One of the biggest frustrations for SEOs is that their development team makes technical recommendations. Whether due to a bad past experience or lack of understanding of each other’s area, common problems on both sides can either result in implementations not being performed or being slow and incorrect. This lack of communication means you can’t get results, which takes time and money for the business.
While the blame might be on your development team, project manager, or product owner, it’s ultimately you who report the performance (probably to stakeholders and other decision-makers). So it is in your best interest to get your recommendations implemented (and in the right way).
In this article, I’m going to give you some tips to help you work better with developers to get things done. First of all, it’s important to understand that developers are not your enemy, but an ally. If they don’t implement your recommendations as quickly and effectively as you want, it’s probably because they have their own workloads and goals, which may not always be perfectly tailored to yours. You need to make additional efforts to understand why they shouldn’t just take your recommendations into account, but prioritize them so that they can spend time implementing them successfully.
How to deliver your SEO recommendations most effectively
The way you make SEO recommendations determines how and when the developer implements them. In an ideal world, you want this to happen as quickly as possible and without errors. Regardless of whether it’s a technical audit, a site speed audit, or a simple technical health check, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Include as much detail as possible in your recommendations. Explain the context of your recommendations and the reasons why they are important (what impact or potential benefit you expect from their implementation). At the end of each section, summarize each change request you recommend in a few bullet points to ensure that the action to be taken is clear. Here is an example:
- If necessary, enrich your recommendations with illustrations of the problems and give the developers examples. For example, if you recommend implementing schema markup, add a snippet of the required code using, for example, a actual URL.
- Remember that you are not just writing for developers. There is a high probability that this will be seen by other stakeholders and decision-makers who have no technical background and must also be able to understand your recommendations. To counteract this, you can also add screenshots from competitors so that they understand what it would look like from a user perspective.
- In most cases, a single problem has more than one solution. If you can, avoid showing everyone in your document. Give only one solution to the problem (your preferred one) and fight for it to be implemented. If you specify a few options, you may find it much more difficult to enforce your preferred option. Make sure that you are abierto with the other alternatives in case someone blocks the solution you have chosen and you need a backup.
- Add a prioritized list of your SEO recommendations and rank them by implications and implementation difficulties. There are a few ways you can do this: in addition to each recommendation, you can have a number of advantages and difficulties. What our customers always find very useful is our development checklist, which is sent at the beginning of our audits. There we summarize all recommendations and divide them according to priority.
- A table with all supporting data should always be attached to the registration document. Create a tab for each recommendation and arrange them in the order in which they appear in the document (from highest to lowest priority). Make sure that the tabs in the audit are referenced with the correct name and code number (section number).
- Finally, make sure that your recommendations reach the recipient. Don’t just send an email and hope for the best! People are busy and there is a chance that your valuable exam, which took days, will be buried by other emails. Schedule (ideally) a face-to-face meeting or phone call with relevant stakeholders and developers to review your document. Make sure everyone knows what is required of them and don’t leave the room until you receive the buy-in from relevant stakeholders and developers.
Setting up the tools requires collaboration
After you have submitted your recommendations, you still need to track whether they have been implemented successfully. Here are some things to help you work with the development team:
- Make sure you have access to the ticketing system. This way, when creating the stories for your change requests, you can verify that they meet your requirements and that all of your recommendations are included in tickets. Make sure you get notifications when there is an update for one of your SEO tickets or when someone mentions you in a comment.
- Create an implementation tracker sheet and upload it to Google Drive. We use this with our customers to keep an eye on all the recommendations and it was really useful. If you show your customer, project manager and / or development team how to use it, everything will go smoother. Provide details of each recommendation, including ticket number, priority, difficulty of implementation, owner, and the date you made the recommendation:
- Merienda the tasks are complete, you can move them to the “Completed” tab. This is very useful the next time you need to run a monthly report or perform a performance update at a QBR meeting. Going through this list, you can directly map performance changes to implementations made at the end of your recommendations.
Tipping: If this happens, also make the developers aware of the positive effects. They will be happy to know that their efforts have paid off, and this will improve your relationship with them and their confidence in the value of your recommendations.
Here is a link to one Example of a table We use with our customers. You can replicate this for your own use.
- In some cases, you need to create a business case to push your SEO suggestions forward. Applying sales figures to these increases the pressure on the development team to do things. It is difficult to assign a separate value to each recommendation, but you can summarize them and specify a combined value. For example, group recommendations by page templates or specify a combined number for multiple speed recommendations Google’s impact calculator).
Tipping: This helps you prioritize tasks against each other and get stakeholders buy-in. However, you should never guarantee these results. After all, this is a forecast, so make sure this is clear.
Integration in the development workflow
Don’t expect developers to interfere with their natural way of working to accommodate an SEO recommendation. It is important that you understand their development methodology and consider it as much as possible. A few things you can do on this front are:
- First, find out how long the sprint cycle lasts and plan a call that targets those sprints. For example, two of my clients run biweekly sprints so we have a call every other Monday (before their sprint planning) to discuss which SEO elements will be included in the upcoming sprint. This will help you properly prioritize your suggestions and drive SEO tasks to start sprints.
- If you created the implementation tracker sheet mentioned in the previous section, you can now use it. Make sure that you go through the highest priority actions on every call and try to get an update if they are expected to be implemented. This way, you have time to act with blockers without causing major delays.
Tipping: It is also important to have direct contact with the project manager or Scrum Master via email to avoid having to involve intermediaries.
- I mentioned a ticket system earlier. Now it’s time for you to use this regularly. Respond to comments and questions about developer SEO tickets and closely follow your story updates. To make sure things are implemented properly, it is really important that you review the implementations merienda they are staged before they are deployed. Then, during the live push, check the live environment again to ensure that everything has been successfully released.
- Remember to update the table to move all (successfully) completed actions along with the implementation date to the Completed tab so that you can use them in the future to explain performance changes.
Tipping: For some customers, we also track their changes on the page in a separate tab. This makes it much easier to see what could be the cause if, for example, the positions fluctuate after some changes in the title or in the page copy.
Developers are your allies
Developers are people like you or me with their own goals and workloads. Don’t expect them to change their workflow, but work as much as possible around them. This should lead to faster implementations, quick reporting, and satisfied stakeholders and customers.
Hopefully this article has given you some tips on how to do this. However, if you have any questions, please contact us. We have been there before and would love to help.