When do we want our SEO changes implemented? Yesterday!
SEO is a busy job involving lots of moving parts, and it can be frustrating when we can’t see results quickly because change requests are backing up in the developer queue.
That’s precisely why patience is a virtue for SEOs. We need to wait for the changes we make to have the impact we want, but when we’re at the mercy of development backlogs and an inflexible CMS, we also need to wait for those changes to be made in the first place. You might be able to relate to Marshall Jones.
I present the changes needed, they implement none of them, six month later the client wonders why we still aren't ranking.— Marshall Jones (@marshallajones) May 5, 2020
Historically, the relationship between SEOs and developers hasn’t been all that rosy. This is due mainly to poor communication and a lack of understanding of each other’s needs. But thankfully, there is a way to bridge the gap.
You might speak in different tongues and have different agendas, but here’s how you can start building that bridge toward your new friends on the development team and start generating faster results for your SEO clients or your own website.
Understand a Developer’s Priorities
Developers are often faced with a multitude of changes to make with requests coming from all areas of the business. Sadly for us, SEO is often not at the top of the list and it can take a while for our requests to be seen or heard.
In fact, two-thirds of the SEOs we surveyed said they wait a month or more to get their changes implemented. A remarkable 40% of those changes are actually never implemented at all. It’s easy to let the frustration kick in here, but it generally means that developers (like the rest of us) already have huge and incredibly important workloads to tackle and they’re having trouble keeping up.
It pays to recognize this and avoid going in with demands. Take the time to get to know their existing development priorities and try to put them into the wider context of business operations and your own needs. Displaying empathy and an understanding of the pressure they are under can help strengthen that relationship.
I'm all for a good relationship with Dev. Being clear about what each side needs from each other, alongside how you can work together to achieve goals is so important. Clear communication, processes and treating each other like humans is essential.— Nat (@__nca) May 4, 2020
Educate Developers on the Importance of SEO Changes
When you’ve reached out and have an understanding of their workloads and the importance of each of their tasks, give them an idea of yours.
A lack of knowledge is one of the most common barriers to progress when it comes to working as a team. It’s easy for developers to put SEO tasks to one side when they don’t know the costs of not executing them quickly enough, so talk them through the effects of timely SEO implementation and get them on your side.
No doubt they are aware of the principles of search and having a functioning website that serves users well, but they may not know some of the ins and outs when it comes to SEO. Buy them each a fancy coffee of their choice and offer to sit with them to go through the essential on-page factors and how they impact performance, introducing examples of what happens when you do and don’t make necessary changes.
With a mutual understanding of each other’s priorities and the individual tasks it takes to deliver on them, marketers and developers can start pulling in the same direction toward optimum performance.
In my experience many are interested in web crawlability and are happy to do things that make sense for the company. Where I've seen SEOs not work well with eng are those who can only talk to people in a 1-way conversation— Jackie Chu (@jackiecchu) May 4, 2020
Take the Lead with Reversible SEO Implementation
Now that there’s a better line of communication between you, a clear and simple process is needed to make the changes you want and need.
Whether your development team is small and their workload is huge or you’re faced with a tricky CMS or lack of access, PageImprove is your savior. It allows SEOs to make changes to the version of the website that Google sees, analyzes and indexes, all without making hard-coded changes to the backend. SEOs, rejoice! Developers, breathe a sigh of relief!
You’re not leaving them out of the loop here either, as PageImprove creates a downloadable .csv file with all the changes that need to be made to the backend. Send this to them with a recap on the education piece you did earlier, and be sure to remind them that all the changes are reversible if need be.
Leave Your Developers to It
Once you’ve made the changes you need for your clients, you can watch Google pick them up and report back on the (fingers crossed) good news when their SEO performance sees an improvement. There’s no waiting on developer backlogs and no emails to clients to say that the work is ‘in progress’.
You’ve taken the initiative and made the updates yourself without making hard-coded changes to the website, so you can now let the developers update the backend in their own time.
All you have to do is keep your communication open and transparent and let them know exactly what you’ve changed so they can mirror it. Your developers are happy because you’ve solved a problem together without encroaching on each other’s priorities and leadership or your clients are happy because they’ve seen faster SEO results.
Enjoy Your Newfound Collaboration with Developers
Through better communication and the power of PageImprove, you can establish a more productive and cooperative relationship that lasts with your developers. Gone are the days of waiting weeks, months, or years for SEO changes to be made—these are the days that put SEOs in charge of SEO and developers in charge of development with complementary workflows.
Try PageImprove today to discover the potential of delivering faster SEO results without leaning entirely on your development team.