Tagged: Reputation Legal

The legal side of Reputation Management

The Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics 0

Posted by tombennet

When it comes to direct traffic in Analytics, there are two deeply entrenched misconceptions.

The first is that it’s caused almost exclusively by users typing an address into their browser (or clicking on a bookmark). The second is that it’s a Bad Thing, not because it has any overt negative impact on your site’s performance, but rather because it’s somehow immune to further analysis. The prevailing attitude amongst digital marketers is that direct traffic is an unavoidable inconvenience; as a result, discussion of direct is typically limited to ways of attributing it to other channels, or side-stepping the issues associated with it.

In this article, we’ll be taking a fresh look at direct traffic in modern Google Analytics. As well as exploring the myriad ways in which referrer data can be lost, we’ll look at some tools and tactics you can start using immediately to reduce levels of direct traffic in your reports. Finally, we’ll discover how advanced analysis and segmentation can unlock the mysteries of direct traffic and shed light on what might actually be your most valuable users.

What is direct traffic?

In short, Google Analytics will report a traffic source of “direct” when it has no data on how the session arrived at your website, or when the referring source has been configured to be ignored. You can think of direct as GA’s fall-back option for when its processing logic has failed to attribute a session to a particular source.

To properly understand the causes and fixes for direct traffic, it’s important to understand exactly how GA processes traffic sources. The following flow-chart illustrates how sessions are bucketed — note that direct sits right at the end as a final “catch-all” group.

Broadly speaking, and disregarding user-configured overrides, GA’s processing follows this sequence of checks:

AdWords parameters > Campaign overrides > UTM campaign parameters > Referred by a search engine > Referred by another website > Previous campaign within timeout period > Direct

Note the penultimate processing step (previous campaign within timeout), which has a significant impact on the direct channel. Consider a user who discovers your site via organic search, then returns via direct a week later. Both sessions would be attributed to organic search. In fact, campaign data persists for up to six months by default. The key point here is that Google Analytics is already trying to minimize the impact of direct traffic for you.

What causes direct traffic?

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually many reasons why a session might be missing campaign and traffic source data. Here we will run through some of the most common.

1. Manual address entry and bookmarks

The classic direct-traffic scenario, this one is largely unavoidable. If a user types a URL into their browser’s address bar or clicks on a browser bookmark, that session will appear as direct traffic.

Simple as that.

2. HTTPS > HTTP

When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page, no referrer data is passed, meaning the session appears as direct traffic instead of as a referral. Note that this is intended behavior. It’s part of how the secure protocol was designed, and it does not affect other scenarios: HTTP to HTTP, HTTPS to HTTPS, and even HTTP to HTTPS all pass referrer data.

So, if your referral traffic has tanked but direct has spiked, it could be that one of your major referrers has migrated to HTTPS. The inverse is also true: If you’ve migrated to HTTPS and are linking to HTTP websites, the traffic you’re driving to them will appear in their Analytics as direct.

If your referrers have moved to HTTPS and you’re stuck on HTTP, you really ought to consider migrating to HTTPS. Doing so (and updating your backlinks to point to HTTPS URLs) will bring back any referrer data which is being stripped from cross-protocol traffic. SSL certificates can now be obtained for free thanks to automated authorities like LetsEncrypt, but that’s not to say you should neglect to explore the potentially-significant SEO implications of site migrations. Remember, HTTPS and HTTP/2 are the future of the web.

If, on the other hand, you’ve already migrated to HTTPS and are concerned about your users appearing to partner websites as direct traffic, you can implement the meta referrer tag. Cyrus Shepard has written about this on Moz before, so I won’t delve into it now. Suffice to say, it’s a way of telling browsers to pass some referrer data to non-secure sites, and can be implemented as a <meta> element or HTTP header.

3. Missing or broken tracking code

Let’s say you’ve launched a new landing page template and forgotten to include the GA tracking code. Or, to use a scenario I’m encountering more and more frequently, imagine your GTM container is a horrible mess of poorly configured triggers, and your tracking code is simply failing to fire.

Users land on this page without tracking code. They click on a link to a deeper page which does have tracking code. From GA’s perspective, the first hit of the session is the second page visited, meaning that the referrer appears as your own website (i.e. a self-referral). If your domain is on the referral exclusion list (as per default configuration), the session is bucketed as direct. This will happen even if the first URL is tagged with UTM campaign parameters.

As a short-term fix, you can try to repair the damage by simply adding the missing tracking code. To prevent it happening again, carry out a thorough Analytics audit, move to a GTM-based tracking implementation, and promote a culture of data-driven marketing.

4. Improper redirection

This is an easy one. Don’t use meta refreshes or JavaScript-based redirects — these can wipe or replace referrer data, leading to direct traffic in Analytics. You should also be meticulous with your server-side redirects, and — as is often recommended by SEOs — audit your redirect file frequently. Complex chains are more likely to result in a loss of referrer data, and you run the risk of UTM parameters getting stripped out.

Once again, control what you can: use carefully mapped (i.e. non-chained) code 301 server-side redirects to preserve referrer data wherever possible.

5. Non-web documents

Links in Microsoft Word documents, slide decks, or PDFs do not pass referrer information. By default, users who click these links will appear in your reports as direct traffic. Clicks from native mobile apps (particularly those with embedded “in-app” browsers) are similarly prone to stripping out referrer data.

To a degree, this is unavoidable. Much like so-called “dark social” visits (discussed in detail below), non-web links will inevitably result in some quantity of direct traffic. However, you also have an opportunity here to control the controllables.

If you publish whitepapers or offer downloadable PDF guides, for example, you should be tagging the embedded hyperlinks with UTM campaign parameters. You’d never even contemplate launching an email marketing campaign without campaign tracking (I hope), so why would you distribute any other kind of freebie without similarly tracking its success? In some ways this is even more important, since these kinds of downloadables often have a longevity not seen in a single email campaign. Here’s an example of a properly tagged URL which we would embed as a link:

https://builtvisible.com/embedded-whitepaper-url/?…_medium=offline_document&utm_campaign=201711_utm_whitepaper

The same goes for URLs in your offline marketing materials. For major campaigns it’s common practice to select a short, memorable URL (e.g. moz.com/tv/) and design an entirely new landing page. It’s possible to bypass page creation altogether: simply redirect the vanity URL to an existing page URL which is properly tagged with UTM parameters.

