Friday, January 20, 2012

SEO: Prioritize Tasks for Productivity & ROI

How to prioritize your SEO tasks in maximizing productivity and ROI

By Antonio Ooi

One of the major tasks that tend to be neglected by most webmasters is SEO Tasks Prioritization. Its importance may not be visible to small website with less than 30 pages but it will be a great importance for medium to large website from 100 to 1,000 products and services pages or even more. Unless the company hired a great number of webmasters to work on their website, otherwise SEO productivity can be a major killer to company's ROI out of their Internet Marketing investment and monthly expenses -- It's simply taking too long for sales conversion with such a huge investment! If your company can't afford to hire more webmasters, which can only increase its monthly costs in return, then prioritize your tasks in the most optimum and productive way!

Step 1: Understanding Products Popularity vs. Pages Performance

Perhaps due to job satisfaction, some webmasters may like to take the worst performing pages as their top priority, but when the results came out, they could be the only one to jump into joy rather than their bosses or their colleagues from sales & marketing departments. At the end, they may mistakenly think that their talent and effort are not being appreciated and valued. However, to be successful in career, ones should take the maturity factor as part of their talent and effort in order to be appreciated and valued, that is, the productivity that benefits sales and profits. Without sales and profits, how can the company afford to pay for your salary since you're so talented? -- Prioritize the right way! If the worst performing product pages are not in the highest interest of the targeted market consumers, just leave it!

Step 2: Finding Products Popularity through Google Adwords Keywords Tool

Finding products popularity using Google Adwords Keywords Tool may sound easy, but not really -- if you pick the wrong keywords, you can only live in the illusion! In other words, wrong keywords may lead to inaccurate results and inaccurate results may lead to wrong prioritization. Webmasters should take the following into consideration when picking up keywords combinations for such purpose:
  1. Your products are mostly targeted on local or international?
    Product popularity is actually bound to several factors, including but not limited to cultural factor and economical factor of a specific country. Your product may sound popular internationally, but it may not be popular in your local country or vice versa. So when using Google Keywords Tool, remember to filter your keywords with or without country specific according to your business model and objectives; otherwise you may think that a particular product is popular in your country but in actual fact, it is not and you're going to prioritize it wrongly.
  2. Short and precise keywords combination.
    It is advisable to choose only one single most precise yet highest ranking keywords combination for each of your products in order to determine the popularity among all your products. This is to facilitate measurement, comparison and decision making purposes. Pick a few popular keyword combinations out of your product name. For example, my client,, offers a training course called Towards 5-Star Communication Skills in Providing Excellent Service. Out of this long product name, I should choose only communication skills instead of other beautiful marketing words like 5 Star or Excellence Service. Keep in mind that users who are interested in communication skills will never concern about those cosmetic words while making their searches on search engines. Adding those redundant words may also affect the accuracy of your product's popularity, e.g. entering 5 star communication skills may gain you only 10 monthly searches and you think that it is not popular!
  3. Keywords for general discussion and product selling have great differences!
    By using the same example given earlier, communication skills can be a broad topic over the Internet. Those who keep talking about communication skills doesn't mean they're offering training for communication skills and those who search for communication skills doesn't mean they're interested to attend a training but perhaps just want to have a quick definition or a few tips on it. Therefore, my personal advice is:
    <short & precise keywords> + <product type>, e.g. communication skills training, seo software etc. where training and software are product types. As you can see, this will definitely give your a more accurate and realistic data in determining your product popularity.
Figure 1.0 - Downloading search terms as CSV file from Google Adwords.
Figure 1.0 - Downloading search terms as CSV file from Google Adwords.

Once you've finish generated a list of most relevant and highest ranking keywords for each of your product pages, paste them on Google Keywords Tool on a fresh new tab, click Search and sort the results in decending order with the highest global or local monthly searches on top depending on your targeted business region -- if international products, sort by global monthly searches, else by local monthly searches. As such, you're now able to determine the popularity of your company's products and services. From the Google Keywords Tool, select all your search terms (without the keyword ideas) and click the Download button to download them in one single CSV file for later use in Step 3 (see Figure 1.0).

