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EP 310 Transcript | Two Fundamental SEO Mistakes to Avoid with Garrett Mehrguth

By Site Strategics
April 25, 2019

Erin Sparks: 00:00:00 com and join the conversation. Tap us on the shoulder. Be happy to actually share some insights. Talk about some of the things that we can see regarding your digital asset, and possibly some action items that we can bring to your immediate success. So go over to sitestrategics.com, and hey, just give us a shout. You can also give us a call at 877-SEOFORWEB, or 877-736-4932. So give us a call. We’ll be happy to jump onto a conversation with you and see what we can see. Maybe we can help you right there.

Erin Sparks: 00:00:34 I’m Erin Sparks. I’m the host of Edge of the Web, as well as owner of Site Strategics, and founder of Edge Media Studios. Thanks for joining us today. The reason that we do this show, we talk about it regularly, but it bears repeating is that there’s so many things inside of the digital marketing space that it’s mysterious to say the least. But it’s a regular changing, almost daily changing, environment and you have to know what’s happening out there, and know what to stay away from and de-mystify some of the problem children out there so to speak, when it comes down to digital tactics.

Erin Sparks: 00:01:11 You want to veer away from black hat techniques and really capitalize on what is trending in the ecosystem. That’s why we do what we do. We try to kind of bust that out, talk about it a little bit with some great guests that are professional and, on top of that, just aficionados in the digital marketing space. We also do it because we wanna keep our power [inaudible 00:01:34]. We wanna educate ourselves here at Site Strategics and be able to bring some of these trending techniques back to our own clients. So it’s a bit self serving, but you know what? It makes for good TV, right?

Erin Sparks: 00:01:44 Alright, so in the producer’s booth, we got Tom Brodbeck. Sir, how you doing?

Tom Brodbeck: 00:01:49 Hello. Can you hear me?

Erin Sparks: 00:01:50 Yep, we can hear you. Can’t see you.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:01:51 Hi.

Erin Sparks: 00:01:52 Hi, there.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:01:52 Oh, that doesn’t make sense. There we go. Hey.

Erin Sparks: 00:01:55 Tom, how you doing, sir?

Tom Brodbeck: 00:01:56 Good, how are you?

Erin Sparks: 00:01:57 I’m very good. Very good. He’s the director of digital media over here, and let’s introduce our guest tonight, today. Tonight? I feel like Johnny Carson. Hey, let’s dial him in here. It’s Garrett Mehrgut. How you doing, sir?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:02:11 I’m doing well. Thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to being on with you guys and chatting a little bit about search.

Erin Sparks: 00:02:16 You’re more than welcome, more than welcome. We’ve been eager to be able to speak with you and kinda unpack some of your insights and your organization’s insights. You’re with Directive, correct?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:02:27 Yes, that’s exactly right, Directive. We do B2B and enterprise search to marketing.

Erin Sparks: 00:02:31 Fantastic. Well, we’ve certainly been talking to you for a while. Great to be able to have you on the show. Each and every show that we execute here, we start with some digital marketing news. So, you game for going through that?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:02:43 Oh, let’s do it.

Erin Sparks: 00:02:44 Alright. Let’s take you through the latest digital marketing news.

Speaker 4: 00:02:48 I’m gonna do what God put Ron Burgundy on this Earth to do, have salon quality hair and read the news. This week’s trending topics.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:02 Alright, from Search Engine Land with Barry Schwartz at the wheel, Google Search Console adds Discover reports. Now check this out, if your website gets a lot of traffic from Google Discovery, you may see a new report on Google Search Console to help you analyze that data. So they actually announced this, adding a new report to help publishers learn more about how searchers are finding their site through the Google Discover feature.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:27 Google said as adding a new report in Google Search Console to share relevant statistics regarding Google Discover. So, what is Google Discover? Google Discover is a new name for the Google feed, you may have known for years, and it shows topics and news interests around items that may actually interest you, right? So with Google Discover, you can actually get information from your interests like favorite sports teams or news sites without actually searching for them.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:53 Very much like the FeedBurner of old, it is a Google feed and this Discover tool is now, if you are actually getting more activity in that Google [inaudible 00:04:04] per domain, you’re gonna be getting that additional report in there. Tom, what’s your take on what we’re seeing here with this new tool?

Tom Brodbeck: 00:04:13 Yeah, so I was talking to, or, talking to … I read Glenn Gabe’s tweets on Twitter about this and he’s got an article about seven different areas that you can get traffic from Google that you have no way of knowing where you’re getting traffic from in Google, and this was one of those sources. And so his list is, he said on Twitter, has gone from seven to six.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:04:33 I think it’s a great tool. I think it’s a feature that Google’s going to be expanding in the future. As an Android user, I use this feature a lot, so it’d be interesting to see how this is incorporated into the report data there in the AMP stories. If anybody’s messing with AMP stories, we haven’t yet. That’d be interesting, as well, to see how that plays out.

Erin Sparks: 00:04:57 Absolutely. Alright Garrett, you’re up. What’s your take on this new tool? We’re gonna be talking about search rankings from different sites, and this is certainly an understanding of customer intent, finding you from this particular resource. So, what do you think?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:05:13 I think the new Google Search Console as a whole has some really awesome parks. It does give you a little bit more insight and kinda the world that was not provided. You can see a little bit more in impressions. A lot of it, though, is duplicative of what you can see in Google Analytics. I don’t do a ton in media. Tom, correct me if I’m wrong here, but the Discover report is mostly for like media, right? So, it’s like a Twitter feed or a Facebook, like more of a feed, right, of all the news sites?

Tom Brodbeck: 00:05:38 So the Discover on an Android phone, if you were to-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:05:41 See, I don’t have Android.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:05:42 Yeah, so if you’re on your Android and you swipe left when you’re on your homepage, that’s Discover. There’s articles there and so if I swipe left, so I’m a big sports fan, so I’ll get the Reds score, I’ll get the high state spring games this weekend, Star Wars stuff, Avengers stuff. It’s just a different news feed. It’s kinda like, you have Google News, you have Google Search. It’s just a different feed.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:06:03 It’s not necessarily just media. There is media. There’s YouTube videos and that sort of thing, but it’s just a different feed that Google is providing users and you can get clicks from it to your website that-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:06:14 How does one get on the Google Discover feed? Like, that’s a question that excites me.

Tom Brodbeck: 00:06:16 That is a good question. That, I have no idea.

Erin Sparks: 00:06:19 I think they are picking and choosing [crosstalk 00:06:20]-

Tom Brodbeck: 00:06:20 Yeah, they’re picking and choosing based on your interests, and so it’s feeding you content based on what your … They’re tracking what you’re looking at on your phone and so-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:06:29 Like, do you have to be a part of Google News to qualify or [crosstalk 00:06:33]-

Tom Brodbeck: 00:06:33 I would assume so. I’d assume there’s probably some sort of factor within Google News, within the Google News feed.

Erin Sparks: 00:06:39 Yeah, you have to line up. You have to be a publisher of content, a regular publisher of content. You have to kinda get the interest of Google to even be able to be part of the news round, right? Gotta make sure your stuff’s AMP, of course. And then, I guess they’re picking and choosing those elements that will show up in Discover. And now we have a tool inside of GSE to be able to see if we actually have made the grade.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:07:04 Love it. That’s awesome.

