Weekly Finds - Week 48, 2020

This week with a featured snippet case study, passage ranking, templated content strategies, micro-influencers, and launching one of the most popular paid newsletters/

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As you might have read in my Email to all paid subscribers, this is the last episode of Weekly Finds. I accepted a job offer at another company that doesn't want me to "sell" the things I learn there, and I respect that. The paid membership of Tech Bound will go away, but I will keep sending emails and write. Once a week, I will send out the Growth Memo - a mix of information and education #infocation. Thanks for being a loyal reader and listener.

SEMrush published a study that looked at the percentage of keywords that display a Featured Snippet based on their index of 160M keywords on desktop and 46M on mobile. It turns out 79% of domains rank in the FS on mobile and desktop - that means 21% don't! A good reason to check and monitor rankings for both devices. 13% of keywords in SEMrush's database show a Featured Snippet. That's a lot. the longer the query, the higher the likelihood the SERP shows a Featured Snippet. Half of that even show a double FS. I wonder how that impacts CTR. It also seems that Google displays way more FS in the travel and tech vertical and the least in real estate. 70% of FS appear in the paragraph format.

Google announced to change the way it ranks passages in content, which sound similar to Featured Snippets but, according to Martin Splitt, they're not. The team from Onely and Cindy Krum interview Martin on the subject of Passages.

Splitt says "you can't optimize for passages", and, while I believe him, the change is supposed to impact 7% of worldwide queries. Anything that impacts queries also impacts SEO. So, there might be a way to learn something after all.


Speaking about passages, a while ago, Animalz wrote an article about the idea of templated content. Some companies already write after that format: they structure every article in the same way, e.g. "How {brand} does {x}". That strategy seems to work out really well for audience building and organic traffic.

The article also explains the difference between horizontal and vertical topic expansion. You either explore new formats or cover more ground with the same one. Going after a narrative between the same content formats is called cross-cutting.

Another way to address new audiences is Micro-influencers. They can also be a valuable tool for ABM campaigns and enterprise products in general. Joe Sinkwitz wrote a nice article on our Learn Hub that explains that micro-influencers often have more expertise, which makes them more impactful.

Micro-influencer campaigns tend to be cheaper and therefore, better suited to test the channel. Channels vary in their feasibility for different types of content. So, not every business should run campaigns on the same channels.

One uber-influencer in the Tech and Growth world is Lenny Rachitsky, author of Lenny's Newsletter. In a slide deck, he shows his growth over time, and inflection points when Lenny wrote 10x articles that drove over 50% of subscriber growth. Note that Lenny is only writing since April of 2019. His newsletter grew at a rapid pace. This is not just a great presentation for anyone interested in starting a paid newsletter, but also just a great lesson in product development.