What do you need to know about ‘responsive content marketing’?

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When content marries with mobile, mobile will truly excel.

At the moment, content is universal. You do some research, get the lightbulb moment and then write an article. You publish this to the web and, hey presto, it’s available on desktop, tablet and smartphone.

The content itself will soon be responsive though. Text will actually change depending upon the device. Content will adjust automatically just as a responsive website would adjust to the device it is being displayed on.

Articles will be much shorter and concise on small mobile screens, with more bullet points. On desktop, the full version will be available.

Content needs to be responsive in order to serve users better.

Some apps have already gained popularity in this sphere. Yahoo! bought Summly which is kind of an app version of responsive content marketing.

Duplicated content

With all these versions of responsive content how will search engines deal with duplicate content issues? Well, the answer lies in Google’s latest developments – artificial intelligence (AI) and RankBrain.

Google will soon be able to discover strong entity connections between content and keywords. As content is published it will note the devices too. Engines will know that content is from one domain and it has various versions for each device, just like a responsive web site. It will then plug this information into its 3D index, which Panda already sits on.

Why would search engines invest in responsive content?

Publishers and technology companies have united to form faster loading mobile webpages in a project called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This is a step in the right direction for mobile. Our attention span is much shorter on mobile because of the busy environment we are often in when we are holding the device. Responsive content marketing aids this.

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Responsive content marketing will truly segment and personalise the mobile journey to create an even more comfortable experience.

Google has recently got clever with mobile by adding Tap Now to Google Now. Google Now is based on picking up on searches on multiple devices.

The next addition of Tap Now would be to add a responsive content layer so we can, at the hit of a button, pick up on content on the device of our choice and to enable content to be efficiently rendered on that device for the greatest possible user experience.

With Google’s clear support for mobile, it is only natural that this mining of content will merge with mobile: ‘responsive content marketing.’

I wrote this article to trigger some industry thoughts. Please share yours below.

Why companies create content – Part one: to create and change perception

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There’s a lot written about how to plan, publish and promote content, but much less on the reasons for doing so in the first place.

The majority of businesses know there’s a damn good reason for having branded social media profiles and regularly communicating with their audience about something other than their products, but actually pinpointing ‘why’ can often be difficult.

After reviewing the output of thousands of companies we’ve established seven core reasons for creating content. These can all be tied to genuine business objectives; tangible activities that can be tracked and contribute to the bottom line.

Working out the rationale for activity is often harder than actually getting on and doing it, but that’s where the heart of a solid strategy lies. Get that bit right and everything else should slot neatly into place.

Here is part one of our seven part series:

Part one: to create or change perception

Brand identity is one of the most powerful assets a business has. Maintaining a positive one can have a dramatic (albeit indirect) effect on revenue; the opposite also rings very true.

The content your company publishes acts as the public face, creating an instant impression to people arriving at your corner of the web. What you say and how you say it ultimately dictates who you are.

Traditional brands may want to show they’re still relevant in a modern market. Companies in competitive and homogenised industries (e.g. utilities, banking) can demonstrate differentiation to customers. Startups can upset the status quo, using their new kid on the block status to get people excited about how things should be.

While connecting ‘perception’ and ‘profits’ can be a bit finger in the air, correlating what you create online to peaks (and troughs) in sales allows you to see how and where content can make an impact.

A matter of taste

Coke vs. Pepsi is a battle as old as time itself – or at least since the 1970s. In the digital age, this is less about blind taste tests and more about #ShareACoke vs. the reinvigorated #PepsiChallenge.

One pushes the theme of family and friendships, one’s more about exciting experiences. While there’s crossover, these broad concepts offer a general sense of how these companies want people to feel when their brands pass through the conscience.

Can you guess which of these Instagram posts is from @cocacola and which was posted by @pepsi? Find the answer at the bottom of this article.

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When it comes to money, during the 2011 trial period of ‘Share A Coke’ in Australia, the company claim consumption jumped 7% among young audiences. That’s a hell of a lot of cola!

When asked “If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?” Jeremy Rudge, Creative Excellence Lead for Coca-Cola said:

“We’d probably spend a fraction of what we spent on TV. As I said, there wasn’t the confidence in social media then that there is now. “Share a Coke” showed that this new landscape was here. There is still a belief in the marketing world that you need to spend big on media to make sure people see your ideas, but we have proved that you can focus your resources on building ideas people want.”

Note specifically that he says “see your ideas” not “buy your products” – people don’t need to be told to buy a Coke, they need to be fed with content to support the idea that it’s a beverage that fits with their lifestyle.

Creating effortless presence

Rolls-Royce have been making the world’s best motor cars since the early 20th Century. They’re one of the most desirable brands on the planet and have developed an online audience that’s the envy of others.

CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös talks about the business in a very bold way:

“Nobody needs a Rolls-Royce. It’s a luxury good at the end of the day and you are deciding about it as you decide on a very precious watch, jewellery, a chalet in the Swiss Alps, something which you enjoy and which you buy to reward yourself for certain achievements in life.”

The vast, vast majority of their global audience can only ever dream of sitting in a Rolls-Royce, let alone owning one. So why do they commit resources to building content to fuel an online presence?

This isn’t about shifting units, it’s about building an army of enthusiasts and maintaining Rolls-Royce’s status at the pinnacle of the luxury market. They want those travelling in their vehicles to see passers-by giving them a thumbs up, not a middle finger.

They create aspirational associations with cool people like Lewis Hamilton, Sienna Miller and Labrinth, share footage from track events and art exhibitions, and photograph cars beside marinas with a backdrop of superyachts.

It would be easy to dip into the archives and show off iconic cars from the company’s illustrious history. But this is a new era for Rolls-Royce, one where they’re trying to appeal to captains of football clubs just as much as they are heads of state.

Content is geared towards removing a feeling of inaccessibility, inviting people ‘Inside Rolls-Royce’ to marvel at the methods and materials used, offering a sense of the unfathomable number of bespoke combinations available to buyers.

Together as a collective stream, this content paints a picture of who today’s Rolls-Royce owners are, with a view to planting a seed with people that they may one day join this exclusive club.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffett

What is it you want people to think when they come across your content. If you treat everything you produce as part of a collective set rather than as individual pieces, over time you’ll be able to shape positive attitudes and influence opinions.

PS: The picture above was from Pepsi, the one below from Coca-Cola.

As an aside to this seven part series, check out Ayima’s free DIY Content Marketing Strategy ecourse, designed to help improve the ROI of your content.

Google integrates Panda into the core ranking algorithm

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You may have followed the various murmurings on Twitter and beyond about a possible algorithm update from Google. Certainly the data seemed to suggest that something was happening.

It was rumoured to be the much anticipated Penguin 4.0 update, but it turns out that there has been a new roll-out of Panda, and it’s a biggie.

This time around Google has made Panda part of its core ranking algorithm, meaning that it will be paying more attention to site quality signals than ever before.

Google confirmed the update to Jennifer Slegg over at The SEM Post.

Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.

This seems straight-forward, though Google’s Gary Illyes has sown some confusion with this reponse to a question on Twitter from Pete Myers of Moz.

@dr_pete what?! No no, it was just the core ranking stuff, no panda

— Gary Illyes (@methode) January 12, 2016

Jennifer published a super comprehensive guide to Panda yesterday, and has updated it to include some further pointers from Google.

A few takeaways:

Websites affected by Panda can still rank, if they have pages of outstanding quality:

“The Panda algorithm may continue to show such a site for more specific and highly-relevant queries, but its visibility will be reduced for queries where the site owner’s benefit is disproportionate to the user’s benefit.”

If you’re worried Panda then you need to compare and contrast:

“If you believe your site is affected by the Panda algorithm, in Search Console’s Search Analytics feature you can identify the queries which lead to pages that provide overly vague information, or don’t seem to satisfy the user need for a query.”

You need to stop thinking about the volume of visits, and focus on being useful:

“At the end of the day, content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”

Build some new paths, rather than trying to cover up your tracks:

“Instead of deleting those pages, your goal should be to create pages that don’t fall in that category: pages that provide unique value for your users who would trust your site in the future when they see it in the results.”

This puts to bed a lot of the chatter about Penguin 4.0, but proves the effectiveness of a bunch of SEO tools, which did a good job of detecting activity.

I’d seen a bunch of comments the week after Christmas, with various people suggesting that they had seen some ranking changes. But there was nothing definitive.

Dawn Anderson then raised a flag late last week, pointing to data from Algoroo, which showed a lot of dramatic movement.

More perspective on SERPs flux. Bonkers. Maybe multiple things going on by looks of it – just my thoughts tho pic.twitter.com/bLl4pwrDCR

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) January 10, 2016

Other SEO experts started to speculate. Dan Petrovic said that it looked like “a multi-purpose update”, and one that was happening across the world.

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(Image credit: Dejanseo)

Barry Schwartz collated a bunch of other comments from the community and some more screenshots and data, from the likes of Mozcast.

UPDATE: Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that Panda is part of the core algorithm, but that this part of it hasn’t been updated.

@methode @jenstar @iqseo Hey Gary – ‘not’ suggests you *have* updated other animals? Or did you mean ‘nor’?

— Chris Lake (@lakey) January 13, 2016

In addition, while some sites may have experienced fluctuations recently, these have nothing to do with Panda.

International domain structures and SEO: what works best?

Businesses with multiple sites across different countries have a number of decisions to make on how they structure their various sites.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

In this post we’ll look at the different approaches using selected major corporations to show what type of domain structure strategy they use across their family of international sites.