Enhancing SEO Agency Efficiency with Standard Operating Procedures

Enhancing SEO Agency Efficiency with Standard Operating Procedures

In SEO and digital marketing, it can be challenging to maintain consistency, efficiency, and quality across all your operations. This is especially true if you have a growing SEO client base and your SEO agency is on the verge of scaling.

Standard operating procedures, also known as SOPs, can serve as the backbone of your SEO agency’s operational excellence. They are detailed, written instructions specifically designed to achieve uniformity in executing particular SEO and client functions.

In this article, let’s dive into the world of SOPs for SEO agencies, covering everything from their advantages to templates you can use to get you started.

SEO agency brainstorming for standard operating procedures

Table of contents

Advantages of having Standard Operating Procedures

Standard operating procedures are documents that outline the processes necessary to achieve consistent and high-quality results. They can also include the best practices to take every individual task to the next level.

For example, if you are trying to build links for your SEO clients via guest posting, you may want to include how you get website leads to pitch to, how you reach out to them, how you write the guest posts, and how you measure their success. Be as specific as you can in each step to experience the following advantages:

  • Standard operating procedures enhance consistency. The SEO landscape is continuously evolving. There may be algorithm changes, competitor strategy shifts, and other unpredictable factors. Reduce the unpredictability of SEO with SOPs. For instance, if you have a standardized process for keyword research, this ensures that your SEO team members are using the same tools, following the same steps, and applying the same criteria for keyword selection. This makes it easier to identify issues when unpredictable factors come into play.
  • SOPs can help improve training and client onboarding. When you have detailed SOPs for each task, new members of your SEO team can quickly understand their responsibilities and familiarize themselves with your SEO agency’s processes. This reduces the learning curve and boosts the productivity of new hires. SOPs can also help with client onboarding, especially clients who don’t know much about SEO. SOPs help them understand your inner workings and the value you provide to their company.
  • SOPs can support your SEO agency’s growth and scalability. As your SEO agency grows, managing multiple SEO clients and projects can become complex. Make it more manageable by standardizing and documenting your SEO processes. This enhances efficiency and enables you to take in even more clients without sacrificing quality.

SOPs are essential tools for any SEO agency. Whether you are just a budding SEO agency or an established brand with a well-told story, these documents set the stage for sustained success and continuous improvement.

How to create SOPs for your SEO agency

Creating standard operating procedures for your SEO agency requires a systematic approach. This ensures that all tasks are catered to and all SOPs are clear and comprehensive. Here are the steps in creating effective SOPs.

1. Identify key processes and tasks

The first step is identifying the processes and tasks that need to be documented. This is crucial to ensure that you are focusing on the most critical aspects of your SEO agency’s operations. This allows you to create targeted SOPs that will have the greatest impact on your SEO agency’s efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Determine your SEO agency’s core services. Core services typically involve content creation, keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO audits, and performance reports. By identifying your core services, you can ensure that your SOPs are covering the essential tasks that drive your SEO agency’s success. Look at keyword research, for example. If you can document your SEO agency’s process of conducting keyword research, using keyword research tools, and dissecting the criteria for keyword selection, you can ensure all SEO team members can perform this task uniformly.
  • Identify repetitive and high-impact tasks. Repetitive tasks are those that you perform frequently and consistently, such as writing meta descriptions. High-impact tasks are those that significantly influence the outcome of your SEO efforts, such as conducting a technical SEO audit. By identifying these tasks, you can create SOPs that optimize them. For example, having meta description SOPs can save you time and ensure your meta descriptions are contributing to search engine rankings and click-through rates.
  • Consult with team members. Your SEO team members are the ones doing these tasks daily. They can help identify these key processes and tasks and provide additional insights to streamline them. By consulting with your team, you are creating standard operating procedures that are not only practical but are also conducive to collaboration. This collaborative approach can lead to more comprehensive and effective SOPs.

Identify your SEO agency’s key processes and tasks to ensure your SOPs target the most critical areas of your operations. With this targeted approach, you can create powerful SOPs that significantly contribute to your SEO agency’s growth and success.

2. Outline the process and write the procedures

This step involves breaking down each process into manageable steps and documenting them in a clear and comprehensive manner. You can use visual aids and examples to make the standard operating procedures easier to digest.

