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How SEOs and Developers Can Work Better Together



How SEOs and Developers Can Work Better Together

The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

This is part one of a three-part series with Helen Pollitt on how to work better with folks within your company.

SEOs and developers need to work better together. Understand how to communicate with each other in a way that fits into each other’s processes. By doing so, you can safeguard your organic traffic while also safeguarding your entire website.

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Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Helen, head of SEO at Car & Classic, and today we’re going to look at how SEOs and developers can work better together. Now, I’d spend some time explaining to you why developers and SEOs need to work better together, but it’s kind of obvious really. Developers have the opportunity to make our lives so much better by quickly implementing that fix to load speed or making our lives so much worse by accidentally rolling out some code that completely de-indexes the website.

But actually, we can really help developers as well because we have the opportunity to give them data into usability and accessibility. It’s actually quite important that we work well together. Now, you often hear people say that if you want to get on well with your developers, you need to bribe them with doughnuts, which is a little bit insulting and a lot expensive because who has that kind of doughnut money just hanging around?

But actually, we need to work out how we can form a really good working relationship with developers that doesn’t rely solely on baked goods. How do we do that?

Understand processes

Understand processes

Well, first off, we need to start by understanding their processes, because essentially if we’re asking them to do things for us, we need to make sure that we are communicating in a way that fits into their processes.

So learn how to brief in your requirements in a way that helps them to prioritize and plan your work. So what is it that they do at the moment? Do they have a ticketing system that they use that they put all of their requirements in, and it allows it to be monitored as it moves through the process? Or do they have some other way that they track the work that they’re doing? But make sure that you are putting in your requirements and your requests in the format that works for them.

There’s no point just shooting over an email to them, asking them to fix something if it doesn’t actually make it into their work. So what else do you need to do? You need to look at where you have briefed things in the past and it’s not really worked out well. So perhaps mistakes were made, there was a misunderstanding, a problem with communication. Have a look through some of the tickets that you’ve submitted in the past and look to see whether there are reasons why they got rejected or misunderstood.

What do you need to do to clarify things when you’re briefing in work for your developers? Perhaps you can look at other teams and what they do when they are briefing in work for the developers. Maybe you can understand how they are structuring their tickets or whether there’s a particular terminology they use to help communicate things to the devs better. But learn from where other people are doing it better as well as where you’ve not done it so well in the past, and hopefully you’ll come up with a really good way of helping your developers understand what work you want them to do.

Look at things like their work cadence. So do they commit to doing work two weeks in advance? Do they commit to a whole month worth of work before they get going? Or do they have some slightly confusing mix of agile and waterfall that essentially means no one knows what work they’re doing, but it has to be done right now? Whatever way your developers have their work planned in for them, make sure that you are aware of it because that cadence is going to be really important.

If you want something done and you need it done soon, then you’re probably going to have to see if you can get it prioritized in order for it to be in this sprint or the next sprint, for example. You want to know what kind of time frames that they’re working to. How much time is your ticket going to take? So if you’ve asked them to do something really complicated on the website, it’s going to take a lot more time, testing, and resources for that to actually be rolled out.

So make sure that you’ve got that planned in for your own schedule of work. Finally, what you do if everything explodes on the website and you need to get it fixed right now? So say the entire website has been de-indexed somehow. Are you supposed to just put a ticket in and wait for two weeks for the next sprint for it to get fixed? That doesn’t sound like a good idea. So how do you escalate when there are some real serious, critical issues that you’ve identified?

Do you have to put a ticket into a different work stream? Do you have to talk to someone in particular about it? Do you just have to run around the office screaming a little bit until someone pays attention to you? What is the way that you get your tickets escalated at your company or at your client’s company?

Train colleagues in SEO

SEO training

Next, look at some training. What are the common things that your developers run into when they are being asked by the SEOs to implement work?

So are there problems with pagination often that you’re asking them to fix, or they’re implementing links in a way that isn’t particularly SEO friendly? Can you just train them in this kind of stuff in advance so that they are already equipped to know how to do things from an SEO perspective, rather than waiting for you to say, “You did that wrong”? Maybe you can put together a repository of these documents. So actually, why don’t you write this kind of stuff down?

