Googles Haircut – October 2015 Note
Google Haircut – I’ve been working hard to add a Woocommerce store to Curagami.com. I’m revisiting this post about recovery from a Google haircut to share a story. The story is about how we sometimes cut our own hair.
Creating content networked to others is different. The minute you publish your creations become OUR creations. OUR in this context is anyone and everyone. Marketers are so focused on earning support and loyalty from their 1%ers we’ve forgotten what it means to share content with the great unknown.
1% refers to how many of your visitors are likely to ever contribute User Generated Content (UGC). UGC is the best content you can’t buy because it is collaborative and comes with a built-in support network immediately greater than your tribe. When someone gives you content they support their gift. They bring their tribe to you.
The often overlooked KEY to all of this sing kumbaya collaboration is your URLs. Once a Universal Resource Locator (URL) is published it journeys toward the infinite. Your content is now OUR content to an extent you may never fully know, understand or realize. You may never realize until something goes wrong.
One BIG WAY things go wrong is when something you do monkeys with your Universal Resource Locators. Change those URLs, the once that were slouching toward infinity yesterday, and suddenly you understand the web’s interconnected nature. When we installed Woocommerce we generated almost 500 404 (page not found) errors.
Neat trick considering we have less than 300 posts. How can 300 pages / posts generate almost 500 404s? How can less than 300 pages show more than 2,000 pages index by Google? Let’s answer both questions one at a time.
Sharing content on social media creates new URLs. Embed a link in a Tweet and blow up the posted URL to get credit for two 404s – the core page that is now blowing up AND the Tweet with the embedded link. You fix both by redirecting the broken URL to an unbroken one.
If your content is shared your blow up those links too, but they are using your link not embedding it into another URL the way Twitter and other social tools like G+ and Scoop.it will. Social links with embedded URLs are why Curagami’s less than 300 pages generated almost 500 404s.
Use the site:yoururl.com to see how many pages Google’s spider “sees” when it crawls your site. My 300 pages are generating more than 2,000. Why? I can explain this apparent disparity in two ways: internal search and Scoop.it feeds.
Your internal search engine, if it is not in your Robots.text file, may dynamically create new versions of your content. You don’t want that (typically) so unless you are using search to generate category pages placing search results away from the spider is a good idea. I haven’t done this and shame on me (will fix soon).
I’m curating several of my Scoop.it feeds into Curagami:
This content is duped from my Scoop.it feeds. I need to tell the spider NOT to search this content for the purpose of indexing. I can do that by placing the associated URLs in the Robots.txt file as “no follow” links.
So take note. Woocommerce may blow up your URLS as it did mine. In my case, and this is not unusual btw, there is more than one thing going on. Fixing my 404s will take DAYS. If you experience our Whoops page accept my apology and promise we are working on the short and long term fixes and be careful with your URLs.
Everything Is Harder
Suddenly everything online seems harder. Or there may be a slow drip with energy and value leaking out seemingly unrecoverable. Google’s algorithmic haircuts hurt no matter how realization dawns. This post is about how to recover, regain and reposition your website after traffic, conversions and money are dealt an injury by an algorithm.
Take 5 easy steps and your website will be on the road to recovery:
- Stop, Wait & Listen.
- Analytics Deep Dive.
- Create New KPIs.
- Back In To Blue Oceans.
- Create Community.
Stop, Wait, Listen
If your Panguin chart looks like the one above STOP the marketing you’ve been doing. More of the same will make the fire burning your website worse. Penguin is a cool free Google analytics overlay.
Listen with Panguin and connect with algorithm changes that caused damage:
Analytics Deep Dive
Now that you have a rough idea about tactics that were causing trouble it is time to do an analytics deep dive. You MUST know your website’s 80:20 Rules (20% of something usually controls 80% online). Key 80:20 Rules to know include:
- 20% of Products = 80% of your sales.
- 20% of brands = 80% of your sales.
- 20% products / brands = 80% of your profits.
- 20% of internal links (homepage) getting 80% of clicks.
- 20% of customers buying 80% of your products.
- 20% of traffic sources driving 80% of your traffic.
- 20% of marketing generating 80% of your converting traffic.
- 20% of your channels driving 80% of your profits.
Profits and sales don’t always come from the same group. Some products you may NEED to sell to be “in the game”. This “cost of poker” products quickly explain what business you are in, but you aren’t going to put your children through college on profits from their sales.
Know what products pay your bills. Know what products and brands make your profits and you can begin to dig your way out. The same rule is true for customers too. Some customers are a joy. They love you, you love them and you are singing off the same sheet of music.
ASK those customers to HELP.
Create an “Ambassador Program”. You don’t have to call your “buzz team” “Ambassadors”, but formalize a way for those who love you to help. Publish your program. Link it off your home page and refer to it regularly on your social feeds. Better yet, curate content from Ambassadors to your website and social feeds.
Ambassadors work for inclusion and recognition. Don’t attempt to buy on incentivize LOVE, but do provide REWARDS. Read Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink for more insight into why to pay for play is not a good Ambassador motivation.
Create New KPIs
Since whatever you were doing before got you into a mess it is time to do something new. Best way to insure you do NEW things is change your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We suggest adding social KPIs. Tracking your social following tells you when your messages resonate and when they don’t.
Communication that gains shares and followers = do more of. Communication that loses or angers followers = do less of. If you aren’t tracking Facebook likes, Twitter followers and G+ conversations you aren’t “digitally listening”. Digitally listening is an important skill and one we created a Haiku Deck to explain:
Social Media: It’s The conversation, stupid – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Back In To Blue Oceans
We love Kim’s book Blue Ocean Strategy even as we admit some of it washed over us like the philosophy we read in college. Since imagining blue oceans like what Cirque du Soleil did to “circus” is hard we discussed backing into one at a recent FedEx Ecommerce Summit in Atlanta using this Haiku Deck presentation:
Web Marketing Strategy vs Tactics – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Applying trends such as application (mobile), gamification and social shopping you DECREASE what you were doing that was making the Google Gods angry and increase chances of finding “uncontested” space, of finding a blue ocean.
The easiest tip to write and the hardest one to actually DO is create sustainable online community. “Sustainable” means you are making more than creating your community is costing you (and good luck creating those KPIs since attribution is a bear). Here are our favorite ways to create community:
- Follow Back More Than 50% of your followers.
- Curate “follower” content into your website and social nets (with permission and attribution).
- Create an “Ambassador” Program.
- Ask for help & be specific.
- Create profiles for important resources, Ambassadors and other helpful people, places and things.
- Take a real risk and invest yourself.
- Listen, curate and reward.
Connection is the new economy, so learn to share, ask for help and listen in order to regrow hair cut by Google.
Connection: The New Ecommerce – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires