What marketing leaders need to know about SEO.

Did you know that your developers are making decisions every day that have an impact on your business? Most executives understand the importance of website optimization, but they don’t always realize the responsibility they are putting in the hands of their developers.

For most companies, the problem isn’t that the developer is making missteps. The problem is usually the absence of a comprehensive optimization plan, which means developers are left to make decisions on their own that may not align with the overall marketing strategies. Because SEO marketing strategies are so vital in marketing initiatives, you should be involved in providing direction.

Three things to be aware of:

1. Stay current on SEO best practices

As an executive, you need a basic understanding of SEO to know if your developer is optimizing your site effectively – and that they are following Google’s best practices to do so.

It used to be that you could rise to the top of search engine rankings with short-term tactics such as flooding your site with keyword terms and link schemes. Today keyword stuffing, duplicate or hidden content, cloaking and bad links are frowned upon and can even cause your site to be penalized or banned from an index. Removing a penalty can be costly and time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee that you will be successful in your efforts. (Expedia experienced a major drop in searches as a result of a Google penalty.) It’s important to maintain a general understanding of SEO trends and tactics so you can determine if your developers are using black hat, outdated tricks to increase your search engine rankings.

2. You need an SEO marketing strategy

Oftentimes, developers are taking the correct actions to optimize a site, but if you don’t have any SEO marketing strategies in place, they may be optimizing for keywords that aren’t in line with your strategic plans. For example, your developers might be optimizing your site for checking accounts but your goal is to increase your IRA business.

You need to know how your target market searches for your products and services and provide your developer with a keyword strategy and on-page optimization plan that ladders up to your business goals. This will help with site architecture and content optimization and enhance the overall user experience.

3. Consider how Google sees your site

Search engines don’t just crawl your site. Developers need to tell them how and what to crawl. They may be choosing URLS that aren’t taking advantage of keyword opportunities. Or they may be missing optimization opportunities that are specific to an industry or business.

Product reviews are a great example. Your developers need to program your site in a certain way in order for Google to recognize that it’s a product review. This is critical for categories where reviews are important because people may be making decisions about whether they even visit your page based on the information they see in their Google search results. To avoid this, conduct a regular audit of your site. Are there errors that prevent search engines from crawling your site? How is your brand showing up in search results?

You don’t need to be an SEO expert, but you do need to know enough to evaluate the decisions of your developers. Recognize that the key to increasing your online presence is to communicate and collaborate with your developers and have a solid SEO plan that is in line with your business goals and objectives.

Leanne Prewitt

President & Chief Executive Officer

Shaped by her background in creative direction, Leanne leads the agency’s culture and creative vision and also oversees the operations that allow a team of marketing, design and media specialists to create powerful and effective work for their client partners.

Leanne began her professional career in New York City working for some of the nation’s leading agencies. In 2016, after a five-month sabbatical around the world, she returned to her hometown and joined Ervin & Smith. Her global perspective and expanded professional experience influence the work she does today.