“Our Developer Builds Sites With SEO in Mind…”

With a degree in computer information systems from Mohawk Valley Community College, John worked for small businesses and performed freelance work before joining Site-Seeker in 2007.

You may hear this phrase from your developer or internet marketing company, and you may even hear it from others here at Site-Seeker. It’s really a sentence that’s thrown around a lot but it’s meaning may not be well defined. When asked what it means many companies are likely to throw more jargon and acronyms your way that still doesn’t explain it, but may confuse you enough to keep you from digging any deeper.

The truth is that it’s really hard to explain and those that do not completely understand it aren’t going to be able to explain it well enough for the average person to understand. In order to really grasp what this means and have a hope to explain it you need to be a developer that sees through SEO tinted glasses.

I understand it and I’m not even sure I can explain it, but I’m going to attempt to.

Rare Perspective

As I’m writing this I’ve been working at Site-Seeker for well more than 7 years. I started here when “SEO” was a relatively new term. SEO was not something that everyone was doing, as a matter of fact, as far as I can remember, very few were. I started here having very little understanding of what SEO meant, in fact I’d only heard the term a few times; I just wanted to build web sites.

Over the course of my time here I have had the opportunity to see Web development from a rather rare perspective that not many “Web Developers” get. Not from the beginning of development but from what most consider the end; launching a site and getting that site found in search engines by people that type what they’re looking for into a little box.

Most developers don’t get the perspective I’ve been given. Most developers build web sites in a silo, unaware of the full picture. They don’t need to worry about design, they don’t need to worry about marketing; all they need to worry about is coding the site they were told to code; just build the site and get it done. They may be told that it’s important to do something a certain way, and they try to do it that way, but they don’t really know why it’s important for them to do it that way.

I don’t get the luxury of coding in a silo. I am usually involved in a project from the planning all the way to the launch and beyond. Even if a particular project does not include building a Web site there’s still a very good change that I’m involved in that project in some way.

We have lots of meetings here at Site-Seeker, most of which have nothing to do with development, or it would seem. If you were to walk into one of these meetings you’d probably see me in a corner, head back, probably with my eyes close, apparently uninterested in whatever is going on in the room. My colleagues may even tell you I sleep during meetings or that they don’t understand why I bother to show up. Looks are deceiving. I’m actually listening to every word of the conversation going on in the room. My brain is processing the information, storing the important bits with previously process important bits, tossing out the bits that are no longer relevant. I listen, I research and I read about subjects that include far more than just coding Web site. Even when I’m not in a conversation about SEO and marketing, I’m generally listening. This is why I don’t bring my laptop to meetings, if I didn’t care at all about what was being discussed I would, or I wouldn’t show up at all.

The only time you can be sure I’m not listening is when I have my headphones on and the music turned up because I’m trying to concentrate on some complex bit of coding that I’m working on.

Yes, I am a programmer and a developer, but I program and develop specifically for a medium we call “The Web”. For me, knowing and understanding how and why that medium works are just as important as understanding the code that makes a Web site work.

I know why I am doing the things that I do, because I want to know why I’m doing those things, I want to know if the reason make sense. When I build a site I take all the things I know into account; all those stored bits of information have an effect on the code my keyboard tapping produces. If I’ve built a site there will likely be no need to go back into it and change things, or add things to do the things that our team will want to do, because I’ve already built them in. The only time that code will need to be modified is when something new comes along. SEO for me is something that starts before the first line of code is written, it happens in the planning phase, it happens throughout the development process, it happens after the Web site construction is complete; it’s not something that gets done when I’m finished by other people.

Did that answer the question?

I don’t know if that answered the question, but I’m hoping it gives some insight into the way one Web developer thinks. Can I explain all the details of what I do and what it means? No. I think that the details are hard to grasp and a bit abstract unless you’ve lived them.