SEOnerdSwitzerland 2022 with Montserrat Cano about SEO Project Management

How to make the most of your SEO work with Montse Cano

Here you find the transcript and a link to the youtube recording of SEOnerdSwitzerland meetup about Project Management for SEO, how to make the most of your SEO work with Monthse Cano.

How many times have we faced a project or a task and thought: “this is too much”, “too complicated”?

SEO itself is a complex discipline, as it involves a range of interrelated areas: technical, off page, content. Each of these areas can present their own complexities and a number of aspects to consider when attempting to complete them. On the other hand, marketing activity is usually planned at the beginning of the year, so that stakeholders have an idea of what channels and tactics are going to be used during the year and why. This means that many executives and other people in a marketing team or in the extended teams are used to project management to some extent, and may even expect it from every single area in marketing.

Knowing how to set up and manage projects well can help you in different ways, from completing your tasks and achieving your objectives, to helping you to increase internal buy-in and reputation.

This is what you learn with this talk:
– What’s a project?
– Benefits of project management
– Time management
– How not to make it daunting
– How to set you up for success

🔥 To support SEOnerd Switzerland, invite your friends to come to the next event and share this article.

Montserrat Cano, Consultant

Montserrat Cano is a seasoned, all-round digital marketer and project manager who specialises in integrating the digital marketing areas to maximise marketing and business results. Having started in SEO and content almost back in the dark ages of digital, her core skill is SEO, as well as PPC,CRM/ email and social media strategy and execution. Her focus and passion is on solving issues and building internal processes to handle and prevent them using data. Being bilingual English-Spanish, she has worked with brands operating in the UK and internationally in a range of niches, such as ecommerce, legal, membership, public sector, technology or publishing. She has also spoken at the eCommerce Expo and Measurecamp. In her spare time, she mentors other SEO/ digital professionals to help make the industry stronger.

Follow Montse on Twitter: @MontseCano

Follow Montse on LinkedIn: Montse Cano

Full webinar recording

Thank you Montse Cano for your presentation

💛 Thanks to our speaker, we are so happy to welcome you! Preparing a presentation and being present at the meetup take a lot of time.

SEOnerdSwitzerland is nothing without speakers willing to share their knowledge. I am happy we got to welcome Montse!

About #SEOnerdSwitzerland

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a non-profit association that aims at promoting and sharing knowledge about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEOnerd Switzerland organizes events in person and in webinars. 

🔥 Join the community of SEO enthusiasts by joining the meetup group. If you have any questions or ideas, contact the co-hosts, Sara Moccand-Sayegh and Isaline Muelhauser: isaline@pilea.ch.

Follow us on Twitter @SEOnerdSwitz where we share slides, nexts events and articles we enjoyed.

Transcript of the webinar about Project management for SEO

Sara:  Hello everyone

Isaline:  Hi there. 

Isaline:  Let me introduce SEOnerdSwitzerland, it’s about sharing SEO knowledge, and getting to know our guests, and getting to know you. But mainly, we want to make SEO knowledge really accessible. We do our best to record and share the presentations. You find them on our YouTube channels. And we also do our best to provide you transcripts of the presentations. And of course, if our guest speakers allow, you also receive the slides. So it’s really about learning. And in case you have any questions, you can always ask us at the end of this webinar or if the question comes later, [chuckle] just reach out on Twitter and– or just send us a mail, and we are happy to answer, if we can, or transfer your question to our guest speaker.

Isaline:  We have sponsors. So Sara and I, we work for free. It’s a voluntary work, but we do have fees for the softwares. Obviously, this is Zoom, and it’s getting expensive, you might have noticed, and also, for the transcripts. So one of these sponsors is Liip. It’s a web development agency based in Switzerland. Our other sponsor is Work in SEO. It’s a podcast and a job board 100% dedicated to SEO. So if you don’t know it yet, I’m going to share later the URLs, so you can check it out. And we have Season 2 of Work in SEO podcast that I am currently producing. So it’s going to be out in about two, three weeks, I think. 

Isaline:  Our next meetup is in March, I can’t remember the exact date, but I’ll check out as soon as I’m finished talking. We have Büşra Çlidaş. And it’s really about making tech SEO accessible and available to people who are specialized with the content. So do come, and also, invite your friends who are, for instance, copywriters because there are lots of good things that you can learn from this talk, as well, Büşra is fantastic. So you should come for her anyway. 

