As much as I love SEO, there are quite a few tedious aspects to it. This is the case with most jobs; I’m sure even astronauts get those dreaded all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy vibes now and then.
I’m a devout believer in the idea that you should automate as much as you can and you’ll achieve more for your clients by virtue of having more time to get shit done.
Enter IFTTT, or If This Then That. IFTTT is one of my all-time favourite productivity and efficiency tools for SEO, and it makes my job much easier. I will now do a quick run through explaining it and highlighting why I think IFTTT so great.
How does IFTTT work?
IFTTT is a web-based service and mobile application that lets you create simple connections between the apps, services, and devices you most frequently use. If a given condition is met, then the service triggers an automation.
Originally, you could create connections, known as recipes, between just two devices, apps or services. Now, though, you can interlink multiple devices, apps or services using applets.
For any readers familiar with Excel parlance, a recipe/applet functions similarly to a macro—it eliminates the need to perform repetitive steps for common tasks.
Examples of general IFTTT automation:
- Save any picture you get tagged in on Instagram to your Dropbox account.
- Back up new WordPress blog posts to Evernote when they go live.
- Get an email or text message when the International Space Station passes over your house. (Yup, this is actually a thing!)
IFTTT SEO Recipes/Applets
You can either create your own recipes/applets or use any of the millions already made by developers and other members of the IFTTT community.
To make a simple applet, follow the simple instructions in the below video:
Here are some good choices for SEO:
Track Competitor Backlinks
Tracking competitor backlinks can help you identify link building opportunities, but manually keeping updated with new backlinks wastes a lot of time, particularly considering each of your clients usually has several main competitors.
Using a tool like Open Site Explorer, you can enter competitor URLs for your clients and generate an RSS feed for their “Just Discovered” tab. In an IFTTT recipe, you can use the RSS feed as a trigger and specify the output via Gmail. This way, you’ll receive an email automatically every time your client’s competitors get a new backlink, saving you lots of time over the long-term.
Track SERP Movements
Keeping track of SERP movements for client websites is another tedious SEO task that can eat into your time. Rankings are an important part of SEO reports, and this recipe adds all ranking movements to a Google Sheet for use with your reports etc.
To track SERP movements in IFTTT, first sign up for Visual Ping, which is a website change monitoring tool that is available with limited features for free and more advanced features when you subscribe to different pricing plans.
Turn on email notifications in Visual Ping, and track current SERP positions for client websites and blog posts. In IFTTT, specify the action trigger as emails from [email protected] in your Gmail account, and choose the output as a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
Monitor Brand Mentions
Conducting effective link building campaigns is an important yet sometimes maddeningly tedious part of SEO. There’s an IFTTT recipe I like to use that simplifies link building a tad by helping me keep track of when my clients get mentioned online. I then use such mentions to identify possible link building opportunities.
To monitor brand mentions, I use this pre-made applet, which sends brand mentions to Gmail. I then modify it so that the feed URL I monitor is an RSS feed taken from searching client names on Social Mention, which is a real-time social media search engine.
Just looking at the above three examples, you can already get a sense of how much time IFTTT can save over the long-haul. Consider using your creative side and try to make your own recipes based on the more laborious tasks you do as part of SEO if you want to become even more productive. Alternatively, trawl through the applet collection on the IFTTT website and see what ones you find useful.