WriteTheDocs

San Diego, CA, April 23, 2014 - MindTouch is proud to announce that on May 5th, two of our own – Product Manager, Corey Ganser, and CTO, Steve Bjorg – will be shipped off to Portland, Oregon for an two-day, intensive “Write The Docs” Conference. MindTouch will be sponsoring the event along with Twitter, Rackspace, Mozilla, Esri, WordPress.com, New Relic, Atlasssian, and Urban Airship. This conference brings together a “tribe” of technical documentarians – developers and enterprise users – to discuss the best practices around documentation. It includes a guide to help beginners write documentation better, tips on how to build mindshare in a company, and offer tools to improve the ease for documentation writing.

Corey Ganser, MindTouch’s Product Manager with 10+ years of industry experience, will be giving an unconference presentation about the importance documentation plays in customer success along with trends in customer success. If you’re going to the conference, make sure to stop by and say “Hello!” You can also connect with Corey here @coreygans or on LinkedIn here.

For more details about the Write The Docs Conference please check out their page: here. It will be located at the Crystal Ballroom which is a beautiful ballroom located in the middle of beautiful downtown, Portland Oregon. If you want to contact us directly, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly @MindTouch. We’d love to connect!

Dear MindTouch Users,

I’d like to apologize for the lack of communication regarding the recent roll out of our table editing enhancements.

In this new feature release, we removed certain functionalities without advanced notice. This wasn’t our intent and we’re gathering feedback to ensure that none of the functionalities that our customers are reliant upon will be removed. If you have not had a chance to review the new table editing enhancements, we urge you to do so here.

Otherwise, if you have any feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team directly at success.mindtouch.com and share your thoughts.

Thank you for your understanding.

Corey Ganser
Product Manager

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San Diego, CA, April 21, 2014 - Today MindTouch is announcing a new feature we call: Page Classifications Manager. This great new feature helps you manage and report on content based on customizable classifications or meta-data on pages. This has a lot of potential uses, but out-of-the-box managing publishing workflows just got a lot easier.

We’ve already covered the value of engaging subject matter experts in creating customer success content. This means higher quality content, increased ticket deflection, and improved efficacy for your support agents. This feature has comet directly form our customers’ feedback for a flexible and customizable way to manage publishing workflows. This should nail it for you and provide a foundation for reporting and managing content classifications for a variety of other uses, including translational workflows.

Here’s how it works.

Why did we create the Page Classification Manager? 

The Page Classification Manager provides section editors with the tools to visualize data, select the article types and completion stages, and set the path for their content. By providing such a granular level of detail, section editors can utilize the page classification manager to quickly filter, overview, and manage all the article content on their site. This, consequently, helps create more unification between pages by making it easy to find weaknesses in the knowledge layer and quickly plot out next steps.

What is a Page Classification? 

Page classification is a predefined categorization that allows for further categorization of content pages, easing the knowledge documentation process through segmentation. Customers can use these classifications to create multi-layers of segmentation around their content. There are four different page classifications available. Two are structured classification drop-downs which are a predefined set of classifications that users can choose from, such as article type and stage. By selecting an article type, you send a signal to the Light-speed Content Framework about what type of page it is, whether it’s a: guide, topic, how-to, or reference. A stage, on the other hand, is used to determine the quality and completion level of a piece of content. It can be a: stub (idea), draft, review, final, outdated, or obsolete. The purpose of these structured classifications is to provide consistency across the entire site by giving collaborative authors the power to judge and standardize a piece of content for section editor review.

The other two classifications are customizable. Users can independently create and customize to fit the needs of their product or service. To read more about how to create a custom page classification, please check out the documentation here at success.mindtouch.com.

What can you do in the Page Classification Manager? 

Section editors can use the Page Classification Manager to capture and optimize the multi-level, hierarchical, segmentation features that are available via page classification. This management interface is extremely robust and allows businesses to:

  • View the classifications applied to their pages.
  • Filter down to a section of the site and view the classifications for that particular section of content.
  • Transition pages between classifications.

Section editors who use MindTouch can customize their product help documentation workflow to support different use cases such as language translation, product versions, and personas. These custom classifications toolset lets editors quickly surface and organize content based upon specific segmentation values, identify all the documentation that needs work, and improve it accordingly.

With each release iteration, MindTouch improves internal controls to make it easier for knowledge experts, businesses, and customers to collaboratively interact and build a self-improving knowledge layer that will make it easy to discover, access, and learn.

