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How The Pareto Principle Affects Your Analytics Data, From #SEJSummit Speaker Ryan Jones

Our SEJ Summit Chicago event was held on April 15th, and we were happy to have Ryan Jones, of SapientNitro, presenting. Ryan covered the Pareto Principle, which is the concept that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the work. Ryan tied this into how you can use data and analytics to get the most bang for your 20%.

While Chicago was a hit, our next event, SEJ Summit London, is now less than four weeks away, on May 12th. We still have a few FREE tickets available for our London marketing conference, held at the awesome new Ham Yard Hotel. The SEJ Summit series is possible courtesy of our partner, Searchmetrics. Their “search experience optimization” makes digital marketing better, faster, and more profitable.

Request an invite today here.

SEj Summit London marketing conference

Here’s my interview with Ryan:

1. Your background is in computer programming. How do you think that has affected your perspective of the digital marketing world?

I think my programming background helps me to think more like a Google search engineer. By understanding how algorithms work at the technical level I can put myself in the mind of the Google team and ask myself “How would I solve this problem?” There’s a lot of algorithms that suddenly make more sense, and conspiracy theories that quickly become exposed once you sit down and try to figure out how you’d code it.

Beyond that, I think every marketer should learn the basics of coding. If your job involves giving requirements to developers, it can only help to understand what those requirements mean for them.

2. Your SEJ Summit speech discussed The Pareto Principle and how brands can use it to become more effective. What are the top 3 simple changes brands can make to increase their effectiveness?

Always keep your main goal in mind and use data to support it. When somebody says “we should do this” I immediately ask them “How many products will that sell?” If they can’t answer, I ask them to bring me back the data. Those aren’t really “SEO changes” they’re more of a process and thinking change, but they’re easy and lead to results.

With big brands most of the work is in the processes and selling the importance of SEO. One of the simplest changes any organization can make is to involve SEO early and often in all projects. You’d be amazed at how many large organizations treat SEO as a condiment – something that can be added on at the end. On the “do” side, it’s the little things that fall through the cracks – like fixing redirects and canonical and faceting issues. [When put together], these seemingly quick and easy changes can account for huge results.

3. You also discussed data visualization. Why do you think using visual techniques are more effective than just displaying numbers?

When most people see charts and numbers in a presentation their eyes glaze over or they start checking their phone. Non-SEOs (creatives and marketers, especially) think visually. Our job as SEOs is to break it down and explain things in a way that makes sense to the other stakeholders.

Showing people the problem and solution works a lot better than asking them to do math. It not only helps sell it to the client, but also helps the client explain it and sell it to their boss.

4. I have heard a lot of people discussing “agile” marketing recently. What does agile marketing mean, and how do you think it will help brands get ahead?

Interestingly enough, the concept of ‘agile’ has been around in the software engineering world since the early 2000s – it was a new and groundbreaking topic when I was just graduating college. It’s basically a method of getting stuff done in a world where requirements and solutions are constantly evolving and being worked on by multiple teams.

You’ve probably heard the term SCRUM used for various meetings and what not. That came out of the agile development model. When you think it about it, the agile model maps itself very well to marketing strategy, too. Rapid delivery, changing requirements, frequent iterations, sustainability, adaptation, etc. These are words you hear thrown around with the word agile, and in today’s always on and constantly evolving digital world, it just makes sense to apply them to marketing as well.

5. There has been a lot of fuss about Google focusing on mobile friendliness. How big of an impact do you predict that will have for the average brand?

Mobile is only growing. Right now there’s an entire generation of future customers in middle schools across the country who have a smartphone but not their own computer. They’re a few years away from being in most companies target demographic, but they’re almost there – how do you think they will search for you?

Sometime last year somebody did a study that showed only 5 of the Fortune 100 sites were “mobile friendly” by Google’s definitions (Note: since then I’ve actually helped a couple get added to that list). To me, that’s shocking. I jokingly call this upcoming update (or recent update depending on when this gets published) the “Crap, it’s time to do that thing we should have done several years ago update.” The impact to brands will be interesting.

I don’t think it’s going to be “mobilegeddon” or “mobacalypse” like some people are predicting – at least not for brands. I can’t see this affecting branded queries at all, as ranking a different brand than the user is expecting just because it’s mobile friendly would be a terrible user experience. This will probably be a small factor like page speed – but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a large effect. What I see happening, is unprepared brands losing some visibility for long tail keywords. That’s where the more nimble sites can pick up some traffic. The good news (for now) is that it won’t apply to news sites – because have you tried to visit a news site on your phone lately? There wouldn’t be any left to rank.

Agreed! We will just have to wait and see. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Ryan.

Don’t forget, you can request your free ticket for our London event, happening on May 12th at The Ham Yard. You can also come see us in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Atlanta later this year.

Featured Image: violetkaipa via Shutterstock

Category SEO
Kelsey Jones Marketing Consultant, Owner at Six Stories & StoryShout

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant, writer, and owner of and Kelsey has been in digital marketing since ...

How The Pareto Principle Affects Your Analytics Data, From #SEJSummit Speaker Ryan Jones

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