Structure an SEO team

1. Decide where in your organization the SEO team should be based.

For instance, new style SEO teams usually belong within the actual Growth team, but the SEO team might also be part of the Marketing, Content, or Technical/Development departments. If you’re a pure web player you’ll likely sit in a different part of the business than if you’re a hardware organization. Since SEO’s main function is to drive more acquisition for the brand they’re most likely to be part of the company’s Growth team.

2. Structure a cross-functional SEO team, including an SEO specialist, engineer or developer, designer, and copywriter.

The best teams working on SEO are formed with these specialists: SEO Specialist: This person should lead the team and identify the opportunity based on available data. That could include data on potential traffic from search, current rankings data, or technical audits. Engineer or Developer: You need great developers to make changes for you to improve the site. Designer: You want to make sure that the content or features that you put out will look amazing. Content: SEO needs a great copywriter who can come up with creative ways to formulate what you want either in the form of great articles, blog posts, translations, or optimized headlines. Make sure you hire top talent to run your SEO team and that you give them the right support to work on. This shouldn’t be teams that are just managing a channel for your company, SEO teams can provide strategic & creative direction if you set them up the right way.

3. Set a roadmap for your SEO team that includes website fixes, content and promotion, and analytics.

Divide the work of the team into three different areas. Depending on the business there might be some other functions that you need to think about too. But in most cases these three cover most of it: Product: This is everything related to your site that needs to be fixed. You might need additional pages, to do an extensive technical audit to fix all the flaws on your site, or you need a new site at all or change your URL structure. You need at least 1 developer for all of this. Content & Promotion: You’re going to need content, data, or whatever describes what you do in your business or your products. Sometimes this means working with third-party data such as marketplaces and ecommerce, or as a publisher with unique content that is written by editors then promoted. Subsequently, working with content involves working on promotional campaigns for that content to be successful. Analytics & Reporting: You need to make sure that you’re analyzing the right metrics, that you have the right tools for the other two areas to look for opportunities, and that you can potentially forecast using that data to see what value you can bring in the future.

4. Set primary and secondary metrics that relate to your company's business goals.

The primary goal for an SEO is driving more relevant traffic from organic search. Your secondary metrics drive that goal but won’t have a direct impact on the business. They include KPIs like crawl stats, link stats, quality of pages, and number of errors. Focus as much on the business metrics as possible to analyze the results of your campaigns and efforts. Metrics like #number of earned links and link value may not translate to how much revenue you bring, but they can serve as indicators if the revenue is growing.

5. Set a budget for the SEO team to use on tools and outsourcing any services that aren't available in-house.

To find keywords, they’ll need a tool like: ScreamingFrog Botify Deepcrawl SEORadar To keep track of link data and outreach, they’ll need a tool like: SERPmetrics AuthorityLabs Google Ads Keyword Tools For most companies, most money will be spent on their tools followed by content resources such as copywriters, designers, and videographers, as they are the ones you need to create the stellar content that improves SEO.

6. Collaborate with other teams to gain knowledge and skills that can support the SEO team's work.

SEO is not a single-team effort and may require the assistance of multiple teams, especially in a big company. For example, the engineer or developer on the SEO team may need help and support from other engineers within the organization. Or you may need to reach to the accounting team that can help you save budget on a tool. Or reach out to the infrastructure team to provide you with needed log files or anybody else that you might not work with directly. Use the PR & Marketing team to help with link research and outreach to prospects for link-building activities.

7. Educate and inform C-level and managers to boost support for the team and keep its goals aligned with the larger business goals.

The C level/top management can help raise awareness of what SEO can do for the overall growth strategy of the business and help direct the SEO team in what it can do to move the business forward. Use team reports to inform the top management what the SEO team is working on at the moment and how you think that is helping the overall strategy of the company/business.

8. Prioritize tasks for the SEO team based on building new resources that you know will work, improving existing content, and experimenting with new resources that you're unsure about.

Keyword Research: Start by finding out what your audience is searching for. You want to know if you’re ranking for certain terms within your niche, but you also want to know more about your opportunity. Check analytic platforms already used by the company. Check the Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tool to learn the ranking for certain terms within your niche. Technical Audit: Identify if everything is being indexed on your site as it should and if all the technical and product implementations that you can think of are implemented. There is usually a ton of opportunity here to either improve link structures internally or to add the proper tagging to the pages that are important for the business. Analytics & Reporting: As the SEO team is part of a bigger organization, it needs to follow analytics to gauge its own success but also to report to other teams and top management. Competitive/Link Research: Find out what kind of links and mentions would bring the business a competitive advantage. Are the current site links clean? What opportunities for content and media mentions are there? Can you go after them on your own? Do you need your PR & Marketing team to get this done? Use your keyword research & analytics/reporting data to progress with link research. Content Creation: If you can create content for potential new users or landing pages then this is where you’ll be spending a lot of time as you can target more search queries and potential users this way. Supply content creators with high-value keywords for which they can optimize content. Discuss content strategy with other teams in the company or include them in the content creation part.