Or get it on:
In this week's episode, Jack Chambers is joined by the Marketing Manager of SISTRIX, Steve Paine. Jack & Steve talk about:
Jack: Welcome to episode 17 of season 2 of the Search With Candor Podcast, recorded on Tuesday, the 3rd of May 2022. I am your host Jack Chambers, and my special guest for this week is Steve Paine, the marketing manager at SISTRIX. Welcome to the show, Steve.
Steve: Hi Jack. Nice to be here in Norwich.
Jack: Welcome to Norwich.
Steve: Almost home country for me.
Jack: Exactly. You're a reasonably like, you're an East Anglian boy.
Steve: I'm an East Anglian person.
Jack: For our listeners out there, the international listeners, Steve is from Ipswich originally, which is fairly close to Norwich in the grand scheme of things. But there are certain rivalries, shall we say between our cities?
Steve: Yeah, but we're not exactly fans of what we're rivalling about. Are we?
Jack: Thankfully we're not die-hard football fans, so they won't be any, hopefully, there won't be any fights on this episode, any more than usual with me and Mark. So I'm sure your listeners have probably already heard us mention SISTRIX a few times on this season. You have sponsored us for the entirety of season 2. So thank you very much, first of all, Steve, for getting in contact and organizing all that stuff. But just in case it is somebody's first episode of Search With Candour, what is SISTRIX? Who are you? Why are you here? Let's dive into a little bit. Shall we?
Steve: Let's do that. Let me give you a quick background on SISTRIX. We gather SERPS data at scale, and we've been doing that for 12 years. And what we try and do is analyze that data. The SERPS values across 40 countries now on a daily basis, turn that into domain-based information, evaluate the data, weight it all up and come out with a Visibility Index, which is a kind of a footsie value of the visibility of a domain within organic search. And that's the quick summary. It's the elevator pitch.
Jack: That really is the elevator pitch. So Visibility Index is a SISTRIX specific thing, right? That is your own metric. So I think if we've talked about it a couple of times on the show, also, we went into the case study with Primark, which will be diving into a little bit more detail. Because, I know you are key in that, in authoring that article yourself. So what makes Visibility Index interesting to people thinking about using SISTRIX? And people who are coming to SISTRIX brand new, what it is about Visibility Index you think is interesting to people working in SEO?
Steve: Well, the first thing is it's an SEO indicator. It has nothing to do with traffic. What we've done is we take the traffic volumes of course, but we average them out over the years. So what that means is we take out seasonal trends, event trends, weather trends, and all the other things that affect traffic that could be misleading metrics for SEO. So you can work on your Christmas SEO content in July, see the visibility change and be comfortable when the traffic comes in November, December, your job is done. And in fact, you could bill your customer in August and be happy about the traffic. So that's the number one thing. VI also gives you the ability to check relative foot sizes of footprint between multiple domains and we'll use Primark next, later on, as an example. The other thing is on a day to day basis, you can monitor changes. So if you see big changes, you can work out whether it was you, Google, your competitors or some other technical error.
Jack: So let's dive into that as well. I know we were just talking before we started recording about Google updates and you often see newsletters that kind of like, oh, there's a possible update, happened a couple of days ago, but I know you were kind of sceptical about... And I am very sceptical myself. I know Mark and I go for the approach of, we won't report that until it's confirmed by Google themselves basically. And you see a lot of these different newsletters and a lot of these different blogs being like, oh, the potential, there's been some volatility changes. There's some churning going on, all this kind of stuff. And you came in with some opinions. Should we say, how do you feel about people reporting potential updates that aren't confirmed yet?
Steve: Well, number one, it's a hot news topic. When there's a Visibility Index, sorry, when there's an algorithm change. If you are early on with information, a lot of people are interested. So it's a news item, it's attractive to be sending out that sort of information.
Jack: You get your tweet featured on Searchengineroundtable or whatever.
Steve: Absolutely. If you're in contact with Barry, you can send him information and you'll get, if you're into marketing yourself through Twitter and stuff like that, it's an advantage for you. So it drives a little bit of what's the expression? Overzealousness, with the basic information that's out there. The forums play a part as well, they're a lot of people in forums that are watching traffic levels, they're watching Google analytics. And you know what, if the weather changes drastically within 24 hours, probably a search traffic's going to change drastically within 24 hours. If a major celebrity does something if someone punches someone on stage in an awards ceremony...
Jack: God forbid.
Steve: If there's a national event, if it's a seasonal thing, if it's Valentine's, if it's Mother's Day, all those things need to be taken into account. We just had a bank holiday in the UK yesterday. So, if you're managing a UK website out of the UK and you didn't realize it was a bank holiday, you go like “What happened to the traffic yesterday? Oh, it must be a Google algo.” they panic. So, we have to take all that into consideration. And when we're looking at the Visibility Index, we try and think about the difference between churn and visibility. I mean, the major thing we need to be worried about is things dropping in and coming out of page one, search results. Movement within page one of search results is also extremely interesting. It's not something we should really be throwing our hands in the air about because it may not be a core update change. It could be one of those small changes that come along and has just affected your SERP and affects your traffic. So many different ways that can affect your traffic. So, we get some good data at SISTRIX and we very rarely, if I think in the last four years, we've identified about four potential updates that haven't been announced by Google, big enough to really show on the radar.
Jack: Well, let's dive into your role at SISTRIX. Let's talk about SISTRIX a little bit more as a company. So what's your background? How did you come to work at SISTRIX and where you are now as marketing manager?
Steve: Oh, that's a good question. I mean, the history goes back to the '80s. I actually worked on one of the first search engines, which was Archie, which was pre-web.
Steve: I worked for British Telecom in Martlesham. So we were actually, I was actually part of the development team for British Telecom of five people that are working on the, we were called the inter-networking group.
Steve: And I remember telling my mother, I said, "I'm not sure about this. I don't know what I'm doing here".
Jack: “I don't know about this internet.”
Steve: “Don't know about this internet stuff.” Well, we were connecting governments and educational establishments. Setting up the first two megabit links over to the States, where I installed one of the first, I installed the first router at the first cyber cafe in London.
Jack: Wow. That's a claim to fame, right there, Steve.
Steve: So I was really in early and I followed it. I've done a lot of things from network design, from international routine design all the way through to running my own websites. And I was a blogger for 10 years, tech blogger, breaking news, basically working with big... Actually a bit similar to the SEO world where it's a lovely little community of people that help each other out, going to events. We're all helping each other by exchanging information, including Engadget and even some of the newspapers, Jack Schofield at the Guardian, who's no longer are there and no longer with us, actually, I think Jack, if I remember rightly, God bless him. So there are a lot similarities to the SEO world, today.
And what happened after that though, is it got very commercial and there wasn't so much of that, that sort of community went away. My, I wasn't a commercial blogger. I was a blogger in it for the love of it. I was head down writing, I wasn't doing SEO. I was breaking news there for getting links. But one of the things I failed to do was SEO. The site really dropped away over the last sort of three years to the point was like, okay, I need to do something else now, I went and did media production. I had sort of a media production company for a few years. And then an opportunity came up in my hometown, Bonn. It was SISTRIX, an SEO data company, I went for it and got it. And as a...
Steve: Country manager, I've been there for four years and I'm absolutely fascinated by the data. I can't call myself an SEO, you guys are SEOs, you guys do that 40% of the job, which is basically customer management, customer interpretation, customer reporting. I don't do any of that, which is, it's kind of nice just to have the data.
Jack: We're actually in reporting week as we speak at Candour. So when we finish this conversation, I'll be diving off to write client reports and things like that. So...
Steve: So now the blogging scene was a little bit like the SEO scene, and it was very community-oriented, very helpful, very good. And I would say that the commercialization of SEO will affect this community aspect of SEO, I think.