Montse:  Hello. Right. So first off, thank you very much to everybody who is here tonight after a long day at work. And thank you in advance to those who record– who watch the recording later, as I know some of you may not be able to come tonight. Now, making everything flow is a major life goal, isn’t it? It’s something that we all want to have in our lives. We all want to have in this life, no problems at work that may actually have a negative effect in our own lives. We need a way to help make everything flow. 

Next. However, how many times have we faced a project or even a task at work and thought to ourselves, “Oh, my goodness, this is too daunting, this is too much for me, I’m not going to be able to do it?” And indeed, every single project on task is very daunting or can feel very daunting, especially, at the very beginning when there is little time to do it, or even if they ask, is coming from way above yourselves. Someone in the executive board, who has taken a personal interest in your SEO audits or in your digital integration project. SEO and digital marketing, and marketing as a whole, are very complex disciplines that are in constant development. We all need to make a sense of the word, particularly, so that we can make a– we cannot achieve particular objectives, and also because our work is important for other colleagues, who may be able to achieve their objectives, if we actually achieve ours. So next. A little bit about myself. I’ve been working in SEO in digital marketing for donkey’s years, both as a consultant and employee. I’ve worked internationally and in roles, mostly in roles, where project management was a key aspect. 

Next. So today, I’m going to be talking about project management as a way to take away this uncertainty, that a project or a task, particularly, from a new one can actually have and make you achieve your objectives. I am going to talk about what’s a project, the skills needed, the benefits for SEO and digital marketing, and also, about the benefits of project management per se. Next. A word of warning though, this is not like coding with Python or internal linking or CSS, et cetera, et cetera. You should definitely go, and watch all those presentations and read those blog posts because they will make you advance in your career. You will make you grow as a professional. 

Project management is slightly different. It can be tough. It can take time, especially, at the very beginning, at the very end. But I promise you, it is all worth it. Next. And also some of you may be already applying these techniques. My job here tonight is to make you more aware of what’s available, and hopefully, inspire you to use them to your own advantage to achieve your own objectives. Next. And remember always what’s in it for you. You can deliver your projects or tasks more easily, achieve your objectives, also, more easily, get internal buy-in, raise your profile internally, which is so necessary for SEOs and digital marketers as well. You can advance in your career, and most of all, you can make your life easier. 

Next. But first things first, what’s a project? Next. There are different associations that look after project management and project managers, exactly. The PMI defines project management as delivering something of value to people. The APM goes a little further in their definition. They talk about, not just delivering something useful and of value to people, but about objectives, and about deliverables, and about a finite time scale and budget. And these are very, very important concepts as we will see during this presentation. Next. Every single project has a set of elements, because indeed, delivering something of value to people is very ambiguous, isn’t it? What is valuable to somebody might not be valuable to somebody else? Just think about your own day-to-day work. What it is valuable to your SEO director, it is not valuable to your contact director. Think about that. 

And for this reason, the project, for example, has a very strict definition. Not everything can be a project. The main project elements are resources, time, cost, and scope. Next. With those, we will achieve specific objectives, which is really, really important. And we will need to provide final deliverables. Everything has to be on the project documentation, which is a part of the– one of the five phases of project management. The first one is not what most people think it is. Most people seem to think that planning is the first phase, and it is not. It is– And it’s really, really important that you actually understand this. The first phase is conception and initiation. This is where we define project. And this is where we actually, say that the project is actually a project, because there are situations where a project– we call projects to a set of tasks, but they are not even related, and they are not– we don’t actually make them work towards a particular goal, is they are just a set of tasks. 

During the initiation project, the project manager does feasibility testing, and there are different techniques for them just to make sure that we actually understand that a project is actually a project. During this phase, we also do a project charter. A project charter is a graphic, where you set up all the objectives, and the purpose, requirements, business needs, et cetera, et cetera. So this is one of the most important phases. The second one is, indeed, definition and planning. This is where you set up a roadmap using SMART objectives or CLEAR objectives. CLEAR as in C-L-E-A-R. The other objectives are similar to SMART in the sense that they try to achieve everything that SMART objectives do, what they take into account collaboration, which is a very important aspect in a workplace these days as we know. During this phase, I would define the roles of the– and responsibilities of the team, and we make– as a project manager, we make communication plans, risk assessment plans, risk management plans, et cetera, et cetera. 

