How to Align SEO, Marketing & Product Management in SaaS Startup | by Ivan Palii (PM @Sitechecker) | The Startup | Mar, 2021

How to resolve a contradiction

We select one of the most valuable page from the point of view of marketing and present only it to users on the site.

We remove similar pages from the user’s eyes, but leave them alive for the bot. They must be accessible from the sitemap and internal links.

So we will get traffic to it from search, but the experience of people on the site will be positive due to the correct design and the absence of duplicates.

Contradiction

Some pages bring in a lot of traffic, but few conversions, while others are vice versa.

A contradiction arises if there is a division of labor in the product. Some are working on traffic, others on conversion.

SEO specialists, as a rule, set goals in traffic, without reference to the value of traffic for individual pages and keywords. And converting traffic into leads and customers is already a problem for marketers.

If you do not direct the efforts of SEOs and marketers in one direction, then you will waste a lot of resources.

For example, in our experience, SaaS products have a good conversion rate for queries:

  • white label …
  • {brand} alternatives
  • {brand} vs {brand}

Moreover, such queries are often low-frequency.

Screenshot from Ahrefs. With this frequency, it’s easy to find the page unimportant.

A SEO aimed at traffic can skip such pages: either deliberately, since they will bring little traffic, or they will not even reach them, collecting keywords only with high or middle search volume.

How to resolve a contradiction

  1. We set goals for SEOs in conversions. Ideally, you have a marketer with an understanding of SEO who will be the client for the SEO specialist and will not let him get carried away with traffic at the expense of conversions.
  2. Changing the approach to keywords prioritization. At the first stage, we estimate not only the search volume, but also the cost per click(this estimate correlates with the potential for conversions and income). Once the first conversions have started, we can prioritize pages based on real data using this report.
  3. We order a consultation from a specialist who has experience working with this niche or type of business, and who can share data on page and keywords conversions.
  4. We create one unit of different types of pages (white label, alternatives, vs) and evaluate the conversion of not just the page, but the type to which it belongs.

Contradiction

The promises on the site and the actual capabilities of the product almost always differ.

If we promise something that is not yet ready, that is, create selling pages based on product plans and prototypes, and not what product really can do now, then some of the customers will leave unhappy.

If, on the contrary, we will update the selling pages only on the basis of the already actually deployed features, then we will lose in conversion.

Constantly updating landing pages about a product so that they always fully reflect its real capabilities is resource-intensive, so our promises will always lag behind real capabilities, which means we will lose in conversion.

How to resolve a contradiction

Here I have not found an ideal solution, in each option, something needs to be sacrificed.

  1. If the resources have already grown, then delegate the task of updating the selling pages to a product manager who is responsible for onboarding and delivering new functions to users or a marketer who is working on converting visitors.
  2. Make landing pages with a gap for the future, pointing out features that don’t really exist yet.
  3. Refresh pages every 6, 12, 24 months and accept that we have outdated information on them for some period.

In the first stages, the second option is closest to me. Users rarely read the entire product description, and therefore only a small fraction of those who become paying will be outraged by an unfulfilled promise. For those users, you simply make a refund.

But the problem is that startups rarely know what a product will look like for years to come. The product growth can be accompanied by drastic changes in the market, audience, product.

We at Sitechecker are currently using the third option, as our idea of ​​the ideal product changes frequently. It is also a big mistake that we were late in creating a public product path . The most popular features that users expect can be immediately added to the landing pages.

But besides the emergence of contradictions between SEO, marketing and product management, each of them can serve as a valuable source of ideas for the other.

It is a well-known rule that it is important for a product manager to work in customer support as often as possible in order to feel the real pains of customers. The same rule can be applied to other professionals.

Generating ideas for product experiments is possible not only on the basis of competitor analysis and interviews with users. Search terms are also a valuable source for this.

In my article on SEO for SaaS products, I talked about how we created mini-tools on landing pages to drive traffic. But such tools can be created not only to drive traffic, but also to increase retention within the product.

Therefore, it is useful for product managers to dig into Google Search Console keyword ranking report to add new product ideas to their list of hypotheses.

SEOs typically use keywords to structure the text on a page. And marketers and copywriters, as a rule, approach such a structure based on the act of creativity for each individual page or the use of frameworks (what, for whom, what tasks it solves, benefits, who uses, and so on).

If you combine the marketing framework and page keywords, you can create a better page.

Like customer testimonials, natural backlinks show your real positioning and benefits well. The actual positioning often differs from the planned one, and therefore the plan needs to be periodically revised and changed towards closer to the real one.

That is why it is useful for marketers to monitor the Google Analytics backlinks and data on new backlinks for their site in Ahrefs .

Also with partnerships. After we saw a backlink on one of the websites of a school that teaches SEO, we decided to create special conditions for cooperation with schools and attract more educational institutions.

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