Jack: We've talked about that recently, talking about how Google are changing the services they're offering now expanding to like CDNs and stuff like that as well. And how much all relying on the, just everything is Google. Basically, our lives are run by Google, your phone is Android. My, the entire industry is basically how to rank in Google. Nobody pays attention to Bing, bless them, Bing are doing really cool interesting stuff, and they can kind of get away with doing in, they can test and do interesting stuff like index. Now, for example, could be absolutely huge in Google. And we've touched on it a couple of times in the season already, but like, I think you're right that commercialism and all that kind of stuff is definitely going to be growing in the SEO industry.
Steve: We know how much these channels are worth now. We look at Next, they report their results. You can easily work out the value of the channel. It is highly commercial and let's not forget, it's not just one search engine, 50% of product searches start on Amazon. We've got to think about the metaverse when products are sold in the metaverse, how are people going to find them? How are they going to search for them? So there are a lot of search platforms, YouTube, TikTok, and hashtags on Instagram that we need to think about. And all these little channels add up, is so complex. Now the amount of funnels coming into potential conversion to sale is incredible now. And we must not forget that there are other platforms out there doing well.
Jack: Absolutely. I know you guys have SISTRIX for Amazon specifically as well.
Steve: We just launched that.
Jack: We'll dive into that in a second as well. And I attended to talk in BrightonSEO that talks specifically about optimizing products and building your product kind of catalogue and things like that for Amazon. It's something I never really considered, I've never worked in e-commerce directly myself. So I'd never really thought about like, oh yeah, of course, it's a completely different process. It is a whole search engine in and of itself. And it's one of the world's biggest websites. Of course, it is.
Steve: Of course, it is. I've presented to Amazon last week at internal event for affiliates or associates as you'd call them, and they were talking about SEO and I had to basically switch into Amazon mode. Of course, they're talking about SEO in Amazon. Where to be honest, there's not a lot of transparency from Amazon about their, what Google do in the Google search world is way more than Amazon does in the Amazon search world.
Jack: We don't get Amazon algorithm updates, or anything like that.
Steve: There has, there have been one or two in the last 10 years that people know about. But, there's ads all over the place, there's no... Well, okay, we'll only do up to four ads above the organics or these are the boxes that are going to come in. No, it's wild west.
Jack: It really... I was talking to my partner the other day because after I went for that talk for BrightonSEO, I was kind of going through that with her. She knows nothing about SEO. She's a nurse, completely outside of the kind of the tech and SEO kind of world. And I was like, people just keyword stuff all the time on Amazon. She's like, what do you mean? It's like reading this product description, it was just like the same three words repeated over and over again. And it's on Prime, it's like an official sold by Amazon EU type thing. I was like, how did this get through? Is there a vetting process? How is this allowed?
And we're talking about Google doing the spam reports and constantly catching all the spam. They claim more than 99% of spam and hacked results are filtered out of SERPS through Google. It really does seem like the wild Western Amazon from me, from an SEO perspective going in, and now looking at it with a kind of search engine perspective, being like, oh, it is just chaos of things that haven't been functional or basically allowed in good practice in Google, in like 10 years, people are still doing all over the place on Amazon.
Steve: Absolutely. We've got a relatively calm environment in Google over the last 10 to 15 years. People have reverse engineered, what's going on with information from Google, with data. Google, themselves have set roles, is so much easier in the Google world than it is in the Amazon world. And we must not forget that there's highly commercial there. There...
Jack: The definition of commercial...
Steve: It's the definition of commercial search.
Jack: So how did you approach that with bringing SISTRIX to another search engine such as Amazon? What was the thought behind that from your team and you guys thinking, we now need to offer these services to people who are working in form better phrase SEO for Amazon?