So whenever you tell someone how to implement pagination in an SEO-friendly way, write it down, give the context of what it is that you asked them to do and how that was fixed, so that they can refer back to it, other members of the team can refer back to it, and actually all the SEOs are on board and making sure that they are recommending the same ways of working in the future. If you want to train your developers, they’re busy.

They’re busy people. They might not have an hour or two hours for you to go through the intricacies of how websites are crawled by search engines. Is there an alternative way that you can train them? Look at things like, how do they train each other actually? Do they send over videos? Do they write it all down? Do they have a real quick 15 minutes distilling of information?

How do they train each other? How do they upskill themselves? See if you can conduct your training in a similar way.

Get an SEO Q&A process in place

SEO QA process

Really important to making sure that you’re working well with your developers is getting some kind of SEO QA process in place. So this means things like being tagged in the tickets that are being taken through the development process. So it might be that developers aren’t aware of things that could be affecting SEO, and therefore if they can just tag you on the tickets, you can go in and check to see whether there’s any SEO impact or any input that you need to have.

You can also assign a point person. So perhaps there’s a project manager or there’s an engineering lead within the development team that you can always go to and make sure that you have an SEO that they can always come to. That way, you’ve got a point person, a point of contact between both teams, so whenever there is any kind of confusion or discussion around tickets or priorities, they’re getting one message from one person and you’re not confusing the situation with lots of voices all chipping in.

Make sure whatever happens, you have the authority to stop something being rolled out. Make sure that you’ve spoken to the right stakeholders so that you have that authority to say no to something being implemented, because it’s all very well being tagged in a ticket or being told of future developments, but actually, if you’re not allowed to say, “Hold on, we need to change how we’re implementing this,” then it’s kind of useless and a waste of your time.

Ultimately, you don’t want something to get rolled out that is going to have a really negative impact on your organic visibility just for it to have to get fixed or rolled back at a later date. You want to be able to say no before it’s rolled out in the first place.

Get buy-in from your developer team

Getting buy-in

Last up, how do you get buy-in from your development team? Well, I once gave a survey to a whole bunch of developers asking them what they needed from the SEO team to work better with them, and of the two developers that actually responded to my survey, they both said they wanted more context around the tickets that we were putting in.

They want to know why we’re asking for stuff, not just what it is we’re asking for. So if you’re asking for your developers to implement hreflang tags on a website, make sure that you are telling them why. What is it that you are trying to end up with? What do you want from the hreflang tags? So that they understand the context and they can perhaps suggest better ways of doing things, or they can make sure that wherever they are implementing SEO changes is not negatively affecting the website in other ways.

Our job as SEOs is to safeguard organic traffic, and their job as website developers is to safeguard the entire website. So they probably want to know why we’re making changes so that they can check it’s not going to have any adverse effects. Make sure you understand their ways of working. So if they like to communicate through emails or instant messaging services, or perhaps they like to only communicate about tickets within the ticketing system itself, so they’ve got a nice audit trail that anyone can refer back to, try and make sure that you’re working in a similar way so that your recommendations and your advice and your questions don’t get missed.

If they’re only checking the tickets to see what people are commenting on or asking and you’re sending the emails through, then chances are that the right people aren’t going to see the things that you’re commenting on. Try and get yourself an SEO champion, and this is kind of good advice for any of the teams that you’re working with, but make sure that you have a person within the development team or your client’s agency that really wants to know more about SEO, that really gets SEO and wants to improve their understanding of it, because if you have someone who’s really keen to learn more, perhaps they did SEO a bit in a previous job or they just have an interest in it, then you’ve got a person who’s probably going to be on your side when you are asking for things like changes in ways of working or for a whole new process to be implemented.

If you have a champion, someone in the development team that wants to learn more from you, that you can perhaps mentor a bit in SEO, then you’re going to have someone who’s really keen to help you. Look at the tools and data that you have access to as SEOs that your development team doesn’t, and see whether there’s data they’d actually find quite valuable. Yes, they can interrogate a database, but they don’t necessarily have the tools to crawl a website in the same way that we do, for example, and it might be that they want to find information and understand how a search engine is perceiving something.