Erin Sparks: 00:07:06 Alright so from Roger Montti over at Search Engine Journal, new Google Search commands, before and after. Google’s Danny Sullivan today actually announced new search commands, the before and after. So, the before:, after: commands. The new commands allow users to restrict searches to specific dates. The new search command is something Google is actually testing.

Erin Sparks: 00:07:29 So how do the commands work? The commands accomplish the same functionality as the date range tools for restricting searches to specific date ranges. Danny actually makes a comment that the before and after commands return documents before and after a day. You must provide the year, month, and day dates, or only a year. You can combine both, and they give an example on screen there. We’ll actually have this link in the show notes.

Erin Sparks: 00:07:56 The old way of searching by date is you’d actually have to pull in the calendar tool bar to be able to pull that up. Now, you can use commands and there’s a screenshot on SEJ for how you actually can execute. For example, Avengers: Endgame before 2019, before: 2019, it gives you the content at that point so you can actually dial in for news, or for structural content or just any search results as well as videos. Does it apply to videos, too? I think so.

Erin Sparks: 00:08:29 So basically, they’re giving some new parameters. And honestly, if you don’t know all the command parameters for Google, you gotta go check out some resources. There’s so many ways to be able to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for, from research documentation and news articles, and it’s an archive. We know it, and now we have some additional bookends that we can narrow our focus even more.

Erin Sparks: 00:08:51 Garrett, what do you think about that?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:08:54 Well, I never use the date search, honestly. I do a lot of site search. I do a lot of other types of search commands. I use the Wayback Machine, but I’ve never done a date search. I’m still struggling my brain. I’m such a pragmatic individual who just hates doing things that I find is waste until I’m so … I’m terrible like that, so I love …

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:09:21 As I’ve gotten a little older, barely, right? But just, better at what we do, I’ve kinda learned that things I don’t do is more important than the things I do.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:09:29 One of the things I’ve never done is a date search, so I don’t have ton of feedback on that. What do you guys think you would use it for? That’s where I was struggling. I’m always more pragmatic, so I was trying to think through how we would use that tool.

Erin Sparks: 00:09:43 Well I would think that if you’re looking for certain trends of content, probably looking at 2015, 2014, going a little bit further back and be able to see what was news of the day, right? You’d be able to get-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:09:56 Yeah I’ve got Google Trends for that. I’m sure you guys use it, too.

Erin Sparks: 00:09:58 Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:10:00 [crosstalk 00:10:00]-

Erin Sparks: 00:10:00 But, you’re not gonna-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:10:01 Yeah, I was just curious.

Erin Sparks: 00:10:02 You’re not gonna be seeing the SERPs in that regard, so they’re kinda pulling that concept of trending content, right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:10:09 Well, I got one, so check this out. I got you guys. We work with Allstate, so we do a local SEO for Allstate. Let’s say, and this happened, actually, Allstate comes to us and says, “Hey, we know we’re doing better on organic, but we’re still losing clicks.” You could then take a keyword query, do before, and then see what happens essentially with Google My Business cannibalization, what’s happened with Featured Snippet cannibalization.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:10:33 And that, by the way, is why it’s so important to focus less on your website and more on your brand, ’cause if you’re inherently basing all your value tracking based on website visits, Google is inherently for, especially for larger websites and larger enterprise players, decreasing essentially the amount of traffic they’re sending to you through the properties of their engine. And so that is a use case. You could actually go see SERP functionality historically and then see how it’s changed, see if that’s been indicative of click rates to your website.

Erin Sparks: 00:11:01 That’s a very good example. I’m just wondering whether or not we can actually get GMB along for the ride, or it kind of pulls it out and just gives us that SERP data. I’d be very interested-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:11:11 [crosstalk 00:11:11].

Erin Sparks: 00:11:10 … if we could actually almost do like a historical-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:11:14 Like a Wayback Machine [crosstalk 00:11:15]-

Erin Sparks: 00:11:15 Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think that’d be really-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:11:17 [crosstalk 00:11:17]-

Erin Sparks: 00:11:17 That’d be real cool. No, you’re absolutely right, and that’s very good insight there because Google is, and we’ve been talking about it for a while here, is continually encroaching on your customer’s interaction and removing you out of the equation further and further, with your own brand content, but they’re asking the consumers to play in their sandbox before they get to you, even more.

Erin Sparks: 00:11:42 This next story actually is very apropos to that concept over at Bloomberg.com, Gerrit De Vynck, Google’s next big money maker could be the Maps and your phone, talking about an additional Google property. Google became the world’s most profitable Internet company, obviously, regarding search advertising. Now it’s turning to another popular web service into a major cash machine. Google Maps is indispensable, right? Unless you’re Apple, and you’re using Apple maps, but we won’t talk about that because-

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:12:14 Boo.

Erin Sparks: 00:12:14 … Apple sucks. I didn’t say that. No, no, no, no. I didn’t say that. Forgive me, Apple. The Apple maps suck. It’s part of life overall. Like, a billion people who use it to commute, explore new cities and everything under the sun, especially phone number lookups, as well.

Erin Sparks: 00:12:31 Service has been mostly free, free from ads, since it launched 14 years ago. Check that out. So, interviews with Google executives and customers show that this is changed and the Internet giant is increasing the way advertisers can actually reach map users while raising prices for some business that use the underlying technology. The app actually now regularly highlights sponsored locations and shows extra paid listings when people lookup nearby gas stations. Very similar to what we’re gonna be talking about today.

Erin Sparks: 00:12:59 So Garret, this is right in your wheelhouse. What do you think about this additional, this additional monetization from a utility standpoint for advertisers and consumers alike?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:13:14 Correct me if I’m wrong, Google acquired Waze, correct?

Erin Sparks: 00:13:16 Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:13:18 So, they acquired Waze, I think, multiple years ago. I think it’s almost been two or three years. Waze was an ad-based platform, so they in set inherently when they acquired Waze, they acquired gamification as well as a native ad platform built into a maps product.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:13:32 So theoretically, they’ve had this entire thing available this entire time, so it doesn’t surprise me at all. I think what they’re gonna primarily look at is just to see how it affects essentially flight or AKA churn from people using the product or turning to different products with an ad-free experience.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:13:51 So no, I think it’s a obvious way for them to increase their revenue, but I don’t know what … They would have Waze as a product to understand the difference between churn on the ad model. They’ve taken little things with the, like kinda favicons to your car to try to gamify it a little bit, but they still haven’t done like pure source data like Waze has, but you do have ads in Waze. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Erin Sparks: 00:14:19 Right, right, right. I think that’s a good observation. They’re testing whether people are gonna push away from it, and honestly, there’s an increasing sensitivity to consumers and the monetization of platforms that they use. People by and large push away from Facebook Messenger as Facebook was just throwing in sponsorships on a regular basis into that space.

Erin Sparks: 00:14:47 The platforms have to be careful that they don’t screw up the utility of certain functionalities, right? However, at the same time, if it’s gamified, like you said, and if it’s actually really even better, more useful … See, there’s the thing is that it just can’t be monetized and the top advertiser wins the day. Google has a heck of a lot more information around it, and if it can bring that sponsor that also has additional amenities that you possibly like based on your search intent, therein lies a really good additional augmentation to that tool.

