Daily Archives: March 17, 2009

Your Search Traffic is Headed to Sourcing Innovation

Sourcing Innovation gets thousands and thousands of hits per day. A significant amount of that traffic consists of thousands of new visitors directed to SI from search engines like Google — spend management professionals who are searching for real information, not just reading blogs for entertainment.

Why are these visitors coming to SI?

Is it because the doctor knows some magic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques? No.1.

Is it because Sourcing Innovation manipulates traffic with aggressive ad-word campaigns? No.5

Is it because Sourcing Innovation has a deep content archive consisting of almost 1,200 content rich entries and 866,000 words? Yes!

Simply put, when a supply management professional enters into a search engine one of the common spend management search phrases, Sourcing Innovation is where he’s directed.

SI not only has more search phrases in the top 10, 20, 30, 50 and 100 than any other leading supply management blog, but it also has more search phrases in the top 10, 20, 30, 50, and 100 than any leading supply management publication. That’s right; new buyers are more likely to find Sourcing Innovation than any other blog, and they’re also more likely to find Sourcing Innovation than Purchasing, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, or the Supply Chain Management Review.

But I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Here’s the method, and the results.

I started with a list of about 30 search phrases that cover the topics that are normally written about on Sourcing Innovation, Spend Matters, Supply Excellence, and e-Sourcing Forum (the top four blogs focused on supply management, as per third-party traffic estimation sites). I then used eight common methods of search phrase generation (including competition research, search phrase discovery, Google suggest, Yahoo! search assist, and Ask type-ahead search suggestions) until I had a corpus of 99 search phrases that I believe (1) accurately cover the range of topics that supply management blogs and publications discussed, and (2) reasonably cover the search terms that would be entered by a supply management professional. (see the Complete Corpus).

Then, on Friday March 13, I retrieved the search engine rankings for Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters for each of these search phrases in Google (59%), MSN (6%), Yahoo (15%), and Ask (3%), which together represent 83% of the search engine market share. I verified that the other search engines did not differ materially from Google, so thenceforth I focused solely on Google. I then retrieved the Google search ranking for each of the terms in the Corpus for each of the top six supply management blogs and the top five supply management publications. In terms of the number of search phrases in the top 10, top 20, top 30, top 502, and top 1002, Sourcing Innovation was first in every category. The top blog only had 4 search phrases in the top 10 and 6 in the top 20 compared to Sourcing Innovation‘s 9 and 13. The top publication fared better, but not much better, with 6 phrases in the top 10 and 8 in the top 20. (Blog Rankings | Site Rankings)

So what does this mean? Let me summarize.

SI is the only supply management blog that is currently ranked by all of the “big five” traffic ranking sites (Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Ranking, and Traffic Estimate). SI is the top ranking supply management blog on Quantcast and Ranking, and the next-to-top ranking supply management blog on Alexa, Compete, and Traffic Estimate3. Furthermore, Sourcing Innovation is nearly twice as likely to be found though a search engine than Supply Excellence and more than three times as likely to be found through a search engine than any other supply management blog.4 SI is also, on average, three times as likely to be found through a search engine than any of the traditional print publications.4

And that, my potential sponsors, is why your traffic is coming to Sourcing Innovation. So… why aren’t you here?

1 There are no magic search engine techniques. Any SEO company that gets you a top 20 ranking overnight uses “black hat” search engine optimization, which is a big no-no. If their shenanigans don’t get your site banned from the search engines altogether, which is a very real possibility, you can at least be assured that your ranking will disappear overnight the next time the search engines adjust their search algorithms to combat the latest black hat techniques.
2 Although very few surfers go beyond the third page, top 50 and top 100 rankings are relevant because a continued effort to add quality content around these search phrases will result in a progressively higher ranking over time.
3 Spend Matters wins on these ranking engines, though not by much on Compete. Note that Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters tend to trade off the number one spot on Compete and, for better or worse, Traffic Estimate tends to parallel Alexa.
4 Assuming a random search term, which you have to assume because you never know a priori what a supply management professional is going to search for.
5 Sourcing Innovation does no advertising of any kind. It doesn’t need to. And now you know why!

Lean Problem Solving: A Great Fix for a Down Economy

As clarified by Jamie Flinchbaugh of the Lean Learning Center in a recent Industry Week article on problem-solving through the lean lens, lean is about problem solving. It is the never ending process of solving the problem that prevents us from getting to the ideal state where every need is met on time and with zero waste.

When trying to solve a problem, it’s important to note that waste is caused not just by processes with major problems, but by processes with minor problems as well … and that minor problems add up and multiply the total waste. Sometimes a wasteful process will have a dozen little inefficiencies that multiply into one big efficiency. That’s why a lean approach is needed — it looks for deviations from optimal at every step of a process, no matter how small at each stage of the problem solving process.

Lean attempts to identify the purpose of a process in identifying the root cause of a problem, not just the intended end result. Consider the example of cycle timing marks in the assembly process brought to light in the article. Viewed through a traditional lens, the purpose is to help the operator keep pace and speed up if he falls behind. But viewed through a lean lens, the purpose is to identify a potential problem with the process. Work should keep its own pace and the lines should spot problems as they occur, not (well) after the fact. If a task is problematic, because parts don’t quite fit or machinery isn’t performing at spec, it should be immediately identifiable from the lag in cycle time and provide an immediate opportunity for quick intervention.

Lean also trains us to engage problems, and not assume that they will be addressed by others. Most organizations work in fire-fighting mode and allow a problem to select them, rather than selecting a problem and dealing with it. Other problems, of seemingly lesser importance, are dismissed as insignificant or “typical” and ignored. Resources need to be allocated to a problem as it occurs, not after the fact.

Finally, lean tells us that a solution is not a solution unless it makes the new way easier or the old, problematic, way impossible. Lean doesn’t force-fit a solution — it develops one that fits just right.

For more information on the basic problem solving process (which you should embed a lean lens into), see the following posts:

For more information on lean, see the following posts: