You know, something I come across all the time, and find quite interesting, is why technical SEO recommendations end up not being implemented, or not being implemented, completely.
There are common traits I’ve discovered across the clients I’ve worked with, as to why this happens.
Today, I want to share some of these commonalities with you.
Firstly, let me ask you this…
At what point do you involve the Dev department with a technical SEO audit?
Is it when you’re commissioning an agency to carry out the work?
Is it when you arrange a meeting with the Dev department and SEO to understand technical limitations the business faces?
Or, is it when you have the recommendations at hand to pass onto the Dev department?
What I’m getting at here is there is often a disconnect between SEO and other marketing channels, or in this case, other departments.
You see, SEO is still so new in organisations, the way the channel is engaged with, the code of conduct, to this day, is still being established.
So, just as it’s common for marketers to not know to involve SEO at the beginning of projects, it’s also as common for marketers not to involve departments with SEO-related work from the beginning.
What tends to happen with technical recs is they are received, and then passed onto the Dev department.
Often enough, the very first time SEOs and Devs engage is to go through the recs.
This is after the recs have been delivered.
This is far too late!
Why is this too late?
Because it leads to SEO work having to be fit in, within the existing development work.
This leads to SEO being regarded as work that is not a priority, and/or a concern, especially from an operational point of view.
This dynamic between the two departments does not lend itself to a proactive working relationship.
It keeps the relationship at a reactive state.
Addressing this dynamic is simple. Involve the Dev department at the start of SEO projects; not the end.
Just as I advocate to involve SEO at the start of projects led by other departments, I advocate doing the same thing with projects led by SEO. A technical SEO audit is such a project.
Involving Devs early will also address, perhaps the biggest roadblock when it comes to implementing technical SEO recs.
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You receive technical recommendations from an SEO agency.
Devs are taken through the deck and assigned to implement the recs.
As they begin to action them, they come back with restrictions and limitations of the CMS.
Restrictions and limitations that take implementing the recs way out of scope.
So out of scope that approval is needed from the business because it requires tackling a bigger piece of work.
So, this is highlighted to the business who takes the issues into consideration.
Meanwhile, what happens to SEO…? Addressing those particular issues are put on hold.
The SEO recommendations are only implemented, partially.
There could be high stakes limitations, which SEOs depend on in order to improve the site’s performance.
These are put on hold until the business gives the greenlight to work on them.
In order for this greenlight to be given, SEO has to provide a business case, which then goes into consideration before work can begin. Is it any wonder why SEO takes so long to work?
By the time the implementation occurs, months have gone by. I don’t mean 2 or 3, I mean 10, 11, 12, even more, depending on the severity of the limitations.
Within this time, everything SEO-related, pertinent to the limitations, lead SEOs to provide workarounds.
A business reliant on the performance of SEO cannot thrive on workarounds.
Heck, workarounds is the kryptonite of SEO.
If the goal of SEO is to make improvements, workarounds is in direct opposition of this goal.
Having SEOs and Devs engage earlier allows them to address system limitations, and address them earlier.
It also allows them to discover unknown unknowns.
You know what this early engagement of the departments also lead to…?
It leads to a prosperous relationship between the departments.
A relationship where Devs are engaged in the delivery of SEO work – not as a reaction of having tickets related to SEO work, but proactively being invested in the outcome of SEO.
Tell me, when it comes to Devs working on SEO-related work, do you think they care about SEO work?
Do you think they like SEO work?
Do you think they see SEO work as something that benefits them?
How engaged are they with SEO work?
I’m not talking about them completing a ticket for SEO. The personal joy of completing a ticket is great!
But I tell you, this isn’t the rewarding outcome you want to aim for for the Dev department.
You want to have them invested in the success of SEO.
This is one of the reasons why sharing SEO reports with Devs is recommended.
The point of showing SEO reports is to show the outcome.
An outcome that goes beyond the remit of task tickets.
An outcome that’s beyond fixing something that’s broken, not right, inadequate.
It’s an outcome that’s beyond rankings, traffic, conversions.
It’s an outcome that evokes the joyful feeling one has when they contribute to the success of the business. A feeling they have when they can link their work to the results they see in reports, you know?
This feeling makes Devs eager to proactively find solutions to help the business make improvements, progress, with the SEO channel.