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Quick – Where’s the first place you go when you need help with a product? Google, right? Why are companies’ customer success content, training materials and documentation always so poorly optimized for search engines? It’s a horrible experience for your customers! Here are eight ways to optimize for search engines.

Before we dive into to these eight proven techniques you might ask: Why does this matter? Simple. Your customers are definitely using search engines to find answers to their questions about your products. So too are your buyers. If you’re still using PDF files (perhaps because the 1990s were so awesome that you want to return to that era), and a knowledge base technology from 10-15 years ago, you can be sure your customers and prospects are finding your competition’s content and not yours. It is 2014 and if you want to be competitive, you must be publishing to a web-native format and this content needs search engine optimization (SEO).

“Wait, all our  customer success is behind a login because it’s competition sensitive.” Huge mistake. Immediately make parts of this public and use conditional content to hide competition sensitive information from anonymous users.

Finally, let me be real with you a moment, your competition is doing this. If they aren’t, this is a great way for you to get ahead of them. Bottom line, your marketing, sales and support team will thank you for executing on this article. It will increase organic site traffic with potential buyers (as much as 50% in 4 months has been reported) and this will dramatically lower your Customer Effort Scores, which positively impact Net Promoter Score. You’ll also feel like a superhero.

Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes
If you haven’t already, you can test how well-optimized your help center is for SEO. It’s a fairly simple exercise, but can have extremely far-reaching implications that can impact your ability to close and retain customers. To start, you could talk to your support team and make a list of common questions that your customers would usually ask. Then, input different queries through Google, Bing, or Yahoo and see what results pop up. If you are not directed to the correct page, your business may be losing customers.

There’s a new Customer Success Tactics group on LinkedIn that’s still in its early stages, but has the potential to deliver a lot of value to businesses. If you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors and get the latest industry tips and tricks, you should join now.

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8 SEO Tactics To Drive Customer Success

MindTouch is a SaaS organization that has a phenomenal track record with helping businesses (including Intuit, Paypal, MakerBot, and Code42) deliver SEO-friendly self-help options. Whether or not you use the MindTouch solution, we are great at SEO and would like to share some of our best practices to help you drive customer success and increase organic site traffic.

1. Human Readable URLs - These are exactly what the name states: human readable and search engines love them. You want clean, simple URLs with keywords to increase your search rankings and place more authority on your content. MindTouch is the only vendor that optimizes this way specifically for Help Centers.

  • The Good: http://success.mindtouch.com/Documentation/Integration/Single_Sign_On/
    Yes, this article is about integrations and single sign on. No surprises.
  • The Bad: https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewSolution?id=000133732&language=en_US
    Uhh..what’s this about?
  • The Ugly: http://www.fuzeqna.com/careerbuilder/ext/kbsearch.aspx#ctl00_phMaster_phMain_KBSearch_repSearchResults_ctl00_lnkQuestion
    Ouch! Note: this company’s name and web domain is CareerBuilder.com. They aren’t even using their own company domain!

2. XML SiteMap – Provide a map of the site in a format that search engines can ingest. This is the best way to make sure that all your content is crawled, indexed and the most up to date version is captured in the search engine. Also, this provides a means of standardizing and controlling all search engines’ description of your page on the search engine results page (SERP). In short, you’ve got to have an XML SiteMap that conforms with the search engine standards with correct information captured. For example, a description you define rather than a randomly generated one by the search engine,  or metadata (more on this in a moment). For MindTouch customers, this is auto-generated and auto-updated in real-time using your Overview section as the description. Tags become meta tags…etc. As a bonus, MindTouch provides an OpenSearch endpoint.

3. No Broken Links – Broken links frustrate customers and hurt your SEO ranking. 404 errors are very very bad for your domain authority. What happens when you revise your docs? or rename content? You’ve got to 301 redirect these URLs or you are hurting your entire company’s domain authority and potentially damaging the organic site traffic, undoing the marketing team’s good work and hurting sales. Also, you’re irritating your customers by lowering your Customer Effort Scores. MindTouchers, don’t worry. All move and rename operations automatically creates the correct 301 redirects. Links are unbreakable in MindTouch.

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4. Correct Use of Meta and Alt Tags for Media – By using Meta and Alt Tags correctly, you improve visibility for your site and content, make it easier for users to discover, and make it easier for web crawlers to find. MindTouchers, this too is automated for you as mentioned in #2 XML Sitemap.

