I am a checklist junkie. I create monthly task calendars that I break down into weekly checklists and then create daily journal entries for what needs accomplished. For me it’s natural to want to do a task, complete it, and then check it off the list. While valuable in task completion, a checklist mindset can be detrimental when misapplied to digital marketing efforts that require ongoing and consistent execution.
In a recent review of an SEO report with a small business owner, we outlined a number of updates that could be made to improve his site’s ranking. One of those aspects was review links to his site. The business owner assured us that he had plenty of reviews and pointed to his 5 Yelp reviews as evidence. He felt that reviews had already been done and should not be part of the action plan for further improving his search engine ranking. While having the review in place was certainly a positive thing, there were two misconceptions.
The first was the apparent suggestion that 5 reviews was the end of the road. Marketing is a consistent and ongoing process. Five is a good start, six would be better, twenty-five would make significant impact on his site rank. The method of soliciting reviews can evolve, an individual review can be completed, but there should not be pre-defined finish line on the activity itself.
The second issue was that all five reviews happened within a couple weeks of one another. So the listing showed that they had been in business for three years but only one month contained reviews. Either that was a stellar month or it’s an obvious and short-sighted attempt to drum up reviews. This has two negative consequences. The first is that search engines will identify and marginalize such an isolated spurt of activity. The second is that people that use the review site are likely to notice an anomaly like this which will call the credibility of the reviews into question.
Rather than having a mindset that reviews are finished, the business owner needs to break the category into replicable tasks. As an example, he might have a thank you email or satisfaction survey that gets delivered to clients that features a link to leave a review in Yelp. In this way the individual task can be thought of as complete but the overarching activity of acquiring reviews is ongoing.
Checklists and project completion mindsets are invaluable in executing the individual tasks of a digital marketing campaign but should be consistently applied in cycles. The activity itself doesn’t end when a particular instance is complete, but rather should be reapplied to a future instance. Set a goal and then build an execution plan into your daily operations. Quick fixes lead to short term results that can often do more harm than good for your long-term objectives.