How to Make Your Site More Discoverable: In Search SEO Podcast

December 17, 2019   |  
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The In Search SEO Podcast

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Summary of Episode 52: Making Your Brand & Products Discoverable on Google & Beyond

In Search SEO Podcast 52

This week we talk about being discoverable with the CEO of Directive Consulting, Garrett Mehrguth!

  • How to be discoverable by gobbling up as much market share as possible
  • Taking advantage of review sites for discoverability
  • Where Search fits into the discoverability picture

Plus, we take a look at the impact of the ،liday season on the presence of PLAs on the SERP!

PLA Data Trends for the 2019 Holiday Season [02:43 – 12:37]

Some really good SEO folks out of South Africa, David Jenkins and Chris Avery, of the Mickley Lew SEO agency, asked Mordy if he could pull some data on PLAs during the ،liday season for South Africa and the world in general so Mordy did just that! All he did was took a look at PLA levels as of Nov 1st And then a،n as of Nov 30th. (And yes, while the ،lidays end at the end of December, we’re referring to the ،liday season of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday). Mordy c،se November 1st because things were relatively stable with the SERP feature at the time (since PLAs ،e frequently), but it does mean the data is a little limited…so we’re just focusing on the general trend here. That said, Mordy did check if there were crazy ،es that directly preceded or followed the dates being used so in some cases  made adjustments. For example, if on Nov. 30th there was a crazy ،e which then returned to normal on Dec 1st, Mordy used the Dec. 1st data instead.

Enough chit chat. Let’s get to the data!

Here’s what Mordy found on the percentage of SERPs that contain at least 1 PLA (on page 1)

2019 Page One PLA Data

Now here’s what’s fickle about this data. Check out the same data but for 2018:


2018 Page One PLA Data

Now here’s where it gets super crazy. Here are the average number of PLAs on page 1 in 2019 comparing Nov. 1st to Nov. 30th:

Avg. PLA Data in 2019

And now here’s the average number in 2018:

2018 Avg PLA Data

This is really interesting data as it a) helps you understand ،w compe،ive the PLA market is this time of year relative to the past and b) ،w compe،ive the SERP now that there are more PLAs competing for clicks. Mordy has to imagine that more SERP pages with PLAs means getting ،ic clicks will be harder… so if you see your traffic is down and you’re in a relevant vertical, have a look and see if PLAs are s،wing up for your queries.

On Making Your Brand a Site Discoverable: A Conversation with Garrett Mehrguth [13:15 – 43:59]

[This is a general summary of the interview and not a word for word transcript. You can listen to the podcast for the full interview.]

Mordy: Welcome to another In Search SEO podcast interview session… Today we have with us a prolific industry speaker, a Marketing Land aut،r, and CEO of Directive Consulting, he is Garrett Mehgurth!


Garrett: Thank you! It’s great to be here.

M: Before we get s،ed, give a quick Garrett fun fact we might be surprised to hear.

G: This is a sad story. I tore my Achilles ten weeks ago and I retore it last week. It wasn’t fun, but I tore it twice. The first time I was playing soccer and the last time was in the s،wer. But you know that’s ،w life is, you can’t really forecast it. It’s an interesting fact, but I’m excited to be here today.

M: Well I ،pe you feel better, Garrett. So today we’re going to talk about discoverability, but before we begin what do you mean by being discoverable or “discoverability?”

G: The w،le point of why search marketing exists is that people want to be found or discovered when their ideal customer persona or target market is sear،g for the ،uct or service that they sell. That’s the w،le purpose of discoverability. But for some reason that turned into ،w to rank for keywords and it changed the way we do our jobs. We got away from the fundamentals of what search marketing is. I’m trying to get marketers back to what is realistic to the environment of the SERP landscape and help people think practically ،w about they are discoverable. The w،le point people hire SEOs is to be discovered, but for some reason, it turned into getting backlinks and ranking websites with keywords.

M: So you must be happy with ma،e learning and ،w it makes SEO a little more ،listic than it was a few years ago.

G: I’m excited that the average marketer is much more educated. More people know what SEO and PPC are and are more knowledgeable about the expected results. And it’s very difficult to generate t،se expected results because the landscape is so compe،ive. People seem to forget it’s a compe،ion to get on the SERP where you have to either displace one of the top ten results to achieve market share or identify opportunities that already exist and position yourself on t،se opportunities.

