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SEO Pre mortem
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SEO Pre-mortem

The spectacular failure: It’s a year from now. The SEO Team hasn’t delivered any roadmap items

1️⃣ Context & Prompt (10 min)

🐯 Tigers
- A clear threat that will hurt us if we don’t do something about it
📃 Paper Tigers
- An ostensible threat that
you
are personally not worried about (but others might be)
🐘 Elephants
- The thing that you’re concerned the team is not talking about

Think of at least 2 Tigers and any Paper Tigers/Elephants.

Click when done thinking:
GR
AF


2️⃣ Imagine
Dragons
Disaster (10 min)

Add your Tigers, Paper Tigers, and Elephants below. You will only be able to see your ideas at this stage.


Add issue
Issue
Type
No results from filter

I’ve added my issues:
KS
GR
SW


3️⃣ +1’s, LOLs, SYFs (10 min)

Review others’ issues and +1 the ones you think are most important. You get
five
+1s
to allocate across issues.

Show everyone’s issues
Sort everyone’s issues
Issue
Type
+1
1
We discover that a recent release has a mild/moderate defect or missed detail. We need to go back and make a fix, but we have to now be re-prioritized
Elephant 🐘
AF
AS
SW
GR
2
BTs don’t prioritize SEO work unless it’s mandated (b/c no BT sees it as crucial for their outcome)
Elephant 🐘
AF
SW
KS
GR
3
We don’t have resources dedicated to minor SEO updates (meta tag updates, KEM QOL, etc)
Tiger 🐯
AF
SW
AS
4
A new large-scale initiative is announced that disrupts the existing prioritization (Sephora)
Elephant 🐘
AF
KS
SW
5
Cross-functional visibility and collaboration on SEO impacts from other BT KT work
Tiger 🐯
AF
SW
KS
6
Lack of noindex logic across page types
Tiger 🐯
KS
GR
7
A release goes out for a different team that negatively impacts SEO or reverts previous work
Elephant 🐘
AS
GR
8
A release goes out that touches systems that the SEO team wants to make minor updates to. Are we able to have our updates be done at the same time?
Elephant 🐘
AF
9
Process limitations for tech prioritization outside of BT
Tiger 🐯
AS
10
Incorrect/Inconsistent Status Code Usage
Elephant 🐘
GR
11
A new update does not meet SEO best practices and we did not know about it
Elephant 🐘
AS
12
Page Experience Algo Update - Core Web Vitals
Tiger 🐯
13
Mcom retirement / single URL structure
Paper Tiger 📃
14
Sephora Enhancement - Customize meta data branding for sephora pages from “Kohl’s” to “Sephora at Kohl’s”
Elephant 🐘
15
mcom BV UGC Reviews on separate URL that 5xxs on desktop
Elephant 🐘
16
SEO fixes/enhancements broken/rolled-back with other updates
Elephant 🐘
17
Strategic whitelisting of internal search results
Elephant 🐘
18
BotServeAlternate back for Googlebot Crawling [Defect]
Elephant 🐘
19
Resurrecting the URL Restructure
Paper Tiger 📃
20
BV/Schema Updates to resolve product/review errors/warnings.
Paper Tiger 📃
21
Special Characters in URLs
Elephant 🐘
22
KEM Usability + Reporting
Elephant 🐘
23
Meta Keywords Field Removal
Elephant 🐘
24
Cache Settings
Elephant 🐘
25
Malformed URLS discovered by Google
Elephant 🐘
26
Discontinued Brands/Product Areas stuck in Google FOREVER
Elephant 🐘
27
KEM Links Rule Deployment
Tiger 🐯
28
Meta Description Editing via KEM
Elephant 🐘
29
Ability to blacklist PDPs within KLINK
Tiger 🐯
30
CSS updates for copy blocks (remove the need to enter in-line CSS)
Elephant 🐘
31
We break embargo - a product/page gets indexed and shows in Google before it is supposed to go live
Tiger 🐯
32
There is a large restructure / disruption to our KT partners
Tiger 🐯
33
is hit with a penalty from Google and we have to react.
Elephant 🐘
34
Google Core Web Vitals begins to negatively impact our rankings and we need to make major improvements to site performance.
Elephant 🐘
35
How prioritization supports overall organization goals (leadership vision) and roadmaps
Paper Tiger 📃
36
Timing/turnaround for key initiatives
Tiger 🐯
37
Product management to identify discontinued/dead products
Elephant 🐘
38
Google keeps finding AMP references/pages and yelling about it
Paper Tiger 📃
39
corporate.kohls usually gets all the results for newly announced brands/initiatives and it takes forever to overtake it on the main site.
Paper Tiger 📃
40
Fixing low-hanging fruit with
sunset work
Paper Tiger 📃
There are no rows in this table



Done reviewing:
AS
KS
GR
+2


4️⃣ Around-the-room sharing (20 min)

Everyone shares reflections and what resonated the most.

Type
Author
Issue
Notes/Reflections
Tiger 🐯
GR
Page Experience Algo Update - Core Web Vitals
GR
Lack of noindex logic across page types
AF
KEM Links Rule Deployment
SW
Ability to blacklist PDPs within KLINK
SW
We don’t have resources dedicated to minor SEO updates (meta tag updates, KEM QOL, etc)
SW
We break embargo - a product/page gets indexed and shows in Google before it is supposed to go live
SW
There is a large restructure / disruption to our KT partners
KS
Process limitations for tech prioritization outside of BT
KS
Timing/turnaround for key initiatives
KS
Cross-functional visibility and collaboration on SEO impacts from other BT KT work
Paper Tiger 📃
GR
Mcom retirement / single URL structure
GR
Resurrecting the URL Restructure
GR
BV/Schema Updates to resolve product/review errors/warnings.
KS
How prioritization supports overall organization goals (leadership vision) and roadmaps
GR
Google keeps finding AMP references/pages and yelling about it
GR
corporate.kohls usually gets all the results for newly announced brands/initiatives and it takes forever to overtake it on the main site.
KS
Fixing low-hanging fruit with
sunset work
Elephant 🐘
GR
Sephora Enhancement - Customize meta data branding for sephora pages from “Kohl’s” to “Sephora at Kohl’s”
GR
mcom BV UGC Reviews on separate URL that 5xxs on desktop
GR
SEO fixes/enhancements broken/rolled-back with other updates
GR
Strategic whitelisting of internal search results
GR
BotServeAlternate back for Googlebot Crawling [Defect]
GR
Special Characters in URLs
GR
KEM Usability + Reporting
GR
Meta Keywords Field Removal
GR
Cache Settings
GR
Malformed URLS discovered by Google
GR
Discontinued Brands/Product Areas stuck in Google FOREVER
AF
Meta Description Editing via KEM
SW
CSS updates for copy blocks (remove the need to enter in-line CSS)
SW
We discover that a recent release has a mild/moderate defect or missed detail. We need to go back and make a fix, but we have to now be re-prioritized
SW
A new large-scale initiative is announced that disrupts the existing prioritization (Sephora)
SW
A release goes out for a different team that negatively impacts SEO or reverts previous work
SW
A release goes out that touches systems that the SEO team wants to make minor updates to. Are we able to have our updates be done at the same time?
SW
is hit with a penalty from Google and we have to react.
SW
Google Core Web Vitals begins to negatively impact our rankings and we need to make major improvements to site performance.
GR
Product management to identify discontinued/dead products
GR
Incorrect/Inconsistent Status Code Usage
SW
A new update does not meet SEO best practices and we did not know about it
SW
BTs don’t prioritize SEO work unless it’s mandated (b/c no BT sees it as crucial for their outcome)



5️⃣ Tentative top themes & next steps (10 min)

Collectively define emergent themes and next steps. Follow up will be creating a
post pre-mortem action plan
consisting of:
Top themes coming from the pre-mortem meeting
Top 3-5 verbatim Tigers and Elephants people discussed during the meeting
Proposed actions for mitigating these Tigers and Elephants
A Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) for each theme

Add theme

Theme
Related Tiger/Elephant Issues
Theme DRI
Proposed Mitigating Actions
1
Internal
SEO is 100% dependent on other teams
BTs don’t understand/ see value of SEO work - hard to communicate and justify (not customer value driven)
LOE is very high for everything, even very small things. Makes every seem less worth it
only apocalyptic stuff gets done
A release goes out that touches systems that the SEO team wants to make minor updates to. Are we able to have our updates be done at the same time?
BTs don’t prioritize SEO work unless it’s mandated (b/c no BT sees it as crucial for their outcome)
We don’t have resources dedicated to minor SEO updates (meta tag updates, KEM QOL, etc)
A new large-scale initiative is announced that disrupts the existing prioritization (Sephora)
Cross-functional visibility and collaboration on SEO impacts from other BT KT work
KEM Usability + Reporting
AS
Alissa Steingraber
Change our SOP to execute horizontally (breadth) not vertically (depth)
tools / pages that are required for SEO is too complicated / disparate
work w 1 BT to make incremental KEM improvements
dedicated SEO liaison with SEO SME
dedicated SEO engineers
make quality of life fixes (KEM)
process mapping to understand where SEO should be injected into the process
prodev or 20% week on SEO
one tool to rule them all
treat KEM / ref app users like real users
2
External
SEO priorities are dictated by the market
Page Experience Algo Update - Core Web Vitals
BotServeAlternate back for Googlebot Crawling [Defect]
We break embargo - a product/page gets indexed and shows in Google before it is supposed to go live
Google Core Web Vitals begins to negatively impact our rankings and we need to make major improvements to site performance.
Google keeps finding AMP references/pages and yelling about it
A new update does not meet SEO best practices and we did not know about it
Lack of noindex logic across page types
Incorrect/Inconsistent Status Code Usage
be able to react to market changes faster
find ways to educate BTs on SEO fundamentals
There are no rows in this table



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