If you really want to improve your company’s online visibility, reach a new audience, and grow your business online, then you need to implement SEO. That way, you stand a better chance of reaching your company’s target revenue year over year.
This is because the results from SEO compound over time, and is critical for any business that wants to become visible online in 2021 and beyond.
If you have an SEO team and looking for ways to manage them effectively, then this post will help you greatly.
In this post, you’ll learn why having an SEO team is just a means to an end, and not the end itself. Plus, after reading this article, you’ll know exactly what it takes to manage an SEO team using some proven tips and strategies from SEO experts.
To get the best results from your company’s SEO efforts, you should focus on managing your SEO team effectively. If you don’t, chances are that you won’t get the best results from implementing SEO for your business.
Below are some reasons why managing the SEO team should be a priority for your company.
Unlike some other industries, SEO changes really fast. The strategies that worked well some months ago, might fail woefully right now. By managing your SEO team, you’ll be able to notify them of new changes in the industry and map out strategies to navigate them successfully.
Companies are always on the lookout for SEO experts to work with. If you have an SEO team and suck at managing them, you might eventually lose them to your competitors. However, if you manage everyone on your SEO team as supposed, it’ll be difficult for them to leave.
It takes time before you start seeing results from an SEO project. In fact, you can start implementing an SEO strategy today, and it’ll take months before you get any traction from it. If you don’t manage your SEO team effectively, it can lead to spending even more time before you witness any tangible results. This is because getting new hands onboard into your team might lead to a constant change of strategy.
For SEO to work, you need to involve a lot of people. This includes content writers, content managers, link builders, SEO specialists, and so on. Without a proper content marketing and management strategy, you’ll most likely not get the desired results. And if each of these individuals doesn’t know exactly what to do at each given time, it could lead to chaos and misunderstanding.
As you can see, having and managing an SEO team will help your company greatly. Below are some proven tips and strategies, which you can use right now to get the best results out of them.
To have a good time managing your SEO team, make sure you hire only those who truly understand SEO and are passionate about it. This is because, without a deep understanding of SEO and what it takes to work, an employee could eventually make things difficult for you.
However, if you work with people that know SEO really well, you’ll be more efficient and can execute things faster. Not only that, hiring the best people for your SEO team enables you to have various approaches to solving a problem and a roadmap to navigate the challenges and difficulties that come with the SEO industry.
Kevin Indig, the Director of SEO at Shopify has this to say about finding and hiring the best SEO talent out there for your team:
“What really helps me is a mix of things: a strong network, a diverse set of candidates, good interviews, and a well-trained gut. Hiring talented people is a skill I was trained in, practiced, and I still have a lot of room to grow. It also helps to have candidates interview with a broad set of people in the company to get diverse opinions.”
He also recommends these specific platforms when it comes to hiring SEO talent:
- Twitter: Twitter seems to be the platform of choice for most marketers these days. So, if you’re looking to hire an SEO talent to join your team, you can get in front of the right people by using hashtags such as #MarketingTwitter, #SEO in your tweets.
- Slack groups: Slack groups have grown to become an avenue for professionals to socialize during and after office hours. On most Slack groups, especially for marketers, you can find top SEO talent to hire. Below is an example of a job post for SEO specialists on a Slack group.
Also, here’s a list of SEO communities on Slack that you can join.
- Emailing your network: You can simply reach out to your existing network to inform them that you’re hiring an SEO expert for your team. Chances are that you might find someone who knows and can recommend a candidate who’ll be a good fit for you.
- Reach out on newsletters: You can find top SEO talent on newsletters. This is because most people who sign up for newsletters are either interested in the topic you’re covering or actively practicing in that niche. Say you manage an SEO newsletter, chances are that some of your subscribers are SEO professionals looking for the next opportunity in their career.
Creating a memorable and easy-to-follow onboarding experience for your SEO team makes it seamless for you to manage them.
