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How to Get Your Web Developer on Board with SEO [Bonus PDF] – Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by BritneyMuller

You’ve figured out what’s wrong, and you’ve delivered a laundry list of demands to your web dev team: re-index these pages, fix this duplicate content, redirect these URLs… but how often are those fixes prioritized, and how much time do you invest in pushing to get them there?

Cultivating a positive, productive relationship with your web developers is one of the smartest (and most empathetic) things you can do as an SEO. After all, they’re your other half, the key to getting your work done quickly and well. In this Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares six essential ways to get your web dev on board with SEO, from working to better understand their role and offer help when you can, to sharing your wins and asking for feedback on working together.

And don’t miss the end — we’ve released our brand-new Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet for 2020, the perfect pairing for today’s video! 

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re talking all about how to get your web dev on board with SEO. So really excited. I think you’ll notice my biggest point here, and I couldn’t feel more strongly about the fact that we really do have so much to learn from developers, it’s wild.

Hopefully, this video helps kind of open some of your minds or expand some of the ways in which you can do that, because it will make you a lot stronger. 

1. Create a genuine relationship with developers and work to better understand their role

First and foremost, create a genuine relationship with the developers you work with. Better understand their role and how they’re measuring their own success. Know what languages they program in. Better understanding their perspective and their opinion on things helps you create a better working relationship. Part of that is cultivating trust. 

One of the ways in which I’ve found some success cultivating that trust is just admitting when I have no idea how to implement a particular SEO fix. Or even when I think that I do, I prefer to ask, “What is the best way you see this being implemented? How would you most efficiently implement this change or optimization?” More frequently than not, they will have a way better way to make these website changes because they have that backend knowledge of the website.

Being humble, expressing that you don’t know everything, you’re not trying to step in and tell them how to program pages or how to fix that, it should be way more of a communication and a transaction of just information from both sides. 

2. Learning from developers helps you become a stronger SEO

I promise you. It is one of my most favorite things working here at Moz. I have learned so much from the developers here. But likewise, some of the developers have learned things from myself and other fellow SEOs that work here. This is a symbiotic working relationship, where developers want to program sites and pages that do well in search.

I think it’s part of your job to express and communicate the potential value of a well-crafted web page. Show them how much more powerful their code and their work can be if set up properly or set up with thinking about JavaScript and Google crawling different aspects of it.

That’s what makes it a really efficient working relationship. Be open to just learning new things from your developers. 

3. Be a champion of the developers you work with

Understand what it is they’re trying to accomplish. If there’s any way you can help support that or consider that in your work and the things you’re making progress on, it’s a win-win.

4. Create a workflow/process to keep an eye on dev changes and catch things early

This is a common problem. Something that a lot of people ask about is creating this workflow or process in which you can keep an eye on dev changes. For really large websites, this can get unwieldy. It can be difficult to keep an eye on changes that might affect SEO.

But if you can have that conversation with a developer or a team of developers that you work with on: What’s the best way to manage this? Can you add me to GitHub so I can look at things that are getting pushed? Whatever that might be, it can really help create the space where you’re doing preventative SEO. You’re making sure that nothing goes terribly wrong in the future and makes it more manageable in the long run. 

5. Share your SEO wins with your developers — and thank them!

Share your SEO wins with the developers, especially when they’ve helped you and maybe have provided better solutions. You should absolutely thank them, and what a great opportunity to sort of share in those wins and continue to grow that working relationship.

6. Ask for feedback

Lastly, ask for feedback. If you feel like you’re struggling to communicate with a group of developers or a single developer, just be honest and use some radical candor and ask, “How can I better work with you? How can I better support you?” Opening that up for some feedback can also help to strengthen the relationship. 

Bonus: The brand-new Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet

Then the one last thing that I hope you can really leverage as a tool to grow in your SEO efforts and to help you get more things done with the development team is The Web Developer’s Cheat Sheet for SEO.

This is a great resource to open up this conversation with developers, to sit down and have a conversation about why some of these things are important to you as an SEO and what comes to mind when they look at it. They have a totally different perspective on a lot of the things within this sheet.

