Most clients are amazed to learn how complex SEO execution is, and what a diverse team contributes to the campaign. This information is invaluable in helping you partner with the right agency, because it tells you exactly what to look for in terms of staff and the production process. If any components are missing, your campaign will not achieve optimum results, and could fail badly.
Who Makes Up an Agency SEO Production Team?
- Account managers own the client relationship. They conduct client calls and meetings, manage email communications, oversee and coordinate internal and external activities, create campaign goals with the client, communicate inputs and outputs, and own campaign performance results. They are highly skilled in project management and communication.
- Account coordinators support account managers in executing day-to-day activities. They are essential because an account manager without support would never have enough time to manage more than one or two clients at a time.
- SEO analysts are true SEO experts. They create the overall campaign strategy, select what specific on-site optimization and off-site optimization tasks need to get done to execute the strategy, analyze campaign performance, and refine strategy and tasks.
- The content team is responsible for creating the on-site and off-site content that supports the SEO campaign. Coordinators manage copywriters and editors, find and select industry-specific copywriters, acquire all needed content input for copywriters, fulfill content requests from all clients, and maintain copywriting and editing quality control. Copywriters produce all textual content, including new Web pages, articles, blog posts, press releases, infographic text, etc. Editors are responsible for reviewing and editing content, including substantive editing, fact-checking, and proofreading.
- The content marketing team is responsible for getting off-site content published and maximizing the SEO value of on-site and off-site content. Content marketing responsibilities include monitoring social media to identify authorities in client industries, researching industry-specific websites to identify good publishing targets, building relationships with these websites, looking for opportunities to earn links for client websites, creating topics for content, pitching topics and content assets to publishing websites, requesting content to be written, and submitting content to publishers.
- The Web team consists of a production manager, Web designers, front-end Web developers, back-end Web developers, and system administrators. They handle all on-site SEO work, including adding new pages to client websites, updating content on client websites, and performing a wide range of technical SEO tasks.
Being in a highly specialized niche, we didn’t think SEO would help us generate leads, and we are happy to report that Straight North proved us wrong!
What Does the SEO Production Process Look Like?
SEO campaign objectives and the specific tasks to accomplish them vary widely, but the structure of the process remains very much the same:
- Campaign setup consists of agency-side and client-side preparation and a kick-off meeting to define goals, set up campaign tracking, introduce key participants, and discuss any questions or concerns.
- Keyword research identifies the keywords to be optimized in the campaign.
- Competitor research provides insight on areas of strategic and tactical opportunity.
- SEO strategy creation supplies the blueprint that defines objectives, time frames, milestones and metrics.
- SEO task creation supplies a detailed schedule for specific work that must be done on a one-time or recurring basis to achieve results.
- Producing inputs for tasks is the process of collecting the information SEO team members need to execute tasks.
- Monitoring task completion is an ongoing task that ensures campaigns stay on schedule.
- Completing tasks is also monitored and communicated to other team members, as certain activities cannot begin until others are completed.
- Obtaining client approval when needed — for new content, website changes, etc. — is crucial for maintaining schedules.
- Monthly reporting involves collecting, formatting and evaluating key campaign data.
- Client communication involves reviewing reports collaboratively to both assess past performance and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Ongoing improvement is driven by the review process, which produces refinements in campaign objectives, strategy and tactics.
In SEO campaigns, the most difficult challenge is not figuring out what needs to be done, but instead how to get it done. Brilliant SEO strategy alone gets you only so far. Before partnering with an SEO agency, make sure it has the depth and breadth of skills, and a sophisticated enough campaign management system, to execute your strategy to perfection.