SEO vs development, how not to suffer the customer

All statistics in the article are presented only by our experience and may differ from your data (68 SEO projects were analyzed, 26 of them are our development and promotion, as well as 23 projects where our development and optimization are on the side).

Web developers really dislike SEO optimizers. Naturally, the main problem in genetically engineered species hatred, however, there are rational points . But first of all, the customers suffer from this.

Let's talk about what this conflict can lead to and how to avoid it.

So what can happen to your project in this conflict:
  • complete and final failure: money spent (and considerable), and instead of the result, only unpleasant consequences;
  • drop in sales through the site (even if the project is formally successful);
  • the project is successful, even sales have increased, but the costs several times did not fit into the estimate;
  • Yes, the project may complete successfully, but it will require you to have the magical skills of a manager and negotiator.

Anatomy of conflict

Developers will tell you that "for the most part SEO offer delusional edits that _possibly_ improve the position of the site, and require you to remove the link to the developer (supposedly it spoils the position), while hanging your own is not shy."

SEO will say that: “the developers just do not want to make changes to the site and do not understand why they are needed, because they do not understand the subject. In fact, everything is done elementarily, and the safety of edits depends on the experience of specialists. ”

It seems that the situation is understandable, and conflict is inevitable. True, it can be mitigated if the seo-department and the development department are subdivisions of one company.

Developer’s interaction with optimizers usually begins when a technical task (TOR) for search engine optimization is ready. This is such a document in which SEO experts ask the developer to redraw the site to their requirements. And then for the customer, surprises begin.

In technical specifications for website optimization, there are usually quite typical and logical requirements. Developers know about them and foresee it in the code. But there are nuances here:
1. Objective: to make "good" page addresses (CNC - in SEO-jargon).
Inadequately qualified optimizers limit themselves to this phrase, and then throughout the text TK use URLs that they themselves invented without specifying which page should appear with such an address. Specialists, on the other hand, will prescribe, firstly, a universal algorithm for constructing CNCs for all pages of a site, and secondly, a list of pages that need special addresses in the “was-it-became” format.

But the problem is not always solved in a good way. Moreover, even for such a seemingly problem-free CMS as 1C-Bitrix (for example, if the main content of the site is a directory in which the categories are set by selections through a filter).

2. Objective: prescribe the specified meta tags for the given pages (it seems to be simple, but again remember the directory with filters).

3. Task: add text blocks to specific pages. The problems may be the same. Even here, the customer is in danger of SEO. If in the statement of work it is written "texts will be provided later" - in no case do not let it work!

We recommend that you first write good texts, and only then solve the problem with their installation on the site. There are two reasons: firstly, if you customize the design of the block for content, it will ultimately look better than if you stuff content into a block that is not quite suitable for it in structure.

Secondly, because optimizers can request texts for hundreds of pages. If you don’t give the texts, they are ordered from SEO copywriters. If you read them before posting, you can and will manage to agree on ten pieces per month (or rewrite them yourself). If you don’t, it’s pointless to promote the site, users will not place orders because of the low quality of the content.

The following are usually the requirements for page layout, image names, links, robots.txt, etc. - in general - nothing criminal. What happens quite insane (in our TK, thank God, not found):
  • change the address of the entry page (“faces” in SEO jargon) from “” to “”;
  • to break off the automatic data substitution from the catalog from the calculator, so that the input to the calculator is always with zero data, and so that users drive all values ​​from scratch with their hands;
  • make two columns instead of three on the main page (without explanation, of course, what is the sacred meaning in this);
  • generate page headers according to some exotic scheme (I assure you, hand-written headings - they rule), etc.

From personal experience, when search engine optimization projects are successful, and when they probably fail:

In SEO, there may be different criteria for the success of a project, different formal parameters, but the decisive parameter of its success in the end is always customer satisfaction. A dissatisfied customer, even if the formal criteria are met and the project is fully paid, will bring the company only losses.

When developers receive SEO-TK, they usually find problems with the implementation of part of the requirements, and they begin to ask questions about outright nonsense. The customer insists (optimizers are pushing him) - the developers are rolling out a convincing price tag.

The customer says this to the optimizers. Those begin to object - that everything can be done elementarily. Naturally, the customer is extreme.

Options for the development of events:
  • The customer pays the developer for the implementation of the technical task. Result: TK is done, but the optimizers always find something to complain about. Most likely, everything will result in a conflict. And the customer will remain with a bleak feeling that he overpaid. And because of this, they will find fault with optimizers. The project will fail in the end.
  • The optimizers themselves are called to implement the TK, and the customer does this in order to save. Result: with a high probability the site breaks down (even if the optimizer has good programmers, the site is a complicated system!). In this case, everyone will point to the crooked hands of a neighbor. The customer will have to repair it. Well, if he did not spoil the relationship with the developer at this point. The third team will do it even more expensive and unpleasant. Relations with the team of optimizers in this case also inevitably deteriorate. The project will fail.

Старая шутка

Маркетолог спрашивает программиста: в чём сложность поддержки большого проекта?

