5 Steps to SEO Project Management Bliss

Woman in prayer stance concentrating on achieving SEO project management bliss.
When an SEO project goes awry, most of the time, it’s not the actual deliverables that are the issue — it’s the way the project was managed.

In this article, I’ll provide five SEO project management tips that we’ve found indispensable to client success. You can use these, too, to help make sure your SEO projects go smoothly.

  1. Have a repeatable process
  2. Set expectations
  3. Educate stakeholders
  4. Manage the project
  5. Report progress
  6. FAQ: How can I create a repeatable process for managing SEO projects?

1. Have a Repeatable Process

First, make sure that you are clear on your service offerings and approach, and how you are going to carry out the work. That way, you aren’t reinventing the wheel every time you sign a new client or start a new SEO project.

To be clear, I’m not saying that your deliverables should be cookie-cutter for each client or SEO project. But you need to have a framework for how you approach the work.

For example, your project template might include Step 1: kickoff call, Step 2: research, Step 3: SEO audit, and so on. This is a huge time saver that also ensures tasks don’t get missed.

Pro tip: There will always be some tasks within the scope of an SEO project that are repeatable. For anything that you use again and again, create a template for and/or automate it to save time.

For example, we have skeleton templates that we can run to set up various types of SEO projects in our project management software (we use Basecamp). Each contains dozens of steps with time-based to-dos that typically don’t change from client to client. Then we customize the rest.

2. Set Expectations

One of the main reasons projects go awry is that expectations were not set from the get-go. Whenever you start a new SEO project or sign a new client, have a kickoff call where you do this.

On the kickoff call, you might cover a variety of things that will ensure everyone understands the scope of the engagement, their roles, and any other details that are helpful.

If you are signing a new client, this is a good time to go over the contract verbally (even if they signed it and supposedly read it ahead of time). That way, there is no room for confusion.

You will also want to share when and how you will communicate about the project. If you are flexible, you can defer to the types of communication that stakeholders prefer, for example, email versus phone calls. Then, set a schedule for your regular touch-base communications.

And even though you may have already discussed in the past what stakeholders want out of the project, it’s important to dig deeper on the kickoff call. What are their expectations? How will you measure success?

On this call, it might be appropriate to also dig deeper into the questions you have that will impact the SEO project. If the kickoff call is getting too long, be sure to set up another time to interview stakeholders to get what you need.

3. Educate Stakeholders

SEO is one of those things that sounds like a different language if a person has little to no experience with it. If people don’t see the value in what you are doing, projects can go wrong — and fast.

That’s why at every opportunity, you should educate stakeholders. Explain in layman’s terms how the work you are proposing or the work you are doing is going to benefit them. Support your recommendations with search engine guidance.

Remember, different stakeholders have competing priorities. So you need to change the content of your discussions based on your audience (the marketing team versus the CEO, for example). But we firmly believe an SEO consultant needs to educate their client for the best results.

How you decide to execute the education piece is up to you. For example, here at Bruce Clay Inc., all our SEO consulting clients go through our SEO training. And we also use every opportunity to educate along the way, for instance, in our SEO audits, on our calls, and so on.

4. Manage the Project

Depending on your business or company, project management may look different. It might just be you running the show, or you might be collaborating with others and sharing the load.

Whoever’s doing it, make sure you are implementing good time management processes so that you deliver on time, and tracking milestones along the way.

If you are collaborating with others to get the job done, have regular team check-ins to make sure the project is going as planned. If not, you will need to course-correct.

It’s a good idea to use the right collaboration tools to keep things running smoothly. For example, you might use a tool like Basecamp or Trello to keep all the details and files of the project in one place. You might supplement that with Slack to send quick messages to others about the project.

If you are managing a team, make sure you all come together on a regular basis to share what you’ve done and learned with one another.

Remember that every person has a different personality, set of skills, and things they bring to the table. So you are not only managing tasks, you are managing people. And that takes good relationship skills, too.

For more, see 5 Powerful Soft Skills That Every SEO Should Have.

5. Report Progress

Earlier, I talked about setting calls at regular intervals to discuss the project. These monthly-ish calls are usually a time to discuss outstanding tasks, share any obstacles (we call them “stucks”), exchange ideas about the project and ask questions. You can talk about progress on those calls, too.

