How to Win Friends and Influence Google

How to Win Friends and Influence Google

“Engagement” is a nebulous term referring to everything from social indicators to brand recognition to customer loyalty. In this post, when we say engagement, we mean the degree to which the design and content of your website are able to draw in and hook your visitors. In Google Analytics terms, this means page views, visit duration, bounce rate and returning visitors. In a nutshell, we’re talking about the amount of time visitors spend on your site and their tendency to return.

While more time spent on your site doesn’t necessarily translate directly to a higher conversion rate, it probably does mean that your visitor found value, has a positive impression of your brand and is more likely to return. Which, over time, increases the odds that casual visitors will convert to customers or subscribers.

There’s speculation that Google considers engagement, specifically bounce rate, in search engine result page (SERP) rankings. Matt Cutts, who heads the webspam team at Google, has said that Google does not consider bounce rate. Bounce rate data, he says, is too “noisy” to be a reliable indicator of engagement. But high-quality sites are engaging and engaging sites tend to be of higher quality, so it’s seems likely that Google is trying to crack this problem. Until they do, most of the things that engage your visitors also help with your SEO.

Things you can do to promote user engagement and make Google like you.

Open Strong

A 2012 eye-tracking study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology suggests that a website gets less than two-tenths of a second to make a first impression. When a visitor comes to your site for the first time, you have to let her know immediately that she’s in the right place.

  • A clean, professional design establishes credibility, and helps your visitor quickly process your message.
  • A compelling image or graphic leaps out and grabs user attention in those first crucial moments and communicates on a different level than text alone. Images evoke strong, immediate emotional responses.
  • A succinct, clever headline communicates almost as quickly as an image, but with more precision. It’s your opportunity to let your visitor know he’s found what he was looking for and compel him to explore your content further.

With regard to SEO, the page layout algorithm improvement signaled that Google rewards sites that show content immediately, without ads and clutter at the top of the page. It’s also worth mentioning that while keyword density has lost much of its clout with Google (and can even hurt your SEO efforts if overplayed), keyword usage in headlines is still a characteristic of high-ranking sites. This according to two independent 2013 studies of search engine ranking factors: Moz’s 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors and Searchmetrics’ SEO Ranking Factors 2013.


SEO professionals have speculated for a while that search engines would begin to factor social signals as an indicator of content quality and authority. Both the Moz and Searchmetrics studies suggest this is happening. A high number of mentions on social media (particularly Google +1s) is a characteristic strongly correlated with high search rankings. Both studies are careful to point out that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, although content with strong social signals tends to rank highly in search, that doesn’t mean its rank is the result of social media.

With regard to engagement, we’re more likely to try something if it’s recommended by a trusted friend or colleague. Because of the value we expect based on our friend’s recommendation, we’re more likely to both click the link and give that content or product a chance, even if it doesn’t immediately appeal to us,

Be Verbose

Writing for the web has been guided by an intuitive wisdom to “Be Succinct.” The premise being that readers found on-screen text cumbersome and reading it unpleasant. Short and sweet still holds true on a certain level (Exhibit A: Twitter). However, technological advances, along with nearly two decades of acclimation to the medium, mean it’s no longer a given that your online audience prefers short content.

Over the last couple years, products like Pocket, Instapaper and Readability and sites like Longreads and The Atavist have found success catering to the demand for long-form online writing. And the principle extends to marketing copy. Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, tested lead generation with 488 words vs. 1,292 words on the homepage of his blog. The long-form version converted 7.6% better. A split test by UX gurus 37signals found that, compared to a condensed version, a long-form sales page increased signups 37.5%!

Google, too, seems to like longer content. Both the Searchmetrics study and a study by serpIQ found a positive correlation between higher word count and higher SERP ranking. Of course, this effect has limits. Your 10,000-word blog post isn’t guaranteed first position in search results. The sweet spot appears to be 500 to 1,500 words.


Break it Down

Especially important with longer texts, scannable content helps your visitors find what they came for and reduces the likelihood they’ll bounce to search elsewhere. Pages with plenty of subheadings and a sprinkling of lists are easier to digest, more visually appealing and are disproportionately represented at the top of search results.

