The following transcript was taken from InSights, a staffing and recruiting podcast from Haley Marketing dedicated to providing quick-hitting takeaways on Digital Marketing and Recruitment Marketing. To listen to the episode, click play on the player above or visit the episode page [InSights] When Will Google Stop Breaking Our Hearts?
Brad Bialy: Matt, let’s talk about position zero on Google. When we talk about position zero, we’re talking about that spot above the first response on Google that answers the question without having to click over. You’ve seen this time after time, whether you’re searching for a great recipe, whether you’re searching for what time a restaurant is open, or you’re searching for a question to, an answer to a question that you might have, and Google shows you that answer. That’s considered position zero.
Brad Bialy: And just this past week at Haley, we’ve been talking to a few of our team members and we’ve been talking in groups about whether or not position zero is more harmful than good. And it’s an interesting conversation because as you think through getting in that very, very top spot, that should be a good thing. But what we’re finding in research as we’re finding in data, and as we’re finding, just in our own observations is that Google is doing what Google does best. They’re serving an answer to a question, regardless of thinking about whether or not they should even want to drive that traffic to you.
Brad Bialy: From a search engine optimization standpoint, we’ve worked tirelessly to get different clients, different organizations to the top of Google. And now that they’re at the top Google’s saying, “Hey, thanks so much for the info. Here’s the answer. Oh, we’ll include a link back to your blog, but people are already going to get the answer they want and they might click over or they might not.” So Matt, I mean, position zero, is it good? Is it bad? Do you want to be at the top? Do you want to be in spots of one or two? I mean, are we fighting for the third spot now and hoping that it drives more traffic? I feel like we could talk on this and run in a circle for a day. I mean, tell me your thoughts on it.
Matt Lozar: This is wild to me. I wrote a blog a few years ago with a couple of companies that had position zero. Their traffic was out of control. It went through the roof, and this actually, unintentionally, connects segment one in segment two in that Google probably changed its algorithm, shows more information to that position zero that Brad explained here a minute ago. So the best answer to the question has more information and keeps you on Google. It doesn’t take you to your website, which stinks.
Brad Bialy: So you wrote a blog about how that traffic exploded because of position zero. Just this past week, we’re noticing that clients that had blog articles that were driving, maybe 10s of thousands of views are now maybe in the single thousands of views. And that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. You’re still getting a ton of organic traffic because of that article. But it’s so interesting to me that you’ve done all the work. You’ve you’ve performed. You’ve done everything you needed to do. Google’s saying, “Hey, this article is the best answer to this question. Oh, and by the way, here are the four talking points so you don’t have to click over and read it.” It’s so frustrating. It’s so frustrating. And Matt, to me, it solidifies the fact that you can not build your house on rented land because you have no idea what Google’s going to do tomorrow. You need to have a strong website of good resources, of good content because ultimately, it all has to funnel back to you because they can flip a switch tomorrow and it can all be gone.
Matt Lozar: It would also be interesting, we don’t have the answer to this because I just thought of it, if you have content in position zero if that would be a ranking factor for the rest of your website. So your blog post gets less traffic, that individual singular page, would your overall company site start to rise up in the eyes of Google because you’re providing that valuable content? Because what Brad’s saying here is, I’m guessing, don’t change the way you’re posting content. Continue to provide the best answer to the question.
Matt Lozar: Let Google’s algorithm do whatever the heck it wants, but then maybe over time, we’ll start to see if your website has the best answer to the question, that blog might go down, your overall website might increase.
Brad Bialy: I think that’s a good take. I think that’s a really good take because you’re basically saying, “Hey, this is good. This content is really good. Let’s favor this site because they must be good.” I think that makes a ton of sense. Matt, and this is almost a rant of a segment because my brain can’t get around the thought of you work so hard to get to the top of Google and you’re almost getting punished for it. But if anything, it’s a branding play too. You get to position zero. You have the best answer to that question. Now, individuals that are searching for you or searching for that question are seeing your organization’s name. They’re seeing the website, they have the opportunity to click over. You still want to fight for that spot and you still want to claw for that spot.
Brad Bialy: It’s just, it’s Google hurt me this week, Matt. It’s just the more I realize it, the more I think about it. It’s just you’re constantly fighting for this organic traffic. You’re battling to have the best answer to a question. And when you finally get it, all Google’s doing is scraping that information and saying, “Hey Matt, here’s the answer.” And they give you the link, but it’s almost like a throwaway link. It’s almost like, “Oh, I’m by the way, here’s the link, if you want to read more, but we already gave you the answer. Why would you want to read more?”
Brad Bialy: And it’s frustrating. But I think for sake of the individuals in the industry and the individuals, clients that we work with, organic SEO is one of the most important plays in 2020. Without consistently updating your website, consistently trying to rank in Google and rank favorably in Google, your organic search isn’t going to happen. And when we think about how clients and prospects and candidates get to a client’s website, the majority of that traffic comes from organic search. So you need to be playing by Google standards, but it ultimately has to come back to having a good website that you own in your own land.
Matt Lozar: So I think to summarize-
Brad Bialy: Please.
Matt Lozar: It’s continue writing really good content, continue answering the question because that’s what Google is, right? Somebody goes to Google, they essentially have a question. Google’s algorithm provides the best answer to that question. So with your content strategy, continue to do a really good job with that. And then I think the one of the underlying purposes of the segment was if you see traffic to a blog suddenly fall off a cliff, this is why. You answered the question so well you lost traffic. Holy cow. That’s where the frustration from Brad has come in the last week.
Brad Bialy: Yeah. You’ve done such a great job that you’re being rewarded with position zero, and do a search. Do a basic keyword search for what you think might render your blog or contact us and let us use some of our SEO tools to explore that for you. We’re happy to look into it. As Matt said, you to have the best answer to the question, you have to add value, and when you do add value, Google will see that. They’ll rank you favorably and all that’s going to come down to just a strong organic SEO play. Position zero, you broke my heart this week, but here I am. We’ll talk about it at the beginning of the year and see if you change my mind.