5 tips to manage a SEO project
To run a successful SEO project, attention to details is extremely important. Since organic traffic must represent a big part of your traffic, securing steps during the project will be a key success factor. Whatever the scope is (website revamp, migration, regular optimisations), here are 5 advices that should allow you to better manage a SEO project.
As explained in this article, SEO projects can impact various teams (IT, marketing, communication, top management…) and they all have different expectations and different understandings about the way they can influence the SEO strategy.
If teams know how they can contribute to improve the performances, they should be more involved in the project. However, if they are not, you might find issues like the ones below:
- An unclosed tag and the search engines start to crawl non-existing pages.
- A fancy technology that will prevent the search engines to crawl a certain content.
- A semantic field that is not researched can be used while another one would be more relevant to rank the right keywords.
- A wrong categorisation of the products. For instance, 300 products in a single category while having more sub-categories would improve the UX and would allow the brand to have more landing pages that could create more organic traffic.
Therefore, whatever the scope of the project is, it is important to explain them the way they can influence the organic performances. Here is an example of a chart that I’ve done in the past when I was working for a e-commerce site.
As you can see, according to the optimisation a SEO needs to pass, various teams can be impacted.
Providing relevant SEO trainings and reaching the right people will be crucial to ensure that the project will be successful.
Implement SEO from scratch
SEO is not a matter of keyword stuffing. This is a strategy that should be set-up from scratch in order to make sure that the website or the new changes will be SEO-friendly.
During a project, several questions must be raised:
- Will the whole set of pages be accessible after the change?
- What will be the differences between the current and the new structure?
- Will the URLS be changed?
There are literally dozens of questions that could be raised by a SEO expert when it comes to modify a website and it is important to tackle them as soon as the project begins in order to identify the risks and the solutions that should be applied. Impacting the rankings with a change that is not SEO-friendly might influence the organic traffic and the turnover coming from search engines.
Audit and set priorities
To set-up a the right SEO strategy, it is mandatory to run a SEO audit on the production’s site or on the development one. It is hard to highlight the issues in a website without crawling it, especially when the number of pages is important.
For instance, most of the time, there is a gap between what’s accessible from the site’s structure and what search engines can reach. I’m talking about the number and the type of pages that users and search engines can access.
User-experience has been a trending topic lately. Why not improving the bot experience? The website below has a huge gap between the pages in the structure and the URLS that search engines can crawl which necessarily prevent the site to perform better because search engines will spend time scanning irrelevant pages instead of the ones that the brand wants to rank.
As you can see, a crawl of the website returns 659 URLS while Google indexes more than 7000 pages.
Identifying that kind of issues without a crawl and an audit would be impossible, which is why it is important to run analysis when working on a SEO project. A SEO audit will highlight technical and semantic blocking points and will aim at identifying solutions for each one of them. By giving a priority to each of the solutions, you will be able to set-up a roadmap.
Specifications are crucial to make sure that the team who will work on the change does it the right way. Adding new tasks in someone’s workload is always touchy. Making sure that this person understands the “why” and the “how” will make the difference especially when he or she is not familiar with SEO.
For instance, if you want to amend the headings, various teams can be engaged. Since there will be an impact on the front-end, the UX team should be reached to provide layouts so that you can meet the person who will have the final call to get the changes approved. However, since that kind of change is also code-related, there will be a need to write technical specifications for the IT team so that they can estimate the time required to amend the code. Providing them a before/after view will also help them to better understand the final result.
We used to say that SEO is a long-term strategy while internal (if you’re in-house) or client’s expectations might be different. To target a competitive keyword with a newly launched platform or a website that has a lot of issues will required some time to outrank the competitors.
A good solution here is to target middle or long-tail keyword at the beginning and to set-up a strategy using PPC to target the most competitive ones. Once the SEO optimisations will be passed, then the strategy can be amended to target premium keywords that will bring more organic traffic.
A SEO project without a proper strategy might not lead to powerful results!