So, whether you tag your URLs directly, use redirected vanity URLs, or — if you think UTM parameters are ugly — opt for some crazy-ass hash-fragment solution with GTM (read more here), the takeaway is the same: use campaign parameters wherever it’s appropriate to do so.

6. “Dark social”

This is a big one, and probably the least well understood by marketers.

The term “dark social” was first coined back in 2012 by Alexis Madrigal in an article for The Atlantic. Essentially it refers to methods of social sharing which cannot easily be attributed to a particular source, like email, instant messaging, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

Recent studies have found that upwards of 80% of consumers’ outbound sharing from publishers’ and marketers’ websites now occurs via these private channels. In terms of numbers of active users, messaging apps are outpacing social networking apps. All the activity driven by these thriving platforms is typically bucketed as direct traffic by web analytics software.

People who use the ambiguous phrase “social media marketing” are typically referring to advertising: you broadcast your message and hope people will listen. Even if you overcome consumer indifference with a well-targeted campaign, any subsequent interactions are affected by their very public nature. The privacy of dark social, by contrast, represents a potential goldmine of intimate, targeted, and relevant interactions with high conversion potential. Nebulous and difficult-to-track though it may be, dark social has the potential to let marketers tap into elusive power of word of mouth.

So, how can we minimize the amount of dark social traffic which is bucketed under direct? The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic bullet: proper attribution of dark social requires rigorous campaign tracking. The optimal approach will vary greatly based on your industry, audience, proposition, and so on. For many websites, however, a good first step is to provide convenient and properly configured sharing buttons for private platforms like email, WhatsApp, and Slack, thereby ensuring that users share URLs appended with UTM parameters (or vanity/shortened URLs which redirect to the same). This will go some way towards shining a light on part of your dark social traffic.

Checklist: Minimizing direct traffic

To summarize what we’ve already discussed, here are the steps you can take to minimize the level of unnecessary direct traffic in your reports:

  1. Migrate to HTTPS: Not only is the secure protocol your gateway to HTTP/2 and the future of the web, it will also have an enormously positive effect on your ability to track referral traffic.
  2. Manage your use of redirects: Avoid chains and eliminate client-side redirection in favour of carefully-mapped, single-hop, server-side 301s. If you use vanity URLs to redirect to pages with UTM parameters, be meticulous.
  3. Get really good at campaign tagging: Even amongst data-driven marketers I encounter the belief that UTM begins and ends with switching on automatic tagging in your email marketing software. Others go to the other extreme, doing silly things like tagging internal links. Control what you can, and your ability to carry out meaningful attribution will markedly improve.
  4. Conduct an Analytics audit: Data integrity is vital, so consider this essential when assessing the success of your marketing. It’s not simply a case of checking for missing track code: good audits involve a review of your measurement plan and rigorous testing at page and property-level.

Adhere to these principles, and it’s often possible to achieve a dramatic reduction in the level of direct traffic reported in Analytics. The following example involved an HTTPS migration, GTM migration (as part of an Analytics review), and an overhaul of internal campaign tracking processes over the course of about 6 months:

But the saga of direct traffic doesn’t end there! Once this channel is “clean” — that is, once you’ve minimized the number of avoidable pollutants — what remains might actually be one of your most valuable traffic segments.

Analyze! Or: why direct traffic can actually be pretty cool

For reasons we’ve already discussed, traffic from bookmarks and dark social is an enormously valuable segment to analyze. These are likely to be some of your most loyal and engaged users, and it’s not uncommon to see a notably higher conversion rate for a clean direct channel compared to the site average. You should make the effort to get to know them.

The number of potential avenues to explore is infinite, but here are some good starting points:

  • Build meaningful custom segments, defining a subset of your direct traffic based on their landing page, location, device, repeat visit or purchase behavior, or even enhanced e-commerce interactions.
  • Track meaningful engagement metrics using modern GTM triggers such as element visibility and native scroll tracking. Measure how your direct users are using and viewing your content.
  • Watch for correlations with your other marketing activities, and use it as an opportunity to refine your tagging practices and segment definitions. Create a custom alert which watches for spikes in direct traffic.
  • Familiarize yourself with flow reports to get an understanding of how your direct traffic is converting. By using Goal Flow and Behavior Flow reports with segmentation, it’s often possible to glean actionable insights which can be applied to the site as a whole.
  • Ask your users for help! If you’ve isolated a valuable segment of traffic which eludes deeper analysis, add a button to the page offering visitors a free downloadable ebook if they tell you how they discovered your page.
  • Start thinking about lifetime value, if you haven’t already — overhauling your attribution model or implementing User ID are good steps towards overcoming the indifference or frustration felt by marketers towards direct traffic.

I hope this guide has been useful. With any luck, you arrived looking for ways to reduce the level of direct traffic in your reports, and left with some new ideas for how to better analyze this valuable segment of users.

Thanks for reading!

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Source: Moz

Interesting Tidbits From FTC’s Antitrust Win Against 1-800 Contacts’ Keyword Ad Restrictions 0

Over the course of about a decade starting in 2004, 1-800 Contacts entered into over a dozen settlement agreements with competitors, most of which mutually restricted both parties from buying keyword ads triggered to their competitor’s trademarks and sometimes requiring the use of negative keywords. The FTC challenged this practice as anti-competitive via the FTC’s administrative adjudication process. In a behemoth 215 page opinion peppered with annoying redactions, the ALJ agrees with the FTC. The opinion’s summary:

Complaint Counsel has met its burden of proving that the Challenged Agreements unreasonably restrain trade in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. Contrary to Respondent’s argument, FTC v. Actavis, 133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013), is not authority for the proposition that trademark settlement agreements are immune from antitrust scrutiny.

The evidence in this case demonstrates that the advertising restraints imposed by the Challenged Agreements cause harm to consumers and competition in the market for the sale of contact lenses online. This is sufficient to establish Complaint Counsel’s prima facie case that the agreements are anticompetitive. The evidence fails to prove that the Challenged Agreements have countervailing procompetitive benefits that outweigh or justify the demonstrated anticompetitive effects of the Challenged Agreements. Accordingly, the Challenged Agreements violate Section 5 of the FTC Act.

This opinion is chock-full of goodies. Normally I’d recommend reading the whole thing. However, at a hefty 215 pages, it would take you a long time to do so. Here are some of the highlights I saw.

