You say traditional SEO strategy has evolved and become richer… Can you walk us through a timeline of the changes you’ve observed?
First, everyone needed a website. Then, everyone needed a pretty website.
Then came focus on what I would call fundamental SEO and page optimization. At some point, though, that stopped delivering those incremental results.
"Then came focus on what I would call fundamental SEO and page optimization. At some point, though, that stopped delivering those incremental results."
Then, we had a move to a multi-screen website. That came with greater emphasis on varying content formats; as you can see with very popular websites like CNN, half of their stories are video.
So now we have to think about Web Presence Management: are you providing multi-screen content and are you giving the content delivery choice of either reading it or watching it?
Do you think digital marketing is more of a ‘pressure cooker’ than other industries?
Yes. Take the accounting profession or the tax profession. Each year, there are some new taxes… but the tax system doesn't get thrown out every six months. In many ways, our industry can turn on a dime based on changes that Google or other major platforms make.
It’s that dynamic that makes conferences like C3 really important. We're not talking about minor changes to the services where you offer Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies, or even the small shops. We're talking about seismic shifts.
The people who are probably most sensitive to that are the folks that are running companies that have the largest stake online. They are dramatically impacted by changes in Google.
Let’s get specific with reporting. How does custom reporting pay off for an agency or an SEO?
In the automotive industry, we have deep vertical penetration. We use API reports to analyze traffic sources to vehicle detail pages (essentially product pages). A strategic custom report would compare organic traffic, paid traffic, social media traffic, engagement rates, time on site… This really helps put into context the contributions of organic search.
I think that the days of PDF reports being emailed to people are just dead money. Using the APIs from Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, and Conductor, you can really create this palette of data that makes sense in context.
This is a transformational point for agencies. Customizing your message and your data for clients accelerates their education and your bond. It’s a subtle thing but it's important.
"Customizing your message and your data for clients accelerates their education and your bond. It’s a subtle thing but it's important."
When you turn on the lights for your clients, you become more than their SEO agency. You help them understand how consumers are shopping, how consumers are interacting with our content, how SEO is part of a bigger web presence management conversation. You really become their digital coach and marketing partner.