Food for thought: Expert views on Amazon and writing for SEO

On Sundays, I post about interesting content I came across during the previous week. Today’s rundown includes two expert views on Amazon and a look at what it means to “write for SEO” in 2018.

Expert views on Amazon

A good friend, Nic Werner, recently introduced me to Ben Thompson’s Stratechery articles. Ben writes thoughtful, in-depth analysis about the strategy and business aspects of technology. His articles remind me a lot of research reports I’ve read from blindingly smart investment analysts—so naturally, I’m a big fan.

This week, he wrote about the joint announcement from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. As noted in the press release, the three companies are “partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees.” What’s Amazon up to with this? What’s the end game? Ben’s Aggregation Theory serves as the basis for his prediction that Amazon is striving to become the new health care middleman, facilitating the connection between providers and individual consumers.

He acknowledges it’s an “extremely ambitious scenario” and notes the shakeout will take time. (Markets noticed right away, though: Health care stocks—specifically insurers—sold off when the news broke.)

Amazon’s impressive patience

Ben ends by emphasizing, “There is no more patient company than Amazon.” The theme of Amazon’s epic patience was also present in the Artisan Global Value team’s 4Q17 fund commentary, which noted, “Amazon’s business model relies on the relentless pursuit of market share at the expense of short- to medium-term profitability.”

(Side note: I worked at Artisan from 2012-2015 and was tasked with shepherding this team’s content through the copy editing and compliance process. The team is full of the types of blindingly smart investment analysts I mentioned above, so I always try to keep current with their commentaries.)

An investor’s view

The Artisan team’s remarks on Amazon came out after the Whole Foods announcement but before news of the healthcare partnership, and while the fund didn’t hold any shares of Amazon at the time of publication, the portfolio managers believe “every investor worth her or his salt has to pay attention to this company.”

Here’s an excerpt from their views on Amazon:

What makes Amazon even more interesting and relevant to our discussion is how this global disruption-machine is valued and how it’s rewarded in the marketplace. Indeed, Amazon’s explosive and relentless expansion into new markets and its valuation model are a combination unlike anything we have ever seen before. Amazon’s primary focus is not on growing annual profits, but on expansion—namely revenue growth. It seems like the faster the company grows, irrespective of profits, the more it gets rewarded by investors. That’s not usually how the stock market works.

There are countless angles from which we can analyze Amazon—and the more I learn, the more I’m intrigued. If you’re also interested, I recommend checking out the full pieces from Stratechery and Artisan.

Moz Whiteboard Friday: What it means to “write for SEO” in 2018

Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz—a major player in search engine optimization (SEO)—publishes a weekly Whiteboard Friday video. In my experience, each video is guaranteed to include at least one nugget worth implementing immediately and/or valuable insight worth sharing with clients.

SEO can get technical in a hurry, and while it’s great to get into the weeds, I also appreciate seeing the bigger picture. Rand’s post this week led us on a historical tour through what it has meant to write content with SEO in mind. It was a great gut check to verify I’m not relying on any out-of-date practices (like keyword stuffing) and confirm my current priorities are in line with the most effective practices (such as focusing on what searchers are trying to accomplish).

Check out the video or transcript to see what Rand recommends as a simple five-step process to use when you’re writing for SEO.