Erin Sparks: 00:15:23 You know what’s good augmentation to your inbox? Our email newsletter that can actually be sent to you each and every week free of charge. All you gotta do is text to the number 22828 the word Edgetalk. Don’t do it while you’re driving, or, well, if you’re in the passenger seat, go right ahead. Sign them both up. Sign your driver and you up for this wonderful peace of literature that we’re sending out each and every week. Nuggets of gold about who we’re talking to, who we just interviewed, and some aha moments as well as the news articles just like this. So, go over to edgeofthewebradio.com. If you don’t wanna do it on your smartphone, it’s right there at the top of page and we’ll send this on over to you and we’ll do nothing else with it except send you digital marketing nuggets of gold each and every week. So, do that and don’t be ashamed. Come on, join. Join the edge nation. Alright?

Erin Sparks: 00:16:15 With that, we’re gonna turn the tables around and deep dive with this week’s featured guest.

Speaker 4: 00:16:21 Now it’s time for Edge of the Web featured interview with Garret Mehrgut, CEO and co-founder of Directive.

Erin Sparks: 00:16:30 So, you just got the deep voice cinema credit introduction, Garrett. How about that?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:16:36 That was … I’ve been on a couple podcasts but nothing quite like that so [inaudible 00:16:41]. I like it. It makes me seen a lot smarter than I am.

Erin Sparks: 00:16:44 There it is, see? We roll out the red carpet for everybody here, and we certainly appreciate you coming on board. Let’s introduce you to our listeners and watchers. Garrett is actually the CEO and co-founder at Directive Consulting, a global B2B search marketing agency specializing in ROI-driven campaigns for its clients.

Erin Sparks: 00:17:06 Wonderful statement right there, I mean, you have to dial it in for the return on investment. You just can’t do it to do it. Garrett’s also a popular speaker on the marketing circuit haven, spoken at State of Search, Digital Summit, SMX, and MozCon. Congrats, that’s a good lineup of conferences there. That’s the official backstory, but that doesn’t give us nearly enough information about how you come to be [inaudible 00:17:33], so give us a lowdown on your history of marketing and how’d you get into SEO and digital marketing specifically.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:17:41 Alright Erin, well-

Erin Sparks: 00:17:46 And, leave no stone unturned. Give us the real deal, man.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:17:50 You guys want the real deal.

Erin Sparks: 00:17:51 Yeah, yeah.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:17:51 Alright, we can do the real deal, that’s fun. I went to college at Azusa Pacific University. I did my degree in economics in three years. I did my master’s my fourth year. Was captain on the soccer, having a blast, doing school, playing soccer, wanting to get into consulting. So, went on to Deloitte, McKinsey, Boston, Bain, top consulting firms.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:18:14 Went to apply, found out that when you go to Azusa Pacific University, what they don’t tell you in their literature and their recruitment is you have to apply under other when it comes to top consulting firms. So in other words, my university was not on the list available. From that, I got essentially an auto response, which made me a little frustrated and I kinda said, “Forget these guys. I’m gonna build my own consulting firm, and one day they’ll acquire me.”

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:18:41 Unfortunately, at 22 years old you’re not a genius and you don’t actually have any hard skills. So what I found in life is a lot of times, it’s a lot easier to sell things that people perceive you to be good at. And so I asked myself if was gonna get into consulting and I wanted to help businesses, and I knew I could think strategically, what hard skills should I apply or that people would assume I was better than them at? And so I looked to the Internet. I figured old people have money, they don’t know the Internet. Young people have no money, they know the Internet. You can trade services for money and make business.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:19:11 And so I figured and asked myself, okay, of those services, which have the highest propensity to turn into revenue? I looked at social. I didn’t like kind of the ROI I was seeing for the majority of organizations. I looked at email, I didn’t necessarily like it, as well. I finally landed on search and I thought, wow, what exciting stuff. So I took my moped, a 1978 Peugeot 103 SP-

Erin Sparks: 00:19:35 Sweet.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:19:36 … hopped on there, drove around Azusa with my flyers that me and my mom made and handed them out to all the local businesses.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:19:44 Azusa is a not great neighborhood in East Los Angeles, just to give you context. Found a Persian restaurant. I told them essentially I can help him, so I build him a Yelp page, Facebook page, handed out flyers at the 24-hour fitness for him, did all this work, came back the next day and he said, “Come back tomorrow.” I still came back tomorrow, whole place was boarded up and he was gone.

Erin Sparks: 00:20:14 Whoa.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:20:16 That was my first ever client, and you can see the lovely little contract here with the oil stains on it that I have in my office. It reminds me to just keep going. And so, that was the first client.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:20:31 I needed money at the time, too, so I started selling services on Fiverr. Fiverr was the first time I actually figured out how a search engine works, so I would play around with the title tags on Fiverr, and my video, and my copy. I figured out how to get on their homepage, so I bet my roommate I can make over a thousand dollars a month selling five dollars in services, and I kinda turned this, like it would made myself a little Fiverr business while I was still trying to get my consulting up.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:20:54 So I was riding around in moped, I was doing Fiverr. I invited a couple of family friends that I knew were in businesses to my graduation party and I pitched them there. I got small kinda contractor gigs with them, and so that’s kinda how I started, was just hustling. I essentially started Directive with about 20 bucks.

Erin Sparks: 00:21:15 Really?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:21:16 Yep.

Erin Sparks: 00:21:17 And, that is awesome. So as you moved on, certainly, the contracts got bigger, right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:21:24 Yeah, I mean, from there, essentially we did a lot of local. Got on all the local recommended, created a ton of local content, would go to a lot of local events. I’d speak on local, talk on local, and I just loved it, and I still do. A little problem is while it feels great to help local businesses, a lot of times their markets are so small and their revenue is so little that it’s hard to make the living you might want as a consultant for your fee the to business. You have to essentially start to do multi-location local businesses.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:21:54 There’s some people in the space who’ve very well, like Local SEO Guide, Whitespark’s [inaudible 00:21:59] software in this space. There’s some good consulting firms out there and I love what they’re doing. What I found, though, is when you get these … Like, we have some really nice blue chip clients. They don’t like you working with their competitors, and so unfortunately what that means, if you have to kind of … You have like hotels, right? Then you will have restaurant chains. Then you have … And, you can only kinda get one, and it kinda became little limiting in the sense of how … It’s very difficult to get those clients.

Erin Sparks: 00:22:26 Heck, yeah.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:22:27 There’s not a ton of them, and it’s very difficult. And so one day, we looked at our portfolio. We were naturally getting a lot of B2B companies, a lot of enterprise companies, a lot of software companies, and we just decided to change our branding. For us, that was really scary. If you search SEO agency, we rank number one. I think it’s very important as an agency to eat your own caviar. I think it’s kinda messed up to sell my services to everyone else but not do them for myself, because if they were really that valuable, why wouldn’t I do them for me, right?

