A successful SEO campaign isn’t just about keywords, content, and backlinks.
It’s about managing your efforts in a way that maximizes results.
That’s why SEO project management is so important.
You need a repeatable framework for boosting search engine visibility. It’s a must-have for agencies juggling multiple campaigns at the same time.
In this guide, we’ll reveal actionable strategies and workflows you can use to manage SEO projects.
- What SEO project management is
- Why you need it
- How to build an SEO strategy
- How to manage your team
- Implementing a plan of action
- How to streamline SEO project management
What Is SEO Project Management?
SEO project management is a strategic approach to planning, managing, and executing SEO campaigns.
From blogger outreach to technical audits, a lot of activities go into improving a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you run an SEO agency, you’ll already know how a successful campaign requires a team with diverse skill sets.
What newbies think an SEO agency does:
Sales + SEO
What an SEO agency actually does:
— Nathan Gotch (@nathangotch) November 9, 2022
SEO project managers need to make sure every tactic contributes to an overarching strategy to achieve defined goals.
Benefits Of Effective SEO Project Management
Effective SEO project management can make a significant impact on campaign success.
When each step of the SEO process is organized, the project is better aligned with its objectives. That leads to better online visibility and happier clients.
SEO project management helps you to keep track of performance. You get a clearer picture of the success of your campaigns and prove your worth with measurable results.
An organized approach ensures tasks are completed on schedule. It streamlines your efforts so that your team can get more done in less time.
Achieving Your Goals
You’re more likely to achieve what you set out to. Each step of the strategy is aligned with your goals. You can break down your long-term goals into more achievable short-term objectives.
Building An SEO Strategy
An SEO strategy provides a clear plan for improving online visibility. It helps you achieve consistent and measurable results.
Here’s how to build a repeatable SEO strategy:
Auditing The Client’s Website
The first step is to audit your client’s website. The insights gained from the audit form the foundation of your SEO strategy.
Evaluate how pages are organized, the navigation, and the overall user experience. A well-structured website makes it easier for search engines to find and index your content.
Audit the quantity and quality of the existing content. This analysis can help you identify content gaps and opportunities to improve topical authority and keyword coverage.
It should also include an analysis of whether existing content meets search intent and is optimized for SEO.
A technical audit uncovers any issues that impact how search engines crawl and index the website. It also covers user experience problems. That could include broken links, slow loading times, or mobile-friendliness.
On-page elements like meta tags, titles, and headings contribute to how search engines understand and rank a website. An on-page audit reviews these elements to ensure they are optimized for relevant keywords and accurately reflect the content on each page.
The final step is to assess off-page search engine optimization efforts. That includes comparing the website’s link profile to competitors.
You should also assess local SEO performance. Local citations and Google Business Profile optimization are key elements.
Establishing Goals And Objectives
The next step is to establish your goals. This will impact the tactics and priorities of the SEO strategy.
Your SEO goals should be aligned with the client’s overall business goals. Are you looking to increase website traffic, boost sales, or drive more in-store visits?
In a recent survey, marketers revealed their most common SEO campaign goals:
All these goals share one important similarity. They are all measurable.
Instead of setting vague goals, be specific. This will help keep your team accountable and focused.
You can break down your goals into smaller, measurable steps. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, your objective might be a 20% increase in organic traffic within six months.
Goals must be achievable. Be ambitious, but don’t overpromise to clients.
Establish A Process For Monitoring Progress
Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your progress.
Decide on specific metrics that will tell you how your SEO efforts are performing. Your campaign goals should determine these metrics.
The two most used performance metrics are keyword rankings and organic traffic:
You’ll also need to establish how often you’ll review your metrics. It could be monthly or weekly, depending on your SEO project goals.
Compare your performance data with the objectives you’ve set. This will reveal if you are progressing toward your goals or need to make adjustments.
Monitoring progress isn’t just about showcasing your wins. It’s about learning and refining your SEO projects for better results.
Keyword research is the backbone of your SEO strategy. And it takes up a lot of time.
In a Search Engine Journal survey, keyword research was ranked as the task SEOs allocate the most time to:
A systematic approach can make the keyword research process more efficient.
Start by brainstorming phrases directly related to the business. Think about the terms people might use to find and research the client’s products and services. These are your seed keywords.
Keyword Research Tools
Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to expand on your list of seed keywords.
These tools can provide insights into search volume and keyword difficulty. These metrics can help you determine if a keyword is worth targeting.
Analyze the keyword strategy of your competitors. Identify the keywords they’re targeting and any gaps they might be missing.
Understand Search Intent
Make sure you understand the search intent for each keyword. Is the searcher looking for information, trying to buy something, or comparing options?
This helps you tailor your content to match the intent behind the search.
Group your keywords by topic. This will help you create topic clusters and identify additional keywords you may have overlooked.
It will also help you avoid duplicate content and cannibalization issues.
Managing The Project Team
Like any project, managing an SEO team requires assigning clear team roles, communication channels, and expectations.
Here’s how to do it:
Assign Roles To Your Team Members
Different team members have different skills and strengths. Assigning clear roles ensures everyone knows their part in the overall strategy.
An effective SEO team is comprised of multiple specialists:
- Content creators
- Technical SEO experts
- Link builders
- Designers and developers
Being clear about who is responsible for each aspect eliminates any confusion. Each team member has a specific role.
Set Up Regular Meetings
Regular meetings provide a structured opportunity for team members to share updates and address any challenges. It helps keep everyone on the same page and aligned with the project goals.
The key thing here is to define the meeting’s purpose. Nobody wants to spend time in a meeting with no clear focus.
In a recent survey of professionals, setting clear objectives was ranked as the most important element for a successful meeting:
Send out a clear agenda beforehand to give your team time to prepare. This makes sure you address the key points and keeps meetings on track.
You’ll need to decide how often you need to meet.
Daily stand-ups work well to get updates on what each team member is working on. Set weekly or monthly review meetings to discuss strategy and progress.
Ensure Everyone Understands Their Responsibilities
SEOs need to wear many hats. You might be working on content strategy in the morning and structured data in the afternoon.
A good understanding of the different aspects of SEO is great.
But it can lead to confusion about who is responsible for what when team members are covering multiple roles.
An important part of effective project management is ensuring each team member understands their responsibilities. Everyone should have a clear understanding of their role and tasks.
In a study by Effectory, employees with high role clarity were more effective and productive:
Make sure there’s minimal overlap in responsibilities. This helps to avoid any duplication of effort.
It’s important to establish open communication channels. Encourage team members to ask questions and share any concerns about their responsibilities.
You can use Slack, Asana, and other project management tools to collaborate and communicate with your team.
Implementing A Plan Of Action
It’s time to turn your SEO strategy into a plan of action. It’s about turning ideas into practical steps.
Link Building Strategies
Backlinks are one of the most influential Google ranking factors.
Here’s how to put together a solid action plan for an effective link building strategy.
Set Clear Objectives
First, set clear goals for your link building campaign.
Do you want to increase your domain authority, rank higher for specific keywords, or drive more referral traffic?
Your objectives will guide your strategy.
Identify Relevant And High-Quality Websites In Your Niche
Not all links are created equal.
Look for websites that are authoritative and relevant to your industry. Getting backlinks from these sites will boost your ranking and website authority.
It’s not about getting as many links as possible.
A few authoritative links are much more valuable than a bunch of links from low-quality sites.
Identify where your competitors are getting their backlinks.
You can use competitor analysis tools to see which sites link to your competitors. This can reveal opportunities for your own link building strategy.
Reach out to bloggers and websites in your niche.
Personalized outreach is key.
You can use a template. But make sure it’s customized.
Cold outreach isn’t easy. You’ll need to send a ton of emails.
If you have great content to link to, you’ll start to get more responses and backlinks from blogger outreach.
Guest posting is one of the most effective link building tactics.
Offer quality content to other websites in exchange for a link back to your site. You’ll usually be able to place a link in your content and get a link in the author bio.
HARO is a platform that connects journalists with industry experts. Journalists post queries seeking insights for their stories, and experts provide answers.
If the journalist uses your answer in their article, you get a HARO backlink in return.
This can be a great way to get backlinks from reputable publications.
Creating Quality Content For Your Website
According to an Orbit Media survey, the average time spent writing a blog post is now 4 hours and 10 minutes:
And that doesn’t take into account keyword research, search engine optimization, and content promotion.
Even if you’re outsourcing content writing, there are a bunch of tasks you need to perform for every piece of content you publish.
Establish good habits in SEO 💡
Here’s an example. For every piece of content, create processes to:
✍️ Create a brief.
👨💻 Add tracked keywords & benchmarks.
📝 Add internal links from other content.
🔍 Annotate in GA and add to a segment to track.
📈 Analyse data and update.
— Andrew Charlton (@bertiecharlton) November 4, 2021
Having a systematic workflow can help you keep up with your publishing schedule.
Here’s how to do it:
Strategy And Planning
You should already have your keywords ready to go.
The next step is to decide on the content format.
Analyze the SERP for your target keyword. This should reveal the types of content that users want to see.
Are the top results listicles, detailed guides, or another format?
You should also look at the length and structure of the top-ranking content. What topics do they cover?
Are there areas you can expand on and offer more value to the user?
Use this information to develop a detailed outline for the content.
Creating a scalable content brief to provide clear guidelines to content writers. This will reduce the need for revisions and speed up the content creation process.
The brief should include:
- The objective
- Target audience
- Tone and style
- Main points
- Word count
- Primary keyword
- Secondary keywords
- SEO notes
Establish an editing process before you ramp up content production. Make sure a team member is assigned to edit each piece of content before publication.
You’ll also need to optimize the content for search engines.
Crafting compelling meta titles and descriptions can improve the content’s organic click-through potential. Include internal links to provide additional context and increase the flow of link authority.
After publishing content, you want it to attract as many eyeballs as possible. A structured content promotion workflow can help you increase content visibility.
Immediate Post-Publishing Tasks
Promote the content to the client’s email list and across their social media channels.
This promotion isn’t just for your new content. Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule shares of your best evergreen content.
You can also reach out to industry influencers and ask them to share or link to your content.
If budget allows, paid promotion can be a great way to boost the reach of your content. Social media ads and content syndication can help you reach a larger audience.
Optimizing For Search Engines With Technical Audits And Content Audits
There are two important audits you’ll need to perform regularly for SEO projects:
Technical audits and content audits.
Use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your website and check for technical issues.
These tools work like search engine crawlers. They explore your website and identify errors like broken links, redirect chains, and canonicalization.
You can also use Google Search Console (GSC) to monitor technical website performance. GSC offers a bunch of reports on crawlability, indexability, and usability.
Evaluate your existing content. Is it still relevant and valuable to your audience?
Google’s Helpful Content Update and E-E-A-T guidelines highlight the importance of fresh, relevant, and authoritative content.
A bunch of thin and outdated blog posts from 2011 won’t add any SEO value.
You can remove this content or update it with fresh statistics and information. This will help search engines focus on your most valuable pages.
If content removal is the best option, check if any backlinks point to the pages. Setting up 301 redirects can help preserve any link juice flowing to the page.
A content audit can also identify your best-performing content. Consider repurposing or expanding on these topics to capitalize on their success.
How To Keep SEO Project Management Streamlined
If you’re the SEO project manager, it’s on you to keep everything organized and well-coordinated.
Here are two expert tips for streamlining SEO project management:
Use Project Management Software
Platforms like Trello, Asana, and Monday.com can help you organize tasks, set deadlines, and assign responsibilities to team members.
These tools are super-helpful for tracking progress and keeping everything organized in one place.
✨SEO Project Management Tip✨
Include deliverable attachments and status updates (including your clients) in your PM software to keep everything in one place. This has been especially helpful for when there’s a new team member.
How are you tracking client work? pic.twitter.com/R1S4Os97aA
— Christina LeVasseur (Brodzky) (@cbrodzky) August 12, 2021
Not all project tasks are equally important. Make sure you prioritize tasks to maximize client results.
Outsource Your SEO Deliverables
The most effective way to streamline project management for SEO is to outsource.
You can outsource different tasks to specialists. This allows you to leverage external expertise and optimize resource allocation. And you’ll often achieve better results.
For example, if keyword research takes up too much time, consider a white label keyword research service. If link building isn’t your strong point, outsource to a specialist so you can focus on the things you do best.
Lessons I’m learning moving from being a freelancer to owning an agency:
– Improve your profit margins
– Outsource. Outsource. Outsource.
– Focus on what you’re good at
– Raise your prices. You aren’t charging enough.
– Imposter syndrome is real. Tell it to SHUT UP.
— Jason Vana (@jasonvana) March 4, 2021
You can scale outsourcing up and down as and when needed. It’s a great way to grow your SEO agency without the expense and risk of hiring in-house.
Scale Your Agency With An SEO Project Management Strategy
A lot goes into a successful SEO campaign.
But with the right project management strategy, you can make your processes scalable and repeatable.
That’s how you deliver consistent results and prove your worth to clients.