Steve: Well, and it's not just Amazon, by the way, we're collecting YouTube data, TikTok data, Instagram data. The idea is to use the skills we've built over the last 15 years in creating a Visibility Index for Amazon. So we'll do that for products, for brands and for sellers, including Amazon. So it'll bring a bit of transparency to not only who's winning and losing, but how things are changing. And interesting data, we worked with Frankfurt university on some staff to work at, whether Amazon is doing naughty things, they weren't able to prove that interestingly. So Amazon kind of seemed to be doing a very good job of working at the limit of what they're allowed to do. So, we need to bring transparency to this Amazon platform, the more data we get, the more we'll learn, we'll be able to. People will be able to do their own reverse engineering, do more testing, work out which competitors are winning.
And I think our product is probably going to be more interesting for brand managers. So your Nike brand manager wants to know what products are selling on Amazon. What the price changes are, who's the best at selling them. And whether Amazon are doing better than other people, you can find your influencers on there as well. Your influencer brands, sorry, your influencer resellers. So there's a whole, and there to be honest, there's more data in there than we know about yet. We don't know how to get the great KPIs out of that data yet.
Jack: We'll get there eventually.
Steve: We'll get there and with the help of people using the tool and giving us feedback, that'll develop as the SEO data did over time.
Jack: Excellent. So how has data changed in the, you said four years, you worked for SISTRIX, how much I guess, has your job changed over that period and how much has what you are seeing from the data changed over that period? Because as we know, if you're listening to this podcast, you're probably in the industry and SEO or PPC, stuff changes quickly. And as we're saying, Amazon kind of now being recognized as a search engine for wanting a better phrase. So many things change constantly. What have kind of been the biggest surprises for you going from, like you said, from your tech blogging background and stuff? Now, front base, being an insider on some of the data and stuff like that. What have been some kind of the biggest surprises in your career so far at SISTRIX?
Steve: That's a really difficult question. I wish you'd asked me about half an hour ago, while I was on the train. I mean, you can take it from a number of angles. We look at the top 100 sites, they're pretty much the same as they were four years ago. Amazon's number, sorry. Wikipedia is number one, Amazon's number two, Google is the virtual number one, given all the space they take up with their own features. So in that respect, not a lot of has changed in the scene. So there's new competitors coming in. So in the fashion industry, people like Pretty Little Thing are doing, are being very flexible about the way they do business. I think that's changed a lot, so a lot of new companies have been able to come in and be very quick at adapting to what's needed.
Jack: I do think that happens a lot. Like you said, Pretty Little Thing is a good example. Seeing the kind of, they went straight to like influencer marketing and you're kind of going straight with that modern approach rather than a brand that's been around for 50 years and they, oh, just getting into the digital marketing space or however, that kind of approach that they're going for, compared to a company that basically starts on Instagram or starts on TikTok. You already have that kind of, I'd say advantage, but that foot in the door from a digital perspective.
Steve: And even five years ago, we were talking about how brand is a big feature of successful content. There's three things that really stand out when we do when we look at successful content. One is the brand value, so this magnetism that clearly helps in the SERP and then that, the amount of good content, if you just throw out a bunch of good content, someone's going to stick. And then we get these sort of high performance, SEO focus content silos of which there are hundreds out there. We're now able to identify some of those, but that's one of the things that's changing the data recently. I've just had a new set of data given to me, showing me some of the highest performing content silos in the UK search. And there's some amazing examples in there.
There's some obvious examples like, okay, the UK government own the information on divorce. There's no one else because don't go into doing SEO for divorce, the UK government own that space. You're not going to get in there. And then we have, obviously people that own their own brands and stuff, but I'm seeing some really interesting stuff. I saw a shredding company in the UK has just absolutely completely owned a sector of that service. There's no one else in there that, everything they're produced in terms of content. Well, actually I can give you a figure of 83% of their URLs ranked for keywords in page one.
Steve: That's amazing.
Jack: That's an impressive stat.