A typical onboarding process for an SEO team should entail:
- What the SEO project is all about
- Goals and objectives of the project
- The exact process for completing each task
- What to do after completing a particular task
- Who to report to once the task is completed
- How to track and measure the progress of each task
- What to do if anything goes wrong with the procedure
With a detailed process such as this, managing your SEO team would be much easier.
According to Steve Toth, founder of SEO Notebook, here are some of the things you should take note of when onboarding a new person into your SEO team:
Overview of the specific metrics you record:
Show the SEO team members the specific metrics that matter to your company. For instance, if you’re a SaaS company, that could be the number of free trials you’re getting, the pages that convert most for your business, and so on. Don’t forget to walk them through the dashboards that the company’s executives look at and the ones that matter to them.
Highlight of SEO priorities:
What are the most important things they need to succeed in your team? These include SEO tools you use, past projects that have worked well for you, and the future projects you’re working on in the company.
Information about the company:
Tell them about the company, history, and culture. This varies depending on where you work.
According to Steve, while working as the Head of SEO at Freshbooks, all new employees were mandated to work in the customer support department in the first month to better understand the company and customers.
Bigger picture of the company’s goals:
SEO is a business investment for most companies. Let your new team members understand what the goals of the company are. This will help them understand the business realities and make it easy for them to align the SEO strategy with the company’s goals.
If your team members don’t upgrade their SEO skills consistently, their knowledge of SEO will soon become obsolete. This is why you should prioritize making your team members more knowledgeable about SEO, through consistent learning and upskilling. That way, it’ll be easy to manage them.
If you’re working with beginners or intermediate SEO professionals, a good place to start is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. This will show them the different aspects of SEO and how it affects their work as an SEO professional.
Other ways your team members can learn more about SEO and get upskilled include:
Getting certified in SEO is another way to upskill your knowledge as an SEO expert. Irrespective of your team members’ SEO knowledge, there are certifications out there that cater to their needs.
Take, for instance, on Moz Academy you can get certified in different aspects of SEO such as local SEO, technical SEO, and site audits. Also, if you want to upgrade your knowledge of Google analytics, you can check out the Google Analytics Academy.
Listening to podcasts is a good way to upgrade your SEO knowledge and know about the latest happenings in the industry. Some podcasts you can check out include SEO for the rest of us, authority hacker, search off-the-record, voices of search, etc.
This is another great way of upskilling your SEO team members. Prior to covid-19, most SEO conferences were in-person. Now, that’s no longer the case. Some popular SEO conferences your team members can attend include MozCon, brightonSEO, Chiang Mai SEO conference, and so on.
Communication is an essential ingredient for managing any team. For an SEO team, if you don’t communicate with them regularly, you’re leaving room for a lot of errors and misunderstandings.
The reason is simple. With SEO, things change really fast, and you should always let your team know what’s happening.
Take, for instance, if there’s a Google algorithm update that affected your projects and rankings, you should quickly let them know about this. That way, you can map out the steps and strategies to recover from it.
According to John Bonini, Director of Marketing at Databox,
“A well-documented process is critical. For a technical function like SEO, it’s easy for teams and individuals to get lost due to the number of inputs and metrics you can track.
For example, left to their own devices, everyone on your team would have a different approach to keyword research, prioritization, and implementation. But SEO, in order to be effective, requires consistency––both in approach and in output.
A documented process that’s clearly communicated across the team will ensure that everyone shares the same starting point and will avoid duplicate efforts across the team.”
He also recommends the following communication tools for managing an SEO team.
- Google Docs: For creating and accessing processes.
- Asana: For managing projects that are already in production
- Databox: For monitoring and reporting the results
- Slack/Zoom: For real-time communication around ongoing projects.
When it comes to managing an SEO team, having the right tools and technology will make them more efficient, communicate better, and achieve your business goals and objectives faster.
For example, one good way to know how your SEO team is fairing is to track and measure your results. If you don’t provide your team with the tools to do this, chances are that you’d find it difficult to know what’s working for you and the areas to improve.
Brendan Hufford, an SEO consultant and founder of SEO for the Rest of Us recommends these tools for any SEO team.
