Most of us know this flywheel has been used to power energy output (steam, water, etc) from the industrial revolution, maybe earlier. The concept of a flywheel to help deliver energy to a machine (steam train, windmill, turbine, etc) is part of history and science lessons at school.
Yet it has a place in the minds of the information architects in the age of Google and the rotational force of search engine algorithms. Lets unpack what we see here for content optimization and audience engagement.
In July 2020, we re-archictected Help.Sellercloud.com and after several months compared the post go live Google Analytics stats for the past 3 months versus the previous period. There are some impressive stats worth noting.
1. Bounce rate has fallen 5%
2. Pages viewed per session is up 25% (that’s 1 in 4 visitors viewing an extra page on average)
3. Each user is staying on the site for 1 whole extra minute (up 37%)
If you take the total number of users (12,303) and multiply it by 1 min, you get an extra 205 extra hours that users were on the site. So what were they doing?
For many clients, we calculate branding and engagement this way. Google like to see increased engagement and this gets rewarded with higher rankings for all pages.
We are oftened asked to explain in simple terms what Google’s Rank Brain Algorithm is. And that means without the words ‘machine learning’ or ‘artificial intelligence’. Let’s speak plainly. Google wants to predict what humans will search for. What their intent is while they are searching and the next search you are thinking of. Not while you’re typing the search query into Google but before you have thought about it. Like pre-empting you the way your Mom, partner or best friend can. You know what I mean?
One way to do this is to ensure you’re writing relevant content. Sounds simple right. Except it requires you to get behind or inside the thought process of your customers. Start by creating personas, asking what your customer segments desire, dislike, fear and are concerned about. This creates questions that your content can answer. Content that is indexed by Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence technology called ‘Rank Brain’. Makes sense right? They want to rank your brain and put a cognitive predictive sequence in place on what your brain wants to know as you search.
One of our global clients who understand this Google algorithm is Wise-Sync. Wise-Sync synchronises accounting data between ConnectWise and cloud accounting software Xero and Quickbooks Online. By creating content that targets their audience explaining the operational efficiency of automating cloud accounting and improving cashflow by using their technology shows, Wise-Sync suggest to Google they understand the thought process of their clients.
Like most things in search engine content and technologies, the answer maps back to human behavior and the importance of relevant content for the user’s intent when searching.
A deeply quantitative firm, SearchForecast will deep dive into the traffic analytics of customer websites constantly. Using a combination of Google Analytics > Demographic data (remember it’s not always 100% accurate), Google Analytics > Locations data + transactional dollar spend data (average order value, etc), our team will then include pyschographic composition of target audiences.
We translate and present our analysis into an easy to read ‘Persona’ of customers. A real client example can be seen below which our team produces. This makes it easier for everyone to understand how keywords, content, blog, articles, social media, keyword buying and content partnerships should be targeted to real audiences. This process brings new ideas, insights and campaigns that can be measured for return on investment.
Simple stuff yet so often clients don’t have a Persona of Customers. Do you?
Great article from Harvard Business Review on the “Traffic Light Rule”. Is this the same for optimizing content? What rule would you apply?
First 20 seconds of talking, your light is green: your listener is liking you, as long as your statement is relevant to the conversation and hopefully in service of the other person.
Second 20 seconds of talking, the light turns yellow for the next 20 seconds— now the risk is increasing that the other person is beginning to lose interest or think you’re long-winded.
At the 40-second mark, your light is red. Yes, there’s an occasional time you want to run that red light and keep talking, but the vast majority of the time, you’d better stop or you’re in danger.
Was at a BBQ last night here in Palo Alto and a few FB folks were there – we got to discussing the major issue swirling marketers globally that FB has dramatically changed their EdgeRank algorithm to the News Feed, which has seen organic reach of brands’ page post decline to 2% or less.
One of the FB guys referred me to this official blog post. https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook-UK
The reality is FB are just moving to a paid platform model. FB should not be likened to Google but rather a TV network like CBS, CNN or Fox. They are all about advertising and not organic.
Basically, FB are saying investing in creating page posts for your brand is meaningless unless ad dollars are spent on FB promoting it. They want you to think about diverting money spent on content production for FB to using the Click to Website Ads in the RHS Rail of Facebook
I’ve been consoling our clients saying not to worry too much for their under-performing Facebook Content Strategy. It was arguably people aren’t reading Facebook posts they were sharing. I’ve always been a sceptic of Facebook as an organic content platform and thanks to Facebook for confirming my long held suspicion!
I regularly inform clients part of the optimization of websites requires design changes from adding new colors to home pages, level 1 & 2 sections within the site, changing buttons or extending pages with content. We change design components linked to content on our clients sites no less than once a month. We like to use real life examples. Several weeks ago in New York the Empire State Building had it’s Easter colors lit up. Completed in 1931, it’s using the color technique to stand out in the crowd. Simple but effective.
At a basic level, website optimization is about including keywords across meta tags, body copy and links on a website to rank highly in search engine results pages. Yet social media doesn’t work this way, rather the more ‘shared’ or ‘liked’ a piece of content, video or image becomes, the greater the effect of social media optimization.
I love this image below from Upworthy.com which shows their new metric called “attention minutes”. Their study found users with 25% of the average attention minutes on an article actually shared it more than those who spent 100% of the average attention minutes on the article.
The point is that people share an article more if they engage with it less. They read headlines, think it’s going to make them popular and then repost, retweet, like and share it – without even reading the entire information. Are you one of those people?
The winds of change are blowing through Silicon Valley. Clients are compelled to understand how to integrate Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+/Google Authorship and extend Search Engine Optimization by harnessing Social Media Optimization. It’s pretty simple. You have to a) set up accounts for your corporate digital assets at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and b) inter-link content, pictures, tweet, posts between each social media property and c) add new content and links atleast weekly.
Like any assets, the running costs of maintaining social media optimized websites is largely the variable cost of content production. Most clients find it hard to create original content faster for social media than a corporate website. So the economics are not only monetary but intellectual – that is, can you or your content contributor think of a good idea for an article, post, pin, tweet, picture, etc. That is one of the reasons clients work with us as SearchForecast provides ideas around new keyword discovery and help clients with a word analytics solution to measure word appearances, frequency and rank of words on websites.