Don’t Mistake Your Web Guy for an SEO

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I laugh every time I recall my Web developer telling me that one of her client’s thought that she was a search engine. I know that those outside the online marketing and SEO arena feel completely in the dark when it comes to search engine optimization. I know because I talk to business owners every day. And, I suspect, they will never understand how Google works or the definition of an algorithm. Why should they?

Web developers the world over have over-complicated SEO. My experience with developers is that they like to throw technical roadblocks in front of us mere mortals. There’s an intellectual arrogance about many developers that smacks of elitism. My sense is that they’re basically insecure because the truth is THEY DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. And, neither do I.

What I do know is that when you make your client feel stupid or anxious, you are failing miserably, even if you have their website ranking for key terms.

Your IT Guy is No SEO Either

And please, don’t hand over your SEO tasks to your IT department. “IT” stands for Information Technology. These are the people who keep the company computer network running and your email working. They are far removed from applying marketing principles and user-based design to your website.

If you have a good working relationship with your “web guy,” that’s great; you have to trust someone. But a better than average developer won’t feel threatened when you bring in a second opinion. Most developers I know freely admit they have no SEO knowledge and would rather leave it to the experts.

But I’ve seen Web developers sabotage their client’s website and even hold it hostage.

The greatest danger is when you’ve hired a hybrid Web/SEO technician. His comfort level will almost always be on the technical side of any discussion. It’s similar to a surgeon whose only remedy to an injury is to recommend surgery. A surgeon recommends surgery because that’s all he knows and is comfortable with.

Web developers who’ve kept pace with changing technology platforms and coding standards pride themselves on being experts. While they may be expert as a back end developer, they wouldn’t dream of saying they’re a front end developer (the one who makes a website work and look pretty). Then why would they think they’re a search engine optimizer?

Words, like algorithm, suggest that there’s a mathematical component to search engines. Do I know what it is? No. Do I care? Nyet. There are also technical aspects that are being patented every day by Google and Bing. Do I care? No. Only a few people do, like Bill Slawski, who actually reads these patent filings.

The truth is that if you give people what they want, you will be found online. Delivering solutions is what really matters. Good SEO is always coupled with good marketing. There are many roads to online success. Remember, search engines represent just one marketing channel.

I wonder if your Web/IT guy understands that.

Inspired by: Search Engine Optimization is Not a Technology Job

Photo credit: Amy Michon | Flickr


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