Welcome to the first episode of the Foremost Media Marketing Chat Podcast! Meet the voices behind the podcast, Jon Ballard and Evan Facinger. We run through the latest marketing trends while sharing actionable tips along the way. In this episode, learn about the latest Google algorithm update and the importance of capitalizing on content.
Evan Facinger: Hey everybody. Thanks for joining us here for the first-ever Foremost Media Marketing Chat Podcast. How's it going, John?
Jon Ballard: I'm good Evan, thanks, I'm excited about this.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, me too. We've talked about doing a podcast for a while now. I feel like it's been something that we've brought up every other week, I would say.
Jon Ballard: Yeah, at least.
Evan Facinger: And now it's finally happening. All it took was a global pandemic and we could finally get this podcast launched.
Jon Ballard: It seems like that's the case with a lot of businesses these days. From a web design standpoint, we've been getting a lot of inquiries of people picking up stuff that they left off, so it seems like people are finally catching up on their to-do list. So here we go.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, exactly. You've got a project, you've got time on your hands, in most situations you might as well try and take advantage of it. I think that's that's what we're doing here, at least. So why don't we start off, people that aren't aware of who we are. John, do you want to give a little background?
Jon Ballard: Sure. So I'm John Ballard. I'm the president and CEO of Foremost Media. I actually founded the business back almost 15 years ago now in my basement. Just really wanted to do some good for local companies and help them market and I felt like a lot of them were getting taken advantage of by big ad agencies or the package deal. So really my premise was always just to help companies grow and that was my goal. And that's still our goal today. Been in marketing basically my whole adult life and love it. Probably too much. That's about all I think about and all I do. How about you, Evan, tell us about yourself.
Evan Facinger: Well, I think that's why we get along John, because I love marketing also. I've been doing it for, I feel like almost 15 years at this point, only because I feel like I've been saying over 10 years for at least five years now. So I probably crossed over to 15. Dabbled with it originally, just kind of picked it up, trying to get something launched and dove into, "Well, how can I get this website found in Google?" Paid ads and everything else. So I really just built upon that. I love talking about it. I love how it always changes and how there's always new things to try. So that's why I like to think of myself as more of a craftsman for marketing, not just somebody that is marketing for a job.
Evan Facinger: But that's why it's been great to be working here at Foremost Media because we work with a lot of different types of companies, we do a lot of different types of marketing. From web development to search engine optimization, paid advertising, even doing some Amazon marketing now, too. All of that's been really exciting.
Jon Ballard: So one of my goals with this podcast was not to necessarily be a promotion for Foremost Media. I mean, we get that out of the way so people know our background, but I think what Evan and I have talked about a lot is just trying to make sure that there's some actionable tips you can take home, and that were just informative for the industry. So this is geared for marketing managers and even other ad people and agencies and marketing people, then hopefully you'll gain some interest and some insight from what we've learned over the years, and love to hear from some of you out there. If you have some ideas or want to be a guest, make sure you reach out to us. Evan and myself will post our contact info with the podcast, I'm sure.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, that's a great point. Always looking for guests, hoping to have this be communication style where you're going to be able to get something out of this podcast. We're telling you who we are now and a little bit about the company, but that's just to give a little bit of background. I don't think anybody wants to listen to the podcast to hear about us ramble on about ourselves and talk about our day. Tune in for actual marketing tips, some insights, things that you can leave, and actually use that day would be the ultimate goal for this podcast.
Jon Ballard: Awesome. So let's get into it. What's going on in the marketing world today? There's been a lot... Let's just discuss it.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, one thing that's... Well, there's a couple big things, Google related too. Right now it's May 8th today and they just announced the May 2020 core update from Google, so that's a broad core algorithm update. That means there's some big changes. Of course, they announced that saying that they do that a few times a year, but so far this looks like the first one since the coronavirus hit and taking a look at some of the fluctuations on there. John, I don't know if you have any insights you'd want to add, but from what I'm gathering, it does look to be pretty content focused.
Jon Ballard: Yeah. I mean, content has always been king, and when it comes to search engine marketing, it seems like Google is doubling down on that. I mean, I haven't seen a lot of fluctuation in any of the accounts I've been looking at in the last couple of days yet, but it seems like based on what I've read, there's some other people that have seen seeing some bounces from investing in more content or even just updating their old content, so freshness seems to be a factor for sure. One of the other things I think is interesting that maybe just switching gears a little bit, Evan, you were talking today in our marketing meeting about increased search volume for certain industries. Can you explain a little bit about that and what you were looking at and how guys can check that out, see if there's a big increase?
Evan Facinger: Yeah. Google recently came out with a rising categories tab that they have available, and what you can do is actually go through and see those different categories and see how much they're rising on there. So if you take a certain category like swing sets, for example, as I'm taking a look at it here, you can go on swing sets category, see that there's right now month over month, 80% increase in search volume and then go in and actually see what category, what actual queries, I mean, are rising on there. So that's some really good information, I think, that you can take, whether it's with your marketing efforts, maybe it's product development that you're looking for, or trying to come up with some content. See how things are unfolding, see how more searches are actually coming through, and then be able to go through and create the content around it, try to capitalize on that upswing.
Jon Ballard: And what was interesting for me is that when our server guy reached out to us and he said, "Hey, is something going on with this client? Queries on their website are up like 85%." And when we started looking at the analytics, he was afraid maybe they were being attacked or something like that. So we started looking at analytics and basically their search volume was really up 80%. so we started diving into rising categories, found that was true. And also just generally search volume, people are stuck at home, they're doing projects in their backyard, these guys make backyard swing sets. So pretty interesting to see, and it's really reinforced that their investment in content marketing has been a good one because they're able to capitalize on that now with the increase.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, and I think you brought up a great point too about refreshing the content. Sometimes I think that goes unnoticed because everybody's trying to create more blog posts, creating new blog posts for it. But refreshing content goes a long way. I think it was described at one point saying if I came out with a best things that ever happened list in 2010, it's going to be a lot different now in 2020. Things change, things evolve and make sure that you have the content that's going to resonate still today. So it goes more than just a blog post that maybe you're starting to see a downward tick because it's not as relevant anymore. Refresh that. Refresh ones maybe that weren't getting too much and clean it up a lot.
