There are a few elements of site management that – regardless of the division of responsibility – dev teams should hand control over to the content teams, with the proper management training
By Kalman Labovitz, Senior Analyst at RankAbove
We’ve heard the questions asked ad nauseum: Should developers manage their SEO teams or vice versa? Which team should be directly responsible for managing the company’s website? Don’t worry – we won’t open up those cans of worms.
But we do want to point out a few elements of site management that – regardless of the division of responsibility – dev teams should hand control over to the content teams, with the proper management training. Our general rule being; if the content manager needs to do it (or should be doing it) daily, or even weekly, it should not require a green light from the dev team to be taken care of on every occasion.
On page markup. Content managers need to be able to edit the most core elements of SEO – headers (H1, H2, .etc), titles, meta titles, alt tags and meta descriptions. If the developers have automated titles created (like the product name, for example), that’s great. But make it easy for your content guys to change them. We like our example of the Pistachio colored dress – nobody is searching for a pistachio colored dress! Granting the content manager access to change it to “green” can really make a difference for how Google will assess that product page for search.
Adding and removing pages, and setting up redirects. Products come and go. Automatic redirects are convenient, but content managers must be able to play with these. Let’s say the pistachio colored dress becomes outdated, but you have a similar green dress you’d like to sell and redirect to. It’s an easy solution to test as long as the content guy or gal can override the default redirect, which, for example, might redirect all products that are “dresses” to the “dress” category page.
Side Note: There’s also always the option – though definitely not always the best option – to, by default, allow for a product page to die ( 404 server response) and force the content team to manually enter 301 redirects if they have a good match.
The 301 redirect chain (multiple redirects before hitting the landing page) can be dangerous. “If you can do it in one hop, that’s ideal” says Google’s Matt Cutts. Extraneous redirects cost your company server bandwidth, processing power, and are penalized by the search engines. Google says its bot can deal with a couple of instances but once you reach 4 or 5, you may be in trouble. Site rollovers, redesigns, and restructuring URLs are common causes of this issue. This will be the dev team’s responsibility to correct. But at times, especially if you give some control over to the content team, they it should be their job as well. Create a frontend solution (could be part of the management control discussed in #2, that will alert to redirect chains so the content team can make adjustments. Therefore, depending on the size of your website you should perform an audit of all redirects once a quarter, at the least.
It will always be the responsibility of the content managers to remove 301 redirects from any internal links within content (you have no control over external links), as they can diminish link power. FYI, they might ask for your help in making this correction within the database to save time.
We have a lot more to say to developers about implementing best SEO practices into their daily dev-op activities, and so we’re hosting a free SEO workshop specifically for web developers, on May 12 in our Tel Aviv office. Would love to see you there if there’s still room. Read about it and apply here.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Content SEO crossword on concrete wall