The third one is execution. This is where– This is the fun part, actually. [chuckle] This is where you do the task allocation, procurement, team development, et cetera, et cetera. And most importantly, this is the aspect, where you modify the project plan if needed. So say, you’ve got a big project to enhance the visibility of your organization, the online visibility. And you set up three different options, two different aspects of it. One of them is looking into the CRM, another one is looking into the website, and another one, looking into the social media, for example. There might be a time during the execution time when you realize that doing some of these things is not worth it because it’s not going to make you achieve your objectives in time and to budget. 

And then this is where you change the direction as needed, or indeed, something might have happened, something might have happened in the organization, something, which is beyond your own control, and you need to take that into account. The fourth phase is performance and monitoring. This is something that you actually achieve throughout the whole process, but after some time, you check whether there is a possibility that you need to apply certain metrics that you haven’t thought about before. Some of these metrics might be budget, for example, whether you are delivering the project on time, on budget. And another one important, cost tracking, or the actual project performance, which takes into account any changes that you have needed to make before. 

The final phase is one of the most important phase. This is the quality management phase of the project. This is where you decide that the project has come to an end. This is where you decide whether in your website audit, you are going to be auditing the blog area, say, which is, perhaps, a lot more complex than it looks like, and maybe, it’s not that worthwhile going into it at this moment in time for the purpose of your project, for whatever reason. Also, at the very end, the project manager needs to hold a meeting where they debrief all the stakeholders and set up the next steps, whether you actually go and do the audit of the blog to review that area and to redo it, and also, prepare a project report, which is a very important optimum task. 

So again– Could you go back again? So again, the first phase is the initiation project, where you see whether the project is an actual project. Then, you define and plan the project. You decide what you need to do, what’s involved, and a roadmap. Then you execute it. Then, you monitor its performance. And then you finally produce a– You do the quality management of the whole project. Next. What implies to manage a project? As you have probably noticed, it implies a lot more than it looks like. It implies knowing why a project is necessary, who or what needs to be involved. It involves setting up a timeline, deciding about costs, doing continuous monitoring, and also admin tasks, such as report writing. 

Next. But now, what does a good project look like? A good project is a project where all the benefits, that have been identified, are actual benefits. And then this is very important because sometimes, we think about a particular benefit, something, which is good for the company, but maybe it’s not an actual benefit because there are other variables to take into account. So a good project takes into account the benefits identified, benefits that are– something positive for the future of the organization. A good project also has had enough support from the above and has invested in resources aspect and resources invested in things like, for example, staff development, equipment, things like that. 

Our project is the actual opposite to it. No benefits involved, or being identified, or they get for– The future of the organization has not been taken into account. There hasn’t been enough resources, not enough investment on staff or equipment. And sometimes, what happens is that a project can be done too quickly. And if it is too quickly, if it is too quick, then maybe, it’s not properly done because a project does not take two days. It takes a bit more than that. These quick projects are– or tend to be, in my experience, based on previous projects that other people have performed, and they have been successful according to the different metrics that may have been applied at that moment in time. But there are different circumstances, and sometimes, it’s not a good idea to compare to different circumstances or projects together, not a good idea at all. 

Next. A project manager has a very defined set of tasks. They need to perform a feasibility test, which sometimes, is nothing more than common sense, really. And they need to define the project, manage timelines and costs, redirect projects or manage the direction in which the project is going, manage diagrams, produce some closure reports, views, and manage team, for example, et cetera, et cetera. So all these tasks. Next. But hey, not all projects are the same, not at all. And some of the projects– How can I say this? And a lot of the times, everything that I have spoken about so far needs to be adapted to your own circumstance because it’s not the same working in a big enterprise, such as Vodafone, as working in a more national-scale organization such as an NGO, for example, a charity, et cetera, et cetera. 

