Want To Succeed With SEO? Make Your Work Visible!

There have only been two times on record that I have been blown away about a productivity concept: 

  • The first was when I read Essentialism. Essentialism has become the Bible to me – it was a game-changer for my life and business. I consider myself an Essentialist – on the path to continuously taking stock of what’s on my plate and making conscious decisions to streamline. Living by the notion that sacrifice is essential; and that we have to give up the “good” to get to the “great.” That if the answer is not a hell yes it’s a clear no. It’s an amazingly profound philosophy to live by. Join me in drinking the Kool-aid will you??
  • The second time I was blown away was when I learned about the concept of The Whirlwind. If you’ve taken my 5-day SEO Kickstart Course, or you’ve been following me for awhile, you are probably familiar with me raving about this. The Whirlwind is one of the biggest reasons I believe so many of my SEO training students fail to continue SEO momentum, despite their most earnest intentions. It’s something I’m always trying my best to help them overcome so their new SEO skills will stick.

And this week – I stumbled upon a productivity concept that yet again has blown my mind. 

To Succeed With SEO, You Must Make Your Work Visible

One of the reasons SEO is such a tough discipline, is because the work that goes into it is so rarely visible. Many people aren’t entirely sure how to make SEO come together, and what that should even look like let alone how to “show” it to stakeholders without making their eyes glaze over. 

What I find is that SEO strategies and activities are often done on a whim, or quickly squeezed into a busy day, and are rarely recorded. 

So earlier this week when I was doing some random Google Image searches on brand visibility templates, I happened upon an Amazon link to a book, Make Your Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis. I initially dismissed this book as I saw it was primarily written for software and IT teams. Although words like “Kanban” and “Lean Methodology” made me ready to run for the hills, I was glad I kept exploring as the philosophies are so universally applicable.

3 Reasons SEO Work Stays Invisible and Stalled 

Caveat – although I haven’t yet read this book, I spent time going through reviews, presentations by the author, and reader summaries to know without a doubt that the principles of the book apply to SEO project management and gaining more momentum. 

At the end of the day – if you or they can’t see it – how can you guide your team or influence stakeholders? We must take on the essential, additional responsibility of making our SEO work visible. Here are 3 of my favorite points from the book:

  1. WIP Is the Biggest Time Thief. Too much Work in Progress, or WIP, is the biggest culprit when it comes to efficiency and results. “When we try to do too many things at one time, we get none of them done, and none of them well.” Partially completed SEO projects. As Degrandis aptly states about human nature, “We like something new to work on – so the focus shifts to the new from the work which is yet to be completed.”
  1. Don’t Neglect Maintenance. I loved this point about blocking time to tackle prevention and maintenance. With SEO, it’s not always about new, new, new It’s about keeping your eye on the ball and knowing how to maintain and continue enhancing the rankings and visibility of keywords that mean the most. Also, to maintain factors that matter to continued performance, like technical cleanup such as enhancing page load, cleaning up 404 errors, and checking regularly for crawl errors. In fact, “completed maintenance reduces unplanned work.” 
  1. (Unwelcome) Surprise! Introducing Unknown dependencies.  I thought this point was great – Unknown Dependencies means something you weren’t aware of that needs to happen before you can finish. SEO, for those of you who aren’t aware, is officially a team sport. The concept of “The SEO Person” in an organization is laughable, because there are too many disciplines that must come together to equate to a first-class SEO program that gets results. The second you sit down to “do” an SEO task, an unknown dependency, most likely meaning you need to wait on someone else, is likely to arise. Unskilled coordination of SEO efforts from start to finish in a timely manner is one of the biggest reasons I harp so much about the need for better SEO project management skills. 

The central point of the book, as the title implies, is we can manage and prioritize our work better if we know what it all is. Read this post for tips about ongoing SEO work that moves the needle or this one about SEO maintenance, or check out my SEO Action Plan Template

I’ll throw this last bit of good measure in there, as I suspect it’s something we all could benefit from hearing: “Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil. It is about priorities and fiercely protecting your time” – Margarita Tartakovsky

Image sources: https://www.slideshare.net/ddegrandis/make-work-visible-unmask-capacity-killing-wip 

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.
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