Without much fanfare at all, Google has set up a new topic curating platform called Keen, which allows users to build a customised, shareable collection of content themed around areas of interest.
As tech sites like Search Engine Land and The Verge have noted, the premise behind Keen is not an entirely original one, so what can it do differently, and should we be paying attention to it from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective?
How does Keen work?
On your first visit to Keen, you will be presented with a grid of ‘Keens’ themed around certain topics like the ones below. If you’re not logged into your Google account, these are likely to be random suggestions.
Where it gets interesting and personal is if you ask Google for Keens of your own. To do that, you need to log in and click the + sign at the top of the page. As an example, I asked Google to create a Keen on the subject of tying knots.
It then offered me a selection of web searches on which the Keen would be based. To keep it simple, I just selected ‘tie knots list’.
The platform then suggested a variety of videos, blogs and other resources on knot-tying, and from that I’ve created my own Keen on the subject. You can see it here.
Isn’t this just Pinterest?
The similarities between Keen and the idea-sharing social networking site Pinterest are obvious. Both are highly visual and allow users to explore a variety of sources that fall under their defined interests. A big difference I’ve noticed so far is that while image and video are a big part of Keen, Google continues to like text, and is giving prominence to blogs in its Keen suggestions in a way that Pinterest rarely does.
Simply by having Google AI and algorithms behind it, Keen could become a little more mainstream than Pinterest, but Google’s fairly poor success rate with social media – most notably the decline of Google+ – means it has something of a hoodoo to break if this latest venture is to be a success.
Should marketers be looking at it?
We will see over time how much of an influence Keen has on search, but currently, it ties in with the importance of creating regular, high-quality written content and use of mixed media, such as video and attention-grabbing imagery. It’s worth noting that Google does not add content to your Keens for you, it simply suggests videos and blogs, and you then have to save the most interesting and relevant ones to your Keens.
That means blogs need to stand out and be interesting before the user even clicks through to them, intensifying the importance of engaging titles and striking feature images. For blogs and other content that will get your website noticed, have a chat with the Engage Web team.