A growing number of small businesses today rely on the internet to acquire new customers for their business. This includes PPC advertising, social media marketing, SEO and content marketing.

Among these, SEO and content marketing are highly lucrative given that they are long-term strategies and are hence better investments. SEO and content marketing are also inter-twined and are sometimes inseparable. A well-executed SEO campaign can help you establish your business as an authority in the industry and can thus also bring in customers from other offline and online channels. Which is why you need a good SEO project management system.

SEO project management

Here is a quick guide to setting up a good SEO project management system for your small business.

Set up your goals

The first step in SEO project management is knowing what resources you have available and what you want to achieve with this. Goals are typically set for a quarterly period since this is an adequately long period to assess the performance of your SEO campaigns. For instance, if you have $10,000 to play with in a quarter, you may choose how you want to distribute this – should you spend a majority of this in the first month on content creation and spend the rest of the quarter building links to them? Or, if you are fighting a penalty, should you consider investing this money in an agency who can help you fix your SEO issues?

An SEO project manager usually starts a quarter by identifying the keywords they want to rank for at the end of the period. This is mostly over and above the main ‘money keyword’ your business is trying to rank for. For instance, if you are a carpet cleaning business in New York, your long-term objective would be to rank for the keyword ‘Carpet cleaners in NYC’. However, for a given quarter, you may consider focusing on a specific long-tail keyword like ‘Baby-friendly chemicals to clean carpets’ or ‘How often should you clean your carpets’. These are keywords that are searched by people in your target demographic and is thus highly valuable.

Create a project calendar

The next step is to build a plan that can be executed by your team. Gantt charts are quite handy for this purpose since they help render a lot of information in very few words. This gives your team members information like what tasks to focus on in a week, identify tasks that are overdue, prepare themselves for upcoming tasks, and so on. Check out tools like Teamweek that come equipped with free Gantt charts that can help project managers in this step.

Optimize your tasks (cost-benefit analysis)

One of the biggest responsibilities of a project manager is to optimize the tasks on hand so that they may be executed in the most efficient manner. This includes investing in the right tools and providers for the projects.

For instance, you may consider expanding your organization’s content creation bandwidth by outsourcing a part of your content creation to third party providers. You may also invest in tools like Mondovo and Nightwatch to monitor and improve search rankings.

Mondovo, for instance, has tools to help you with rank tracking, backlink analysis and keyword research to mention a few.

Nightwatch is another great product that comes with tools for rank tracking, keyword discovery and local rank tracking.

Perform a cost-benefit analysis to assess the operational efficiency improvement you gain through investment in third party service providers and tools and account for this while setting targets.

Analyze performance and repeat

Success in project management comes from analyzing your performance periodically and also in effecting the right strategies. At the end of each quarter, it is important to look back and analyze the projects completed in the period and study your performance. Have you been able to rank for the keywords you set out for? Have you acquired enough backlinks and published content that is authority enough to warrant the top spot? Did the tools and service providers you picked help in accelerating your campaigns?

Study your performance and derive actionable lessons before moving on to the next quarter.

Do you have an SEO project management system in place for your small business? What are some benefits you have gained from the process? Share it with us in the comments.