Expensive Litigation. The ALJ summarizes the scope of this case:

Over 1,250 exhibits were admitted into evidence, 43 witnesses testified, either live or by deposition, and there are 4,554 pages of trial transcript. The Parties’ post-trial briefs, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, reply briefs and replies to proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law total 3,514 pages.

When I see numbers like this, I think $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ legal fees and expensive family vacations in Hawaii for the lawyers (and the experts).

Advertisers [Heart] Search Advertising. Keyword advertising is rampant among contact lens retailers. “Walmart, for instance, bids on somewhere under 5,000 keywords related to contact lenses.”

The opinion says, many times and in many ways, how 1-800 Contacts’ competitors love search advertising and want to do more of it. Google should get many good testimonials out of this. These quotes from AC Lens are typical of the opinion:

* “The reason AC Lens spends a large portion of its advertising budget on pay-per-click search advertising is that pay-per-click search advertising is ‘consistently the channel that [AC Lens] ha[s] found productive in terms of bringing in customers at an acquisition cost that [the company has determined] is consistent with [its] financial goals.’”

* “In the view of AC Lens, pay-per-click search advertising is the most effective and important marketing channel that AC Lens uses to grow its business. (Clarkson, Tr. 230 (pay-per-click “has been historically the lifeblood of [AC Lens’] growth.”); CX9039 (Clarkson, Dep. at 175-76 (search advertising has played a “tremendous role” in AC Lens’ success); CX9018 (Drumm, Dep. at 124-25); CX9018 (Drumm, Dep. at 124-25 (search advertising is particularly effective because it is high volume, in that it presents AC Lens with a high “[t]otal number of potential impressions.” The “volume from search is massive, so that’s why it’s the most important probably.”)).”

* “To AC Lens, search advertising is a particularly valuable type of advertising because it can be used to target customers who are specifically looking to purchase contact lenses. (CX9039 (Clarkson, Dep. at 173-75) (“[B]road-based marketing that does not target is inherently far less efficient in reaching a target audience. Search is beautiful in the sense that you get right in front of the customer who’s looking to buy your product, and you don’t pay unless they click on your ad. It’s a wonderful thing.”)). ”

grumpy cat search

Brand Value from Unclicked Search Ads

More testimonials come from retailers endorsing the brand value of running keyword ads even if they aren’t clicked:

* Walmart: “Walmart considered it useful to show its contact lens advertisements in search advertising results even when users did not click on the ads because showing ad impressions builds brand awareness and awareness that Walmart sells contact lenses.”

* LensDirect: “For LensDirect, having advertisements appear in responses to a search for 1-800 Contacts, even if the consumer does not click on the LensDirect ad, can improve LensDirect’s brand visibility. This helps LensDirect because “the more times people see LensDirect, the better chance there is of them becoming a customer one day.””

* Lens Discounters: “Bidding on 1-800 Contacts’ terms enabled Lens Discounters to generate ad impressions, so that even if consumers did not purchase from Lens Discounters, Lens Discounters was “able to get the Lens Discounters’ name in front of a large audience of potential customers.””

* Memorial Eye: “Memorial Eye believes it benefitted from having ads appear in response to searches for 1-800 Contacts, even if the consumer intended to navigate to 1-800 Contacts’ website, because doing so improved Memorial Eye’s brand recognition. ”

1-800 Contacts’ Keyword Bids on Its Own Trademarks

Trademark owners hate bidding on their own trademarks because they feel like they pay search engines for actual or prospective customers they already “bought” through other forms of advertising. Still, these bids are highly successful for 1-800 Contacts. Some of the details we learn:

* “About 75% of all paid search orders come through our trademark terms.”

* “In 2015, between 20 and 31% of 1-800 Contacts’ initial web orders came from users searching for 1-800 Contacts’ trademark terms…20% of initial orders came from “Paid Search on 1-800 CONTACTS Trademark” and 11% of initial orders came from “Natural Search.””

Not surprisingly, competition for bids on its branded keywords literally cost 1-800 Contacts money: “An August 7, 2007 analysis by Mr. Craven estimated that 1-800 Contacts may have lost around $426,000 in revenue to Lens.com, year to date, as a result of Lens.com ads appearing in response to searches for 1-800 Contacts’ trademarks….During the week ending September 22, 2007, 1-800 Contacts noted a 6% week over week drop in trademark paid search orders, relating this in part to competition from Vision Direct, which had been “advertising in the 2nd position on many of [1-800 Contacts’] branded terms in Google.””

Competitors’ Keyword Bids on 1-800 Contacts’ Trademarks

1-800 Contacts’ competitors definitely want a piece of the action 1-800 Contacts gets from its branded keywords:

* AC Lens:

AC Lens believes it could benefit from showing its advertisements to a person who entered a search query for “1-800 Contacts,” “[b]ecause we sell the same products and we sell them at a lower price.” (Clarkson, Tr. 378; CX9018 (Drumm, Dep. at 152) (“Bidding on their terms would provide us an opportunity to show those people that there’s an alternative.”); id. at 197 (“There are a lot of people that search for ‘1-800 Contacts’ from what we can tell via the keyword tool and other sources. Those are people who are most likely looking for contact lenses to purchase, and it would be definitely relevant and helpful to advertise our sites in that location.”)).

To AC Lens, it would be more valuable to show advertisements in response to search queries for 1-800 Contacts’ brand name terms than in response to search queries for the brand names of other online contact lens retailers because of “the price advantage that [AC Lens] enjoy[s]” relative to 1-800 Contacts. (CX9039 (Clarkson, Dep. at 156); see also Clarkson, Tr. 253 (“Also, there’s less value in advertising on, say a Vision Direct term because they’re in roughly the same price point, so there isn’t quite the same incentive for consumers to switch.”))….

AC Lens believes that some portion of people who search for 1-800 Contacts “would be interested in an offer [from AC Lens] that said, ‘[w]e’re 20 percent cheaper’” and that such message “would be a compelling proposition to consumers.”

* LensDirect: “During Mr. Alovis’ time as CEO of LensDirect, LensDirect’s bidding on 1-800 Contacts terms “absolutely” drove a significant amount of business for LensDirect.”

