I know most everyone finished wrapping up 2012 about a week before Christmas but I always like to cross the finish line before I start analysis. I am pulling the format of this basically from Dan Shure’s “47 Clients, 217 Moz Questions. Pain, Progress. A Candid Reflection on 2012.” Dan is one of my favorite SEOs to read and his look back was inspiring. This High on SEO review will probably bore some of you so just come back tomorrow and we’ll have some real SEO/social media content up. This is as much for me as it is for anyone.
Why write this 2012 analysis? It’s 2013 now!
1) Evaluating our goals – we always set lofty goals for the new year and it is important to look back and see what we did well and where we failed. It can be difficult to see progress day by day but a full year look can remind you how far you’ve come.
2) To set new goals – what better place than an “end of 2012″ post to tell you about 2013? It makes sense for us to create a new outlook and work hard to reach our goals.
3) I want to *remember* what happened, when, why and how I think I should improve going forward. Self-improvement and in our case, business-improvement is the main focus of what we do at High on SEO. We are concerned not only with how to rank but how to keep ranking, how to market better, what we could improve and such. Your SEO can turn on a half second page speed difference or adding your phone number to your landing page. I want to remember the details so I can improve them.
High on SEO blog: Then and Now
- 2011 total website traffic: 5200 page loads from 2600 visitors.
- 2012 total website traffic: 27,500 page loads from 11500 unique visitors. 67% were from the US and 19% from Australia. Our most popular post was December’s 2013 Marketing Guide for Photographers http://www.highonseo.com/2012/12/2013-marketing-guide-photographers/ edit by a LONG way.
- Our most commented post was the 60 Working Twitter Tools post – also in December. http://www.highonseo.com/2012/12/60-working-twitter-tools/ with 17 comments. In fact, December traffic was almost three times higher than the rest of the year. Why? Two articles I read made all the difference to our traffic (and the type of content I created in 2012.)
- Clients on Dec 31, 2011: 7 active, 12 total.
- Clients on December 31, 2012: 12 active, 51 total (many under old packages so no longer clients.)
- Twitter, Facebook Page and G+ followers on Dec 31, 2011: Approximately 19,000.
- Twitter, Facebook and G+ followers and fans on Dec 31, 2012: approx. 33,000.
- Total blog posts in 2011: 34
- Total blog posts in 2012: 76 (passed goal of 1x per week)
- Total blog comments on High on SEO in 2011: 53
- Total blog comments on High on SEO in 2012: 125
- Guest blog posts in 2011: 0
- Guest blog posts in 2012: 5 (3 in, 2 out)
Notable Dates & Milestones
- April 4th – joined SEOMoz as a regular reader & commenter.
- May 22nd – my first wedding anniversary and exactly 6 months of living in Australia.
- June 6th – hired Vikas and Monika to help with linkbuilding and SEO consulting.
- September 4th – booked our 50th SEO client for High on SEO (since changing from PhotoSEO.info)
- September 21st – became an SEOMoz PRO member (to date: 88 comments, 80 questions answered, currently “ranked” 155th)
- October 24th – booked our first client on our new and improved monthly pricing.
- November 30th – added a new copywriter, Christy, to our team after our previous copywriter became … absent.
- December 28th – spoke with our first “dream client” and (hopefully) will carry that into 2013.
Our 5 Biggest Successes of 2012
1) Across the board success for our clients. Our SEO Success series http://www.highonseo.com/category/successes/ has shown that we can rank clients. We also had a much higher uptick in client traffic and revenue for 2012 over 2011. That is my #1 achievement of 2012.
2) Upgraded our offerings from just SEO to include copywriting, web design and WordPress help, PPC ad management, copywriting and social media marketing. We have already worked with a small number of clients on all of these new services. We also changed from project pricing to a monthly SEO pricing structure. http://www.highonseo.com/2012/10/new-monthly-seo-pricing/ This allows us to help clients much more thoroughly and get even better results.
3) Consistency in business. By far the number one improvement to High on SEO this year was consistency. We took all of our old client analysis files and put them into one master document. This makes analyzing sites faster and easier and definitely more consistent. We also started sending more professional and complete emails. On another level of consistency, we blogged 11 of 12 months this year (8/12 last year) and the month we missed was a planned hiatus while we visited my family in Maine. In May we managed to blog 14 times – by far our most successful month.
4) I managed not to become a workaholic. In my previous business, I averaged 95 hours a week for over a year in 2008, just barely under 80 hrs per week in 2009 and about the same in 2007. So for a three year stretch I barely had a moment off, let alone a day. Days off felt like torture. In 2012, I made time for my new wife. We enjoy a couple hours a night free from the necessity of work. Sure, I could have gotten more done. And hated it. This is my life and it requires balance.
5) I focused extremely hard on education. I read, Evernoted, re-read, commented, interacted with some of the best people in our industry on a daily basis. I learned new skills such as my Excel for SEO training. I made a list early in the year of every single “requirement” for open jobs in my industry and then I spend the rest of the year learning about every item on the list as much as I could. Here is a partial look at my full skills list:
1) Easily my biggest fail is still a lack of patience. I want to fix a site, work on the link profile, do some magic and poof, SEO magic. But SEO isn’t that way. I want to post a great blog post, reply to a Twitter comment or two and poof, have instant traffic to this blog. But blogging isn’t that way. I need to be patient and keep working hard. I need to put my head down and just work away at my weaknesses and further my strengths.
2) Support for my team. I know for a fact that I left them hanging more than I wish to remember. Oops, did I not get to the part where I mentioned what work needed to be done? Did I not get that new client info off to you yet? Didn’t I post that Excel worksheet? Did you still need that linkbuilding list or am I too late? UGH! It is frustrating to have an amazing team and not help them be incredible for my clients. I have worked on this a lot in November/December but 2013 has to be much, MUCH better.
3) Too much Skype, not enough OpenSiteExplorer. I find it easy and fun to talk to client. I love explaining SEO and I often get caught up in other business-related chatter. I could talk about business growth, marketing, SEO and social media all day. The problem is, I don’t have time to do that and still kick some tail for my clients. So I need to prioritize working over the idle chatter that happens before & after productive client interaction. Focus, focus, focus. Laser beam.
High on SEO Goals for 2013
I believe strongly in the power of written goals. So I’m going to give you my whole list. This includes some stuff you may not find useful (Twitter followers) and stuff that only relates to the blog stats or my own “ego” but I believe goals can get you places. I’ll explain the ones I think need it.
1 )Organize all of my Evernotes. I have 1500+ notes in Evernote from various sites, blog posts, tools, etc. I badly need to sort, re-read and make these useful. Over 1000 are still unsorted. This is JUST the unsorted:
2) Blog at least 100 times on High on SEO. 2x per month, bare minimum. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit 200 is my “dream goal” though.
3) Guest blog at least 15 times on other sites. I want to grow our audience and profile and guest blogging is one way to extend that reach. (I care more about the audience than the SEO for those posts.)
4) Reach 30k Twitter followers, 8k likes on Facebook and 2500 G+ circles. Just social proof – but important for me for audience reasons, again, as well as increasing the number of great connections I have already made.
5) Moz goals: get inside the Moz Top 50, write 2+ YouMoz posts, and answer at least 200 SEO questions on the Q&A forum.
6) 50,000 page loads, 20,000 unique visitors to HighOnSEO.com
7) Grow our mailing list by a lot (and hopefully finishing the ebook will help this.)
I have customer goals, earnings goals and other personal goals but these are the ones I want to make public. I plan to continue my recent trend of long-form, interesting and new content.
If you read this post, thank you. My most heartfelt thanks for 2012 have to go to everyone who’s read the blog, left comments and followed us on social media. We love having the conversations we’ve been having and we hope for a lot more in 2013.
And I’m going to thank my wife. Without her, I wouldn’t care what my 2012 looked like or what my 2013 had the potential to become. She is my best friend, by far the the funniest person I know, and my reason to wake up.
Happy New Year everyone! Bring on 2013!!
Matt owns High on SEO, a Melbourne digital marketing agency. He writes on SEO, SEM, PPC, adwords, social media, web UX, photography, conversion optimization and anything digital marketing. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, an Excel genius.