Projects demand a lot of work and focus, regardless of their nature. When you’re tackling something as important and demanding as an SEO project, the need for some organization is emphasized. This is why you need an SoW for your project – to help every included party get organized, ensure smooth communication, save yourself resources and time, and keep everyone informed.
What Is SoW?
SoW refers to a statement of work. Slite, one of the most used template sites for such documents, defines the statement of work in the following way: “A Statement of Work is an important project management tool that outlines a project’s work requirements.”
This popular software lists the four types of information that an SoW touches on timelines, deliverables, budgetary information, and project-specific services.
As part of your SEO project, you’ll probably need to handle freelancers, marketers, social media experts, content creators, maybe even some of your team members, etc. This is not easy. SoWs scream transparency, which is essential when you’re dealing with people. It also helps you understand – as well as share, what is included within the bounds of your SEO project.
Elements of a statement of work
Project statements of work handle many aspects. They can differ depending on your needs, your project’s size, or scope. Still, generally speaking, all SoWs contain the following:
· Introduction. Background on your SEO goals and information about the actions done as part of the project.
· Purpose of the SoW. People need to know why the SEO project takes place, to begin with.
· Scope of your SEO project. SEO projects can be broad or very specific. You need a target audience to optimize your brand for search engine optimization – that’s a given. So, who are the people you’re trying to reach? When are you trying to reach them – and how? If you’re dealing with a big SEO project, you might want to include some milestones in this part.
· Location. Most SEO strategies are performed exclusively online. You might have a remote team working on your content, your social media presence, your email marketing, etc. This is the point where you determine who works where.
· Tasks. Using a step-by-step approach, this part explains each action in the project.
· Schedule. In this section of the SoW, you’ll find the deliverables i.e. what must be delivered by its end, as well as a scheduled list of when they need to be done.
· Testing and standards. SEO requires continuous testing to see if your strategies are working. We’re talking analytics and tracking ROIs. The plans for this come in this section.
· Criteria for success. When using deliverables, you have some plans as to how the project should go and what it should accomplish. Mention what a successful project would look like.
· Requirements and equipment. Do you need special training from members in this project? What amount of money do you need to make it run smoothly? Is there any equipment such as software you’ll need to make things happen (for example email templates, automation tools, keyword generators, etc.)
· Costs. This part describes all the expenses in detail, both before and after the receipt of the deliverables.
What are the benefits of using SoW for your SEO project
According to MediaRadar, there are four main benefits of using an SoW for your projects:
First, you need it to set the stage for what the relationship should look like i.e. show your competence to clients. If you’re working on an SEO project that should impress the intended parties, an SoW is a great tool in that direction.
Next, you need it to help you differentiate yourself i.e. stand out from the crowd. In a very crowded place like the Web, standing out and being unique is the key to being successful. After all, that’s what SEO revolves around.
The third reason is to provide details i.e. clarify all the parts to all involved parties. You will probably share your SoW with all members of your SEO project, therefore providing them with details about your project, its goals, and their responsibilities.
Lastly, an SoW can save you time. Imagine having to go through the tasks with every team member individually, or to have to reinsure people that they are going in the right direction. Imagine running into problems with funding just because people were not aware of your full budget. This saves you tons of time – and a lot of money, too.
Not to forget, you want people to take you seriously. This is a great way to showcase yourself as an SEO expert and guide people in the right direction. A well-written SoW shows that you took the time and the initiative to organize the project from start to finish. It’s no secret that people want detailed guidance to meet their employer’s expectations.
Even if you’re creating this statement for yourself and are not planning to include anyone else, you need it to keep track of your progress. For starters, you can use it to organize the details, structure them, and note them down so that you can go back to them later.
Next, you can use it to plan for your budget, see what kinds of expenses come with search engine optimization, and determine which are the best tools to use to make the process easier – and maybe even cheaper.
There’s a lot to decide at the beginning stage. You need to figure out the scope of your project, understand who can help you accomplish your goals and how, and find out how to stand out and get higher in search results. Good SoWs contain a huge amount of details, helping you keep track of everything and achieve your goals on schedule.
Of course, it takes some time to craft the SoW, but this can save you a lot of time later on.
How to write a statement of work
You don’t have to be an expert in SoW writing to craft this document. As a matter of fact, Forecast has created a very simple, 10-step process for making this happen for your project. Here is what you should do:
Introduce your project
All documents start with some kind of introduction. In this one, you need to introduce basic details like what you’re trying to optimize for SEO, who is included in this project, and what goals you have for it.
Define the vision
If you’ve decided to pursue an SEO project, you probably have a vision for your brand, your site, or your products. This is where you write about your expectations and goals.
Set project requirements
What do you expect of this project? What does it require of you and everyone else included? What problems are you solving for your target audience? How will you appeal to them to stand out in the search engines?
Define the scope
Many mistake the scope of a project with an SoW, when the first is simply one part of the latter. When you define the project’s goal and requirements, define what the scope is. Who is your target audience? What do you plan to capture with your SEO strategies?
Define the deadline
You probably have some plan in mind – a deadline by which you’ll get higher in search engines, get more visits on your site, turn more leads into customers, etc. This is the time to define deadlines. Try to be as realistic as possible, though. This part will be what you go back to when you are ready to check your progress.
Allocate the resources
You will need resources for any SEO project. Whether they are people like writers and SEO experts, places to get your multimedia, tools like automation software, or website platforms – you need to know what you need and how to use it to make things happen.
The deadline part only referred to your starting and ending dates, even if you split things into smaller tasks. This is the part where you actually schedule things. When will you publish your posts? What’s the best time to write your content? What do you need to begin?
Specify payments and due dates
Expenses are frequent when you’re dealing with an important SEO project. You need to pay people, memberships, ad programs, software tools, and more. Specify these, and also include the due dates.
Include any special requirements
This is not a necessary part if you have nothing else to include, but, if something didn’t belong in the remaining parts, this is where it goes.
Sign with the parties involved
If you choose to sign this document, that’s the last step to take. Many project managers create this simply as a practical action plan, not a legally binding document.
Statements of work help all kinds of project leaders and creators, as well as other people included in the plans. They provide structure, allow for careful and detailed planning, and help people anticipate many of the problems that might occur along the way. Most importantly, they offer transparency. If your SEO project is big and includes at least one other person, this is a great way to avoid conflicts and keep everyone on the same page. If you dedicate some time to it now, it can save you a world of pain later.