Garrett Mehrguth, founder of Directive Consulting, is on a mission to get SEOs rethinking the fundamental of what they do. For him, it begins with two fundamental shifts in SEO thinking: First is shifting from ranking websites to ranking pages. Second is shifting from focusing on your website to focusing on your brand. These are big shifts you’ll understand better with Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck in Episode 310 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast. Here’s what we learned:
Garrett Mehrguth: His Background and Experience
Garrett is the CEO and co-founder at Directive Consulting, a global B2B search marketing agency specializing in ROI-driven campaigns for its clients. He is also a popular speaker on the marketing circuit, speaking at conferences such as State of Search, Digital Summit, SMX, and MozCon.
Garrett attended Azusa Pacific University, completing his economics degree in three years and his master’s degree during his fourth year. He wanted to get into consulting, so visited the websites of main players such as Deloitte, McKinsey, Bain and so on. But they wanted to know what school he was coming from, and Azusa wasn’t on the list. He had to check “other,” which gave him a bland auto response. He thought to himself, “Forget these guys. I’m gonna build my own consulting firm, and one day they’ll acquire me.”
But he was only 22, so he had to figure out what he could convince business owners he was probably better at than them. The Internet seemed like his best option because young people were inherently better at the Internet than the older folks with the money. But what services could he turn into revenue? Social media seemed sketchy in terms of return on investment (ROI) and email marketing wasn’t appealing, but SEO looked very fascinating and promising to him. He started small, working the local community for leads on his moped and distributing flyers his mom helped him make. He grew his company through local SEO for single-location businesses, then multi-location companies, and then right on up into B2B companies and larger enterprises.
Google Ranks PAGES, NOT Websites
The first big fundamental realization SEOs need to make is that Google ranks pages, not websites. 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.
When you think about 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 you point links to your 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 for the specific terms you’re targeting.
Your BRAND is Far More Important than Your Website
The other major fundamental SEOs need to realize is that your brand is far more important than your website.. This is where the idea of discoverability comes into play. If you search “Top ERP software,” what you’re going to find is what Garrett calls this the Yelp and Amazon effect. People and companies in the buying process increasingly look to third-party sources to do comparison shopping. If a person isn’t going to buy a five dollar sandwich without looking at Yelp reviews, a company isn’t going to buy a five hundred thousand dollar software without looking at reviews.
Google figured this out early on, which is why so many of the top results on a search for “Top ERP software” are going to be sites like Capterra, Software Advice, G2 Crowd, GetApp – all these different third-party review sites. If your company doesn’t have a good showing in those sites, then you’re missing out on what could be a better “share of SERP” real estate as Garrett calls it. This is why you’ve got to focus on your brand. An individual company simply isn’t going to rank for “Top ERP Software” because Google has decided that an individual company website is no longer the best answer for the intent of that query. Understanding the way Google understands intent is the starting point for great SEO.
Connect with Garrett Mehrguth and Directive Consulting
Twitter: @gmehrguth (https://twitter.com/gmehrguth)
Directive Consulting: https://directiveconsulting.com
Directive Twitter: @DirectiveAgency (https://twitter.com/directiveagency)
Directive Facebook: @directiveconsulting (https://www.facebook.com/directiveconsulting)
Directive Instagram: @directiveconsulting (https://www.instagram.com/directiveconsulting)
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