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How to Unite SEO and Development Teams for Success

Updated: 3 days ago

The synergy between SEO and development teams can no longer be an afterthought. This alliance is often hindered by a lack of communication and understanding, resulting in financial losses and missed opportunities for businesses.


Any development team that operates without a solid grasp of SEO best practices is prone to deploying code that can inadvertently sabotage a website’s search performance and the subsequent need to rectify these mistakes not only eats into valuable development time but also delays optimization efforts.


This article focuses on the contrasting priorities of SEO professionals and developers, explores the roots of their divide, and discusses actionable strategies to foster collaboration and mutual learning.


Understanding the Different Priorities

At its core, the divide between SEO professionals and developers stems from their distinct objectives and metrics of success. SEO teams are tasked with increasing the visibility and ranking of websites on search engines. Their work revolves around keyword optimization, content strategy, and enhancing user experience to meet the ever-evolving algorithms of search engines like Google and Bing.


On the other hand, developers focus on building functional, secure, and efficient websites. Their goals are centered around code quality, website performance, and implementing features that fulfill business requirements.


This dichotomy of focus areas often leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. For instance, an SEO specialist might request changes that could impact the website’s load time or its structural integrity from a coding perspective, causing concern for the development team. On the other hand, developers might roll out updates or architectures that inadvertently harm the site's SEO performance, like using JavaScript frameworks that are not easily indexed by search engines.


Fostering Collaboration and Understanding

The path to bridging this divide lies in fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual respect between the SEO and dev teams. Below are strategies and examples to achieve this.


Integrate SEO Principles into the Development Process

Make SEO an integral part of the development lifecycle. This can be achieved by including SEO considerations in the initial planning stages and ensuring that SEO experts are involved in key development meetings and decisions.


A good example of this would be during a website migration and redesign. The SEO team would want to align with the development team and stakeholders to make sure that redirects are properly in place from one version of the site to another, that the new version of the site is easily crawlable, that on-page elements or content are optimized in a way that's helpful to the end user, along with many other considerations.


Education and Shared Workshops

Organize workshops and training sessions for both teams. For developers, these could cover the basics of SEO if necessary, including how search engines work and the impact of code on search rankings.


However, Its been our experience that most development teams understand the basics of SEO. So conversations and education might be less about the basics and more about crawlability or indexation issues and how current architecture might inhibit the websites ability to perform in search.


For SEO professionals, sessions could delve into the fundamentals of web development, focusing on how technical decisions are made within an organization, the processes in place to make updates, the code stack that's utilized by the site or things of that nature.


Collaborative Tools and Platforms

Utilize project management tools and platforms that enhance communication between the two teams. Shared dashboards, where both SEO and development milestones are visible, can help in aligning goals and understanding the impact of each team’s work on the other. These are tools like Jira, Asana, Monday, or even something as simple as Trello.


Establish a Common Language

Develop a shared vocabulary or set of terminologies that both teams can understand. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and ensures that requests and feedback are communicated clearly.


As an example, a front-end developer might misunderstand a request for a title tag change, with the top an article where an H1 tag is utilized. You as the SEO might have stated that the title needs updated instead of the title tag, leading to confusion.


Celebrate Shared Successes

The SEO wouldn't be able to show success without the developer implementing changes. Recognize and celebrate achievements that result from the collaborative efforts of both teams. Highlighting how integrated efforts lead to improved search rankings, user engagement, or website performance can reinforce the value of working together and in turn, build trust.


Enriching Both SEO and Development Practices

The convergence of SEO and engineering not only bridges gaps but also opens avenues for mutual learning. Developers can gain insights into how search engines interpret web pages, which can influence more SEO-friendly coding practices. Learning about structured data, metadata, and how search engines crawl websites can lead developers to adopt practices that naturally support SEO objectives.


Conversely, SEO professionals can deepen their understanding of the technical constraints and challenges faced by developers. This knowledge can lead to more realistic and technically feasible SEO recommendations, fostering a spirit of cooperation rather than conflict.


Communication is Key

By understanding each other’s priorities, fostering open communication, and embracing opportunities for mutual learning, teams can drive their organizations to new heights of online visibility and performance. The journey toward collaboration may require effort and patience, but the rewards—enhanced website performance, improved search rankings, and a cohesive digital strategy—far outweigh the initial challenges.



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