* Memorial Eye:

between January 2010 and December 2011, clicks on Memorial Eye ads appearing on search results pages following queries that included 1-800 Contacts’ branded queries accounted for 46% of Memorial Eye’s search-advertising related sales… Based on Google data analyzed by Dr. Evans, Memorial Eye had a higher click-through rate on ads displayed for 1-800 Contacts brand queries than for other queries. People who clicked also were more likely to buy from Memorial Eye than people who reached its website by entering other queries. Memorial Eye converted, or made an initial sale on, 11.25% of the clicks on matched ads, which was “almost twice as high a rate of conversions on 1-800 queries than on non-1-800 queries.”…Memorial Eye believes that implementing the negative keywords for 1-800 Contacts terms that 1-800 Contacts was asking Memorial Eye to implement “would destroy” its business because Memorial Eye obtained a large amount of sales from searches that included 1-800 Contacts related terms.

The opinion provides some interesting comparative detail about the keyword ad costs and performance for Memorial Eye and LensDirect:

Memorial Eye

 

 

 

 

 

LensDirect

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, LensDirect’s cost per conversion is noticeably higher, and conversion rate is noticeably lower, than Memorial Eye’s. The opinion doesn’t explain why. Two hypotheses that came immediately to mind: (1) the LensDirect data is later in time than the Memorial Eye data. This could mean that keyword ads got more competitive. It could also mean that retailers were willing to pay more because their profits soared due to manufacturers’ resale price maintenance (discussed below). (2) Perhaps there are differences in the two websites that makes it harder for LensDirect to convert.

LensDirect’s performance with the “1800contacts coupons” keywords also stands out because their performance is noticeably better than the other cited keywords–in the case of the exact match, less than 25% of the conversion costs of other listed keywords. Unfortunately for LensDirect, I suspect the traffic volume for this search term is tiny compared to the other terms.

1-800 Contacts’ Customers Are Overpaying

A reminder that 1-800 Contacts’ customers are probably overpaying. The opinion says succinctly: “1-800 Contacts on average has retail prices for contact lenses below independent ECPs and retail optical chains, but higher than mass merchants, club stores, and other online retailers.” Some more detail:

* “Online retailers generally offer lower prices than 1-800 Contacts. (Bethers, Tr. 3544-45; Murphy, Tr. 4119 (“There was a brand premium in this case; that is, typically we saw  1-800’s prices higher than many of the pure-play online sellers.”); CX0439 at 036 (“1-800 [Contacts] is the most expensive online retailer . . . .”); Alovis, Tr. 989 (“sometimes [1-800 Contacts is] selling something 20 percent over what [LensDirect is] selling, sometimes even more. It’s usually a wow factor when people look at our price point versus 1-800 Contacts’”); Holbrook, Tr. 1901 (“[Memorial Eye’s] prices were typically quite a bit less” than 1-800 Contacts’ prices); CX8003 (Mitha, Decl. at 001 ¶ 4) (“In general, 1-800 Contacts’ prices are higher than Lens Discounters’ by a significant amount. In the past, we have found that 1-800 Contacts’ prices were almost double Lens Discounters’ prices for some products.”)). Many consumers are not aware of the price discrepancy between 1-800 Contacts and its online competitors.”

* “In conducting its due diligence regarding its potential acquisition of 1-800 Contacts in 2012, Berkshire Partners’ investment analysis team concluded that “a sizeable segment” of consumers were uninformed about lower-priced options for purchasing contact lenses online.”

Worse, it appears that resale price maintenance has hurt consumers. Due to resale price maintenance imposed by manufacturers starting in 2014, “discount sellers (online retailers and club stores) had to increase their prices substantially, by roughly 20 to 25%, on many of the affected products.” I wonder if the FTC is going to look into this issue too?

What’s Next for This Case?

This ALJ opinion is comprehensive, exhaustively cited, and thoughtful. As painful as it was to read a 215 page opinion, this opinion was well-crafted and surprisingly readable. The factual findings are well-presented and not favorable to 1-800 Contacts, something that will likely dog 1-800 Contacts throughout the rest of the case.

1-800 Contacts has already indicated it will appeal the decision. The appeal goes to the FTC Commissioners, of which there are only two out of the normal five. I don’t know what to expect at that stage. Regardless of the commissioners’ decision, the case will surely proceed to federal court.

Case citation: In the Matter of 1-800 Contacts, Inc., Docket No. 9372 (FTC Off. of Admin. L. Judges Oct. 27, 2017)

Case library: The FTC maintains a page with all of the public filings in this case. Here’s a selected library of materials:

* ALJ opinion

* Some expert reports and related material: Howard HoganDr. William LandesProf. Rebecca Tushnet SlidesDr. Evans’ Slides. Dr. Susan Athey’s slides (see the exhibit).

* Respondent’s Second Corrected Pretrial BriefBlog post: 1-800 Contacts Charges Higher Prices Than Its Online Competitors, But They Are OK With That–FTC v. 1-800 Contacts

* Complaint Counsel’s Corrected Pre-Trial Brief and Exhibits. Blog post: FTC Explains Why It Thinks 1-800 Contacts’ Keyword Ad Settlements Were Anti-Competitive–FTC v. 1-800 Contacts

* FTC Complaint from Aug. 2016. Blog post: FTC Sues 1-800 Contacts For Restricting Competitive Keyword Advertising

 


Source: Eric Goldman Legal

How to Write Marketing Case Studies That Convert 0

Posted by kerryjones

In my last post, I discussed why your top funnel content shouldn’t be all about your brand. Today I’m making a 180-degree turn and covering the value of content at the opposite end of the spectrum: content that’s directly about your business and offers proof of your effectiveness.

Specifically, I’m talking about case studies.

I’m a big believer in investing in case studies because I’ve seen firsthand what happened once we started doing so at Fractl. Case studies were a huge game changer for our B2B marketing efforts. For one, our case studies portfolio page brings in a lot of traffic – it’s the second most-visited page on our site, aside from our home page. It also brings in a significant volume of organic traffic, being our fourth most-visited page from organic searches. Most importantly, our case studies are highly effective at converting visitors to leads – about half of our leads view at least one of our case studies before contacting us.

Assuming anyone who reads the Moz Blog is performing some type of marketing function, I’m zeroing in on how to write a compelling marketing case study that differentiates your service offering and pulls prospects down the sales funnel. However, what I’m sharing can be used as a framework for creating case studies in any industry.

