Think optimization is just for your website?  Well, think again…

It might just be my nerd side showing, but throughout my ten years of experience in the SEO industry, I’ve found that a lot of the techniques I’ve developed in my professional life can be applied to my personal endeavors with a tremendous amount of success.  But I haven’t just used these techniques to optimize how I spend my time, how I maximize my commute and how I approach my work schedule – I’ve got the process so fine-tuned that I’ve even optimized what I carry in my pocket!

The following are just a few of the specific ways I’ve used the skills I’ve learned working in SEO to improve my life – hope you find them helpful!

Planning to optimize your life

Before you can begin translating SEO practices to your daily life, you need to be aware of how you’re spending your time.  In a way, this is a lot like watching your website metrics.  Before you can start to increase your web conversions, you need to know your baseline stats.  On a website, you’d use Google Analytics to track visitors, traffic sources and top content pieces.  But in real life, you’ll need to spend some time using tools like Yast to monitor how exactly you’re using your time.

Once you have a basic idea of where your hours are going, you can begin testing different combinations to see how and when you’re most productive – just like you’d try out different website elements using A/B split testing.

For an example of how this can play out in real life, I used A/B split testing to determine that getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night works best for me.  Your results may be different, but you won’t know your own personal thresholds until you take the time to evaluate your own data.

Incorporating SEO tactics into work

When it comes to SEO, on-page optimization is an important element of your overall site promotion strategy.  And just like you’d optimize the homepage of your website according to SEO best practices, I like to spend time optimizing the practices I use in my everyday life.

Specifically, I’ve used this idea to find that checking my email accounts three times a day (in the morning, afternoon and evening) helps me to maintain “Inbox Zero.”  As a result, I’m able to focus on managing employees, developing strategies and talking to clients instead of wasting time checking my inbox every five minutes – which I wouldn’t have discovered if I hadn’t taken the time to optimize even the basic process of checking email.

How link building relates to your personal life

In my opinion, everything you do outside of work affects your productivity at work in one way or another.  For instance, I found that going to the gym before work is like a natural caffeine to me.  For the first four hours of the day, I’m energized and ready to get things done – even though other people use the gym to relax and unwind.

When you think about it, this isn’t all that different from link building.  All of the backlinks you create play a role in the overall health of your website – just as the habits you adopt in your persona life help to power your overall success at work.

Another example I’ve experimented with is what I eat at home and at work.  I, for one, don’t take lunches.  Instead, I’ll drink a protein shake at work, which helps me to stay focused and productive.  The only time I’ll take a lunch is if I’m going with someone – whether that’s an employee, a client or a business partner.  That way, I make the most out of it.

I’m also a huge fan of planning ahead.  When I show up at the office, I want to be able to dive into work, which is why I take the time to plan out my activities at least a day in advance.  This is very similar to the way I approach link building campaigns, where I feel it’s important to have a plan in place to be sure I’m targeting the right link types at the right times.

Finally, I’ve found that the link building strategies I use in my professional life have definitely impacted the way I organize my personal time.  I believe in link style and anchor text variation diversification, and was – at first – surprised to find that my ideal daily structure mirrors these principles.

I tend to split up my day as far as work goes.  I might work for a bit, do some exercise, schedule phone calls, take some creative time and then get back to work – whatever the order, the important part for me is that my days are as varied and interesting as my link building campaigns.

Who are your personal traffic sources?

When it comes to website traffic, there’s good traffic and there’s bad traffic.  There are visitors that convert to buyers at a higher rate than others, and there are visitors who only tire kick and eat up my bandwidth.

The same can be said about the people in your life.  I’m constantly looking to optimize my own personal traffic sources by asking myself how my relationships are affecting my life.  Are the people I engage with contributing something positive to my well-being, whether that’s having fun, learning something new, getting work done or providing mentorship insight (or am I providing these benefits to other people)?

If I’m not seeing “conversions” – that is, a worthwhile return on my personal investment – from the people I interact with, I know that it’s time to start seeking out other people to fill my life with.

Ongoing monitoring isn’t just for SEO

When it comes to SEO, I’m a big proponent of ongoing monitoring.  You can’t just put a plan in place and hope that it works – you need to be regularly checking in with your metrics to ensure that your actions are having the desired impact.

The same goes for all of the lifestyle optimization practices I described above as well.  It’s easy to get off track with your own personal optimization strategies if you aren’t regularly monitoring your progress, which is why I make regular “check-ins” a priority in my life.

As an example, if I’m not diligent about sticking to the diet and exercise habits I’ve found that make me as effective as possible, I know I’ll probably backslide and either gain weight or lose productivity.  Similarly, if I’m not careful about monitoring whether or not I’m on track with my SEO campaigns, I know it’s possible that my rankings will suffer – which I definitely don’t want!

By taking the time to both optimize different elements of my daily life and set up various means of ongoing tracking and monitoring, I find that I’m able to get significantly more done in both my personal and professional lives as a result of my SEO experience.

Do you see any places where your professional SEO techniques have crossed over into your daily life?  If so, I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the comments section below!

  1. Love this analogy! I’ve honestly never really thought about where SEO techniques are crossing over into my daily life…

    I especially love the idea of split testing to figure out what is the optimal amount of sleep! 🙂

  2. Thanks Rachel. Split testing is amazing in real life. I’ve been testing everything from commuting to sleep and it’s shaved off a 1-2 hours of waste per day

  3. Superb relativity.. 🙂
    And yes i would like to add that – “keep analyzing and rectifying yourself and always be fresh, interesting and informative” and this might increase the “bounce rate” for your listeners… 🙂

    Have a great time 🙂

  4. Good read Sujan.

    Making a list of tasks a day in advance has worked for me. If not tomorrow, the task will be completed the other day because it has been written as a note.

    I have seen you guest posting a lot, especially on SEJ, how do you manage writing too many posts and maintaining your day-to-day activities including managing clients, responding to new inquiries, training your team etc?

  5. @Mani Glad you liked the post

    @Pratik I usually write nights and weekends and have a healthy pipeline of post incase I get busy and don’t have time to write one week. During the weekdays I’m managing clients & the @singlegrain team

  6. Sujan, can you please elaborate on how split-testing can be used to figure out what is the optimal amount of sleep?

    I find that on the days at office when I do a lot of mental work, I feel more tired at the end of the day. On easy going days at the office, I can go with less sleep. Also, I sleep much less in summer, than in winter. Also, during the nights I was told that I snored, I feel less fresh in the morning.

    I am looking forward to knowing more about the (scientific) technique of split-testing to determine the optimum amount of sleep.

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