SEO is complicated enough without all of the “fluff.” There are endless opportunities to help your website rank, but you have to make sure that you’ve really mastered some of the basics before getting into anything too fancy. It’s pretty easy to determine what’s necessary and what’s advanced, but what about those smaller tasks that aren’t so crucial?

Many businesses don’t realize it, but there are quite a few SEO tactics out there that are only causing you more work. These tasks are sometimes created by third-party companies or are “leftover” from a past update that is no longer relevant. They may not be advanced, but that doesn’t mean that they’re needed. Sometimes all they do is take away from some of the most important SEO tactics; so the sooner you can remove these unnecessary steps, the better.

4 Tips to Cut Down on SEO Tasks That Are Clouding Your Vision

If you’re not sure where to begin making cuts, don’t sweat it because we did the work for you. We wrote an article on Search Engine Journal here a few years ago and said, “The extra aspects of SEO often occur when user experience and Google bots experience don’t match up,” and this is still true today. In 2016, below are some of the SEO tasks you can cut from your strategy to help you grow your visibility, social shares, and overall SEO success:

Cut down the information needed for your subscriptions.

You want people to sign up and/or subscribe to your website. Whether it be signing up for a free E-book, webinar, reaching out for questions, or subscribing to a blog, having a sing-up page (or what some call a “lead form”) makes it easy for users and it helps you, the company, earn email addresses and qualified leads. This is a crucial SEO tactic. However what is not crucial is asking a lot of information on these lead forms.

All you really need on these pages is a name and an email address, and you can worry about the rest later. You may be tempted to ask what types of emails someone wants to receive or what newsletters they want to subscribe to, likely because it’s recommended by some agencies, but it’s best to keep it short and sweet. You want people to not only fill out a form, but also actually stay on your page and look around. If you ask too much information, it turns people away, especially if they are on their mobile device. Once you have an email address, you can slowly get more, less crucial information.

You don’t need to check your traffic everyday.

This is a big time-waster that is unfortunately sometimes encouraged by agencies because it used to matter. Data can be exciting so it’s easy to want to check it everyday, but knowing how much traffic you earned yesterday vs. today is not going to do you any good. Unless you’re running a contest or something very specific, monitoring your traffic metric is really only needed once at the end of the week. This will give you more time to focus on initiatives that will help not only increase your number, but actually help that traffic convert.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to look at your traffic as specific numbers, but more as trends. If you see your graph go up, you must be doing something right and you should continue marketing the way you’re marketing. If you see a downward slope you obviously need to make some changes. This is a big reason why looking at data as more of a whole, so once per week, is better than looking at it day by day.

Avoid sharing indirect links on social media.

This was a great idea from Moz that is still relevant in 2016. When it comes to social media it can seem appealing to link to pages that have other links and advertisements on them and ways to bring visitors to the higher-converting pages. Thinking this way, however, can actually hurt your success and cause you to waste time. Social media is all about creating a community and creating trust between targeted individuals (as opposed to searchers on Google). You should therefore focus on linking directly to pages that answer a specific question or give straightforward information. Social media is not the place to try-out any runaround pages or anything tricky—you need to focus on staying direct and focusing on what really matters in the long run. Your followers will appreciate it.

Stop worrying about PageRank.

Worrying about PageRank can take up a lot of time. In the past this really involved redirecting traffic from some pages to other specific pages, all while worrying about link juice and where it’s all going when you guest blog. Some companies even go as far as to focus on paid ads in regards to what will earn them the highest PageRank. In 2016, this shouldn’t matter. Today it’s all about quality content and authoritative relationships. Advertisers and searchers know this, and this is what is going to get you ranked when it comes to Google.

Are there any steps that you’ve cut out of your SEO strategy that have helped you focus and stay on track? Let us know what has worked for you in the comment section below.