Get your client on board with a case study

Marketers shy away from creating case studies for a few reasons:

  1. They’re too busy “in the weeds” with deliverables.
  2. They don’t think their results are impressive enough.
  3. They don’t have clients’ permission to create case studies.

While I can’t help you with #1 and #2 (it’s up to you to make the time and to get the results deserving of a case study!), I do have some advice on #3.

In a perfect world, clients would encourage you to share every little detail of your time working together. In reality, most clients expect you to remain tight-lipped about the work you’ve done for them.

cobert-gif.gif

Understandably, this might discourage you from creating any case studies. But it shouldn’t.

With some compromising, chances are your client will be game for a case study. We’ve noticed the following two objections are common regarding case studies.

Client objection 1: “We don’t want to share specific numbers.”

At first it you may think, “Why bother?” if a client tells you this, but don’t let it hold you back. (Truth is, the majority of your clients will probably feel this way).

In this instance, you’ll want your case study to focus on highlighting the strategy and describing projects, while steering away from showing specific numbers regarding short and long-term results. Believe it or not, the solution part of the case study can be just as, or more, compelling than the results. (I’ll get to that shortly.)

And don’t worry, you don’t have to completely leave out the results. One way to get around not sharing actual numbers but still showing results is to use growth percentages.

Specific numbers: “Grew organic traffic from 5,000 to 7,500 visitors per month”

Growth percentage: “Increased organic traffic by 150%”

We do this for most of our case studies at Fractl, and our clients are totally fine with it.

Client objection 2: “We don’t want to reveal our marketing strategy to competitors.”

A fear of giving away too much intel to competitors is especially common in highly competitive niches.

So how do you get around this?

Keep it anonymous. Don’t reveal who the client is and keep it vague about what niche they’re in. This can be as ambiguous as referring to the client as “Client A” or slightly more specific (“our client in the auto industry”). Instead, the case study will focus on the process and results – this is what your prospects care about, anyway.

Gather different perspectives

Unless you were directly working with the client who you are writing the case study about, you will need to conduct a few interviews to get a full picture of the who, what, how, and why of the engagement. At Fractl, our marketing team puts together case studies based on interviews with clients and the internal team who worked on the client’s account.

The client

Arrange an interview with the client, either on a call or via email. If you have multiple contacts within the client’s team, interview the main point of contact who has been the most involved in the engagement.

What to ask:

  • What challenge were you facing that you hired us to help with?
  • Had you previously tried to solve this challenge (working with another vendor, using internal resources, etc.)?
  • What were your goals for the engagement?
  • How did you benefit from the engagement (short-term and long-term results, unexpected wins, etc.)?

You’ll also want to run the case study draft by the client before publishing it, which offers another chance for their feedback.

The project team

Who was responsible for this client’s account? Speak with the team behind the strategy and execution.

What to ask:

  • How was the strategy formed? Were strategic decisions made based on your experience and expertise, competitive research, etc.?
  • What project(s) were launched as part of the strategy? What was the most successful project?
  • Were there any unexpected issues that you overcame?
  • Did you refine the strategy to improve results?
  • How did you and the client work together? Was there a lot of collaboration or was the client more hands-off? (Many prospective clients are curious about what their level of involvement in your process would look like.)
  • What did you learn during the engagement? Any takeaways?

Include the three crucial elements of a case study

There’s more than one way to package case studies, but the most convincing ones all have something in common: great storytelling. To ensure you’re telling a proper narrative, your case study should include the conflict, the resolution, and the happy ending (but not necessarily in this order).

We find a case study is most compelling when you get straight to the point, rather than making someone read the entire case study before seeing the results. To grab readers’ attention, we begin with a quick overview of conflict-resolution-happy ending right in the introduction.

For example, in our Fanatics case study, we summarized the most pertinent details in the first three paragraphs. The rest of the case study focused on the resolution and examples of specific projects.

fanatics-case-study.png

Let’s take a look at what the conflict, resolution, and happy ending of your case study should include.

The Conflict: What goal did the client want to accomplish?

Typically serving as the introduction of the case study, “the conflict” should briefly describe the client’s business, the problem they hired you to work on, and what was keeping them from fixing this problem (ex. lack of internal resources or internal expertise). This helps readers identify with the problem the client faced and empathize with them – which can help them envision coming to you for help with this problem, too.

Here are a few examples of “conflicts” from our case studies:

  • “Movoto engaged Fractl to showcase its authority on local markets by increasing brand recognition, driving traffic to its website, and earning links back to on-site content.”
  • “Alexa came to us looking to increase awareness – not just around the Alexa name but also its resources. Many people had known Alexa as the site-ranking destination; however, Alexa also provides SEO tools that are invaluable to marketers.”
  • “While they already had strong brand recognition within the link building and SEO communities, Buzzstream came to Fractl for help with launching large-scale campaigns that would position them as thought leaders and provide long-term value for their brand.”

The Resolution: How did you solve the conflict?

Case studies are obviously great for showing proof of results you’ve achieved for clients. But perhaps more importantly, case studies give prospective clients a glimpse into your processes and how you approach problems. A great case study paints a picture of what it’s like to work with you.

For this reason, the bulk of your case study should detail the resolution, sharing as much specific information as you and your client are comfortable with; the more you’re able to share, the more you can highlight your strategic thinking and problem solving abilities.

The following snippets from our case studies are examples of details you may want to include as part of your solution section:

What our strategy encompassed:

“Mixing evergreen content and timely content helped usher new and existing audience members to the We Are Fanatics blog in record numbers. We focused on presenting interesting data through evergreen content that appealed to a variety of sports fans as well as content that capitalized on current interest around major sporting events.” – from Fanatics case study

How strategy was decided:

“We began by forming our ideation process around Movoto’s key real estate themes. Buying, selling, or renting a home is an inherently emotional experience, so we turned to our research on viral emotions to figure out how to identify with and engage the audience and Movoto’s prospective clients. Based on this, we decided to build on the high-arousal feelings of curiosity, interest, and trust that would be part of the experience of moving.

