A boy is smoking a cigarette casually.
The girl next to him gets irritated with the smoke and says to him: “Can’t you see the warning written on the cigarettes packet, smoking is harmful to your health!”
The boy replies back: “Darling, I am a programmer. We don’t worry about warnings, we only worry about errors.”
“How To Speak Geek: Working Collaboratively With Your IT Department To Get Stuff Done.”
I’m sooooo excited to attend this one. Let’s face it, I have hit that brick wall a dozen or so times before. For business owners, I can see where this may be an initial problem. For marketers, its a never ending battle. How do you give a client what they want, what they need, and what they PAY for, if they don’t do what you ask
My next session had the insider intelligence on just how to bridge this gap…well, as best we can!
Matthew Bailey of SiteLogic is first up…
“You need to do this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this on sites!”
“Oh, and not after you finish your game of WOW.”
The above mentioned is a standard communication technique used between marketers and IT departments.
A demanding list is never going to get you what you want. Business owners and marketers alike must understand why “this and this and this” has to be done so that you can communicate with your IT effectively.
Programmers smell blood. If you don’t know what you mean, they can smell it and know just what to say to get you to leave them be. LOL.
Standard Technical Jargon You Must Know & Understand When Working With Search Marketing:
- Look at robots.txt file
This is the #1 problem that we as search marketers get when a search engine cant find your site even after all that SEO!
What is it? A welcome mat. You don’t need it but if you have it, its nice. It lets search engine bots know that we know they exist. It says, “We cleaned up for your visit. Don’t worry about those closets.” It lets them in and lets them know this is an area we prefer you not index. It’s a simple text file.
***Note: This is jut a suggestion. Not all bots will follow it. A “Disallow” tells engines what not to index. If you just put the 1 folder to your site in there,you will sink you site for a long time until you tell someone to find and fix. I mean pay heavily for someone to find and fix. LOL. Ok, not so LOL.
A redirect is a detour to a new page.|
There are 2 types – Permanent (301 redirect) and Temporary.
If you redesign your site or move content from one place to another for a number of reasons, all your “link juice” or “points” for quality links is going to that page, will then you tell search engines that it doesn’t exist anymore and all that “link juice” or “points” you worked so hard to get go to a page that doesn’t exist.
Additionally, those who click on links will be taken to a page that no longer functions for you as you wish. The solution? Tools like Web Bug Program 0r Internet Officer Redirect Checker allow you to type in your URL and then it lets you know if there is a redirect going on. Redirects within the site are fine. But, on the root level, if you type in your dn and it grows, you are doing a 302 redirect. That must be fixed to get the link benefit!
- Inconsistent linking.
If you click on logo, you go to index. If you click on other Home link, you go to longer url. Which one will google select as the homepage?. We just duplicated the site in doing that and it leads us to duplicate content issues.
When you live in a home, you have a mailbox. Dup content essentially duplicates the mail box. Some people would have 10 mailboxes in front of house. If someone came to drop off mail, they may not drop it off or you have to decide which one has the mail.
- Crappy URLS
Ask yourself which url you would rather type in…
Allow people to keep track of where they are at in your website with yoru URLs. Perhaps a URL rewrite software is necessary.
***Quick Tip: Put a favicon in your site. It puts your branding on a user’s browser when someone bookmarks you. Branding, branding, branding! Diluted Content
- It Too Much!
Putting too much content on one page can hurt you too. If you have enough content to go on a new page and make sense on its own, break it up!
Some will tell you 500 words max, others will tell you between 30-90 kb. I say less than 60kb and you’re good but its really about the user experience. Its really about empathy here folks. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Unclear Instructions
How much is it?
Do I have to get the whole thing?
How much is shipping?
Supply marketing info to make a decision. A user will not finish their conversion process if they have too many questions along the way that they cant get to without going further down your funnel.
BE CLEAR WITH WHAT YOU DO! What is a RSS button? Most users surveyed think its a volume button. People DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do not expect people to know what to do with it. Tell them!
- Custom 404!
Work with the IT to allow a greater user experience.
For more helpful articles from search marketing guru, Matt Bailey, visit his Marketing Logic Blog
Next to offer thoughts was Chris Silversmith with Net Concepts SEO Ecommerce Specialists .
Woohoo! Chris started off with Resources:
- Web Developer Toolbar (Works with FireFox only…so all your IE peeps, go switch…now). This tool allows you to see your site how a search engine does! You can quickly turn off your java, css, images, etc. They are mainly looking at text content and links. Ensure they can go through your links and see that each page has useful kws.
