They are your best friend and the team you didn’t know you had. They are essential for SEO departments.
This article will discuss what an SEO Product Manager does and the skills required to be one. We also explain where it fits within your organization.
What does it mean to be an SEO product manager
An SEO product manager (PM), at the highest level, helps organizations optimize website features and functionality so it can be found by both search engines and people.
The role allows you to understand and empathize both types of customer.
- Googlebot is a search engine robot that crawls websites.
- Websites visited by potential customers looking for product or information.
Because it involves knowledge and experience with search engine optimization, SEO product management can be considered a specialization in product management. This role is different from the one of an SEO manager because it requires experience in search engine optimization.
- To execute SEO initiatives, maintain a roadmap with your other delivery leaders, product managers and engineers.
- Use software tools such as Confluence and Jira to create SEO specifications and maintain detailed product requirements in order to support SEO projects.
The SEO PM assists in ensuring that all SEO requirements are included into technical work done by functional groups. This includes how features get built or coded so they’re SEO-friendly for humans and search engines.
Let’s first take a moment to define product management, as it has been a relatively new practice in just the past two decades.
“While product management is an established profession for many decades, it was only 20 years ago that the title of ‘product manager’ began to gain traction.” Sherif M. Mansour at Atlassian, who is a product manager, explained .
Product managers are responsible for helping to define the needs of customers and to articulate the business goals that the product will meet. They also help motivate the team to make that vision a reality.
Product management can be described as a cross-functional, highly integrated role within an organization. SEO is no different. Jessica Bowman is an enterprise consultant at SEO Inhouse.
As such, an SEO product manager is responsible for guiding and advising colleagues on SEO best practices.
- Determining key performance indicators (KPIs) for the company and providing advice on SEO-leading indicators of organic growth.
- It is important to understand concepts such as the ranking factors that influence rankings and how search engines like Google define good user experiences (beyond bounce rates).
They work in collaboration with others to finish the job and make their colleagues better at SEO.
It would be negligent if I didn’t mention the fact that SEO as a product should be accepted, along with an SEO product manager.
Search engine optimization is a part of a business, where the product manager works to increase organic traffic and revenues by setting the vision and determining the high-level issues and how success will look like. Keep calm, my friends. I will be addressing this subject in further articles.
What is the difference between an SEO project manager and an SEO product manager?
It’s a good thing I did not lose you. These roles are similar, particularly when you shorten the “PM” to make them more readable. This chart will help explain things.
SEO Expertise.- Maintains a list of SEO projects.
SEO specifications in tickets to be written by engineers and others.
– Operates tactically and strategically depending on available resources
SEO experience not necessary.
Facilitates project completion by organizing stakeholders and teams via meetings, requirements and deadlines. Also, communicates status and performs troubleshooting.
An SEO PM is different from an SEO Manager. They have ownership over a product roadmap, and they also manage an operational function.
SEO product managers have a list of fixes and features. These initiatives can range from technical bugs (bugs), to features that build on the fundamental aspects of SEO such as:
- Internal linking
- Site content.
- Googlebot can crawl the website and index it.
- User experience.
- Web vitality and speed.
It’s like having an arsenal of defensive and offensive plays.
A product manager should have some projects that help (offensively grow) the business in a calendar year when engineering and product teams release updates to the site. They must also manage fundamental defensive things such as shoring up tech debt and committing a quarter to platform upgrades.
SEO is a complex field. There’s always the possibility that a code release will cause site functionality to be broken. SEO PMs prioritize their SEO plans and coordinate with other PMs using what’s called agile scrum methodology. This project management system relies on incremental development.
The , created by Bowman at SEO Inhouse, is a useful framework for articulating SEO initiatives.
This is particularly useful for the enterprise level where SEO PMs often educate and advocate for technical SEO projects.
This document explains and categorizes SEO’s main concepts to other teams. It can be used to categorize priority initiatives.
However, SEO managers still refer to this framework but are a secondary role compared with the core roles in agile scrum methodologies. Scrum employs .
- Product manager or owner.
- You are the scrum master.
- Members of the development team.
You can see that every part of the role is involved in creating the website, but there is no representative for SEO.
While an SEO manager may not be an integral part the agile process by design, a product manager for SEO is.
SEO managers face a challenge in putting SEO priorities on a plan. The managers are essentially looking in from the outside.
Capability to create requirements using SEO recommendations
As an SEO manager in the past, I was able to document an SEO problem and make recommendations for either the marketing team or development team.
