John Lincoln

How to Build the Best SEO Team (From Scratch)

How to Build the Best SEO Team (From Scratch)SEO. Sometimes it just feels like a digital marketing buzzword.

But the truth is, SEO is powerful and you need to build a strong team that will make the most of it for your brand or business.

Let’s talk about what type of people you need when building an SEO team that will blow other teams out of the water.

What is the Best SEO Team Structure?

This question probably has about a million answers. Depending on what you need and how large your site is, it’s going to vary.

My rule of thumb, though? Keep it small and steady.

You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s also true for building your SEO team. Find people who know what they’re doing and will mentor younger or less experienced team members. Build your team around these team players.

Internal SEO Team vs. SEO Agency

Can I say both here?

I think it’s very important, especially if you have large sites or a lot of related sites, to have a dedicated in-house SEO team member. 

This project manager can serve as a liaison between your agency and your management team. They will be the final say for SEO strategy so they should know their stuff.

But there are many advantages to bringing an SEO agency on board.

For example, an agency is going to have people of all layers of SEO expertise. Do you need someone to work on your off-page SEO? They have someone! Want to boost your keywords? They have someone!

No matter what project you want to take on, they will have a dedicated person or team who can accomplish the task quicker than an in-house person could learn it.

Necessary SEO-Specific Services

How you create your SEO team structure is going to depend on what aspects of your strategy you want to focus on.

If you have a small website, you don’t need as many people. One or two multi-talented people will handle your website needs. If you have a larger website, or you run a family of websites, you’ll need a bigger SEO team.

Regardless of the size and talent of your SEO team, every member should be open to keeping up with the ever-evolving world of digital marketing.

Web Development

When it comes to building up your technical and off-page SEO, you need an expert web developer.

If you are big enough to have a team, designate one person to be the lead person in charge of all technical aspects and maintenance. It’s important that they are experienced and knowledgeable. One wrong click and your entire site could come down.

When looking for your perfect web development team member, make sure they know the following software and keywords:

  • HTML
  • WordPress
  • Java
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • XML
  • CSS
  • PHP

In addition to knowing these basics, they should also be familiar with your hosting service and platform.

Content Creation

No matter what SEO strategies you use, your content is still king. Quality and well-written content bring traffic to your site. It’s also what makes them stay.

When working with content creators and copywriters, choose someone who really understands how to use keywords in ways that make sense in your copy, alt tags, images, graphics, and video content. 

If you have a small team, your content creators should know how to craft content that performs on your site and on your social media platforms. 

If you have a larger team, you can break those tasks out into different roles, including blog copywriter, social media manager, video production, etc.

Graphic & Web Design

As important as copy is, people are also visual learners. Your graphics and your web design are going to attract attention to your site. When you attract more organic traffic, you build authority, which only positively affects your SEO strategy.

When building your SEO team, pick graphic and web designers who can make images and graphics that are truly on-brand for your business. They should be engaging and entertaining. If you wouldn’t click on their graphics, chances are your audience won’t either.

Link Building

Off-page SEO is so important to your SEO strategy and it’s something many people miss.

This technical SEO team member is going to know how to build your website’s authority in a way that search engine indexers can’t overlook.

They will prospect links, connect with bloggers and other brands, work on infographic campaigns, fix broken links, and handle unlinked mention links.

They will also protect your site from negative SEO and fix it if your site should ever fall under attack.

SEO Team Structure

Now that you know what basic tasks you’ll need your SEO team to work on, let’s talk about how to structure your team.

At the top of the team, you should have an SEO Director. This person manages the team from the ground up, but they aren’t involved with the day-to-day running of your SEO strategy.

Next, will be the Digital Strategist. This person stays up to date on all the constant changes and new technologies in the SEO game. They will design the SEO strategy and tweak it when things aren’t achieving results.

After the Strategist, we have the Project Manager. This person keeps the project on track. They work closely with the Digital Strategist and delegate all necessary tasks to the appropriate team members. Working out of a project management system like, Asana, or ClickUp will be essential for the Project Manager to successfully complete their tasks.

Next is the Project Coordinator. This person is the Project Manager’s right hand. They provide support in any way that they can, including preparing metric reporting, assigning tasks, and writing content outlines.

After your Project Coordinator comes your Technical SEO Lead. This person is in charge of all the technical aspects of your site’s SEO. They keep up with website maintenance and ensure everything is functioning as it should.

After your Technical SEO Lead comes your Content Creation Lead. This team member leads your team of content creators, writers, and graphic designers. They will make sure your content is fresh and engaging while hitting all the required keywords.

If you are a large brand, you will need dedicated Social Media Managers. Social media is a whole different ballgame, especially if you’re active on multiple platforms. This person will stay up to date on the ever-evolving trends and make sure your content is working on each platform.

Necessary SEO Terms, Elements & Resources 

For your SEO team to function properly, you’ll want to dedicate the appropriate resources to their work.

Perhaps the most important resource for your SEO team is the use of project management software. Something like, Asana, BaseCamp, or ClickUp will keep everyone on the same page.

The Project Manager or Project Coordinator can assign tasks, share documents, and check in with other team members to be sure that everything is running on schedule.

You’ll also need SEO-specific software and tools, such as a keyword exploration tool, a site audit tool, and a search analysis tool like Spyfu or SEMRush.

Quality control tools like CopyScape or Hemingway Editor are also important. Of course, you’ll need a graphic design platform like Adobe or Canva to create outstanding graphics.

Other than fancy tools and high-tech software, what your SEO team structure really needs are team members who are great communicators, fast learners, and quick thinkers. Any SEO strategy is going to have a lot of moving parts. It will really benefit from a team that works exceptionally well together. 

Wrapping Up with Building Your SEO Team

Your SEO strategy is important, and it’s going to take a lot of work to perfect. It may be expensive, but what you invest here will pay off in the long run.

It’s important to remember that all of your team members are an extension of your brand. Make sure that they are knowledgeable, ready to learn, and value communication.

Still feel a bit in over your head? There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a small in-house SEO team that works directly with an experienced agency. Whatever works for your company!

SEO Team Structure FAQs

1. How big should my SEO team be?

This is going to depend on how big your business is. Do you have one small site? You can get away with a bare-bones team.

Are you running a large website or a family of multiple websites? You need a fully staffed SEO department. 

Not ready to hire that many people in-house? There are plenty of knowledgeable agencies out there that you can work with.

2. How important is my SEO team structure?

Pretty important. Your SEO strategy truly can make or break your site so you’ll want people who know what they’re doing working on it. 

Like any other team, you’ll want it to be clearly structured. Make sure all of your team members have a clearly defined role so that no task falls through the cracks.

3. If SEO is moving more toward content, why do I need a full web development team?

It’s true that SEO is moving away from technical tricks, but that doesn’t mean that your off-page and technical SEO aren’t still important. You need a quality web developer who will keep your page up to date and free of any bugs.

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Welcome to John Lincoln’s personal website. On this website, we offer courses by John Lincoln, review software, publish articles and videos. You can also learn about John Lincoln’s books, films, book him to speak and contact him. John is directly associated with many of the businesses mentioned on this website and freely discloses this information. 

About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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