Right off the bat, this week’s episode is fraught with tension: Apparently, a long time ago, in what was surely a seedy Boston dive bar, Jeff promised to do some pro bono whittling for Francis but never delivered. (Jeff does a lot of woodworking in his spare time, but surely all of you Above the Fold diehards already knew that.)
Luckily for us ATF faithful, the guys patch things up quickly and move forward. There’s probably a content marketing lesson to be gleaned there. For the life of me, I can’t think of what that might be, though.
Anyway, strike up the banjo!
The Google walkout: What happens next?
In case you haven’t heard, Google workers recently orchestrated a mass walkout to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct cases involving some high-ranking employees. Around one-fifth of Google’s entire global staff participated in the walkout, causing ripples far beyond Mountain View.
After some back-and-forth banter regarding legal terminology – and Francis’ failings as a human dictionary – the boys dig into the long-term ramifications of the controversy and Google employees’ strong reaction to it.
They express some skepticism that Google’s weak response to these concerns will really help curb instances of sexual harassment and misconduct but are encouraged that companies are beginning to actually face real consequences for mismanaging such incidents.
Baker points out that in the aftermath of Facebook’s data breach, no company is too big to fail. It’s up to the tech industry to clean up its act and purge itself of the bad seeds that continue to make sexual misconduct an ongoing concern in Silicon Valley.
Is Google stealing your traffic?
Or, more precisely, is Google standing in the way of its users finding your content? It’s a bold claim, but bear with us: Over at Sparktoro, Rand Fishkin recently published some of the clickstream data he compiled with the help of Jumpshot. For content creators, Fishkin’s findings were a little disheartening: Mobile no-clicks increased 11 percent and desktop no-clicks rose 9.5 percent over the last 36 months.
What does that all mean? Well, as Jeff helpfully explains, a no-click is when someone conducts a search query but doesn’t click on any of the results. So, across the board, Google users are not actually clicking on first-page search results as much as they used to. That begs the question: Why? If Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving to show the most relevant information possible, shouldn’t no-click rates be trending downward?
According to Fishkin, and the guys tend to agree with his assessment, the answer has to do with the emergence of Google Answer Boxes, Rich Snippets and other information that Google places within SERPs, eliminating the need to click through to the original sources. Google is scraping web content to answer search queries themselves.
Even if you land on the coveted first page – or, let’s be honest, the top three listings – Google may be steering eyeballs away from those links.
What’s a content creator to do? Jeff – with a little help from Fishkin – recommends using Moz or other keyword tools to research click-through rates on specific search queries and weed out those that suggest the associated SERPs are too cluttered to really draw attention to your page.
Meanwhile, self-described wet blanket Francis is concerned that this is just the beginning of Google’s nefarious plan to undercut content creators and provide the answers and info that users are looking for before they make the jump to your site.
Bottom line: Google is not your friend. The internet’s content is just a means to an end for them.
‘Tik Tok’ is here to dominate the world
To close things out, Fran and Jeff gab about the fastest growing social app in the world: Tik Tok. In the past three months, downloads increased 25 percent in the U.S. and 20 percent across the globe, with the number of active users swelling to 130 million.
So, what is this new kid on the block that’s going toe to toe with the Snapchats and Instagrams of the world? There’s nothing really Earth-shattering here: The app allows people to record slow-motion music videos of themselves to share with friends and other Tik Tok users.
The question that content marketers need to ask themselves is if this is a viable social channel for their brand. Keep in mind that Tik Tok users tend to skew toward younger demographics (Jeff and Fran get a distinct Vine vibe from the app).
B2C brands may find a good fit here, but for B2B companies, Tik Tok’s probably only valuable to build awareness around your brand persona.
Context-free quote of the week:
“Even cavemen, man, they wanted the hammer. That was the new technology. Really excited about that new wooden hammer with the stone. It’s going to be so much better – 20-percent faster hitting the elephant on the head!”