18 May 2022
7 Things Big Tech Platforms Won’t Tell You!
1. Algorithms Aren’t Designed to Get You Traffic
An algorithm is a sequence of defined steps or rules to accomplish a task or solve a problem.
Every computerised device relies on algorithms to function, and each search engine or platform has its own. For example, Google Maps can instantly direct you from London to Paris with its route-finding algorithm. But, this performs in an entirely different way than the LinkedIn algorithm when delivering content that may interest the user.
Over the years, algorithms learn to favour the audience and user experience rather than the publisher. So when a brand publishes content on a social platform, it must realise that the algorithm isn’t designed to find users for that content; instead, the algorithm is designed to find content for the user. Therefore, understanding user behaviour is key to content success, and 91% of content published on the internet doesn’t receive any traffic. Ensuring your content is optimised for search engines can make the difference; this is where SEO audits and a monthly SEO strategy will help to propel your content into the relevant eyes and ears. Understanding user intent, interest, behaviour and how the algorithms work makes all the difference.
Algorithms function to understand what the audience is looking for by assessing several factors; for example, LinkedIn will look at who you have engaged with previously or the type of content you like or share, the algorithms then find similar content with signals that infer specific content is popular and then serve it to more relevant users.
Not staying up to date with algorithm updates might mean limiting your success. For your content to succeed, user behaviour should be at the forefront of all of your ideas when planning content strategies, writing content, creating design work etc. If the content doesn’t resonate with the user or is not quality, unique and well-optimised content, you will be limiting your success.
If you’re still unsure of how important user experience is or you’re not yet persuaded that you have to follow every algorithm update, this might convince you:
- 53% of mobile visitors leave a page that takes longer than just 3 seconds to load
- A whopping 88% of online shoppers wouldn’t return to a website after a bad user experience
It’s safe to say it pays to keep an eye on Google’s updates.
2. Algorithms Can Make or Break Your Business
Striking with the algorithm theme, sudden or monumental updates can undo all of your hard work and impact your business or digital performance quite severely – you’ll be surprised how often changes happen. But, bear in mind that this looks different for every business.
Some businesses might notice a loss in YouTube views or a lower engagement for a LinkedIn post, while others will face the brunt of a sudden update in a drop in rankings or a loss of website revenue.
A platform with many highly criticised updates in the last few years is Instagram. In 2019, Trust Insights analysed 1.4 million Instagram posts from 3,600 brand profiles. In April of that year, user engagement was 1.54%, but three months later, it dropped to 0.9%.
Instagram influencers faced a similar reduction in engagement, with stats showing a fashion influencers engagement rate dropping from 4.3% in February 2019 to 2.4% by June 2019.
Some marketers think too many ads drove people away, but others believe it was the changes to the order of its ‘feed’.
Some previous Google algorithm updates that disrupted users not following best practices were:
- Google, 2011, Panda Algorithm Update: assigned a ‘quality score‘ to all webpages.
- Google, 2015 – 2020, Mobile Friendly: focus on mobile devices, to now a mobile-first approach as of 2020.
- Instagram, 2016, User-Based Ranking: changed its ‘feed’ from chronological order to user engagement ranking.
- YouTube, 2015 – 2016, User Satisfaction: the video site optimised for satisfaction rather than views and watch time.
If we had to select some core principles to make sure algorithms don’t get the better of your marketing efforts, we’d say:
- diversify your work i.e. don’t put your eggs all in one basket and think multi-channel
- stay up-to-date with platform trends
- implement best practices from the get-go
- analytics checks should be part of your routine
- perform regular digital marketing audits.
3. More Subscribers and Followers is the Answer to Better Promotion
Don’t get hung up on subscribers and followers. Yes, they can be important and can help with content distribution. But these metrics aren’t the be-all and end-all. Not by any means.
You might already have a following that you should be proud of, but your content and digital marketing strategy should revolve around ideas to reach new audiences. LinkedIn only shows your content to 10 to 15% of your existing following and on average, 60% of video content lands in front of new audiences. So don’t get hung up on subscribers and followers. Instead, focus on great, unique content. If it’s the same old infographic or blog that every brand competitor is publishing, it will be a waste of your time.
You will also need a great distribution strategy. Creating an amazing piece of content and leaving it hidden on your website blog, hoping new audiences stumble upon it won’t work. Share it on all relevant channels, from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and beyond. Remember every social platform has a different audience, and the bigger your scope, the better.
4. Paying for Ads Doesn’t Buy Loyalty
For some organisations paid ads are a must, whether to acquire new customers, leads, signups or generate reach for content.
