The Ultimate Guide to SEO Project Management

How can effective SEO project management impact your business? According to BrightEdge, a whopping 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. In addition to that, 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search and SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media.

Stats like these prove that search engine optimization (SEO) is big business, with more and more companies investing in SEO tools and expertise. In fact, SEO jobs grew six times faster than the US job market in 2018. 

Everybody wants to rank higher in the search engine results. But, securing that coveted spot not only requires skill and strategy, but also someone who can prioritize and oversee SEO projects and priorities. That’s where SEO project management comes into play. 

What is SEO project management?

It’s exactly what it sounds like: project management for SEO. It involves overseeing and coordinating any project related to SEO. Let’s look at an example project for some clarity.

Perhaps your company wants to evaluate all of your existing blog content and optimize your blog posts for popular keywords.

You could jump right in with identifying keywords and refreshing random blog posts. But, that sort of haphazard approach is bound to be counterproductive — not to mention stressful. You’ll probably miss some blog posts and you might even optimize several posts for the same target and cannibalize your own keywords.

It’s a mess. But, SEO project management brings some much-needed organization and structure to your SEO-related projects so that they’re as efficient and effective as possible. 

Why is project management for SEO so important?

There’s a lot that goes into an effective SEO strategy. There’s keyword research traffic and analytics reports, competitive analysis, backlink opportunities, and content calendars — not to mention all of the different factors that play a role in boosting search engine rankings.

Much like any other project, having a structured approach makes juggling all of these aspects a lot easier. Project management for SEO means that you and your team can: 

  • Prioritize effectively: There’s no shortage of keywords targets you could be pursuing. SEO project management helps you figure out what projects you should start with and how you can tackle them in a methodical way.
  • Deliver more successful projects: It’s easy to get lost in the weeds, especially when you’re up to your eyeballs in keyword research. Effective project management will always nudge your team back to the overarching goal, so you don’t miss the forest for the trees and waste energy on tasks that don’t contribute to the main objective.
  • Communicate better: SEO projects depend most heavily on the SEO team, but they certainly aren’t the only ones involved. Depending on the specific project, you might have to loop in the marketing team, web development team, or even the legal team. Effective project management keeps all relevant stakeholders in-the-know.
  • Work more efficiently: No more chasing down people for the keyword report you need or scrolling through email threads to find that list of backlink opportunities. Project management organizes project tasks and resources in one place, so everybody can find what they need. That means your team can complete projects faster. Speed is of the essence with SEO, especially when you consider that Google makes changes or improvements to the search experience hundreds (or even thousands) of times per year. 

What is the role of an SEO project manager?

Typically, an SEO project manager is the one who applies project management principles and best practices to a company’s SEO projects. 

The SEO project manager will define the project’s goals, map out the project plan and timeline, assign roles and responsibilities, monitor progress, and keep everybody on track. 

Basically, the project manager is there to ensure that the project runs smoothly and is ultimately successful — so that everybody else can focus on doing their best work, without having to worry about the project’s logistics. 

What skills does an SEO project manager need?

Again, the SEO project manager is the one who’s overseeing the ins and outs of a company’s SEO projects. 

Does an SEO project manager need deep knowledge of SEO? Not necessarily. In most cases, they aren’t the ones doing the nitty-gritty project work. However, at least a basic knowledge of SEO will help them create more realistic project goals, plans, and timelines. 

Here are a few other skills an SEO project manager should possess:

  • Leadership: Leading projects is no easy task, which is why leadership is often cited as one of the most critical skills for any type of project manager.
  • Organization: Project managers need to keep track of all of the project’s elements, including task and resource dependencies.
  • Communication: Project managers often serve as the liaison between various departments and team members.
  • Forecasting: From planning out project schedules and budgets to assessing risks, project managers need to be skilled at making estimates and assumptions.
  • Flexibility: While the goal is to stick as close to the project plan as possible, project managers need to be adaptable when the original plan needs adjusting. 

Those are some of the most desirable soft skills in a project manager but is by no means a comprehensive list.

In addition to the above, an SEO project manager should also have some familiarity with popular SEO tools, as well as a project management platform. 

3 top tips for SEO project management

Successful SEO projects don’t just happen — they require careful planning and management. How do you make that happen? Here are three best practices to implement, starting now.

1. Set a clear project goal

SEO can send you down a rabbit hole. It won’t be long before you identify dozens of keywords you could be optimizing for or a bunch of pages on your website that should load faster. 

This is why it’s important that you start each SEO project with a clear, measurable goal. For example, perhaps you want to boost traffic on a specific blog post by 25%. Or, maybe you want to secure 100 new backlinks by the end of Q1.

These types of goals give you something specific to work toward so you don’t get sidetracked. Additionally, it sets a baseline for success. You have something to measure against, so you know if your efforts are paying off or if you need to change strategies. 

2. Get comfortable with a structured approach

Remember, project management requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Gone are the days when your team could randomly choose a keyword or target and run with it.

Like any other shift within a company, this new method for tackling projects will take some getting used to.

Be patient during this adjustment, and be prepared to frequently remind people about the benefits of SEO project management. Yes, it might mean that you can no longer jump right into projects without a plan in place — but this organized approach will reduce frustration, confusion, and stress in the long run. 

3. Use project management software

Don’t try to manage your SEO projects with scattered spreadsheets and lists. Project management software will centralize communication and resources, increase visibility, and streamline your processes. 

Despite those obvious benefits, one 2018 Wellingtone survey found that only 22% of companies use project management software. 

Don’t be part of that statistic. Leaning on the right SEO tools and project management platforms will take a lot of stress out of coordinating your SEO projects. 

How to find the best project management platform for SEO 

You want to bring more structure to your SEO projects, and you know that the right project management software will help a lot. But now you’re wondering how you can find the SEO management platform that’s best for you.

We’ve pulled together a few aspects you should look for when evaluating project management tools (Wrike offers all of these and more, by the way). These features will not only benefit your SEO projects, but all of the projects your team is completing.  

  • User-friendly design: In order for your project management software to be effective, everybody needs to be willing to utilize it — not just your most tech-savvy team members. Choose a platform that’s intuitive and user-friendly so that everybody can use it effectively. 
  • Custom workflows: Eliminate bottlenecks by setting up custom workflows. These workflows can automatically assign a team member based on the task’s status. So, for example, once your SEO specialist has finished their keyword recommendations the content team will automatically be assigned to update the blog posts.
  • Various permissions: Maybe you’re completing SEO projects for external clients. Or, perhaps your company’s leadership team wants to keep an eye on these projects, but doesn’t need to actively participate. This is why it’s important to find a platform that offers different permissions levels. Wrike’s access roles allow you to establish permissions for your users. 
  • File storage and organization: From keyword lists to competitive research, your SEO projects will have a lot of resources and documentation. Look for a platform that will not only store that information, but organize it in a way that’s searchable and convenient. Wrike has folders and labels that make robust file management way easier. 

Take your SEO projects to the next level

Climbing to the top of search engine results pages is no easy feat, and it’s probably not going to happen by accident. You need a rock solid strategy and an organized approach to make sure you’re crossing off those tasks and reaching your goals.

That’s why SEO project management is so important. Rather than focusing on random keywords or losing track of backlink opportunities, you’ll tackle your SEO projects in a focused and orderly way.

The result? Less stress, more successful projects, and maybe even a better ranking with the search engines.

Painlessly manage your SEO projects with Wrike. Start your free trial now.

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