Erin Sparks: 00:22:54 Sure, absolutely.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:22:55 We do a ton of our own Google advertising. We do a ton of our own search. And so, when we did that, we kinda had to say no to a large percent of the market, and so now we do mostly just B2B and enterprise. Search marketing, I think we have 65 full-time employees, and yeah, we’re just trying to do awesome work for clients who share our values.

Erin Sparks: 00:23:16 Fantastic. Do you still go exclusive with different organizations, or have you found that there’s a bit of a watershed moment where the business owners or the execs realize that you’ve gotten much larger skills, deeper set of skills, that you can borrow from the same industry to be able to benefit them?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:23:39 Yeah, so it just depends on, like, sometimes we’ll have a pretty large player in a space, and so I won’t take the other large player. But if there’s somebody where they’ve never even heard of them, and they’re not even remotely in the same market, that’s different.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:23:53 I don’t like the idea of working with two core players in a market. And if we got had to put in that situation, we would just essentially make sure they got separate teams and make sure there was data silos, so that nobody could kinda … But, it’s not a area … It’s a fine line. I don’t love it, and I try to avoid that from now on.

Erin Sparks: 00:24:15 Here, here. We at Site Strategics have actually struggled with that for number of years and we’ve always had the same clarity as that as long as we’re locally not in the same space, you’re gonna be able to leverage some techniques. But if you’re right neck in neck with two competitors, you just can’t look them both in the eye, and there’s a certain level of distrust that is in dement for the relation.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:24:35 Yeah, I would struggle with Google, Salesforce and HubSpot. To me, that would be a clear contradiction, unless I was doing only HubSpot sales. I was doing only Pardot on Salesforce, right? But if had both had those accounts, it would be a hard … It wouldn’t, you know … and those clients pay enough that you don’t need both.

Erin Sparks: 00:24:54 I dig it. I dig it. But let’s swing around to this great backstory and solid team, and you certainly are eating your own caviar. It’s fantastic to see that type of ranking going on for an organization such as yourself. Let’s talk about paying for SEO. Why don’t you break down that concept for me?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:25:12 Yeah. We were talking a little bit about this off air, but in the SEO industry, it is a lot easier to think about cool stuff and test things and get distracted [inaudible 00:25:28] to knuckle down sometimes and do the core things that you know are gonna be successful. And really, discoverability is what SEO is. So, I like to unpack what the reason why people hire you as a search engine optimization firm, and primarily that’s for the source of discoverability. And, a brand or an organization wants to be discovered for the products or services they sell when their ideal customer persona searches it. That’s it. Very, very simple.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:25:58 I have two fundamental beliefs about SEO that frames all of my thinking that can guide this entire conversation. Number one, Google ranks pages, not websites. This is critically important if you’re in SEO. Google ranks pages, not websites. So when you search something, you do not discover a website. You discover a page on a website. And so if you want to rank better for keyword, you need to optimize a specific page for that keyword. And if you want to rank even better, you have to make sure you’re matching the intent of the query as well as building the authority of content and the quality of the content. When you put all three of those together, you match intent, you have quality, and you have authority, you rank exceptionally well and that’s really all it is.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:26:37 When you think about websites and pages, it means you think about your link building different. Scholarship links that go randomly to your scholarship page don’t actually help your SEO agency page work. There’s been this misconception in the industry that there’s a causation relationship. In other words, if I point links to my root domain, somehow, magically, pages further down the funnel will also magically rank better. And while that’s somewhat true, it’s not how you directly rank for terms. You need to actually build the authority of the specific pages you’re trying to rank as specific terms you’re targeting. Does that kinda make sense?

Erin Sparks: 00:27:08 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep, absolutely. Keep on going.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:27:09 That’s like foundational number one. And foundation number two is that your brand is way more important than your website. Google ranks pages, not websites, and your brand is far more important than your website. And that’s where the idea of discoverability goes into. See, if you search right now and you’re listening to this, top ERP software, what you’re gonna find when you do that query in Google is that there’s amazing companies out there like NetSuite. I promise you, NetSuite does not have a tiny little budget, okay? It’s not due to a lack of effort, but they are not gonna rank for this query top ERP software. Why? I call this the Yelp and the Amazon effect.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:27:48 Due to the Yelp and Amazon effect means that consumers, whether for B2B or B2C, are looking to third party sources to do comparison shopping. If I’m not going to buy a five dollar sandwich without looking at Yelp reviews, I’m not gonna buy a five hundred thousand dollar software without looking at their reviews. That kinda make sense?

Erin Sparks: 00:28:05 Absolutely.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:28:06 We have this tendency to think, as marketers, that, well that’s not how our market thinks. It’s like, okay, but those are all people, right, who still live in this culture, this society? So, they’ve actually been taught to think a certain way about how they make purchasing decisions. And so what you’ll notice is Google caught on to this far faster than we did as SEOs.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:28:24 And so what they found is that for people to keep using their search engine, they were prefacing in their preferring essentially results that gave them multiple options from a third party that was quote unquote unbiased. Now this is where things got manipulated, okay?

Erin Sparks: 00:28:38 Yep. Keep on going, yeah, yeah.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:28:38 The search agency Capterra, Software Advice, G2 Crowd, GetApp, Finance Today, like, you’re gonna see all these different third party review sites. And so if you were an in-house SEO at NetSuite and someone told you that they wanted to rank number one for top ERP software, I can almost guarantee you that you could build the best, most amazing most links in the entire world, have the most perfect on-page targeting, the best internal linking, the best site speed, do any kind of trick or tactic you wanted, but you will never rank for that term because Google has decided that an individual website is no longer the best answer for the intent of that query.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:29:17 And that, my friends, is the problem with pursuing old school SEO, is we are not starting our whole entire consultative process and our strategic strategy by asking, “Could my website even rank for this query, or am I the best answer to this intent?” So we look at terms that we wanna rank for and we write a piece of content when all the results in the top ten are tool. We look at something we wanna rank for a core page, which what I call purchasing intent, get everything ranking for it is informational intent. And this kind of slowing down and understanding what’s even being decided by Google is the best answer to the keyword we’re targeting, that’s the start of a great SEO.

Erin Sparks: 00:29:55 So, it’s really looking at, oh, you have to define the intent. You have to define the terms of intent to be able to find the real estate out on the net right now, on the search engine result page, is to be able to see which third parties are your target for potential interest, right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:30:13 Yeah, and it spreads outside of SEO, Erin. It’s not jut SEO problems, it’s a PBC problem. What happens with the way the PBC environment works today? You go to an agency, and that agency’s saying traditionally, majority of the market charges you 100 percent to spend.

Erin Sparks: 00:30:28 Yep.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:30:29 What happens, right? You hire the agency, the agency specialist goes in after they get onboard to the account and they’re like, Mr. CEO, guess what, I’m so stoked, I can cut this client’s adspend by 30 percent and not sacrifice volume. Then Mr. CEO goes, thank you so much, why don’t I cut your salary by 30 percent?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:30:47 So there’s this disconnect inherently from the start number one. And then number two, we think about how can we increase volume, AKA leads, opportunity seals, and revenue. We target more keywords. What we don’t do is ask ourselves how do we take better SERP real estate for the keywords that are generating us the most business. On average, Google Ads has a 2 to 3 percent click through rate. What about the 96, 97, 98 percent of the rest of the market for that term? That’s where we need to be discovered. That’s where third party ad sites come in.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:31:18 That’s how we start to change our client’s budget and positioning and get them results incredibly quickly because I don’t have to rank their website. I have to rank their brand. Now, when you change that perspective, you win.

