Want More Time? Stop These 8 Biggest SEO Time Wasters

One of the top challenges facing school marketers today is having enough time to get everything done. Some tasks can be quite time-consuming, while others may take less time but not produce the hoped-for results. Ultimately, the smart school marketer needs to balance the investment of time with the benefit received for any activity.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is notorious for being tedious and time-consuming. This is because SEO is inherently complicated. There are many factors to be considered. The Google algorithm is (arguably) the most powerful and advanced computer programming on the planet. You can have the best website, but if prospective families can’t find it or it doesn’t come up in search results, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

In the ever-advancing world of inbound marketing, time is an incredibly valuable resource. It seems like there are always new strategies, tactics, options, resources, and tools for us to learn on a constant basis. What’s more, the average marketer spends, on average, 16 hours per week on routine tasks like collecting and analyzing data, email, landing pages, social media, and list management. Which doesn’t leave a lot of time for SEO.

It’s no wonder school marketers often express feeling overwhelmed.

If you’re struggling with your workload, I have good news for you! Here are eight SEO time wasters that you can mark off your to-do list.

8 Biggest SEO Time Wasters

Time Waster #1. Checking analytics every day

While the number of visitors landing on your pages is a useful metric, it’s easy to get a little carried away monitoring the performance of your site’s content.

Google Analytics, and other tools that offer SEO-related analytics, are great. Most of them are easy to use, integrate with other tools, and are free or low cost.

And while you might be curious about how a particular piece of content or campaign is going, you are going to drive yourself crazy checking your results continually.

Unless you’re running an A/B split test on a particular campaign, try checking your analytics data once a week, at the most. If you are running an A/B split test, checking your stats once a day is usually quite adequate. Not once an hour.

Instead of tracking traffic on a daily basis, look at traffic from a trend perspective. If your marketing strategy is working, your visitor numbers will continue to increase. If your visitor numbers are decreasing over time, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy. Use general trends as a barometer to help you know how well your overall strategy is working.

Another way around this is to sign up for an automatic report to be sent from your analytics tool to your email inbox once a week. Then, you can focus on other things until that email pops up in your inbox.

Time Waster #2. Worrying about keyword density

Keyword density is the number of times a specified keyword – or keyword phrase – appears on a webpage. It is a ratio or percentage based on the overall word count. It is also referred to as the keyword frequency on a page.

In the past, when SEO was an emerging discipline, keyword “stuffing” became popular. Keyword stuffing is the practice of cramming a keyword into your content as many times as possible, even if it doesn’t make much sense to the human reader. People often created a list of keywords and inserted them into the footer of the page. Often, that footer was really long.

In the past, Google’s algorithm wasn’t sophisticated enough to recognize keyword stuffing as a cheap “hack” to get a page to rank highly. Today’s algorithms are very sophisticated; they consider more than a specific keyword but are smart enough to recognize writer intent. So be careful and write naturally.

In today’s sophisticated online search world, algorithms will penalize sites that employ keyword stuffing. This is why SEO tools like Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO Pack, or Rank Math will alert you if there are too many keywords in your copy.

By the way, most SEO experts today recommend using one keyword per 200 words. That means your rule of thumb is about 5 keywords per 2,000 words. The best strategy for writing web content is to choose a keyword-based on your topic and then write your content with your reader in mind. Write your copy in a way that is conversational and natural.

Go ahead and include your keyword in your title tag and heading tags, just don’t focus your attention too much on trying to include your keyword in your text a certain number of times. Let your thoughts flow and work on making your copy relevant and helpful to your reader.

Time Waster #3. Submitting your blog posts to article directories

An article directory is a website where you can upload articles so other people can use them on their site. An example of an article directory site is ezine.com, but there are many others. This is an “old-school” SEO tactic that reputable SEO experts don’t use anymore.

The main reason SEO experts don’t use article directory submissions is that Google has warned they will penalize webmasters that use this tactic. Article directories have become overloaded with low-quality, stolen, or spammy content, making them ineffective at best, and puts the originating website in danger of malware or spyware. Links from article directories will not give you any ranking benefits, so this tactic should be avoided.

Time Waster #4. Worrying about domain authority

Domain authority also called your domain score, is a score used to try to predict how likely your website will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The reality is that domain authority is not something used by Google and actually has no effect on how well your website will rank in search results.

SEO practitioners often work on building a massive number of backlinks in an attempt to increase domain authority. Yes, quality backlinks do send a signal to the search engines that a certain webpage is popular enough to garner backlinks. But backlinks from spammy sites will send the opposite signal.

In the end, an amazing article that your target audience wants to read and loves so much they want to share will do much better for your marketing efforts.

Don’t obsess about your domain authority score. Instead, focus on your readers’ experience with the goal in mind of attracting inquiries for your school.

Time Waster #5. Focusing on desktop device usability

The rate of mobile device adoption is staggering. In the last 10 years, mobile device usage has skyrocketed from about 3 percent to almost 50 percent. And this number is increasing daily. This is not surprising, as most Americans – a staggering 96 percent – own a mobile phone.

For this reason, Google now includes mobile device usability as a performance indicator through Google Search Console.

Since so many people are now viewing content from their mobile devices, your website needs to be mobile-friendly and all elements (such as tables) need to be usable on a mobile device. This means you don’t need to put as much effort into desktop usability as a mobile-friendly site will also be accessible for desktop users.

Time Waster #6. Worrying about PageRank

If you’ve been a marketer for a while, you undoubtedly know about PageRank. PageRank is an older algorithm named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. The original PageRank patent from 1998 expired in 2018 and wasn’t renewed by Google. This is because this older algorithm hasn’t been in use for a long time.

What this means for today’s SEO practitioner is you no longer need to spend time trying to “sculpt” your website to fit PageRank’s criteria. This doesn’t mean that SEO is dead, far from it, it just means this older way of trying to design your website to fit the PageRank model isn’t useful anymore. Read more about why PageRank Sculpting isn’t useful anymore

Instead, focus on SEO details that are worthy of your time, such as:

  • Site load speed
  • Indexing issues
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • H1 tags
  • Webpage copy
  • Domain issues
  • Broken links
  • Duplicate content

Time Waster #7. Spending time focusing on highly competitive keywords

Keywords are ranked according to difficulty. The higher the keyword difficulty, the harder it will be to get ranked on the first page of the SERP.

Keyword difficulty is tricky though. If search volume (number of search inquiries per month) is low, you aren’t likely to get many clicks on that keyword. But, if the keyword is too difficult, you won’t be able to compete with other marketers, many of whom are investing thousands of dollars on targeted keywords per month.

Your goal should be to find moderate or low competition keywords with good search volumes and focus your efforts there.

Time Waster #8. Trying to meet unreasonable SEO expectations

SEO is a good use of time, energy, and resources because it has the potential to attract parents to your school that fit with your mission. And do it with a small investment of time and budget. SEO can help your school save money on advertising while still attracting your ideal families.

However, there are a lot of SEO rules and expectations for websites. And there is a lot of competition for people’s attention on the internet.

Try not to obsess about SEO. Yes, follow through on your SEO strategic plan. However, keep in mind the Google algorithm has control of your rankings. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it can take time to get your site ranked on the first page of search results.

The most important aspect of marketing is to focus on one thing, and that is your target audience – existing and future families. In the end, that is who really matters.

Take the time you’ve been spending on the above eight tasks and redirect them to strategies that will make a difference in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Ready to see how well your website is performing in terms of SEO factors and rankings? Get this FREE SEO Audit for Schools and see where your school needs support to increase visibility.

Click here ———– > FREE SEO Audit for Schools

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.


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