How to Write a SEO Project Brief [Template Included]

Last updated 1/20/20

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What is a SEO project brief?

Similar to how a creative brief provides guidance to the creative team, the SEO project brief provides the SEO team guidance around scope, expectations, roles, and other key factors.

Why go through the effort of creating a SEO project brief?

Time spent creating a brief will result in project success that meets or exceeds client expectations with the least amount of effort from your team. Here are some key benefits:

  • Sets clear expectations for the SEO results of the project
  • Provides information needed to create an informed estimate
  • Simplifies documentation of key project resources like roles and responsibilities, technical considerations, etc.

Key components of a SEO project brief

Project scope

A short explanation of what is to be done.

Project goals

What are the high-level goals for this project? How does this project relate to the overall marketing goals of the client?

Key SEO questions

How will traffic be driven to this site?

Outside of organic search, what other marketing campaigns are driving visits and/or creating awareness? For example, is there a planned digital radio campaign that may impact searches for the product/service?

What are the SEO expectations?

How do you want your audience to find you through organic search? What terms do you want to rank for? How much traffic do you expect from these terms? Do you have any other expectations?

Who owns the organic success of the site?

Who is responsible for achieving the SEO expectations above?

Does the technology stack allow for SEO best practices?

Does the technology supporting the site, like the Content Management System, support SEO best practices, like including title metadata?


Key resources such as a link to where you should bill your time for this project OR where key project assets are located.

Roles and responsibilities

This highlights who should be involved in what parts of the project.

SEO scope

Based on the project scope and the SEO expectations, what should the SEO scope be for this project?

Technology stack

Different technology stacks have different SEO capabilities.


This can be in the form of hours, dollars, or any other limited resource.


Key dates influencing a project such as client reviews, deliverable handoffs, and launch dates.

Additional Information

Any other factors to be considered by the SEO team.

Draft state and approved state

Draft state

There will be multiple iterations of the SEO project brief as you move through a project’s initial stages. The first iteration may manifest through hasty notes scribbled during a project kickoff call. The second iteration will likely involve a review of the initial information, input from your team, and solicitation of information missed in the first draft.

Approved state

Eventually you will be in a position to seek approval of your SEO project brief. This approval forces other project stakeholders to either agree with the assumptions, expectations, and roles you’ve outlined OR request revisions requiring another round of approval. This approved SEO project brief then becomes your compass on the journey to successful project completion.

Where does this fit into the project lifecycle?

Complete the SEO project brief after the project brief is complete and before SEO work begins.

Reference the SEO project brief when evaluating whether you successfully achieved the project’s goal and fulfilled all scoped items.

There should be one person responsible for drafting and seeking approval of the document throughout the life of a project. Use a roles and responsibilities guide to define who is responsible for this on your team.

Now go make the world a better place!

A SEO project brief allows you to accomplish more for your client with less effort from your team. The effort reduction contributes to a calm working environment providing more enjoyment inside and outside of work.