Erin Sparks: 00:31:30 You’re really doing the topography of page one of any particular search term. We certainly know that the game has changed so many years and especially right now with what Google’s doing in the Google guaranteed space inside of the local three pack, the map space, the paid space. Organic is literally two screen downs. It’s still a player, right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:31:59 Oh it’s a huge player, don’t get me wrong here. I think we have to give credit where credit’s due. Organic still does exceptionally well for our entire portfolio and for my own business. One of our top performing channels and a lot of it gets eaten up by Direct. Let’s be very honest and transparent, that if you are doing full attribution modeling, Direct is in a large part organic just being mislabeled.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:32:23 It still outperforms every other channel from a cash modeling basis when it comes to gross profit or net profit because there’s not that inherent initial cost prequisition experienced it essentially diminishing marginal returns for your business because cost per clicks particular query subset rise far more than essentially consumers are willing us to pay. You cannot adjust your price or increase your price at the same rate the cost per click is increasing. You experience diminishing marginal returns inherently from advertising in an auction setting like Google Ads. That’s why it’s so important to be on organic.

Erin Sparks: 00:33:02 Absolutely. Keep on going.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:33:06 [crosstalk 00:33:06].

Erin Sparks: 00:33:06 The breakdown here is really, it’s managing your brand portfolio for lack of a better description is that you’re brand is in a number of different spaces or it’s not and you have to isolate those gaps. That’s the first strike right there if there are gaps in where your visibility is like I’m talking about. You’ve got to be able to isolate those and even able to start a comprehensive portfolio of real estate right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:33:36 Well what’s happening Erin, it’s not the SEO’s fault. SEOs traditionally in an organization especially in house or at an agency are told, you manage organic traffic to a website. They focus all their efforts along those lines. We really needed as ministries say what if the goal of an SEO was to make a brand discoverable? Because what would happen then is they would search, they would work with the pay team and say let me see a search term report. Let me filter by all the terms that have the highest conversion volume and hell, even maybe just luckily, have a Sequel developer in house that’s taking Google click ID or self ware [inaudible 00:34:13] in the Google Ads and you can see opportunity steals in revenue by term.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:34:17 By the way at Directive, we built our own essential software that allows to do this using Google Click ID and that’s why I know this works so well. In fact I know that third party review sites like Capterra, G2 Crowd and GetApp can actually outperform Google Ads by almost 300 percent on the cost per opportunity level, not just the cost per acquisition level. That’s a whole conversation on why enterprise companies and B2B companies shouldn’t optimize towards CPA but quite simply put the reason you don’t want to optimize towards CPA is because if you’re essentially always trying to lower your cost requisition, you will start to target cheaper cost per click terms and inherently have lower average order values which will decrease your gross profit margin over a long period of time.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:34:58 There’s some nuance to it. But if SEOs as a group were in charge of the discoverability of a brand, they would search something like top PRP software instead of thinking how can I rank my website? They ask themselves how can my brand show up? They look at Google Ads to make sure they’re showing up there. If not they’d slack the PBC team. They would look at third party review sites and say hey, how do I get position there? They would talk to management and customer support and how do we get reviews? You see how the game changes when you think about the [inaudible 00:35:26] discoverability? Now all of a sudden you’re powerful. You’re not this powerless SEO who’s constantly waiting on developer and content approval. You can shift the game.

Erin Sparks: 00:35:36 Absolutely and I’ll throw another hat in the ring there regarding customer intent. The behavior on pages that are actually ranking have changed immensely as well as that because of that scrutiny that you’re attributing to the consumers, right, they’re looking at all the third parties and the conversion funnel is dissipating as well. They’re going to hit that page if you were actually ranking but they’re not going to commit to any type of reveal until they have actually gone around to the other verification sites as well.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:36:09 I just call it the three tab tense. Someone clicks on the top three results, are they going to find you all three times? If they do, guess what their perception of your brand becomes? You’re drastically going to improve your close rate. You see as SEOs, we talk way too much about bounce rate and not nearly enough about close rate. We talk way too much about cost per acquisition and not cost per opportunity. We talk way too much about cost per click and not cost per deal. When we start to talk and see our M metrics, not Google Analytics metrics, that’s when we buy in, that’s when we raise our salaries as in house. That’s where we raise our retainers as agencies and that’s how we become more valuable for our organizations.

Erin Sparks: 00:36:47 Very good. How do you identify the keywords that you should be searching to identify opportunities? Like we’re talking about, what are you looking for in the SERP?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:36:58 Primarily what you’re looking for is there’s actually … I have three core things I look for. Number one I just ask myself if I … because let’s just think about people buy. We got to start there and then we’ll get to how we look. How people buy? You are trying to sell in a B2B software company. CMO, goes down to a director and says hey, let’s look at three vendors. Director than goes to the manager and says go get me five quotes, I’m going to pick the best three. This is kind of how it works.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:37:25 CMOs don’t fill out forms. This is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen is everybody thinks they’re targeting market is a CMO and they write all the market material and all their sales enablement to the CMO even though they never even talk to the CMO. The champion is more important than the decision maker. Put yourself in the shoes of the champion. Ask yourself who would I work with, who would be my point of contact if we won this bid? That person is your target market.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:37:49 Now what you do is you have to solve how does that person search? You have to ask yourself okay, if I was trying to get a bunch of quotes at one time, what’s the most efficient way of doing it? You take your primary terms and you layer it with top, best in the front or reviews on the back. You search top ERP software, best ERP software, or ERP software reviews. The top best reviews. Then what you do is you look at the entire page. It has to solve how many times does my brand show up in this SERP? This is share of SERP is what I’ve coined this term.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:38:21 You see that? So what’s my share of SERP? Now what you’re looking for is Google Ads, do I show up there? That’s the top of the fold, that’s your three percent of the market. Number one result. Is it an ad buy? If it is that’s 28-30 percent of the market. Now your at 33 percent market share around the turn that you already know generates profit. Then you go down the second, third, fourth. You just click on every result and eventually figure out by the way there’s only like five or six major data aggregators in any industry and most industries maybe one to three. You start to figure out who those one to three data aggregator players are, the review sites. You make sure you’re showing up for your category and you have great reviews.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:38:55 Here’s a little trick though for your listeners. Then what you do, if you find all the news sites that show up for that term. Then you look on those news sites or any site in general and you look for Google Adsense. That little triangle in the top right corner of a [inaudible 00:39:12]. Then what you do is you build a separate list of those and instead of doing in market audiences or curer targeting across Google Display, which I found in our whole data set our [inaudible 00:39:21] clients to be the worst performing channel when not used for retargeting.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:39:24 Instead of doing in market audiences and curer targeting, you do single specific placements that make exact sense in the buying journey. You create display ads so it looks like a native ad. When you do that, now you have full SERP visibility across your most profitable queries and I can guarantee you will drive revenue for your business because I’ve been able to do it for my SEO firm which is a heck of a lot of harder than any product company that I’ve ever worked with.

