Time saving hacks from SEOs

The life of a digital marketer is one of constant multi-tasking. One second you are brainstorming ideas for interesting content, and the other you are auditing a website for technical SEO issues.

The name of the game is productivity; and the way to achieve this is through better organising your time to waste less on activities that don’t add value and spend more time on delivering for your clients and employer.

That’s why I got in touch with some really smart digital folk to help all of you save valuable time and become more productive and successful SEOs by providing you with their top hacks to help you get more done. Without further ado; let’s get started:

Simon Penson, Managing Director at Zazzle Media

“I spend a lot of time looking at competitor and market data and one of the toughest jobs is to understand how much overlap there is, especially when you are really trying to nail down a very relevant competitor for data dive purposes.

One way of doing this quickly without having to guess or spend hours looking at mountains of Excel data is to utilise a vastly underused little tool hidden within the SEMRush suite. In the ‘Tools’ tab you can find a Domain V Domain option and in here it is possible to paste in your competitor short-list. From here you can see how many keywords they share and it is then very simple to refine the list to a ‘best match’ scenario. From here you can then dive much deeper.”

Kevin Gibbons, Managing Director at Blueglass UK

“My tip is to learn when to switch off — I’m suggesting this because it’s the one I’ve found most difficult personally, but knowing when to stop is essential towards keeping a clear way of thinking.

Focused effort is so much more valuable — find the environment that allows you to block out any distractions and get the best results. One thing that helped me was to remove all social apps from my phone last summer and I haven’t missed them since — an even more surprisingly, I did the same with email 6 weeks ago and the world has kept turning too :)”

Gareth James, Freelance SEO at SEO Doctor

“Lots of automation tools are great for helping digital marketers save time, but my best time hack has been to actually work more efficiently. I started using the Pomodoro Technique last year and found it worked really well for me.

You basically work for 25 minutes then have a break for 5 minutes completing tasks in each time slot. Sounds simple, but it actually trains you to get tasks done faster and avoid other distractions like social media or watching Jeremy Kyle if you’re a freelancer.”

Kirsty Hulse, Head of SEO at Found

“Re-purpose old content. Often it’s easier, quicker and cheaper to inject new life in to successful old content than creating something new from scratch.

Got an infographic from a few months ago that worked well? Use a tool like Powtoon to turn the infographic in to a short video animation; or take similar content, give them a refresh and group them to create a “guide”. If you work in a fast paced industry — take snippets from old blog content and discuss new perspectives and how this may have changed.”

Steve Morgan, Freelance SEO at Morgan Online Marketing

“As part of my freelance work, I’ve done a bit of link removal/disavow work for clients who have been affected by Penguin and/or have acquired a Manual Action penalty. The fiddliest part of the work used to be grabbing the inbound link data from multiple sources (Google Webmaster Tools, MajesticOpen Site Explorer, etc.) and then removing the duplicates while keeping hold of the most information (as — for example — the GWT data only gives you the linking URL, but other tools give you more data, such as anchor text, Domain Authority, the page being linked to, etc.).

I found out about URL Profiler from someone and gave it a try. If you put all the data files into it, it automatically strips out the duplicates and gives you the data that you want for each and every URL. It saves so, so much time. My current licence ran out, but the next time I’m doing this type of work for someone, I’m renewing it straight away.

I also like to use the CONCATENATE formula in Excel to speed up with the disavow file creation process, which combines bits of data together from multiple cells into one cell. Fill Column A with “domain:”, put the actual domains in Column B (e.g. “example.com”), use the CONCATENATE formula in Column C — grabbing Columns A & B’s data — and it’ll combine them to make “domain:example.com” in every instance. URL Profiler can even give you just the domain for every link, making Column B really easy to put together, too.”

My own time-saving top tip

Reporting is the bane of digital marketer’s lives; regardless of their in-house/freelance/agency status. The measurable nature of the platforms we work on mean that we are required to constantly report on a number of metrics. My top time-saving tip is to spend a little time gathering reporting requirements and use those to automate as much as possible. Tools like AWR Cloud allow you to automate regular ranking reports, social media follower growth and (my personal favourite) visibility tracking for a large number of keywords.

Bonus tip for in-house SEOs — Have multiple product lines? Use automated Visibility Reporting through AWR to offer product / section level performance tracking to add value to the business on a more useful level.

So there we have it. A few time-saving ideas that have hopefully got you thinking about ways you can minimise wasted time within your working day. If you have any time-saving hacks you’d like to share; pop them in the comments. 

About the Author

Andrew Isidoro

Andrew has been working in marketing since the noughties across a spectrum of digital marketing roles from social media to content marketing to the technical world of search engine optimisation.