Computer programming is making enormous innovative leaps on the web, evolving from crusty old-school AJAX, to jQuery, to reactive views that synchronize app states with single language frameworks. React and Vue are highly optimized for comparing pages loaded up in browsers and app data representations through a literal “Virtual DOM (VDOM).” It’s really amazing stuff. It’s a new era.
But reactive programming is not always great for search engine indexing. If we in SEO don’t want indexing to take a step backward, we need to work on the problem with developers and bring them to SEO for more than a crash course.
Early in its history, SEO was largely represented by webmasters. Everything was new — it was like right after the Big Bang. There were numerous search engines and none of them were named Google. The web became increasingly commercial and competitive. SEOs fought like mad for search engine rankings; some crossed the line, and some were brazen enough to brag online about page-jacking and cloaking.
We shared our ideas in webmaster forums, we read Danny Sullivan’s articles, and I ran a popular email discussion list called I-Search. In 1999, we all met in real life at a new conference series, the first of its kind.
Non-technical folks read about what we were doing, and they recognized that content and writing with search crawlers in mind was integral to the practice of SEO. The marketing side of SEO was born.
With our different marketing and technology backgrounds, we worked together to create something altogether new. We could see we needed to support one another, share knowledge, and continue contributing to our new industry. It’s our spirit of innovation that I love most about SEO, and I sense something stirring just beneath the surface once again.
Now, we need to go more left-brain and reach out to developers
It’s time to start writing about SEO for developers. Developers can learn what we’re about and become part of the conversation, the community.
People writing technical SEO content often touch on meaty subjects that can point the way for developers, but their target audience is usually SEO practitioners. I want to address programmers and get them excited about page titles as much as open-source React components.
Ideally, developers should take SEO into consideration from the beginning, but in real-world situations they rarely are. Sites are completed or in their final stages when we get asked for a hurried SEO analysis that can require dramatic changes to the site.
Developers at small team startups are in the best position to pivot, but not all developers can be so nimble when they are part of larger teams. All developers, however, should have access to good information that suits their particular situation.
Currently, the knowledge gaps between short-staffed marketers and developers are exploited by bandaid fixes marketed as magic solutions. These are often deployed without enough thought about migrating back to a state of self-reliance. By writing about SEO in a way that speaks to developers, we can help sort things so that everyone can make more informed choices and head off myriad potential problems.
SEO for Developers
There’s plenty of published SEO content for practitioners. By including new content meant in large part for developers we can begin attracting more programmers to our community through search. We can look forward to the innovative solutions they will bring and their participation in our expanding community.
“@JohnMu says SEO’s need to have a better working relationship with developers. Speaking their language, understand their needs, requirements and work more closely with them to accomplish the goals!” wrote Jennifer Hoffman of DeepCrawl on Twitter.
Look out for that kind of content — written in their language and with an understanding of their needs — to appear regularly in this space over the coming weeks and months. I’m looking forward to engaging with you and hope you’ll contact me with ideas for what you’d like to see covered.