Erin Sparks: 00:39:47 It’s a bit competitive in this space, isn’t it?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:39:48 It’s a little competitive.

Erin Sparks: 00:39:50 But you’re actually adding a level of dimensionality to it as well as that it’s not only the SERP real estate, you’re going through that news area, those news sections and now you’re actually capitalizing on the brand, the equity of that news site and the potential endorsement factor, at the least brand relationship that you can put in place there. Do you go so far as to measure the performance of those individual news sites from a CPA or a CPO for that matter and are you constantly grooming that very niche display deployment on a regular basis as well?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:40:32 Well I don’t invest a ton on it so I don’t spend a ton of time optimizing it. I try to spend my time in direct correlation with my cost. I found that to be a lot more efficient since my time is more valuable than my money. What would I do is essentially I make sure that my brand’s always being discovered and I find that intrinsically valuable. I ask myself, would I want someone to at least see my brand here whether it ever makes the ascent and I ask myself how much am I willing to lose when it comes to my brand advertising, not how much it will work for me. So I change that and I say for my brand advertising, when I advertise on podcasts, when I do display on specific placements, when I do other things that are really brand focused, I ask myself how much am I willing to lose to potentially get a client over the next five years?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:41:15 When you look at it that way, it’s a lot easier because what happens is people ask themselves how much can I make and they never give their brand advertisements a chance because they turn them off too early because brand advertising is inherently [inaudible 00:41:26]. It means the brand advertising can only work based on the timing of your industry. When SEO, for example, every contract is up between 6 to 12 months. So inherently, that audience you hit can only work based on the timing of if they need to do contracts. If you only run it for three months, you only get it to 1000 people, the propensity for the timing to have been right in that three months is very low and so it’s not actually going to work. Does that make sense?

Erin Sparks: 00:41:48 Absolutely. It’s almost like a macro of the concept of never drop your social media post once into the social stream because about nine tenths of the people aren’t even watching it at that time. If you do jump in and understand the buyer’s cycle, it’s all based on different industries as well, so you’re really going to have to deploy and keep those brand points out there with that type of regularity. So you can be in one month’s cycle, you can be in a two or three year cycle based on these types of industries you’re talking about.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:42:28 Oh yeah. It’s exactly right. That’s why you have to ask how much are you willing to lose, not how much do you want to make because it’s going to be a lost leader for you overall and attributions are going to be poor anytime you’re doing it on a CPM model, even if you’re using the Google Ads script instead of the GA script. You can even measure the value of a CPM. The key to all this by the way, just so the audience knows, the only way you can effectively do this is if you have full attribution. You’re going to need to use a software tool that essentially allows you to say here’s the cost of these third party sites, here’s the revenue of these third party sites.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:43:04 We’ve built this using Google Click ID Sequel [inaudible 00:43:07]. With those three tools, we can essentially map through hidden fields, our Google Click ID right into our Salesforce straight into our Marketo and do full attribution from there. Without the full attribution model, all the way from impression to revenue, it’s very difficult to do these types of campaigns because you don’t understand their value and you misappropriate your capital very easily when you measure things on a cost per acquisition basis.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:43:34 What I mean by that is in our data set, we’ll see the cost per acquisition difference between Capterra, Google, and Software Advice to be fairly low. We’ll see massive differences on cost per opportunity. What I’m saying essentially is the intent of buyers from certain channels is exponentially greater than others but you can’t measure intent on the CPA model so you’re inherently not optimizing spend towards revenue, just CPA, and you’re missing intent. It’s really important.

Erin Sparks: 00:44:00 It throws you off the game altogether because you’re working on a whole different set of structure. You made three points in one right there is that if you’re not attributing source and spend to your entire model collectively, everything, than you’re going by your gut, you’re rolling dice based on what you hear in the ecosystem. Unless you actually are tracking all that down, then you really shouldn’t be in the game. That’s a hard [crosstalk 00:44:33].

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:44:36 [crosstalk 00:44:36]. For me, I’ll spend $20,000 a month on search ads to get nothing. And I’ll do that for three months straight. Zero. And then one month I’ll make 150 grand. I’m like okay, guess it was worth it and the problem is most people don’t have a huge propensity to lose money and so they pause things before they ever had the propensity to work.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:45:01 You can’t have that ability if you don’t have the attribution because I’m not crazy. I knew it worked once before and I’ll keep waiting on it and keep improving it. I didn’t have any attribution and I just based it on CPA. It would be impossible to look at my Google Ads and be like, you know what, that is working because I wouldn’t know. I find so many people, like 90 percent at least of the market does not attribution into their CRM from their organic or paid efforts and they get lost and they don’t know what works and it sucks.

Erin Sparks: 00:45:34 It does and it doesn’t make a lick of sense. If you’re investing the time into those two particular models and not realizing you have to connect the dots, shame on you because literally it’s all mapped there to be able to do just that. Let me ask you something regarding remarketing. Are you seeing a growth of value in the remarketing, the tagging of the individuals in the different spaces and being able to circle back around to them with the display ads and different positioning ads; are you seeing that as becoming a stronger strategy then it was maybe three years ago?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:46:10 I see it still done wrong all the time. It’s hard. What I see a lot of is people re target people back to the page they didn’t like the first time, thinking they’ll like it the second time. I’m guilty of it. I did it. Some lands on your home page, you re target them back to your damn home page. You go like I wonder why they don’t like it the second time? Because they didn’t like it the first. Everybody does this. Number one I still retarget.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:46:39 The problem is with retargeting is it’s a lot of effort for a small return a lot of times. In other words if you’re willing to do persona based retargeting, if you’re using a segment or hole.io, you’re building really good data personas and then you can do dynamic ads at scale and you’ve got enough design resources available and if you have enough [inaudible 00:46:59] pages and you have enough content available, it can be pretty sweet. Truth is is less than one percent of the market has the design and content resources necessary or the budgets for it to do it right or even the traffic necessary.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:47:12 The truth is most of us really need to focus more on how our brands are being discovered and then our initial messaging because what happens people think … the same people who wrote the first message traditionally write the second message. So if they didn’t get it right the first time, and they still haven’t interviewed their customers, how are they going to get it right the second time? Here’s the problem.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:47:36 If we’re doing better marketing and doing better customer interviews or actually hiring a copywriting team, we’re actually really building [inaudible 00:47:43] that resonates. The first time should work pretty good but we should have experiments and test running so we know what type of copying content to create the second time. If you’re not doing that you’re just hoping retargeting works by reminding people.

Erin Sparks: 00:47:55 Reminding of the site that you went to before that you didn’t make a decision.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:48:01 You know what. It’s like I don’t see a ton. It does work for a lot of our clients but it’s not a channel that I see and then the reality to it is just there’s so much ad dissidence between people even the noise. I see it as a channel that’s going to have diminishing marginal returns over time due to the just ad noise.