We tapped into familiar cultural references and topics that would pique interest in the regions consumers were considering. Comic book characters served us well in this regard, as did combining publicly available data (such as high school graduation rates or IQ averages) with our own original research.” – from Movoto case study

Why strategy was changed based on initial results:

“After analyzing the initial campaigns, we determined the most effective strategy included a combination of the following content types designed to achieve different goals [case study then lists the three types of content and goals]…

This strategy yielded even better results, with some campaigns achieving up to 4 times the amount of featured stories and social engagement that we achieved in earlier campaigns.” – from BuzzStream case study

How our approach was tailored to the client’s niche:

“In general, when our promotions team starts its outreach, they’ll email writers and editors who they think would be a good fit for the content. If the writer or editor responds, they often ask for more information or say they’re going to do a write-up that incorporates our project. From there, the story is up to publishers – they pick and choose which visual assets they want to incorporate in their post, and they shape the narrative.

What we discovered was that, in the marketing niche, publishers preferred to feature other experts’ opinions in the form of guest posts rather than using our assets in a piece they were already working on. We had suspected this (as our Fractl marketing team often contributes guest columns to marketing publications), but we confirmed that guest posts were going to make up the majority of our outreach efforts after performing outreach for Alexa’s campaigns.” – from Alexa case study

Who worked on the project:

Since the interviews you conduct with your internal team will inform the solution section of the case study, you may want to give individuals credit via quotes or anecdotes as a means to humanize the people behind the work. In the example below, one of our case studies featured a Q&A section with one of the project leads.

The Happy Ending: What did your resolution achieve?

Obviously, this is the part where you share your results. As I mentioned previously, we like to feature the results at the beginning of the case study, rather than buried at the end.

In our Superdrug Online Doctor case study, we summarized the overall results our campaigns achieved over 16 months:

But the happy ending isn’t finished here.

A lot of case studies fail to answer an important question: What impact did the results have on the client’s business? Be sure to tie in how the results you achieved had a bottom-line impact.

In the case of Superdrug Online Doctor, the results from our campaigns lead to a 238% increase in organic traffic. This type of outcome has tangible value for the client.

You can also share secondary benefits in addition to the primary goals the client hired you for.

In the case of our client Busbud, who hired us for SEO-oriented goals, we included examples of secondary results.

Busbud saw positive impacts beyond SEO, though, including the following:

  • Increased blog traffic
  • New partnerships as a result of more brands reaching out to work with the site
  • Brand recognition at large industry events
  • An uptick in hiring
  • Featured as a “best practice” case study at an SEO conference

Similarly, in our Fractl brand marketing case study, which focused on lead generation, we listed all of the additional benefits resulting from our strategy.

How to get the most out of your case studies

You’ve published your case study, now what should you do with it?

Build a case study page on your site

Once you’ve created several case studies, I recommend housing them all on the same page. This makes it easy to show off your results in a single snapshot and saves visitors from searching through your blog or clicking on a category tag to find all of your case studies in one place. Make this page easy to find through your site navigation and internal links.

While it probably goes without saying, make sure to optimize this page for search. When we initially created our case study portfolio page, we underestimated its potential to bring in search traffic and assumed it would mostly be accessed from our site navigation. Because of this, we were previously using a generic URL to house our case study portfolio. Since updating the URL from “frac.tl/our-work” to “frac.tl/content-marketing-case-studies,” we’ve jumped from page 2 to the top #1–3 positions for a specific phrase we wanted to rank for (“content marketing case studies”), which attracts highly relevant search traffic.

Use case studies as concrete proof in blog posts and off-site content

Case studies can serve as tangible examples that back up your claims. Did you state that creating original content for six months can double your organic traffic? On its own, this assertion may not be believable to some, but a case study showing these results will make your claim credible.

In a post on the Curata blog, my colleague Andrea Lehr used our BuzzStream case study to back up her assertion that in order to attract links, social shares, and traffic, your off-site content should appeal to an audience beyond your target customer. Showing the results this strategy earned for a client gives a lot more weight to her advice.

On the same note, case studies have high linking potential. Not only do they make a credible citation for your own off-site content, they can also be cited by others writing about your service/product vertical. Making industry publishers aware that you publish case studies by reaching out when you’ve released a new case study can lead to links down the road.

Repurpose your case studies into multiple content formats

Creating a case study takes a lot of time, but fortunately it can be reused again and again in various applications.

Long-form case studies

While a case study featured on your site may only be a few hundred words, creating a more in-depth version is a chance to reveal more details. If you want to get your case study featured on other sites, consider writing a long-form version as a guest post.

Most of the case studies you’ll find on the Moz Blog are extremely detailed:

Video

HubSpot has hundreds of case studieson its site, dozens of which also feature supplemental video case studies, such as the one below for Eyeota.

Don’t feel like you have to create flashy videos with impressive production value, even no-frills videos can work. Within its short case study summaries, PR That Converts embeds videos of clients talking about its service. These videos are simple and short, featuring the client speaking to their webcam for a few minutes.

Speaking engagements

Marketing conferences love case studies. Look on any conference agenda, and you’re sure to notice at least a handful of speaker presentations focused on case studies. If you’re looking to secure more speaking gigs, including case studies in your speaking pitch can give you a leg up over other submissions – after all, your case studies are original data no one else can offer.

My colleague Kelsey Libert centered her MozCon presentation a few years ago around some of our viral campaign case studies.

Sales collateral

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, many of our leads view the case studies on our site right before contacting us about working together. Once that initial contact is made, we don’t stop showing off our case studies.

We keep a running “best of” list of stats from our case studies, which allows us to quickly pull compelling stats to share in written and verbal conversations. Our pitch and proposal decks feature bite-sized versions of our case studies.

Consider how you can incorporate case studies into various touch points throughout your sales process and make sure the case studies you share align with the industry and goals of whoever you’re speaking with.

I’ve shared a few of my favorite ways to repurpose case studies here but there are at least a dozen other applications, from email marketing to webinars to gated content to printed marketing materials. I even link to our case studies page in my email signature.

case study email.png

My last bit of advice: Don’t expect immediate results. Case studies typically pay off over time. The good news is it’s worth the wait, because case studies retain their value – we’re still seeing leads come in and getting links to case studies we created three or more years ago. By extending their lifespan through repurposing, the case studies you create today can remain an essential part of your marketing strategy for years to come.

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Source: Moz

Zazzle Loses Copyright Jury Verdict, and That’s Bad News for Print-on-Demand Publishers–Greg Young Publishing v. Zazzle 0

Greg Young Publishing licenses images for posters, many of which are beach- or surfing-themed. Zazzle users posted item listings that included the copyrighted images. Greg Young Publishing sued Zazzle. In a prior ruling, the court held that Section 512(c) applied to the photos in the online product listings, but not to the manufacture of goods bearing the image. Without Section 512 protection for the latter, the case proceeded to a jury trial.

