15th February 2023

Why you should worship your audience, not the algorithm

If you’ve dabbled in digital marketing in the last two decades, we’ve got a word that’ll get on your nerves: algorithms. Whilst we don’t mind them tailoring our Spotify recommendations, trying to keep up with their changing codes is like sprinting a marathon.

How can we create quality content if we’re keeping up with Google and Meta’s moving goalposts?

Feeling fed up with algorithms? Us too. We’ve been battling it out with algorithms since the nineties, but what if we told you there’s a way to win the war and make your life a little easier?

It's so simple you’ll be kicking yourself: just forget about the algorithm.

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Make like MrBeast and create for your audience, not algorithms

We imagine you’re all running around like Michael Scott, screaming ‘it’s happening!’ at the top of your lungs right now. Forget about the algorithm? Sure, call us crazy, but it’s exactly what you need to do to take your digital marketing to the next level.

We’re not the only ones saying it, either. Take Jimmy Donaldson, aka Mr Beast – the world’s 4th most subscribed YouTuber (he’s got 134 million subscribers – which means if his channel was a country, he’d have the 10th highest population in the world ahead of Mexico and behind Russia) who’s telling everyone to stop breaking a sweat over working out algorithms.

Mr Beast New

Rather than churning out content like you’re running a butter farm, Mr Beast – and us! - suggest you make the content your audience wants. Supermarkets don’t need the same product seven times, but they do need something unique to sell on the shelves. And it’s the same with content.

You might think MrBeast can say that he’s sitting on millions of subscribers. But he’s backed up by facts. The world doesn’t want you to know that, but they’re hiding in plain sight. Let’s be honest, the algorithms themselves are telling you to care about your audience. In fact, the algorithms are your audience.

Boom Mind Blown

Feeling mind blown? We get it. Don’t panic, your digital marketing won’t go downhill from here. We’ll help you understand why you should start worshipping your audience, not the algorithm. Now, make like Dory and just keep swimming.

Obey Google’s Helpful Content Update

Google’s SEO updates are harder to keep tabs on than the latest cast of Love Island. They’re changing constantly. And you don’t need to tick every box for your site traffic to boom. But last year’s Helpful Content Update is one you need to know.

The algorithm update is designed to reward websites that offer “original, helpful content made by people, for people, rather than content made primarily to gain search traffic”.

Pizza SEO Meme

If you’ve ever searched for a pizza delivery company online, only to click on a result offering collection-only and been as disappointed as we are on takeout Fridays, then you’ll get why Google’s trying to fix this. It’s not hard either: if you want to rank high on search engine result pages, you must produce helpful content.

It’s simple: start speed-dating your audience. You must know who you’re writing for, what they want (and what they need), and the problems you can help them solve. Once you know that, like planning the perfect date, you can design content that’ll tick your audiences’ boxes. Do that, and Google will do the rest.

Don’t ditch data - let it help you on your way to greatness

Writing content that works for your audience doesn’t mean ditching all that data, either. You just need to remember that behind every search term is a human being with complex needs you must solve.

But it’s not just what you’re offering, it’s how you’re offering it, too. And like Slytherin might’ve helped Harry Potter on his way to greatness, data can help your website on the way to Google’s top rankings.

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Using Google Analytics, you can monitor things like the average time spent on a page. Use this to find which posts keep users’ eyes on them the longest, as they’re likely the ones your audience loves. Once you know which pages perform better, you can deconstruct them and create the helpful content your audience needs, in the way they best receive it.

Your social media channels can help you chuck out the algorithm in favour of your audience as well. Social media will tell you your market's pain points before they’re even a known problem. Pay attention to your audience’s behaviour – then produce content that fits. Are they complaining about something? Address it and offer a solution. Can’t find the answers they’re searching for? Lend them a hand and guide them there.

Kill two birds with one stone on social media

Digital marketing isn’t all about SEO. Like ogres and onions, it's got layers. And putting your audience ahead of the algorithms will help send your social media engagement into a new era.

It’s kind of ironic. Most of the social media algorithms are actually based on your audience. Take Meta’s algorithm for connecting Facebook users with the most valuable content for them. It’s built on three pillars, two of which are all about your audience’s behaviour:

  1. Users are more likely to see content from sources they interact with, from friends and family to businesses and interests.
  2. Users are more likely to see video content if they interact with videos more, and photos if they interact with photos, and so on.
Instagram Algorithm 1

It doesn’t stop there: Facebook even gives users the chance to train their dragon algorithm to customise their feed. They can select favourites in their settings, hide posts and snooze users in-feed, and let them know why they’re hiding ads, too.

So, making content that means something to your audience, rather than the algorithm, will satisfy the algorithm's soul. Think of it like killing two birds with one stone.

Need a helping hand delivering audience-first digital marketing? Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you with your goals.

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