Building and managing high-performing SEO content teams

Shir Lapidot
By Shir Lapidot
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Romi Hector
Fact-check by Romi Hector

Updated July 20, 2023.

Building and managing high-performing SEO content teams

In a dynamic online landscape where content reigns supreme, setting up your SEO content team is essential. Below, we discuss what team structure is effective, the best practices for managing your team, and how to overcome unique challenges.

Key takeaways

  • Build a structured SEO content team based on resources and objectives.
  • Bolster management with clear communication, goal setting, and updated documentation.
  • Tackle challenges like aligning with client goals, managing writers, navigating delays, and creating content for niche markets.
  • Stay competitive with a culture of continuous learning, collaboration, and innovation.

Key roles and responsibilities within an SEO content team

The structure and size of your content team depend on your resources and what you want your content team to ultimately achieve. Consider that up to 36% of content teams consist of only 1-3 people, meaning you don't have to accumulate high content creation costs at first.

Below is our suggested structure for an SEO content team:

Infographic showing the different roles in an SEO content team

Their roles can be broken down as follows:

Team leader Oversees all the other roles in the team. Ensures high-quality content is delivered on schedule.
Data analystIdentifies high-potential content topics for ranking, clicks, and conversions. Uses machine learning and expertise to analyze data.
Content researcher Delves into the chosen topics. Formulates how to produce posts that outrank currently published content.
Content expertShares personal insights, lived experiences, and unique perspectives in content.
Editor Refines and transforms the expert's work into engaging SEO-optimized content.
Conversion rate optimizerExamines posts pre- and post-publication. Optimizes posts to ensure better conversions.

» Stay ahead by creating the type of content AI can't.

Best practices to manage an SEO content team

1. Effective communication with and between the team

Effective communication is the core of managing any type of team—even more so if you're operating remotely. It's important that everyone on the team understands their roles and has a clear vision of what they're working towards.

You can improve communication through:

  • Regular meetings: Meetings don't necessarily have to be daily but frequent enough to keep everyone aligned and sharing ideas.
  • Communication and project management tools: Platforms like Slack for instant communication and for project management are highly recommended. This ensures that everyone understands their tasks, deadlines, and priorities.

2. Establish clear goals for the team at every step

Clear goals go hand-in-hand with effective communication. Over 57% of organizations don't have a clear goal for their content, resulting in unsuccessful communication and content execution.

Naturally, the primary goal is to deliver all content on time. But beyond that, you can also have performance goals, such as ensuring published posts attract traffic and drive conversions.

You can set up clear goals by:

  • Establishing a communication chain: Communicate goals to team leaders, who then relay them to the rest of the team.
  • Breaking down goals into different stages: Starting with the end point and working backward can make it easier to manage a project. This way, you can set overall monthly goals and break those down into weekly and daily objectives.

3. Up-to-date source documents

Documentation is crucial, both for current employees to refer back to but also for new employees to learn. It can be difficult for newcomers to acclimatize, and things can often slip through the cracks, meaning you have to set additional time aside for corrections.

Useful documents you can have on hand include:

  • Style guides: This can help maintain consistency and high standards across all work produced for clients.
  • Content templates: Templates can include structures for different types of content, such as blog posts, landing pages, and social media posts.
  • Brand guidelines: This includes visual and verbal elements that define your company's or a client's brand identity, like logo usage, typography, color palette, and tone of voice.

How to overcome common challenges

Graphic of a content team holding up a trophy

1. Aligning with a client's goals

It can be challenging to coordinate your content team's and client's goals. It's vital to remember that to clients, their websites are their passion projects and they want to be involved in every aspect. So, maintaining professional standards while ensuring client satisfaction can be a balancing act.

Possible solutions:

  • Communicating openly with clients
  • Providing a roadmap for the future to help manage client expectations, e.g., outlining plans for the next three to six months

2. Managing expert writers

Managing writers—particularly those who freelance—can be a challenge, especially when they're unresponsive or have difficulty accepting criticism. This can influence your ability to meet deadlines.

Possible solutions:

  • Establishing clear expectations and deadlines from the beginning
  • Regularly communicating feedback to help keep writers engaged and motivated
  • Having backup writers ensures you stay on track if there are unforeseen issues with a writer's availability or responsiveness

3. Dealing with the delay between work and results

Often, the impact of your content efforts isn't evident until three to six months later. This delay can be challenging for clients, especially in the early stages when results may be minimal.

Possible solutions:

  • Keeping clients informed and satisfied during this waiting period
  • Regularly sharing progress updates and providing insights into the process
  • Emphasizing the long-term benefits of SEO

4. Managing clients in niche markets

Clients who operate in highly specialized markets have different needs. For example, a client has software they sell exclusively to airline companies, and the potential user base is 50 individuals globally. In this case, investing heavily in traditional SEO strategies may seem impractical. Plus, it can be difficult to find expert writers to produce specialized content.

Possible solutions:

» Discover what type of content is still relevant for your site in the age of AI.

Fostering continuous learning and growth

Graphic of a content team sitting at a table working on laptops

Staying updated with the latest advancements, especially with the rapid progress of AI-driven technologies, is vital to maintain a competitive edge.

1. Emphasize continuous learning

To keep up with the industry, it's essential for every team member to adopt a mindset of continuous learning. Learning should be a daily practice, with an awareness that new information and techniques emerge frequently. Encourage your team to read industry articles, listen to podcasts, and gather insights from diverse sources.

2. Foster collaboration and knowledge sharing

Encourage open discussions, brainstorming sessions, and regular sharing of industry insights within your team. You can also try hosting competitions and events to stimulate research and idea generation. By fostering a collaborative environment, you ensure that everyone contributes to the team's collective growth.

3. Establish a research and development (R&D) team

To balance the need for innovation with practical content production, establish a dedicated R&D team separate from the deliverables team. This team focuses on researching and developing new processes, methodologies, and tools. By having a dedicated R&D team, you ensure that innovation occurs without disrupting ongoing content production. This also helps to achieve smoother transitions when new methods are applied across the wider team.

» Learn the value of guest posting in today's content creation landscape.

Setting up your SEO content team for success

To thrive in the fast-paced realm of SEO and content creation, your content team must embrace continuous learning, adaptability, and innovation. Overcoming challenges like aligning with client goals, managing writers, addressing result delays, and catering to niche markets requires proactive strategies. Encouraging a culture of growth, collaboration, and knowledge sharing empowers your team to stay ahead of industry trends.

By nurturing these qualities, your content team can achieve long-term success and maintain a competitive edge in the dynamic landscape of SEO.