Event Recap: Building SEO & Developer Relationships
For June we were delighted to bring you a panel of experts to discuss how to build and keep SEO & Developer relationships. For this webinar we brought in 5 excellent speakers:
The focus of the webinar was to hold a Q&A format roundtable to discuss successful ways to bridge the gap that often occurs between SEOs and Developers. Each person brought a unique perspective and we’re deeply grateful they’ve made time to present their views.
You can watch the full recording here:
Historically there’s been an invisible gap between Developers and SEOs – it’s always stated that Devs don’t make good SEOs and SEOs don’t make good Developers. But this needs to change in order to create synergy between the teams, working towards a common goal.
Introducing our panelists
Before jumping in, we’d like to introduce our contributors along with their background and experience:
Nick has had a presence in the SEO community for 20 years and has even run his own development studio, working with 27 devs. He’s worked across multiple different verticals and roles and has worked as a consultant in-house with large brands.
Nick has also worked with devs a lot over the years and first thought they would take over a lot of SEO roles and put us out of work – but that’s not the way it has played out. SEO has gotten more technical and we need to work with Developers more.
With that split, having SEOs that are more technical has changed the relationship we have with our devs, we have more documentation and transparency from Google, especially in terms of development documents, so the opportunity for a collaborative relationship has never been greater.
Nick’s key tip: To build strong relationships with developers, SEOs need to speak their language.
Richard is a senior technical analyst here with us at DeepCrawl operating on the Professional Services team. He has worked for agencies, in-house, and started his career as a full-stack developer. Being one of the only developers that had any interest in SEO he started learning more and gravitating towards technical SEO.
He never saw developers as a threat, but more as the complementary side that executes and solves problems on a less theoretical level. Keeping up with SEO updates can be tough and SEOs can provide devs with conflicting messaging – because of that, devs don’t often take their SEOs that serious.
Richard’s key tip: If you can return something of impact to the Developer, such as saying that something that they built/pushed had X impact, they are far more likely to be receptive to our requests.
Polly is a digital marketing director at Delete agency, but has worked in-house as well. She started her career writing code but considers herself a recovering coder now.
To her, SEOs act like an orchestral conductor and it’s our responsibility to bring together talent and to see the bigger picture. To be successful, SEOs and devs need to truly understand the client and how their business works and how they make their money.
Polly’s key tip: You also need to be flexible – sometimes what will make the most impact isn’t technical SEO so you shouldn’t have too narrow of a focus.
Rachel is a technical SEO consultant at BuiltVisible and before that, she was a technical SEO manager at DeepCrawl. She’s worked on the agency side with migration projects and in-house with a large e-commerce focusing on quantifying technical SEO work, and she’s also a speaker and writer.
She has written a white paper for DeepCrawl on the relationship between devs and SEOs and collaborated with Developers while on the team. By collaborating, she’s discovered you need to focus on problems that they can solve and understand their roles so you have the right audience.
Aymen is an international SEO consultant and has extensive experience as a computer engineer and software developer working with developers on projects, and recognizes that the relationship can have its challenges. SEO itself is very broad and encompasses many different areas of focus, therefore, communication is essential to create a relationship between both of the disciplines.
Aymen’s key tip: When you spend more time with Developers you’ll learn from them, and Developers learn from SEOs.
Questions from the Audience
Q: What is the best way to pass SEO improvements to the development team (rather than passing stuff like PageSpeed Insights over to them)?
Q: How do you connect with Devs, especially when you’re new to job and want to encourage a new way to work across teams?
Q: We talk a lot about PageSpeed Insights – how can you take that as an SEO task and specifically translate it to a Developer?
Q: Are there any tools that you use to prioritize the asks you’re sending to Developers?
Q: How do you explain the business impact of changes to the Development team or get stuff bumped up in the queue?
Q: When you relaunch an older site there is usually a huge amount of redirects. Often Developers want to delete the redirects after a while – do you have experience convincing someone to leave redirects even if they want to clean up their files?
Q: How do you handle mistakes made by Developers, especially when talking to the clients?
We’d like to say a big thank you to all of the panelists for sharing their experiences and insights, as well as all of those who attended and asked such great questions.
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