Tag Archive | "2016"

Keyword Research Beats Nate Silver’s 2016 Presidential Election Prediction

Posted by BritneyMuller

100% of statisticians would say this is a terrible method for predicting elections. However, in the case of 2016’s presidential election, analyzing the geographic search volume of a few telling keywords “predicted” the outcome more accurately than Nate Silver himself.

The 2016 US Presidential Election was a nail-biter, and many of us followed along with the famed statistician’s predictions in real time on FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver’s predictions, though more accurate than many, were still disrupted by the election results.

In an effort to better understand our country (and current political chaos), I dove into keyword research state-by-state searching for insights. Keywords can be powerful indicators of intent, thought, and behavior. What keyword searches might indicate a personal political opinion? Might there be a common denominator search among people with the same political beliefs?

It’s generally agreed that Fox News leans to the right and CNN leans to the left. And if we’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the news you consume can have a strong impact on what you believe, in addition to the confirmation bias already present in seeking out particular sources of information.

My crazy idea: What if Republican states showed more “fox news” searches than “cnn”? What if those searches revealed a bias and an intent that exit polling seemed to obscure?

The limitations to this research were pretty obvious. Watching Fox News or CNN doesn’t necessarily correlate with voter behavior, but could it be a better indicator than the polls? My research says yes. I researched other media outlets as well, but the top two ideologically opposed news sources — in any of the 50 states — were consistently Fox News and CNN.

Using Google Keyword Planner (connected to a high-paying Adwords account to view the most accurate/non-bucketed data), I evaluated each state’s search volume for “fox news” and “cnn.”

Eight states showed the exact same search volumes for both. Excluding those from my initial test, my results accurately predicted 42/42 of the 2016 presidential state outcomes including North Carolina and Wisconsin (which Silver mis-predicted). Interestingly, “cnn” even mirrored Hillary Clinton, similarly winning the popular vote (25,633,333 vs. 23,675,000 average monthly search volume for the United States).

In contrast, Nate Silver accurately predicted 45/50 states using a statistical methodology based on polling results.

Click for a larger image

This gets even more interesting:

The eight states showing the same average monthly search volume for both “cnn” and “fox news” are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

However, I was able to dive deeper via GrepWords API (a keyword research tool that actually powers Keyword Explorer’s data), to discover that Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Ohio each have slightly different “cnn” vs “fox news” search averages over the previous 12-month period. Those new search volume averages are:

“fox news” avg monthly search volume

“cnn” avg monthly search volume

KWR Prediction

2016 Vote

Arizona

566333

518583

Trump

Trump

Nevada

213833

214583

Hillary

Hillary

New Mexico

138833

142916

Hillary

Hillary

Ohio

845833

781083

Trump

Trump

Pennsylvania

1030500

1063583

Hillary

Trump

Four out of five isn’t bad! This brought my new prediction up to 46/47.

Silver and I each got Pennsylvania wrong. The GrepWords API shows the average monthly search volume for “cnn” was ~33,083 searches higher than “fox news” (to put that in perspective, that’s ~0.26% of the state’s population). This tight-knit keyword research theory is perfectly reflected in Trump’s 48.2% win against Clinton’s 47.5%.

Nate Silver and I have very different day jobs, and he wouldn’t make many of these hasty generalizations. Any prediction method can be right a couple times. However, it got me thinking about the power of keyword research: how it can reveal searcher intent, predict behavior, and sometimes even defy the logic of things like statistics.

It’s also easy to predict the past. What happens when we apply this model to today’s Senate race?

Can we apply this theory to Alabama’s special election in the US Senate?

After completing the above research on a whim, I realized that we’re on the cusp of yet another hotly contested, extremely close election: the upcoming Alabama senate race, between controversy-laden Republican Roy Moore and Democratic challenger Doug Jones, fighting for a Senate seat that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since 1992.

I researched each Alabama county — 67 in total — for good measure. There are obviously a ton of variables at play. However, 52 out of the 67 counties (77.6%) 2016 presidential county votes are correctly “predicted” by my theory.

Even when giving the Democratic nominee more weight to the very low search volume counties (19 counties showed a search volume difference of less than 500), my numbers lean pretty far to the right (48/67 Republican counties):

It should be noted that my theory incorrectly guessed two of the five largest Alabama counties, Montgomery and Jefferson, which both voted Democrat in 2016.

Greene and Macon Counties should both vote Democrat; their very slight “cnn” over “fox news” search volume is confirmed by their previous presidential election results.

I realize state elections are not won by county, they’re won by popular vote, and the state of Alabama searches for “fox news” 204,000 more times a month than “cnn” (to put that in perspective, that’s around ~4.27% of Alabama’s population).

All things aside and regardless of outcome, this was an interesting exploration into how keyword research can offer us a glimpse into popular opinion, future behavior, and search intent. What do you think? Any other predictions we could make to test this theory? What other keywords or factors would you look at? Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this post, check out Sam Wang’s Google-Wide Association Studies! –Fascinating read.