  • Use lots of headings and subheadings
  • Write short paragraphs
  • Highlight key phrases with bold or italic text
  • Make lists

See how easy that was?

The things that improve your site’s search ranking are the same things that keep visitors coming back.

Some SEO techniques are faddish and may even be damaging in the long run (we’re looking at you, keyword density). We don’t have to guess at what Google will reward or devalue with the next update. Each tweak and refinement of the search algorithm is aimed at improving the ratio of high-value sites at the top of the results. We know what Google wants. It’s the same thing consumers of online media want.

Quality content on an appealing and functional website is a future-proof SEO strategy.

Quit Monkeying Around! Join the Zoo.

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Do you know the three R’s of successful project management?

They are real time, relationship and responsibility. These three R’s of project management can transform an idea into a successfully completed project. When planning a project it is important to give real time schedules in which a project can be finished. To do this, it’s important to make a plan of action. You want to include when will the project start, how long it will take, review points, due date and finalizing with the client.

Maintaining a positive, cooperative relationship with co-workers and clients is also essential to quality project management. Good communication is the key to these relationships. Take a few minutes to email, call and keep the other team members and the client informed about the current project stage.

Assigning individual responsibilities for the tasks and taking responsibilty for the overall project can be the difference between success and failure! Your name is on you work. Do a job that you want to stand behind. Not all projects succeed, but they do teach us about our weaknesses, strengths and where to improve. Practicing the three R’s of project management is your stepping stone to success.

Project management is a dynamic and multifaceted discipline that requires skillful navigation in a variety of domains. From time management to relationship building and taking on leadership roles, the foundational pillars of project management are rooted in the ability to balance and coordinate tasks to ensure a project’s success. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or new to the field, understanding the complexities of time, relationships, and responsibilities is essential in any project’s execution. In this article, we will explore some key insights and strategies to help you excel in these three critical areas of project management.

As a project manager, one of the most important responsibilities you have is managing time expectations. With time being one of the most limited resources we have, it's essential that projects are completed on time and within budget. This can be a challenge, but with proper planning, it's possible to give realistic schedules in which a project can be finished. Planning a project is a key part of managing time expectations. You want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what the project entails, who will be involved, and what resources will be needed. Once you have a good understanding of the project, you can begin to develop a plan of action. Your plan should include when the project will start, how long it will take, review points, due dates, and finalizing with the client. It's important to break the project down into manageable tasks and assign responsibilities to team members. This ensures that everyone knows what they are responsible for and can work towards a common goal. When developing your plan, it's important to take into account potential roadblocks that could arise during the project. It's unrealistic to expect everything to go smoothly, so be sure to build in some flexibility into your schedule. This will allow you to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and still keep the project on track. Regular review points throughout the project are crucial to managing time expectations. This allows you to keep track of progress, identify any areas where things are falling behind, and make adjustments as needed. By staying on top of the project throughout its lifecycle, you can avoid any surprises that could impact the timeline. Another important step to managing time expectations is to set due dates and communicate them clearly. Make sure all team members know when their tasks are due, and build in ample time for review and feedback. By setting due dates, you can ensure that the project stays on track and that everyone is working towards the same deadlines. Finally, it's important to finalize the project with the client. This is when you will deliver the finished product or service and get feedback. Make sure that the client understands the timeline and is on board with the schedule. If there are any changes or delays, be sure to communicate them clearly. In conclusion, managing time expectations in project management is a critical task. By planning the project properly, breaking it down into manageable tasks, building in flexibility, setting due dates, and communicating clearly with the client, you can ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Remember to stay on top of progress and make adjustments as needed. By doing so, you'll be able to deliver successful projects that meet or exceed customer expectations.

