SEO is a crucial part of your marketing mix. It makes your website more visible, which means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. If you are serious about your SEO efforts, you might want to build your in-house SEO team instead of hiring an agency. In this article, I'll briefly go through a suggested SEO team structure, and the skills that each member of the team should have.
In today's online environment, a well-functioning SEO team of should have the following combination of people and skills:
SEO manager - A person skilled in planning and communicating
For smaller companies or departments, a dedicated SEO manager may be redundant. Often this role can be handled by, for example, the marketing manager (if they have sufficient knowledge), or by the marketer/analyst role described below. It is natural for a larger company or a larger SEO team to have an SEO manager responsible for the prioritizations of the team, resource management, setting strategies, and acting as a spokesperson between management and the dedicated SEO team.
A vital part of the SEO manager's role is to talk directly to management about budget, goals and expectations related to SEO. As SEO is often a long-term project where it sometimes takes time to show the results of the efforts, an SEO manager must communicate this clearly and concisely.
Content creator - A creative writer who quickly grasps the concept
According to www.internetlivestats.com, about 7,000,000 blog posts are published each day. That makes it hard to reach through the noise online, and the person responsible for content creation must produce unique and stunning content to compete.
A good SEO content creator/writer must quickly grasp the concept of the topic and then cover all of it in one blog post or web page.
The content creator must also have the ability to create more than just plain text. That's not always enough today when Google, beyond unique and valuable text, also favours user experience. The content piece produced must be fun and easy to digest. The content must quickly catch the reader's interest and keep them on your website for as long as possible - and hopefully get the visitors to bookmark and share the content.
To create content like this, the content creator must think visually. Headlines, bullet lists, graphics, tables, widgets etc., should all work together to create a pleasant reading experience that leaves the visitors feeling educated and entertained.
Not all content creators have the ability to produce this kind of content, and if you find a person that's self-propelled in creating both good text content and excellent visuals, you should hold on to them.
For larger SEO teams, it's always possible to have a specific person handling the visuals of the article produced by a copywriter. To create great content, they need close cooperation so that the knowledge from topic research done by the copywriter is transferred to the person designing the graphics, illustrations, decorations etc.
Designer - A meticulous person with 100% focus on the user experience
Maybe a designer isn't the first position you think of when planning the composition of an SEO team. 10 years ago, an SEO team was probably more weighted towards individuals with more technical skills and people who can produce high volumes of content. But that has changed since then.
As I've already mentioned, the user experience of the content you create is of utmost importance for SEO today. If no one wants to read your content because it's not appealing, it doesn't matter how much time and effort you put into creating these great texts. Because if no one wants to consume your content, you're probably not going to be successful on Google either.
And that's why the designer plays a very significant role in the SEO team of today. Some modern and successful SEO agencies even have SEO teams where 75% of the members are designers.
Marketer and analyst - An analytical person with knowledge of the required tools
This person often initiates many tasks and actions connected to the SEO processes. They may research trends and demands to decide on future content topics. They should also be on top of all the data and use the insights they gain from it when planning upcoming content, looking for rising trends and discovering hot topics.
This person should continuously monitor the website's traffic to identify possible SEO issues and find areas where improvements are needed.
It's good if this person has a vast knowledge of digital marketing. They can then use data from different sources like social media marketing and paid search to improve the quality of the SEO forecasts. For example, impression data from Google Search Ads gives accurate numbers on monthly search volumes, which is harder to get from other sources today.
The interaction rates from your social media marketing could be used to understand how attractive and engaging your content is. Insights from these sources will give you more confidence that you are making the correct choices on which content to produce.
Web developer - Can build sites that make both the user and Google happy
Even though Google has become much better at handling different types of websites, structures, and technical issues, the web developer still plays a significant role in SEO.
If the technical setup of the site isn't optimised, you will lack SEO success. If Google can't index your content because of technical issues, you won't rank. If technical problems are causing duplicate content on your website, Google will probably downgrade your quality score.
Handling these technical issues often takes more time during the startup phase. When the overall technical SEO solution is in place, the success mostly comes down to the other parts like topic research, content creation, design, link building and analytics. You typically don't need a developer dedicated to the SEO project full time.
Link builder - Resourceful with good communication and negotiation skills
Depending on your SEO goals, there may also be room for a dedicated link builder on your team. This person specialises in building valuable links from other websites to the content published on your website.
Links are still essential in SEO, and to appear at the top of Google for competitive keywords, the site needs a specific authority primarily created through inbound links.
A link builder should be able to set up link-building strategies that suit your site. This person needs to be creative and have good negotiation skills. These qualities help when searching for and contacting websites of interest.
The job also involves ongoing monitoring and follow-up of new, existing and lost links. And since a particular volume of wrong links can actually "hurt" a website's ranking on Google, they also need to be on top of this.
If you're currently in the process of building an SEO team, or if you think your company will need one in future, I hope this article has been useful - if you've got any questions or if you'd like to talk about this topic further, feel free to book a meeting with me and we can have a discussion.
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