The trial did not go well for Zazzle. It lost on all 35 counts of copyright infringement, and the jury awarded over $460,000 in statutory damages in amounts ranging from $200 to $66,800 per work. Five of the statutory damage awards were more than $30,000 per work, which is allowed only for willful infringement. In post-trial motions, Zazzle moved to limit those 5 statutory damages awards to $30,000 each because the plaintiff didn’t prove willfulness. The judge agreed, knocking those 5 awards down to $30,000 each.

What is Willfulness? Normally, willfulness is a rigorous scienter requirement. However, the Ninth Circuit has relaxed it substantially. The court recaps:

a copyright defendant may be liable for willful infringement if it fails to make any “attempt to check or inquire into” the copyright status of a design when it “has a general awareness” that the design might be unauthorized, or if the defendant uses “an approval process that never explicitly asks about copyrights at all,” or if the defendant deliberately sells infringing products after receiving a cease-and-desist notice.

Adapting this rule to UGC services, the court says:

receiving a takedown request for a specific unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work does not, without more, impute an objective suspicion that other instances of that same work exist on the service and are likewise unauthorized…Absent a takedown notice from a copyright owner identifying specific infringing copy, the service provider cannot know whether every particular copy is authorized or not

Zazzle Lacks Willfulness. The court observed that “Zazzle (1) adopted a policy against copyright infringement, (2) required its users to contractually warrant that each design’s use was authorized, (3) employed a large team to help enforce its policy, (4) responded to every one of Plaintiff’s takedown requests, and (5) made an effort to try to locate and remove additional infringements from Plaintiff’s catalogue.” Thus,

Drawing reasonable inferences in Planitiff’s favor, Zazzle’s conduct cannot be considered reckless or willfully blind. Whenever Plaintiff gave Zazzle notice of infringement, Zazzle responded. Planitiff’s closing arguments acknowledged Zazzle had a working anti-infringement system. Dkt. 147 at 116:8-11 (“[GYPI is] asking you to get Zazzle to do a better job.”) While that system admittedly could not address future infringement, it did have the ability to remove infringing material upon receipt of a takedown notice. And the Ninth Circuit does not set the willfulness bar so low that it requires active monitoring for infringement in the online platform context.

Even in the light most favorable to Planitiff, the undisputed facts do not show recklessness. Zazzle indisputably reviewed product orders and employed dozens of people to combat infringement. Nor was there evidence to support “willful blindness.” Plaintiff elicited no testimony that Zazzle “believed that there is a high probability” of infringement of Plaintiff’s copyrights, and Plaintiff showed no “deliberate actions” by Zazzle “to avoid learning” about infringement. Both elements are required; Plaintiff showed neither at trial.

No caselaw supports a willfulness standard so low that a company with an active anti-infringement policy that took action against any alleged infringement—albeit upon receiving notice—is deemed to have acted recklessly or been willfully blind. This Court enters judgment as a matter of law that any infringement found by the jury was not “willful.”

The Injunction. Separately, the court issued a permanent injunction against further infringement of any copyrighted works enumerated on the joint trial exhibit list. Like I recently pondered in the context of a similar injunction against Sunfrog, a T-shirt print-on-demand publisher, how exactly will Zazzle operationally implement the injunction?

Because the copyrighted works are identified on the exhibit list, Zazzle can use the works to train image filters. Perhaps image-filtering technology has gotten good enough that it will find all subsequent instances of the works. Certainly filters are more likely to work here than in the Sunfrog case, where the injunction extended to “substantially similar” variations of the trademarked logos and phrases.

If the image filters can’t solve this problem, Zazzle will have to deploy humans against this problem, and they will have to prescreen Zazzle’s entire corpus of images, not some subset related only to the Greg Young Publishing images. Even so, throwing bodies at the problem does not ensure 100% compliance, no matter how much money Zazzle spends.

The injunction explicitly says Zazzle doesn’t need to be perfect. Quoting other cases, it says “absolutely perfect compliance is unattainable” and “If a violating party has taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to comply with the court order, technical or inadvert[e]nt violations of the order will not support a finding of civil contempt.” That’s nice, but what are “all reasonable steps” here, and how many “technical or inadvertent” mulligans will Zazzle be allowed before it’s in contempt? These are questions that Zazzle hopes it won’t have to answer, and certainly not in the context of a “show cause” hearing.

By way of comparison, the DMCA online safe harbor (17 USC 512(j)) explicitly limits the possible injunctions for user-generated content. However, 512 only protects Zazzle’s online listings, not its offline printing, so it doesn’t help Zazzle. Eventually, the print-on-demand industry may require its own legislative solution.

Implications. While the no-willfulness ruling nominally is good news for Zazzle, this case has produced both tactical and strategic losses for Zazzle. Zazzle must pay over $350,000 in damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs (the plaintiff is asking for $700k+ more). Implementing the injunction could be even more costly. Zazzle may need to buy new (or better) image filtering software and hire many new employees/contractors.

It bears reiterating that Zazzle must incur these costs and obligations despite all of the efforts it was already taking. The court recaps:

  • “Plaintiff did not argue that Zazzle had actual knowledge that it was infringing the works at issue.”
  • “Nor did Plaintiff present any evidence to show that ignored any infringement”
  • “Zazzle had an express policy against infringing activity.”
  • “Plaintiff presented no evidence of deviation from that policy.”
  • “Zazzle also required its users to contractually warrant and verify that they had the right to use each individual image.”
  • “Zazzle also employed 30 and 50 people to help Zazzle enforce its policy.”
  • “Plaintiff agreed that every time it brought potential infringements to Zazzle’s attention, Zazzle swiftly removed the alleged infringements.”
  • “Zazzle made a specific effort to try to remove all products that might potentially infringe Plaintiff’s copyrights by using keyword searches to try to find those products and remove them.”

These multitudinous efforts were not enough to defeat this lawsuit. So exactly what steps must Zazzle take to avoid future copyright lawsuits based on this plaintiff’s other works or other plaintiffs’ works? This ruling suggests that Zazzle must bat 1.000 or write substantial checks. That means the issues underlying this case are not only operational; they are potentially existential. Zazzle will probably figure something out, but I’m glad I’m not a Zazzle stockholder.

