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Optimising for Peak Performance: Efficiency Secrets for SEO Teams

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Jojo Furnival

I worked agency-side for 10 years in total. The one thing I constantly felt pressure to achieve (besides positive results for clients) was efficiency.

The definition of efficiency is working in a way that achieves maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

This article will focus mainly on efficiency tips that I and other agency team leaders have come across. 

But first, I’m going to touch on what efficiency is NOT.

The pressure to work faster

I would hazard a guess that for the majority of agencies, efficiency boils down to: less time spent achieving the same result = efficiency

Especially since agencies generally bill by the hour. 

During my time in agency, the pressure to work faster was ever-present: what can we do to further optimise our processes and cut down the time it takes to complete this task?

This was a source of anxiety and frustration for me because, as head of the content team, I had already optimised our writing and on-page optimisation processes to cut our task completion time nearly in half.  

More on that later. 

Unfortunately, the pressure to work faster can create an immediate atmosphere and culture of stress within the team. And stress, of course, leads to reduced productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover.

This is definitely something agencies need to avoid.

So let’s look at what agencies SHOULD be focusing on instead.

Efficiency secrets for SEO teams

1. Automation & AI

It’s no secret, but AI and certainly automation have a role to play in improving team efficiency. 

Caitlin Hathaway, Audience Development Specialist for MVF, recently shared with Sitebulb how they automated on-page SEO auditing to improve efficiency.

“Content SEO checks were one of our entirely manual Business As Usual (BAU) tasks. The process was time-consuming and resource-intensive, taking up to two days each month and involving multiple team members. This process took time away from higher-priority tasks that brought value.”

AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini can be used to perform laborious tasks, such as data organisation, or act as an assistant with brainstorming. This frees up team member time for more creative and strategic tasks. But buyer beware! AI always always needs sense-checking.

u/Outrageous_Bee4464 / Via reddit.com

2. Team training

My main focus when I was recruited as team lead at Adelaide-based digital agency, Kwasi, was to optimise the team’s processes and improve efficiency (and output quality) via training and mentoring. 

Over a couple of months, my approach included: 

✅ – Reviewing every piece of work that was produced and providing detailed feedback

✅ – Reviewing the team’s processes and eliminating unnecessary elements

✅ – Streamlining and rewriting processes

✅ – Holding a monthly team meeting for questions and discussion

✅ – Analysing the time each team member was taking per task and setting new time standards based on streamlined processes 

The efficiency secret here is to consider hiring someone, or delegating to someone internally, who understands the tasks that need to be completed and whose responsibility it is to review and optimise the relevant processes, and then train team members on the new way of doing things. 

Incidentally, team training was also one of the tactics employed by Caitlin Hathaway’s team in their process overhaul at MVF.

“Rather than relying on the SEO team for content fixes, we empowered our writers to resolve these issues themselves, as part of creating and publishing content. 

Along with the automated sheet, we gave them self-service resources to find and fix content SEO issues. The goal was to encourage real-time corrections and prevent repetitive issue trends.”

3. Templates and how-tos

To support team training, templates and how-to videos are an efficient way to ensure everyone is up-to-date and performing the same processes. Emina Demiri-Watson, Head of Digital Marketing at Vixen Digital, explains how this works at their agency.

“We have a template for common tasks, such as technical audits and content mapping. They give the team a blueprint for doing the tasks. Then how-to videos are used to supplement the templates. For example, for the technical audit, you will have a recording using the right tool and showing you where to look. This not only creates efficiencies in delivery but also allows us to provide on-demand training and effective onboarding of new staff. Other video guide examples include working with specific plugins and using Excel formulas to speed up work (for example, using INDEX MATCH to bring in data from multiple sources into templates).” 

In fact, at the last agency I worked at, we also adopted templates and how-to videos to maintain quality standards and ensure efficient onboarding and knowledge transfer.

4. The ‘power hour’

I have to thank Liv Day, SEO Lead at Digitaloft, for this tip, which I’ve personally adopted and is really excellent for improving efficiency.