So you can either train them in using things like Google Search Console, or you can give them access to the data instead. But make sure that you are communicating with them the data that they will find useful because it’s a great way of getting buy-in. Show them the results of their work. So if they have done something that’s greatly improved Core Web Vitals, show them. They’re going to want to see all the green ticks just like we do.

So maybe you can communicate and give updates regularly to the development team after they’ve completed a ticket of what impact it had. Maybe it improved rankings. Maybe it helped with usability. What is it that their work did that had a very positive effect on SEO? You can even go as far as giving them scores and feedback on it because they want to learn, they want to get better at their jobs, and if SEO is a part of that, then you kind of need to give them feedback so they know where to improve.

So thank you so much for listening. I’m going to go and find myself a doughnut. Is there a doughnut shop? Have you got a doughnut shop around here?

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



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About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai



Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

In a groundbreaking alliance, Amazon and Hyundai have joined forces to reshape the automotive landscape, promising a revolutionary shift in how we buy, drive, and experience cars.

Imagine browsing for your dream car on Amazon, with the option to seamlessly purchase, pick up, or have it delivered—all within the familiar confines of the world’s largest online marketplace. Buckle up as we explore the potential impact of this monumental partnership and the transformation it heralds for the future of auto retail.

Driving Change Through Amazon’s Auto Revolution

Consider “Josh”, a tech-savvy professional with an affinity for efficiency. Faced with the tedious process of purchasing a new car, he stumbled upon Amazon’s automotive section. Intrigued by the prospect of a one-stop shopping experience, Josh decided to explore the Amazon-Hyundai collaboration.

The result?

A hassle-free online car purchase, personalized to his preferences, and delivered to his doorstep. Josh’s story is just a glimpse into the real-world impact of this game-changing partnership.

Bridging the Gap Between Convenience and Complexity

Traditional car buying is often marred by complexities, from navigating dealership lots to negotiating prices. The disconnect between the convenience consumers seek and the cumbersome process they endure has long been a pain point in the automotive industry. The need for a streamlined, customer-centric solution has never been more pressing.

1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Ecommerce Partnership Reshaping Auto Retail Dynamics

Enter Amazon and Hyundai’s new strategic partnership coming in 2024—an innovative solution poised to redefine the car-buying experience. The trio of key developments—Amazon becoming a virtual showroom, Hyundai embracing AWS for a digital makeover, and the integration of Alexa into next-gen vehicles—addresses the pain points with a holistic approach.

In 2024, auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase.

Amazon and Hyundai launch a broad, strategic partnership—including vehicle sales on in 2024 – Amazon Staff

This collaboration promises not just a transaction but a transformation in the way customers interact with, purchase, and engage with their vehicles.

Pedal to the Metal

Seamless Online Purchase:

  • Complete the entire transaction within the trusted Amazon platform.
  • Utilize familiar payment and financing options.
  • Opt for convenient pick-up or doorstep delivery.
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Hyundai’s Cloud-First Transformation:

  • Experience a data-driven organization powered by AWS.
  • Benefit from enhanced production optimization, cost reduction, and improved security.

Alexa Integration in Next-Gen Vehicles:

  • Enjoy a hands-free, voice-controlled experience in Hyundai vehicles.
  • Access music, podcasts, reminders, and smart home controls effortlessly.
  • Stay connected with up-to-date traffic and weather information.

Driving into the Future

The Amazon-Hyundai collaboration is not just a partnership; it’s a revolution in motion. As we witness the fusion of e-commerce giant Amazon with automotive prowess of Hyundai, the potential impact on customer behavior is staggering.

The age-old challenges of car buying are met with a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, paving the way for a new era in auto retail. From the comfort of your home to the driver’s seat, this partnership is set to redefine every step of the journey, promising a future where buying a car is as easy as ordering a package online.

Embrace the change, and witness the evolution of auto retail unfold before your eyes.

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

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How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

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