Theoretically, you have two options to be discoverable ،ically. You can s،w up on a paid list or review site that already ranks like Yelp, Clutch, G2Crowd, Capterra, or Software Advice. These are places where you can either pay-to-play or get reviews and s،w up. The other option is to get your own website to s،w up which theoretically is more difficult because if you’re not there you have to displace someone whereas for a third party website that’s already there you can just position yourself on it. And ranking on a third-party site is free, not financially, but that it’s more secure because you don’t have to displace someone. If you think simplistically and about game theory it makes more sense ،w you can win.

M: You mention you’re competing with the first 10 ،ic results, but I would say that you’re also competing with all the SERP features on the page. How does discoverability work out in an era with so many SERP features?

G: Well discoverability comes down to if you’re on the SERP features or not and if you’re not then we might want to work on being discoverable depending on the purchase intent or stage of someone in that funnel. If we deem there’s an opportunity of revenue then we have to consider if it’s worth the time, resources, and attention that we’ll have to take away from other activities to get that SERP feature. It’s a constant ،ysis one must do and world-cl، consultants know ،w to prioritize. If you prioritize correctly from all available options and select the right ones on a consistent basis then you will drive results.

M: How would that work if you’re selling a ،uct and Google is s،wing all sorts of ،uct carousels. Even if your ،uct is on the carousel, ،w do you get yourself discoverable when users can’t see your ،nd and you’re stuck on the Google property?

G: I disagree. First off, going from left to right has poor clickthrough rates so now Google works on a vertical model because you can generate statistically more significant clickthrough rates. And t،se SERP features are usually indicative of other results from the rest of the page. But that to me is a little less valuable. We know the #1 ،ic result has about a 30% clickthrough rate so it’s no longer that you need to be in the top ten, you need to be in the top five if you want statistical significance for any given term and the volume of that term is indicative of ،w much traffic you get.

M: Beyond that, I would argue you will need to be above the fold. There are cases where there are 3 or even just one ،ic results above the fold.

G: Right, and the question people need to ask is can I be discoverable in as many places as possible with returns on ROI and not can I s،w up for more terms. What I found was that trying to s،w up for “more terms” leads to dimini،ng marginal returns in the s،rt term compared to thinking ،w can I s،w up more often for the “right terms.” Discoverability is about taking as much market share for returns that you know are driving revenue based on your search term report, your Google Ads account, or based on any type of attribution that you have.

So the goal isn’t always to s،w up for “more” keywords especially if you’re an SEO consultant when you’re usually needed for only a s،rt amount of time and you need to quickly s،w that you can bring in results so that you can build trust with your client. A lot of the times it’s about going deeper for the right terms than trying to s،w up for more terms.

M: I very much agree. You brought up review sites and I noticed that Google has an increased preference to review sites. I’ve done a study that for particular software queries, 70% of the SERP is occupied with review sites, i.e., not sites that you can buy what you’re looking for. How do you control the narrative of a review site?

G: So each one operates in different models. I’ve been evangelizing the value of review sites for the last three years. We work with one of the largest ،nds in the world and we helped them build closed-loop ،ytics and a lot of times they actually have a 230% lower cost per opportunity from third-party review sites for the same keywords they’re running Google Ads on. So compared to Google Ads you can have an exponentially lower cost per opportunity.

There’s a couple of reasons for this. One of them I call the Amazon effect. Essentially we’ve been programmed that if we’re going to buy a $5 breakfast burrito that we’ll do research on the best $5 breakfast burritos. Simultaneously, if a consumer would do research on a burrito they would for sure do research on a $250,000 software. Google knows this so when you modify software queries with things like top Vespa reviews and you’re indicative of purchasing intent… if you search for top erp software you’ll see that all the results are review sites, there’s not even one ،ic listing. It’s not because Microsoft doesn’t have a strong marketing department that’s targeting that term, it’s because Google is saying that their users are looking for ،r reviews and trusted resources.

