How the SEO-Developer relationship could be harming rather than helping you on Google

It’s not unusual for a business to separate the tasks of website development and SEO by working with a developer to create their website and with a different person or business to manage their SEO. In many cases it makes sense. Developers have immense coding skills and understand how to make a website with the features, security and support that a business needs while an SEO expert understands how to get the website to the top of Google.

In order to make SEO work, SEO experts rely heavily on developers to make sure, for example, that the right coding is in place and unfortunately this is where effective SEO can fall short. If the SEO and the developer don’t communicate what’s needed or don’t understand what needs to be done then there is a risk that months of work, and money spent, on SEO (and the website) is wasted.

Imagine a scenario, where an SEO professional asks for changes to be made to the site including changes to the coding but he or she doesn’t explain that the amendments need to apply to a specific page or to all pages. The developer might not realise how important this omission is and make the wrong changes. By the time the mistake is noticed and action is taken, Google has already indexed the site and ranked it according to the incorrect changes. Correcting the issue means changing the code again and re-indexing the site. The process of correcting the issue can take time which could have been better spent while your website is already higher in search rankings!

Another scenario is when a website developer creates a very clean coded, effective website for a customer that's doing well in search engines and an external marketing company is employed by the customer to get them to 'number 1 in Google'. The marketing guru asks the developers for changes to be made to the site including changes to the structure and content of the site. But the marketing expert may have very little knowledge of how websites and search engines work and especially the impact of even the smallest change to the content. Online marketing and offline marketing are VERY different. So, the developers will make those changes, and at the same time advising the customer against the changes, explaining the impact they will have on the future of the website. By the time the marketing guru has finished their contract with the customer and left, Google has already indexed the site and ranked it according to the mis-informed changes. Correcting the issue means changing the content and structure back and re-indexing the site. The process of correcting badly-informed marketing advice can ruin a website ranking.

Often, it’s not necessarily the fault of either of the two parties but when selecting who you use for web design, SEO, PR, online marketing and general marketing it’s worth considering how these marketing elements (and experts) are going to work together to get the right results. Do the 'marketing experts' know what they're doing online for the good of your website or are they just spending your money? And when we say ‘the right results’ we don’t just mean SEO. Having a well-designed website that’s focused on what your website visitors want to experience is also important.

Employing a large multi-layered agency providing services in branding and web design or that specialises in PR or marketing with no real understanding or thirst for website code, browser conditions or technology that devices use, could increase the risk of SEO development being ineffective.

Smaller agencies, however, who have knowledge and understanding of custom code and SEO together are more likely to create the website and make ongoing edits with an SEO focus - resulting in SEO activities being more effective.

SEO requires analysis and possible ongoing changes to content or code (depending on how the site is built and what kind of code is used). If a website or specific page isn’t performing as expected then changes may be needed to optimise the site further. The competition doesn’t stand still and neither does Google. Google makes frequent changes to its algorithms which can decide where a website should rank.

The solution?

There are two main solutions to this dilemma. The first one is to make sure you hire a web designer and an SEO expert (or a marketing company who know website code inside out) that can work together and have a good understanding of the opposing areas. Does the web designer, for example, understand the basic and advanced details of how SEO works and does your marketing expert have 'expertise' in search engine optimisation and website code? Asking for evidence of past success before hiring is a good start but the process of developing your SEO strategy will also require some handholding to make sure that the process is running smoothly and the two parties are talking to each other for a common goal of your business website success.

The second solution is to consider a small agency that is proven in providing high-quality web page design AND has the necessary SEO skills for effective online marketing, such as content managed websites.

Small agencies with dedicated SEO and dedicated web developers who co-exist in the workplace (or who at least work closely together) tend to be able to react quickly as well as share their knowledge. This ability to work closely with each other and understand each other’s job means that your website is more likely to be great looking, easy to navigate and highly optimised for SEO.

At aprompt, we have dedicated SEO and web developers that work closely as a team and with a common goal of fast, clean coded websites that work well for search engines and that provide a great user experience.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help your business with a well-designed, search engine optimised site then do get in touch with our website designers in Wiltshire!