Requests from SEO’s can seem to busy team members like we are piling on work, adding more to their plate than expected. This means approaching them with respect for their schedule and understanding it may take take some reasonable amount of time to work in those added tasks. But what makes SEO tasks important enough to do urgently? Sadly, nothing.
The urgency is only felt by SEO due to the need to get projects moving forward. Most SEO requests are not time critical and that can work against getting them done, so a sense of urgency may sometimes be necessary simply to make them happen at all. Because SEO projects are slow to start and because they then take time to have an effect on traffic, it is critical to express urgency early.
Yes, there are a few urgent SEO tasks, but they are rare and unusual. Those include failing HTML Title tags, Disallow: / all in robots.txt files (it happens), fixing Google penalty problems, and other nightmares of SEO.
Mixing SEO Metaphors
There are multiple elements that support SEO infrastructure, including three of the most important pieces that support the structural girders of search visibility to build a bridge across multiple anchorages of a useful site. Nobody sees bridges as urgent – but without them we can’t get directly from one side of the river to the other. These three elements will always be critical to build our SEO bridge, but they are never urgent:
- User-focused Content – we all agree – create amazing content users adore.
- Technical Implementation – site structure perfection, with full meta data.
- Best User Experience – making both desktop and mobile UX shine reliably.
Because SEO must work across departments to be most effective the above important elements require working well with the Product team, Content team and Engineering team. Each of the departments will understandably view any project from their own perspective. Mostly that perspective will be … later.
- Product Perspective inevitably needs stellar user experience above all.
- Engineering Perspective needs elegant code with minimal dependencies.
- Content Perspective needs perfect prose without fussy “keywording” ploys.
- SEO Perspective needs work to begin to see traffic gains in 2-3 months.
Any time one team perceives that their perspective is being compromised or ignored, they will resist requests that take the shine off their part of the complex machinery of an effective site. SEO feels exactly the same way – optimization cannot be technically compromised, be built on poor content or drive away visitors with bad UX. But it must be done immediately to ever have any effect on search traffic.
Fortunately, most of the time – effective SEO can be accomplished if everyone is clear on goals of each project and understands the varied concerns. Usability of great content on technically sophisticated sites is everyone’s goal, but sometimes not everyone is fully aware and up-to-date on how all the cogs drive the machine. They are aware however that none of it is urgent.
So in order to onboard everyone involved to SEO projects, it’s important to recognize that any visible changes to the site will also require design if there will be changes to any visible elements of the site. It could involve brand managers or web producers as well. And again, it may be a challenge to convince them to see any of an SEO project as time sensitive.
There are pieces that SEO often brings to the table that others are unaware of and have absolutely no need of. Those elements could be meta data (Schema.org markup), effective breadcrumbs, accordion modules that collapse and expand visible content (especially mobile UX), 301 redirects or HTML sitemaps.
It is certain that nobody perceives these things as urgent – but they must be convinced or they will be relegated to the “When we get time” bucket – there is never, never extra time.
Did I mention this is critical? So yes it is urgent!