base reaching a staggering 1 billion mark, or YouTube that boosts a user base consisting of more than 800 million users. Then there's always a new one coming up on the scene like Pinterest. And these are just the mainstream ones, there are a number of social networks focusing on a particular niche e.g. traveling, fitness, small businesses, etc.

The advantages of social media platform will vary from one business to another. Similarly, different businesses need to undertake a different approach to make the most of these platforms. There's no single approach that suits all and sundry. So, you will have to lurk around these networks, having a closer look at the users, and them coming up with the ideas to use the platform for your advantage without looking like a spammer.

Webmaster Tools & Analytics (4:00 – 5:00)

analytics

There's a lot you can understand and improve about your website, simply by looking at the statistics like unique visitors, the source of traffic, bounce rate, type of visitors, social analytics, conversion rate, and the likes. Doesn't matter which tool you are using, there's a world of data and statistics that can help you in making a lot more informed decisions. Any kind of Internet Marketing strategy not backed by the relevant facts or information obtained from tools like Google Analytics is nothing but shooting in the dark. In addition to that, you need to visit the Google Webmaster Tools from time to time, especially focusing on the Top Search Queries and Errors section.

If you liked this post, you might also like What an SEO weekend looks like

Saba Mushtaq

Saba Mushtaq has been a student of Internet Marketing even before Google came into being. She actually tried getting one of her website in Dmoz even before it became the most sought-after backlink for SEO professionals.

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5 Responses to “Breakdown of the Working Hours of an SEO professional”

  1. Jay says:

    Great to see what does a pro seo!
    Well it looks very much like a blogger's life :-)

  2. Jeff Loquist says:

    I really like this outline for a day. Too many people just want to dive in without thinking about where they want to end up.

    That said, I think analytics is an area that is too much overlooked and not given enough effort, and an hour a day just won't cut it for any decently-sized site.

    Also, this may have been lost within the "Train the Juniors" section, but I didn't really hear a mention of on-site optimization. Link building could be very fruitless without it.

  3. Mike Dawson says:

    While this seems to be broadly true, one of the things about working as a freelancer is that have the power to change things around when it comes to your schedule. I like working through the night, I feel that doing so increases my productivity ten-fold and I'm able to get 4-5 uninterrupted hours to work on projects this way. The tasks, more or less, remain pretty much the same as the ones mentioned here.

  4. Bram says:

    Surprised that you have broken down your day so neatly. Lately I've been thinking about a similar system though. It's getting increasingly confusing to remember if I managed all the social networks that day or the right links were built to the right site.

  5. Sergio says:

    Impressive article. I am working as a SEO just for my websites, together with all the other duties, but now I can imagine how hard is it to be a real SEO.

    I am trying to do my best, but am surely missing a lot of stuff going on in the industry.