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SEO is one of the trickiest parts of marketing. It’s not like paid ads that can give you an immediate ROI after the 7-day test period. With SEO, you’re waiting to see results for months. This makes running an effective SEO team different from running any other marketing division.
Your progress is slower, which means you have less room for mistakes. The wrong team and strategy could lead to months spent driving down the wrong road, only to find you need to turn around and start all over again.
That’s where the 10 commandments of managing an effective SEO team come into play.
Follow these commandments to get the SEO results you need to tap into your well-deserved traffic and conversions.
If SEO is a seed of an idea, we need to plant it in the right dirt to grow. If we put your SEO seed into the desert sand, it won’t make it. SEO can’t make it in any climate. It needs just the right temperatures, water, and nutrients in the soil to successfully blossom into a beautiful traffic and conversion tree.
To plant your money tree, you need the right team to help it grow.
But, you need to know what that right team looks like. Before you make a single hire (seriously, we mean a single hire!)—figure out what tasks need to be done and what results you’re looking for. If you skip this step and just hire random SEO experts, you’ll start driving down the wrong road…only to find out you’ve been going the wrong way for months (and lots of money spent) later.
Commandment #1 makes a lot more sense now, huh? First, you need to know what role you’re hiring for. Now, you can place the perfect person right into it. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you increase your chances of hiring the wrong person who doesn’t have the expertise you need.
Hire people with a proven track record of getting the results you’re looking for.
You don’t want to hire somebody who’s great at growing apple trees but doesn’t know the first thing about growing orange trees. Sure, they’re both great at growing trees—but if they can’t grow the tree you need…you’re in trouble. Use your descriptions of the roles you’re hiring for to make sure you’re hiring the right people who can prove they can get results specific to what you’re looking for.
What’s a marketing strategy without a spreadsheet? Non-existent. Once you’ve brought your team together, it’s time to create your plan. If you’re at Point A today, where do you want to be in 30 days, 1 year, and every month in between?
Your plan tells you if you’re on the right track.
This commandment cannot be taken lightly. Without a plan, someone might forget to water your tree, and all the hard work you put into turning it into a sprout could go to waste. Don’t plan to fail. Create a plan, so everybody knows where you’re headed (and how they plan to help get you there).
Your SEO team needs to thrive on accountability. Since you can’t pop out a new ad creative and see the results within a few days, you must be extra careful about the time you spend working on SEO. If your SEO team drops the ball on an initiative, you can’t get that time back. You could spend months waiting to see the results you’d hoped to have already.
Every team member has a lead role on an initiative.
As a lead, it’s their job to make sure the initiative is moving forward. They’re in charge of updating the spreadsheets with the necessary information, talking about the initiative’s status at meetings, and ensuring that it’s moving forward (and not getting forgotten when something shinier shows up).
You knew that meetings would have to be one of the commandments of your SEO strategy. Really, meetings are a commandment of all marketing. Marketing involves so many touchpoints, pattern recognition, and A/B tests that you have to mastermind with your team over it.
Use meetings to make sure you’re on track and improve your strategy.
Your SEO meetings make sure you’re following the GPS (and not accidentally taking a wrong turn that burns precious time and resources). They also make sure that you improve your strategy as you learn more about your audience, keywords, and content. Meetings aren’t the death of a business, as long as they’re productive and efficient.
With any marketing strategy, adaptation is your best friend. Rarely does a marketing strategy follow the exact guidelines set the first day it was established. Marketers live off of new information, using it to figure out that they’ll get more conversions if they turn their CTA button a different color.
Be willing to adapt your SEO strategy as you learn more about your audience.
Your SEO team has to be ready to take new information and apply it to your strategy. This is easy when each initiative has a lead who knows it’s their job to use these new learnings AND bring their latest data back to the team during your scheduled meetings.
Managing an effective SEO team means giving your team a chance to let you know where they see room for improvement. As the leader, it can be hard to see small inefficiencies holding your team back or places where you’re wasting small amounts of money that will add up to a big bill in the future.
Your team knows just as much as you do.
Give your team time to share their ideas based on how the strategy has panned out so far. Each team member has a different perspective on your strategy and can add valuable insight. But, they can only give you their insight if you allow them the time for it.
SEO is a long game. You can’t come into an SEO strategy thinking you’ll see results in a week. Sometimes results take months. This means that at the start of your strategy, your team will be building, and building, and building…without seeing results.
Create buy-in to be patient with your SEO strategy.
As their leader, you have to show them that you’re okay waiting for the results to come in. Don’t put pressure on them to create fast results and keep reassuring them that it’s okay you’re not seeing a boost in traffic yet. Leadership buy-in is crucial to keeping their excitement up for the incoming results (that WILL come!).
With patience comes the need for celebration. Let your team celebrate the small wins as you wait for the big results to come in. And when those results finally pour in, make sure to celebrate them. It took time, patience, and months of not seeing any results to get to where you are.
Show your team how grateful you are for their hard work.
Celebrate the small wins during your weekly meetings, even if it’s just finishing up a big part of the strategy or when you get your first keyword boost. When the big wins come in, make a point of thanking your team for their patience and dedication. Nobody will ever be mad at you for showing gratitude for their hard work.
An effective SEO team knows that the minute the results start flowing in, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. Results give you a brand new data set of traffic, page views, read time, sources, bounce rate, conversion rate, and more. All of this information shows you what your audience wants to see more of.
Use your newfound data to add fuel to the fire.
This data is the ultimate present for your audience. Use it to keep the momentum going and reach for that escape velocity moment when your SEO strategy takes off without needing any extra fuel. You’ve come this far, don’t let the rocket stop now.
These 10 commandments are the difference between spending time and money on an SEO strategy that doesn’t work out and one that makes you a massive ROI. They’re not worth skipping because SEO takes time. If you spend that time the wrong way, you’ll end up having to start all over again.
That means you’ll be waiting months or even a year to see the results you wanted.
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You don’t need to be that marketer or business owner. Use these 10 commandments to run an effective SEO team so you can see your products, articles, and website on the first page of Google—right where they belong.