  • Break down the process into steps. Start with a high-level overview of the process and then drill down into the specific actions required to complete the task. With this level of detail, you can ensure that no step is overlooked and that the SOP actually provides a comprehensive guide for each process. For example, if you are creating an SOP for technical audits, your steps might include these: initially analyzing the website, using SEO audit tools, identifying and categorizing issues, and creating a report and action plan. Each step should be documented in detail, outlining the specific actions you should take, the tools you should use, and the outcomes you expect.
  • Use clear and concise language. The problem with jargon and overly complex terms is that they can confuse and overwhelm your SEO team. Your goal is to make your SOPs more accessible to all SEO team members regardless of experience and expertise level. For example, simply saying you need to do a comprehensive analysis of a website’s backlink profile, actually explain how to do it. You can say, for instance, to use Ahrefs to check the backlinks and identify spammy links that should be removed. Use headings and bullet points to organize the information and make it easier to follow.
  • Include visual aids and examples. Diagrams, flowcharts, screenshots, and videos can make your standard operating procedures more engaging and easier to follow. These visual aids are particularly useful for complex processes that involve multiple steps and tools. For example, if your SEO process involves the use of a particular tool, having screenshots of the tool’s interface can make the tool easier to navigate and help your SEO team member perform the necessary actions more efficiently.

By following these tips, you can create well-crafted standard operating procedures that are not just easy to understand but are also engaging and comprehensive.

3. Implement and train

Proper implementation of the SOPs and training your SEO team members to follow them are crucial for achieving the consistency, effectiveness, and high-quality results that SOPs are designed to deliver.

  • Roll out the standard operating procedures gradually. Allow your team to adapt to your SOPs without overwhelming its members. Start by introducing the SOPs to manageable sections before a full-scale rollout. For example, if you have a new SOP for a comprehensive link building strategy, try to implement it first in one team or project. See how it goes and make the necessary tweaks to make the SOP as efficient as possible. Only extend the SOP to other teams when you are already confident of its effectiveness.
  • Ensure all team members receive thorough training. This can include formal training workshops and informal one-on-one coaching. Use various training methods such as live demonstrations and interactive exercises. Make sure the SOPs and training materials can be found in a single repository, so they can be accessed by your SEO team whenever and wherever they want. By making the SOPs accessible, you are reducing friction and increasing the chances of a smoother implementation.
  • Monitor team adherence and use analytics. Regularly check with your SEO team to know if they are strictly following the standard operating procedures. It’s a good idea to include performance metrics and KPIs. For example, you can analyze the cost-effectiveness of the SOP by comparing the resources used before and after its implementation. If your SOP reduced operational costs by 15% over six months, it’s probably a good SOP. With these metrics and KPIs, you can assess not just team adherence but also the impact of your SOPs on your SEO agency’s operations.

Implementing and training are crucial steps in ensuring the successful adoption of standard operating procedures. By gradually rolling out SOPs, providing training, and monitoring adherence, you can ensure your SEO team understands and follows procedures correctly.

4. Review and revise

SOPs are not a set-and-forget kind of thing. It requires ongoing review and revision to ensure that the procedures remain accurate, effective, and relevant. Without reviewing and revising your standard operating procedures, it can be difficult to maintain the usefulness of your documents as your SEO agency evolves. Regular review and revision help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your SEO team is always following the best and latest SEO practices.

  • Set a schedule for regular reviews. This can be quarterly, annually, or whatever you want, depending on the complexity and frequency of your tasks. This is particularly crucial for tasks that need to adhere to the latest industry standards, such as keyword research. For example, because of the constantly evolving search engine algorithms, a keyword criteria that was effective six months ago may not be ineffective now. It’s no longer 2005 and keyword stuffing no longer works. Keep pace with industry changes by regularly reviewing your SOPs.
  • Ask SEO team members for feedback. They use the SOPs daily, so they are valuable sources of feedback. Encourage them to share their experiences such as difficulties while following the procedures. You can also ask them for suggestions that can give you more insights about things you may have not even considered during your initial SOP writing process. This feedback loop can come in many forms, including regular meetings and anonymous surveys.
  • Test the changes. Before you finalize your SOP revisions, test the changes first. Implement the revised SOP on a small scale to ensure it works as intended. For example, if you just updated your keyword research SOP, have a few members follow this new SOP on actual projects. Collect feedback and assess whether the new SOP is more efficient. Only after a successful validation should the revised SOP be implemented for everyone in your SEO agency.

