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How to get technical SEO recommendations implemented

Author: Aleyda Solis

an image of author Aleyda Solis, with various search-related iconography

Making technical SEO recommendations for your C-suite and getting them implemented can be two distinct endeavors. For the latter, identifying areas to improve isn’t enough—the real challenge is in obtaining buy-in from the teammates responsible for carrying out your recommendations (often the web development and design teams).


Having worked with companies across the world over the last 15+ years, I’ve picked up many lessons on how to overcome stumbling blocks and hurdles to ensure that my recommendations translate into real performance and search visibility improvements. 


Let’s look at some of those lessons and how you can put them to use to get your recommendations across the finish line.


Table of contents:



Set the foundations for a successful partnership with devs and product stakeholders


A table with the columns “recommendations,” “goal,” “area,” “priority,” “resources,” “team,” “date,” and “status” with various SEO recommendations filling each row.

Getting your technical SEO recommendations implemented often involves working with multidisciplinary teams: developer, product, design, and content stakeholders, and those who manage the website product, infrastructure, and marketing.


To be successful here, you will need to:


  • Understand not only your own goals, but also the goals for all involved stakeholders and the business overall

  • Effectively communicate the importance of SEO recommendations to achieve these goals

  • Agree on the technical SEO resources and execution timeline to develop SEO recommendations

  • Maintain robust lines of communication for efficient coordination and successful execution


Understand the web development, product, and design teams’ workflows and goals 

Aligning SEO with the aims and objectives of your web development, design, and product teams helps keep everyone on the same page. This will enable you to identify the best way to prioritize SEO needs and create a plan of action with your counterparts from other teams that keeps everyone on track and moving in the same direction.


For example, if the web development team works in sprints, knowing how long each sprint is can help you coordinate reasonable goals for each one.


Create a technical SEO knowledge base for your teammates

Develop an “SEO knowledge base” for the company by curating/creating webinars, guides, checklists, etc. based on what you found in your site audit. Use this to evangelize to the web development, product, and design teams at the beginning of the process, as well as to create easy-to-reference resources during the ongoing SEO validation workflow.


The more they know about what you do and the reasons behind it, the more likely they’ll be willing to help. This is why it’s fundamental to go beyond the identified challenges and opportunities by including the level of criticality these have towards goals. 


Communicate regularly with external teammates

From the start, set a fluid communication workflow with the teams you will be collaborating with to implement the SEO recommendations. 


Agree on recurrent calls and follow-ups for major alignment, clarify complex questions, and ongoing reporting. The frequency of these calls and follow-ups will depend on the speed of the implementation, although this is typically set for once per week or every two weeks. 


Establish a collaboration channel or platform (like Monday or Asana) for ongoing project management to facilitate asynchronous communication and resolve non-complex but urgent blockers without waiting for the next weekly meeting.


Strengthen communication for better implementation and outcomes


A graphic in the style of a cartoon, showing 5 professionals collaborating via digital meeting, on the phone, Slack, and in person.

One way to enhance communication is to treat other stakeholders like they’re an extension of your own team. This means:


  • Explaining the connection between various tasks and associated key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • Maintaining flexibility when collaborating with other teams

  • Recognizing and communicating wins


Explain how each task impacts KPIs

Whenever you report about the site’s technical SEO status or evolution over time, remember to explain the importance of each SEO issue with regard to the website’s rankings and, ultimately, revenue. This reiterates for stakeholders and C-suite alike the importance of a given recommendation to the business’s bottom line, which may help you get your recommendations implemented faster.


If the technical SEO status isn’t evolving as expected, detail the reason behind this while providing alternative solutions to solve it, along with the resources needed to achieve the associated SEO goal.


Approach collaboration with flexibility

If you get technical pushback due to a lack of viability or resources to execute your SEO recommendations, communicate with your external teammates to identify alternatives or workarounds to achieve similar results. 


There may be other tools or methods that you can use to achieve a similar result. For instance, you may not be able to get access to edit the <head> of the site pages for hreflang implementation, but instead, you can establish the automated generation of an XML sitemap featuring the required hreflang annotation. 


This is why it’s important to communicate the expected outcome of each recommendation and ask the development team for input (leveraging their knowledge and experience) to establish alternatives together that are both feasible and easier to support and scale. 


Communicate wins—not just issues

Don’t just focus on your technical SEO recommendation’s status. Make sure to recognize milestones and achievements, and everyone involved in accomplishing them. 


This helps keep teammates motivated and the recognition can be important internally, especially when managers need to know where their teams are investing their time.


Prioritize your technical SEO recommendations


A flowchart showing questions about whether the issue affects ranking and impact to help SEOs decide what to prioritize.

It’s unrealistic to include every potential optimization on your list of recommendations (and it wouldn’t be very cost-efficient to the business or respectful to the other teammates responsible for implementation). To present an achievable plan, you’ll need to:


  • Identify the SEO issues worth resolving based on SEO goals aligned with other stakeholders and areas of the business.

  • Focus on recommendations that can be traced to actual goals and universal metrics, instead of proprietary third-party metrics.

  • Prioritize your SEO recommendations to start executing the easiest, most impactful actions.


Don’t try to fix every SEO issue flagged by tools

SEO tools can provide you with an extensive list of website elements to optimize, but those tasks don’t all carry the same weight for your specific site optimization needs. This will depend on your own business context and goals. That’s why it’s fundamental to assess each of the issues and opportunities identified in your SEO audit, analysis, and research.


