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Building, hacking and killing a bespoke CMS - Search Leeds 19

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Building, hacking and killing a
bespoke CMS
Fabrizio Ballarini
@Pechnet
Link to slides
wi.se/self-driving-CMS
We started SEO program back in 2016 and built
@Pechnet
2 6 26 1712 3+M
Custom
CMS
Products People
strong
team
CountriesLanguages Indexed
Pages
What if you could build a
CMS to answer specific
clusters of queries?
@Pechnet
An out of
the box
CSM with a
couple of
SEO
features is
not enough @Pechnet@Pechnet
A high
performing
CMS is still
driven by
humans
Check out:
wi.se/seo-friendly-cms
@Pechnet

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Building, hacking and killing a bespoke CMS - Search Leeds 19

  • 1. Building, hacking and killing a bespoke CMS Fabrizio Ballarini
  • 3. We started SEO program back in 2016 and built @Pechnet 2 6 26 1712 3+M Custom CMS Products People strong team CountriesLanguages Indexed Pages
  • 4. What if you could build a CMS to answer specific clusters of queries? @Pechnet
  • 5. An out of the box CSM with a couple of SEO features is not enough @Pechnet@Pechnet
  • 6. A high performing CMS is still driven by humans Check out: wi.se/seo-friendly-cms @Pechnet
  • 7. What if you could build a self driving CMS? @Pechnet@Pechnet
  • 8. Context on our challenge
  • 9. Build a price comparison product
  • 10. Our service covers 1300+ routes and offers 49 currencies. There are 71 countries you can send money to and 43 countries you can send money from. 100+ competitors @Pechnet
  • 12. Adjust to existing organisation Remove dependencies to increase speed of execution
  • 13. We had no acquisition built into our core product @Pechnet Built-in acquisitionNo acquisition
  • 14. Whatever is your setup keep an eye on the SEO “DevMometer” @Pechnet Fresh start or migration to new platform with prospect of healthy collaboration SEO team has no direct control on CMS choice and product but has to pitch changes to web/product team Cms is already in place & there is very little SEO team can change
  • 15. Full stack SEO team @Pechnet Product SEO Specialists Full Stack Devs Frontend Devs Designers Copywriters Editors Translators Publishers Analysts **Credit for all the below actually goes to them, I simply do the talk :)
  • 17. More unique pages is often the most effective answer 0 links Wikipedia Produce more content Produce content hardcore Build links first (audit existing content) Produce content first 0 content Ton of content @Pechnet
  • 18. SEO Basic: Produce, Optimise and build links Search Volume CustomersCTR Conversion Rate WhatSEOsDO? Produce more content Optimise existing content Build links Optimise existing content Easy to measure and scale Harder to measure and scale Optimise Existing content @Pechnet
  • 19. We growth at the speed at which we ship/optimise pages @Pechnet 3M INDEXED PAGES 🚀
  • 20. Build your fastest route to MVPs
  • 22. We decided to build “Lienzo” @Pechnet
  • 23. We initially invested as less as we could in tech @Pechnet We didn’t port the main Angular JS calculator to our CMS, simply used an iframe All widgets are simple text + images in a limited number of layouts We leverage bootstrap of the main product for styling and design
  • 24. You can publish pages in minutes once you have copy + creatives @Pechnet
  • 25. Added basic SEO features
  • 26. Don't just give developers a list of SEO features Customize URLs Meta data Structured data Canonicals and redirects Indexing Sitemaps hreflang and geotargeting
  • 27. Define what is must to build and what you can hack: Our first xml sitemap after launching 1M+ URLs! @Pechnet Lorem 3 Put KPIs against hacked process until we realised we were hitting scaling issues and couldn’t simply keep up. TIme for engineers to automate it. Lorem 1 To save dev time we worked harder on building a strong internal link structure that bots could crawl more efficiently. Lorem 2 Built manually by SEOs. >>Dump list of URLs from DB >> Build static XML sitemap >> Upload regularly Build itDo without Hack it
  • 28. Focused on features that could help us scaling internationally @Pechnet #1 Language/Country selector #2 Unique page hreflang key #3 Locale-mapping
  • 29. Users only select language/country + unique key, Platforms does the mapping to URL locales @Pechnet Language/Country selector Unique page hreflang key Locale-mapping
  • 30. Built in monitoring @Pechnet Everytime you press update on any page changes get stored in your database. You don’t need to crawl your site to find out!
