We - SEO's, tend to work a lot with developers and engineering teams. Whether you're a product SEO, technical SEO, doing on page / off page - at least some portion of your work is dependent on these people, and your SEO success can't be achieved without their support and without an efficient communication with them.
Now developers, especially senior developers and managers, are usually extremely busy and have little to no time in between their daily tasks, to shift their attention to something outside of their scope. And it make sense.
Why? Because developers need to deliver fast, accurate and continuously. They have sprints, Jira tickets to complete, bugs to fix, research to perform, deployments, servers and what not.
That’s the reason why any question that you’ll ask a developer, which starts with “can I…?” - is going to be immediately answered with a fast and sharp “NO!”, and I can totally relate to it.
The solution is to prepare what you want to say in advance, and come prepared for this quick talk. Bring it to a simple list and keep it short and to-the-point.
You have about 60 seconds to get their attention before they jump to a meeting, a release cycle, or a code crisis situation. Here’s how you do that properly:
20 sec - explain your challenge or need
20 sec - justify by providing opportunity / risk enablement
20 sec - ask the one most important question you have with regards to this challenge
If they'll have few minutes available, or they're in a REALLY good mood today - they might actually answer you on the spot. However, if you see that their mind is disrupted - it means they're not really with you, they hear but they don't listen.
In this case, complete the conversation by saying: “I will recap our conversation, and send you an email with all details, as well as take it with the product team for prioritization, and update you soon, how that sounds?”.
Well that was probably funny to some of you, I know, I'm a funny guy (or at least think so), so let's get serious here. As long as you're nice, have some sort of soft skills and appreciation for others' time, as well as passion to what you do - you'll be able to achieve both your SEO goals, and an efficient (and enjoyable) communication with developers, and obviously with all your peers.
This post was actually written few years ago, while I was working in various companies. My personal experience during the last ~15 years indicates that in most companies SEO gets little to no resources, and therefore it's not the developer 'blame' they can't help you - they just have other work to do. And again, this is based on my personal experience, so please take it with a grain of salt.
Anyhow, I was fortunate to start working at Wix SEO team, where the situation described above is much different, and the reason is that SEO is strategic for Wix as a company.
The management understand the importance of building a great SEO product for our users, because that's what our users are asking for, and need. And today more then ever due to the Covid19 pandemic we're experiencing, in which more and more businesses go online, due to lockdowns and restrictions all over the world.
As a result, we have a big team of not just developers, but also product, design, BI and other teams - who all support, leave and breath SEO, not less than us, SEO's.
We're also fortunate to have such an amazing and supporting dev team, which never said 'No' to us, and we couldn't deliver our SEO work without them, so really love you guys.
So why I published it now?
I can't tell too much at this point, but I can share that we're working on a super duper cool test, which required me to refresh the blog's content just for a bit. It's going to take a while until we'll have results, but be assure I'll ping it here and on my Twitter account once ready.