I never imagined I would end up as a website optimiser when I left college, I didn't even know what SEO was let alone consider it as career but somehow my experiences working in both offline and online marketing have lead me here.
I believe this experience has given me a quality that some SEO's lack - diplomacy. Working both agency and client side I have come across a range of people from marketers, developers, creative agencies and designers, copy writers and PR specialists; all of these people need to collaborate to ensure SEO is a success.
When auditing a site, you encounter a number of elements which can impair the seo success of a site; from technical aspects, creative designs, copy and linkability, all of which are the product of specialists like myself. Unfortunately a trait of the specialist is the passion for and the protection of the work you produce, which can also impair the success of an SEO strategy.
It can be all too easy to enter a meeting armed with your technical, content and external linking recommendations, demanding all are put in place to satisfy the needs of your client, but in doing so you can alienate the very people who will help you to achieve the clients’ goals.
Clients need agencies and internal team members to combine their efforts as a team to make their online activities a success all round. I too need the support of all the various contributors whilst providing them with the assistance they need to make the necessary changes I recommend, by supplying them with information, tools and guidance along with an ability to make compromises and an understanding of the limitations they may face – maybe I am diplomatic by nature.
Certainly I need to ensure SEO is given the best possible chance to succeed but I will not achieve this by if I happen to accidentally offend the other team members or demean them in the eyes of the client while presenting my findings.
Communicating, diplomacy, compromising and educating contributors gains their trust in SEO and when they see the positive outcomes and a happy client, they are much more likely to consider SEO the next time they start a project and will call on you to help them get it right from the start.
So the next time you audit a site and start muttering to yourself about the obvious errors made in the code or the overuse of images as text, remember this site is somebody’s passion just like the audit recommendations you will produce are your passion. Consider how you will approach the all important implementation discussions and how diplomacy can help you achieve the end result the whole team has invested in.
This post was originally published on the SEO chicks blog http://www.seo-chicks.com/ on 05/06/09