Be honest, how many times have you said to yourself “Oh, let me just check this one thing in Google Analytics” or “I’ve got a little time, let’s see what’s going on with Facebook” and an hour later you look at the clock and realize that you’ve got nothing to really show for your time. No matter how much we love it or rely on it for our livelihood, the Internet might be the biggest time waster to ever exist. But when you business IS the Internet (i.e. SEO and social media) how do you keep yourself from getting sucked down the black hole of distractions?
Here are 3 tips for better SEO and social media time management:
Commit to one link a day but don’t waste too much time.
Link building is one of the most time-consuming processes when it comes to SEO, especially if you’ve been at it for a year or two and the link building opportunities aren’t quite as forthcoming as they used to be. It’s so easy to get lost in the hundreds of competitors links you’ve downloaded, looking for that diamond-in-the rough opportunity, that you could spend all day link building and only come up with a handful of quality links. Unless you’ve got the in-house talent where you can assign one person to do nothing but link building all day, chances are you can’t devote 8 hours a day to finding one link. My advice to site owners that get overwhelmed by their link building strategy is to aim for at least one link a day (that way it doesn’t get pushed to the back burner), but set a time limit. Give yourself an hour or two first thing in the morning to hunt for links. If you find one (or five) that’s great and go for it! But if you don’t find anything worthwhile once your time is up then move onto to something else.
Block out time to write.
In my opinion, content is the thing that is going to push your SEO to the next level. But so many site owners struggle with finding the time to write (not to mention coming up with topics) that their content creation efforts often get stuck in the pipeline; a lot of great ideas but nothing actually gets produced. I find the only way I can make sure my own content marketing campaign happens is I have to block out at least one hour every day for writing—no meetings, no phone calls, no checking emails or social updates—unless the sky falls leave me alone! I may not always walk away at the end of my writing time with a completely finished product but at least I have something to keep the process moving. I also like to use any extra time at the end of my day for writing as well so I can get a little ahead. Even 30-45 minutes is enough to get at least a first draft of a new article or blog ready to go.
Check-in and check-out with social media.
When my phone is buzzing off the hook or I’m getting a dozen emails about comments on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook it’s very tempting to dive headfirst into social media, only to reemerge three hours later having accomplished very little. Instead, I prefer to check-in every few hours with my social accounts and do the various actions in bulk. This might not work for every business, especially if you are dealing with a customer service issue, but for the most part your social network is okay with waiting an hour or two to hear from you. If you don’t/can’t reply instantaneously it’s not the end of the world! Unless your company is large enough to have a full time social media manager, chances are a few employees might have access to the various social accounts so if something does need to be addressed right away but you just can’t handle it yourself a trusted employee could at least take the first step.
The thing to remember about SEO and social media time management is that it’s very easy to get lost in the nitty gritty. You could literally spend hours combing through Google Analytics every day but save your hours for when you really need to look “under the hood.” I have lost entire afternoons looking for one quality link when my time could have been better spent writing fresh content for the company blog, working on a guest blog post (or finding a new opportunity), or even been on a prospect call with a potential client. And I think we all know how easy it is to get lost in the depths of Facebook when we start clicking around. Set a daily schedule for yourself (flexibility is still okay though) and try to minimize how much time one activity takes you every day when possible.