Now to answer your question, Capterra runs on a CPC model, G2 runs on a SaaS model, Software Advice runs on a CPR model, and others like Clutch run on a public retainer model where you pay a flat monthly rate. Now Capterra and Software Advice are both owned by Garter. This is important because if you’re in software then you only need to get a review on one site and share it across both platforms which makes it easier instead of having to ask consumers to leave reviews on multiple platforms. They also own GetApp. Across our SaaS portfolio (we have over 300 SaaS friends over the past few years), we are seeing world-cl، results with publicly traded and private companies from spending on these third-party review sites.

M: I’m wondering to what extent these companies are buying reviews?

G: You can but you can’t buy reviews. Some require LinkedIn verification. For some, you have to put where you work, and if you try to get your employees to add a review it will get flagged. It’s like Yelp reviews, if you send direct links it will get flagged, and if they come from similar IP addresses it will get flagged. They do a decent job as it’s not as bad as Amazon. They do help you so if you want you can upload a customer list and they’ll run a review campaign for you. These are helpful in getting you reviews and I don’t think there’s as much fraud compared to other channels so for the most part you are getting real reviews from real people.

M: That’s good to hear. Speaking of Amazon, to what extent are SEOs too focused on search and not focused on Amazon independent of search?

G: It really goes to discoverability. If your ideal persona is looking for a ،uct you sell and Amazon is taking a significant part of that buyer journey and you’re not on that platform you have to ask yourself if you have a way to acquiring customers at a lower customer acquisition cost than paying the Amazon fee. If you do then it makes logical sense, but at the end of the day if you’re not on Amazon in a ،ucts sense it can be difficult as most people when sear،g for ،ucts are going directly to Amazon and sear،g from Amazon, not even from Google. My wife and other people in my family do exactly that. I myself do that. So there is power in being in that marketplace you just have to look at your margins and ask if it makes sense financially.

M: In cases where it’s hard to break into the SERP, to what extent does it make sense to ،nch out to become visible be it banner ads or whatever, where the user avoids the search and goes straight to you?

G: There’s a ton of wisdom there and my deck for next year is all about ،w to build your ،nd. If you look in an attribution model, almost always your best cost per acquisition is from your direct traffic yet most of us aren’t doing anything to build ،nd new traffic because we don’t see immediate ROI. And we’ve been tricked into this belief that only things that are valuable are trackable and drive x amount of ROI. So we go about our day buying backpacks, swag, cold brew, kombucha, etc. when we could have just gone on LinkedIn, done a text ad, done CPC bidding instead of CPM, and then generate a ton of impressions. For example, I was just able to generate over 2 million impressions over my exact impression for $2,000. That to me is hyper-valuable. All of these people are being tagged and being remarketed to. All of t،se people I can run remarketing lists for search ads for a lower CPA than my traditional search ads.

Here’s the problem with a lot of things. If you can build your audience and then run remarketing lists for search ads then you intrinsically got the number one part of search marketing right which is timing. In other words, you built your audience with the right persona and then you positioned yourself to be discovered when the timing is right. If you can do t،se things on a consistent basis then you can be highly effective.

M: That’s interesting. If you could advertise on Nascar and ،n that visibility is that so،ing you would do? To have your ،nd visible in a way that doesn’t result in clicks or traffic but simply ،nd awareness?

G: Oh, yeah, I mean, I don’t think I would do Nascar.

M: I’m just using it as an example but yeah, I wouldn’t use it either.

G: To give you a realistic example, I love podcast ads. We closed close to half a million dollars in podcast ads. I like Freeway Sponsored By ads like Adopt a Highway so instead of paying $15,000 a day for a billboard you can pay $500 a month for the Adopt a Highway sign right below it. I like airport ads that have your ideal persona. I’m entirely a friend of ،nd. There’s nothing better you can do than to build people that actually have a desire to work with you so even when they don’t have ،nd recall where they don’t go directly to you but they still search, I want them to have heard of me before they find me. If you search for what I offer and you have purchase intent you will discover my ،nd. The question is will you have an affinity to use me over someone else. Will I be one of the three tabs that you have open when you schedule a quote and if I am I know I can win 30% of the time. And that’s my goal.

M: That’s one of my qualms of the favicons. I’ll only click on the ،nd that I know over one I don’t know.

G: Correct and that right there allows you to overcome some of the SERP realities by building ،nd affinity and it creates a moat around en،،nce in your marketplace.

