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How to Use Kaizen to Improve Your SEO Strategy

Improve Your SEO Strategy

Trying to improve your SEO strategy, but you find SEO to be an uphill battle? Are you experiencing frustrating bounce rates? Consider Kaizen, a method for improvement developed in Japan. It’s been applied to many businesses and business functions to optimize workflows and efficiency.

Among its major benefits are that it’s fairly easy to implement. It can be taught and shared with your team and documented as you go to provide insights into what matters most: the user experience. Kaizen helps you improve your SEO strategy slowly and steadily.

How the Principles of Kaizen Help Improve Your SEO Strategy

Meaning “good change”, it’s meant for making progress through small, incremental improvements. If your company is looking to improve boost website traffic, for instance, instead of the disruptive prospect of revamping the entire process and finding completely different methods, you would make small changes, one at a time.

This may seem slow but involves less risk. By making one change at a time, you can precisely track what was done and roll back anything that didn’t work for the best. Since nothing is ever truly perfect, and markets and technologies change, Kaizen is a methodology that can be applied time and time again to improve your SEO strategy.

Kaizen leads to improvement and increased profit in every aspect of the business.

The History of Kaizen

Kaizen was developed at the Toyota Motor Company in the 1950s to improve efficiency in car manufacturing. Their dedication to the system is summed up in their slogan: “Always a Better Way”. The brainchild of engineer Taiichi Ohno, it worked so well that it became known as the Toyota Production System.

The TPS was later adopted by Ford Motors, and later non-automotive companies such as Nestlé. The method has been put to use in many industries besides manufacturing, including banking, healthcare, IT, hospitality, in government, and other public and private institutions.

Kaizen SEO Strategy

Kaizen is more than a method for making improvements but lies at the core of company cultures oriented to constantly seeking ways to improve their operations. Implementing Kaizen to improve your SEO strategy in your own company comes down to the following concepts:

  • Making multiple small changes over time rather than committing to major, disruptive changes.
  • Making smaller changes requires less capital upfront, freeing up funds for other business requirements, such as marketing campaigns.
  • Being open to ideas less from outside “experts” but from your own employees, who know their job functions and needs better than anyone else.
  • By making your employees part of your improvement plans, you give them a sense of engagement and ownership that builds more loyalty and a stronger sense of teamwork.

Kaizen Principles:

Note that this doesn’t mean that implementing Kaizen to improve your SEO strategy should be a random process, nor something that requires round-the-clock attention. There are five crucial steps to the Kaizen method – the OPDCA cycle:

#1. Observe – In monitoring your own workflows and processes, it should be apparent where problems such as bottlenecks exist. First, take the time to understand what is happening, and why.

#2. Plan – Determine exactly what needs to be done to remedy the issue. Document the steps or solutions that must be put into action to arrive at this goal. In defining your expectations, do everything possible to maintain accuracy and integrity in your data and conclusions, and share them with the teams affected.

#3. Do – When fully prepared, you can implement the plan you came up with. For more complex or costly approaches, it’s helpful to test them first on a limited basis. Make the changes you need and start collecting data to analyze the results.

#4. Check – Review the results achieved, both in actual hard data and your team’s reaction. Compare these findings to your original expectations. If your targets have not been met, be prepared to iterate through the process again. Identify any points of deviation from the original plan. Make note of any steps that can be skipped and any unforeseen consequences. Verify that your team is in agreement before proceeding or rolling out the plan on a larger scale.

#5. Adjust – If your plan did not achieve your goals, or for any reason, you need to alter those goals, begin developing an updated plan. Establish new baselines for your data as a consequence of the original changes. If your checks show that the plan did not lead to detectable improvements, you have the option of returning things to their prior state and reusing the old baselines on the next iteration of the Kaizen OPDCA cycle.

Regardless of the outcome, by documenting the experience, you will have acquired new knowledge that you can use to improve your SEO strategy.

How Kaizen is Used in Business

In the Kaizen method, crafting an effective plan relies on considering “The Five Whys” which form a root cause analysis. This was a part of the Toyota philosophy from an early stage. The idea was that you must answer the question “why” five times before understanding a particular issue and forming a valid solution.

As an example, imagine that your unique content rich in keywords is not performing as well as you predicted it would. Instead of seeing bumps in keyword rankings, they are still not performing well, even after several months. In that instance, your “five whys” might be:

#1. Why are the keywords not performing well?

They don’t seem to be ranking at all.

#2. Why are they not ranking at all?

It seems they are not being crawled.

#3. Why are they not being crawled?

The robots.txt file seems to have errors.

#4. Why are there errors in the robots.txt file?

It wasn’t verified with the relevant robots.txt tester.

#5. Why wasn’t it verified?

Somebody skipped this step.

This approach will lead you to the root cause, for instance, that an intern skipped verifying the robots.txt file was error free, which lead to crawlers being unable to access certain parts of your website, so the new keywords were not indexed. A reworking of procedures might be the necessary fix to see that it doesn’t happen again.

Although it’s often necessary to discover who, where, and when at every juncture, the Five Whys is meant to be a lean process of discovery. The purpose is not to expend a great deal of time revisiting steps or assigning blame, but to determine and resolve the root cause as soon as possible and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Once a solution is found, the final step should always be sharing new discoveries and procedures with the team. In this way, new processes can be more smoothly implemented but also subjected to continuing analysis and improvement.

Kaizen OPDCA Model

The Kaizen OPDCA model, also known as the Shewhart Cycle, can be presented as a visual model to delineate and share the solution you’ve come up with.

Use Kaizen to Improve Your SEO Strategy

As the above example shows, the principles of Kaizen apply well when you are working to improve your SEO strategy. The process of continual improvement can increase site conversions and traffic. Kaizen is an iterative process that has the agility to benefit SEO in many areas as needed.

  • Links work best when they’re more descriptive. When viewers see where they need to go next, bounce rates are reduced. Linking between pages improves the SEO for both.
  • Regular use of meaningful subheadings is good for readability and SEO. But making them bold or colorful isn’t enough. They need to be delineated with HTML header tags or specified as subheadings in your CMS editor.
  • Keywords are one of the basics of SEO. In the past, the tendency was to squeeze in as many as possible, but this can lower page rank. Following Kaizen principles to discover which ones users are most drawn to will improve SEO.
  • When optimizing your top-level descriptors, keep in mind that headlines and titles are not the same The page title is what search engine algorithms are looking for and should also be specified in HTML. Catchy headlines are great for human eyes but put the keywords in your titles.
  • Keep in mind that the value of your content and its relevance to search engines is its ability to answer questions. The trend today, thanks to voice recognition techs like Alexa or Siri, is spoken questions and more natural patterns of speech. If you can determine what questions are being asked and present the right answers, your site becomes more relevant to the new generation of search engine algorithms.

Answering the whys and making incremental changes improves your SEO by clearing away the content that isn’t helping, and developing the content that people are looking for. One of the benefits of Kaizen is that it’s also an efficient way to keep updated as search engine criteria changes. SEO is a constant need that takes place in small, subtle ways; something that Kaizen methods are ideally suited to.

Through close scrutiny and testing, Kaizen will lead you to the most appropriate actions needed to raise your SEO to new levels. How would you use Kaizen to optimize your own website?

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Jen McKenzie

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer on Twitter.

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