What is SEO project management and the connections between project management and SEO? Isn’t SEO just some nerdy technological wizardry that will increase visitors to your site?
SEO is a relatively new discipline that has exploded in popularity over the previous 5-6 years. Most individuals I know who are unfamiliar with the sector refer to it simply as “that SEO thing,” and who can blame them? As a result, project management may not be considered a key component of SEO. In truth, everybody who works in SEO knows that project management is a big and important component of what we do on a daily basis.
Based on our extensive expertise in the digital marketing arena, this piece contains a number of recommendations and suggestions for good SEO project management, with a heavier focus on the agency side of things.
Don’t forget to download the project kick-off checklist to assist you in beginning an SEO job with one of your clients! This is a thorough guide that answers a wide range of SEO TUTORIAL (and non-SEO) concerns, which we find quite helpful when getting started on a project.
Let’s get started with some basic questions.
What is SEO Project Management, and what does it entail?
Simply said, project management entails any SEO job. We define it as any day-to-day process that includes our SEO team planning, executing, monitoring, and finalizing work to achieve a specified objective within a defined period.
What is the significance of project management in SEO?
It would be hard to create a functional connection with clients without project management. From a stress and health standpoint to communication and expectation management, effective project management delivers a variety of significant benefits for your SEO team. Furthermore, it fosters a stronger bond with your customers.
What’s the difference between project management and SEO account management?
Unlike project management, SEO Account Management is concerned with the entire performance of an SEO account rather than a single project. While project management results are established by a set of goals, good account management is dependent on a positive client relationship.
In actuality, there is a delicate line between the two, and this piece also includes some account administration topics. We like to assume that project management is all about getting things done at the end of the day.
What abilities do you need to manage a project?
It all comes down to three key abilities:
Communication skills: Successful project management requires the ability to communicate effectively and concisely with team members and clients.
Organizational skills: Planning and monitoring activities, as well as coordinating personnel, are at the heart of every project management activity.
Time management skills: Every project has a deadline; adhering to that deadline is critical to the project’s success.
#1 A SEO talent is project management.
The ability to execute techniques isn’t the only factor that determines the effectiveness of an SEO campaign. Your ability to manage projects, people, clients, and external circumstances all play a role. Learning how to manage a project becomes increasingly important as your tactics get more sophisticated. A good project manager manages internal and external expectations, puts out fires, and works to secure buy-in on ideas.
#2 Make a strategy
SEO strategy may be complex, including a large number of stakeholders, including team members, clients, and other third parties. We at Distilled try our hardest to assess a project before we start working on it: it all comes down to having a clear plan of action.
This procedure is usually divided into the following elements.
The beginning of the project
This is the first meeting or phone conversation with the customer. This is the meeting that “kicks off” the project (or the partnership as a whole) and tries to cover a comprehensive list of subjects in order to gain a better knowledge of what should be delivered and how value may be offered.
Goals and expectations are discussed and frequently defined here, with a series of emails following to reaffirm what was agreed upon.
Having a clear list of points and questions to discuss at a launch meeting is beneficial: I prefer to be well-prepared, so I compiled a list of questions that we usually address in all of our assignments.
Are you curious to see what it looks like?
Our project management template includes a long number of SEO and digital marketing questions that we often ask at a kick-off meeting to assist us obtain a complete view of a project or client.
Pro tips: from the start, utilize a collaborative document to keep track of meeting/call notes; it will come in handy when you need to trace back what was discussed before. Depending on the connection and aims, this might be internal (shared just within your staff) or external (shared with the customer).
Internal and external catch-ups are held on a regular basis.
Regular catch-ups might be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, depending on what works best for you.
As an SEO consultant, I find that a combination of monthly and weekly catch-ups works best for me — something like this:
I would conduct an internal catch-up with the team during the first week of the month to review briefs, anticipated difficulties, and specify internal deadlines;
Following that, a weekly catch-up meeting, either a team meeting or individual meetings, is held to review current work, challenges, and provide a general update on everyone’s schedules and progress.
