On the occasions we talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we tend to talk about algorithms, content, technical factors and strategies.
But what about the SEO Managers/Strategists/Directors that do the day-to-day work? What about the people? What is it that an SEO practitioner has to do to ensure the site they are managing has the best chance of ranking for the queries they are targeting?
We are going to look at just what exactly an SEO does on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and even yearly basis. Some of the tools they may use and the work that goes into SEO campaigns.
Let’s find some answers to the question “what does an SEO manager do?”.
What Does An SEO Manager Do? – Daily Tasks
Here are some of the jobs an SEO manager does on a daily basis. It will not apply to all SEO practitioners but a good number will do this sort of thing everyday.
As search engines constantly change, so must search engine optimization.
If you do not want to be using outdated tactics then you have to stay on top of the latest developments in search. The only way to do this is by setting some time aside each day to keep up to date with industry changes.
Google alone makes thousands of algorithm updates every year. Some may not be visible but some can have a massive effect on website rankings. So SEOs have to keep up to date with what’s going on.
Checking Your Numbers
Setting SEO KPIs or OKRs is not too difficult but many different businesses will have different strategic priorities.
But on a daily basis for an SEO one number is very easy to check, the average search position in Google Search Console.
This can help you to spot a problem as it is occurring. You may also have a few core keyword terms that you keep an eye on each day to see how things are doing.
But one thing to remember is that “Google is going to Google”. Fluctuations are normal for SEOs, it is better to not overreact if you see a dip sometimes.
A lot of SEO is big picture strategic planning. But this must be broken down into small, daily actions to succeed.
Depending on your overall plan, brand, niche and resources your micro actions might be creating a new sitemap or changing some title tags around, writing new meta-descriptions or micro copy.
What Does An SEO Manager Do? – Monthly Tasks
Monthly tasks may include more complex actions where an SEO may need assistance from devs or designers. But there are also a few best practice style jobs that most SEOs tend to look at each month.
An SEO might monitor their “numbers” daily, but they would generally report performance on a monthly basis.
Reporting monthly gives you a larger data sample size and you also might even be able to see some trends in your data.
There are almost as many reporting tools as there are SEOs. SEOs could use a combination of Google Search Console, Google Data Studio, Google Analytics for actual performance data. They then might use tools such as SEMrush, MOZ and Ahrefs for broader keyword rank tracking and performance in search. As well as displaying things like backlinks earned.
SEOs may also report on wider goal and strategy progress as well as the granular performance data.
Link Building Plans
Building links is one of the biggest jobs an SEO can do. It can also be quite thankless at times. You may send out hundreds of emails and only get replies from a few. This can really depend on the content you are producing (see more later). But there are many link building tactics that SEOs can use, which we will not go into here as that is an article in itself!
But on a monthly basis an SEO may put together a prospecting list for sites to approach about backlinks.
Errors, Changes & Random Jobs
There are always things that pop up and need to be fixed over the course of a month.
Maybe an SEO might need to fix a sitemap, make changes to a robots.txt file or change a few title tags. Perhaps there are broken links that need to be sorted out. There are always jobs that pop up that need to be attended to.
What Does An SEO Manager Do? – Quarterly Tasks
Quarterly tasks for an SEO might involve some big audits, some content planning and some keyword research. Each of these tasks could be a series of articles so we will try to keep things simple and talk about the bigger picture for each of these tasks.
While an SEO might keep an eye on technical issues on a regular basis, full technical audits would be a bit more rare.
These audits would focus on factors such as core web vitals, site speed, mobile usability and issues presented in Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools (protip: do not sleep on Bing Webmaster Tools, it provides some good insights).
Tools like Screaming Frog and Google’s own Lighthouse function in Chrome can prove invaluable for technical audits. But paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs also have some technical audit capacity. You can set up regular technical reports from these services that will alert you to technical issues, including unforeseen technical issues that may come from site changes.
On-page audits can use some of the same tools as technical audits so an SEO might conduct both audits at the same time but maybe segment them in one report to other stakeholders in the business.
It is important to keep an eye on on-page factors as unforeseen consequences can come from website changes. Deployments the development team makes might impact SEO. For example you might see your robots.txt file deleted as a result of a change. Or your sitemap.
As for technical audits, it can be beneficial to set up alerts using paid tools like SEMrush or Moz that will tell you if something has gone wrong.
An SEO will be involved in the content planning process. How involved depends on the context they are working in. For example if you are an SEO for a SME, you might not only plan the content, but also write and publish it.
Written content planning involves a lot of ideation and keyword research. For other types of content, like videos or graphics, the process is similar.
Firm plans will then be placed into a calendar, though what form this takes depends on the SEO. Some might use a Gantt chart, others a spreadsheet. The important thing is that the plan is in place and daily actions can flow from it.
What Does An SEO Manager Do? – Yearly Tasks
On a yearly basis an SEO might look back over what has worked, what has not worked and make more plans for the next year.
Performance Reports (Again)
An SEO may not be working to a yearly plan but 12 months gives you a huge sample set of data to look at.
Looking at a full year of performance data is an investment in your future plans, as an SEO. You will gain valuable insights on your work. This helps sharpen and focus your efforts in the year to come.
Setting Targets & Objectives
If you are an SEO who does work to a 12 month cadence, then this might be the time to think about your objectives for the next 12 months.
The data gained from the previous 12 months can help to form objectives for the next 12 months. This can be valuable not just looking at your keywords, but the backlinks you may have gained. For the next year plan an SEO may get more ambitious about the types of links they target and the content they create.
Talk to MAQE
If you need some help with SEO strategy, or setting OKRs which we use to measure our progress, talk to MAQE. We can help you make data-driven decisions to help you not just move up in the search rankings but help you become a more effective, adaptable and profitable organization. Talk to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.