Whether you’re an internal SEO whiz or a digital agency pro, chances are you’ve experienced one or more of these all-too-familiar problems:
Yes, I’ve been there too. I felt the relentless churn and knew that something had to shift dramatically if I wanted to continue growing as an SEO.
This realization led me to discover the game-changing concept of building a “second brain,” an idea popularized by Tiago Forte.
I’ve since applied this concept to my own SEO practices. Below, I’ll cover how your own SEO second brain.
Before building a second brain, let’s examine what an organic brain excels at and where it falls short. Here’s a quick snapshot:
Our brains are great at:
But terrible at:
By delegating the latter tasks to an external database or a “second brain,” you can better store and retrieve crucial documentation, templates, and key learnings between websites.
Most importantly, never again will you forget crucial information when you most need it.
Building your second brain may seem daunting initially, but take it one step at a time, and you’ll get there. Start with the following steps and tips:
You can use plenty of systems and platforms to build a second brain. It all comes down to your preference and which platform you’re most comfortable with.
I use Notion to build my SEO second brain (and operate most of my SEO projects), so I’ll use examples from Notion throughout this article.
A great way to identify which tool to use for building your SEO second brain is to get to know your style of information organization. Here are some examples Forte mentions:
The PARA system stands for:
Here are some examples of which SEO tasks suit each category.
Projects: Your most important and time-sensitive tasks.
Areas: Your ongoing optimization efforts and routine tasks.
Resources: Shared credentials and background information.
Archives: Completed tasks and documentation
I’ve adopted some version of the PARA framework to manage SEO campaigns for 35+ websites.
It’s a game-changer to help me get the most impactful tasks done first and still deliver on smaller issues.
Traditionally, SEOs tend to structure our work into static categories like keyword research, technical audit, link building, and content production. However, this doesn’t mirror the dynamic nature of SEO projects.
This conventional and static way of organizing information is like categorizing your kitchen by individual ingredients rather than usage and priority (a fun analogy credited to Forte).
Wouldn’t it be odd to organize your kitchen by carrots, potatoes, and fruits rather than stovetop items, pantry goods, and fridge contents?
Like kitchens, static file structures can lead to “cross-contamination” between outdated and fresh documents, making it challenging to locate the most relevant information quickly.
Enter the PARA framework – a dynamic solution reflecting the shifting priorities of an SEO project:
This way, PARA keeps your SEO project fluid, organized, and current.
Let’s say you’ve built an SEO second brain of your own. How do you go about using it in the best way possible?
For me, it’s all about idea capturing. This is the act of quickly and effortlessly storing information you’ve encountered throughout the day in a temporary repository.
It’s the single most important mechanism to master in operating a second brain.
That’s because it enables me to quickly and passively store new information in a temporary space of my second brain so that I can later revisit and move it to relevant sections of the brain.
These can include:
I’ve built an empty page in my second brain called the Idea Capturing Station, meant to do just this, keeping it immediately accessible to me at all times on both desktop and mobile.
Here’s an example of how I quickly capture an interesting article on desktop:
And here’s how I quickly capture a new idea on mobile:
Here’s a quick snapshot of what my SEO second brain dashboard looks like.
Each of these individual areas, like Project Timeline, is then linked to separate databases where I store and organize information hierarchically. That’s right. I’m a classic architect when it comes to information organization.
In reality, however, I rarely use this dashboard. I use the tool’s internal search function to find specific areas of my second brain I want to navigate to.
For instance, if I’d like to find one of my project timelines, I can search for it and hop straight to it like so.
One of the most useful “powers” of this second brain is its ability to create reusable templates, giving me an almost instant set-up each time we onboard a new client at my agency.
With just a few clicks, I am able to populate a full SEO roadmap timeline, each broken into tickets with specified templates to be delegated to team members and shared with clients. Here are a few examples:
What about that time you forgot a key piece of information or statistic while meeting with stakeholders?
I have a database called the Knowledge Bank that allows me to pull up key information to reference at all times.
Let’s say I’m trying to convince some stakeholders that it can be worthwhile pursuing keywords with “zero search volume.”
In the middle of the conversation, I vaguely recall having read an article by Steve Toff on discovering zero search volume keywords, showing strong evidence of their ROI potential.
In this case, I can quickly search for the article on my second brain and reference the article almost instantly.
My second brain is far from complete and probably always will be (very much like our organic brains!).
The key here is to exercise our SEO second brain regularly so that we get better at using it to store, retrieve and synthesize information.
Once you’re familiar, extend your second brain to other domains of life!
Our second brain goes far beyond SEO at Criclabs, the digital agency I’m running. We use it to track new hires, document company processes, run employee portals and more.
The good news is many of us already have an SEO second brain in the works, whether we know it or not. If you have a shared drive to store information or occasionally take notes on your phone, your SEO second brain is already on its way.
What you can do now is what we SEOs know best, optimize it!
The post How to build your own SEO ‘second brain’ (and why you need it) appeared first on Search Engine Land.
from Search Engine Land https://searchengineland.com/seo-second-brain-428290
via free Seo Tools