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Changing careers from SEO to Developer

October 23, 2017

Changing careers from SEO to Developer

Caroline Wilson has had a stratospheric career to date. From SEO executive at Zoopla the £1bn IPO unicorn where she transitioned to Search Manager and then Performance Marketing Manager, she then went to Movebubble as their CMO and Bizzby as their Head of Digital Growth.

 

Not entirely satisfied with the world of marketing Caroline studied and passed a course with General Assembly in ‘Immersive Web Development’ and is now working for ‘We are Bean’ as a full-stack Developer. Caroline now describes herself on LinkedIn as having ‘transitioned from a successful digital marketing career into the world of web development’ and ‘couldn’t be happier.’

In her personal life, Caroline is currently planning to row 3,000 miles over 7 weeks across the Atlantic with team Status Row to ‘challenge the everyday use of plastic’.

The following content is a guest post from Caroline as we were fascinated to find out what she’d learnt through the transition and how we can do a better job of communicating with developers as an SEO agency (or how can we get more fist bumps going).

What Devs would love from SEOs

by Caroline Wilson

Having spent some time on both sides of the table, I’ve had the chance to see how SEO and dev cross swords more often than necessary.

A sentence I hear all too often is “it’s just one line of Javascript, it won’t take long to implement”. No, just no

SEO is the ‘dark art’, an ever changing set of unknown rules that few of us truly understand. We’ve all read SEO 101 and equipped with this knowledge, feel as though we really ‘get’ SEO. Having spent a few years working in SEO teams I can assure you, this is not the case. But if you’re lucky, this will be the base level of knowledge for a lot of developers and here’s why.

The development landscape changes as frequently as, if not more frequently than Google’s algorithms. There’s a constant pressure to learn the new “best” JavaScript framework, only for this to be superseded by the next “best” JavaScript framework only a few months later, not to mention the constantly expanding number of “must use” utility libraries.

With such constant pressure to keep up with the latest changes in our own profession, it’s unsurprising that few developers have time to also keep up to date with the frequent changes in the SEO space. This means that few developers have the time or inclination to read around this mythical dark art, as such their understanding is limited to SEO 101.

You’re the expert when it comes to SEO, and they’re the expert when it comes to development.

It may serve you well to consider this when putting together your next set of SEO requirements. Developers like to solve problems. Gaps in requirements often stem from gaps in understanding.

Equip us with the right context and information to find a solution, without your consultation if possible. Don’t patronise, but why not consider providing examples of implementations that you’ve seen elsewhere with guidance as to what’s good or not so good about it, so your developer can be better positioned to deliver the best implementation for your needs.

There’s a lot of bad information out there, so consider sharing relevant, pre-approved resources that help bridge the knowledge gap.

Developers are people at the end of the day and they want the work they’re doing to mean something, just as you do

With so much to do, and such limited time to do it, the prospect of re-implementing a piece of development work to account for SEO requirements is, to be honest, less than appealing. In most cases, the root of this will be the project owners/managers not consulting with the SEO teams early enough in a project.

Don’t let SEO be an afterthought. Responsibility for this will of course vary from company to company, but to bring it back to my earlier point, your developer will have enough on their mind in terms of the best way to implement a feature and questioning the lack of SEO requirements is unlikely to be top of their list of priorities.

A sentence I hear all too often is “it’s just one line of Javascript, it won’t take long to implement”. No, just no. I’ve been guilty of saying this myself and now being on the other side, I see how infuriating this sentence is. A lack of understanding goes both ways, please don’t tell me, or assume you know, how to do my job.

Code bases are complex beasts, and seemingly small changes to one area can have devastating consequences to others if not implemented properly. It may be true that the request is small in comparison to other things, but allow me to be the judge of the time and complexity it will require to implement.

You’re the expert when it comes to SEO, and they’re the expert when it comes to development. Treat each other with the respect that’s deserved and work together to support each other.

Developers are people at the end of the day and they want the work they’re doing to mean something, just as you do. Give them the freedom to implement appropriate solutions as they see fit, treat their profession with respect and work together to achieve your goals.

To find out more about Caroline and the rest of this team of brave woman and their mission to ‘Clean Up & Cross The Ocean’ please visit the official Status Row website.

In addition to heading up Blue Array as its Founder, Simon also finds time to pass on his business expertise as an angel investor and advisor at ClickMechanic.com, an advisor at Safebuy.org.uk and as a mentor at 500 Startups, Wayra and TechHub.

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