I’ll be the first to admit that I have little knowledge of formal project management. While I cherish quality project managers and certainly know the importance of prioritization, stakeholders, and overall project management, it is not my job.
My job is to bring the best SEO strategies and ideas into an organization. Luckily for me, I have an entire team at AudetteMedia that includes skilled account and project managers, so I can blunder around with a lot of ideas in my head and not worry too much about how they’re organized.
But SEO is a unique discipline and requires very unique project management (PM) skills. Here are a few areas that make SEO uniquely difficult for project managers:
- SEO touches more areas of an enterprise business than most any other channel. Marketing, development, user experience, taxonomy, public relations, social media, branding, and even legal are all impacted, involved, or indirectly influenced by SEO tactics and strategies.
- SEO is successful when it is elastic and flexible. Strategies change rapidly.
- SEO is difficult to track and report on, difficult to monitor effectively, and can be slow to show results.
- SEO projects can sometimes take a very long time.
In my experience, working on SEO campaigns with multi-billion dollar enterprises, the project manager role is always essential, but usually not given nearly enough attention.
I have worked with some awesome PMs before, and sadly, I’ve worked with some pretty stinky ones, too.
All too often, the less skilled PMs will compensate by using a ham-fisted, brute force approach, even resorting to a generally pugnacious attitude to “get things done” at the expense of other teams.
SEO needs skilled project managers. In time, we’ll see this field develop and hopefully evolve into dedicated SEO project managers in the future. But we need skilled project managers that know SEO, because SEO is uniquely challenging and requires specific knowledge and experience.
Here are some reasons why project managers are uniquely important in SEO:
- They must take the often ambiguous “action items” of SEO teams and capture actionable next steps.
- They must traverse across departments, sometimes across departments they rarely interact with in unison (development and public relations, for example).
- They must “speak the language” of stakeholders and the SEOs; this can be extremely challenging.
- They must be able to comprehend and summarize complex ideas and strategies in reasonably simple terms.
What are your experiences with project management in the enterprise?
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