Keep the Lines of SEO Communication Open

For years I've touted the importance of training your employees about SEO. We know why it's important to tell everyone what tactics are right and wrong, but we don't know how long they'll actually remember the information.

I find that larger organizations retain less SEO information over time. Sometimes this is due to selective memory on the part of developers, who are inundated with requests from across the organization, and choose to focus on the latest requirements. Other times, it's caused by a reorganization, or turnover in various departments.

In large organizations that spend more time finding the right person for the right job, reorganization can cause so much havoc and chaos that there's little time to think about anything other than their new objectives. With new players involved, company initiatives that were once previously deemed destructive may now be considered appropriate.

Thus, something as simple as creating a new way to find products could be devastating. For example, we know that from an SEO perspective, using multiple tracking IDs in URLs is generally a bad idea, since it can cause problems for search engine spiders.

But from a developer's standpoint, it's still much easier to use tracking IDs in a URL for processing, instead of cookie-based tracking. So without meaning to do so, it's very possible to have an engineering team repeat the same old mistakes. Of course, they have no intention of hurting anything, they've just forgotten everything they ever picked up about SEO.

To prevent this, it's essential that the lines of communication about potential SEO issues with your site are kept open. You may set standards for certain processes, but unless you explain your position, they're not always going to be followed. It's possible that they will not be fully understood, or will be avoided due to sheer arrogance or overload.

Constant communication and training can mitigate this. It won't prevent problems entirely, but it can help deter some common mistakes you may see.

Here are a few recommendations that may help you keep everyone informed in your process:

  1. Have new training constantly:
    No, not the same exact training over and over again. Sure, reinforce the basics, but make the training and new information compelling enough for the engineers to come back. As much as I've recently thought that either a free lunch or a cocktail hour works, it's not enough to attract the busy engineer with major deadlines. As I have yet to perfect this process I'll leave this answer open-ended.
  2. E-mail updates:
    What's new with SEO? Try to keep the news informative and interesting. It's best to not send newsletters unless you have tons of information.
  3. Create an internal wiki:
    It's very easy to set up a wiki and keep it up to date. Put your updates on the wiki so people can see what's going on and comment on the changes.

It's important to communicate with the staff of your company. It's also important to keep everyone interested and asking questions, and to let them know the ups and downs of the companies' successes. By inviting them into your world of SEO, they're more likely to keep SEO in mind when they work on their next project.

About the author

Aaron Shear is a partner in Boost Search Marketing, an enterprise-level global consulting firm. Offering expert advice to many of the most trafficked sites around the world. Aaron has been optimizing websites since the late 90's, and has provided hundreds of businesses with countless top SEO and SEM returns.

Previously Aaron was the Global Director of SEO with Shopping.com, an eBay Company. At Shopping.com Aaron spearheaded the global optimization efforts of Shopping.com, Dealtime and Epinions. Prior to that, Aaron was the CTO at SEO Inc., where he spearheaded optimization efforts with clients such as IGN Entertainment, VEGAS.com, Sierra Trading Post, Sony Motion Pictures, Archer Daniels Midland, and Alliance Business Centers Network.

Before becoming an SEO Aaron worked at Inktomi, as a Technical Account Manager, where he learned SEO from the creators of the search engines first-hand. Aaron's primary responsibility was managing client relationships such as MSN, IWon, Hotbot and HP to name a few.