Erin Sparks: 00:48:21 I understand that concept. It does have to be articulated and if you’re just doing a flat remarketing and throwing your ad against somebody … I mean the whole point is to deepen that intent concept inside your own website. If you don’t have those levels in which to be able to truly understand why they visited.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:48:43 Or why they left, Erin. If we interviewed a lot of customers and said hey, why weren’t you ready to buy? Well your only call to action was for a proposal and I’m in the informational intense age. That makes perfect sense. You know what 99 percent of people do though? If we target them back to get a damn proposal. It’s like that’s why they left in the first place is they weren’t ready for proposal. If we can go from purchase intent initial to information intent retargeting and then the information’s actually good … this is the hardest part about content and advertising here. I’m guilty.

Erin Sparks: 00:49:13 Preach it.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:49:14 How much of the content that people actually read on our sites Erin is good enough for that when they read it they’re like dang, I need to work [inaudible 00:49:22]. How much of the content is really when it ranks number one and people read it is it’s so good that they have to fill out your form?

Erin Sparks: 00:49:31 It never is and you’re putting your entire conversion model based on that rudimentary concept. You got a buyer that’s not in a funnel. They’re scrambling all over the place. They’re looking at all the different spaces in the ecosystem and to your point, if you’re not in those areas making your argument as well, then all you’re focusing on is a very linear model is going down further and further from a conversion rate standpoint. There’s nothing new under the sun when it gets down to content. You’re either going to look at it or you’re not and if yeah there’s some wizbang, new eye candy, but if they’re not ready to buy, then all you’re doing is you’re strong arming them to make a decision too darn quickly.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:50:18 It’s just not worth it.

Erin Sparks: 00:50:19 No, it’s not. I want to unpack briefly how you actually communicate and get your clients to understand the return on an opportunity or the cost per opportunity model because that is a bit ubiquitous, a bit ethereal to a lot of business owners that are looking for that bottom dollar or what the cost per acquisition is, how can I fit this into my margin? Give us your explanation of the cost per opportunity model and how you can measure that and give metrics that can be easily understood?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:50:54 Great question. The way cost per opportunity works is you simply ask the client how they map their staging in their sales funnel. You ask them what your sales team, how do you guys, what qualifies as a sales opportunity that you’re willing to pay [inaudible 00:51:08]? Pretty simple. They tell you what stage that is, you then map that API from that Salesforce Microsoft Dynamic sub spot into your Sisence dashboard and you essentially see that any opportunity with this referring source that comes from organic or that comes from this. In organic we use our [inaudible 00:51:28] fee as a cost plus any in house members and advertising you do an agency fee plus ad spend as cost and then you map essentially the opportunity size, which is usually based on the LTV of a contract to that and that creates essentially your pipeline created from a certain channel with opportunity. So that’s your cost per opportunity.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:51:49 The second it goes to closed one let’s say in Salesforce, that would be a cost per deal and then you can get the ROI based on the revenue of the LTV of that deal hit against your initial sum cost.

Erin Sparks: 00:52:02 It’s a wonderful calculation there.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:52:04 Yeah it’s pretty simple. I’m no genius with coding it but I’ve got people that are pretty smart here and they essentially map the API into it so that we can track it for our clients in a whole dashboard.

Erin Sparks: 00:52:17 There’s a presumption that you just made there for a lot business owners that they’re in that space. If they’re not tied to a CRM, can they ever get an understanding of cost per opportunity?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:52:31 We do it crappy. We’ll export a CSV and then we’ll run through it at the end of the month and then say okay. We can use hidden fields to still map the keyword. Let’s say if on a PBC campaign into a CSV file and then we can map that back. I mean the truth is even for our enterprise clients, five to ten percent have working CRMs.

Erin Sparks: 00:52:54 You’re painting such a Neolithic picture man.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:52:58 It was eutopic. It sounded great. The problem is no, the reality is most people, their marketing ops is in shambles, sales ops is in shambles and they’re struggling with adaption as well as actual people using the darn thing internally or they change things and don’t tell you so your APIs are built on x and they change it to y. The data breaks. It’s actually exponentially a harder problem to solve than anything we’ve ever tried here. We charge addition for CRM mapping because we have to spend so much time constantly updating the mapping to fit with the sales org and all the other parts in the team.

Erin Sparks: 00:53:36 On top of that, you get so far deep in the business model that you’re struggling with culture, not data.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:53:45 It’s a tough thing to get full attribution in an organization. You need executive buy in because they need to essentially make sure everyone’s held accountable to using the systems that will make it attributable.

Erin Sparks: 00:53:56 Would you believe we had a consulting gig years ago where a transportation firm actually rolled out Salesforce integration for the entire six regional areas that they had. We were sending about $20,000 worth of PBC monthly to them and we are literally converting at about 11 percent of what we were sending to them. Close to about 4 to 500 leads through that CRM and the sales manager literally was saying that they weren’t even looking at maybe three fourths of the leads because it was an adoption process. They weren’t even looking at it from the … the old dog sales people were actually offended that they had to go in and look at the leads inside of Salesforce.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:54:48 Erin, it’s real. I had a client who’s paying over $20,000 a month in consulting fees and they didn’t look at any of the leads we generated over an eight month period.

Erin Sparks: 00:54:57 No.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:54:59 I’m talking big money for large software companies. They didn’t send it to sales. So we had hundreds of thousands … I’m talking we’re a world class enterprise company with enterprise leads like we flew into [inaudible 00:55:16], Apple, with GE, Citibank, filling out the form, all the right titles.

Erin Sparks: 00:55:23 Nothing.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:55:24 No one on the marketing ops team somehow never hooked it up or ever sent it to someone. They just lived in the-

Erin Sparks: 00:55:30 Oh my god.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:55:32 Yeah. We discovered and we flew out there in person to let him know because it was such a frustrating moment where it’s we didn’t want to get anyone fired so it was a very sensitive issue. We flew out there in person and [inaudible 00:55:47] today and you know they’ve done amazing, they’re awesome to work with. It’s just a crazy story of how there a lot of mistakes when it comes to how sales and marketing work together.

Erin Sparks: 00:55:58 Absolutely. The final thought on that is do you find yourself, a question to you, do you find yourself in that relationship model that you’re bringing the leads but you’re really working with them to train them on the new manner of observation and a new manner of understanding how important these leads are because they’re such a reality removal that they can get to their lead that just dropped into their inbox six hours later. Are you finding yourself having to train the organizations you work with to realign the response time?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:56:42 We try. The truth is we’ve been blessed to work with I’d say 90 percent of the organizations we work with are world class and better than us when it comes to a lot of their competencies internally. They’re really good. The other 10 percent, they’re hard to retain as clients because we have to charge as much as we do charge a directive to make sure we’re only doing world class work. There is a direct correlation between hours available and quality of work and hours available is dictated by retainer size.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:57:08 If you don’t have enough time, no matter how smart somebody is, they can’t do the right work and ask the right questions and get deep enough. What we found is in those situations where they’re not able to monetize our work, our god forbid our strategies don’t work, those are tougher times in a consulting gig and we can try to educate. You can’t change the way a sales culture works as a third party search engine consultant. It doesn’t quite work like that.

Erin Sparks: 00:57:37 Boy you want to.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:57:39 Oh I know. I wish I would’ve man but sometimes you got to take your losses on [crosstalk 00:57:47].