Download the free Cheat Sheet

It’s a great opportunity for you to sit down and have those conversations and be able to excel in your SEO efforts. I hope some of this helps. I think it’s one of the most important things in getting SEO work done and seeing that success.

Please let me know what you think down below in the comments. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, and what other questions you have. I will see you all again soon. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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What is a Web Crawler? (In 50 Words or Less)

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I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a “technical” person.

In fact, the technical aspects of marketing are usually the hardest ones for me to conquer.

For example, when it comes to technical SEO, it can be difficult to understand how the process works.

But it’s important to gain as much knowledge as we can to do our jobs more effectively.

To that end, let’s learn what web crawlers are and how they work.

You might be wondering, “Who runs these web crawlers?”

Well, usually web crawlers are operated by search engines with their own algorithms. The algorithm will tell the web crawler how to find relevant information in response to a search query.

A web crawler will search and categorize all web pages on the Internet that it can find and is told to index.

This means that you can tell a web crawler not to crawl your web page if you don’t want it to be found on search engines.

To do this, you’d upload a robots.txt file. Essentially, a robots.txt file will tell a search engine how to crawl and index the pages on your site.

So, how does a web crawler do its job? Below, let’s review how web crawlers work.

This means that a search engine’s web crawler most likely won’t crawl the entire Internet. Rather, it will decide the importance of each web page based on factors including how many other pages link to that page, page views, and even brand authority.

So a web crawler will determine which pages to crawl, what order to crawl them in, and how often they should crawl for updates.

For example, if you have a new web page, or changes were made on an existing page, then the web crawler will take note and update the index.

Interestingly, if you have a new web page, you can ask search engines to crawl your site.

When the web crawler is on your page, it looks at the copy and meta tags, stores that information, and indexes it for Google to sort through for keywords.

Before this entire process is started on your site, specifically, the web crawler will look to your robots.txt file to see which pages to crawl, which is why it’s so important for technical SEO.

Ultimately, when a web crawler crawls your page, it decides whether your page will show up in the search results page for a query. This means that if you want to increase your organic traffic, it’s important to understand this process.

It’s interesting to note that all web crawlers might behave differently. For example, perhaps they’ll use different factors when deciding which web pages are most important to crawl.

If the technical aspect of this is confusing, I understand. That’s why HubSpot has a Website Optimization Course that puts technical topics into simple language and instructs you on how to implement your own solutions or discuss with your web expert.

Simply put, web crawlers are responsible for searching and indexing content online for search engines. They work by sorting and filtering through web pages so search engines understand what every web page is about.





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TechTarget Unveils Prospect-Level Intent Data, Enabling True Personalization For Sales

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Account-based marketing as a practice has empowered marketing teams to achieve a new level of personalized engagement with their ideal customers with a more focused approach to targeting buyers. Now, as the industry accelerates to digital transformation, it is more important than ever to conduct more relevant, personalized outreach to drive sales and develop real relationships with the accounts that matter most to a business.

Intent data has played a critical role in ABM strategies, identifying accounts that are in market and providing insights into their behaviors that organizations can’t get from a form fill, especially with face-to-face engagements being off the table for the time being. But, historically, intent signals would provide intelligence at the account level versus the individual level. This has allowed B2B organizations to personalize their campaigns to a certain extent, targeting specific groups of buyers and accounts instead of the key influencer within those accounts.

TechTarget, a B2B technology purchase intent data and services provider, is looking to change that with the release of Prospect-Level IntentTM, which is designed to provide an understanding of individual prospects based on their research, engagement and buying team associations. Having these granular insights will empower teams to engage with opted-in individuals to quickly and effectively key in on in-market buyers.

Now available in TechTarget’s Priority Engine platform, Prospect-Level Intent aims to provide additional insights on influencing buyers after an organization has prioritized accounts. Once a list of accounts is identified, the challenge becomes personalizing engagement with the key individuals within those accounts that are ready to purchase.

