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Web Developer Can't Turn Off Automatic Tag Writing


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12 replies to this topic

#1 CathyS

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:14 PM

I'm writing web content for a new client. The new client asked me when we started if he should get a new web developer. I told him that since his budget was limited we could try and work with the site and developer he had.

I saved the developer's account!

Of course, when the developer found out about me, he tried to talk the client out of using my services. And he has been cold to work with. Still, we were getting through the task. He loaded the copy and made changes I requested ... except loading the title and description tags.

I kept emailing and emailing. Finally, I called and said, "When will the tags be loaded?"

He condescendingly said, "You're good at content, but you don't know anything about what goes on behind the scene." Then he proceeded to explain to me that the tags were automatically generated for the site, and he's in the process of trying to figure out a way so that we can manually change the tags. He might have to ... gasp ... hire a programmer at $150 an hour and who knows how long that might take?

This guy has hundreds of clients in our area!

I was livid. I've had one other client who had automatic tag writing, but he was able to turn it off.

How common is this?

(I did talk to my client and I told him that he might have to move his site elsewhere ... it's a small e-commerce site ... does that take a long time?)

Edited by CathyS, 28 April 2010 - 11:19 PM.


#2 qwerty

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:47 AM

It all depends on the content management system. If it won't let you change a page's title, it's a lousy CMS.

Moving a site doesn't take long at all, if you're just talking about changing hosting. But since you're not just talking about the hosting, it takes as long as it takes to build the new site and then change hosting, if the hosting needs to be changed.

#3 Catz

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:30 AM

Sounds like the "developer" is on the defensive because he doesn't want someone who knows he doesn't really know what he is doing (unless a program does it for him) nosing into his business. Was he a graphic designer who became a web designer by default?

I wonder if the "developer" even understands the basic HTML code behind the web pages he works with. Doesn't sound like it. Plenty don't!

Not surprising he has lots of clients, the worst developers tend to wreak havoc on many, many sites through time. You know he talks a good game to business owners who don't have a clue, tech-speaking his way around them until their heads spin.

QUOTE
He condescendingly said, "You're good at content, but you don't know anything about what goes on behind the scene."

Sounds like he is he one who doesn't know anything about what goes on behind the scene if he has to bring in a programmer to get his job done. Perhaps he needs to get off his high horse horse.gif and come back to reality.

Obviously he (in all his infinite wisdom) chose that lousy CMS, or it can do what you need, he just doesn't know how to make it OR doesn't want to take the time.

Those title tags are too important to lose control of.

#4 Scottie

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 12:05 PM

Cathy, do you know what CMS it is? We might be able to point him in the right direction. (And I'm sure he'd appreciate the help! wink1.gif )

#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:59 PM

If the developer has hundreds of clients in your area alone and if he has never heard of you before he may think he is the bigger fish. It will take patience and some good schmoozing to educate him on the realities of Web search.

But make sure you and he are not approaching usability from different angles. If you are, maybe there is an area for compromise to help you smooth your relationship with him.

Tags aren't everything in this business (in fact, nothing is everything in this business).

Good SEOs often have to work around the unintentional obstructions created by other service providers. Try not to feel too anxious about the situation.

I've often had to compensate for roadblocks. I do my best not to make enemies.

#6 qwerty

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 04:06 PM

QUOTE
Tags aren't everything in this business (in fact, nothing is everything in this business).

I agree, but I'd have to say that no matter what else you manage to do to improve a given page, if its title tag is inaccurate or not sufficiently targeted, the page is not search engine friendly, and by that I mean that both its rankings and clickthrough rate are likely to be significantly worse than they could be.

For example, let's say we need to optimize a page for [16 ounce ceramic coffee mugs]. If I can't control the page's title tag, then even if I manage to get it to show up in the SERP, what can I hope for if my competitors' listings look like
  • 16 Ounce Ceramic Mugs - Stuff for Cooks
  • Ceramic Coffee Mugs - Cuppa International
  • Large Coffee Mugs - Ceramic and Metal
  • My Big Coffee Mug - Life in the Office
And mine is "Kitchen Supplies by Acme"?