  • 31. Optimal backend to achieve seamless workflow @Pechnet Easy access to brief & draft from writers Automatically track keywords via API
  • 32. The Average Handling time (AHT) is normalizing. In average it takes around 15-18 days for each of the production stages. Overall it takes us 2 - 3 months to publish an article from the moment the brief for it is created. We got faster at producing content but not fast enough! Publishing Analyst @Pechnet
  • 33. Publishing via CMS doesn’t scale, it’s constrained by number of people in the team. Copywriters Editors Translators Publishers Keyword Data Unique page @Pechnet
  • 34. We continue to grow linearly by publishing via CMS @Pechnet
  • 35. The test page we quickly built proves to be successful, time to scale it! @Pechnet
  • 36. Hack vs doing things properly
  • 37. We used to hack our Database 🙈, with API it’s safer and way more efficient @Pechnet 1000+ new pages DONE! Step 1: We plugged our CMS to Metabase Step 2: Understand template in JSON Step 3: Edit template, concatenate JSON Step 4: Inject data in in PosgreSQL ☢
  • 39. Know your CMS, your content & structure data @Pechnet
  • 40. Learn how to use APIs @Pechnet Understand how your CMS works: database, data format and structure Example: our CMS is running on a PostgreSQL database and each page is stored in a JSON format. Examples for other CMS: https://developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/
  • 41. Why would we do it? (Use cases) @Pechnet Creating and updating landing pages manually takes time and is prone to errors. Create 1000s of scalable landing pages from scratch Update out-of-date content, or fix broken links in scale Delete obsolete pages Clone existing pages at scale
  • 43. Use case: create 1000 new landing pages @Pechnet Imagine you want to create 1000 new templated landing pages - for example to sell different types of ice cream, in multiple languages. Each page should contain information about different aspects of ice cream: - Its flavour - Price - And list of allergens
  • 44. #1: Create a template @Pechnet In JSON format, create template matching the API schema and map templated fields to variables.
  • 45. #2: We have prepared our list of variables @Pechnet Prepare the values for templated fields in a csv like this one:
  • 46. #3: We wrote a simple script in python @Pechnet We wrote two simple python scripts: 1. To generate JSON files based on variable values and template 2. To send JSON files as a POST request to our API
  • 47. #4: Test locally & execute in production 🚀 @Pechnet $ pipenv run python api-request.py csv-filename public After first testing the changes in a local environment, we were ready to run the script in production: 1000+ new pages launched!
  • 48. Invest in scalable widgets to achieve feature parity with core product
  • 49. Deeper integration with core product coupled with ability to scale through CMS API 🚀 @Pechnet
  • 50. 🤖 APIs beat Humans 🤖 @Pechnet 👨‍🔬👩‍🔬
  • 52. We already know what we are going to build in 2 years time 2019 2020 2021 2022 Core products Validated MVPs (waiting for dev resources) Launch new products @Pechnet
  • 54. Master the relationship between search intents and your product variables @Pechnet Product variables {Source Currency} {Target Currency} Example of a cluster of queries: “Send money to {Target Currency}”
  • 55. 3 main layers that communicate with each other @Pechnet Backend APIs Frontend Widgets Frontend Apps Core product Quote service Pricing Delivery Estimation Price Comparison Send money Calculator Price Comparison Lienzo (landing page CMS) Send Money Comparison
  • 56. Data Collection service guides creation of landing pages Comparison Widget Price Comparison Service Data Collection Service Comparison Landing pages @Pechnet
  • 57. The product automatically generates thousand of pages as soon as data is available @Pechnet
  • 59. 2 years of testing….and still room for improvement! @Pechnet
  • 60. Data is the essential part of the product without data we don’t have a product, not a 10x one. @Pechnet
  • 61. Build a 10x product that didn’t exist before @Pechnet
  • 62. Validate Acquisition Build scalable product Launch MVP via CMS Scale via CMS APIs Launch dedicated app & scale via API Improve product Improve Conversion Rate @Pechnet
  • 63. 2. Develop features for SEO and scale MVPs via CMS @Pechnet Start with an empowered autonomous full-stack SE0 team… 1. Build/adopt a CMS trying to eliminate dependencies and lunch pages in seconds 3. Automate with APIs what’s successful by investing into stand alone products
  • 64. @Pechnet Link to slides >> wi.se/self-driving-cms Money without borders >> wi.se/borderless Join us >> wi.se/seo-jobs Thank you