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Amazon Q3 ad revenues surpass $1 billion, up roughly 2X from early 2016

Amazon’s CFO said that advertising revenue is growing “very quickly.”

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Bing rejected 130M ads in 2016, including 17M tech support scam ads

Advertisers attempting Phishing attacks and pushing counterfeit goods continued to try to evade detection.

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The Best of Copyblogger: 2016 Edition

catch up on our top picks for 2016

The year of the rollercoaster is nearly finished, and, as we usually do around this time, I wanted to pull together some of my favorite posts for you.

This collection of posts (and a single podcast) is a celebration of the writers who worked hard every week to teach, inspire, and entertain us — and it’s also a bit of a manifesto for what we want 2017 to be.

Our vision for 2017 is:

  • The year of the individual voice
  • The year of community
  • The year of the real, human writer

Here are some of my favorite Copyblogger posts from 2016, starting with just one podcast episode …

The Return of the Blog

Brian Clark wrapped up the Unemployable podcast for 2016 joined by Darren Rowse, our old, dear friend and someone who epitomizes ethical, human-focused authority.

Darren and Brian talk about how “business blogging” became “content marketing,” about what we might have lost along the way, and about how to get that back again:

Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse

Paying the bills, bills, bills

Copyblogger has always been a site for writers, and we hold a special place in our hearts for the freelancer — the early pioneers of the “gig economy,” who live on that fascinating edge where stress turns into freedom.

Here’s just a small sampling of posts we ran this year on how to make a better living creating words.

If you want to generate some business with your content, first you have to generate some traffic:

5 Ways to Get More Traffic with Content Marketing

Why is it so hard to charge what you’re worth? Pamela Wilson shares some thoughts:

Are You Cheap or Are You Exceptional? How to Price Your Services

Are you leaving money on the table? If you write for a living, the answer is probably Yes. Kelly Exeter can help:

4 Places Writers Leave Money on the Table

Beth Hayden has written lots of strong, action-oriented content for us this year on improving your writing revenue. Here’s one example:

How to Discover Your Customers’ Favorite Social Media Platforms

Freelancing is amazing — except for the part where you don’t know how much you’ll be making from month to month. Here’s a suggestion from Pamela Wilson:

A Simple Way Out of Your Precarious Freelance Income Problem

The answer is always in the audience

Darren, in his conversation with Brian, made the point that maybe if we’d called it “Community Marketing” instead of “Content Marketing,” more content creators would have kept their focus in the right place.

I think that’s a wise observation. Copyblogger has always taught the value of being a bit obsessed with your audience — and we’ve always been proud of the smart, thoughtful community that has grown around the blog.

Community isn’t just the relationship between you and the audience … it’s also about the professional ties you create with other writers. Stefanie Flaxman delves into what you need to consider before you publish other voices on your site:

Should You Publish Guest Blog Posts on Your Website?

If your content lacks connection, you’ll never build trust. If your content lacks conversion skills, you’ll never make any money. And if your content lacks conviction, it has no soul.

I talk a bit about how those three weave together in this post:

Connection Steps that Lead to Customers

Wise writers know that excellent writing doesn’t mean stiff or “formally perfect” writing. There’s an art to writing with a conversational voice … and Henneke gives us some thoughts on how to get the ball rolling:

How to Write Conversationally: 7 Tips to Engage and Delight Your Audience

Who we are informs so much of what we do. I took a closer look at Robert Cialdini’s “new” (not really) persuasion principle of Unity in this post:

The Ultra Powerful 7th Principle of Persuasion

Content excellence

We’ve said it many times:

Your writing has to be good before it can be strategic.

Crummy content won’t cut it, which is why we are perpetually in the year of the writer. (I suppose at some point we should write a post about the Century of the Writer …)

In 2017, we’ll be offering you monthly prompts that we can all work on together as a community. It starts with writing consistently, so take a look at the prompts below to get your motor running:

Start Your Engines: The 2017 Content Excellence Challenge Begins Now

(Look for January’s prompts coming soon …)

We say “your writing has to be good” — but what does that mean, precisely? A post I turn to again and again to answer that question is Brian Clark’s article on the intersection of meaning and fascination:

2 Essential Elements of Irresistible Content

Writers write every day (sometimes) … but what happens when you have no idea what to write about? Stefanie Flaxman is here to help:

This Is How You Become a Writer

Good writing is brave — and I love Joanna Wiebe’s bold (and smart) voice:

“Your biggest copy opportunity is this: your competitors are chickens.”

That’s how she kicks off this post:

Big Bums, Scuffles, and How to Craft Copy Your Competitors Wouldn’t Dare Write

Kelly Exeter writes about — what I agree is — the single most important thing writers can do to make our words much, much better:

One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great

Henneke shares how to create a red poppy in a sea of gray content:

How to Write So Vividly that Readers Fall in Love with Your Ideas

Writing is creative work — and Demian Farnworth, in his wild, inimitable way, brings 21 different definitions of creativity together here (there’s also a dandy poster):

What Is Creativity? 21 Authentic Definitions You’ll Love [Free Poster]

It’s nearly 2017, and bots are writing content now. What they aren’t doing is writing good content — because it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Brian Clark expands on that here:

How to Make Your Writing Real

Making more of it happen

Craft matters. And creativity matters.

