By Daniel Bishop
Search engine optimization (SEO) might seem like a simple concept: you write content on your website that includes certain keywords, and you shoot up the search engine results page (SERP). However, there is so much more to it than that. Successful SEO requires a comprehensive strategy that involves several components working in harmony. Running an SEO campaign means keeping track of everything you’ve done, everything you need to do, and keeping to deadlines.
Without a plan, your campaign can quickly run off the rails. If you aren’t organized, you may miss key steps, miss deadlines, and altogether miss your targets for success. Project management is a crucial part of the project so that you can keep track of your day-to-day tasks, keep everyone on the same page, and meet your deliverables on time. Here’s how you can effectively manage your SEO project.
Create a Structure
Not all SEO campaigns are the same, but you can create a basis framework around how you run them. This way, everyone knows what to expect, and you can build your campaign around it. You can always tweak some things based on an individual campaign.
A very basic structure would be to start coming up with what your goals are, and what indicators you will use for success. This will lay the groundwork for everything you do going forward. Then, you can plan your timeline and get a sense of the size of the project. After that, it becomes a matter of delegating the work, creating a schedule with deadlines, and making sure that everyone on the team knows what their job is. As the project develops, make sure to also have someone to monitor the budget and deadlines. Finally, after the SEO project is finished, you will measure its success by the indicators you had already identified. Make sure to create a report that outlines what went right, what went wrong, and how the next project can work better.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
This part of your project may be more important than ever with so many people working from home. Having an Excel document and sharing that with the group is not efficient. You can’t properly communicate using such a document, and there may be issues with sharing and updating it as different people may be doing different things at the same time.
At the very least, you need tools for 4 different functions. You need a tool for tracking the time you spend on certain tasks of the project. This way you can see where you can improve on managing time for starters. This is also helpful if you need to bill clients for your time.
A communication tool may be the most important one of all. There are many tools available online, such as Slack, that allow you to quickly and efficiently speak with your team, share updates and information, and respond to questions immediately. There’s no need to wait for an email back, or chase people down with phone calls.
Document sharing will also be crucial. Email is not efficient, and updating can be a nightmare since you could end up with several versions of the same document floating around. Google Drive is a popular free option, however there are others, such as DropBox and OneDrive. Choose one that’s easy for everyone on your team to use.
You also need a project management tool. This is where you assign tasks, set deadlines, and also share work when signatures and edits are needed. There are many available online. Some are free, and some have premium features. Always make sure that your team is comfortable with the tool you choose.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When managing a project, you are not working in a silo. You are dependent on the work of your team, and they are dependent on you. The success of any project depends on how well a team communicates with each other.
This goes beyond simply sharing documents and updates. Talk to each other through your communication tools to let each other know why you have taken a certain action, and where you are on a task. Ask questions, get and give feedback, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. This can also help to keep connected on a personal level. If everyone feels like a part of a team and they are all pulling together, you will be more effective at initiating your project.
If there are other stakeholders, such as a client, your CEO, or partners, then keep them in the loop too. Keep them all apprised of updates, progress, and developments. You don’t want to talk to your client the day before a deadline and let them know there’s delay. They should know, on an ongoing basis, where you stand with the project. Make sure that you also understand what their priorities are for the project. What metrics are most important to them, and what timelines are crucial.
Understand Your Team’s Skills and Limitations
When developing an SEO project, you must have a firm grasp on what your team does best, and what it might need help with. For instance, if you are really good at creating SEO content, you may need a link building company to assist with that aspect of it. If you require specialists, make sure to get them on board as early as possible, and link them in with your tools so they are a part of the team. You may not need them fully connected, but just enough to get the job done and understand their place in the scope of the project.
Understand How You Can Reach Your Goals
Every SEO and marketing campaign will have different goals and different benchmarks. You may have a client that needs to see some results as soon as possible. This means that you will need to adjust your tactics to try to achieve that. It might mean more sponsored links, for instance. If you are an experienced SEO project manager, you will have a good idea of what strategies you can use for each type of goal you have, and what pitfalls and obstacles there might be along the way.
That’s why your reporting, as mentioned in the structure section, is so important. You can create records and a database of everything you’ve done in the past to help you in the future. If something has worked before, there’s a good chance it will work again. A problem that took you a long time to solve 2 years ago, may be solved immediately if you apply the solution you found back then. Record-keeping and learning as you go will help you to keep improving and make project management easier over time.
Project management is not something that just anyone can do. It takes organization, planning, leadership, and communication skills to do it well. Luckily, these are all skills that you can develop over time to be as effective as possible. Good project management provides many benefits, such as the ability to plan out your deadlines, allocate your resources, have control over your documentation, and keep everyone involved connected and updated at all times. It’s important that you, as a project manager, juggle everything to make the project a success. By using good project management tactics, you can achieve that goal while also delivering quality results for your clients.