Regardless, you want to establish a framework for when and how you will report on progress. For example, at the end of every month and quarter, you might deliver reports that show the progress of the project and any wins. Then you can go over those in your regularly scheduled Zoom call.

Then, at the end of the project, you could create a more in-depth presentation that shows what you’ve accomplished. Whatever reporting method you choose, be sure to communicate to stakeholders that they can expect reporting and when.

Reporting not only shows the numbers but also helps keep the momentum of the project going and keeps people excited about the SEO work.

SEO Project Management Is Worth Mastering

You bring a lot to the table when it comes to your actual core SEO skills. But even top experts can fail at SEO projects when they don’t have a process, when expectations aren’t set, or when the project isn’t managed well.

Taking the steps outlined in this article can help you keep your SEO projects from turning into hot messes. For more, read The 3 Reasons an SEO Project Fails and How to Turn It Around.

Let us know if you need help with your SEO project! Contact us today for a free quote and consultation.

FAQ: How can I create a repeatable process for managing SEO projects?

Efficiently managing SEO projects requires more than technical expertise; it demands a well-defined and repeatable process. In the dynamic world of search engine optimization, where algorithms evolve, and market trends shift, establishing a structured approach is essential to ensure consistent success. Here, we delve into the key elements of creating a repeatable process for managing SEO projects, offering practical insights derived from years of hands-on experience.

To begin, defining your project workflow is a foundational step in developing a repeatable process. Break down the entire project lifecycle into distinct phases, from initial research and analysis to implementation and reporting. By establishing a clear roadmap, you provide structure for your team and set expectations for clients, ensuring transparency throughout the project.

Next, embrace the power of templates and checklists. These tools are your allies in maintaining consistency and avoiding oversight. A project-specific template can outline tasks, timelines, and responsibilities for each phase, while a checklist ensures that no crucial step is missed. As an expert, I’ve found that these resources save time and serve as valuable quality assurance mechanisms.

Communication is the cornerstone of successful project management. Regular and effective communication with stakeholders – both internal and external – is paramount. Schedule routine check-ins to discuss progress, address concerns, and align expectations. Doing so builds trust and fosters collaboration, which is essential for project success.

Moreover, an expert tip is to leverage project management software tailored to SEO. These platforms offer specialized features for tracking keyword rankings, monitoring backlinks, and analyzing on-page optimization. Centralizing project-related data and automating certain tasks will streamline your workflow and enhance team productivity.

Establishing a repeatable process for managing SEO projects is a journey toward consistent success. By defining your workflow, utilizing templates, prioritizing communication, and leveraging dedicated software, you optimize project management and elevate your reputation as a trusted SEO professional.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Creating a Repeatable Process for Managing SEO Projects

  1. Define project phases: Divide the project lifecycle into well-defined phases, from research to reporting.
  2. Develop a project template: Create a comprehensive project template outlining tasks, timelines, and responsibilities.
  3. Implement checklists: Design checklists to ensure no critical step is overlooked during project execution.
  4. Schedule regular check-ins: Establish a routine for communication with stakeholders to discuss progress and concerns.
  5. Utilize project management software: Choose specialized software with SEO-specific features to streamline tasks and data management.
  6. Collaborate effectively: Foster open and transparent collaboration among team members and clients.
  7. Automate repetitive tasks: Identify tasks that can be automated using tools or scripts to increase efficiency.
  8. Adapt to market changes: Regularly update your process to align with evolving SEO trends and algorithm updates.
  9. Monitor KPIs: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure project success and adjust strategies accordingly.
  10. Conduct regular audits: Perform periodic audits to evaluate project performance and identify areas for improvement.
  11. Document best practices: Create a repository of best practices and lessons learned to inform future projects.
  12. Provide training: Educate team members and clients on the established process and its benefits.
  13. Seek feedback: Encourage stakeholder feedback to refine and enhance your repeatable process.
  14. Ensure scalability: Design your process to accommodate projects of varying sizes and complexities.
  15. Establish quality control measures: Implement mechanisms to ensure the quality of deliverables at each phase.
  16. Stay adaptable: Remain flexible to adapt your process as needed based on project-specific requirements.
  17. Continuously learn: Stay updated with industry trends and best practices to refine your process over time.
  18. Leverage analytics: Use data analytics to gain insights into project performance and make data-driven decisions.
  19. Maintain communication: Keep stakeholders informed about project progress and any adjustments to the process.
  20. Iterate and optimize: Regularly review and refine your repeatable process to drive continuous improvement.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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34 Replies to “5 Steps to SEO Project Management Bliss”

This comprehensive guide on SEO project management is a treasure trove of insights for both seasoned professionals and those new to the field. The emphasis on project management being a crucial factor in the success of SEO projects is spot on.