The docket activity suggests Zazzle plans to appeal. Given how bad this loss is, an appeal makes sense. But I sure hope they have some great arguments on appeal, or the appeal could lock in some really bad doctrines for the entire print-on-demand industry.

Reminder: we’ll be discussing operational issues related to this case at the Content Moderation and Removal at Scale Conference, Feb. 2, 2018, at Santa Clara University. We expect to run out of tickets, so if you plan to come, make sure to register ASAP.

Case citationGreg Young Publishing, Inc. v. Zazzle, Inc., 2017 WL 5004719 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 27, 2017)

Related posts:

Trademark Injunction Issued Against Print-on-Demand Website–Harley Davidson v. SunFrog
DMCA Safe Harbor Doesn’t Protect Zazzle’s Printing of Physical Items–Greg Young Publishing v. Zazzle
CafePress May Not Qualify For 512 Safe Harbor – Gardner v. CafePress
Cafepress Suffers Potentially Significant Trademark Loss for Users’ Uploaded Designs
Life May Be “Rad,” But This Trademark Lawsuit Isn’t–Williams v. CafePress.com
Print-on-Demand “Publisher” Isn’t Liable for Book Contents–Sandler v. Calcagni
Griper Selling Anti-Walmart Items Through CafePress Doesn’t Infringe or Dilute–Smith v. Wal-Mart
CaféPress Denied 230 Motion to Dismiss–Curran v. Amazon

Case library:

* Plaintiff’s request for attorneys’ fees
* October 2017 post-jury verdict injunction
* October 2017 ruling following jury verdict
* Jury verdict
* May 2017 ruling on DMCA safe harbor. My blog post.


Source: Eric Goldman Legal

Knowledge Graph Eats Featured Snippets, Jumps +30% 0

Posted by Dr-Pete

Over the past two years, we’ve seen a steady and substantial increase in Featured Snippets on Google SERPs. In our 10,000-keyword daily tracking set, Featured Snippets have gone from about 5.5% of queries in November 2015 to a recent high of just over 16% (roughly tripling). Other data sets, with longer tail searches, have shown even higher prevalence.

Near the end of October (far-right of the graph), we saw our first significant dip (spotted by Brian Patterson on SEL). This dip occurred over about a 4-day period, and represents roughly a 10% drop in searches with Featured Snippets. Here’s an enhanced, 2-week view (note: Y-axis is expanded to show the day-over-day changes more clearly):

Given the up-and-to-the-right history of Featured Snippets and the investments people have been making optimizing for these results, a 10% drop is worthy of our attention.

What happened, exactly?

To be honest, when we investigate changes like this, the best we can usually do is produce a list of keywords that lost Featured Snippets. Usually, we focus on high-volume keywords, which tend to be more interesting. Here’s a list of keywords that lost Featured Snippets during that time period:

  • CRM
  • ERP
  • MBA
  • buddhism
  • web design
  • anger management
  • hosting
  • DSL
  • ActiveX
  • ovulation

From an explanatory standpoint, this list isn’t usually very helpful – what exactly do “web design”, “buddhism”, and “ovulation” have in common (please, don’t answer that)? In this case, though, there was a clear and interesting pattern. Almost all of the queries that lost Featured Snippets gained Knowledge Panels that look something like this one:

These new panels account for the vast majority of the lost Featured Snippets I’ve spot-checked, and all of them are general Knowledge Panels coming directly from Wikipedia. In some cases, Google is using a more generic Knowledge Graph entry. For example, “HDMI cables”, which used to show a Featured Snippet (dominated by Amazon, last I checked), now shows no snippet and a generic panel for “HDMI”:

In very rare cases, a SERP added the new Knowledge Panel but retained the Featured Snippet, such as the top of this search for “credit score”:

These situations seemed to be the exceptions to the rule.

What about other SERPs?

The SERPs that lost Featured Snippets were only one part of this story. Over the same time period, we saw an explosion (about +30%) in Knowledge Panels:

This Y-axis has not been magnified – the jump in Knowledge Panels is clearly visible even at normal scale. Other tracking sites saw similar, dramatic increases, including this data from RankRanger. This jump appears to be a similar type of descriptive panel, ranging from commercial keywords, like “wedding dresses” and “Halloween costumes”…

…to brand keywords, like “Ray-Ban”…

Unlike definition boxes, many of these new panels appear on words and phrases that appear to be common knowledge and add little value. Here’s a panel on “job search”…

I suspect that most people searching for “job search” or “job hunting” don’t need it defined. Likewise, people searching for “travel” probably weren’t confused about what travel actually is…

Thanks for clearing that up, Google. I’ve decided to spare you all and leave out a screenshot for “toilet” (go ahead and Google it). Almost all of these new panels appear to be driven by Wikipedia (or Wikidata), and most of them are single-paragraph definitions of terms.

Were there other changes?

During the exact same period, we also noticed a drop in SERPs with inline image results. Here’s a graph of the same 2-week period reported for the other features:

This drop almost exactly mirrors the increase in Knowledge Panels. In cases where the new panels were added, those panels almost always contain a block of images at the top. This block seems to have replaced inline image results. It’s interesting to note that, because image blocks in the left-hand column consume an organic position, this change freed up an organic spot on the first page of results for those terms.

Why did Google do this?

It’s likely that Google is trying to standardize answers for common terms, and perhaps they were seeing quality or consistency issues in Featured Snippets. In some cases, like “HDMI cables”, Featured Snippets were often coming from top e-commerce sites, which are trying to sell products. These aren’t always a good fit for unbiased definitions. Its also likely that Google would like to beef up the Knowledge Graph and rely less, where possible, on outside sites for answers.

Unfortunately, this also means that the answers are coming from a much less diverse pool (and, from what we’ve seen, almost entirely from Wikipedia), and it reduces the organic opportunity for sites that were previously ranking for or trying to compete for Featured Snippets. In many cases, these new panels also seem to add very little. Someone searching for “ERP” might be helped by a brief definition, but someone searching for “travel” is unlikely looking to have it explained to them.

As always, there’s not much we can do but monitor the situation and adapt. Featured Snippets are still at historically high levels and represent a legitimate organic opportunity. There’s also win-win, since efforts invested in winning Featured Snippets tend to improve organic ranking and, done right, can produce a better user experience for both search and website visitors.

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Source: Moz