The value of your SEO workflow — & how to make it better
The role of a website in today's connected world goes far beyond just setting up a domain and waiting for customers to come along.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that! And it’s when you’re sitting, staring at a chart that won’t move, that you start to see the importance of SEO workflow and task management. Hiring an SEO expert will help you bring traffic to your website by gaining visibility in the search engine results.
No two processes are exactly the same. In SEO, processes differ from site to site based on what’s most effective.
But here are some practices you can count on. A good SEO workflow requires:
- Well-determined goals.
- Skillful management.
- Rational analysis.
- Effective resource usage.
Now, that’s a recipe for some remarkable outcomes. When done correctly, an SEO workflow can increase organic rankings, boost traffic, improve conversions, generate revenue and achieve all of your goals.
It’s a lot of bang for your buck, but SEO isn't a one-person job. It's a group effort involving web developers, content creators, social media managers, and many other specialists.
With so many contributors to the process and so much going on all at once, you need a proven SEO workflow process. This will help you improve the way your SEO team works, get you faster and stronger results, and save time and money in the long run.
Let’s examine common SEO workflow stages in further detail in this article.
The benefits of SEO project management
When running an SEO campaign, it’s important to know exactly what you want to achieve.
The quickest way to fail at SEO is to get distracted by unnecessary things. Good SEO project management will help you stay on top of your game and get the most from your daily efforts.
But let’s delve into its advantages a little bit more:
- Well-determined SEO goals. A successful SEO project plan will help you clearly define your goals, identify priorities and cross-reference them all at once.
- The ability to constantly track results. Task management for SEO allows you to check whether you’re on the right path toward your objectives by monitoring the main metrics and helps predict outcomes along the way and prepare for future steps.
- Improve the efficiency of SEO processes. SEO project management improves efficiency by clearly defining roles and responsibilities, setting milestones, monitoring delivery and reporting results.
- Allocate resources effectively. One more benefit of SEO management is that it allocates resources effectively and ensures projects run smoothly and within budget.
- Automation of SEO tasks & workflows. Whenever SEOs get a task that's hard to manage in the day-to-day workflow, there should be an easy way to automate it. For example, you could use project management software like Trello to track progress, label and organize tasks, provide contractors with directions and ensure your site performs well during your project.
One great way to keep on top of best practices in SEO project management is to listen and read the experiences of others. For example, these SEO case studies show insight into how companies like Hotjar and Monday scaled their content production.
What is the SEO workflow?
SEO workflow is an organic navigation roadmap. It leads to the desired destination by bypassing numerous roadblocks. Or, if we’re speaking in human terms:
SEO workflow is a set of steps to reach certain results while working on a search engine optimization campaign. It allows you to simplify a more complex system into manageable steps.
By optimizing your SEO workflow, you structure your marketing campaign smoothly and efficiently.
This kind of workflow lets you quickly figure out the priorities of each routine — and estimate whether a particular task is worth your investment and what benefits it may bring to your business once completed.
An SEO workflow helps you organize your tasks and plan ahead so you can be more efficient and avoid spending unnecessary time on non-priority tasks.
Who is in charge of the SEO workflow?
There’s a lot to do in SEO, like:
- Performing regular analysis.
- Planning and setting up new campaigns.
- Tracking results of past and future actions.
- Automating all the tasks and workflows while opting for the right tools.
This broad portfolio of tasks belongs to a modern hero: SEO project managers.
Other than the responsibilities we mentioned, SEO project managers usually assign tasks to each team member and plan the time expenditure on those tasks. It’s up to them to push current projects moving forward and anticipate new tasks.
What skills should an SEO project manager have?
To be successful in the SEO project, the project manager needs three crucial soft skills:
These skills will allow you to find ways to optimize your company's website and solve problems.
Other major skills to lean on include:
- Project management.
- Quality control.
- Resource management.
You want to be a visionary who’s able to plan long-term strategies.
Moreover, the leadership and management skills of a modern digital marketing specialist should include data and analysis expertise.
Working with stakeholders is also important, which requires soft skills like communication and collaboration.
