Product Roadmaps, Forgetting Curve, Top 10 SEO PM Skills
Edition #14 - Monday 3-2-1
Welcome to the 3-2-1 Monday newsletter.
Every Monday morning, start your week with the following:
💡 3 short ideas about working with devs and product teams.
📰 Two articles to explore to help be more effective with product and dev teams.
❓ One question for you to think about this week while working.
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💡 3 Short Ideas
Short ideas on how to improve working with devs and product teams.
1) SEO and Product Roadmaps
How can SEOs get recommendations implemented in a product team?
They need to align with the product team's roadmap.
What is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a communication tool that breaks down initiatives to achieve a strategy into rough timelines. It helps communicate progress and coherent actions to deliver the product strategy.
Every product team should have a product roadmap.
One of the most popular roadmap frameworks used by the product department is the Now/Next/Later framework.
The Now/Next/Later framework is a tool that organises the team’s initiatives into three-time horizons:
✔️ Now - Detailed initiatives that are being worked on right now by the delivery team.
🔃 Next - Less detailed, but the initiatives or work that is being worked on next.
❌ Later - Hazy initiatives that have less detail and are not to be worked on yet. ****
It is important to understand that product roadmaps are not release plans. Instead, they (should) focus on solving problems that help drive results for both the customer and the business.
Many product teams use different time horizons to Now/Next/Later and instead use quarters. For example, GitHub public roadmap is shown in quarterly time horizons:
How can SEOs use product roadmaps to get things done?
Simple in concept, hard in practice.
You build partnerships with the product team to understand what is coming up Next and Later in the roadmap (or what is coming up next 3-6 months).
If any of the initiatives align with SEO, then you can work with your product team to not only help get the project implemented but also implement changes that benefit organic search growth.
2) Flattening the Forgetting Curve
In a recent interview with Malte Landwehr, he mentioned a key lesson he learned was the art of using repetition to get adults to remember key information.
Why is this important?
Simple. It isn’t enough to create an SEO strategy, roadmap and prioritised action list. You need to spend a lot of your time repeating it so that others remember it.
This is key to getting developers, PMs and management to remember SEO initiatives. This means repeating yourself in:
🤖 Planning meetings with your dev and product teams
💼 Quarterly meetings with higher management
🔄 Consistently talk to developers throughout a project
📄 Weekly SEO memos sharing wins and losses with the team
🗂️ SEO documentation and videos explaining processes
You need to repeat yourself until you are blue in the face.
Why should you do this?
It is important because, as an SEO, you need to combat the forgetting curve.
What is the forgetting curve? In the 1880s, a German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus did some research which created a visual representation of how the information we remember fades over time.
A research team in 2015 successfully reproduced his findings and found them to hold still true (see here).
The only way to combat the forgetting curve is by repeating your message to stakeholders and constantly communicating your work. Each communication repetition stops information from fading.
This is why you need to keep repeating your SEO strategy and roadmap. To flatten the forgetting curve of the people who help get things done.
3) Top 10 skills of SEO product managers
I took job descriptions from companies like eBay, Wise and Reddit to identify the top 10 skills being asked for in these roles.
I created a Word Cloud based on the job descriptions.
I then grouped the topics into ten top attributes and skills. All of the ten roles I analysed asked for the following top 10 attributes:
Discovery - An SEO PM should be able to spot SEO opportunities to drive growth that aligns with business goals.
User-focused - An SEO PM is customer-centric and has the technical knowledge to advocate for search engine bot experience.
Evangelize SEO - An SEO PM educates and advocates for SEO best practices across the organisation.
Vision and Strategy - An SEO PM should be able to create a compelling SEO strategy and roadmap which overcomes a key challenge that will help drive the business forward.
Communication - An SEO PM excels at communicating with other teams, from engineering all the way to senior management.
Collaboration - An SEO PM builds trust, and lasting partnerships, and fosters collaboration with other teams to get things done.
Measure Impact - An SEO PM's work delivers meaningful impact through experiments and setting goals to measure the success of initiatives.
Planning - An SEO PM must be able to plan with different teams to execute the roadmap and create a plan to deliver the SEO strategy.
Ownership - An SEO PM owns the SEO strategy, and roadmap and works with the development team to get the strategy implemented.
Execution - An SEO PM works closely with other teams to drive the execution of the strategy and roadmap through to completion.
This list is definitely the role of an SEO PM, from my experience. It also aligns with my experience with the three responsibilities: Shap, Ship and Sync.
I’ve created an SEO PM skills matrix for anyone who wants to identify where they need to improve their skills 👇.
📰 2 Articles to Explore
Articles to explore to help be more effective with product and dev teams.
by Janna Bastow
“The Now-Next-Later roadmap exists because timeline roadmaps aren’t effective, simple as that. Timeline roadmaps insist on deadlines, which means product teams are deprived of the flexibility that allows them to do their best work.”
by Yuhki Yamashita
“We knew that we needed to optimize meeting efficiency and create a source of truth. So that's exactly what we did—with this Coda doc. In solving these two problems, we built four key features into the doc”
❓ 1 Question For You
A question for you to think about this week while working.
How are you getting your SEO recommendations into the product teams roadmap?
How did I do this week?
If you enjoyed reading this article, then consider the following:
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