Step 3: Find out your most popular but worst performing product pages -- Your top priority!

This will be the final and also the most crucial part of your SEO Tasks Prioritization process. In this step, I will use Web CEO's rank checker for my explanation here. One of the key reasons why I choose Web CEO is because it provides not only a good scan for my SERP position ranking but also an easy-to-visualize comparison chart for me to measure the effectiveness and level of improvement out of my SEO efforts. If you would like to follow exactly what I'm going to show you in this example, you can feel free to download a free copy of Web CEO here and get your $50 worth coupon in case you're interested to buy it at a later stage. Once you're ready, let's continue!
At this point, you should have your downloaded CSV file ready. Remember: CSV file downloaded from Google Adwords Keywords Tool will be your products popularity rankings whereas the next CSV file that you're going to generate from Web CEO will be your performance rankings for each of your product pages. To generate the said CSV file from Web CEO, follow the steps below:
Figure 2.0 - Web CEO Quick Launch
Figure 2.0 - Web CEO Quick Launch
  1. Launch your Web CEO software. On the Web CEO Quick Launch screen, click Check Rankings (see Figure 2.0).
  2. Enter your website domain name as your project name, e.g. and click OK.
  3. When you're on the Site rankings tab, follow the instructions on the welcome page to open the Profile Manager dialog box.
  4. Figure 3.0 - Web CEO Profile Manager
    Figure 3.0 - Web CEO Profile Manager
    On the Profile Manager, select Google if you're selling globally, else select your country specific Google by clicking the Group by search engine button and select Group by country (see Figure 3.0).
  5. Switch to your browser and copy all your keywords from your Google Keywords Tool or from your downloaded CSV file.
  6. Switch back to Web CEO's Profile Manager and click on the Add keywords tab followed by Import from and select Clipboard. Alternatively, you can actually import them from your CSV file that you downloaded from Google Keywords Tool. Make sure all imported keywords are automatically selected by Web CEO.
  7. On the same Profile Manager, click Set scan rules and enter 10 for Search engine results pages to scan. NOTE: It is recommended that you uncheck the Stop scanning when the first result is found option as you may have more than 1 result that are related to the same keywords.
  8. Click OK and click the green Start button at the middle bottom of the screen if the scan isn't started automatically.
  9. Figure 4.0 - Web CEO Site Rankings: Summary by SE
    Figure 4.0 - Web CEO Site Rankings: Summary by SE
    Once the scan is completed, make sure the Summary by SE tab at the bottom left is the current active tab (see Figure 4.0). Notice that under your search engine column, e.g. Google, the numbering values are actually your web page positions throughout the entire Google search results. For example, 11 means you have web page listed on page 2 and 56 on page 5 as for Google, 10 results per result page. Dash (-) means it is out of top 100 position and it is bad performing.
  10. Go to the File menu and select Export. Export the CSV file to same folder as where you downloaded your popularity ranking file from Google Keywords Tool.
  11. Figure 5.0 - Products Popularity vs. Performance Report
    Figure 5.0 - Products Popularity vs. Performance Report
    Open the ranking analysis CSV file generated by Web CEO and make sure the keywords are sorted according to the ones that you downloaded from Google Keywords Tool. Copy the ranking data from your Google column and paste it on your popularity ranking file (see Figure 5.0) and save it as Products Popularity vs. Performance.csvv.

Congratulations! Now you have your Products Popularity vs. Performance Report generated and you're able to pick your top 10 most popular but worst performing pages to start with! If you want to know how to optimize those popular yet bad performing pages, you can make use of Web CEO Auditor by going to Features menu and select Auditor. Last week, I posted a blog showing how to increase Google Position Rank in 3 Days using Web CEO. You can visit that blog for more information on how to use Web CEO to optimize your product pages in an effective manner.
This SEO Prioritization Process may seem long but it is actually taking less than an hour or two to complete. Yet, this is still better than randomly optimize for hundreds of pages and end up not impressing anyone in your organization.

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