SEO project management, much like any other campaign, requires a mix of art and science. It’s easy enough to sell your ideas and services, but what happens once the boss gives the go ahead or your client seals the deal? You may be the king of the SEO and SEM world, but if the project isn’t organized, your resources are overburdened and quality work isn’t getting delivered, chances are you’re going to lose that client.
SEO project managers are cut from a special mold. They need to be well versed in all things pertaining to the ever changing and complex world of SEO. They also need to possess various qualities to be a good manager i.e. people management, time management etc. SEO project management is in fact, more about making sure everyone is delivering quality work, rather than actually executing the tasks yourself.
Here are 5 steps crucial to an efficiently managed SEO project.
Step 0: Client Coordination
This is the one thing that must never be forgone. Rather than being the first step, this should be practiced at every stage of your project. Timely coordination with the client is what will help your project become a success. Run your ideas past the client before getting down to planning them out. Explain what you want to do and get his feedback.
Sometimes clients don’t really get the nitty-gritty of the SEO world. It’s your job to communicate and clarify his queries (even if they sound dumb), because at the end of the day, he is the one paying you. Talking to your client at every step will help build trust, which will lead to better understanding of what he wants the project to be.
Step 1: Break It Down
The second step to efficiently managing your SEO project is to define the goals. Goals should be clear and have one direction, e.g. “increasing the traffic on your website”. This goal can then be broken down further to form a strategy, e.g. “10% increase in number of visitors from social media platforms”, “8% decrease in bounce rate”, “5% increase in number of visitors from refferal” and so on.
The strategy can be further broken down into targets and the targets into daily tasks, and so, a clear hierarchy is formed. But, it all starts with defining the goal.
Step 2: Plan & Delegate
Once the goals have been identified and the strategy is set, now you need to plan out the various tasks that need to be done. This is also the time to set standards and benchmarks, which the output will be measured against. Planning involves setting up a timeline for the completion of the project, say 1 month, 3 months, 6 months etc.
Planning goes hand in hand with delegation. As the project manager, you must overlook all aspects of the task, but overlook does not mean ‘do it yourself’. Assign away to your resources – keeping in mind the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. Watch over them closely and keep an eye out for when they hit an obstacle.
Step 3: Project Management Tools
SEO project managers are old hands at technology. Using a project management tool, designed to solve the problems faced by SEO experts, can greatly increase efficiency. While following the hierarchy of goals -> strategy -> plan -> targets-> tasks, there is no need to manage it all on your own. Use a software and go down the automation route!
Most project management solutions are easy to use and explain (because you’d have to explain it to the team), keep your desk (and your head!) neat and tidy and best of all, they’re easily available over the Internet. Some of the most used solutions are:
Minterapp is a free online tracking and invoicing tool, meant for freelancers and startups. It keeps track of the time a user has spent on a specific project, then transforms that into an invoice, based on a predetermined (customizable) hourly rate.
Minterapp can be integrated with Basecamp, a project management tool, to track time spent on each project. Gone is the era of signing in, to let your boss know that you’re working. Simply use this tool and everything will be calculated automatically.
Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format documents and work with other people. Google Docs spreadsheets is the easiest way of keeping track of who’s in charge of what, which tasks are done and what’s remaining. Google Docs eliminates the need for the countless emails that go back and forth, with the same document or sheet edited a billion times, because it automatically updates the sheet or document, once it has been edited. Using Google Docs is easy – it looks so much like MS Office, it’s free of charge and it’s secure.
The white board goes digital. Trello is exactly like a white board, where you can add post-its and notes, except its digital – which makes it even better. Ideal for keeping up with the team and reviewing the progress, Trello is free of cost for startups and small enterprises. Trello goes further to enhance the communication aspect with its apps for both iOS and Android.
Step 4: Talk to your Team
An often overlooked part of a project is the team who worked on it. An important part of project management is managing people, and your team’s wellbeing should be just as important as the completion of the project. Make sure you talk to your team; that they come to you with a problem, rather than going around talking to each other about it.
Step 5: The Big Picture
Never forget what you’re working towards – the big picture. In fact, the SEO project manager needs to make this as plain as possible. Remember to review everything and hold regular meetings with your team – make sure they all know and understand what it is they all are working for. The SEO project manager is, by all means, the leader of the project and he needs to be resolute in making sure things are done – and done right, for that matter.
These steps may seem simple, but they are often overlooked and can potentially lead to a lot of challenges while completing projects. When followed with consistency, these can bring wonderful results, keep your team more committed, allow you to deliver extraordinary results.