Build a great SEO team

by on 11th October 2009

Putting together a team of the right people for great SEO is just one step towards reaching organisational SEO nirvana.

In my post “great SEO starts with the right people“, I looked at the qualities you’re looking out for during your recruiting process. This post takes a step back and discusses the organisational layout of your team.

Design an SEO team before you start recruiting

It sounds obvious enough, but SEO Consulting is still a relatively new profession in marketing and organisationally not always well established or structured. It’s very common that SEO’s are recruited to conduct a range of tasks, from reporting to linkbuilding and technical SEO.

That generalist experience is rather critical for a senior search engine optimiser to progress towards SEO Management, but it’s not absolutely necessary for SEO team building. The last thing you want your SEO doing is a day and a half reporting, every week, so how do you structure and organise a more effective SEO team?

Design your team structure by common SEO activities

There’s no definitive SEO team structure out there, and ultimately the roles you choose need to fit with the needs of your organisational framework. That said, it pays to really consider your team design, especially when you’re communicating your resourcing requirements to HR and the Board.

Here’s an example of a team structure:

SEO Team Structure

SEO typically breaks down into 4 main tasks

If these are your typical tasks then you either have a team that do  a small part of everything, a more compartmentalised team with groups that are responsible for each activity [like the diagram above] or you just don’t have enough resource to be doing everything, and you need to recruit more SEO’s.

After you’ve built your perfect team, and everyone has their roles set in place, there’s no reason why your links team wouldn’t be making technical requests or requiring keyword research or tracking. That’s the beauty of a nicely built team! Encouraged to work together every member can support the group with their own individual strengths.

If you can justify the recruitment, having an independent resource for each of our SEO activities makes the process of doing SEO and being competitive, easier.


  1. Couldn’t agree more Richard! We were having this exact same conversation the other day, as our team is still growing and we came up with pretty much the same model as you – the only difference being our management role also incorporates client services and some new business.

  2. Good post. At our company we also add a fifth spoke to the wheel, but call them account or project manager to specifically build, control and formalize the strategy and implementation, as well as interface with and coordinate clients / deliverables. We have an SEO manager above that. We also have separate teams and reporting structure around social media.

    Although in the big picture the overall cost of providing SEO success with a larger team is a little more (especially compared to the “one man show”), the level of service, focus and results justifies the investment.

    Although it may not suit every SEO company or client / project, leveraging a team of experts in this 5-person pyramid has differentiated our company and allowed us to be one of the “Fast 500” tech companies (for growth) 2 years running.

  3. I like the idea of the structure, i think its also important to cross section all staff so each gains more knowledge in each field, and ideally have an seo manager, with each staff underneath a specialist or consultant in SEO letting them manage projects fully themselves. Or am i talking myself out a job!

  4. We too have been discussing the benefits of an SEO structure within the team – exciting times ahead for this digital agency. However, it’s really quite difficult as you say to get an exact or formulaic structure – I don’t think such a thing exists – and maybe it shouldn’t. Flexibility is always of course a benefit to any business.

  5. Building a team is simple!!…As you had shown…making the blocks..But fitting the best guy at best place is the needable advice from you…Who is capable and who can deliver the best!!…I believe in this concept and i am building my team…

  6. Nice structure, i organised that in my company, but i am looking forward to give my team more self-created-tasks. Great article by the way :)

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