Chris Bonney and Zach Wilson discuss how the Insights Podcast will tackle topics such as user experience, conversion rate optimization and SEO. The podcast will take aim at a variety of challenges digital marketers face today: What should you do about Google’s BERT updates? What makes good SEO? Upping your backlink game. The Conversational Web and key phrases around it. What’s the cost of doing nothing and much more.
VP of Strategy
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This is going to be our agency podcast for talking about solutions that are for results-driven marketers and ideas and insights. Specifically, in the vein of user experience which we’re extraordinarily passionate about, SEO which we’re also extraordinarily passionate about and conversion optimization which we’re also extraordinarily passionate about and how all these things are connected. We’re going to talk about our own experience, problems, solutions, insights, and pains that we encounter internally marketing ourselves and externally that we face with some of our clients.
What’s your biggest pain these days in the vein of SEO. You do a lot of SEO. You do a lot of content marketing for Gulo obviously as our VP of strategy. What are some of the things that you encounter that are real challenges?
Yeah, I think the two couple things that come to mind on that are for SEO and what kind of challenges are? Is number one: just understanding where the algorithm sits? Bert is coming out and what will that do? How are our rankings going to be affected by these things with this sort of perpetual back of your mind like this looks great today, but what will it look like tomorrow? Literally tomorrow will my featured snippet be gone? We’ve seen featured snippets show up, go away and come back. I think that’s really just sort of the unease of SEO for me right now. The good news is it depends on what you need the SEO for if you’re an e-commerce situation and this is driving every conversion and transaction for your businesses online. That’s a much deeper concern than us who are positioning ourselves and maybe another organization or association is trying to position themselves as a thought leader or providing knowledge to the industry.
Having a number one ranking or featured snippet is great, but it isn’t as critical of a piece. So, I think that’s one thing, but for those that this is critical or that you sort of want to tout where you’re at from an SEO perspective just in the back your mind knowing that it might change. And then the other thing is just understanding the right kind of backlink strategy and how important backlinks really are. We know they’re important. We know their major signal. We know all the components of the authorities of the sites that are linking to you what those links look like and how they’re worded all matters. But to find the energy and the time for a small business to nurture an ongoing backlink campaign. Regardless, what kind of organization you are, I think, is a real challenge to understand. We’ve had sites link with rate with minimal backlinks, but also, those keywords have not been super competitive. So for me what sort of nags at me is how do we up our backlink game? How do we help our clients with their backlink game to make sure that that’s pushing everything forward?
Yeah, and just to speak to, first, the Bert update that I believe now its two weeks ago. There was a strong reaction from people, digital marketers and other digital agencies, really that were like, this big visceral reaction oh no. oh, no. You know, when am I gonna fall off the cliff? When am I gonna fall off the cliff. The general take away from me and people I trust in the marketplace is that don’t worry about it. Just keep doing what you’re doing and putting out great content and really trying to speak to your audience and speak specifically about what you do. Whether that’s an organization talking about nutrition or an ecommerce selling nutrition bars or a CPG in sort of pharmaceuticals, you just gotta put out things that speak to your audience and resonate with your audience because Google is just constantly running these little micro tests on whether or not people are clicking through your site and whether they’re staying there, and that ultimately is going to be the gauge of where you sit in your ranking. So yeah, that’s become my takeaway in the last couple of weeks, and I think some of the people that I respect that’s their take away too.
Good SEO is good SEO. Right? And if you dropped a little bit, hang tough, make some modifications based on what you know, perhaps, but it’s still the cream still rises to the top of the end of the day, it seems.
Right, right, right. And there was with some of our clients there was a little bit, we saw some trends leading up to it. If we’re looking back at historical in the weeks leading up there were some dips, and then Bert came out, and those things actually came to rise. We saw that with a handful of clients, which was really interesting. It’s hard. It’s hard to understand it. In hindsight, you can see what was happening, but as we’re watching it on a day to day basis or week to week basis, you’re like, you know what’s changed, what’s happening, etcetera. And you do get a little paranoid. But in hindsight, it was because there were these rollouts were coming out and they were testing the waters and now all of those are continuing to level out a little bit.
Yeah, I know it’s a great point, and I think if there’s one other thing that I think as far as an educational perspective goes talking with clients and even looking at it ourselves, you know, what? And this isn’t a new topic people have been talking about this for a while. What really are the ramifications to an organization by having featured snippets by having people also asked by having videos, you know, all the elements that are on this on results page now can actually almost be overwhelming. The knowledge panel etcetera these are keeping people from clicking through other sites.
And how do you strategize your SEO to take advantage of that? So you’re not just a victim of it, but you can actually take advantage of it and speak up the chain at your organization to say, well, our clicks are fewer because of a featured snippet or whatever it might be, and that affects click-throughs per se. But the idea that people are still getting the information from us and our authority in the industry or whatever it might be again, we’re not talking about transactional e-commerce. We’re talking about sort of, providing value and thought work and thought leadership out into the world. They’re still getting a lot of their information from us because we’re ranking well, but clicks are going down, you know, Um, and when you look at something like the people also ask, um, those can vary. I was reading something if you start clicking on those, they start expanding up to 20 or 30 of those little bars could start popping up once that’s sort of the rabbit hole you go down. Google is like, hey, there’s a whole bunch of stuff here that you might want to know about, right? That’s also a part of like how important are your H2s within your primary post to accommodate some of those questions? It doesn’t have to necessarily be the title of your posts is what that question has to be. It can be somewhere in your H2. So just from a copywriting perspective really and it kind of goes back to that idea of the conversational web as well, where we want to be in more speaking terms with our readers as opposed to some sort of topical situation, or maybe feel that more like a newspaper headline. This has to be like asking people a question in written form so that Google understands what you’re trying to answer through your post. I think that’s a little bit of a nuance kind of for a newbie SEO that’s a nuance that you wanna consider for sure.
Right, and on that a couple of things there. One: I want to talk about those conversational web phrases. If you remember last week we were in a meeting with a client they’re not producing a lot of new content and they’re frustrated because there not expanding their audience and things like that. We did a little bit of research and we did some surveying of their current customers. And lo and behold, what? What came up? How to do X, remember, right? Well, there’s two things, one: there is targeting your content to again your audience and answering those questions for your audience, especially in the world of associations because you’re an authority you need to be the provider of those answers and you can write content that answers specifically those questions and then two: which another thing that you touched on really lightly is, what’s the cost of doing nothing. We have another client we’re working with where they just completely stagnated because they’re not producing more content, and their audience has been flat for, you know, a year and change. You look back at the historical data and they haven’t produced anything of value! They’re producing this content that’s got 10 words on a page, and it’s like, you’re not gonna court anybody with this, really, like low-value content that doesn’t answer questions. And there’s a lot there and you go back to another thing that you were alluding to is just what’s your holistic digital strategy? Right?
Either you’re in it or you’re not is not something you can dabble in.
Right, right. And so, you do have to have some framework for that. You know, even if it’s like five bullet points, you gotta look at that and tell yourself what are we doing? Yeah, you can only fight so many battles. So, anyway, there’s a lot there. It’s a great conversation.
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