• http://twitter.com/connections8 James Norquay

    From my experience in working on Enterprise SEO jobs the biggest hold back are:
    1. Technical related – Web Dev teams who place SEO at the end of the list as you have said, I it annoying when the release cycle is months and months long. Even creating sub folders on big sites take time!
    2. Legal hold backs – Restrictions to the content that can be used due to legal areas on the website.
    3. Getting every one in the business to love SEO – it takes time to get every one involved in SEO projects, yet when you have senior management and even the CEO of a company with 1000 people aware of the benefit of SEO things move.

    Overall great article but =) Can relate 100%

  • http://twitter.com/ianhanson4 ian hanson

    Content roadblocks are more common these days. I am all for fortnightly SEO refresher sessions for content producers

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.hunt3 Bill Hunt

    Adam great article as usual.  

    For the IT department – look at what you are submitting to them.  Many large companies have moved to agile development and don’t have time to research your requirements.  It is amazing how many times SEO’s send a requirement and it is just “Add canonical tags” to all pages with parameters” 

    SEO’s need to take the time to write out the requirements with references and examples and any nuances for that company.  That is one of the first things I look at – what did the SEO’s submit and how clear and actionable is it.   Most of the time it is an excel file full of 1 line to do’s with no background.  Then the IT team must do the research themselves.  I just saw a case of then using an incorrect format for next buttons because they uses the syntax from a high ranking blob vs. a more reliable reference.  

    Also, if your using agile methods, make sure they add you to the QA for any story related to SEO.  The QA window is narrow you need to act fast or it may be months until you can fix a problem from bad integration.  

    Also, some sort of business justification.  If we do x then we can have y happen.  That is the value of the missed opportunity matrix.  By the way, if you use the same document with a timer to show days the request has been pending and missed opportunity that is another great motivator for the team.  

    Also attend some of their story development meetings to see what is on the road map.  Recently one company planned to deploy a 100% AJAX site and there was no one in the meeting that knew of the challenges to SEO that would create.  Fortunately one of the developers remembered a recent training and asked the SEO team who was able to integrate SEO into the process and they did not miss a beat on launch.  

  • http://robertclarkmtfs.com/ Robert Clark

    Man, #4 is a hard one sometimes. My sales team always wants to over sell and it’s a constant battle to keep the expectations of our clients in check. Good post!

  • http://www.adamsherk.com/ Adam Sherk

    Thanks for the positive feedback, I appreciate it.

    Bill – that’s a great point about agile development, and thanks for all the additional tips.

    James – that’s an interesting point about roadblocks from legal too, an important thing to consider in relevant cases.

    Ian – I agree, you have to regularly train and reinforce or you lose consistency quickly.

    Robert – you’re right it can be tough, but managing expectations is key.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryKayLofurno Mary Kay Lofurno

    Good article.  I agree with all except your potential proposed solution to (1).  I think the point is NOT to have a homegrown CMS.  What if the guys/gals leaves that developed it?  How do you get cycles to maintain it?  Update it?  More often than not, there is customization that is needed, its kind of a given when you are taking about enterprise stuff.  There is a lot more that goes into this kind of decision, even building a “bridge/hybrid solution.”

    We have been crippled by our homegrown CMS.  The company went out and purchased one that is good for our needs [SEO/SEM/Analytics included] I am not saying its a panacea but it will go a long way to helping with things we are struggling with currently on the SEO/SEM/Analytics fronts.  There is wisdom of when to build and when to buy.   

  • http://www.adamsherk.com/ Adam Sherk

    Thanks for your input Mary. We agree on the CMS solution actually. A homegrown CMS *can* be a good solution, if you can build one with strong SEO components and have it work as well as intended. I’ve worked with several companies that have done this successfully, but just as many that have had serious issues in trying to get it right. Thus the “graveyard of empires” analogy. So I agree that adding further customizations to an existing solution is often the best way forward.

    Regarding developer turnover, whether it is a homegrown project or customization of a third party solution projects like this require significant teams and time. So there are always going to be people coming and going over time, and there shouldn’t be a small number of individuals with all the knowledge. If a company doesn’t have the resources to put against this it is not something they should be looking into.