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 06:53 PM

No argument there, but when your hands are tied your hands are tied. It's not productive to fall into the trap of being angry and furious over something you cannot change. [NOTE: CathyS -- none of this is directed at you. I am speaking in very broad, general terms.]

We need to focus on gaining the successes we can gain. Too many SEOs struggle to accept the fact that clients just won't always do what is best for their search referral performance.

It's really not our place to be high handed in response to such situations. We need to be effective, not argumentative. A little venting in the forums is okay, but I sometimes get the sense that people just sit on their hands because they cannot change some small detail. This used to be a more common situation a few years ago but obviously it still comes up.

#8 Catz

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 04:18 AM

QUOTE
Too many SEOs struggle to accept the fact that clients just won't always do what is best for their search referral performance.

No doubt about that. Ultimately you can make suggestions but it is the clients choice whether they implement them or not. You can strongly suggest something and let them know the potential positive and/or negative affect of various actions (or lack of action) but ultimately, it is their decision whether they follow through or not.

Unfortunately many times it is because they listen to the advice of their developers over the specialist they have brought in to help them succeed.

They say they can't do something simply because they are either inexperienced or undereducated as to the real value of SEO (yet they would never admit that), some feel threatened by someone who might know something more than they do about how to make the website they created more productive (you've got to watch those fragile, many times overinflated developer egos) or are simply lazy developers who believe if an automated system can't do the work for them, it can't be done. The list of excuses goes on and on.

Whatever you want is low on their list of priorities (in their eyes).

Sometimes the toughest part of the process is getting the developers (who do not get SEO) on-board with changes, especially if they are in-house and it means more work for them, but not more pay.

#9 Mooro

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 08:30 AM

Can I just stand up for developers here and say we've not all totally lousy.

wink1.gif

That dev needs the boot, preferably hard in the face for giving those good developers who do understand SEO a bad name.

#10 Catz

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 06:42 PM

I agree, there are some wonderful designers out there. Those who understand both web design and SEO have the best advantage, and those who are open to learning are great to work with.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of designers who basically are in it for the money, who simply do not take the potential success or failure of a website into consideration. It's the nature of the business, lots of designers build a site and then never think about it again. They aren't concerned with how well the site produced for the owners. That's where we come in.

There are graphic designers who were thrown into web design, who don't focus on anything more than the look of a website. Then there are those who know it all (most of us have dealt with them), who feel threatened when someone else is brought in.

It's great to see you here, that is already a good sign. Rather than becoming a self proclaimed expert on SEO from reading an article or two, you are in here really learning, which should work to your advantage, as well as the advantage of your clients in the long run.

Don't worry, we know you are out there and are happy to work with you when we get the chance. grouphug.gif

#11 maleman

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 07:21 PM

QUOTE
hire a programmer at $150 an hour and who knows how long that might take?

What needs to be programmed and which programming language(s) are you using? whitehat.gif

#12 Scottie

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 10:10 AM

To answer your original question, I think most CMS software these days creates a title tag automatically. Out of the box, most use whatever the title is that is put into the content to create the title tag. Some use the first sentence or two as the description.

Most of them do have a way to override this for more control, though. But depending on the age of the software and whether or not it's open source or proprietary, it could be more difficult to override. The older and more proprietary it is, the harder it will be to change it (although almost anything that is programmed for the web is hackable.)



#13 Catz

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 06:19 PM

QUOTE
The new client asked me when we started if he should get a new web developer.

Sounds like the client might have already had an issue with the developer that he wasn't sharing with you. dntknw.gif

Hopefully the developer can find out what is going on and get it working for you, one way or another...depending on how intent the client is on this since it sounds like it could involve switching over to a new CMS if he can't figure it out, and you mentioned a limited budget.




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