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Not just usability, but usefulness

Consumers gravitate toward brands that deliver what they need, so be there, be useful, and be quick.

Consumers gravitate toward brands that deliver what they need.17 Google itself in its analysis of micro-moments stresses these three things:

  • Be there: Anticipate the micro moments for your target audience, and commit to being there to help when those moments occur
  • Be useful: Provide a digital experience that’s relevant to consumers’ needs in the moment, and quickly connect people to the answers they’re looking for
  • Be quick: Accommodate the “need for speed”: buyers are often in a hurry, and want to know, go, and buy fast18

65%

of surveyed smartphone users agree that when conducting a mobile search, they look for the information that is most relevant, regardless of the company providing it. Source: Think with Google

Customers self-serve not only through content searches in Google but surfacing the right content quickly in a company’s help center to meet their needs. Another component of smart content is algorithmic restructuring, which refers to the dynamic nature of search results and related articles on a site with the goal of always returning the most useful answers. An article can change position in search results over time based on what users are clicking on as well as the ratings that article is given, i.e., what content customers find useful. Search engines also look at content usefulness when ranking content in search results, in addition to uniqueness and relevance.19

62%

of surveyed buyers say there is too much content that is not useful (33%) or not relevant (29%) Source: IDC/IDG Connect via Marketing Interactions

In terms of recommended content, algorithmic restructuring ensures that relevant, unread content is featured in the related articles section of a page. In a survey published in February 2016, it was found that 47% of B2B consumers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, highlighting the importance of giving customers the ability to find and navigate through multiple pieces of content as they research a product.20 Traditionally, more web pages would have to be created to accommodate different user activity, but the algorithm automatically updates content presentation based on this information. Links are also created automatically, as opposed to having to manually create links for each page. This establishes the authority Google and other search engines are looking for when retrieving content to return search results.21

The algorithmic restructuring aspect of smart content can also be related to the way the brain works. As humans consume and learn information, they cross-reference and make connections with their existing knowledge to store the new information in their mental folders, creating learning pathways.22 Actual neural circuits are altered in the brain.23 Similarly, as users navigate through smart content, their experiences on the site are retained and the algorithm works to advance learning pathways through content delivery. This can potentially lead customers to discovery of new products and services as well. Analytics of customers’ paths through content can enable content creators to identify articles needing updating, raise the profile of other useful content, and pre-determine useful information pathways for different personas based on user activity.

 


  1. The Basics of Micro-Moments, Google, 2016; and Adams, Burkholder, and Hamilton, Micro- Moments, Google, 2015.
  2. SEO Guide: Content and Search Engine Success Factors, Search Engine Land.
  3. 2016 Content Preferences Survey Report: B2B Buyers Value Trustworthy Content with Data and Analysis, DemandGen, February 2016.
  4. Dean, We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results, 2016.
  5. Gene Van Tassell, Neural Pathway Development, Brains.org; and Bruno Dubuc, “Plasticity in Neural Networks,” The Brain from Top to Bottom, McGill University.
  6. Van Tassell, Neural Pathway Development.
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