Workgroup Discussing Project. Scrum Meeting

Risk Management and SEO: What’s the Relationship?

If you have a website, it’s important that it ranks highly on search engines. The right SEO strategies such as keywords, links, fast loading pages and glitches will contribute to the cause.

But errors can occur on websites and some of them can cause your site to fall in rankings. Broken links, code errors and Javascript issues can prevent site statistics from getting to Google Analytics causing your site to take a nosedive.

With the right risk management practices, you can keep your site on the top of search engine pages. This article will discuss the importance of risk management and how to integrate it to ensure your site is visible.

What Developers Can Do to Control Risk

Many risks can be eliminated during the development and update stages. Here are some things developers can do to keep risk under control.

Double Check When Making Changes- SEO Affects

Every time you make changes to your website, you run the risk of doing something that negatively affects SEO. Even adding a blog article can cause issues.

For instance, if the article contains a misspelled word (or worse yet a misspelled keyword), a broken link or an incorrectly coded special character, it can work against you.

Untested code or a bad SQL inquiry can have even more dramatic results. It can cause outages, downtime and even data corruption. This can lead to visitors to leave your site, or your website may go down for hours.

For best results, you will want to double check before making any permanent changes to your website. You should also test any changes before going live with them, or, if that’s not possible, as soon as you go live. Using a professional agency may be the best route to take.

An SCM System is Helpful

It’s a good idea to have a Source Code Management System (SCM) installed on website.

An SCM tracks modifications back to a source code repository. It tracks a history of changes that have been made and can restore your system to its original state to eliminate issues that have occurred.

It also gives developers an opportunity to examine code immediately before and after a bug is identified.

The Right Workflow is Essential for Risk Management and SEO

Most developers work on a system where they build something on their local machine, confirm changes on the repository and push it through to development and testing. Once the milestone is reached, they send it on to their QA center and the client for approval. When it’s approved, it is sent to production or the live server environment.

Unfortunately, not every developer follows this system. There are instances when coders will hack into systems to perform changes in real time hoping no one is active on the page in question when the changes are being made.

The biggest issue with these ‘cowboy coder’ scenarios may be the lack of testing.  A classic line in developer humor is, “Well it worked on my computer.”

That’s why it’s so important for the production company to test code before it goes live. They will ensure that it functions on a variety of devices and platforms.

It’s also essential to include SCRUM in web development workflows. This is a type of agile methodology that has been adopted by developers everywhere. It serves as a guideline for the development and lacks detailed descriptions of how everything needs to be done leaving most of that to the team.

SCRUM works on the assumption that the team will know the best ways to solve problems and create a functional site. But for that to happen, the team must be knowledgeable and capable of self-organization.

Reduce Risk with Multiple Environments

It’s advisable to work out three or four environments when working on a web application project. These typically include:

  • Local
  • Development
  • Staging
  • Production

Additionally, each developer should have his or her own local environment.

The local environment is used for coming up with the idea for the site.

Development refers to the environment on the developer’s computer. It is where code updates are performed. It will include all the comments and branches made by the developer and their co-workers that can be used as feedback to make improvements. It will also be the environment in which preliminary testing occurs.

During the staging phase, the developer will have all the code on the server. It will include the testing of database migrations and configuration changes. It will identify issues that may come up during version updates and help eliminate them. The developer may also give the client a sample of how things will work so they can provide feedback.

Production is the environment where users can access the final code after testing and updates are complete. Any errors that are left will be found by the user so it’s best if they are minimal if they exist at all.

In some instances, the developer may roll out the product slowly in the production environment making it accessible to just a few users at a time. That way, if there are any issues, they won’t be found by wide audiences.

Reduce Risk with Collaboration

When it comes to identifying risks, the more people that are in on the process, the better. The development server is usually inhouse so all developers can test each other’s products on local machines. They can try out applications as they are being built to catch issues early on.

Project managers, a quality assurance team and peers, managers and engineers can also get in on the act to ensure everything’s working the way it should be.

Reduce Risk with Automated Testing

Typically, when a new code is integrated, a new version of the application is copied to the development server so automated unit tests can be run internally on the server side of the code while functional tests are run on browser codes.

Modern technologies allow developers to write code that tests the code they have just written. This provides an automated feedback loop that shows developers errors and how they came about so they can determine the best repair methods.

Getting the URL Right

It’s advisable to get a URL that’s clear, concise and easy to remember. Other pages on the site should contain keywords and information specific to the content.

But it’s important not to make these URLs too long. If they are very long, the search engine will truncate their display.

You may want to update lengthy URLs. In doing so, be careful not to make changes that can impact your rankings. With the right strategies, you will come up with a structure that attracts users and improves your visibility.

What Businesses Can Do

Businesses can work with content teams, marketing and management to avoid risky strategies that include the following.

Using High Competition Keywords

The right keywords can get your site to the top of search engine pages. But you want to be careful to avoid using keywords that are too common.

For example, if you a plumber working out of New York City, you might think ‘plumbers New York’ is a great keyword to use. The problem is, it’s likely that there are already million of pages indexed for this keyword and it will be hard to usurp them on search engine pages.

Targeting low competition keywords will get you in a better position for high ranking.

Hiring the Wrong Marketing Staff

There are many people who claim they know a lot about SEO. But when you hire them to do work for your company, they may not know as much as they say they do. They may be faking it until they make it, or they may not be on top of the latest practices.

Managers and owners can make sure they hire a competent staff by doing some SEO research themselves. Then they will know what questions to ask during the interview process. They will be able to determine if the candidate knows their stuff.

Spending Too Much Money

Many businesses spend a lot of money on marketing campaigns. This is fine if they are seeing a return on their investments, but if they are not, they may as well be washing the money down the drain.

A smart move is to invest in new campaigns a little at a time. This way you can determine what the ROI will be without spending a lot of money. Once you feel confident that the strategy will work, you can begin pouring more funds into it.

Increased Visitors, Poor Conversions

Some businesses know what it takes to get visitors to their website, but they don’t know what is required to make them convert. Once a visitor gets to your website, you should provide tools to collect contact information so you can work them down the sales funnel.

But a contact form that’s buried on the bottom of the page will be difficult to find. Visitors that don’t scroll won’t see it and they will bounce without entering their contact info. This will leave the business unable to follow up and get the conversions they need.

A visible contact form is one of the essential elements when it comes reducing risk and boosting conversions.

We all known how important the right SEO strategies can be. But they must be implemented with the smart risk management methods to be successful. What do you do to ensure risks don’t get in the way of your company growth?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.