SEO and team conflicts in web strategy

At a fundamental level, the various disciplines of online marketers have goals that are perfectly aligned.  They want to maximize revenues through the online channel.  Once you get to the less fundamental and more tactical level?  Well, then things start to fall apart.

My favorite example of this has always been the almost unavoidable clash between usability professionals and designers.  A good designer inevitably wants to push the limits of design, a good usability professional wants a site to be navigable without making the user think.  These two objectives are almost by definition at odds.

This past week I have been brushing up my skills by taking SEO (Search enghine optimization) training through JM Internet Group.  [On a side note, I highly recommend these classes.  Not only is the instructor, Jason, really savvy and clear about this mysterious art but the moderator, Noelle is extremely helpful and very funny.] Through these classes I am realizing that when taken seriously, SEO can provide something for all of the other disciplines to hate.  I cringed as I listened to the instructor make suggestions about such things as adding the same keyword dense “about us” text to every page on the site.  Was his suggestion perfectly appropriate from an SEO perspective?  Yes.  Would I ever recommend it to a client that wanted to look serious and professional?  No.

As with any conflict, the answer is compromise. Asking everyone to put their best ideas forward and be willing to walk away from the white board a little unhappy.  Thankfully, there are plenty of options for optimizing a site, or designing a site, or making it usable that can coexist.

Now that I have resolved that… on to the middle east.  🙂