But neither one matters if you don’t get the work done. Here are some resources to help you make that happen.

I’m a big fan of the “itsy-bitsy habits” movement, and the work of Stephen Guise. So I was tickled when he agreed to write a post for us:

An Effective (but Embarrassing) Way to Develop Elite Copywriting Skills with Mini Habits

Ever have trouble starting a new blog post? Or wrapping one up? Or … filling the middle with something that isn’t total blather? Yeah, me too. Here’s Brian Clark’s focused process for how to move past these three dreadful symptoms of a single problem:

The 5-Step Process that Solves 3 Painful Writing Problems

Sometimes, the creative well runs a little dry. Luckily, we have Sally Hogshead, who gave us 21 genuinely juicy prompts for excellent content:

21 Juicy Prompts that Inspire Fascinating Content

Sean D’Souza is obsessed with process … and with breaking it down into steps that others can follow. Take a look at his take on content process here:

The Content Junkyard (and Why So Many Articles Fail)

Often, the hardest part of writing is just getting started. Pamela Wilson has some thoughts on ways to get your writing brain working:

7 Fun and Easy Warm Ups to Start Your Writing Day

Content Marketing blah blah blah

I’ll let you in on a poorly-kept secret.

Most of us at Copyblogger hate the term “content marketing.” It’s too vague, it sounds clinical, and it puts the focus in the wrong place (on the content, rather than the community).

But … we also believe in using the language of the audience. And, for better or worse, “content marketing” is what folks call “authoritative creative works like blogs, podcasts, videos, and other useful things, that attract and sustain audience attention and build a case for your business goals.”

And to be honest, ACWLBPVAOUTTAASAAABACFYBG doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

In the interest of deciphering some of the attendant jargon, as well as giving us all a chance to hear Robert Bruce’s “deep, fluid, and cozy voice,” take a look and listen to our Content Marketing Glossary. Demian Farnworth introduces it here:

Content Marketing Glossary: 96 Concepts that Will Make You a Smarter Content Marketer

And here’s the link to jump to all of the Content Marketing Glossary posts with animated videos:

This April Fools’ Day post was a bit of stupid fun — but even though I wrote it, it still makes me laugh:

Okay … Here’s the Real Reason to Attend Digital Commerce Summit in Denver

And finally … there’s a trend you might notice if you click through to these posts. That trend will be moving in a different direction in 2017 … but you’ll need to wait for the new year for the announcement.

So … watch this space. :) Have a safe New Year’s Eve, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.

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The 2016 #MozCon Video Bundle Has Arrived!

Posted by Danielle_Launders

We’re excited to announce that the MozCon 2016 Video Bundle is ready! That means no more #FOMO — you can catch up on all 27 sessions and over 15 hours of online marketing goodness from some of the brightest minds in the industry. Want to earn more featured snippets? Yup, we cover that. Looking for new tools and tactics for link acquisition? You’ll learn that, too!

Can’t wait to get started? Feel free to jump ahead:

Buy the MozCon 2016 Video Bundle

If you attended MozCon 2016, don’t worry — the videos are included with your ticket. Just check your inbox for an email containing a unique link to redeem a free “purchase.”

MozCon 2016 was the best yet, and I’m not just saying that because I want ya’ll to join me at MozCon 2017. We are really proud of our program this year and can’t wait to share it with everyone, we think you’ll learn a ton and fall in love with the speaker lineup and presentations as much as we did.


The polls are in…

Here’s what our attendees had to say about their experience at MozCon:

Out of the attendees that completed the survey, over 60% said that the content presented was interesting and relevant to their work, while over 80% found that the content itself was advanced enough.

The bundle itself

You’ll have access to all of the presentations, which includes videos of the speakers as well as their slide decks.

For $ 299, the MozCon 2016 Video Bundle gives you instant access to:

  • 27 videos, that’s over 15 hours of content from MozCon 2016
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  • Downloadable slide decks for all presentations

Buy the MozCon 2016 Video Bundle

Ready for your free full session?

We understand wanting to take a test drive before signing on the dotted line, which is why we’re sharing one of our highly-rated sessions with you! You can see what MozCon 2016 is all about with a full session from Joe Hall. He shares how information architecture shapes the way we organize data and build websites and how to rethink IA for SEO and content marketing.

A big and special thanks to everyone on the Moz team that worked hard to make these videos available (and in less than a month after the show!). It definitely takes a village. I want to send thanks (and hugs!) to the crew that worked so hard to process, edit, design, build, code, and more to make this happen. We wish you happy learning and hope to see you at MozCon 2017 in July.

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