Thank you for your article on 5 Steps to SEO Project Management Bliss

Effective SEO project management for your digital marketing efforts is huge. Ranking high in the SERPs is rarely achieved by chance, it takes a concerted and coordinated plan. Having a strategic plan means your team members are all working towards a common goal. Everyone knows their role and responsibilities in the optimization process.

Thanks for the helpful post. I will definitely be back to read more.

First of all thanks for the wonderful article. I found your article via google search. Its been very useful and help for our business. once again thanks a lot. Keep writing and inspiring! thank you

I am amazed by all the points you have shared. But famous entrepreneur Warren Buffet said “Keep yourself busy by bringing new ideas and innovations. Leave the technical word to the expert.”

I am sure rather than doing SEO by yourself, hire professionals.

I count on them

Wow, Thanks for explaining these 5 steps in detail

SEO project management allows tasks to solve in an easier and convenient manner but there is a need of expertise and experience while framing strategies.

I think every SEO project also needs a documentation process to see what was done, where and when. Then you can go back and look at how much work was put into what area, and what the payoff was.

Thank you very much sir for telling us about the Great 5 steps to SEO business management.

I read this full article and like it but the most I focused on is “SEO consultant needs to educate their client for best results.

I just visited your page and glad to read the content uploaded by you. I must say it is very informative and time saving content.

thanks for an amazing blog, people must read your blogs

your content is very good.

Thanks for the informative and helpful post, obviously in your blog everything is good.

These SEO tips are really amazing, I think you’re SEO father. I’ve applied these on my site and the results are amazing. I also love to read your other blogs on reviews and SEO.
Thanks

SEO project management entails the planning and coordination of any SEO-related activity. Technical audits, content audits, keyword research, content distribution, on-page optimizations, link building, SEO for video content, and other duties are prevalent in SEO efforts.

SEO project management entails the planning and coordination of any SEO-related project. Technical audits, content audits, keyword research, content distribution, on-page optimizations, link building, SEO for video content, and other tasks are common in SEO campaigns.

Thank you, Bruce. What has helped me stay on top of my projects as well is using project management tools such as Monday or Asana. Especially if you are working with a team.

I read this full article and like it but the most I focused on is “SEO consultant needs to educate their client for best results.

This is a great reminder that having a repeatable process is the key to profitability. Reinventing the wheel each time ends up costing unbillable hours.

Hi Bruce, thanks for the helpful article. I will definitely return to reading more.

Best blog for SEO management.

Hi Bruce, thanks for sharing this article. Good work.

a very complete article on the whole strategy. I’m bookmarking your page! It’s perfect, thank you

If you are signing a new client, this is a good time to go over the contract verbally (even if they signed it and supposedly read it ahead of time).

Well i have been learning and mastering SEO for quite sometime started back in 2012, that is the key with every online business these days, its a repetitive process, but the last 2 years is quite hell for me, every 2 weeks we get snippet issues, plenty of HTML5 updates, as a part of a big company we put more and more resources in adjusting more then ever, back in 2015-2020 it was ten times easier i guess the lockdowns contributed to the way the Google Algos works these days, huge flow of new websites, a total mess for Google to try and categorize every result for the client

Thanks for the read, had some fun reading it, i wish people who teach these stuff would talk about what you’ve said in the article instead of making everything look so simple…

Have a blessed week ahead Bruce!

An “SEO project” is, by nature, something that’s going to take quite some time to bring to fruition. Adopting project management methodologies into your SEO campaigns will help set them up for success by ensuring that every task is planned in advance and completed on time.

I read this full article and like it but the most I focused on is “SEO consultant needs to educate their client for best results.”

This article is a great summary of what you need to know about SEO project management. Short and to the point. Thanks

Hi Bruce, thanks for sharing this article. Good work.

Handling multiple SEO projects simultaneously is a hideous task. Nice article!

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