Steve: And there's nothing special about the website. It's just that they've got everything right. It's what we call a high-performance content format. And I'm going to work on trying to expose and share some of this stuff over time, in SISTRIX over the following months. With the new data journalism team, which we kicked off in December to try and bring into the community some free data and that sort of stuff. As far as changes, no, I don't think there's been a massive amount of change. There's, it's not unexpected that Google has optimised over the last four years, surely.
Jack: So let's touch on the data journalism team. How has that been integrating them? I know we've talked about people like Nicole Scott, Luce Rawlings, Lily Ray. People we've covered in IndexWatch and TrendWatch, we've covered here on the show. How has that been for you kind of working with those guys and bringing in, as you said, giving SEOs access to that data more directly and really experience fantastic SEOs at that and bringing people who have decades of experience in, across the team, how's that been for you? And do you think that's a very positive kind of move for SISTRIX as well?
Steve: Absolutely, really happy with what's happening with the data journalism team, the people that are joining us, these freelancers and agency workers, in-house workers that have the day to day expertise, have a different view about how to use SEO data as well, which is not incorrect at all. It's a view that I need to take into consideration, especially when we're developing the product. Lily and Lucy, Luce, sorry, and Charlie have done some amazing output and I want to ramp that up, speak to another potential journalist that's going to join us. And I think that the key is data journalism.
We're going to set some standards here, we're going to use quality data and we're going to make sure we get great output from it. I don't want to have a series of sort of random internal blog posts, which have been actually fantastic in the past. So our case studies, I don't want to have a really ordered a set of things like SectorWatch, TrendWatch, IndexWatch that people can rely on every month and just go, all right, what happened in March? Okay. Let's say a TrendWatch, let's look at into was its quality staff. And I think having a Data Journalism team is the way to go.
Jack: We found a really interesting, like you said, we launched and started partnering with you around about the same time. So it was really cool to get access to that data. And we get little, by the way, listeners, we get little sneak peeks, previews from Steve ahead of time, which is very nice as well. And it's fascinating seeing things like ‘octopus’. I was like, what could affect ‘octopus?’ Turns out Billie Eilish's hair affects it! Of course, like what? I would never have thought about that. It's weird little fascinating things like that, I really enjoy when it comes to things like TrendWatch.
Steve: The trend stuff is amazing. It's so eyeopening, the Squishmallow one, the Axolotl Squishmallow, which ended up being called Miss Vi. That was the name of that really soft toy, it was called Miss Vi. So I had to buy it. We had to get it shipped in from New York, cost me an arm and a leg, but I had to get that shipped in. And if we can, one day start to correlate, start to find relationships between data across countries and data across products. So Amazon, if we start to link Amazon and Google data, trend data, and then across countries as well. So okay, we've identified six months ago, these number of trends in the U.S market trending on Google, trending on Amazon, not currently trending in Germany, but just started picking up in the UK. It's like, okay, that's a business opportunity. That's really valuable data. So I'll work with the journalists and try to, and the data engineers at SISTRIX to try and get more of that data out.
Jack: I know Mark described it as basically getting the, especially the SectorWatch. I know Charlie has been covering it, we talked about like, it's an insider scoop into a sector for free, essentially you are looking at, you're getting that delivered straight to your inbox. And if you're in that sector, it's a little gold mine of like, oh, what are people up to? Here's the little trends, here's little things to dive into. It was fascinating kind of getting that, having access to that data without having to do loads of research, you've got the data journalism team there, who, like we said, are incredibly experienced people in their fields. So you have them kind of doing free work for you, essentially if you're working in that sector. And you're think you are focusing on trends or keeping an eye on competitors, the data's there ready for you. It's really handy stuff.
Jack: So let's dive into SISTRIX itself, shall we? What are some of your favourite features? What would you think are the kind of key selling points of why people should be using SISTRIX if they're working in SEO?
