Now is the time to position your site for a successful start to 2020

My Post (19).pngIf your strategy has a heavy focus on link acquisition, the end of the year is a good time to shift some of your efforts to other areas.

It is the holiday season again, and you know what that means… the year is almost over and it’s time to start preparing our SEO strategies for next year!

Along with eggnog frappuccinos, cooler weather, and people putting Christmas lights up (way too early), the end of the year signifies a time for reflection – and this rings true for SEO as well.

As your current SEO strategy winds down, now is the time to position your site for a successful Q1. Specifically, if your strategy has a heavy focus on link acquisition and manual outreach, the end of the year is the perfect time to shift some of your efforts to other areas – response rates to outreach are traditionally lower in November and December as people are away from their emails on holiday vacations.

I want to share some of the ways you can use this “downtime” to invest in strategies that will lay the groundwork for a successful start to next year.

Prioritizing the future

First off, I am in no way saying you should abandon your current link building strategy – backlinks are just as valuable in December as they are in March.

However, you should know website owners (the people who would link to you) are typically less responsive during the holidays and your time is better spent on activities that will prepare your site for links in the future.

Rather than making a desperate push to squeeze the last bit of ROI out of this year, I suggest investing in long-term initiatives that will pay dividends down the road. These initiatives include:

  • Competitive analysis and review
  • Content planning and creation
  • And auditing technical and onpage SEO issues.

Optimize your end-of-year SEO efforts by prioritizing activities that will impact the long-term future of your website.

Competitive analysis and review

As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time to check in on competitors and review what they’ve been up to in terms of search.

A good place to start is with your competitors’ content, analyzing which pages are helping them earn organic visitors. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush make it easy to compile a list of the top pages on competitor sites. Review these pages to determine if it would be viable or necessary to create similar pages on your own site. During your review, consider:

  • Is this topic relevant to my audience?
  • Do I already have an existing page that covers this topic?
  • What type of traffic would come from ranking for this term (top, middle, bottom)?
  • Do I have the resources and time to invest in creating a page that will compete?

It’s important to ask these questions rather than simply copying your competitors – not all top competitor pages will make sense for your site, audience and goals.

You can also use these tools to track keyword movement for your competitors over the past year. Comparing this data with your own site’s performance can help you identify areas where the competition might be overtaking you.

SEO isn’t just about earning new keyword rankings and sources of organic traffic. Search results are always changing, and if you don’t defend your rankings you will lose them. Keeping an eye on competitor keyword growth will help you spot potential threats before they become losses. If you see competitors making gains in areas where you’re slipping, consider:

  • Updating your existing page with fresh content and more depth
  • Optimizing onpage factors
  • Reviewing internal linking opportunities
  • Manual promotion for external backlinks

Whether you uncover new opportunities or identify potential problems, reviewing competitor strategies will provide valuable insight, and the end of the year is an ideal time to conduct this analysis. – Read more