I would schedule a client call / face-to-face meeting once a week to provide a general update, review the state of our work, and answer any issues that had arisen between calls;
I would schedule a face-to-face meeting once a quarter to review the previous quarter’s work, discuss strategy, and plan for the account’s future.
I’d put together a slide deck to show to the customer (and any other parties involved) at the end of the project that looks back on the work completed and lays down the major findings and actions.
This is an iterative procedure that allows a project to be modified in response to changing requirements. It would be ideal if you could enter into a project with a complete and precise list of project requirements, but this seldom occurs.
Regular catch-ups provide you a clear sense of the big picture, no matter what changes or delays influence your project, so you can react appropriately.
#3 Make Use of the Appropriate Equipment
It’s critical to have the correct tools to manage your project, but there’s no need for a complex system. It’s vital to explain something before offering a list of tools and suggestions: advocating change and productive methods of working is part of our job, but it’s also worth examining the tools that your customer is familiar with or already utilizes.
They’ll regard you as an extension of their company, making change easier to implement.
These are some of the project management tools we use at Distilled.
Keeping track of time
We utilize a custom-built internal program, however there are a few more outstanding time-tracking applications available: Toggl, Hour, and Harvest all feature a free version with certain restrictions.
Document and file sharing
Most of our work is now stored on Google Drive: from Google Docs to Sheets, its offering makes it very easy to share any piece of work with others.
What are the primary Google Drive alternatives that we recommend? Dropbox is a fantastic tool that is quite simple to use with its desktop program; OneDrive by Microsoft is also a good option if you want to work with the Office suite.
Pro tip: Due to certain client restrictions on using any of the major tools listed above, I recently discovered Airtable, which functions similarly to a spreadsheet but has the capability of a database to help you organize whatever projects you’re working on.
Slack has completely transformed the market for internal communications: its well-organized structure makes internal communications so efficient that you’ll never want to use anything else. Forget about your cluttered inbox; on Slack, conversations take place in specialized places called channels.
Google’s offering for external communications is still extremely strong: Gmail and Google Hangouts are excellent options. In terms of video conferencing software, Zoom appears to have carved out a niche for itself, even though many of our clients continue to use Skype.
Should you approach your client again and suggest a different communication method? Maybe – what works for me is to prioritize the client’s preferred methods of working / platforms, and then perhaps recommend alternatives if there is a need / opportunity.
Slack has supplanted emails in many ways, therefore we utilize it as an external communication channel with select clients.
Platform for project management
Trello’s sleek and clear UI is a no-brainer in my opinion (my colleague Chris talks about Trello in his post here). Individuals and teams may monitor a project and work effectively using its system of boards, lists, and cards.
I prefer to create boards for distinct work areas, such as the one below, where I split my technical SEO assignments from content, analytics, and conversion rate optimization duties.
There are hundreds of Trello alternatives, however I personally prefer the following: Monday.com, TeamWork, and ProofHub are just a few examples.
What about when you’re dealing with programmers?
It is part of our responsibility to communicate efficiently with developers and assist them in “getting things done.” Jira is a popular project management application that many of our clients utilize. Other popular software I’ve come across in recent years includes Basecamp, Asana, and Youtrack.
#4 Collaboration is essential.
The success of a project is greatly dependent on teamwork: understanding how to operate well in a group is no laughing matter. Every project, like every team, is unique.
Even seemingly straightforward activities, such as briefing and quality assurance, might differ greatly based on the individuals with whom you work. The success of your project is determined on your ability to collaborate with your coworker.
It may take some time, but using people’s skills and shortcomings will pay off. Every project manager should strive to achieve talent balance.
How to evaluate the strengths and shortcomings of team members
Let’s be clear: there is no quick fix; developing team chemistry and assessing an individual’s skill set takes time.
The following are some handy methods I’ve discovered throughout the years:
Request input from others: you can get an idea by checking in with folks you’ve previously worked with.
Frameworks can help: models like the t-shaped model can be quite useful for assessing people’s knowledge.
