How to Speak Geek: Working Collaboratively With Your IT Department to Achieve Business Goals from SES Chicago '09

Dec 8, 2009 - 5:00 pm 0 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2009

Below is live coverage of the How to Speak Geek: Working Collaboratively With Your IT Department to Achieve Business Goals from the SES Chicago 2009 (official SES Chicago Site) conference.

This coverage is provided by Chris Boggs of Rosetta.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage, please excuse any typos. You can also interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed.

 How to Speak Geek: Working Collaboratively With Your IT Department to Achieve Business Goa(12/08/2009) 
Chris Boggs: 
Bill Hartzer from Vizion Interactive is up first
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:19 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
will talk about how they do seo audits and relay the infomration to IT departments
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:19 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
it comes down to the "wants, needs and goals" of the IT team and the same for the marketing team

what does IT want? site uptime, secure website, less traffic

more traffic on the site equals more headaches for IT from hackers, search engines spiders
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:21 Chris Boggs
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what dos IT need? They need specifics, and they like recognition as well

ITs goal is an easier job
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:21 Chris Boggs
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Marketign wants: more traffic and better rankings

marketing needs secure fast loading site, and site uptime 24/7

marketing goals are more sales or other conversions
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:22 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
how do we marry IT and marketing teams? focus less on the wants and more on the needs and goals

IT needs very specific directions/recommendations

IT needs recognition and thanks - send them a pizza
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:23 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
IT Specifics can be found via their seo audit of the site. they loook at site logs, review robots.txt, they use a tool calkled Optispider that they like
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:24 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
talks about the full seo audit that they perform, and many of the things you would expect them to check from an SEO technical perspective
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:25 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
they like to request a list of domains owned by the company, in order to be able to provide a more full review
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:26 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
log files are important - don't just use Google analytics. log files show data that other analytics don't show. he listed a free tool that he likes at
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:27 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
talks about the importance of reviewing 404 errors to understand missed traffic. redirects are also checked, to ensure proper destination and format
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:28 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
tell the IT team in simpe words that the robots.txt is for stopping indexing, and will help site security. he goes on to provide other specific best practices related to robots.txt
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:29 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
he then goes into dealing wiht recurring issues, and recommends settng up Google Alerts.

It helps to better understand what it is that IT actually does. try to gain an understanding of the programming languages used,

be satisfied with baby steps, and make sure to befriend your IT colleagues - again, lunch or pizza can be a good thing
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:34 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
one of the "sneaky" things that he does is to show CEOs and managers how to set up Google Alerts, and then they can see directly when he does something from an seo perspective that they got mentioned.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:35 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
next up is Bob Tripathi from Discover Financial Services
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:36 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
he works with IT daily and has the opportunity to work with a number of lines of business
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:37 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
he felt originally that he was very different from IT people. he came to learn that in fact there were many similarities

Just like the marketing team, the IT teams are trying to build a functional role inside the company; they need buy in from c-level; they measure and improve roi on every project; and they know how to ask for more resources

why cant there be a culture based on these comonalities, he felt.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:40 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
IT is more inward/enterpsie-facing. remeber that if something goes wrong with the site, they are always first in the line of fire
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:41 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
hwo do you break down barriers? Forrester suggests using the TEAM appraoch. Transparency; Embedded groups; Alignments, and Management buy-in.

trasnparency deals with keeping communication open. embedded means working together as a single team; alignment is a common cause that eBusiness and IT can focus on, and management buy-in is improitant across the organization
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:43 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
site hygiene is not second nature to the IT team. marketers have to help the IT team understand how site issues can be bad user experience and be more important than what they may think

he goes through an example of how URL rewriting can actually help make their jobs easier in the long run - look for good reasons to do stuff, and show them why you want to fix things

domain migration issues are common. he talks about 302 redirects being the usual first choice for redirects - you have to explain to them how to do it properly - moving the content to the new domain on a piece-by-piece basis, and then use 301 redirects
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:47 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
nothing moves if you do not have a business value attached to it

most companie shave their own top KPI/financial metric. make sure ot build this into your business case. use data to show the value, and empower the IT team to develop solutions

make sure you decode your "geeky seo language." dont say PageRank is diluted" instead say "page strength." dont use extremely "Googly" words like domain canonicalization or link juice. dont say site saturation, but number of pages in the search engines database
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:52 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
takeaways: educate IT team about SEO, attach business value, and the rest he covered.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:52 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
next speaker is Jonathan Mendez from Ramp
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:53 Chris Boggs
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he has a list of things to consider:

1. find a champion. this applies anywhere within a matrixed organization, but especially important for IT. they need to be able to jump hurdles in their internal team to get your work done. it helps if they personally like you, and has some level of senirority and leadership within IT team

Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:55 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
2. align your goals. IT always has a big queue of thigns stacked up. make sure that everyone understands thsat the goal of the business is to make money - marketers drive traffic and IT needs to make sure evrything works. IT has to be aligned with buisness goals of org
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:57 Chris Boggs
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3. make it easy to be succesful. give them the information they need as they need it in order to be succesful
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:57 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
4. include them in everything. if you are having a strategy meeting about landing pages, and they are going to make the updates, they should be there to understand why its happening. it cannot exist in a vacuum
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:58 Chris Boggs
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5. have one voice. a person that is going to talk to the champion. they dont want a number of people communicating
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:59 Chris Boggs
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6. be their bullshit filter. a lot of "crap" gets thrown their way - help filter/block this toi insulate the IT folks from getting angry.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 4:59 Chris Boggs
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7. make sure evryone knows how important they are. include everyone if possible in quarterly results meetings etc "IT team was really responsible for helping us get this done"
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:00 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
8. marketing manages the trade-offs. as mentioned by others, there is a long list of stuff to do. it behooves the business if marketing manages the trade-offs, since they are most tied to the success metrics.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:01 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
9. set roadmaps and deadlines. helpful for everyone but especially IT. understand their release schedules, and lay out a spreadhseet with marketing roadmap for the upcoming period.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:02 Chris Boggs
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10. share the glory. push for some of the IT people to get a bonus, for example. you can at least share the glory if not sharing the money
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:04 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
last up is Brian Cosgrove from TPG Direct and writer for i used to work with Brian at Razorfish and he is a very sharp guy.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:05 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
he first talks about Change Requests. usually, there is a ticketing system or other method to manage the queue of work

eventually there starts to be pushback. the IT guys isnt lazy p- jsut doesnt care as much about marketing goals

marketers then get angry about time it takes to get changes doen. the IT team has good reasons, often, since they did not know what was coming. a lot of the time the IT teams are not measured on marketing in performance reviews.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:07 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
Marketers love Google but ina different way than IT team uses it

he talks about the project requirements sometimes needed when you try to "retrofit" SEO. guys in IT onyl understand requirements. you have to convice them that SEO is not magic, and that there is true value in the work they are doing

Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:09 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
make sure to provide detailed recommendations, and provide a purpose of the document overview. alos list out things that the document is not meant to provide
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:10 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
Markup is made for documents, and not as much for pages. the IT teams sometimes use software that adds markups within modules.

this doesnt work with what Google is trying to do which can been seen as library science. they are confusing the issue with the markups. one thing to keep in mind is having version control. Brian also touches on the posibility that a Release Cycle could be happening.

Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:12 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
be patient and start to build a new project around SEO if needed, and create your own release schedule.

remind the IT teams that SEO is not magic. Brian suggests setting up regular meeting as a way to start the relationship

make sure that priorities are understood. Brian likes to bring IT guys into "Web Standards." this is not usually taught to computer science majors, rather mostly to design/front end people. helping them understand how web standards fit in and their importance
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:15 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 
once you get to the end of each meeting, try to finish up with a set plan. one goal should be to develop easier ways to make future changes.
Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:16 Chris Boggs
Chris Boggs: 

try to find ways to automate things

he also recommends sharing success and credit.

Lastly, Brian provides a quick list of topics to cover with IT, in his order of importance:

1. Spiders, robots
2. URLs as a collection of web documents
3. proper use of markups and web standards
4. relevancy: the need for explicit vs implied phrasing
5. authority and popularity
6. site architechture and the relationship between documents

Tuesday December 8, 2009 5:20 Chris Boggs



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