The specialist should understand SEO audit metrics and be familiar with SEO audit tools used to simplify the scope of work, like keyword and backlink research tools, etc.
The project manager should also know the team’s software. Understanding of peculiarities, advantages and disadvantages of different tools allows the manager to choose the most effective ones for a particular project and increase overall productivity.
For example, sharing knowledge about various outreach tools will improve email outreach campaigns and simplify the link-building process.
As a leader, they need to learn to:
- Give feedback on tasks.
- Present the company's objectives clearly and accurately.
- Quickly switch from one task to another.
- Have an eye for detail when reviewing precise submissions.
What’s more, a great SEO project manager should always be learning — with the goal of being an expert on all things SEO, including how to implement it alongside other marketing channels like social media, PPC and PR.
This means constantly investing time in taking new certifications, SEO training courses, and reading relevant content to stay updated. The definition of SEO is constantly changing and staying updated with how search engines view content is imperative if you want to successfully manage your brand's organic search presence.
The whole idea behind combining these different channels is to build a holistic approach.
What tools should an SEO project manager use?
Project management tools
All marketing-related professions use different tools for tracking leads, monitoring performance and KPI reports. This is natural and inevitable.
For instance, popular project management tools as JIRA and Trello let you create, manage, update and assign different tasks to different people.
They also help you to organize your project and make sure the job is done on time. Both JIRA and Trello offer a simple way to outline all your projects, tasks, and due dates in one central location, letting you stay organized and informed of deadlines.
Process documentation tools
An SEO manager is just one person — and all of those steps and tasks can’t just live in their head. To get the whole team on board, you need to be able to build effective SOPs.
But let’s face it, process documentation is no one’s favorite part of the job. Usually it involves taking screenshot after screenshot to fill up a google doc, or cringing at the sound of your own voice on a recording (not to mention the stop-start-stop again of it all).
Scribe does the work for you, so you can do your actual job. The step-by-step guide generator turns any digital process into written instructions — fast. All you have to do is:
- Turn on the extension.
- Go through your workflow.
- And watch the magic happen.
In seconds, Scribe creates a guide with text and annotated screenshots.
Data and analytics tools
Google Search Console and Google Analytics offer a lot of valuable insights into how your site is doing.
For example, these tools will determine how users are landing on your site, what keywords they're looking for, how many visitors you're getting from search engines, who your most valuable users are, and even how they interact with your site – all the information that helps you make informed decisions on how to improve conversion rates on your website.
Since the role of a project manager is to ensure the development of a product meets specific needs, you should also track KPIs.
For effective SEO analytics and metrics tracking, all-in-one SEO platforms would probably be the best solution as you don’t need to switch between various independent tools like keyword, backlink and competitor research tools and can manage several projects in one place.
For instance, SE Ranking’s SEO software includes:
- Tracking the real-time position of your website’s keywords and seeking the most profitable ones to rank for.
- Finding on-page and technical issues to immediately fix.
- Monitoring your backlink profile.
- Discovering your competitor’s most powerful keywords.
This saves major time and helps you keep those important metrics in one place.
SEO workflow stages
1. Outline your goals
If you want to win the game and not just play it, you need a plan of action that meets your goals.
But before coming up with an SEO plan, you need to know what those goals are. Goal-setting means determining what you want and outlining how you’ll get it.
Your goal could be to “increase the organic traffic to your site by 25 percent in three months: or “outrank XYZ competitors for your targeted keywords.”
When there’s no clear idea of what you’re pursuing, it’s impossible to make an effective strategy or set any reasonable timeline and budget.
2. Build the strategy
A successful SEO campaign requires a well-designed strategy that addresses the specific needs of your website and the goals you’ve set.
Start by breaking your goals into clear tasks, and then prioritize them in terms of complexity and cost.
Then, take some time to develop a plan for how each task will be carried out.
3. Identify team responsibilities
Once you’ve built a solid strategy, it’s important to identify who will be responsible for each stage in the process. This leaves no room for confusion or mistakes later on.