Knowledge Analytics5. Content Reuse for Keyword Placement – Be smart about your keyword placement. Be sure these are included in the overview section so they show up in your meta description. Also, place keywords near the top. To make it easier, try to reuse content so managing these are easier.  Include a diverse group of authors. This is a proven technique to making sure you’re hitting the correct keywords. Also, look at Search in your Knowledge Analytics. This will help you identify keywords you may not have known users were using. Maybe they have a different vocabulary. You can correct this by creating Search Recommendations.

6. Proper use of nofollow tags – In general, people use nofollow tags for paid links, comments, user-generated content, embeds, and others to prevent Search Engines from crawling links that go to bad, un-related sites. The fewer links you have in your content, the more value these links have for search engines. Don’t waste your link juice on internal links that are navigational and irrelevant. MindTouchers, we have you covered on this one too.

7. High Quality Social Links with Social Sharing – This makes it easy for interested followers to share content and back-link to your site. Increasingly social shares are impacting search rankings. With MindTouch you have the option of turning on or off the social sharing buttons, but it is recommended that you leave them on for SEO purposes. With this in mind, be sure to create best practices content for your users. This tends to get shared more.

8. Link and Cluster Pages by Topic / Landing Pages – Strategically link pages about “Customer Success” to other pages about “Customer Success”. This strategic clustering of knowledge makes it easy, not just for web crawlers to find information, but for users to search and find the answers to their questions. Related articles are optimized for this and further improved by dynamically adapting to the search and browsing behavior of end users.

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If your company is not optimizing your Help Center for SEO, you are losing an opportunity to promote your brand, drive traffic to your site, and increase revenue. Your customers will love you if you make it easy for them to find the information that they need. Whether you’re using MindTouch or not, you should reevaluate your SEO strategy to stop losing customers and stay one step ahead of your competitors. Learn more about how MindTouch addresses this important challenge by reading “SEO Best Practices and MindTouch“.

New Feature for Editors: Page Revision and Site History Experience (BETA)
  • Two weeks ago we promised more features built on top of our powerful new analytics engine. This is the big one! We’re proud to beta release to your site’s editors, the new MindTouch Page Revision and Site History Experience. This new feature is available on both MindTouch 4 and MindTouch TCS.
  • MindTouch TCS editors can find Revision History in the “More” menu, and Site History in the “Tools” menu. MindTouch site owners who have customized and branded their site may find the location of these menus different than the images shown here.

MindTouch TCS editors can find Revision History in the "More" menu, and Site History in the "Tools" menu. MindTouch customers who have customized and branded  their site may find the location of these menus different than the images shown here.

  • MindTouch 4 editors can find Revision History in the “Page Options” menu, and Site History in the “Site Tools” menu. MindTouch site owners who have customized and branded their site may find the location of these menus different than the images shown here.

MindTouch TCS editors can find Revision History in the "More" menu, and Site History in the "Tools" menu. MindTouch customers who have customized and branded their site may find the location of these menus different than the images shown here.

  • Both the Page Revision and Site History (formerly “Recent Changes”) interfaces have been redesigned to allow faster navigation and location of page change events. MindTouch also provides more change events for each page as well, including permission, page display name, and custom page property changes, along with the existing change events such as page edits, renames, moves, and deletes.

  • The workflow for comparing and rolling back page revisions has been optimized as well. Editors can switch between different comparison views (side by side, merged, or a combination of both), and rolling back to a previous revision also for the first time rolls back the state of embedded images on the page.

  • Read up on the many benefits the new Page Revision and Site History experience provides your organization in the official feature announcement.
Infrastructure Optimizations for All Site Visitors
  •  Our central site management and configuration repository could possible return malformed site configurations, which could cause a MindTouch site to become unresponsive and unreachable after a weekly release. We’ve added more checks and validation to ensure that this does not happen.
  • We’ve implemented a web request queue in our API to limit the number of parallel requests. All requests to the API are still handled very quickly, but putting a limit on how many are handled at once increases the performance of all operations, and the stability of the API.
Bug Fixes for Site Administrators
  • After adding a user to a group, there was a noticeable delay before the group membership would appear in the user’s details in the user management control panel.
Bug Fixes for All Site Visitors
  •  Viewing a PDF, generated from MindTouch article content, in Adobe Acrobat omitted the page title
Pro Member Feature Removal: Page Properties Manager (MindTouch TCS Only)
  • As announced in the April 3rd, 2014 release notes, the MindTouch TCS Page Properties interface, which could be accessed by your site’s Pro Members under the page ”More” menu, has been removed. Usage of this feature had dropped to a insignificant amount, and removing this feature allowed our engineers to focus on areas of the product with higher impact to yours and your customer’s experience.