Steve: Well, number one is the VI, the index that takes out that search volume. It's a great KPI for comparing yourself with competitors and movements over time, if the archive of 12 years as well, which is great data for due diligence. If you're an agency going into a job, you can take a look at the historical data, the directory breakdown, you can go into the site, work out what they've been doing, whether it's e-commerce contents of due intent, or whether there's a content strategy there, whether no intent, whether it's just their job pages ranking, and there's nothing going on in terms of SEO at all. So that's, really interesting.
Jack: We've used that old data for going through what you've been up to over the last two years, five years, 10 years, be able to get that at a proposal stage for a new client, if you're working in an agency, or if you're a freelancer it's really handy to just get, like you said, that kind of snapshot of, oh, they seem to have a strategy, oh, they clearly have this approach to it. And maybe that's why it's not working or why it is working, but maybe they need to pivot in this direction or something like that. It's a really handy way, just at a glance in that kind of early stage of working with the site to get a glimpse into that kind of intent and strategy.
Steve: And international as well. I mean, there's data, there's historical data there, I mean, we are number one for historical data in Europe. And there's no one else with as much SERP data, the depth, the mobile and desktop data that we have and the historical data that we have. There's no one with that sort of data in a tool. So that's, really interesting. My, the thing I'm really excited about though is content strategies and how to help agencies in-house and independence to an end-to-end content strategy, including writing briefs and sending those out to potential writers, and authors in as quick a process as possible. Last year, for the first time we managed to do an end-to-end process without having to export data into spreadsheets, to try and find content silos and reorganize all the data by hand.
And this year we're going to add another feature, which is going to save more time as well. So this end-to-end in tool content from idea to brief writing, for small scale to large scale based on data that works in Google. So we're taking what Google says effectively, taking the organic results. And we can, we are going to get some really nice stuff going on with content. I mean, let's face it, we were talking about Wix is a good example of building in technical SEO from day one, where you build your website. You can probably jump into that tool and have a fair amount of confidence that most of the technical staff is working. And which means even if it's not working, the data, the information's out there about how you set up, especially when it's on WordPress. So the value of technical SEO is going down, the value of content needs to then rise. That's going to be the area where people are going be fighting in the future, and it's going to build about content silos and what people likely Ray, talk about proving your expertise.
Jack: We talk about E-A-T a lot on the show, and obviously Mark has had Lily Ray on the show previously as well. So I will link to that in the show, note listeners, if you do go and check out Lily's previous appearance on the show.
Steve: Proving that expertise. I cannot say more strongly if you haven't got expertise, Google will find out. They are not stupid, the signals are there. Apart from that, we've got, we've worked on our link engines. We've also worked on our content engines as well. So it's another set of engines that we have that go out and find content that works well in SEO and on social as well. So it gives you a good starting point for content styles and stuff that works, combine that with the data from the, your keyword research processes. And you're going to get a really great starting point for a brief writer. So almost a one-button right, here are the keywords, here are the questions. These are five sub-articles you need to write. And by the way, here's 20 examples of performing content. Click out.
Jack: That easy ladies and gentlemen.
Steve: Click out, measure.
Jack: So speaking of keyword research, that's something you covered in SISTRIX Academy.
Jack: I know people might recognize your voice from SISTRIX Academy since you are the lead trainer of the two courses that are on there at the moment. How's that process been for you? Have you enjoyed being on camera first of all?
Steve: Well, there's only a small bit on camera, but I can tell you doing the voiceovers is hard work. The way we do it is our founder, Johannes Beus. He creates the initial academy in German, and then we'll replicate that with local examples in other languages, we're doing it for Italy as well. And that's quite a difficult job finding those examples, it takes a lot of time. But what you end up with is a really nice process that works with SISTRIX and with other tools as well. So we make sure that we show you how to do it manually. We'll show you how to do it manually, and then we'll show you how to do it, how you can save time by using a tool.
Jack: There's the sales pitch.
