STAT is a medical term which means “right now”. The term “STAT” is derived from the Latin word “Statim,” which translates to “immediately,” and it denotes that order should be prioritised first since it is required promptly.
The basic idea is simple. Do the most critical things first.
Don’t delay the delivery of a medication because people are really sick and they need a medication extremely quickly. And make sure the order is correct for the diagnosis the doctor gave in a life-or-death situation. An example of a STAT order is “Benadryl 50 mg PO stat” for a patient having an allergic reaction.
While the diagnosis of a website and the SEO strategy implementation might not be a life or death situation, you also probably spend a lot of time implementing SEO tasks for website owners and clients whose time is valuable and who need to hit their revenue goals in the shortest time possible.
Whether you are implementing tech SEO recommendations or trying to figure out which activity takes priority, STAT can help you cut the unnecessary and focus on the most pressing issues.
But STAT is more than a simple medical term. It’s surprising to see how many SEO professionals prioritising tasks that generate zero impact, but until they get their lightbulb moment, they just don’t realise it.
Imagine being a doctor in a death or life situation and providing your patience not only with the wrong medication, but also with a massive delay, once unfortunately it’s too late. I heard about these stories a couple of times, given that my brother Francesco Tagliaferro is a Radiologist.
In the SEO world, it’s easy to get lost as there many things SEO audit tools report as errors that actually do not create any positive impact. Yes, they are good to fix, but wouldn’t it be better to prioritise the things that actually generate long-lasting and positive business impact?
STAT, if you apply it consistently into your SEO processes of implementation, is a way of organising your tasks and understanding the reason why some things can create a lasting impact and a quick action while other will not.
STAT applied to SEO can help you with this:
- Implementing things quicker
- Implementing what matters the most
Include all the context your clients need to act
Whether your are recommending a fix to technical SEO errors from an audit report or an update the meta titles and description on a landing page, STAT the priority list with your client or team by reducing the amount of work needed for the recipient to understand the message.
In other words, it’s about explaining why some changes and fixes are necessary without having to guess the importance of implementing a change.
This is a good example of what NOT to say:
SEO pro: “Hey, this is a list of errors from my audit that will need to be fixed.”
Presenting someone with a huge list of things to do will trigger a prioritisation on their side, without resolution. Alternatively, your recipient has to read your list of things to do and will come back to you with more questions than answers:
“Which one do we need to implement first?”
Then he’ll need to wait for you to make a priority list before implementing anything. This might not seem like a lot of work, but you’ll read the report again and provide recommendations on where to start from.
That’s when you probably get some clues using SEO tools reports splitting the tasks into “Errors, Warnings and Notices”.
Then your client implements what the SEO tool decided it’s a priority in no particular order, and no one know exactly how long it takes to see some SEO improvements.
Instead, give as much context as you can and do it in one message:
“Here is the list of SEO fixes we need to make on your website. I noticed that images are not ranking on Google images because they don’t have an Alt Tag. So I would recommend you start from those ones. Second, there are 23 pages showing a 404 error, they are internally linked and users are landing on those errors. It’s important we improve User Experience as this is a proven ranking factor”.
This kind of recommendation gives the recipient enough information to understand how to act quickly and the reason behind it, without having to send multiple messages.
By thinking about STAT when communicating with clients externally, we put “why” and the context inside our recommendations.
Put their business goals first
STAT puts the goal of the patient first, so it’s a natural fit for this method.
You probably conduct SEO audits and implement strategies for clients once a year, so it’s not too much to ask to be clear and concise. But the gold is what happens before you even give recommendations, which is understanding the clients’ goals.
Ask these questions, because they’ll determine the importance of each task and the urgency of it:
- What results do you need to achieve?
- What ifs your landing page conversion rate?
- How much traffic do you need to achieve these goals?
- What ranking growth do you need to see?
- How do you do that?
Then build this table and add answers to each question:
|What results do you need to achieve?||1,000 leads for 2023|
|What is your landing page conversion rate?||10%|
|How much traffic do you need to achieve this goal?||10,000|
|What ranking growth do you need to see?||Push these [keywords] in top 3 positions|
|How do you do that?||Fix internal links, external links, update content and refine keywords strategy|
But no SEO strategy, especially for large clients, is so simplified. Sometimes we need to know more about their business goals to prioritise the tasks. Sometimes, we need add a mix of tech signals, backlinks and content marketing to move the needle.
In these cases, you still want STAT and prioritise your tasks, and those of your recipients. Adding a backlinks campaigns to push ranking of top keywords doesn’t mean putting extra time to your SEO strategy. It just means the time to reach the initial goal is simply not realistic to begin with.
Reshape your SEO strategy for quick win results
An SEO strategy is put out there to help a website grow. Often, however, people working on a client’s website are not SEO experts. Even if they are, they probably have a million things to do at the same time.
That’s why it is not enough to just provide a checklist of tasks to be implemented. Your strategy needs to bring results in the shortest period of time.
Therefore, you should STAT your SEO strategy the same way you STAT your SEO audits. Organise your tasks so that they deliver value and traffic as quickly as possible.
In the example below, you can see how I split the strategy into phases. The first three months we’ll focus on that is most pressuring for the client’s site because they can have rapid impact. Then from month 4 to month 6, I implement tasks that don’t have such a strong impact and can wait.
|To do within 3 months - Fast Impact||Internal linking, Images Alt Tag, Fix critical errors, turn brand mentions into links, Optimise existing content.|
|To do within 6 months - Medium Impact||New landing pages, New backlinks campaigns, Structured data, Wider content audit and strategy, tech audit, Disavow spam links.|
|To do within 12 months - If resources will allow||EAT Improvements, Core Web Vitals, Server Log Analysis, Image optimisation.|
|No Impact||Delete old blog posts, fix notices and small errors, low quality backlinks.|
The benefits of taking this approach is that helps to focus on an area and drive growth in that area alone. It’s easier to work on one smaller part and get results than to work on big areas with a lot of moving parts.
We also know that in SEO, every small area – say internal linking – is a part of a connected system so improving that area brings necessarily an advantage to the next area – User Experience.
The sum of these connected parts will form your whole SEO strategy. The difference between focusing on random parts, or relying on SEO tools to tell you where to focus, and the STAT SEO strategy is simple. One is written from an SEO consultant who knows exactly what the website priorities are, the other one comes from a bot who doesn’t know.
When you know the business goals and priorities, you can focus on the most critical areas that require your attention. When you don’t, you are guessing and ignoring the data you should have known.
This is the same difference as bespoke and best practices. Bespoke SEO is the act of customising an SEO plan to the needs of a website and business. Best practices only tell you what worked for others, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for your business too.