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Neil Patel: How to Navigate Marketing Around Search and Social Algorithms
Search and social media algorithms are constantly evolving, making it crucial for marketers to stay up-to-date and adjust their strategies accordingly. Neil Patel, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of NP Digital, breaks down how to navigate the ever-changing landscape and how you can beat each algorithm.
Algorithms Are Not the Bad Guys
It’s easy to use “the algorithm” as a convenient scapegoat for marketing woes. But, take a step back and consider a world where it doesn’t exist. Without an algorithm, everyone would be served every single piece of content — the good, the bad, and the irrelevant. “You like algorithms. Algorithms aren’t the issue. The real problem is, there's not really any transparency with the algorithms,” Patel adds. So as marketers, how do we solve for the lack of transparency? By using Patel’s formula for algorithm success:
Success = Algorithm Signals x (Learnings + What People Can’t Ignore)
Breaking Down the Formula
Patel dives deeper into each component of the formula. Algorithm Signals are what each platform tells you — like Google SEO recommendations on backlinks or how we know that YouTube favors user watch history and video engagement. These signals aren’t new or revolutionary and should already be incorporated into your digital strategy.
Learning refers to information gleaned from your own audience. To Patel, “this is how you keep evolving over time.” Have you realized certain times or days of the week resonate more with your audience than others? Do some types of content tend to provide higher engagement? It’s essential to know your audience and continue to ask and analyze what works.
Finally, What People Can’t Ignore — what’s the special sauce? People can’t overlook the power of a good brand. To platforms like Google, this signals that the content being put out is most likely to be relevant, reputable, and engaging — which pushes that content higher up in search results. How do you build up your brand? Winning awards, offering free tools, and hosting events are a few recommendations from Patel.
How To Beat Each Social Media Platform’s Algorithm
Armed with this formula, you can best each platform’s algorithm with Patel’s social media specific hacks:
- YouTube: It’s crucial to engage viewers within the first 24 hours of posting a video. Send out an email blast along with push and SMS notifications during the first three or four hours after posting the video to boost visibility.
- LinkedIn: Good content is key, but good content with thought provoking comments attached to it is even better. Meet people, build a network, and notify them when you’re posting. Ask them to leave a comment within the first four hours of your post.
- TikTok: Comments are king on TikTok. Ask questions in your videos and have followers respond via comments to encourage more discussion on posts while boosting visibility.
- Facebook: Longer form video content (around five minutes) that keeps viewers on the platform performs better than short form. Make sure the content is of high quality.
- Instagram: Users prefer live content, but it’s an underutilized feature. Go live twice a week with dynamic content to increase engagement.
- Google: Create and curate your brand. When your brand gets searched on the platform it shows you have a loyal base and are more likely to put out useful, reputable information.
Building A Community
Unlocking social media algorithms is a great way to grow, but how do you sustain that? Building an email list. This can come in more standard forms like using contact pages and quizzes, offering tools and ebooks or more-involved tactics like co-marketing. Partner with other like-minded brands to provide customers with added value while allowing you to tap into different audiences.
It’s a turbulent world out there in the ever-changing landscape of search and social media algorithms. But you can weather the storm by focusing on learning from your audience, building an unforgettable brand across multiple platforms, and staying in-tune with platform signals.