October 10

The Weekly Briefing: When Data and Behavior Collide

Social Media Specialist Taylor Morgan shared the results of a decade-long eye-tracking study…
During a recent session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2016, vice president of business development at Mediative Chris Pinkerton revealed a significant shift in how we search. After collecting ten years of eye-tracking data, Pinkerton showed this defining image:

Source: Search Engine Land
Source: Search Engine Land

So, what does this mean for digital marketers?

  • Users are spending less time reading result descriptions and more time looking at their result options. Which means: Make sure the front end of your listing is compelling.
  • The Knowledge Graph is distracting people from clicking on the #1 organic listing. Which means: Being number one doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Set your sights on being on page one instead of being first on page one. Being in the top four is ideal.
  • When the map and local listings are above organic listings, the map and listings receive 47% more clicks. Which means: Make NAP consistency a priority.

The best explanation for this shift is the rise of mobile search, which has reconditioned searchers to scan information vertically, rather than horizontally – and not just on mobile devices. These results actually come from monitoring desktop screens, which indicates just one more way mobile is changing the way we search.

Senior SEO Specialist Josh Volk talked about how you can achieve “ranking zero”…
Just when you thought being number one was enough, Google trumps itself with “position zero,” more commonly known as the answer box. You know the box….

google answer box

The answer box usually appears for about 15% of search results. These boxes will appear in three different formats:

  • Paragraphs (63% of answer box results)
  • Lists (19%)
  • Tables (16%)

If you want your content to populate an answer box, be sure to format the content as you’d like it to appear (paragraph, list, or table), as well as keeping your language clear and concise.

So, what else do you have to do to appear in this newly coveted ranking zero?

  • Think of your content as answering a specific query and write it as, well, an answer to a question.
  • Google cares about accuracy, and so should you. If you want your website content to appear in the answer box, make sure it is factually sound.
  • Keep the idea of 10x content in mind. If another website is providing an answer to the query you want to appear for, make sure your answer is ten times better than the other results.

While the exact formula for appearing in the answer box is impossible to define, you can make major strides by focusing on and optimizing for question/answer scenarios.

Account Manager Britanny Gerdin explained how to improve digital strategies through data-driven marketing…
While search experiences are becoming more personalized, it’s important to make sure we aren’t discounting the value of hard data. Creating buyer personas and plotting out customer journey maps are helpful to understanding the buyer funnel, but those resources are less helpful when it comes to justifying budgets and improving customer retention and loyalty. Seeing the hard numbers for acquisition channels, cost per acquisition/conversion/click, site behavior, and information from heat maps will help you achieve both in a measurable way. Capturing data about your audience should be a priority in your digital marketing efforts, especially because it is so simple to aggregate and having your own data to work from is generally more telling than reading the latest trend report. Once you have a reasonable amount of data, you can go ahead and start to make small changes with your data insights, and continue to improve your strategies by monitoring results over time.