Another way to avoid failure is to clearly explain the tasks at a strategy meeting where you distinctly define roles and expectations. This way, the team can work together efficiently and produce higher-quality work without errors.
4. Launch the processes
Once you assign responsibilities, you can start launching your workflows and move toward completion.
- First, provide incentives for good performance.
- Second, actively monitor and review the progress of each process.
- Third, evaluate the success rates of the projects meeting their targets at different stages.
- Next, give feedback to the teams on results from previous stages so that they’re better informed about what they can do to improve their work plan in upcoming stages.
- Finally, move forward with continuity by optimizing these processes through innovation.
5. Measure the Results
Measuring the results of your SEO project is a crucial part of keeping track of how effective your methods are — and how far to go.
A comprehensive spreadsheet of all your metrics is a good place to start. That way, you can track your progress over time. This will allow you to determine whether your marketing efforts are working as expected.
Remember to measure the results after each stage in terms of the most important metrics to see what changes need to be made.
How to make your SEO workflow better
You'll get better results if you establish a realistic timeline (e.g., two months).
Timelines, deadlines, milestones, and steps are the basics of any project — be it building your new home or creating an effective content marketing strategy.
The ability to divide the project into phases and easily track your progress through them will make all the difference between success and failure, as well as give you the ability to compare the results versus what was expected.
Outline typical workflow for similar projects
The majority of SEO departments regularly deliver projects that have a lot in common.
Each project is its own animal, but most are very similar to each other and can follow a certain framework.
For example, improving on-page optimization, creating content, building backlinks, etc.
To simplify the process of outlining the workflow for each separate project, try to think about what they have in common and set a basic framework of tasks for each of them.
You might also want to use SEO process flow charts to visualize and simplify decision-making for common issues. Like this!
Match tasks with the team responsibilities
As the SEO manager, match your tasks with the team's responsibilities and determine whether they have enough knowledge and skills to accomplish them effectively within the given time frame.
Outline tasks based on the person's expertise and experience. In addition, discuss each task's timeframe and the possible pitfalls. Knowing these obstacles can help you prepare and save a lot of headaches.
Create tasks with a time estimate
When scheduling your tasks, you can use project management software like Jira or create a simple Excel sheet.
Jira is perfect for scheduling since it has time-tracking functionality and allows you to estimate the time in advance and set deadlines, which will let your team know how much time they can spend on each task. Furthermore, getting an overview of how much time your team spends on each task will help you understand how long it takes to do a particular type of task.
Encourage your team to be fully responsible for their own tasks
Micromanagement is a common practice — and it's also wildly unpopular. You don’t want to create a negative and unpleasant environment. Freedom and empowerment produce higher productivity and make everyone a lot happier.
Many managers are too hard on their teams when they should encourage them to do their best. At worst, it stifles creativity and decreases productivity. As a manager, you need to set the highest standard for your team but then let them perform on their own.
Working on repeat? Repetition is usually a sign of time being wasted on menial tasks.
This allows us to rethink and optimize our work process to make it more effective. So from time to time, analyze your daily work and try to automate it as much as possible, so you have more time to focus on your core tasks.
Fortunately, plenty of automation tools available nowadays can ease daily work. With software like Zapier or Jotform, you can automate your team's routine tasks and make them more pleasant for everyone involved.
And for the processes you just can’t automate? Automate your process documentation. Scribe cuts your time and effort in half — making it easier than ever for anyone to get the job done.
The value of your SEO workflow
SEO project management is one of the most challenging tasks for every SEO specialist. It requires considerable SEO knowledge, management skills and professional competencies.
But if you prepare yourself, you can prove the efficiency of your SEO project, easily track results, allocate resources effectively and automate repetitive tasks and workflows.
Project management consists of a large set of stages and tasks that one person — a project manager, coordinates.
We’ve highlighted five major stages here:
- Outlining goals.
- Building strategy.
- Assigning tasks to each team member.
- Launching processes.
- Measuring the results after each stage in terms of important metrics.
If you manage that workflow properly and take advantage of the right tools, you can produce better results. Follow these tips to create a smooth SEO workflow.