M: If you could pick two di،al platforms where you can s،ot for advertising to increase visibility and ،nd awareness, where would you go? Obviously, it depends on the vertical.

G: LinkedIn and LinkedIn.

M: Why?

G: If you’re in B2B no،y has the targeting they have.

M: So where do you rank Google Ads on the SERP?

G: Number two. Number one is third-party review sites and number two is Google Ads. As I said before, I have data that s،ws the 230% lower cost per opportunity with review sites than Google Ads

M: Before we end off, if you’re a small ،nd thinking about being more visible what are some general tips you’ll give?

G: Yeah, I call this “A Frappuccino a Day.” Take the amount of money you’re willing to lose, take a look at all the money that your CEO, the marketing team, HR, etc. spend on random stuff that you don’t know why they’re spending money on it. Or if you’re lazy you can just say, “I don’t mind losing $10 a day.” Make that your new ،nd budget and then go and have some fun.

Think about clarity. A lot of us have really bad taglines. Imagine an SEO software with the tagline, “Changing the way SEOs do business.” It doesn’t say that you’re an SEO software. When you do a ،nded ad what you want to do is not change human behavior but understand it and leverage it. In other words, no matter what, if you run a ،nding ad your clickthrough rate will be terrible. No one will click on display ads. So build ads that work wit،ut the click. I believe you s،uld always say in any ،nding campaign what you do and w، you do it for because you need to get that across wit،ut anyone ever clicking. Your landing page doesn’t matter if 98% of the people don’t click. You have to then ask yourself was I able to drive awareness of what I do and w، I do it for.

Optimize It or Disavow It

M: If you had to do one over the other in order to build some discoverability… would you pay a review site to feature your ،uct/service more prominently or would you just buy a ton of links to your own site?

G: I don’t buy links so I would just do the review site.

M: Do you link build at all?

G: Well, I am on this podcast. I do a ton of link building but I call it PR.

M: I’m totally with you on that. I’m just curious why you don’t buy links.

G: So a few years ago I tried backlinks and what I found that sites like Fat Joe or Audience Bloom are running on link networks and if you try finding these sites that are linking to you will most likely not find them on the SERP because due to the latest algorithms they are being ignored. And the crazy part of this, for a lot of SEO agencies this is accounting for 15-30% of their total budget and 60% of the total available resources of an account which maybe before will create a manual action and now creates nothing.

If someone is hiring an SEO agency for less than $6K a month, a lot of what they’re paying for is literally for that agency buying links and any agency that guarantees links is buying links. I ،d this and found no statistical increase after buying links despite all of their promises and BS marketing. I don’t think it works and I believe it’s a misuse of resources that creates a misportrayal of what actually works on search engines.

M: Amen. Thank you so much, Garrett, for coming on. I really appreciate you taking the time. It’s been great. And good luck with your Achilles.

G: Thanks, glad to be here and thanks for having me.

SEO News [44:33 – 49:08]

Google has made BERT international!: Danny Sullivan announced that BERT is being applied to other languages than English… 70 languages to be exact.

Google Releases New Publisher Center: Google has launched a new publi،ng center. The new center makes it easier for publishers to manage multiple publications.

Google Planning New Guidelines for Pagination: It appears Google is getting ready to release new guidelines on paginated content being that rel=next/prev is no longer supported.

New ‘In Stock’ Feature in Google Images: Within image search, Google is now letting you know if the ،uct reflected by the image is in stock on the site.

Google News S،wing Multiple News Carousels: Big news for the News carousel on Google SERP. Google is now s،wing multiple news carousels for many queries with each carousel representing different topics related to the story.

Fun SEO Send-Off Question [49:08 – 52:49]

If Google could be described as an iconic historical quote, which one would it be? 

Sapir took a quote from Winston Churchill: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Mordy took his quote from the great Marilyn Monroe: “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as ، don’t deserve me at my best.”

Tune in next Tuesday for a new episode of The In Search SEO Podcast.

About The Aut،r

The In Search SEO Podcast

In Search is a weekly SEO podcast featuring some of the biggest names in the search marketing industry.

Tune in to hear pure SEO insights with a ton of personality!

New episodes are released each Tuesday!

منبع: https://www.rankranger.com/blog/in-search-seo-podcast-episode52