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As a Creative Marketing Agency we work on all kinds of projects and they come to us at a lot of different stages. One of the most common issues we see are when IT projects come to us almost complete but basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) set up wasn’t put in place. We then have to go back, usually for an additional cost –thousands of dollars – and set up things like meta-tags, alt tags, correct page titles, keyword enriched URLs and importantly website architecture. For a startup, or a young company, this can break their back and it’s tragic to see – especially for something that should have been done right the first time.
Part of the issue is that neither the company owners nor the developers tend to know much about how SEO works or think about it until much further down the road. The website infrastructure is obvious the engine behind any website and that’s where, rightfully, most companies start. It’s obviously the job of developers not only to create user-friendly, visually appealing sites, but they also provide all of the services you need to keep your website up and running. It’s a tough gig which is why SEO usually gets missed.
The first step in SEO should be looked at in the wireframe phase of a project. Website navigation is the structure of hyperlinks on your website and is the first thing that should be taken into account. In most cases, information architecture directly impacts the usability and rankings of your website. This structure guides visitors as they search through the sales process. Once the structure is decided on, it should be easy enough for the developers to code the necessary tags into the site and ensure that Google can properly index the site.
Ideally, developers should understand SEO and it should be a major development from the beginning, but in reality, it rarely happens that way. The owner or financier is usually just focused on getting the thing built and marketing, getting the website found on Google comes later. These priorities are then conveyed to the developers – and nothing more. It’s only when sites are completed or in their final stages and that is when we get asked for a quick SEO analysis that can require dramatic changes to the site.
The bridge between the IT and SEO departments begins with clear communication. Part of the problems is that developers and SEO technicians are two different types of personalities which can often clash. Then sometimes ego gets in the way as developers think that the SEO technicians are putting their nose in somewhere it doesn’t belong and vice versa. It’s important to remember what the goal of the website is and each side has an important part in getting there. To communicate with one another, SEO and IT need to set industry jargon aside, and speak in common phrases the other team will understand. What’s not important is showing the other side how smart they are.
Lastly, the developers should structure their code so it’s easy for the SEO technicians to make updates as new pages are added and Google algorithms change. The business shouldn’t have to rely too heavily on the developers to make minor tweaks for them.
Ultimately, the business owner will want to create a fast, safe and user-friendly site that will entice your customers to visit and make a purchase. When your IT and SEO departments work together, the possibilities are endless and they can create a robust platform with an opportunity to gain great SEO with the help of regular content updates.
If you’re looking for some marketing help give us a call at Kipling Media and we will do an assessment of your business goals and make some suggestions on how to get there.