Listen, watch, and simply ask: getting people to work on something they are actually interested in / skilled at will almost certainly affect the quality of the end product.
Appreciate the efforts of your coworkers.
We make every effort to foster a feedback culture, which helps our team members to work and improve in a more pleasant and efficient manner.
Being highly outspoken about work appreciation is a part of this philosophy: taking the time to praise someone’s employment, whether quietly or publicly, goes a long way. 15Five is a “continuous performance management package that allows you to coach your people as quickly as you sprint,” and it’s a great tool for this.
Managers spend roughly 15 minutes each week answering a series of questions regarding their own productivity and the mood of their teams. Managers, on the other hand, take around 5 minutes to go over all of the replies, which sparks meaningful dialogues that lead to better communication and overall working methods. It’s an excellent technique to assess weekly performance assessments and gauge workplace morale. The technology may also be connected with Slack, with a dedicated channel for public kudos:
#5 Within the team, knowledge exchange
I am a strong supporter of internal and external information exchange. In order to maximize the team’s potential and optimize our work, I urge my team to discuss results, deliverables, and news on a frequent basis for all of my projects.
Creating a culture of information sharing goes beyond project management, but it may truly assist with daily work and various issues, no matter what they are. One of the most effective strategies we employ is to keep all of our deliverables in one place — we utilize Google Drive to establish folders where we can save papers organized by topic.
What about sharing your knowledge with the client?
That is also crucial! I prefer to keep my clients up to speed on digital marketing news that I believe is important to the project we’re working on, even if it isn’t exactly SEO-related.
#6 Provide value to the customer
The client is the only one in charge. And by simply spending his money elsewhere, he may dismiss everyone in the organization, from the chairman on down.”
Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton
Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton
When we start managing a project as SEOs, we establish high criteria and KPIs for our clients, which might be pretty demanding.
As a project manager, it is my responsibility to ensure that the customer is pleased with our work while also trying my best to meet the predetermined SEO objectives. As a result, I occasionally have to do things that aren’t ideal.
Transparency in your initiatives is quite beneficial. When it comes to delivering the most value on a project, attempting to pitch customers on items they don’t need or just saying yes to everything they ask for may not be the best strategy.
#7 Know Your Resources & Tactics
You need to grasp the methods necessary to fulfill project objectives as well as the resources you have available before you can come up with your jobs. Time, money, bandwidth, and skill are all possible SEO resources.
The difference will be made if you have a clear strategy for the resources and strategies you’ll require. Because it’s difficult to forecast exactly what hurdles your team will face along the route, there’s typically some guesswork involved. When it comes to finalizing your plan, the more experience you have in the industry, the better.
For resource and technique allocation, we adopt a flexible method that varies significantly from consultant to consultant.
Personally, I like to base my decisions on the following:
Personal experience with comparable projects — self-explanatory. For example, if I’m planning a backlink audit for a site, I look into how much time and experience it would take to complete one for a site of comparable size and complexity.
If you need assistance, inquire within your team. Chances are, someone on your team has worked on a comparable assignment at some time in their career. Request comments and gather as much information as possible to assist you in making a choice.
Check your knowledge-sharing database — having a centralized spot where SEO deliverables are maintained is quite useful, especially when you need to plan a work that was previously completed for a different customer / by a different team. For this, I like to utilize Google Drive! Take notes from your teammates and put what you’ve learned into practice.
Allow a few hours extra for briefing and QAing — these are two very important aspects of any work. Plan enough time to thoroughly brief a task and examine any last-minute adjustments before sending a piece of work. It’s preferable for you to spend a few additional hours evaluating something than for your customer to waste time finding faults.
The following is a snapshot of our Google Drive folder:
Regardless of how technical our sector appears from the outside, project management is an essential skill for today’s SEOs. Hopefully, our suggestions will encourage you to make a few changes in your daily job or, at the at least, start a discussion about some of the topics mentioned above.
Here are the templates and seo framework provided by GRAVITY SEARCH MARKETING. Follow the link: http://www.yourseoplan.com/books/search-engine-optimization-hour-day/templates-worksheets/