Search engine optimization relies heavily on support from information technology personnel. Improving relationships and processes between the SEO and IT teams greases the skids so that support is in place before a critical need arises.
IT controls search engine access to your site. IT is also responsible for programmatic optimization of tags, resolving server errors, implementing 301 redirects, and hard-coding content on pages not serviced by a content management system.
In this post, I will discuss seven ways to improve SEO by involving IT.
7 Ways to Integrate SEO with IT
Education and relationships. Help IT understand what SEO at your company is all about. There are many different approaches to SEO. Educating the IT team on your particular approach will help them work with you.
IT personnel may already know more about SEO than you think — ask them what SEO means to them, so you can avoid covering unnecessary territory. Then explain your perspective on technical SEO, initiatives you’re working on, and how you’re supporting key business goals and objectives. Gear it toward them and their daily routines.
Project team inclusion. Have IT team members present at the project team table for all SEO-related initiatives.
Listen carefully for tidbits that sound relevant to your world, but don’t be dismayed if you cannot understand everything. You’re not a developer. Follow up with the project manager after the meeting on critical areas rather than stalling the meeting asking questions.
Make sure you have something interesting or valuable to say at these meetings, but make sure it’s technically related. The IT staff doesn’t necessarily care about the details of your content optimization efforts, and you’ll be taking up valuable time providing those details.
Project tracking. IT teams typically have a scheduled meeting to run down the list of projects, including enhancement and bug tickets in flight. Invite yourself to these meetings to represent SEO and answer questions regarding the tickets.
It may be more effective to have an SEO-specific meeting if the IT team is willing.
Prioritization. You’ll have your own prioritization of projects and tickets for SEO, but until you mesh that list of priorities with IT they won’t go anywhere. IT has limited resources and needs to plan which projects and bugs it can tackle. Get invited to these meetings to represent SEO.
IT teams will want to know the description, size, and value of each project. Come armed with a feeling for how large or small each project is and what it will drive in revenue or leads. That’s not always cut-and-dry. But get as close as you can to specifying a value or your project may not be highly prioritized.
Requirements. Requirements are the basis of what gets built by IT. Become familiar with writing those requirements to communicate key elements. You likely won’t know how to build it but it’s important to explain what the desired end state should look like.
This is one area where your relationship building will pay off. You’ll likely need to collaborate with someone on the IT team to come up with the details to flesh out your requirement. Explain what you need as they ask you to clarify.
User acceptance testing. Request this carefully. Write out the test scripts for user acceptance testing, but politely insist on doing the tests yourself.
UAT is your opportunity to identify potential issues to escalate for resolution.
Dedicated SEO resources. When your SEO team is producing enough projects and bug reports that it’s holding up natural search performance, it’s time to request dedicated IT staffing. Be prepared to make a solid case for your request, including the amount of value in revenue or leads that’s unrealized based on the inability to move forward with SEO projects.
When your request is granted, be ready with SEO team support.
A dedicated partner in IT will likely require support on your team with a steady flow of meaningful work. That means more requirements writing, more prioritization, and more collaboration sessions.