You’ve figured out what’s wrong, and you’ve delivered a laundry list of demands to your web dev team: re-index these pages, fix this duplicate content, redirect these URLs… but how often are those fixes prioritized, and how much time do you invest in pushing to get them there?
Cultivating a positive, productive relationship with your web developers is one of the smartest (and most empathetic) things you can do as an SEO. After all, they’re your other half, the key to getting your work done quickly and well. In this Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares six essential ways to get your web dev on board with SEO, from working to better understand their role and offer help when you can, to sharing your wins and asking for feedback on working together.
And don’t miss the end — we’ve released our brand-new Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet for 2020, the perfect pairing for today’s video!
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re talking all about how to get your web dev on board with SEO. So really excited. I think you’ll notice my biggest point here, and I couldn’t feel more strongly about the fact that we really do have so much to learn from developers, it’s wild.
Hopefully, this video helps kind of open some of your minds or expand some of the ways in which you can do that, because it will make you a lot stronger.
First and foremost, create a genuine relationship with the developers you work with. Better understand their role and how they’re measuring their own success. Know what languages they program in. Better understanding their perspective and their opinion on things helps you create a better working relationship. Part of that is cultivating trust.
One of the ways in which I’ve found some success cultivating that trust is just admitting when I have no idea how to implement a particular SEO fix. Or even when I think that I do, I prefer to ask, “What is the best way you see this being implemented? How would you most efficiently implement this change or optimization?” More frequently than not, they will have a way better way to make these website changes because they have that backend knowledge of the website.
Being humble, expressing that you don’t know everything, you’re not trying to step in and tell them how to program pages or how to fix that, it should be way more of a communication and a transaction of just information from both sides.
I promise you. It is one of my most favorite things working here at Moz. I have learned so much from the developers here. But likewise, some of the developers have learned things from myself and other fellow SEOs that work here. This is a symbiotic working relationship, where developers want to program sites and pages that do well in search.
That’s what makes it a really efficient working relationship. Be open to just learning new things from your developers.
Understand what it is they’re trying to accomplish. If there’s any way you can help support that or consider that in your work and the things you’re making progress on, it’s a win-win.
This is a common problem. Something that a lot of people ask about is creating this workflow or process in which you can keep an eye on dev changes. For really large websites, this can get unwieldy. It can be difficult to keep an eye on changes that might affect SEO.
But if you can have that conversation with a developer or a team of developers that you work with on: What’s the best way to manage this? Can you add me to GitHub so I can look at things that are getting pushed? Whatever that might be, it can really help create the space where you’re doing preventative SEO. You’re making sure that nothing goes terribly wrong in the future and makes it more manageable in the long run.
Share your SEO wins with the developers, especially when they’ve helped you and maybe have provided better solutions. You should absolutely thank them, and what a great opportunity to sort of share in those wins and continue to grow that working relationship.
Lastly, ask for feedback. If you feel like you’re struggling to communicate with a group of developers or a single developer, just be honest and use some radical candor and ask, “How can I better work with you? How can I better support you?” Opening that up for some feedback can also help to strengthen the relationship.
Then the one last thing that I hope you can really leverage as a tool to grow in your SEO efforts and to help you get more things done with the development team is The Web Developer’s Cheat Sheet for SEO.
This is a great resource to open up this conversation with developers, to sit down and have a conversation about why some of these things are important to you as an SEO and what comes to mind when they look at it. They have a totally different perspective on a lot of the things within this sheet.
It’s a great opportunity for you to sit down and have those conversations and be able to excel in your SEO efforts. I hope some of this helps. I think it’s one of the most important things in getting SEO work done and seeing that success.
Please let me know what you think down below in the comments. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, and what other questions you have. I will see you all again soon. Thanks.