“The change in Priority Engine is that previously — because our clients were marketers and marketers tend to do things in larger buckets — they only needed to do their segmentations one-to-many,” said Andrew Briney, Senior Vice President of Products at TechTarget, in a conversation with Demand Gen Report. “But in ABM, since we’re talking about a reduced list of accounts and our goal is doing better marketing and sales to get more revenue, the individual becomes critically important. So, we realized we had to make this individual available in a more granular way and we changed the way you could analyze it to now deliver that.”

Specifically, the Priority Engine updates include:

  • A fresh interface designed to provide quick access to buying team contacts within the context of their buyer journey, making it easier for sellers and marketers to act on prospect-level intent;
  • Deeper prospect insights that include visibility into active prospect behavior within a market category, who downloaded a company’s content and whether the prospect is net-new to CRM;
  • A customized view of active prospects from accounts that match a company’s ICP, as well as scoring and ranking of prospects from specific accounts to provide a complete view of engagement; and
  • User-defined prospect entry points that are designed to empower users to better personalize emails, nurture programs and sales scripts with specific details about someone’s research and interests matched to user strengths. The entry points can be customized based on a user’s go-to-market strategy and historical sales wins.

Fostering Sales & Marketing Alignment With Individualized Intent Insights

ABM fosters greater alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales. However, the term “account-based marketing” doesn’t necessarily depict the importance of sales’ involvement in the process.

“ABM began, as so many things do, as a thought process, perspective and an innovation pursued by marketing,” said John Steinert, Chief Marketing Officer of TechTarget. “You can see that because it’s embedded in the term ‘account-based marketing’. Of course, we all know that sales have gone to market by account historically. So, ‘Account-based’ was nothing new. And we see a lot of our clients don’t even use the term ABM; they use ‘target account’ more commonly. And one of the reasons they do that is that they don’t want sales to be confused by the term ‘marketing.’”

Steinert agreed that sales and marketing alignment and collaboration is critical, and the measure of success is revenue performance of a specific list of accounts. Ironically, ABM is about improving revenue performance at a specific list of accounts and that’s what sales have always been interested in. But it’s up to marketing to equip sales teams with relevant messaging for specific buyers and enable them to take the next best action.

“You have to make it easy for [sales] to be able to very quickly assess what they need to do in order to take the next best action within their territory with the accounts and prospects that they’re going after – it’s all about enablement,” said Steinert. “Having that connection with marketing allows sales to easily do this and take the easiest, fastest path to revenue with key target or ABM accounts easily leveraging precise data and intelligence.”

Prospect-Level Intent aims to provide that necessary level of data and intelligence to accurately enable sales teams to create and then seal the deal, empowering them with key insights into the buyer’s challenges, pain points, research level and more. These insights allow B2B organizations to deliver truly personalized campaigns and outreach for their target accounts and buyers at the level of each individual within the buying team.

TechTarget clients who tested the new Priority Engine in beta have already reported an increase in sales and marketing productivity and yields: 

  • “Priority Engine helps our sales team be more efficient with their time,” said Paul Penn, Regional Sales Director at ServiceNow, in a statement. “My sales reps use the account and prospect-level insights on a daily basis. Priority Engine shows them where to fish and what prospects are biting on, so they know who to contact and exactly what to say to generate a response.”
  • “Continuously improving the efficiency and productivity of our marketing and sales efforts is a top priority at SolarWinds,” said Morag Keirns, Director of Customer Marketing at SolarWinds, in a statement. “With Priority Engine Prospect Insights, we’re able to align our solutions to what each prospect is researching. As a result, we achieve better response rates with less effort.”

TechTarget also announced an upgraded Salesforce integration that aims to help find and engage with ideal prospects directly within existing workflows. With the “Connected App” tool, users are able to give prospect-level intent directly through Salesforce. Capabilities include the ability to:

  • Add high-priority prospects to Salesforce, filling sales cadences and call lists with the prospects that matter most;
  • View Priority Engine’s prospect- and account-level insights directly in Salesforce without having to leave the app; and
  • Augment existing Salesforce records with behavioral intelligence to build intent-driven, prioritized contact and lead lists.

