The Ultimate Guide to Being a More Proactive SEO
Two days are never the same in SEO. This is one aspect of the job that I find makes SEO an enjoyable industry to work in. It helps to keep me motivated and on my toes, ready to stay on top of the algorithm as a core enabler to achieving SEO results.
Being a proactive SEO is not as straightforward as it sounds. Furthermore, not having a proper system and routine in place could lead to disaster.
What sets a ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ SEO apart?
Picture this, a developer for the website you are working on has accidentally de-indexed every page on your website.
Reactive SEO: Notices a drop in traffic following the change, decides to conduct a series of checks following this drop to diagnose the cause.
Proactive SEO: Alerts the developer swiftly following the change to the site, allowing the developer to revert the changes in good time with minimal traffic losses
Super-proactive SEO: Having built a relationship with the development team, there is an agreement in place for the SEO to be alerted of major changes to the site. The SEO reviews this change on a staging site and requests that the changes do not go live.
Is being reactive bad for SEO?
Not entirely! In fact, being reactive could also help you set your strategy apart. For example, you may be reacting to the latest industry trends with fresh, optimised content. This is for a separate article topic though. Today, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks to help you become a super-proactive SEO.
Set a series of automated and manual checks
Monitoring website health and performance is key to setting the ultimate proactive SEO workflow. This workflow should be formed by several regular checks.
Many of these checks can be automated, saving you time to focus on SEO execution. That said, it’s critical to strike the right balance. Completely disregarding the manual aspect will most definitely leave you missing out on critical insights.
Worried about how much time this will take out of your schedule?
It may sound like a lot of work and effort to get going with a more proactive SEO workflow. Even more so if you are setting out these processes for the very first time. Once you become more familiar and integrated with this workflow, it will seem like no time is lost at all. If anything, you’ll more than likely be saving time in the long run by staying on top of all things technical health and performance.
Personally, I like to block off the first 30 minutes of my day to catch up on emails, set my tasks for the day and carry out some manual checks.
The key to proactive performance monitoring is to check on organic performance on a daily basis. This ensures that you have a full understanding of your performance as they change and not waiting to be surprised by the end of month report!
When monitoring organic performance, the first port of call for many SEOs is none other than Google Search Console. Checking in on Search Console’s Performance Report on a daily basis will allow you to monitor key insights for queries and pages broken down by key metrics such as clicks and impressions.
While Search Console may be our best friend, it’s important to keep an eye on organic performance data within Google Analytics too! Search Console provides sampled data, whereas more accurate data can be found in Google Analytics. This is because Google Analytics uses cookie-based tracking. Furthermore, stakeholders outside of the SEO team are more likely to be more familiar with Google Analytics as opposed to Google Search Console.
Google Analytics also allows you to set automated alerts! Setting traffic alerts in Google Analytics proves extremely useful when highlighting notable changes in performance, be it a traffic decrease or an increase.
Keywords! Keywords! Keywords! While many believe keywords are on the way out, the reality is that keyword research and optimisation remains a crucial part of the job to this day. Consider using a rank tracking tool to monitor rank changes over a holistic set of keywords.
I personally find immense value in manually searching for a small handful of important keywords. This not only allows you to become more familiar with the state of play in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), you’ll also become increasingly more familiar with your competition. Besides, there aren’t many things more satisfying in SEO than seeing your website rank no.1 directly in the search results.
Technical health monitoring
Remember towards the start of the article, I gave the scenario of a developer de-indexing every page on a website? This was actually a true scenario from my own experience! Scary, right?
You may be wondering, how can you diagnose a technical issue like this so quickly? This is where website monitoring tools, in my opinion, are worth every penny. Website monitoring tools such as ContentKing, regularly monitor your website and will notify you of any notable changes to the site. From robots.txt to sitemaps and title tags to canonicals, having a technical website monitoring tool is imperative to a proactive approach.
Website downtime can be a killer! It’s certainly not unusual either. In the past couple of years, we have even seen some of the most popular and robust CDNs such as Cloudflare experience outages. Tools such as UptimeRobot will let you know within 5 minutes of your website going offline.
Running a regular website crawl will help to keep on top of those technical errors that creep up out of nowhere. I find running a site crawl at least once per month allows me to stay in control by feeding new issues into a technical backlog. Why not consider running a scheduled crawl in Screaming Frog or alternatively, consider using a cloud-based solution such as OnCrawl.
Don’t forget about the coverage report in Google Search Console. This allows you to uncover technical issues that Google is seeing itself and monitor the effectiveness of implementation.
Quick #SEO tip:
Do you have your Google Search Console properties set up via a Gmail address that you do not monitor?
Use automatic email forwarding rules within Gmail to forward search console email alerts to your own inbox.
Never miss a Search Console message again! pic.twitter.com/0x3uPFIarV
— Jamie Grant (@keyword_king) December 2, 2021
Internal visibility on SEO will go a long way
Communication is key, ensuring the website developers, content writers and marketing teams know all about you and your SEO goals will undoubtedly make your life easier. As SEOs, having this line of communication open will allow you to feed SEO into these activities/site changes as they happen, as opposed to after they happen.
- Find the right balance between time spent on proactive and reactive SEO
- Utilise both automated and manual checks to inform your process
- Don’t right off keywords just yet, layer important keywords into performance monitoring
All tools mentioned within this article have been included because they are just awesome and not a result of any agreements/sponsorships.
Jamie Grant, 02/12/2021