This is a bit of a self-serving post, but this is an SEO blog so that’s kind of baked into the cake anyhow.
I am not saying your SEO agency, or even your in-house SEO team, shouldn’t jump all over a site when it’s SEO is disintegrating in your hands. The team should have a process for prioritizing force majeures.
I am talking about new projects.
Here’s the scenario: A business is about to make a major architecture change to its site. It has taken months to get the org aligned on a plan, but they finally got everyone on board and it’s happening, exactly one and a half months from today. At some point, some gadfly had the temerity to ask in an all-hands meeting what the SEO plan was, and it dawned on the project owner that SEO had been, how shall we say, “overlooked.”
Through the magic of the social media, the project owner and her team leads quickly find themselves on a Zoom call with an SEO agency. The call goes well. The next step requested is for the agency to whip up a proposal to help them with the SEO plan so they can hit their release date.
This is the moment where said SEO agency has a choice. It can respond with a proposal to get started next week, even though it’s likely that the internal resources needed for this work are fully engaged on other projects so “getting started” will be mostly ceremonial, or it can respond with the proposal equivalent of bad-tasting medicine.
There are some SEO issues that can take 5 minutes or less to diagnose. They are typically black and white things like “don’t use Disallow: / in your robots.txt file.” Those can often be done quickly, even by people who are fully booked up on other things. They are not trivial, but if you know what you’re doing, you could probably crank it out. I am talking about the complicated, grey stuff, like what do you think will happen when you totally re-arrange the internal linking structure of a large website?
In these cases, the project owner should welcome the cod-liver-oil-flavored proposal. Site redesign SEO can be like diamond cutting – there are infinite ways to get it wrong. Doing a project right often takes time and that time will likely not align with your current plan. You don’t want an agency trying to squeeze complicated work into a schedule that doesn’t make sense for its processes.
I don’t want to get all highfalutin (WTF does “faluting’” even mean?), but rushing a complex project is not giving SEO the respect it deserves. And when I say “respect,” I am not talking about the SEO industry’s collective self-importance, I mean like how you should respect COVID and other random things that can kill you if you’re not careful.
It’s not a fun place for the project owner to be as they have already committed the org to a date, but the org in the long-run should be more concerned about the state of its SEO performance than a random point in time release date.
SEO is always the lowest priority, until it’s not…
— Andrew Shotland (@localseoguide) May 6, 2016