How Agencies can Align Web Development and SEO Teams

Jen Saunders

Digital marketing agencies always seem to experience internal clashes between web development and SEO teams. Simply put, web developers want that clean, minimalistic look with as little textual content as possible, while the SEO department knows that any new site with little or no textual content will rank for the necessary keywords. When teams can’t agree on a process, the project slows down, conflict creates poor performance, and clients eventually get wind of the internal chaos.

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Creatives VS Intellectuals?

Unfortunately, this is how many agency’s internal web dev and SEO teams view one another. In my 16 years of working with various digital marketing companies, I’ve noted opinions from both sides: the web developers think the SEO team are a bunch of non-creative academics with no sense for aesthetic style, while the SEO team looks at the web developers as illiterates who only care about design.

First, BOTH web developers and SEOs are creative. Writing content designed to rank AND that resonates with buyers requires a tremendous amount of creativity. Second, SEOs need to understand that good web dev teams don’t simply create websites that look pretty; they incorporate designs and formats that resonate with the right consumers. Both of these departments are creatives and intellectuals, and if your agency is experiencing this sort of internal bias, you need to make this point very clear.

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Recognize that Both Departments Share the Same Goals

Both web development and SEO teams want their efforts to translate into goal conversions and sales increase for their clients. Web developers don’t want their site to simply sit in cyberspace with no converting traffic coming to it, and SEOs don’t want to simply rank a site for the top keywords without seeing any conversions. In order to create a site that is aesthetically pleasing to buyers and that both ranks and converts, both teams must work together and be truly aligned in a strategy designed to achieve this common goal.

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Inbound Marketing Agencies Seldom Have Departmental Conflicts

When businesses work with true award-winning digital inbound marketing agencies, they seldom experience the slowdowns and road bumps caused by internal conflict more common to traditional marketing companies.

Inbound uses marketing automation technology to align the right content with the right landing page designs to nurture buyers through a process that results in creating delighted buyers. This means that web developers and SEOs work in close quarters on all projects, and are always aligned on each client project. In order to attract, convert, close and delight buyer audiences, aesthetic design and specific textual content must be customized to resonate with the right buyers, and the right time. In addition, designers and content production must focus on the right consumer groups at specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

Because inbound marketing is customer centric, content and design MUST be on the same page, at all times. And for this reason the best inbound marketing agencies seldom see conflict between these two departments.

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What Your Agency can Learn from Inbound Marketers

If your company is experiencing internal conflict between web development and SEO, take a step back and study the inbound marketing methodology. The very components of this strategy in of itself provides a blueprint for rebuilding your internal teams to be completely aligned on all projects going forward. When you are truly focused on the customer, your teams will be in a better position to recognize they share the same goals. And when the target outcome is the same for each department, a bridge can be built to engineer a new project development process to create revenue-generating strategies your clients will love.

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.