While paid ads benefit many businesses, they don’t buy you customer loyalty, whereas building your digital assets via organic channels often has more longevity. Organic often has the higher numbers as well and, on average, 27% of web traffic comes from paid ads, whereas organic traffic is around 53%.
Paying your way to success doesn’t cut it anymore. If you rely only on new users to convert via PPC campaigns then as soon as you switch off the campaign you would expect to see a dramatic drop. Furthermore, there is more risk of a competitor entering the market and bidding at a higher cost per click. Anyone can start a campaign and pay to get to the top of results if they have enough budget; however, knocking a website off the top of organic search results is much harder and can take months if at all.
That said, PPC is a strong addition to your marketing mix. But, if you do run paid ads, don’t rest on them alone and simultaneously spend time working across multiple channels.
It’s also beneficial to carry out regular PPC audits to make sure that if you ARE spending money, you’re getting the most bang for your buck and not aimlessly bidding money away.
5. A Page 1 Ranking Doesn’t Mean Move On…
So, you’ve been working on your SEO for months and results are starting to show. It’s easy to start getting excited about your new position or page one ranking, but what happens when you make it?
Remember that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It might take months to achieve the rankings you want, but if you stop the work when you get there, you risk wasting all your hard work. Here are some key stats to explain why SEO maintenance is vital:
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 75% of people never scroll past page one of the results
- 86% of people ignore paid ads and scroll straight to the organic results
- 67% of all clicks occur from the first five organic results
- Search engines leads have a 14.6% close rate – compared to outbound leads at 1.7%
There are many reasons why you could be bumped from your Google throne if you stop ongoing SEO work:
- Your competitors will still be grinding away
- Google can change its ranking criteria or algorithms
- Google highly values regular updates
- You will miss out on new opportunities
- You could encounter lots of issues with technical SEO
Think of SEO as an ongoing battle to maintain your position.
6. Platforms are Growing – But So Is Content
The popularity of social platforms continues to grow at rapid rates. The success of newer channels such as TikTok has shown us this isn’t going to slow down any time soon. So when platforms claim they are growing, whilst that may be true, remember, so is the amount of content being shared!
Many social platforms have reached – or are about to reach – peak audience numbers, but content production isn’t slowing:
- 2 million+ articles, videos and posts are published every day on LinkedIn
- 56 million WordPress blog posts are published every month
- 500+ hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every hour, equating to 720,000 hours every day!!
- 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily!
…we can’t even make sense of Google’s insane numbers.
With that in mind, brands are constantly searching for ways to stand out from the crowd. Competitors are upping their game, too, producing more top-quality content than ever.
So how will YOU grab those users?
For any chance of success, every piece of written content, design piece or video that you produce should be;
- comprehensive (especially if SEO based)
- has a purpose; educate or entertain
- have a unique angle
- excellent visual design
Without those elements, it’s easy to drown in the internet’s growing ocean of content.
7. More Content is Not Always the Answer; Quality Over Quantity
You may be sensing a bit of a running theme. Producing content and pushing out any old slapdash work just so you’re posting SOMETHING isn’t a marketing tactic, and it certainly doesn’t equal more views.
Aside from producing a stellar piece of content, there’s a lot of love and aftercare needed for a piece of content to be successful.
Before getting your hands dirty with creating and producing content, create a post-production delivery plan for your editorial schedule. This must be a well-thought-out data-led strategy to ensure content doesn’t get lost in the abyss.
Post-publishing execution plans should include:
- Influencers/partners to tag
- Events to hijack
- Optimisation opportunities i.e. keywords / hashtags / links etc.
- Advocacy plan for building important (quick) engagement
More so than posting piece after piece every day, focus on a consistent and steady stream of top quality to the optimum channels, and channel some of your hours into optimising existing content as well as writing new pieces.
Each week you should be searching the archives for content that you can improve and expand on to make it better and more comprehensive than any competitor piece on the internet. You might find if a piece is considerably old, it can be optimised with a new target keyword in mind that has a higher organic search volume, which would be beneficial for your SEO strategy and rankings.
Your content, social channels and blog should work in harmony and synchronicity.
Getting the right content to the right audience is far more beneficial than daily posting for posting’s sake.
As well as being entertaining or educational, content is to be skimmable and focused around call-to-actions and user engagement, or else why are you posting?
SeventhElement’s success formula has been distilled over many years; covering all elements – combining creative thinking, content, activation & digital marketing auditing to deliver results that matter to you.
Our team are experts in content marketing, SEO and PPC, with ample experience to fertilise your digital home; drop us a line.