“We strongly believe that at the end of the ABM process, it is all about having stronger relationships with the customer,” said Steinert. “And delivering improved customer experience is achieved in two ways: By caring to do so and then having the insights necessary to cut away the noise and speak directly to customer’s needs. Prospect-Level Intent is the best way to do this. In study after study that we’ve done, we find that when the properly trained salesperson or whoever’s doing the outreach uses the insights successfully, they will get better response and conversions that ultimately leads to more pipeline.”



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How PosterMyWall used COVID-19 to really listen to its customers [Interview]

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PosterMyWall is a powerful tool for many small businesses, restaurants, schools, and faith-based communities to promote their upcoming events with posters, flyers, and other types of graphics.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and in-person gatherings were upended, those same customers needed PosterMyWall to adapt to help them overcome their new challenges.

Truth be told, pivots are hard. It can be difficult to recognize that a business needs a radical course correction, and it can be hard to pull one off once a business decides to go for it.

We talked to Ric Goell, co-founder and co-CEO, who describes a successful pivot during these uncertain times. He listened to his customers, strategized a pivot, and helped support these beleaguered industries through uncertain times. 

Now, as people start to resume their in-person activities in some parts of the country, Ric reflects on the lessons learned from the greatest challenge his business has ever faced. 

What is PosterMyWall?

John: First off, tell me about PosterMyWall and your role at the company

Ric: PosterMyWall is a do-it-yourself design tool that empowers organizations and small businesses to create professionally-quality graphics, videos, and promotional materials. These materials then are used for print, email, social media, websites, presentations, and more.

We have a huge library of pre-design templates, nearly 200,000, that can be very quickly and easily customized for any brand. Our goal is to make it very, very easy for someone to create and publish all the promotional materials that their business needs. 

My partner Jaffer Haider and I co-founded PosterMyWall about 11 years ago. 

John: Did you have a background in graphic design?

Ric: My background was in software and websites, and we actually started out with more of a consumer direction. We built our site as an editor where people could create posters and photo montages of their friends and family. 

When we launched it, we found that a number of bars and bands were showing up and creating gig flyers and other promotional materials for their events. And that was even before we created the templates for them. So we decided to do a pivot and re-focused on creating templates for small businesses. 

John: It seems like there’s an interesting lesson there: You design the tool, but then you have to wait to see how people use the tool to see what it will become. 

Ric: Absolutely. Watching to see how people use our tools continually helps us identify new markets and opportunities.

COVID-19 presents challenges and opportunities — if you listen to your customers

John: Tell me about the challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 presented your business.

Ric: Well, COVID-19 was a big deal to our company. Print posters became less viable as a marketing medium because there was no longer foot traffic that would see those posters. We had already been moving towards social media, but we had to double down on that effort and get there faster.

What our customers were finding was that their customers were staying at home, and the only way to reach them was online. So, we worked very hard to put new tools for social media in place very quickly.

In order to succeed we had to act quickly and decisively. Everything from the strategy to the product had to be designed to meet the changing needs of our customers.

John: Take me inside that pivot. How did you decide to shift your business?  

Ric: We always ask: How do we solve our customer’s problems?

We’ve made it a habit to have customer feedback forums where we get about ten customers within one particular vertical, get them online, and talk about what’s going on in their industry, talk about the challenges they’re facing.

Through these forums, we were able to identify what the obstacles our customers were facing were— and with COVID, these obstacles were unprecedented.

We found a couple of customers who were finding success even during COVID, so we worked with them to create webinars and other training programs where they shared their experiences and lessons with others.

This education was free and accessible to all of our customers — and in the process of doing this, we learned a lot more about what was working and what our customers needed — which benefited us. 

We produced one webinar specifically focused on re-opening restaurants, and one for the faith-based community that talked about how to stay connected with their communities through social media and online activities.

During each of these webinars, we helped people envision what the new normal might look like — and how they could adapt to thrive in that environment. 

We learned that people really wanted answers. They really wanted help. And they appreciated us providing it.

We also partnered with a couple of our customers to experiment with online marketing and advertising techniques to see what worked for them.