Erin Sparks: 00:57:46 Roger that. Let’s swing it back around from our somber note and codify this with the concept of the real estate that we have to work with now. We got to get our brand out there in the different review sites, the different … the portfolio of that search page. There’s so many different elements that you need to have your brand in. Can you give our listeners some top, quick thoughts about what they should be looking at right now that would change their world overnight?

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:58:20 The number one thing you need to do is push like crazy. Hire a freelancer, whatever it takes, to get full attribution because this little theory is not just something that absolutely works, it’s something that can be absolutely tested and predominantly works. What I mean by that is you don’t want to just pity your spend out of Google Ads into Software Advice or Capterra and not be able to tell exactly how much revenue you make. It’s very difficult if you’re relying on cost per acquisition data to dictate if you’re being successful or conversion data if you’re being successful or not.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:58:55 What really matters is if people pay you, not if they fill out your form. The number one thing you can do right now in house or if you’re at an agency is ask yourself how do we go deeper with our client’s data to get it directly correlated to business? If you’re not essentially increasing the amount of revenue someone’s making, and their cash, so with a margin, revenue with a margin, then you cannot continuously get paid. You will get fired whether you’re in house or at an agency, you have to create inherent value than you cost and if you can’t track that value, the [inaudible 00:59:26] or you go through a [inaudible 00:59:28] time or something goes wrong, they’re going to have to cut costs because they can’t fully appreciate your value.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:59:35 If I was anyone right now I’d focus entirely on attribution because if not you’re guessing.

Erin Sparks: 00:59:40 What’s a reasonable percentage of unknown? For attribution. There’s going to be some percentage that you’re just not going to be able to grab a hold of.

Garrett Mehrgut: 00:59:55 The only things that should be a no in my opinion is the tract if you can’t get out of Direct and the channels that don’t have enough technology yet like podcast ads to get the level of attribution want. You could do a destination URL. I’ve even thrown my tracking script on the podcast site for people who listen directly when I sponsor it. There’s some pretty creative aways around it but if the channel isn’t there yet, the channel isn’t there. But the truth is is most channels. You can run sales campaigns around causes and then do attribution or any leads at that conference and correlate it back to the initial investment at the conference.

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:00:29 There’s a lot you can do in attribution. That’s really what we have to hold ourselves consistent to and say how am I going to actually measure this? If you can’t measure it, that’s okay as long you’re going to lose money. That’s why I ask myself what value you want to lose when it comes to brand?

Erin Sparks: 01:00:45 There you are. Garrett it’s been an incredible conversation. I really appreciate the time today. Certainly we could go hours onto these topics and I can certainly sense your passion. We wrap every show asking our guests a couple questions. What really bugs you in your industry right now?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:01:09 It doesn’t bug me so much as it hurts I think. I think there’s a lot of really smart people that devalue themselves. I devalue myself like crazy. When I first started Directive, I was charging $300 a month and I was terrified to raise my rates. I got an Uber once and I could barely afford the darn thing. The guy started talking as Ubers love to do about, essentially he does SEO. I’m like oh really, you do SEO, and I started talking to him about. I can tell in two seconds he doesn’t know anything about it.

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:01:39 I ask him and say I’m really thinking about my prices at time. How much do you charge? He’s like well at least two grand. My jaw drops. This guy doesn’t know anything is charging two grand and I’m charging 3-400 bucks.

Erin Sparks: 01:01:52 That’s a reckoning right there isn’t it?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:01:56 It doesn’t bug me but honestly it hurts. There’s a lot of men and women out there who are incredibly sharp, they’re working incredibly hard and they don’t necessary have the confidence to raise their rates. I just love to encourage anyone out there: you can totally charge more and you’re totally worth it and if you’re not totally worth it, you need to get your attribution traffic up so you can prove you’re totally worth it.

Erin Sparks: 01:02:16 Amen.

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:02:18 That doesn’t bug me so much as it hurts me because I remembered how helpless I felt working 12,16 hours a day like an absolute animal making 20 grand a year. I wish more people have the confidence to raise their rates and it’ll be okay, I promise.

Erin Sparks: 01:02:32 Very good. Conversely, what excites you about your industry right now?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:02:38 The industry as a whole I think I’m most excited about people starting to get more aligned with business. It’s hard, it’s not happening very fast and I want you as happening faster. In fact it’s not happening faster I think gives us a competitive advantage of Directive but I wish as an industry we worried less about Google algorithm updates and more about how much cash we’re generating for our clients and tracking.

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:03:05 I think that’s really what gets me excited is seeing more and more men and women getting incredibly excited into how SEO and PBC affects a business and financial metrics, not just its Google Analytics metrics. That’s what really gets me excited.

Erin Sparks: 01:03:18 Very good. Well Garrett again thank you so much for your time today. Is there anything that we can promote for you today?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:03:25 We have an awesome podcast too called Yours and Marketing. One of our awesome consultants named [Blake Brunsit 01:03:29]. Check it out. We’ve had some pretty awesome guests Erin’s already had on here before I’m sure. Check out Directivecounsulting.com if you’d like to get a quote or read some of our content if you’d like to just learn a little bit more.

Erin Sparks: 01:03:42 Absolutely.

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:03:43 I’d love to chat. If you have any questions you can hit me up on Twitter @GMehrgut. Let’s chat.

Erin Sparks: 01:03:46 You’re going to be having [Joe Klucky 01:03:47] on here, aren’t you?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:03:50 Oh yeah. We just interviewed him. Cyrus, I think Tim Solo from [inaudible 01:03:55]. They have some pretty cool people there and it’s awesome.

Erin Sparks: 01:03:59 Good luck on the podcast and well certainly champion from afar and if we’re in California we’d certainly want to look you up. Keep fighting the good fight man and educating everybody on the attribution model. We got to have clarity. We got to see everything and you’re absolutely right. It’s not about that trophy keyword. It’s that you’re everywhere on that first screen, right?

Garrett Mehrgut: 01:04:23 Yep. Discoverability. Thank you so much Erin.

Erin Sparks: 01:04:25 You’re more than welcome. Alright, that’s a wrap. Thanks for listening to Edge of the Web radio and thanks for chiming in. We have a couple of comments in the livestream as well. Be sure the come back around and watch us livestream 3 PM Eastern every Thursday and like us. Give us some ratings. Give some reviews. Let us know how we’re doing as a show. Some special thanks to all of our colleagues over at Site Strategics as well as our guest Garrett Mehrgut. Be sure to check out all of the must see videos and audio over at EdgeoftheWebradio.com. We’re spitting out more and more content regarding our guests and some insights that we come away with.

Erin Sparks: 01:05:07 We’re piping it full of content. Be sure to check that out. Go over to EdgeoftheWebradio.com. Be sure to join us on all the different podcasts aggregators. We’ll be talking to you next week. Who are we going to be talking to next week Tom?

Tom Brodbeck: 01:05:21 We’re talking to Brian Merit of Trustpilot.

Erin Sparks: 01:05:23 Of Trustpilot.

Tom Brodbeck: 01:05:25 About some reviews and that sort of thing.

Erin Sparks: 01:05:27 Excellent. We’ll be talking to you next week. Be sure to jump into the content and let us know how we’re doing as well from all of us at Site Strategics, thanks so much. Do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. We’ll talk to you next week. Bye bye.


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