|Leaking SEO secrets|
How much to share
I have just recently been asked to co-bid with a website designer. He's doing the design work and coding and I would be doing the optimizing.
As I'm working with him assembling the bid, however, it becomes very clear to me that SEO and SEM practices are completely foreign to him. While I'm sure this is not a unique situation, it begs the question, how much of my SEO practices should I really be sharing with this guy before I have taught him how to do my job and voided his need to co-bid with me?
For instance, when I ask him to put crawlable navigation on the site in addition to his JS and he asks me why, how much detail would you suggest I give him? I mean, it's not like the information isn't readily available all over the internet, but I just don't feel like I need to spoon feed him the way I earn a living.
It is most painful to work with a non-seo-savvy designer/coder. A coder is still OK, as one can specify what you want after the design is done. Perhaps you could get completed design as a first mile-stone and then specify how things should be coded up. But don't let those two processes get jumbled up .. first the one, then the other.
How much in the way of specifics do you have to give, if it's only in the bidding stage? Unless the scope for the bidding process is very generalized and non-specific, you could divulge enough so that you're no longer needed.
|How much in the way of specifics do you have to give, if it's only in the bidding stage? |
I agree, I would just give a number or amount in hours at this point in the process and let him add it to the bid. Once he/she has successfully submitted the bid and won then you roll up your sleeves and start asking for him/her to code or set up stuff a certain way.
If you get to the later stage I don't think you are obligated to say why you are doing it just that you think this is what needs to be done and let him/her do it. I work with a database programmer all the time and while I have a general idea what he is doing I never ask him for specifics, I just tell him how I want to work and let him figure out the how piece. I would recommend you do the same here.
> when I ask him to put crawlable navigation on the site in addition to his JS and he asks me why...
"Because it is needed in order to meet the client's requirements."
If keeping your SEO/SEM tricks a secret leaves you feeling guilty, there's an additional justification: What if the designer does try to go it alone, implements his faulty/oversimplified interpretation of some of the things you've mentioned, and messes up the client's ranking? There's a good bet he or she will then tell the client, "I just did what LorSor said to do" -- That would likely not be good for your reputation...
Wow, great posts. I'm thinking past the point at which I'm bidding (which I have incidentally already done) and assuming I get the job. (I like to think positively!)
With that in mind, I like the jdMorgan's suggestion about replying with:
>"Because it is needed in order to meet the client's requirements."
It's direct, to the point and professional enough to hide my true intentions of maintaining job security.
I also like calicochris's idea of getting the design first, then working with the code. That's probably the way I'd work it anyway, but it's nice to have the affirmation, thanks!
There's also the off-site work that you can obfuscate under "link development".
If you ask the developer a hundred questions about his work, he may get the message.
It's just been driven home to me in no uncertain terms recently that front end coding (which can be a big component of SEO, visitor retention and conversions) is not at all the same thing as graphic design and website interface design.
There are incredibly gifted graphic artists who can create stunning interfaces in Photoshop, and are engaged to develop and design sites, but their code and layout can be a bloated, atrocious disaster. What's an SEO to do, re-code it all for free, or tell for free how to fix it, without getting paid?
IMHO gone are the days when search engine optimization and website optimization (load time, usability, etc.) are distinctly different disciplines.
It's a hard road for someone doing SEO to avoid "giving it all away" without compensation, "teaching" a developer or designer skills to fix their messes, that can put them out of the picture.
[edited by: Marcia at 12:49 pm (utc) on Dec. 29, 2007]
|If you get to the later stage I don't think you are obligated to say why you are doing it just that you think this is what needs to be done and let him/her do it. |
This is what I was going to say, in essence. Or, you could explain any coding-related SEO as just being something to help customers/visitors. Both of these options are truthful, they just leave out some minor details that the coder may not even care to know.
You probably can't do this on this particular job, but IMO going forward it might be time for YOU to find the jobs, do the site review (if there is already one), keyword analysis, site design with SEO in mind, and simply farm out the coding to this guy. If he asks why you want it a particular way, tell him because you're paying HIM and that's how you want it. No need to explain.
Aaaaah, but that would require me to SELL! I quite love sitting behind a computer, working my SEO magic, but I'd rather hang by my finger nails than address potential clients to sell my services. I'm just a major chicken that way!
I know SEO is legit, but is it safe to assume that if the developer creates a search-engine friendly site that complies with valid coding standards that you'll be ok?
Directed to SEO specialists: Where exactly are developers 'getting in the way' of your SEO party' in your experience? Aside from the obvious non-crawlable menus, bloated code, images for text, etc...
|For instance, when I ask him to put crawlable navigation on the site in addition to his JS and he asks me why, how much detail would you suggest I give him? I mean, it's not like the information isn't readily available all over the internet, but I just don't feel like I need to spoon feed him the way I earn a living. |
I'm faced with this challenge regularly. I've learned that it doesn't matter anymore. Also, you should be charging a premium for that type of work. Anytime you share your knowledge with others who will gain from that knowledge, you may want to be compensated accordingly. I do it all the time.
No spoon feeding unless you're getting paid to do so. You may need to take what is delivered and do your final thing to avoid the whole training exercise. I've found that most designers could care less about my standards and what matters for the search engines, that is not their forte. They are there to design. Someone else then needs to pick up the ball and take it from there.
So, PageOneResults, are you saying that when a designer wants to co-bid with you, you charge the designer for that opportunity since you would be sharing intellectual assets with them?
|So, PageOneResults, are you saying that when a designer wants to co-bid with you, you charge the designer for that opportunity since you would be sharing intellectual assets with them? |
I haven't been in that type of situation. When a designer is involved with one of our projects, they are transparent. There is no co-bidding involved. We have a set of guidelines for the designer to follow that doesn't give away any so called secrets and allows us to take that design to the next level.
The designers are doing just that, providing the "design", the "visual". What takes place behind the scenes and how that visual is structured is up to the team at the next phase which is developing the html/css templates.
I've tried the training thing, it didn't work out too well. Most designers have methods in place that work for them. Few are willing to change their ways. That's okay, as long as you can give me a design that follows the initial guidelines I presented to you, we're good to go.
Co-bidding? Someone needs to take the reigns and be Project Coordinator. That would be you. Everything else is transparent to the client and to the third party providers.
HTML/CSS Code Slinger
If I had to co-bid, there is no training involved. I allow the designers to do their thing with a few initial restrictions based on years of doing this. I know what most are "likely" to do and I try to prevent that in the beginning with certain guidelines. It doesn't always work out that way, but I try. ;)
if its foreign to him than don't quote it...
its easier to blame the unpredictable seo for a failed project...
direct the guy to this post: