Google's Big Algorithm Update is Coming. Are You Ready?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Google's algorithm changes on a regular basis, which keeps marketers on their toes and SEO experts happily employed.

On this episode of the Marketing Spark podcast, Huckabuy's Geoff Atkinson talks about the impact that Google's next major update, Page Experience, will have on content marketing and SEO. 

On the podcast, Geoff and I talked about how B2B companies need to look beyond keyword optimization to drive SEO. They need to focus on technical elements such as dynamic rendering, page speed, and structured data. We also talked about why many companies are wasting time and money on content marketing.

My name is Mark Evans and I'd like to welcome youtube marketing spark, the podcast that delivers small doses of insight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches. By small doses, it's conversations that are fifteen minutes or less. On today's show I'm talking with Jeff Atkinson, the founder and CEO with Huckabye and the former senior VP of marketing and analytics at overstockcom. Huckaby described itself as a different kind of company taking a different approach to Seo. Welcome to marketing spark, Jeff. Thanks mark. Great to be here. So I've got to ask you from from the get go. How is huckaby a different kind of Seo Company? To me that sounds like great marketing. Maybe you can talk a little bit about what the company does and absolutely we are different typical seo in terms of spend and what people will spend on Seo. oftentimes it's mainly through agencies, through consultants, internal things. Hugaby is solely based on performance, so it's performance based Seo software that really checks the boxes of Technical Seo, which is often the hardest boxes to check. Fast page speed, structured data, stuff like dynamic rendering, these or things you might or might not be familiar with, but they're really the technical side and how your website is speaking to Google and our software essentially creates like the perfect conversation between your website and Google. So it's pretty unique. Our customers grow a ton and we're coming at this from a totally different angle. Maybe you can get a little bit into couple things, a couple questions I have. Want, how do you describe performance space, because it sounds fairly obvious, but I need to ask you anyway. And the other thing would be what you do different from other companies, particularly around things like keywords and keyword optimization. So performances is looking for growth, right. What are the things to it's not an analytics tool, we're not consultative. We're purely building software to help your company's organic search traffic grow. And the second question is, how...

...are we? How are like? How do we help our customers outside during things like keyword research and stuff like that? So, yeah, that's really not what we do. Actually, son, your criblical agency or your internal Seo hire should be doing great keyword research, you know, planning around what keywords to go after, making sure the sites architected in a way that, you know, Google can pick up on those keywords. But it's a different ball game for us. We're solely kind of focused on that conversation between the technical conversation between Google and your site, which is a really big and hard box to check. What's interesting about SEO? So it's actually about an eighty to ninety billion dollar industry here in the states with a net promoter score of zero. And that's really like the services side. So you'd rather like go to your dentist than you'd like to talk to your Seo Agency. So the sort of consultative and services side of Seo has left people quite unhappy and so we're trying to take a different, you know, perspective. We think we really recommend people have internal SEO teams and then they can layer on our software to check some of those big technical boxes. That would be really, really hard. Provide some background of the journey from working with overstock, you know, a big ecommerce operation, and how did you go from that to Howka Buy? What was what's your origin story? Yeah, so overstock had a great Seo Story. We went from a channel of zero to a channel of over three hundred million and like four or five years. So we were right on the front lines of identifying what it took to grow and what I found is that the market just wasn't addressing what people needed. Again, going back to the agencies and consultants, I mean you've probably heard many war stories about people getting burned or you know, they're just not getting their money's worth out of these agencies. And what I found really move the needle was really on the technical side, like how do you get a huge site like overstock with millions of pages to communicate the best it possibly could to Google? And the...

...better it communicates to Google, the more traffic, more rankings, you know, all the great things that come with it you get. And we worked tirelessly, like we had forty people working on Seo, twenty of which were developers, and that's a huge undertaking. Most companies just can't do that and most of our efforts were technical and so, looking at companies where they sort of fell short, it was on this technical side that wasn't being addressed because agencies can't really address it. So we built it. You know, this lend itself to a software solution and something that would really disrupt the market. And so we came at it from a software angle and have, you know, built technology to accomplish all these things. So, since covid emerged, a lot of companies, BB companies, have really changed their approach to marketing. Whereas conferences used to be a go to tool for them, that's not happening, probably won't happen for another six, six months to a year. A lot of them have turned to content marketing. They if they weren't, if they were doing it before, they're doing a lot more now. If they weren't doing it, they're embracing it in a real big way. HOW HAS BDB SEO Change Post Covid? Has It changed at all? The are you dealing with different types of customers with different challenges? Maybe provide a little context to that. Yeah, it has changed in that you know, I always joke that in times of covid you want to be part of the plumbing of the Internet, because the plumbing of the Internet's getting tested, and that's exactly what we do. We're part of the plumbing of the Internet making sure that, you know, websites are able to be understood and crawled and making sure Google gets all the information that they need. I think you know, not only did conferences get kind of wiped out, but also paid budgets out wiped out, and companies were really kind of stuck, especially be to be in a bad place where they weren't getting the leads, they weren't getting the normal marketing activities that they that they've sort of needed, and so we see a lot of especially around be tob and B tob software. The trend is towards organic, it's towards content marketing. I have a whole nother sort of...

...story around content marketing. I think it's the term is sort of overused. It's definitely a buzz term. There's content Martin. People are spending a ton of money on it without clear cut goals, but when they do get it right it results in awesome organic traffic. So we've found that the market during covid is definitely attracted to Seo. People see it as a long term solution that's reliable. It's not as vulnerable to whatever's happening in the world as some of these other channels. So fortunately we feel well positioned and if anything, you know, we've received a bit of an uptick as a result of of covid as. People sort of fall back on the tried and true marketing methods, and Seo's definitely one of those. I'm not going to let you get away with talking about content marketing because as a content marketer, it's something I'm focus, focused on and and obviously into. Maybe you can talk a little bit about, like Elabrary, on your approach to content marketing, because becoming a publisher has become increasingly important. You know, brands are pumping out all kinds of content, a lot of it. It's not very good, not very focus. Maybe get into your your view on content marketing and and talk about what is content marketing and and and how is it different from content marketing that really works? And I bet mark you see a ton of this where the buzz word is content marketing. And so these companies will allocate huge budgets to content marketing, but they're just kind of doing it for the sake of doing it. There's no clear cut goals, there's no strategy, they're not measuring it accurately to know if they're achieving what they you know, what they need to be to be spending this type of money, and so there ends up being a lot of bad content. There ends up being a lot of content that's not doesn't have sort of a goal or a strategy behind it, and so I think it's probably you know, you could argue a while back that people were way overspending on paid search. Content marketing kind of feels like that right now, like good content marketing is worth its weight in gold. It's it's amazing, but the amount of bad content marketing and misdirected content marketing...

...that's happening out there I find kind of overwhelming. Like we have a lot of big Bob Sass brands as customers and they have enormous budgets for content marketing, but I don't when I ask them like what, what's the goal? What are you trying to achieve, you kind of start getting these these really fuzzy answers back and you can quickly realize, well, they're participating in this because their other channels are going flat. They know it's the hot thing right now. Companies, though, need to have a really good strategy, good goals, be able to measure it. That's when we see it go well, but we see it not going well. A lot of the time. So I guess that's my issue with it right now. It's not. I have full appreciation for what it can do. I just find that most companies aren't doing it correctly. Do you have any examples of companies that are doing it well? I mean it'd be, you know, companies that create high quality content that is customer centric, that answers questions, that embraces thought leadership and offers tons of insight. I mean you look at a company like cub spot, for example, and what they do, and do you have other examples that companies you can point to and go from a content marketing perspective, aligned with goals, aligned with Seo, these guys stand out from the crowd. Yeah, sales force is great at it. Up spots a great example. They're not a customer, but they're they're a great example. Sales forces a customer or they do it very well. Probably the shining jewel though, of our customers is concur. Concur their organic search is something like eighty five percent of their leads and that's that's funneling into an enormous sales team. They just kill it when it comes to content marketing and SEO, and it's really well architected, it's really well executed. They have very smart internal seos. They just know their stuff and they go out and crush it. There's no sort of guessing game. They're like they know the keywords that they're going after, they know the content strategy that they're going after and they just execute on it great so those are two sort of name brands that come to mind in the B tob space. For huck by that that we're very impressed with and we're lucky to have his mestomers and support them from a technical perspective. So...

...if we can get a little bit into the technical weeds when it comes to Google, obviously gold dominate the SEO landscape. How good of a job does Google do when it comes to quality content? So you're looking at brands like concur or sales force that are doing a great job of creating content that engages prospects and customers. So what's the relationship between that activity and what google indexes and how can bb brands marry the two? The biggest issue is the indexation. So when I say that there's content out there that's not good or oftentimes a bigger problem is it's just not properly, getting indexed correctly. So you'll find companies and that is a technical problem. So once you start introducing javascript on your website, which almost every single website has some form of jobascript, Google is now having a hard time indexing it. Their flat HDM, the regular bought called their html bought. That's what they've used for years and years and years and it can't crawl javascript based content. So once they hit this javascript they have to kick it to what they call a rendering Q, and a rendering queue for them takes way more processing time than if they were to crawl it with their hdmil crawler. And once it's in that rendering Q, You know you not could be talking to for six weeks before that contents actually getting indexed, if at all, if the site doesn't have a great domain authority, which is a huge problem, and if there's not a lot of tools to give you visibility into whether your sites being called properly, whether all these content investments are actually paying off. And that's what Huckaby's like built to solve. So we make sure that the content is flat Hgml, we make sure the sites really fast, we add all the structured data so you do have to have sort of a foundation, a technical Seo Foundation, for these content efforts really to achieve what they're supposed to achieve. If Google can't crawl it and they can index it, your views are going to you know, you just not going to get the boost out of that content that you'd like.

And then Google's also still, you know, really good at identifying what is great content. You know, is it getting a lot of backlinks? Is it trending on social media? They're excellent at picking up on those cues. But it's a if. If there isn't the technical fundamentals, they just can't rank this important content like they like. They could if the site was set up correctly. So that's sort of what I'm saying. Maybe we can take another step further, as much as I don't have a lot of deachnical less for teasement it comes to Zeo. Can you talk about the other ways that bb brands can leverage google, things like dynamic rendering, page speed, structured data, all the nitty gritty stuff that sits apart from content creation. Do they need to use a company like you? Can they use internal people like how can they optimize their SEO technical foundation. You know, the easiest way without spending a bunch of money is just to simplify the site. But markers, marketers tend to not do that. We like the shiny things, we like the chat boxes, we like to buy javascript based cont you know, products, and so that is when you need to have, you know, start looking at these technical options like dynamic rendering, basically means you can now give Google a version of your site that's different than what users interact with. So it needs to look the same and act the same, but you know, you can strip out all the content. Dynamic rendering basically like if you have a mobile version, then you have a desktop version and now you can actually have a Google version. That they open the door to this because of this javascript problem. That's a really big change for them, for them to be saying, okay, give us a version that's just easier for us to crawl. And there are other dynamic rendering providers out there. Huckabye does it based on Seo. Structure Data is actually, you know, a pretty lightweight, relatively easy thing if you put a developer on it. Structure Data is a language that allows you to communicate authoritatively to Google it's also what powers all they called rich enhancements around search results. You no longer getting back ten blue links. You get a very enhanced search experience and that's all powered by...

...this language. So simplification of the site structure data, if you do have a very complicated site, dynamic renderings and excellent way around that. So you can still have marketers being in creative and implementing all these random things. But probably the biggest one is page speed. Page speed is a huge problem. Google has an update coming in two thousand and twenty one that they've been talking for for almost a year now about that. Delayed it because of covid because they think it's going to impact the economy, and it's called a page experience update and it's all about page speed and that's a huge issue that everybody has and no one has really addressed and they've been screaming about it for years and they're making this big update in two thousand and twenty one that's going to, you know, really drive it home. So page speed is the one that I'd really recommend taking a look at and trying to get better. So as a marketer, if in if this page experience comes to fruition in two thousand and twenty one. What should they be doing right now? Is this something they should be worrying about? Is it kind of like what is it hy k, you know, when all the thought that the world was going to end and everything was gonna blow up? Company's been billions of dollars preparing for that. Is it the same kind of scenario as a marketer right now when it comes to my website and organic traffic? What should I do right now? It's sort of like Y to K, but it's more like imagine the last big algorithm update that affected you in some way, shape or form, and then multiply that times like four or five. is going to be a big ripple effect throughout the Internet. The best way to go about it is to start reading about it. Google's very open and honest about what they're doing. What, how? What's changing? Page speed, you'll see, is probably the biggest factor, and how quickly the site loads house. The user interaction was a load quickly on mobile. Preparation is really starts with doing research and then coming up with a game plan on you know, because with every algorathm update there's not just losers, there's also winners, and so this is a great chance to jump ahead of your competition. If you know, chances are everybody has a slow site. So if you get in a position that they have a quicksite going into two thousand and twenty one, you have a...

...great chance to jump ahead of a bunch of competitors. One final question, and will dial back a little bit, in terms of in terms of SEO. If you're a BB brand, and you are, you recognize that your you have to improve your Seo and prove organic search, make sure that Google is has a good relationship with your website. Where do you start? Can you give me like three or four things you should focus on to start to establish that foundation? A great place to start is getting someone knowledgeable in House that, if you're if you're feeling like your brand is in your company, sort of week on Seo Knowledge. Internal teams just always sort of win when it comes to Seo. There's obviously technology out there's a that's great, but having someone in House that you trust, that has a up on things, that knows what's going on, that'll be a great win. Otherwise, just figuring out the fundamental so backlinks are still incredibly important, making sure your domain authorities high, let's say, with be be tob brands, focusing on Seo earlier in your life cycle, because it does take time. It takes twelve months, it takes in a long time before you really get the kick of those efforts. So starting them earlier, I know we're doing this as a BB brand, just the earlier you start and start investing in Seo, because at some point in your life cycle you're going to really be kicking yourself if you haven't started investing in Seo early and you're going to be playing catchup. And for some brands like concurred layer built on SEO. You know they that's what grew them to the size that they are. Early Investment, Domain Authority through backlinking and gets, getting someone that's knowledgeable in house would be sort of the three things I'd recommend. What Jeff this is a great conversation as much. I think I've learned a ton about Seo and certainly page experience and page speed is something that I'm going to focus on on my own website and when I talk in a client so well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave review and subscribe by Itunes or your favorite podcast APP. If you like what you heard, please rate...

...it. For show notes of today's conversation and Information About Jeff is it marketing spark dot co slash blog. If you have questions, feedback, would like to suggest a guess or want to learn more how I help bedb companies as a fractional CMO consultant and advisor. Send an email to mark at marketing spark dot com. Talk to you next time.

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