The projects that you undertake in both circumstances are necessarily different. And you have to be able to adapt to those circumstances. However, what a project management, is definitely not is account management. An account manager is solely concerned with making the client happy. That’s all it is. Whereas a project manager actually does the job. That’s the project. Next one. Project management is not the use of Gantt charts or indeed, any other type of charts at all, although this is a very important aspect of project management, particularly, in those projects where you need, or a project manager needs to prove the value of it at all times. And in those circumstances, charts can be very, very important. And I’m not talking about decision charts. I am talking about specific charts, specific to different aspects of the project or different phases of the project. It can be Gantt charts. It can be anything that you might consider useful. 

But also remember that there are many authors that cite that persuasion, in case you need to persuade stakeholders. Eighty-five percent of persuasion is being done in an emotional way as a fear. So when you try to persuade someone, you need to be able to produce something that kind of gets to them somehow because most decisions are not even made using rational aspects, not even in B2B. And this is something very important for you to understand, honestly. If you use visuals, you will help with all this. Next one. So for example, a very interesting and very useful diagram is a project dashboard. This is something that I have created with music chart. And this is where a big project has– where three areas have been identified. And three different people are actually doing those areas and doing the work in those areas. Each of them have different tasks. And you can see in a very visual way, at a glance, how the project is going on, which can be very powerful for your stakeholders. 

Next one. The project management has a huge amount of benefits for SEO and digital marketing. In fact, project management is inherent to SEO because of its many moving parts as you probably know. Next one. Yeah. And so the first one is greater efficiency and productivity. The second one is being able to influence the direction of a project, just so you don’t actually do the job or all the work without knowing that you are going to be using it, you know? Another benefit is to do with collaboration. We keep saying that SEO and digital marketing cannot work in isolation. And it’s very important that you actually talk to other specialisms within the organization just to be able to perform your job properly. When there are projects, normally, these podcasts are multidisciplinary. 

So there are different people within– from different specialisms or different departments within the same company, which makes up for a very interesting mix, where you can learn as well. You can also avoid any issues and uncertainties around execution, who does the task, what’s expected, timelines, cost, et cetera, et cetera, because sometimes, a good idea is not perceived as a good idea unless it has been executed correctly. And that is something that we learn through practice. You need to execute well something so that it has some value to people. 

And then, of course, the main benefit is that you achieve satisfaction, a huge amount of satisfaction when everything is done. Next. The skills needed for project management are not really for project managers only, but project managers do need to have superb organizational and communication skills. They need to be very good at timekeeping. They need to be super resilient. This is something that everybody needs to grow. But project managers do have to be really resilient because they get a lot of pushback. It’s as simple as that. They get a lot of pushback from everywhere. 

Something else, which is very useful for a project manager is the ability to vet ideas, particularly, during execution time and at the very beginning as well. You need to understand what is a good idea that is going to make you achieve you own objectives in time and to budget and what is not completely helping you at all. Debriefing is a lot more complicated than it looks like, in my understanding, particularly, when the project is particularly, complicated. 

Strategic thinking to do is to do with the project direction, and so, what else needs to be done maybe later. And again, making charts and diagrams, being very visual. Next. Where can I use these skills? I would say everywhere. At enterprise level, smaller companies, your own project, your own daily life. Obviously, you’re not going to be doing feasibility testing or project documentation in your daily life. But obviously, if you adapt some of these techniques into the different projects, you will be able to achieve your objectives and everything else that we have talked about because… 

…because we live in the project economy, so just like the PMI says. Project management is a very important skill and experience to have under your belts, particularly, for career development because no matter where you are working, you might actually move on to another vertical, another industry sector, another company. You can transfer all those skills. Next one. Well, I particularly enjoy project management. It’s basically getting things done, because, you know, too many moving parts, anything can happen. But if you work in a, more or less, structured environment, things are a lot less uncertain, and you can get things done. 

Like I said before, you can use your skillsets elsewhere. You can even introduce new things, new ways of thinking, new tools. And you get to know different business areas. You don’t work in isolation, which is so important for marketers and SEO, in particular. And very importantly, it can raise your profile internally. And I can assess that. I can definitely tell you that happens. Next one. In tough moments in time, you always need to remember what’s in it for you about delivering your projects, achieving your objectives, getting internal buying, and generally, making your life a lot easier. 

Next one. These are some resources for you, which you can have, too. The associations I was talking about, the Project Management Institute and the Association for Project Management charts. There’s plenty of companies out there. Canva, IBM for enterprise, et cetera, et cetera. But these are some of the ones that I am familiar with. And thank you very much for listening to me.