“In SEO, it’s easy to go round and round in circles talking about why a site has seen drops or talking about a vague strategy, without anything actually getting done. The first hour of every day is my “power hour” – I go onto a client site and spend an hour making internal linking improvements, fixing broken backlinks, picking out one page that needs improving etc. It’s something I’ve got my whole team onto lately, and it’s making a real difference.”

You can check out Liv’s other tips and insights here.

5. Seeking out efficient tools

All tools are not created equal. 

Let’s take SEO tools as an example. SEO is such a broad discipline with a range of tactics and specialisms, so as a result there is a plethora of tools, each designed to fulfill a slightly different need.

The trick is to identify which tools are going to make your team more efficient. Ultimately, this will depend on your agency’s niche, goals, processes and how your team intends to use them. 

For some agencies, which hire SEOs at a beginner level, this might mean opting for a website audit tool like Sitebulb, which is known for its intuitive interface and in-built education. 

For other less specialised SEO or digital marketing agencies, it might mean investing in an all-in-one tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.

For large SEO agencies though, the most efficient tool for performing technical SEO audits is going to be a cloud crawler, due to its lack of reliance on individual desktop machines. One of our agency customers, Moving Traffic Media, upgraded from Sitebulb Desktop to Sitebulb Cloud not that long ago. Since then, they’ve seen a significant increase in team productivity and efficiency. 

You can read more about that here.

Take some time to understand what your team needs (listening to them is a good start!) and investigate the capabilities of different SEO tools to find the one that is going to bring you those efficiency gains.

I’ve previously written about what to look out for when selecting SaaS tools for your agency, so maybe give that a read.

Sitebulb Cloud customer, Charlie Whitworth, of Whitworth SEO, agrees that tools are key to team efficiency.

“Honestly, don’t be scared of utilising tools to make your team more efficient. I feel like there is a hesitancy to rely too much on tools, as agencies like to ensure everything has a human touch or is completely on brand, but this is often not prudent.”

Watch Sitebulb’s webinar about agency growth, effiency and quality to find out more!👇

6. Time blocking

Sitebulb’s new Customer Support & Success Specialist, Miruna Hadu, also has an agency background, having spent 3 years as an SEO Account Manager and Team Lead. Like me, she blocks out time in her diary to ensure she remains focused on the task at hand. 

“I feel like in an agency environment it’s really easy to get pulled into 10 different directions every day – internal meetings, client meetings, and endless task lists. Constantly jumping between things is quite inefficient, as it takes time to refocus. So agreed ‘focus times’, like chunks of days or the week without meetings, and time blocking tasks can be super helpful with efficiency.”

7. Browser extensions

Thanks again to Emina Demiri-Watson for this one. Browser extensions can be really helpful in bringing efficiencies to teams.

“Our team is given a list of browser extensions we use for SEO. This is a live list that we update. It allows them to do quick checks in everyday tasks, and we also develop extensions of our own for example: Highlight HTML headings and my personal favourite Remove Reddit from Google Results.” 

By the way, from a technical SEO perspective, View Rendered Source is a handy browser extension for checking JavaScript elements on particular pages—that is, unless you prefer to use Sitebulb’s single page analysis tool! 

There we go, that’s 7 efficiency secrets, one for each day of the week. Which one will you implement first? 


AUTHOR BIO 

Jojo Furnival is Marketing Manager at Sitebulb, the desktop and cloud crawler & website audit tool. She has a decade of agency experience, both in London and Adelaide, Australia, so she knows a thing or two about agency life! When she’s not working, she’s busy adoring her little dog, Terry. 

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  • ⚙️ Leverage AI and automation to streamline tasks and boost productivity.
  • 📚 Invest in comprehensive team training and mentoring for process optimisation.
  • 📝 Use templates and how-to videos for consistent performance and onboarding.
  • ⏰ Implement a daily “power hour” for focused, high-impact work.
  • 🛠️ Select the most efficient tools tailored to your team’s needs.
  • 📅 Utilise time blocking to maintain focus and reduce task switching.