guest post by Jared Carrizales
If you're interested in sharing SEO information with others in a way that allows your talents to shine, then a case study may be the best way to go about doing so. A case study in our industry can be thought of as using the Scientific Method (you remember that from science class, right?) to display what you've done to complete a task. In other words, a case study gives a hypothesis, or statement of intent, and then it goes on to detail what tools were used to complete a task, how the task was completed and then what the outcome of the task was.
Basically, when you write a case study, you are documenting the course of events. And in SEO, this is also a great way for you to show off your skills. If you came up with a great way to get quality backlinks, document it with a case study.
If you were involved in a successful SEO campaign for a major client, document it with a case study. Think of a case study as an opportunity to not only brag about what you did and how you did it, but also to help others to do the same. Here are some steps to take to get you started on the right track.
Describe Your Intent Upfront
Before getting into the how you completed your study, consider what the study intends to show in the end. If you are writing a case study on some work you did with a client, you will want the case study to show how your actions either benefited or detracted from the client. If your case study is about a technique you plan to try, write about what you expect to happen and why.
Include Information Regarding the Participants of the Study
This portion of your case study should include relevant information about all participants of the study, including yourself or your company if needed. While you don't have to go into too much detail here, you should at least give a description of each participant that will allow anyone reading the case study to have a basic understanding of who did what.
For example, if you're writing a case study about your experience with helping a specific client, it would be important to include information regarding what the client does in general terms so that readers will have an understanding of how this information affects the study's outcome.
Include Information on Tools and Processes Used
Here, you'll want to include information about any tools, services and the processes that you used to complete the task. These may include proprietary software tools and specialized techniques, but be careful when laying this information out. You will want to give just enough information so that the task can be replicated or refuted, but not enough so that you give away proprietary information.
For instance, you can talk about how you used Special Software A to generate links and Special Software B for contacting a client, but this doesn't mean that you have to give away the specific pieces of code used to do so. As long as the reader can attempt to replicate your process, that's all the information you need to include.
Presentation and Analysis
Finally, you will want to wrap up the case study by presenting its results and analyzing them. This means telling the reader what happened in the end and why you think that it happened. This may be a good place for you to allow yourself a little bit of room to brag, as you can then tell the reader that your actions in completing the task helped it to become successful.
In turn, if you were unsuccessful in completing the task, now is not the time to save face. Try to be as honest as possible in your analysis, even if it means that your methods weren't successful. You may have a little bit of room to spin things, but don't go too far.
A few other things to include in a case study would be the dates of the study and its publication date, as well as your data sources. Recent dates and data sources will help to lend credibility to your case study, while undated studies and outdated sources will often be looked at with more skepticism.
Also, you can include other case studies in your case study, but be sure that they're relevant as well in order to ensure that your study holds water.
Once you've written your case study, be sure to show it off. You may want to place a link to any case studies you've published on your site so that potential clients can read through them, or you may want to make your case study or studies available for download.
Keep in mind that downloadable case studies can also be shared with other potential clients, making them quite valuable. No matter how you choose to share your case studies, however, always make sure that they are accessible, as this not only helps to gain potential clients, but it's also a great way to share information with the SEO community.
Your turn to sound off, have you created a case study? What was it about? What were your goals? I'd love to hear some real life experiences in case study creation.
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