Программист: ну представь, что ты писатель и поддерживаешь проект «Война и мир». У тебя ТЗ — написать главу, как Наташа Ростова гуляла под дождём по парку. Ты пишешь «шёл дождь», сохраняешь, вылетает сообщение об ошибке «Наташа Ростова умерла, продолжение невозможно». Почему умерла? Начинаешь разбираться. Выясняется, что у Пьера Безухова скользкие туфли, он упал, его пистолет ударился о землю и выстрелил в столб, а пуля от столба срикошетила в Наташу. Что делать? Зарядить пистолет холостыми? Поменять туфли? Решили убрать столб. Получаем сообщение «Поручик ржевский умер.» Выясняется, что он в следующей главе облокачивается о столб, которого уже нет...

  • The developer takes away the project on SEO. This also happens, especially if there were changes in the initial TK, which the customer was very doubtful. Result: the customer again has the feeling that he pays twice for the same thing, and that everyone is trying to deceive him. The project is likely to fail. It is taken out by a good project manager on the side of the developer, and even then not always.

It turns out that the “developer-optimizer” conflict can be resolved either if they agree directly between themselves, and not through the customer, or by cool management on the customer side. We were able to do this only by starting to take on promotion exclusively the projects that we developed, which no one before us had time to optimize.

It would seem that this option is ideal, but even such projects may ultimately fail. The reasons are usually the mismatch of the customer’s expectations with formal criteria, the customer’s refusal to participate in the process or force majeure (which is somewhat more common in this industry than in the rest). How to deal with these problems - consider below. Anyway, the share of successful projects is many times greater.

From personal experience. How to bring an SEO project to a goal with minimal losses

We have developed the following recommendations for customers (here I will not talk about SEO-tricks, all the same, optimizers will be able to talk about them better, but I will only touch on organizational issues):
  • Choosing a company for search promotion, request a commercial offer from the developer. Working with it will save you a certain amount on edits. Keep this in mind when comparing prices in offers. And it will save everyone a lot of nerves.

  • If ordering SEO in the same place where development is impossible, and the customer does not have the strength to get into a conflict head over heels and manage both teams - it’s better to connect them directly, let them agree.
  • Before starting work - find out if the project manager for the promotion has experience in managing projects for developing sites (or at least just experience in web programming). Ideal if it also has usability competency. This will protect you from TK items that are impossible or very expensive to do, or that will degrade the usability of the site.
  • When drawing up technical specifications for search engine optimization, priority should always be on usability. If editing makes the site less convenient - it is not needed. Moreover, now search engines attach a lot of weight to behavioral factors (positions will fall if users leave your site very quickly).
  • Demand a very detailed, understandable and specific terms of reference from SEO. It should be clear not only to the developer, but also to the customer. There should not be generalizing pronouns: everything, everyone, any, etc. Only in this case the optimizers will not be able to attribute the absence of a result to incorrect or incomplete fulfillment of the requirements of the technical specifications.
  • Demand from the developer an assessment for each item of the terms of reference, and not a general assessment on the ToR. Firstly, you can immediately reveal unexpectedly expensive edits, and secondly, when changing requirements, it will be easier for you to discuss the new amount.
  • Discuss items where the editing budget bothers you, not only with developers, but also with SEO. Perhaps you can do without this edit or do it differently. If the cost (laboriousness) of making changes to the site is greater than the expected return from this editing, then it is definitely not necessary to do it.
  • The customer assesses the success of the project, first of all, not by formal signs, but by the quantity and quality of applications. Therefore, the optimizer needs to think first about conversion, then about positions. If the site is out of date, there is not enough information, and texts wrote someone under the grass too creative - must be corrected! Advice to customers: ask your potential customers whether they like your site and whether it is convenient to use it. If negative reviews are repeated - an occasion to reflect and urgently redo this.
  • Well, another moment. When a customer complains about a drop in conversion, optimizers should not let this pass by. Advice to customers: if it seems to you that there are fewer applications (and this is actually so after counting), do not hesitate to require optimizers to analyze the problem. The project must be fully tested, all metrics must be analyzed. Typically, in such cases, you can catch unexpected things that are not related to SEO, but can fail the project. For example, there were applications, but they didn’t reach the mail, or suddenly all orders began to fall into spam. Or the problem is the change of new products on the site, because they have bad photos. In short, the options are endless.
  • Use alternative channels to attract traffic. It is psychologically difficult for customers to wait for the effect of SEO, which, as you know, becomes a little noticeable in six months. So that it does not seem that money is being taken for air - in parallel, it is worth attracting traffic through contextual advertising.
  • Never, that is, never really, never order texts from SEO copywriters. Neither to your site, nor as articles to external sites where links are bought. If the product is not cheap, the buyer will look for information about the seller through search engines, by company name. And these copywriting “texts” will appear in the extradition. The buyer will read them, see the inadequacy, and with a high degree of probability will refuse the transaction.
  • Remember that the PR department pays off. But only on condition that the copywriters are not freelance, but in the office for a full day and already understand the topic. For example, in our state there are two copywriters-pr-managers who write to us 90% of their time. The CEO and sometimes project managers also write articles.

Of course, you can make a cat and dog friendly. If you follow these rules, you can successfully carry out the project, even if the parties simply observe armed neutrality. Patience to all participants!