Google releases first episode of SEOs & Devs on YouTube

First episode of SEOs & Devs

The first episode of the SEOs & Devs Video series called “Dr StrangeDev – how I learned to include SEO” is out on YouTube

Last week, Google announced a new video series called SEOs & Devs aimed towards bridging the gap between SEOs and developers. The first episode of the video series has been uploaded on 15 December 2021. 

In this episode, Martin Splitt, the Developer Advocate at Google and the show’s host, is joined by Surma, a Google Chrome developer advocate. They covered a variety of topics, including how SEOs and developers can collaborate to improve the overall website and more.

What was discussed in the episode?

Here are the things that were discussed in the “Dr StrangeDev – how I learned to include SEO” episode:

Is SEO a constraint for Web Developers?

Martin Splitt began the video by asking Surma if SEO is merely another constraint for web developers. Surma responded to this question by describing some of the issues that web developers encounter, such as determining whether to use server-side or static rendering. He also mentioned how tough it is to comprehend how search engines view a particular technological implementation. As a result, developers are left in a state of confusion.

Here’s what Surma said:

“The usual struggle involves stuff like, how many browsers do I support, or how far back in the browser versions do I go? Do I support IE? Do I not support IE? How do I poly-fill certain things? Do I poly-fill them, or do I use progressive enhancement?

What kind of implications do both of these choices have? Do we actually make design fully responsive? Do we do a separate mobile site?

…And then you either have to say do I set up something for server-side rendering or static rendering and build time, or do I go all-in on the single-page app and just everything happens on the client?

…And then search engines come in like, well, you should be doing this, and you should not be doing that because that gets penalized.

And actually, we don’t even understand what you’re doing here because search engines are running Chrome 12 or something.

…it’s yet another constraint that I have to balance and make decisions whether following their restrictions is more important or following my business restrictions, or my marketing restrictions, or my project management restrictions. And I feel like some people are frustrated about that sometimes.”

Martin Splitt agreed with Surma and emphasized that there are many requirements put forth by SEOs, some of which may also contradict one another. He encouraged developers to strive to understand what SEOs are trying to accomplish and that making the required changes is critical for search engines to understand the pages.

Do developers think of SEOs as a friend?

Surma said that SEOs are sometimes viewed as villains who will go to any extent to get a site ranked at the top of Google Search. He did, however, acknowledge that SEOs assist in the improvement of a website while optimizing it for search engines.

Martin Splitt added that SEOs help developers to optimize the performance of the pages on the website. This, in turn, helps the overall user experience of the websites. 

Here are Martin Spiltt’s comments:

So a good SEO actually helps you understand what kind of requirements you should take into account.

…So you said like, oh, we want to build a single page application. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s fine to build a client-side rendered, but maybe consider doing some bits and pieces server-side rendered because you reap some performance benefits there.

And that also influences SEO because as you say, search engines want to find the good things.

So making your site better– and that includes making it faster but also making it accessible.

Because if you think about it, search engines are computers interacting with your website, working through your website and trying to understand what your website says.

So they have basic accessibility needs. They don’t necessarily interact with things. They don’t click on stuff. And yet they need to work with your content. So it should be accessible to them. And SEOs will point these things out.”

Surma agreed, and added how optimising Core Web Vitals not only helps SEOs, but also lowers bounce rates and increases user engagement.

How important is it for SEOs to keep up with the latest web development trends?

Surma was asked by Martin Splitt what SEOs should do to help developers understand why they are recommending a particular change. Surma stressed the importance of SEOs staying up to date on web development trends in order to have meaningful conversations with developers. 

He gave the example of some SEOs still believing that Javascript is invisible to search engines, despite Google’s assertion that it can be processed. He discussed how SEOs must be cautious when presenting requirements, avoiding saying things like “if you don’t make this modification, your website will be ruined.” The SEO recommendations must be presented in such a way that they sound more like advice on how to improve the website. And the decision must be taken after both the SEOs and the developers have had a healthy discussion of the benefits and drawbacks.

“SEOs need to be mindful of as well, that the developer cannot just follow everything that they say because there’s different– they’re not the only deciding force on a project.

..And I think people need just to realize that everyone is in 90% of the cases trying to do the best they can and do their job well. And just keep that in mind. And then probably find a solution that works for both or is a compromise”, said Surma – Google’s Chrome developer advocate.

SEOs and developers need to work together

Martin Splitt described how developers work tirelessly to ensure that the website works perfectly across all browsers. They also make sure to follow all best practices for making the website faster and more accessible, such as tree-shaking, bundle-splitting, and other optimizations. 

He went on to say that SEOs assist developers in ensuring that search engines are aware of all of these optimizations and features. An SEO expert also keeps developers informed about best practices that they may not have been aware of previously. Matin also stressed the importance of SEOs staying abreast of the latest web development trends in order to properly advise web developers.

Here’s what Martin Splitt said:

“Both SEOs and developers want to build something that people are using, right?

You don’t want to build something and then no one uses it.

..When I was a developer, I wanted to build things that actually have an impact, and that means that they need to be used by someone. And if we are building something that we genuinely are convinced is a good thing, then that should be reflected by the fact that search engines would agree on that and say like, oh, yeah, this is a good solution to this problem or this challenge that people might face and thus want to basically showcase your solution.

But for that, there needs to be something that search engines can grasp and understand and look at and put into their index accordingly.

So basically, they need to understand what is the page about, what does it offer the users, is it fast, is it slow, is it mobile-friendly..you as a developer are focused on making it work in all the browsers that it needs to work in, making it fast, using all the best practices, using tree shaking, bundle splitting, all that kind of stuff.

And then SEOs come in and help you making sure that search engines do understand what you’re building and can access what you’re building. And that you are following the few best practices that you might not necessarily be aware of yet.

…For that, SEOs need to follow what is up to date best practices, and not all of them do that”

Martin Splitt then revealed that during one of the virtual events, there was a poll conducted asking SEOs whether they were aware that Googlebot is now an evergreen bot. Over 60% of people were unaware of it, even though it was announced at Google IO 2019.

Martin concluded the video by emphasizing the importance of SEOs and developers working together as a team to provide users with the best possible experience.

You can watch the full episode of the SEOs vs Devs Video series here:

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December 2021 Product Reviews Update announced by Google

Google releases a full list of IP addresses used by Googlebot for Crawling

November 2021 Spam Update announced by Google

Google says URL length doesn’t affect SEO rankings

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November 2021 Broad Core Update announced by Google

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First episode of SEOs & Devs

Google releases first episode of SEOs & Devs on YouTube