Maintain the effectiveness and relevance of your standard operating procedures by regularly reviewing and revising them. This way, you can ensure your SOPs are always adaptive to the ever-changing landscape of SEO and supportive of your SEO agency’s success.

SOP templates you can use

Well-defined SOPs don’t just streamline processes. They also enhance your SEO agency’s scalability, facilitate training of your new SEO team members, and support continuous business growth. Here are some SOP templates you can use as a guide.

Remember that these templates are just simple examples. Each SEO agency’s approach, brand, and niche are different, so make sure to adjust these examples as necessary.

Keyword research SOP template

Objective: To identify relevant keywords that align with the target audience’s search intent and are viable for SEO purposes


  • Keyword Research: Ahrefs
  • Spreadsheet Software: Google Sheets


Step 1: Define the Objective: Understand the purpose of the keyword research (Content planning, PPC campaigns, etc.)

Step 2: Identify Seed Keywords: Use Ahrefs to generate initial seed keywords and brainstorm additional ideas to make the list more comprehensive.

Step 3: Expand Keyword List: Explore long-tail keywords, related terms, and variations using Ahrefs.

Step 4: Analyze Search Volume and Competition: Put the keywords list in Ahrefs and analyze search volume and keyword difficulty.

Step 5: Assess Keyword Relevance: Review each keyword’s relevance based on keyword metrics and insights from Ahrefs

Step 6: Group Keywords by Intent: Categorize keywords based on search intent such as informational and transactional.

Step 7: Document Findings: Record finalized keywords along with relevant metrics such as competition and search volume in a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

Step 8: Review and Finalize: Ensure that the keywords align with your SEO strategy and content plan

This template is very bare bones. But it gives you an idea how to create effective standard operating procedures for keyword research. Be as comprehensive as you can. For example, you can say in your objectives that your goal is to get a 20% increase in organic traffic in the next quarter.

On-page SEO SOP template

Objective: To optimize website pages to improve search engine rankings, user experience, and overall website performance.


  • SEO Audit Tool: Screaming Frog
  • Content Management System: WordPress
  • Spreadsheet Software: Google Sheets


Step 1: Identify On-page SEO Issues: Look at the SEO audit findings and identify the on-page issues found such as meta tags, headings, URLs, and internal links.

Step 2: Keyword Mapping: Review the keyword research findings and make sure each page effectively targets primary and secondary keywords that are appropriate for the search intent.

Step 3: Optimize Meta Tags and Headers: Log in to WordPress and navigate to the targeted page to update its meta title, meta description, and header tags based on the keyword mapping.

Step 4: Incorporate Keywords Within Content: Incorporate the keywords naturally into the page. Also, evaluate the existing content for clarity and depth updates.

Step 5: Optimize URL Structure: Still using WordPress, edit the targeted page’s URL to include targeted keywords and ensure they are descriptive.

Step 6: Optimize Images and Alt Texts: Review the existing images on the targeted page and optimize alt texts to include relevant keywords and improve accessibility.

Step 7: Optimize Internal Links: Identify opportunities to add internal links to the targeted page and make sure that the anchor texts are descriptive and may contain targeted keywords.

Step 8: Record Changes: Record all the changes you made to the targeted pages in a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

Again, this SOP template is not comprehensive. But it provides a great structure, so you can build your own SOPs that are more aligned with your CMS and SEO approaches.

Elevate your SEO agency with SOPs

By adding SOPs to your SEO agency’s workflow, you pave the way for sustained growth, client satisfaction, and competitive advantage. You will be surprised how many SEO contractors out there don’t have clearly defined standard operating procedures for their processes. Having comprehensive and clear SOPs gives you an immediate leg up over them.

Foster a culture of professionalism, reliability, and consistency in your SEO agency with standard operating procedures.


  • Andrew David Scherer

    My name is Andrew David Scherer and I've been involved in digital marketing since 2006.. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about marketing your local clients online, I'm always happy to help and share what I know. I've built local businesses from 0 to 6 figures in sales. Leased, sold, and rented a handful of them. And I've had hundreds of them as clients. Marketer's Center gives digital marketing consultants the ability to easily scale their local marketing agencies in a way that isn't labor-intensive and still very profitable. If you want to get my "6 Month SEO Plan" please request a free reseller dashboard account here. You'll also be able to download a price list for all of the services we offer. You can connect with me via Facebook in our Local Marketing Freethinkers group, or via Twitter and Linkedin.

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