- An SEO tool, like Moz. This is useful to quickly and easily get the team aligned on the opportunities available to pursue. If you’re resource planning, tracking rankings, or generally running an SEO team, you need an SEO tool to be on the same page.
- A content tool, like Frase. This is extremely helpful in crafting content all the way from the outline to checking the finished product to make sure you haven’t left any gaps in what you’re creating.
- An audience research tool, like Sparktoro. This helps answer the “now what?” that most SEO teams are left with after they hit publish.
- An asynchronous communication tool, like Loom. This helps professionals get their work done and reduces meetings as much as possible. It’s also invaluable to visually explain things to your team.
- A recurring meeting/tracking tool, like Soapbox. This helps you build a relationship with your team. With it, you can track and prepare your meetings in one location.
To get the best results from your team members, you should create subteams for each SEO process and delegate tasks to members of each subteam.
By delegating tasks to different subteams on your team, you’ll find it much easier to complete your SEO projects and achieve better results. So, instead of having one person on your team spread themselves too thin on different aspects of SEO, you have multiple individuals focused on getting results for the team in each subteam.
Also, you should avoid micromanaging your team members. This is because SEO involves creativity, and a lot of SEO specialists love to take ownership of their work and processes.
According to Steven van Vessum, VP of Community at ContentKing, it’s important to delegate your tasks and not micromanage an SEO team for two reasons:
- Get much, much more work done: If you keep micromanaging, then your team isn’t going to get much done and the most talented ones will likely leave soon.
- Bring in fresh and creative ideas and approaches: Not delegating enough and micromanaging kills creativity and forces people to think like you. That’s exactly what you don’t want. You don’t want another you, you want people that bring new ideas to the table.
He also recommends these specific steps to effectively delegate the tasks to your SEO team.
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): SOP is a document that shows your employees exactly how to complete a specific task from start to finish. For an SEO team, this should entail an outline of how you perform the main SEO tasks such as keyword research, link building, on-page SEO, content creation, and so on. Here’s an in-depth resource on how to write an SOP for your team.
- Be open about your SEO goals: Don’t just assume that your team members know the goals you want to achieve for your business and when. To successfully delegate tasks, ensure that your team knows what the goal is, and why that’s the goal. Also, let them know what happens if the goal is met or not.
- Give your team freedom: You don’t want your team members coming to you every time they have a challenge. This is why you should give them the freedom to try things out on their own and think for themselves. That way, they’ll reach out to you only when it’s necessary. Else, they’ll keep coming to you every time, which defeats the goal of delegating tasks in the first place.
If you’re managing an SEO team, you should strive to be a leader and not a boss. Just like E.M Kelly puts it: “Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says “Go!”- a leader says “Let’s go!”
When you manage an SEO team like a leader, you’ll have a highly motivated team that will find happiness in their job and be happier when doing it.
Below are some ways to show leadership when managing an SEO team.
Don’t be a manager who tells your team what to do and leave them to figure it out. This is critical, especially when managing an SEO team of smart individuals and adults. Make sure you’re always the first to complete assigned tasks, meet deadlines, and share progress reports.
Operate an open door policy and give your SEO team members an opportunity to advise and give suggestions on what you can do to improve your work, processes, and become more efficient in the business.
Your SEO team members will surprise you with great results and make mistakes too. You should provide them with feedback when necessary, and be objective when doing so. If any of your team members did an amazing job, praise them openly for it.
In SEO, it’s easy to jump into the rabbit hole. This is because there’s always something new to address as a team. It could be an algorithm update you’re trying to recover from, some keywords that you’re trying to rank for, or a technical SEO issue that you’re trying to solve.
Without managing your SEO team effectively, it’ll be difficult to focus and prioritize on the SEO tasks that’d help you grow your business.
With the tips and strategies mentioned in this post, you’d find it much easier to hire the right people for your team, build an SEO machine, set the right goals and objectives in place, develop your team, and achieve the results that matter for your business.
Which other tips and strategies are you currently using for managing your SEO team?