Repeat after me. This year, I resolve to...
1. Get More Organized
Is your idea of "keyword research" just a bunch of keywords jammed into in a spreadsheet? Effective keyword organization and keyword management is a foundational component of paid and organic search marketing. In PPC, it means grouping together similar keywords and matching them with targeted ad text and landing pages. And in SEO, it means effectively targeting keyword niches in order to create and link together original themed content about specific topics, which in turn are more likely to rank highly for targeted organic searches. Start the new year off with strong organizational footing by checking out our Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization.
2. Lose Weight
Trim the fat from your PPC campaigns! Negative keyword discovery and negative keyword expansion—along with dumping keywords you shouldn't have been bidding on in the first place—can have a drastic impact on your overall paid search costs, both by reducing garbage clicks and by improving your click-through rates and quality scores, which further lower your overall cost per click and first-page bids. And if you're shedding junk keywords from your PPC keyword research, why not lose those same terms from your SEO keyword research as well?
3. Quit Smoking
Don't let valuable search marketing insights go up in smoke! Profitable insights can be gleaned by analyzing PPC and SEO keyword data side-by-side. Aggregate your SEO and PPC data so you can incorporate learnings from one medium to the other. By better executing PPC, you can better execute SEO, and vice versa. Read more about PPC and SEO data sharing in this guide.
4. Listen & Learn
With every search and goal conversion on your site, your customers (and potential customers) are telling you something—are you listening?
Traditional keyword suggestion tools provide keywords that might be relevant to your business. And Web analytics applications provide valuable keyword research insights because the data is based on real searches and actual outcomes on your site. The most effective keyword research combines both Web analytics and keyword suggestion tools. In 2009, we declared this best-of-both-worlds approach the future of keyword research.
By listening to what your customers are telling you and applying this knowledge to continuously expand and improve your keyword research, your PPC and SEO campaigns will become more expansive and relevant over time.
5. Spend More Time with Family
Who wants to be stuck at the office doing boring, repetitive tasks like grouping keywords and finding negatives, when you could be home with your loved ones? It's not yet possible to automate search marketing as a whole, but in general, if you find yourself doing the same tasks over and over, consider that other search marketers have probably experienced the same thing, and there are likely tools available to automate it. With all your time savings, you'll be able to put more time in on value-added tasks like content creation, ad text authoring, or plotting your search marketing strategy.
6. Better Manage Your Time
There are an endless number of things you can tweak and optimize in a search marketing campaign. One of the most important skills in search is the ability to plan a series of actions (i.e., a workflow) that will provide the biggest returns for time spent.
Search marketers often get caught in the trap of too much data analysis and not enough action. Try to make sure that whatever key performance indicators you're tracking are actionable, and that the actions that you take are informed by your data.
7. Save Money
Stop paying for old-school keyword discovery tools! Check out our growing portfolio of free keyword research and organization tools including:
And look for more money-saving FREE keyword tools from WordStream in 2010!
8. Support the Arts
Donate a portion of your keyword tool savings or increased profits from improved search marketing operations to help out a worthy cause.
9. Get a Better Education
Search is a fast and dynamic industry. It may sound ridiculous, but keeping up with all the changes is a daily endeavor. To stay on top of the latest, subscribe to our blog feed and follow our crackerjack search marketing team on Twitter. (And if you missed them the first time around, check out our greatest hits from 2009.)
10. Reduce Stress
If you don't have the time or resources needed to execute a well-optimized search campaign, consider getting help. Going it alone or under-resourced will most certainly lead to performance stagnation as well as a burnout. To effectively market through search, it's necessary to create an environment where all parties involved (copywriters, marketers, developers, etc.) are not only aware of search marketing best practices, but have the resources available to implement those best practices. Adopt tools and processes across your entire workforce to enable coordination and collaboration of PPC and SEO efforts and make your life easier.
New Years is all about the kiss, right? I hope this year, whoever you kissed at midnight, you also kissed your bad SEO and PPC habits goodbye and vowed to embrace better ones. Here's to a happy 2010 and many returns on your search marketing investment! :P