Lately I’ve been seeing this question pop up here and there, “How many hours should you spend on SEO / Internet marketing?” I think like anything having to do with SEO and Internet marketing, the answer “depends” on a variety of factors. But I thought I would share what I do for my clients’ SEO campaigns.
Activity – Analyze Website Statistics
Time Spent – anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour
Purpose – the reason for looking through the website stats is not just to see how many visitors came to the site, it’s really to see how the website is doing. What I mean is, what pages are bringing in visitors (and which ones are not?), what keyword phrases are working (and which ones aren’t?), what call to action buttons are working (and which ones are not?). Basically, I’m looking for ways to improve the site, page by page, paragraph by paragraph. That’s the real purpose of website stats analysis.
Activity – Optimization Actions
Time Spent – anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours
Purpose – This is where the nitty gritty of SEO really happens. If I discover that a particular page is not indexed in the search engines, I need to find out why. I need to correct any broken links throughout the site, or remove a duplicate description tag or increase the content on the website page or re-write the content somehow. I also need to make sure that all the tags are correctly written on the page. This is usually done during the initial SEO but if phrases change, links to and from the page change, and of course, search engine “rules” change – then all that means that the tags have to be changed as well. Optimization is a constant, never ending process of tweaking and re-tweaking website pages to get the most out of them.
Activity – New Keyword Research
Time Spent – anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes
Purpose – Finding new keyword phrases is not really that hard. Finding really good keyword phrases, well, that can be a bit difficult. The reason is that there are certain numbers you have to look up for each keyword phrase. I mean, is the phrase too competitive? Is the phrase typed in often enough to bring in traffic? Is the phrase relevant in your geography? Is the phrase the kind of phrase that “window shoppers” are typing in or is it one that “buyers” are typing in? If a page were added about this phrase, where would be the best spot to add it on the website? All these issues have to be answered before the phrases are chosen and sent out to the clients. The truth is, this one little service that we give our clients, each and every month, is the BEST way that they can get more and more traffic. But unfortunately, because it involves some work on their part (they write the content or at least pay someone to) – this is the least acted on!
Activity – Competition Research
Time Spent – anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours
Purpose – I don’t think there’s anyone in business who doesn’t have a constant eye out for their competition. Internet marketing is no different. Knowing what the competitor down the street or the competitor on the first page of Google is doing can give you an edge in not just keeping up with them but surpassing the competition. The beauty of the Internet is that you can get quite a bit of information on your competition, without ever having to leave your desk!
Activity – Submissions
Time Spent – anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours
Purpose – Although these days, it’s not necessary to submit websites to search engines, it still is helpful to submit press releases, articles and to find local directories and of course, niche directories to submit your information to. Especially now a days with social media sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, UrbanSpoon and so many others, it’s important to claim your space and be seen. Years ago you would have never imagined opening a business without getting listed in the Yellow Pages. Today, the same can be said but instead of just the Yellow Pages, there are literally hundreds of online sites to get listed on.
Activity – Keeping Up With The News
Time Spent – anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours per day (every day)
Purpose – The Internet is amazing, it’s wonderful and at the same time, it’s frustrating and difficult. There are so many new events, new technology, new techniques, new algorithims, new engines, new online sources, etc. that keeping up with all of this information and sorting out what is working and what isn’t working can be daunting and is, absolutely, never ending. I scan through at least 50 articles per day and that’s certainly not keeping up! I have several thousand backlogged that I still haven’t gotten to. So, if you think that keeping up with what’s new online is not part of your Internet Marketing time frame, you’re in for a failed marketing campaign.
So, how many hours SHOULD you spend on SEO or Internet Marketing?
The minimum time I spend on a client’s marketing is 3.5 hours per month (not including reading up on new information). Of course, the size of the website, the willingness of the client to make changes on their site, all play a part in how much I can do on the website. And it goes without saying, that the more “action” that takes place on a website, the more it changes, the more new information is added, the more traffic the site will get.
Can all this be expensive if you outsource it? Sure – there’s no doubt, time is money and you’re not just purchasing time here, you’re also purchasing knowledge. But the truth is, if you are disciplined enough and if you are willing enough to put the time and energy into marketing your own website, it can be done. Would you be just as successful? Maybe. After all, who knows your business better than you do? But, then again, the Internet marketer knows the Internet – so, it’s a bit of a balancing act!
Know what you’re getting into, what’s needed to do the job of Internet marketing and you’ll be better off, not only with the campaign but with your expectations for that campaign as well!