It wasn’t until my role as a product manager, that I realized that the driving force behind ensuring that SEO requirements were considered and that Jira tickets are used by engineers. The engineers don’t work from an SEO audit, or exports from any SEO enterprise tool.
A PM in SEO is available to assist with grooming, helping to document SEO tips and listening to areas that need it.
Product management is about creating requirements that other teams can follow. Each ticket the SEO PM creates outlines “what” search engines need to consume. Engineering then determines how to best deliver those requirements.
It’s easy to see it as this: An SEO manager may prioritize fixing 404 errors in one craw. However, an SEO PM might look at the same initiative and say, “Okay. What teams should I partner with to solve the larger business problem that’s causing the errors?”
The other targets the source of the problem. One targets the problem, while the other can target the source and stop it from continuing.
Sprint cycles are used to determine the development team’s schedule due to the .
Daily rituals such as team stand-ups and grooming sessions are part of a sprint, which can last one to two weeks.
It is important to be able to manage the day and work with others.
These duties are a major difference in how SEO managers spend their days. This article will compare the descriptions of the jobs between them. I have also heard the terms “search products manager” and digital PM used to refer to this job.
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Are there any skills or qualities required to be a SEO PM?
You can move up to an SEO product manager if you are currently employed as an SEO manager, product manager or project manager.
You will need to perform a self assessment to assess your current skill levels and determine where you can improve them.
These are the skills that you will need because SEO product management can be a specialty of product management.
Experience and knowledge in the following areas are essential:
– Technical SEO
– Agile principles
– Tools: Jira, Confluence, Roadmunk, etc.
– The ability to utilize data to create quantitative business cases
Management of projects
Communication is key to success
– Condense complex concepts or problems into easy terms and action steps
Ability to solve creative problems and manage through uncertainty
• Ability to lead teams towards finding a solution
– Business Acumen
– Critical Thinking
– Ability to rigorously prioritize initiativesWillingness to learn
Grit and persistence
You’re either a product manager or an SEO who uses product management principles to accelerate your work.
How does SEO product management define results?
While product managers might focus on making improvements to customers or delivering new features, SEO PMs can be more focused on metrics.
My experience with enterprise SEO ecommerce has shown me that there are two key KPIs.
- Revenue or organic sales
- Visits or sessions organic.
SEO PMs focus on increasing organic traffic and revenue for businesses. As improvements are made to the site, incremental results are recorded.
Product management is all about prioritization
Prioritization in SEO is a skill that can be learned. This skill is a result of years of practice auditing websites, prioritizing issues and implementing solutions.
Technical SEO is categorized by most enterprise software as errors, warnings, and notifications. If something breaks or your pages are not accessible by crawlers, errors can be considered critical.
Experienced SEOs combine business goals with technological fixes that are feasible and can move the needle.
On the other side, product managers aim to prioritise features and enhancements, essentially , using customer data and scope confidence levels and business impact.
One misconception regarding SEO fixes is that all of them improve traffic. It is not true. Secondary KPIs are important in creating SEO improvement. They create operational efficiency, rather than driving organic traffic.
Programmatically defined title tags should not exceed 60 characters to avoid being cut off in SERPs. Is this a way to increase organic traffic? It doesn’t. This is more of best practice.
It is important to realize that online success is not guaranteed. It would make everyone, and every affiliate website, do it.
SEO’s nature is organic. SEO occurs organically and over time .
SEO can be used to acquire customers. The growth potential lies in making compounding improvements. SEO’s attractive aspect is its ability to continue giving you the expected benefits year after year, even if the changes are made.
Contributing to the improvement of SEO for other companies
Product management is about collaboration with others to create and accomplish things. You can directly help that process as an SEO product manager by guiding, educating, and empowering other teams regarding their SEO contributions.
This could be feature documentation that outlines SEO requirements or best practices to code elements of a page in order for it to be search engine-friendly. This also helps engineers to understand the tradeoffs involved in SEO, such as pagination and URL parameters.
The data provided by SEO PMs is useful in assisting decision making. Ecommerce marketers can use search data to help them understand seasonality of their products. This data can be used to help the copy team include keywords or phrases that were used in the discovery phase.
The SEO data is all about real people searching and what they are looking for. The SEO PMs have the unique ability to communicate that level of customer insight to internal teams, putting the customer at their core.
What is the role of the SEO product manager in the company?
It all depends on who hires you and where your team is located . Product management as a discipline is still in its infancy. Therefore, structure and team size are constantly changing.
My experience includes being a product vertical PM and then an SEO specialist. This was my role in a bigger, more digitally-focused customer service team.
It doesn’t matter what role it is, because product management and SEO are cross-functional disciplines.
It is important to note that SEO PMs are just as successful in cultivating cross-functional relationships with the aim of getting things done.
Based on the size of an organization, product management responsibilities can expand or contract.
Product managers are often needed for smaller companies. They can handle many areas. Product management in large enterprises is more about learning how to navigate an organization. Product managers are responsible for scaling and growing a specific area of the company.
Enterprise brands may have product managers who are responsible for managing the website’s front end, search engine and navigation, cart experience or checkout (especially for ecommerce brands), content assets and SEO.
Itamar Gilad, a thought leader and practitioner with over 20 years of experience in product management, has identified three major PM roles. He many companies still are trying to figure out how PMs fit into their reporting lines and what relationship they have with other departments.
Influence and education
Product managers are often able to influence others and collaborate without direct reporting.
Particularly for SEO PMs, it is crucial to have mechanisms in place that continuously train and empower their internal teams about the basics of SEO. This will help them understand how they can improve or hinder their SEO performance.
It is a common misconception that SEO teams do only SEO, and that
You will need to know the terminology and practices of product management in order to become an SEO product manger.
These terms will help you get started on the product side.
- Agile – A method that allows groups to manage processes efficiently by breaking them down into smaller pieces. This is a method for project management that uses iterative and structured approaches to product development and design.
- Scrum (or agile scrum), is a type of which consists of roles and meetings. It helps teams that work on complicated projects to collaborate, better manage and structure their workload.
- Sprint Planning: An event where product managers, engineers and business representatives meet to discuss tickets for a upcoming sprint.
- Sprint – A defined time period where engineers pick up work that has been predetermined in Jira tickets and must complete within the given timeframe. The key to success is efficiency.
- Stand up: These are routines that enable of current events. Daily stand-ups allow engineers and product delivery leaders to check on any blockers, questions, or tasks.
- Demo: This is part of an agile ritual in which teams who have built a ticket show business stakeholders their final products or parts.
- MVP – This stands for “minimum viable products”, which are basically the initial round of a multiphased project you intend to publish in order to start the iterative feedback loop.
- Spike – Designed as a quick ticket for investigation with the goal of gathering additional data or feedback in order to improve the scope and direction of the project.
- The size or effort level (LOE) – An estimation from multiple functional teams (engineering and UX). Estimates from cross-functional teams (engineering, UX, etc.) on the effort required to accomplish the task. Each company has a different sizing system. You can choose from a “tshirt size”, small, medium or large, as well as a range (high-, medium, low).
Product managers use tools and resources
Below is a list of tools that product managers use and their value.
- Microsoft Teams/ Slack/WebEx: Internal communication, particularly for remote teams.
- Tickets and documentation for Jira or Confluence
- Trello and Asana are tools for keeping track of your tasks.
- Adobe Analytics: Organizations’ source of data truth This is also used by SEOs.
- Quantum Metric
- Roadmunk: Sharing product roadmaps and collaborating with others
- Miro: An online brainstorming and collaboration tool.
- Login to the admin area of the platform where the enterprise website is located.
- AppsFollow or Firebase will be used by PMs who oversee apps.
These tools are not the only ones SEO PMs use.
- Google Analytics.
- Google Search Console (to see the Google information about your website).
- Google Trends is a great resource for finding out about the most popular search terms and related topics.
- Botify, Sitebulb or any other web crawler.
- Monitor keyword trends and fluctuations with Semrush, Ahrefs STAT, Moz, STAT, Moz, etc.
- Tableau is used for data visualization and consolidation.
- SEO Radar is a monitoring tool that focuses on the specific business needs.
They are reading this:
- Insider Intelligence (eMarketer).
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Managers of SEO products help to drive organic growth
Were we really best friends?
SEO PMs are a great way to grow your company organically. They also help other SEO professionals become better at accounting. You need to be committed, invest in your business and work together.
The roles of SEO PM or SEO manager are advisory to cross-functional team members building websites and providing technical support.
However, it is the SEO product managers that are most involved in writing requirements and documents. This role is also different from that of an SEO manager.
These opinions are not necessarily those of Search Engine Land, but they do reflect the views of the guest author. Here are the names of staff authors.
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