Take the greater context of your website into account and consider whether these issues are actually hurting important queries, page rankings, or, ultimately, your expected goals in a meaningful way. Then prioritize them accordingly within your existing SEO action plan. 


Start with the tasks that are most impactful and easiest to implement

When sharing your prioritized SEO recommendations, start with the most impactful and easiest to implement. Explain:


  • The importance and expected impact of each recommendation

  • Why it should also be a priority for the web development, product, or design teams

  • The benefits the recommendation will bring to the website, the teams involved, and/or the business overall 


Explaining your recommendations in these terms will help you align teams and efforts according to the greatest potential benefit for your business, which should reflect well on all involved.


Avoid using proprietary third-party metrics in your reporting

New metrics—particularly proprietary third-party metrics—can confuse your C-suite and non-SEO stakeholders. In addition, the SEO tools you rely on may change over time—sometimes as a result of new technical needs, other times as a result of internal business needs.


Instead, focus on monitoring your SEO status and report using meaningful metrics that you can easily obtain through multiple sources to showcase your site’s evolution and achievements on an ongoing basis. 


Taking this into account, identify the different SEO metrics you’ll monitor (and need to communicate progress of) through multiple data sources. Doing this will also help to validate your recommendation prioritization, ensuring that each task can be traced consistently with meaningful metrics, like: 


  • Crawlability 

  • Indexability

  • Ranked pages

  • Ranked queries

  • Average position

  • Clicks

  • Conversions

  • Revenue from organic search


Validate technical SEO execution


Verifying that SEO-related dev requests or tickets have been correctly implemented is a crucial step towards the desired outcome during SEO execution. From website security fixes to validating structured data, you need to be able to confirm the outcome status of SEO-related technical updates. 


Define how you’ll measure progress

Remember that on one hand, you have those metrics you want to track to monitor your SEO efforts over time. But on the other hand, you also have metrics that will allow you to report on the progress of SEO execution and goals. Each stakeholder will likely want to answer different typesof questions about SEO progress, so the KPIs to track and report on should also be agreed on. 


The KPIs tend to be more or less technical, depending on the role, specific interests within the project, and goals.


A graphic showing the various stakeholders that can be involved with technical SEO implementation. In the “management/decision makers” row, there are non-technical decisionmakers, like the CEO, and then there are technical decisionmakers like the Head of SEO. In the “operational stakeholders” row, there is the SEO team, and other stakeholders (e.g., tech, UX, etc).

“If it’s meaningful, then it can be measured,” said Jamie Indigo, director of technical SEO at Cox Automotive. 


“What is a quantifiable metric? Are there multiple?” Indigo said, recommending that SEOs contextualize and weight these metrics appropriately when gauging performance changes.


“In some cases, there’s a direct artifact (like when Google sees the tag!) and a longer term metric (that measures if Google seeing the tag actually matters). For example, Google sees max-preview-image (immediate technical marker) followed by Google returning more of your articles in Discover.”


“Not defining what success means or how it will be measured prior to execution is how SEO becomes a dirty word (or shoved to the bottom of the backlog).” — Jamie Indigo, Director of Technical SEO at Cox Automotive

Test before you publish

Agree on a QA workflow, tools to use, as well as a staging environment with the web development team to test any SEO-related release (or any web release that could affect SEO-related configurations) before they go live. 


This environment should be as similar to the live site as possible but blocked to search engine crawlers and require user authentication to access. It’s then also fundamental that you agree on what tools and methods you’ll use to access and validate any execution status to ensure success.


An SEO implementation flow chart, showing validation decisions.

Remember that it’s important to not only validate before any release, but also after launch and to agree on what should happen if a critical bug—like one that can harm the site’s SEO goals—is identified. Establish the best course of action depending on the criticality and existing dev workflow.


This should be coordinated to reduce disruption to the wider site, explained Crystal Carter, head of SEO communications at Wix.


“There are often multiple teams working on a single site at once. If you do not coordinate the time between deployment and validation, it can get difficult to isolate issues. If the team moves on to another deployment, then a rollback could mean that new content or features have to be republished.” — Crystal Carter, Head of SEO Communications at Wix

Validate recommendations and agree on an execution timeline

Before any recommendations actually get implemented, make sure that everyone involved understands what they’re responsible for and why. 


Then based on the available resources, agree on an SEO execution workflow with the web development, product, and design teams, while ensuring there’s:


  • Enough time for validation before and after any release

  • The agreed timeline actually allows you to see the expected outcome on time


If this is not the case, then collaborate with stakeholders to establish alternatives and communicate the tradeoffs with the expected goals to decision makers to align expectations. It’s critical to align understanding about SEO results based on the recommendations’ execution to avoid disappointment.


Collaboration is the key to better technical SEO


Getting your technical SEO recommendations approved and implemented can be as much about communication and teamwork as it is about faster loading times or crawl budget optimization.


While collaboration isn’t what you might immediately go to when thinking about your role, your ability to communicate and collaborate with other stakeholders is likely to influence how successful you are at getting recommendations implemented, which will eventually affect how your business website performs as well as your success as a technical SEO.


 

Aleyda Solis

Aleyda Solis is an SEO speaker, author, and the founder of Orainti, a boutique SEO consultancy advising top brands worldwide. She shares the latest SEO news and resources in her SEOFOMO newsletter, SEO tips in the Crawling Mondays video series, and a free SEO Learning Roadmap called LearningSEO.io. Twitter | Linkedin



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