For instance, we worked with The Marlay House in Decatur, Georgia to run promotional campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Untappd, and NextDoor to get a feel for which approach and platform was best for accomplishing their goals.

Now we’re using that data to improve our product and build new tools that are up to speed with the changes to the digital world.

John: But you had these customer feedback meetings long before COVID?

Ric: Yes. We’ve always believed that customer feedback should be part of our company’s DNA.

We want to listen closely to our customers and learn from them. All businesses succeed or fail based on their ability to solve problems for their customers. You’ve got to hear what their day-to-day frustrations are in order to come up with new and better ideas to resolve their problems and improve their user experience.

Graphic design during the COVID crisis

John: How has the COVID pandemic created new graphic design needs for businesses? 

Ric: The pandemic certainly affected the way businesses got their messages out, but we also saw it dramatically change the messages that our customers needed to deliver. 

We ran a crash program in the first two weeks of COVID to inspire our artists’ community to create a whole new set of templates for things like office safety, delivery options, reopening messages, and curbside pickup. In a very short time, we were able to build a whole new library of templates for our customers.

John: Were businesses making mistakes in this scramble to get their messaging out there so quickly? 

Ric: The one mistake we saw people make was not taking action fast enough. Some customers were slow to take action because they believed that things would go back to normal quickly.

That was the worst because, first of all, COVID wasn’t going to go away quickly. And second, COVID has changed human behavior permanently. People have become much more comfortable and creative about living their lives, communicating, and connecting online. As a result, the world is never going to fully go back to the way it was.

We tried to encourage people to take action by helping them to see the opportunities in the situation. This is a very, very hard problem. But we believe that if you look hard enough, there’s always an opportunity, even in an extremely challenging situation like what we face today.

John: Describe some clients or companies that are finding opportunities amid these challenges? 

Ric: We worked with several fine dining restaurants who pivoted by creating and marketing meal kits targeted to families that were offered at a sensitive price point.

We also worked with a brewpub who pivoted to delivery. They then took some of the tools that they created to run their own delivery and put them online for other breweries to use. They essentially became both a brewer and an online delivery platform.

Pivoting services to meet the challenge of a “new normal”

John: How do your new services make sense for you and your customers?  

Ric: We have built out a set of new tools that make it easier for companies and organizations to move from print-based marketing to online marketing. 

We’ve added a lot of video and animation capabilities over the last few months, and we’re continuing to build that out extensively. This includes the ability to use stock or your own video for backgrounds and the ability to animate text and graphics.

We’ve also added a lot of tools to help customers distribute and publish the marketing materials they create on our site.

We have an email campaign tool that makes it fast and easy for people to create videos and email them to their customer base or publish them on social media. And we have a number of additional tools in development that will be geared towards other channels of distribution.

Predicting the post-COVID world

John: I agree that those waiting for normal to come back are thinking about things the wrong way. What do you think the post-COVID world will look like?

Ric: Customer behavior has changed in many ways that I believe are going to last. I believe a lot of customers who previously preferred to visit physical stores are going to be spending more time looking online for their answers.

Many of our customers, such as bars and restaurants, previously depended on word of mouth and their physical presence. Now, they’ve been forced to use social media to promote themselves and to drive word of mouth, and many have discovered they can really make it work well.

This online move was something that was happening anyway, but COVID pushed it to an extreme. A transition that likely would have taken years happened pretty much overnight. Customer behavior may swing back a little bit, but it’s going to land somewhere different from where it started.

I think services such as purchasing family meal kits from restaurants are going to stick and become key portions of our customers’ revenue streams. 

Getting started with PosterMyWall

John: How can people get started with your platform? What do they need to know? 

Ric: Our business follows a freemium model, so it is very easy for anyone to just show up at our website and give it a try. It doesn’t cost anything. They just need to go to PosterMyWall.com, start searching for templates that meet their needs, and then click to start customizing.

For customers who need high resolution downloads or want our premium features such as our advanced editing, publishing, and distribution tools, we offer both pay-as-you-go and a premium monthly subscription.





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