- User Agent Switcher is particularly useful if you are coming into a site and you aren’t sure what unusual tactics you are taking. You want to be delivering same content to the search engines as you are the users.
People are using java or meta refresh for redirect and its lazy! Its not a natural search tactic.
- Web-Sniffer.net – You can type in URL and have it spit raw html. If you do for CocaCola.com. Its returning a 200 even though your browser redirects.
What You MUST Do to keep yourself up to date with your marketing efforts to ensure you work effectively with the IT department….
- Ongoing Analytics – Check your stats to see your rankings drop. Start diagnosis!!!!!!!
- Track conversions from SEO traffic.
- Track Bot Requests Over Time
- Watch For Recurring Issues from CMS Hell! – Check & recheck titles, metas, H1 tags, etc. Never assume, once fixed, always fixed. A programming department will make 1 change and undo all from before! Ahem.
- We’ve all heard it before…The best way to get rid of an enemy is to make friends. Ice cream sandwiches anyone?
- Treat your IT departments professionally, like partners. Give them credit! Understand that improvements can be made iteratively. All progress is worthwhile. Biggest bang for buck first. And be sure to follow standard IT processes.
- Programmers Day is Sept 12th! Show them how much you care!
- Have your company recognize SEO. Make a business case around it. Point out dollars around it. Look in news for stories, point out competitor successes. Remember though, it’s equally important for user experience, usability, legal requirements, branding, etc.
- Take every opportunity to educate others about SEO. The more they understand, the more they will implement and the more they will WANT to do more!
- If all else fails, circumvent the suckers!
Ways To Go Around:
1. Go to another IT department.
2. Build Parallel – Legacy Sytem/Hellish CMS?
3. Screen scrape????? On subdomian please!
4. Use a Proxy Solution – Proxy Optimization by GravityStream.com comes highly recommended
For more helpful articles from Chris, visit his Natural Search Optimization SEO Blog
Search marketing consultant, Greg Boser & web marketing expert, Sage Lewis were guest speakers today. Jeffrey Rohrs caught them in the hall since someone couldn’t make it. I must say I was thrilled. I would say I got 2 of my 5 most favorite marketing gurus in 1 sitting. Score!
They both talked about relationship between IT & Marketing and what it takes for success.
When we take on new client, we require IT people and CEO or whoever is a step above to be at our disposal. Again, they remind us that the biggest problem is that marketers go and demand things and can explain why its important. Empathize with the IT people!
If I’m a marketer and I’m not technical, what minimal training should I take? Where do I begin?
- First, read up. Try books like “Websites That Suck” or “Search Engine Optimization For Dummies.”
- Next, enroll in a class or two. Unfortunately this is not something you will typically find at a local community college. Sometimes, a local SEO will have a seminar for business owners available. Consult with your local networking groups for more info. If not, there are several year round training agencies available to train in house, online or more. Try Bruce Clay or SEMPO.
- The most valuable thing you can do is have another IT guy you can ask questions to. Thats right, go out and find a Myspace programmer friend right now!
Sage & Greg reminded us that Microsoft platform is a whole other problem! They continues to joke about how we’ll be okay “As long as it isn’t Microsoft!!!”
For the love of…looks like I’m gonna need to touch on this again after the session. They aren’t even bothering to help with Windows. What am I going to do with all my Windows platform sites. I already started fighting that battle last month. Nooooo fun. I want more info guys!!!!!! Raising my hand now.
WordPress has an All in 1 SEO plug in. Use it. Period.
So there wasn’t enough time left to answer my question. I’m gonna go try n catch Sage or Greg.
Just caught Greg Boser. I mentioned that I’m new to the Windows platform and am already running into a million probs. Asked him if he had any helpful articles or tools for reference while fighting this uphill battle. He mentions ISAPI. I take it for what its worth (since I have no idea what ISAPI will bring me) and run home with it. A quick wiki search tells me that the “Internet Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI) is an N-tier API of Internet Information Services Microsoft’s collection of Windows-based web server services. The most prominent application of IIS and ISAPI is Microsoft’s web server.”
Oh really, that’s it? Ok. Looks like I may have to go find a forum or email Greg. He was nice enough to tell me I can email him for more info or questions. May have to take you up on that once I get this IT department on board. LOL! Thanks Greg! If he can solve the problems of the Yahoo AA mess, he can help me with my baby Windows BUG. LOL!