Doing vs. planning and reporting: The analysis paralysis of digital marketing

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“Ten minutes of planning saves one hour in execution” 

Sometimes. Numerous times in my career i’ve reached a sour point at the end of a project where it was clear that I/we spent too much time planning, reporting, or sat in meetings, and not enough time doing. Take this for example.

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This is the traffic for a side project that has had very little added to it over the past year. Despite many SEO tweaks, the traffic hasn’t reflected any major improvement. Compare this to the following screenshot from GA.

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This is the search traffic for this blog. What’s worth noting is that I haven’t really made any SEO changes to this blog since I originally built it – the only difference is that i’ve added new content to this blog regularly over the past year. The result?

A 1,492% increase in SEO traffic in one year.

What strikes me is how effortless this was. Frankly, this is the easiest 1,000%+ increase in traffic i’ve ever delivered, and all it required was writing a little bit extra per week. Ask any blogger who writes regularly on their blog what direction their search traffic is going in – most will tell you it’s to the right and up.

The analysis paralysis of SEO

The challenge with SEO is that we have so many alternative ways to spend our time. I could have spent this morning fixing one of my client’s 200+ crawl errors, or I could have began work on their responsive site, or I could have done some blogger outreach. Google claims to have over 400 individual ranking factors, which makes our jobs as SEOs difficult – not just technically, but psychologically.

With limited time resources, we have to not only be effective at solving our client’s issues but also at allocating our own time to the issues that are most likely to have the highest improvements in traffic.

Mastering time allocation

Understanding how you’re allocating your time and how it’s impacting your outcomes is key in all walks of life. It’s the fundamental principal behind the 80/20 rule, which also dictates that how we spend 1% of our time is probably driving 40-50% of the outcome. Knowing the 1% enables you to double down on the right things and achieve massive increases in your desired outcomes.

This does, without a doubt, apply to SEO. That’s why we spend great deals of money on tools, data, and SEO conference after parties. Knowing what works enables you to be effective and drive your return on investment up.

But there’s a catch – when does investing in effectiveness and productivity becomes ineffective and unproductive?

In the East, they joke that Westerners think too much and that by the time we come to a decision, they would have been able to finish the job.

This joke is very real in my world and is my biggest challenge with SEO – finding the balance between planning and doing.

Increase your traffic by 1,000%

Over the years I’ve built a lot of sites. A lot of them sucked, and a handful were very successful. I’ve learned from some of the smartest marketers kicking around, and have worked on hundreds of client campaigns.

After all of this, if I had to sum up the single best way to increase a website’s search traffic, I’d probably come to this conclusion: just write more good stuff.

1 thought on “Doing vs. planning and reporting: The analysis paralysis of digital marketing

  1. Interesting read – so you’re sure the upward curve for this blog was simply down to writing more content? You didn’t do any other SEO activities that might impact traffic like linkbuilding?

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