You may have all the fundamentals down; you understand what it takes to be successful in an SEO campaign, and you have the experience to back up that knowledge. But just knowing what to do is only half the equation--you also have to do it.
The "doing it" portion tends to be a problem, and for multiple reasons. Some companies struggle to budget the funds necessary to execute a high-quality campaign. Others never get around to making SEO a priority. Still others have a good team in place--but because they don't operate at peak efficiency, they struggle with lost potential.
So why is SEO employee productivity such an important factor, and what can you do about your own team's efficiency?
Why an Efficient SEO Team Matters
You may not believe that your team's efficiency is such an important factor, but consider these effects:
- Overall ROI. Your company is paying a salary for each individual on your team. Accordingly, you can treat each hour of work spent by those employees as a small investment. On a micro scale, this may not make much of a difference; for example, spending 5 extra minutes at lunch isn't going to ruin an hour of productivity. But on a larger scale, an efficiency problem can reduce your employer's return on investment (ROI) for those workers by a dramatic amount.
- Alignment and consistency. SEO campaigns require your team to work together as a collective. They all need to understand the vision and mission of the brand, the intention of the campaign, and what your overall goals and directives are. If you aren't able to work together or communicate effectively, your team members may fall out of alignment, causing the campaign to split or be executed inconsistently.
- Emergency response. When your site goes down or if your rankings suddenly plummet, you need to know your team is ready to step in and start making corrections. If there are inefficiencies or delays here, it could cost you dearly as you try to restore order.
How to Spot Inefficiencies
It's safe to assume your team isn't perfect. So how can you tell which areas of productivity are actual problems, and worth taking action on?
These are some of the best tools for the job:
- Tracking. First, you can start tracking what your employees are doing and how they're doing it. Basic time tracking platforms like Toggl can help you see, high-level, what projects your employees are working on, when, and why they're doing it. Project management platforms like Producteev can give you even more insight, and help you see how your projects are getting done. And don't forget the communication factor--email analytics platforms like EmailAnalytics can help you understand when your team isn't communicating efficiently as well.
- Mutual transparency and feedback. It's also important to encourage an atmosphere of open feedback and transparency. Make your employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions on processes that aren't efficient, and speak honestly about why you've established certain rules or procedures. You'll likely get new ideas about how to improve productivity, and learn of issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.
- Experimentation. Don't be afraid to experiment with new tactics or new approaches. You might be used to a certain process or procedure, but if you've never tried anything else, you won't be able to realize its weak points. Only through experimentation and comparison will you be able to determine what methods work best.
- Audits. Occasionally, you'll want to audit specific processes and projects to see what went well, what didn't, and how you can improve. Set aside time to see how much time was wasted in communication, how fast the project was completed, and what (if any) mistakes were made along the way.
How to Improve
Once you've analyzed those inefficiencies, you can take steps to improve:
- Document your processes. Make sure you have a formally written operating procedure for all your primary roles. This will help you standardize your approach and offer a resource for new hires to more thoroughly understand your needs and expectations.
- Make your communications count. Communication, such as through email or in-person meetings, is likely your biggest source of time loss. Spending too much time communicating can cost you hours every week, and one miscommunication can set a project back by weeks.
- Provide real-time feedback. When you see someone improving, commend them in public. When you see someone falling behind, give them feedback in private. Real-time feedback helps keep your staff on course.
- Hold performance reviews and audits regularly. In addition to regular, in-the-moment feedback, conduct occasional performance reviews and audits. These are your best opportunities to set better goals for both individuals and your team as a whole.
It won't take much time or effort to notice when your team's productivity is off
, and take corrective action to improve it. These steps, if executed consistently and at regular intervals, can help you get more value out of every hour you and your teammates spend--and reach your ranking goals in a fraction of the time you could before.
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.