Maintaining a positive, cooperative relationship with co-workers and clients is essential to quality project management. Successful project management cannot be achieved without effective communication, and strong communication skills are the key to building solid professional relationships. To be successful in any project management endeavor, project managers must put in the effort to maintain strong relationships with all stakeholders involved, including fellow team members and clients. First and foremost, good communication is fundamental to building cooperative relationships. Communication is more than just exchanging information; it is about connecting with others. Effective communication is about understanding the emotions and intentions behind the information being shared. When communication is practiced adequately, it is possible to build strong relationships with team members and clients. There are many ways to build good communication with co-workers and clients. One way is to take a few minutes to send an email, give a call or send a text with updates about the project. Keeping the other team members and clients in the loop about the current project stage not only helps maintain a positive relationship but is essential to effective project management. In addition to keeping team members informed, it is equally important to listen actively when communicating with them. Active listening means making a conscious effort to hear and interpret what the speaker is saying. It is an essential tool for fostering open communication and building robust professional relationships. Another way to establish a cooperative relationship with co-workers and clients is to practice empathy. By putting yourself in the other peoples' shoes and understanding their point of view, it is possible to build trust and establish a rapport that leads to effective communication. Empathy is also an important trait to have when working on projects, and it can be essential for identifying and addressing any concerns the team may have. Setting realistic expectations and following through on commitments is another key to maintaining strong professional relationships. Establishing clear timelines and keeping the team and clients informed of the progress of the project can help to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications. Furthermore, it shows that the project management team is committed to delivering quality work on time. In conclusion, maintaining positive and cooperative relationships with co-workers and clients is essential to quality project management. Good communication is the key to building these relationships, and communicating through various channels, such as emails, texts, and phone calls, is necessary to keep all stakeholders informed. Active listening, empathy, setting expectations and following through on commitments are all essential skills that can help to establish and maintain strong professional relationships. Remember, effective project management is about more than just getting the job done; it is also about building and maintaining relationships that enable everyone to work efficiently and effectively.

As a project manager, your reputation is on the line with every project you oversee. To ensure that you are consistently delivering quality work, it is essential to create an atmosphere of responsibility in your team. Whether you're just beginning your career as a project manager or are a seasoned professional, the following tips will help you achieve this goal. Firstly, it is important to establish clear roles and expectations for each member of your team. This will help everyone understand their individual responsibilities and what is expected of them in terms of contributing to the project's success. Being transparent with your team members will give them a sense of ownership to execute their tasks with care and consideration. Secondly, it's important to conduct periodic check-ins with individual team members to evaluate their progress and provide them with feedback. Frequent communication will allow for any issues to be addressed promptly, and it will also ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the project's progress. Another key aspect of creating responsibility in project management is to lead by example. As the project manager, your actions will significantly impact your team's behavior. When your team sees that you are taking responsibility for your work, they will be more likely to do the same. It's also essential to demonstrate integrity and honesty in all of your dealings. Additionally, making sure that everyone has access to project-related data is important. This equates to having a clear understanding of what is happening on the project in real-time. Evidently, regular updates, progress reports and status updates will work best for all stakeholders. Finally, the most crucial element of ensuring responsibility in project management is developing a team culture based on accountability. To achieve this, you should strive to create an environment that encourages your team members to take ownership of their work, hold themselves accountable for their actions, and commit to doing their best to achieve excellent results. In conclusion, project management is not easy, and it requires an excellent level of commitment and responsibility. It is vital to establish clear goals and expectations, monitor progress consistently, take responsibility for your own work, and lead by example. By doing this, you will cultivate a team culture of responsibility that will lead to successful projects and a successful career as a project manager. Remember, ultimately your name is on your work, and your reputation hangs on your ability to be a responsible and capable project manager.

In conclusion, mastering the three R's of Project Management (time, relationships, and responsibility) is essential to ensure project success. Time management skills ensure timely delivery of the project, developing positive relationships with team members and stakeholders improve collaboration and communication, and taking responsibility can foster a sense of ownership and accountability. These skills also translate well into other areas of life. Remember, managing projects can be challenging, but developing these skills can go a long way in making the process smoother for everyone involved. So, start mastering these R's today and take your projects to the next level!

About Dylan Hurd