Happy New Year!
This time of year is always fun. Gyms are packed with people fulfilling their new resolutions and the internet is flooded with people making predictions of what the new year will hold. There's a renewed sense of optimism and rejuvenation after the holidays, which promptly lasts for +/- 2 weeks. After about 2 weeks it seems life catches up and we fall back into bad habits and lose sight of our ambitious resolutions. Whether we want to admit it or not, making a real change is something that doesn't just happen but something we have to actively work at, and often times, that work isn't fun. However, that's where we come in... A few weeks ago, my colleague Mike, wrote a post about leveraging clients irrationality to gain buy-in. Welp, now’s the perfect time to hone in and work with your clients to set your SEO resolutions for the New Year, which you can then refer back to ALL year and keep your clients honest. Nothing like a little New Year's Resolution Project management! But, hey, if this works it could make your life and work much easier.
2013 Resolutions for Clients
1) Be More Social
With the release of Google+ in June of 2011 and Search Plus Your World we have seen increased benefits to utilizing the services. Although we can't say for certain whether Google+ uses these social signals in their ranking algorithm, I can confidently say: It can't hurt. Additionally, Google has moved local pages to require a Google+ accounts so local businesses would benefit massively from building out their Google+ offering. By doing this, you'll be taking steps to minimize the gap between small local business and big authoritative brands.
Local aside, building out your social presence on Google+ will also help you craft the SERPs for your customers allowing your content and brand greater visibility. Distiller, Craig Bradford, recently wrote a post explaining how this can be done through filter bubbles on Google+.
Long-social-story-short: now's the time to take the steps to expand your brand outside of www.brand.com. To still be relevant in years to come you should take 2013 to try and get ahead and build your social base. To help you get started, I wrote a post eons (or at least what feels like eons) ago about creating an awesome Google+ page.
2) Broaden Your Horizons
When I say "horizons" I secretly mean keyword rankings. It's 2013 people. There are more (dare I say important) metrics than keyword rankings. Before you get your pitchforks to run me out the SEO industry, I think we should take the new year to urge clients to think about other ways to measure success.
With the increase in (not provided) and Google putting the screws to company's using unauthorized Google SERP keyword and ranking data, we're going to need to wean clients off of keyword rankings, especially since the SERPs are becoming increasingly more personalized (please see above).
We as consultants need to educate and show clients what success looks like. Even though some clients and C-suites have a fond attachment to keyword rankings, we should push them in the New Year to try and see the forest from the trees and think a little bigger.
3) Think Bigger
Let's take this New Year ambition and channel it towards pushing our clients out of their comfort zone. When clients come to us and think that they are going to see improvements (major improvements at that) with slight alterations or low level link building, we need to help set realistic expectations. With major algorithm updates last year, Panda and Penguin, Google is no longer tolerating low level tactics.
If you want big improvements you have to make big changes.
Again, before you attack, please think about it for a second. The days of making quick changes or stuffing your content with keywords is long gone. Sure there are some technical fixes that can pay off big but those are few and far between and many companies are seeking SEO help so the playing field is become a bit more level.
2013: Don't play not to lose, play to win.
4) Invest in Your Future
It's easy to get caught up in the day to day, but the New Year is a PERFECT time to sit down with your clients to talk about where they're going.
Where do they want to be in 3 months, 6 months, a year.
Sitting down and strategizing an ultimate goal will help shape your efforts now. Every project has to start somewhere, as Chris points out, but all efforts should culminate in an ultimate goal. This resolution in combination with the one above will ensure that your client is not just maintaing the status quo but truly pushing themselves and the brand in the future.
Additionally, by investing in your client’s future, you'll be investing in your future as well because you will become invaluable :)
As Albert Einstein said so poignantly, "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
So let’s do things differently in 2013 and see what happens!
Good luck. Think Big.