First Time Using Google Keen: An Experience

Google recently launched Keen, their new search and social discovery platform. Keen is being described as a new Pinterest competitor but with the power of Google search. As an avid Pinner and professional Digital Marketer, I wanted to learn about this first hand. I documented my experience to share with all of you, and share my thoughts on why search marketers should keep an eye on this new space.   

The first thing I saw when I went to the website was a picture of a puppy. So obviously I already love it.

Screenshot of Keen's welcome screen.

A “Keen” is a place to organize, discover, and collaborate on ideas. Kind of like a Pinterest board, but more powerful. As keen (ha!) as I was to learn more about what makes puppies happy, I decided to use the example of Digital Marketing to show how Keen can be used for more serious topics too - something that will differentiate it from Pinterest. 

Screenshot of the 'Create a Keen' dialog.

You can opt into receiving email updates with new ideas for your Keen. 

The next step in creating a Keen is where we see the power of Google search. You start building your Keen by saving web searches related to your topic. There are suggestions based on your Keen title, which were very relevant and an easy way to start building.

Screenshot of suggested web searches on Keen.

Once you have your web searches saved, you can then choose if you want to make the Keen private or public, and add a description for those who you want to share your Keen with.

Screenshot of the 'Add a description' dialog on Keen.

It took me all of three minutes to create my first Keen. An image for my Keen was created for me, but you can update it after.

Screenshot of Johanna Gumbrill's Digital Marketing Keen.

Clicking into my new Keen, there were options to add more links or text, share my Keen, and edit the settings and images. 

Screenshot of the different options of what to do with your Keen.

The next thing I noticed were the sections of “Gems”, “Explore”, and “Searches”. I will be honest, I had zero clue what Gems meant. It is pretty straightforward though. Gems contains all the links and text you saved. Explore suggests new ideas based on your search queries. Searches houses all of those initial search ideas from when I built my Keen, and offers new suggestions.

Something I am curious about is if Google SEO rankings are taken into consideration with what is shown on this Explore page. If an article ranks #1 on the Google SERP for a search query in my Searches, will it then show up at the top of my Explore page? SEO marketers need to know!

One last thing I want to show you on this blog is how to follow Keens. Let’s go back to the beginning where that cute puppy was calling us and explore that Keen.

A 'Keep pets happy and healthy' Keen.

You can simply click the Follow button, or click into the Keen and explore it before committing to a follow. You can see that the creator of this Keen put a nice description for people to understand what this Keen is about, emojis included.

The description for Keen.

I am excited to follow a few Keens and get my first email with new suggestions in a few days. For anyone who uses Google Alerts, I am curious if Keen will be a way to both receive and organize those alerts in a single place. 

Time will tell if Keen will take off in popularity - I think it has all the makings to be something powerful for users and marketers. One of my favorite things about it is everything has a link. No more falling in love with an image of chocolate chip cookies only to find out there is no link to a recipe. No more finding the perfect summer dress for your upcoming trip only to find out there is no link to purchase it - a nightmare for the consumer and retailer alike. 

I say take the 5 minutes it takes to set up and explore Keen for the first time! Let us know your thoughts and experiences with it.

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