How an SEO Product Manager Can Be Your Chief Problem Solver

In search, it doesn’t matter what however what you ship. Implementation is the hill nice SEO concepts die on.

Is that the case as a result of “executives simply don’t value SEO?”


It’s a matter of fine administration. Most concepts merely fail as a result of they’re unclear to others, don’t have a major alternative measurement, and success isn’t well-defined.

SEO professionals are subject material consultants. We dip into many roles however chronically don’t have sufficient time or experience to handle each SEO challenge from A to Z.

As consultants, the matter is much more difficult as a result of they’re paid to provide suggestions, to not handle tasks. That is the linchpin!

Enter the SEO PM (product administration, not challenge administration), a task on the intersection of challenge administration, alignment, and buyer advocacy.

Many will say, “But Kevin, this is what SEO pros should do!”

And they’re proper – in concept.

Practically, nevertheless, SEO groups (and companies) would tremendously profit from an SEO PM.


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What Does an SEO Product Manager Do?

SEO PMs should not glorified challenge managers. They are product managers – and it’s an enormous distinction.

Most PMs will let you know that they’re “problem solvers.” Their typical job description appears one thing like, “This is bad; go fix it.”

Some describe the function as “janitor,” however I feel a extra correct description is “universal problem-solver in charge.”

They should do analysis, persuade different groups with affect, and work on strong narratives. In a way, PMs are the glue of product organizations as a result of they should collaborate with a lot of completely different purposeful groups to achieve success.

SEO scrum framework.

In the Scrum framework, Product Managers are the equal of Product Owners. They assist form the imaginative and prescient, technique, and roadmap along with SEO professionals.


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They discuss to customers (SEO professionals), write person tales, and prioritize the backlog.

Most importantly, SEO PMs are the bridge between subject material consultants (SEO professionals) and executing groups (engineers, content material writers, UX designers, and so on.).

Their job is to get issues performed.

How an SEO Product Manager Can Be Your Chief Problem Solver

In the RAPID framework, SEO is the Decider. Engineers, designers, or writers Perform and supply Input.

PMs sit within the center. They would possibly give suggestions and get settlement from different stakeholders, however essentially, they create work from determination to execution.

That liaison is significant as a result of the fixed backwards and forwards between imaginative and prescient and execution can take up a whole lot of time. Engineers have to scope options out, and SEO professionals want to grasp the impression or execution.

Someone managing between the 2 (or a number of) sides and streamlining that course of over time offers a whole lot of worth.

In some organizations, SEO professionals take the function of product supervisor. But in lots of instances, there merely isn’t sufficient time, and lots of SEO professionals should not educated to take that function.

They should deal with key phrase analysis, monitoring, technical SEO, inner schooling, high quality assurance, competitor evaluation, and extra.

Imagine, on high of all that, in the event that they needed to measurement alternatives, write person tales, create mockups, reply questions from engineering, and so on.

That’s simply unrealistic.

Some duties of SEO professionals overlap with that of PMs, and that’s okay. PMs can drive SEO professionals to outline clearer roadmaps and powerful visions.

SEO professionals will help PMs develop subject material experience and transfer tasks ahead sooner. Together, they’re an unstoppable pressure.


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A full listing of PM duties may embrace:

  • Shape the imaginative and prescient, technique, and roadmap for an SEO characteristic or product.
  • Get supporting groups to execute.
  • Remove roadblock.
  • Collect questions, concepts, and recommendation.
  • Create key paperwork.
  • Opportunity sizing.
  • Aligning groups and stakeholders.
  • Reporting progress, not simply metrics.
  • Identify dependencies.
  • Set timings.

What will we contemplate SEO tasks? The listing is lengthy:

  • Creating a brand new content material hub.
  • Refreshing an inventory of articles.
  • Technical optimization.
  • Internal tooling.
  • UX modifications.
  • New touchdown pages.
  • and so on.

When you do SEO at a small group, these might sound trivial. But in bigger ones, every of these tasks takes administration.

Imagine SEO Was a Product

Driving the rise of the SEO PM is the product of a search engine that will get higher at understanding content material high quality and overcoming technical challenges.


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Google nonetheless wants help and is way away from decoding implicit which means. But big leaps in machine studying over the past 5 years give SEO professionals the room to deal with good merchandise and content material.

In a latest Search Off the Record podcast, John Mueller spoke about what I name “the fluidity of Search.” I might summarize his monologue in six factors:

  1. Google appears at many rating alerts, they usually change over time.
  2. It’s arduous, perhaps inconceivable, for people to reverse engineer all components.
  3. We have to keep away from making a single issue accountable for rating place.
  4. Several related pages can rank on the high in the event that they fulfill completely different person intents for a similar key phrase (instance).
  5. As Google’s understanding of queries and person intent modifications, so can the rating composition.
  6. Rankings can fluctuate wildly, generally with out apparent motive.

When we see SEO as a product in itself, we free ourselves from obsessing over rating components and algorithm updates.

Instead, we are able to take an iterative strategy to SEO. I name this “zero-based SEO,” the place we don’t assume we all know what customers and Google need, run steady experiments, and match the location’s expertise towards the highest outcomes.

Instead of following dogmatic SEO techniques, we develop techniques that match our distinctive product, market, and enterprise mannequin from the bottom up.


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The “zero-based SEO” strategy is way more hands-on and fast-paced than the traditional waterfall mannequin.

It permits for faster suggestions loops. Other than engaged on an SEO characteristic for 5 months and rolling it out, the purpose is to ship an MVP (minimal viable product) and iterate shortly.

MVPs make alternative sizing, a typical bottleneck for getting issues performed, way more simple.

We SEO professionals are prisoners of search quantity, a flawed metric developed for Google Ads. The fruitful various is rolling an concept out at a small scale, measuring impression, after which extrapolating.

SEO PMs play an important half on this strategy. They align everybody, assist set priorities, and may work with the executing groups on the small print.

You might need already seen that “Agile,” “Waterfall” and MVP are phrases from product improvement. That’s my level: why not have a look at SEO as a product in itself?

If we handle it like a product, we are able to eliminate a whole lot of the SEO constraints we’ve been coping with for ages and deal with getting issues performed.


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The SEO PM is a linchpin on this worldview.

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Image Credits

In-post picture 2: Bain & Company
All screenshots taken by creator, May 2021

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