Jon Ballard: Yeah. I know. We've had a blog post out there about the importance of an SSL for years, and it's evolved over time, that SSL at first was just a recommendation and there was hopes that maybe Google would give you a better ranking, and then they escalated it to, "We're going to warn people that your site is not secure." I know we've updated that blog post multiple times in the last year or two, and it's continued to rank highly and probably even get bumps when we actually increase the freshness of that. And it's just simply just we posted an update, the date and what's happening, this blog post. Easy to do, just a little bit of fresh content on there. We'll update your site map and tell Google it's a fresh page and you know, it definitely can help you out. What else is going on, Evan?
Evan Facinger: Well, another exciting thing also Google related is now that they've switched their Google Shopping from a pay to play, so instead of if you want to be on Google Shopping, you have to pay for the ads, your product listing ads to show on there. Now they're going to start listing anybody that's got an up to date merchant center account with the feed actually tied in. So it's going to have organic listings on Google Shopping.
Jon Ballard: Yeah, so what that means is if you have an e-commerce site, you first have to set up the merchant center and get a feed going to Google Shopping. In the past, you had to actually buy ads, and now you can actually do that for free, you can feed those ads up there. I'm sure we've all seen this when you Google for a product or service, you see those little pictures with the prices, that's Google shopping. So if you have an e-commerce site, now is the best opportunity ever to get on and get engaged with Google shopping. If you need help, give us a buzz.
Evan Facinger: Yeah. And I think it's going to be pretty exciting too, because that's a big change. It started off free, I believe, back in the days of Froogle, I think is what it was called, which... I mean, that was probably what, 2011?
Jon Ballard: That's a name I haven't heard in a long time. Froogle.
Evan Facinger: So with that, now we're going to have that shopping tab, which I think now when it's not all ads, I think the overall quality I would hope would be better too. So you start to shift how people search. You start to go to Google more when you're looking for products, as opposed to just going direct to Amazon, which has been increasing. Last study I saw, I think 55% of product searches were starting on Amazon. Well, if I saw that stat, I'm sure Google saw that stat too. And now they're going to start to go in and try to make that change, trying to get you back to Google when you're looking for products as well. So you'll have Google Shopping, which will still include ads, of course, and I think they said the for now at least, the actual pages on the normal search engine result page will still be paid. But then when you go into the Google Shopping tab, that's when it's going to start to have the free listings, which... That will start to increase.
Evan Facinger: Then it's almost turning into its own little marketplace right there where you can start to optimize for that, start to get sales through that, start to have ads, of course, if you want to continue to do that. I'll be curious to see how they go, how that's picked up, and of course, how Google decides to monetize that, whether it's through ads or next thing you know, they're going in the Amazon route, taking a little percentage of your sale on it.
Jon Ballard: It's interesting. That does seem to be Google's master plan. I've got a little bit of interest in another industry, a vacation home industry, and Google was actually going to be rolling out searches for vacation homes, kind of like they do for Google Shopping feed in the next few months. So you'll actually be able to search right on Google, just like you can products, you can see vacation homes instead of going to a company like Expedia or Vrbo or something like that. So Google is definitely doing what they can to try and get people from starting directly on Vrbo or Airbnb or something like that. They want to sell the ads to those guys and keep people on their platforms as long as they can. So keep your eyes peeled. If it's not in your industry yet, it's probably coming soon. Rich snippets are another example of that, where they're trying to keep content, pull content from your website and keep them on Google as long as they can to sell more ads.
Evan Facinger: Yeah. The zero-click search results, where you get all your information. First, it took out the weather, now it's taking out other sites, I'm sure. So with that vacation home rental piece, is that... So that's all through Google. So you can book directly through Google and everything. Do you ever have to go to your website?
Jon Ballard: My understanding is it's just like the shopping feed. I haven't actually played with it a lot yet, but it actually just compares pricing and everything right on Google. And then when you're actually ready to book, it takes them over to the website, just like shopping would take you over to the website for the transaction.
Evan Facinger: Okay. Well that'd be good then. Can you avoid some of the Vrbo fees?
Jon Ballard: Hopefully, that's the plan? I'm sure Vrbo is going to be trying to capitalize on it too by feeding their stuff into Google Shopping, but it's kind of the Wild West right now. We'll see what happens.
Evan Facinger: That's what makes it fun. So what else is doing? Anything else happening?
Jon Ballard: That's really all I got for today. I think we've given these people enough information to at least see what we're going to be all about, and we'll come back with a good topic in the next couple of weeks.
Evan Facinger: All right. Looking forward to it. So we will get that launched and I'm sure next time we'll be talking even more marketing tips and keep an eye out for it.
Jon Ballard: Yeah. Please subscribe to our podcast. And if you have ideas or topics, like we said in the past, we'd love to hear from you. If you want to be a guest and you got something interesting to say, happy to interview you and let's talk marketing. I'm really excited about this.
Evan Facinger: Yeah, thanks for listening.
Jon Ballard: Yeah, have a great day, everybody.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Foremost Media Marketing Chat Podcast. Don't forget to like and subscribe so you can stay on top of your game by never missing an episode. You can find even more marketing insights and show transcripts foremostmedia.com.