Building Stronger Relationships Between the SEO & Developer Teams

In most organizations, the search engine optimization and developer teams are completely separate entities. Sure, they’re supposed to work together, but competing priorities sometimes put them at odds.

But if you’re an SEO professional and you don’t have access to the code on your company’s or a client’s website, how do you get the dev team to stop what they’re working on and make the changes you need to improve search visibility?

It starts with building a better relationship. In this piece, we’re going to give you some tips to improve your rapport with your technical counterparts, make both your jobs easier and ensure you’re all working toward the same goal. 

Understand the Developers’ Priorities

While SEO is the most important part of your job, most dev teams have a whole lot more on their plates. Virtually every department in an organization is competing for their time, with their to-do list consisting of everything from designing user interfaces and testing web apps to writing JavaScript and fixing broken code.

With such a heavy task load, it’s easy to see why technical SEO isn’t always number one on their list of priorities. As an SEO professional, you need to understand this and show empathy fortheir situation. 

Don’t drop a massive SEO job on their laps and tell them you need it by the end of the day, unless it’s absolutely business critical. 

On the flip side, don’t let them keep pushing your needs to the bottom. Instead, help them understand why you need it by building relationships that are mutually beneficial. 

Educate Developers About SEO

While your dev team is probably aware of the principles of search engine optimization, they likely haven’t followed trends and developments as closely as you have. 

When both departments have a bit of downtime, treat them to a pint of beer or a cup of coffee and discuss the importance of on-page factors in SEO. Tell them exactly why you’re requesting changes, so they understand the importance of making them. 

Repair the Rift Caused by Bad Experiences

One of the main reasons devs can be less-than-excited about SEO tasks is because of bad experiences with SEO departments. You’ve probably even seen it yourself: some self-important SEO professional making demands about necessary changes and treating the web developers like their personal errand boys (and girls).

You can fix this by establishing a connection with the individual members of the dev team, sitting down with them either individually or as a whole, and establishing common goals. Take the time to ask about their needs and concerns, so you work with them more effectively. 

Get SEO Involved Early

From a dev point of view, SEO often comes sallying in at the end of a project with a list of things that could have been taken care of earlier. The result is often wasted labor via reworking things that they had already considered done. 

Get your SEO team involved early. Let the technical team know what you need and give them everything they will require to be successful as soon as possible. 

Volunteer to Take the Lead on SEO Implementation

Some devs are touchy about their code. The last thing they want is some non-developer poking and prodding around in there, potentially upsetting the balance of a system that’s been patched and jerry-rigged to the point of precariousness. 

Others are okay passing off “minor” tasks, if it takes it off their plate. If you’re dealing with this type of development team, offer to take over the technical SEO aspects. You don’t have to be a computer wizard to add meta tags or update a robots.txt file. Just make sure you know what you’re doing.

Build Your Credibility as an Authority

Every good relationship is built upon trust. Your devs will trust you if you give them reason to. Take the lead on SEO education in your organization by hosting presentations or writing documentation. 

Use knowledge-sharing sessions to build the case for the SEO improvements you want to make. And make yourself available for questions that may arise during the implementation process.

Separate Bugs and Features

Bugs prevent websites from operating properly or cause negative user experiences. Features are functionality that is useful but is not necessarily critical. 

The majority of the SEO recommendations you’re going to make to your dev team is going to be features. For example, adding structured data or making structural changes for better crawlability. Yes, these are important for SEO, but so long as the website is still operational, they can be performed as time allows. 

Make sure you’re only asking your developers for quick turnarounds on bugs, which can actively work against business goals. Remember, if everything is a rush job, then nothing is. 

Deal with Mistakes Professionally

Things like redirect loops or slow loading times can wreak havoc on your SEO efforts. It’s important to realize that, if these were caused by human error, they weren’t done intentionally. 

Both the SEO team and the development team have a vested interest in ensuring the website is operating smoothly. Neither is doing anything to sabotage the other, so keep your frustration from boiling over. 

Work closely with developers to identify and rectify situations that are occurring, avoid casting blame and above all, keep things professional. 

Let Your Developers Work

Constantly checking in on the status of a change isn’t going to make it happen any quicker. Instead, you’re just going to irritate your developers. 

Keep communication open and transparent but give them time to do their jobs. If you’ve accurately conveyed your own priorities and any timelines you may be subject to, this will allow them to get the work done without encroaching on their other work. 

Keep Projects on Track

One of the biggest issues with any project is keeping everyone on the same page. That’s where evisio can make a real difference.

The platform built to streamline everything SEO, it includes built-in project management functionally to give everyone real-time status updates. You can color code tasks by priority, assign user permissions and keep everyone in the loop all the time. 

And this is just one small piece of evisio’s powerful functionality. See what it can do for you. Contact us for your free trial.

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