The first time someone tried to design a web page with a search engine algorithm in mind is lost to history, but we do know that since its beginnings in the early ‘90s SEO has grown from a siloed marketing activity with little love and Wild West tactics to an important piece in the art of building a modern brand in a digital world.
The history of SEO is in many ways a microcosm of the history of modern marketing, and provides lessons about not just where marketing has come from, but also where it’s headed in 2013 and beyond.
The world is becoming increasingly complex. There are more platforms, more devices, and more complexity than ever. Today’s digital interfaces aren’t as self evident as yesterday’s mechanical ones and, with more choices than ever, people won’t tolerate interfaces that aren’t elegant and intuitive. They’ll just go elsewhere for a better solution to their problems.
That’s why we need Human-Centered Design.
By understanding the needs, wants, perceptions and aspirations of our users, we can build better experiences.
While there are no shortcuts to building great experiences, here are a few small steps you can take toward humanizing your design process.
In a few weeks, Google Analytics is expected to roll out a new user interface. We were lucky enough to beta-test the new GA prior to its release, but before we give you the inside scoop on all the new features, we think its important to understand the reasoning behind some of the changes Google is making. It’s not just aesthetics. It’s not just a simple UX update. This time around, Google is substantially altering the way in which they’re presenting information, and if we know anything about Google, it’s that they don’t do anything without a purpose.
Google wants users to start thinking beyond just visits. They want people to account for the entire conversion funnel, how users behave on their site and how it all ties together. They want to help people move beyond just measuring overall traffic numbers by making conversion information more visible than ever before. It is clear that the focus of this update is to change the analytics paradigm in a forceful way. Google is done trying to educate people. Now they’re changing their product and forcing everyone to adapt.
September 23rd, 2013 – A day the SEO world won’t soon forget. Although Google has been weaning us off our keyword referring data since October 2011, earlier this month we learned that SSL encryption would be extended to all users regardless of whether or not they were signed in to any Google property.
In the new era of (not provided), we are forced to reexamine how we utilize analytics data to craft our marketing strategies. This change not only impacts SEO practitioners, but brand strategists, digital PR professionals, and any business owner who has a presence online; in other words: everyone.
Let’s face it: we just got dumped. Google gave us the “It’s not you. It’s me” and left us feeling cold and alone. Rather than sending melodramatic text messages at 3 a.m. and looking to adopt a cat to fill this void left by our beloved keyword data, it’s time for us to move on. Digital marketers are resilient and not unfamiliar with needing to pivot as times change and search engines evolve.
Last week, I had to dig up an old deck we’d created in 2011 to pitch Pinterest to our team internally. I’m sure you all know the drill – a new social platform appears and at first you don’t trust it… convinced it’ll die in a matter of weeks. Then, given it lasts past the 6-month honeymoon period, the distrust turns into simple skepticism. More time passes, and the stats and growing popularity give you no choice but to accept the channel as legit and consider it for your business. The deck reflected the skepticism period for Pinterest at Nebo. At the time, a platform made up of mostly visuals was a tough sell for anyone besides B2C brands that wanted to grab the attention of users with pretty pictures of products, etc.
But, as we all know, Pinterest would go on to prove us wrong. Its popularity grew at an exponential rate - since 2012, Pinterest users have increased by 145 percent. According to Nielson’s 2012 Social Media Report, Pinterest shows the most growth of all social platforms year-over-year at +1,047 percent. So, Pinterest isn’t going anywhere. But so many companies are still having a difficult time achieving their goals there.
I believe I've discovered why and the reason relates directly to lack of attention to social etiquette: Pinterest is interest-focused, whereas most other social channels are relationship-focused.
Take a look around Georgia and you’ll see peaches everywhere. Not real peaches, mind you – streets called Peachtree, peach-inspired logos, and shops selling peach pie and peach cobbler and peach pastries.
But did you know that Georgia isn’t the leading producer of peaches anymore? It hasn’t been for decades. Since taking the fruit world by storm around the time of the Civil War, Georgia has since lost its national crown to California and even fallen behind places like South Carolina and China.
So why is Georgia still known as the Peach State? Isn’t it a bit inauthentic? Is Georgia at risk of becoming the hole in the wall diner that claims to serve the world’s best coffee? Or the flailing tech company that was cutting edge 20 years ago but hasn’t innovated since?
Maybe it’s time for a change.