Steve: And we want to continue with the academy. It's quite a few academies out there. I know people like Blue Array have done great work.
Jack: Yeah, I like Blue Array.
Steve: With their academy, so there's a ton of content out there. We need to make sure that it's just not copy, but it's going to bring someone some benefit. So we're going to be careful about what categories we create and how we create them. But it's an important thing, from academies, we'll also bring out tutorials as well. And we use the academy as the sort of primary content source. And then from that, we'll extract mini-tutorials, I think over time as well. So it's a nice process.
Jack: That's nice. Link for that as always listeners in the show notes, if you do want to go and check out SISTRIX Academy. So let's dive into Primark. Shall we? Steve: Primark? I heard you were talking about that last week.
Jack: We've covered it a couple of weeks now. I did quote you directly from the message you sent me. So for those of you who don't know, we have covered the recent change and update in migration and Primark's website and controversially, they've gone very informational. It is essentially for all intents and purposes, an e-commerce site, you can't buy anything on. Which is fascinating, and I think is that why you kind of picked it as such an interesting case study? I'm guessing that was kind of a, what are they thinking? How is this going to work? How is Google going to react to this, all that kind of stuff? Because that's very much how we've handled it, reading through your article and having a look at it from our perspective.
Steve: So it is a fascinating example. There's two, there's one leading domain on the High Street. And that's Next, who are well they're about 75 times the visibility that Primark doing organic search.
Steve: So you've got the best case and almost the worst case there. However, there may be good reasons why Primark is doing this. And they've talked about this before. And if you know about logistics and return rates and cost of turning around at a return, and then you understand that Primark selling a pair of shoes for £10, it's not difficult to work out that return rate as it is. And the cost of return turning around return is going to cut is going to basically wipe out the profit margin. So what they're trying to do obviously is get people into the shops. I also think, and I don't, I've never had this confirmed. Primark are, they have, they're anchors to a lot of shopping malls to a lot of High Streets. I reckon there's a lot of shopping mall owners would not like Primark to be selling online. They need Primark to bring feet into shopping malls.
Jack: That's fair.
Steve: I bet you there's a, if I was a shopping mall owner and Primark had 20 anchor stores, I'd be like, please, do not do e-commerce because that's the end of us. We will give you reduced. Now, I'm not saying this happens. This is just something that goes through my mind every time I think of a shopping mall or a High Street, if Primark were to do online and the footfalls to get lost, there were people losing jobs and there'll be companies failing.
Jack: I mean, Primark here in Norwich is a prime example of that. No pun intended, where it's right in the middle of the primary High Street. You've got access on both sides on both High Streets, arguably where there's a little kind of side road. You can get in the back there as well. So it's covered on two entrances and it is funnily enough, opposite Next, on the clear enough.
Steve: Oh really? Wow.
Jack: Opposite Next, in front of a McDonald's. And it's, if you're walking on that High Street, it is unmissable so that is very much...
Steve: And that High Street is planned like that for a reason.
Steve: So, Let's... So the status of Primark has relaunched the website in the UK. They've made it, there's still no transactional. They stated in the annual report that they wanted to be giving customers more information. Now, what I see is that it's ending up still being a fan side. Everything they rank for is Primark related, it's Primark branded. And there's very little, we talked about the fluffy socks. I think that was the one keyword they ranked for in page one that has any sort of significant search volume. And that's not good enough. They need to be doing better than that.
Jack: To put that into the perspective of the non-UK people out there who are not quite, maybe not aware of what Primark is. It is one of the biggest High Street shops in the UK from a brand perspective. Everybody knows what prime market is, what they sell, which is kind of everything at this point. I was surprised to see they're now doing Avengers stationary and stuff like that, they're really branched out. I always think of it as kind of cheap clothes and some homeware stuff, but they're now doing, you can buy phone charges and selfie sticks and all kinds of stuff.
Steve: Home stuff. In Cornwall, I heard yesterday, I spoke to a friend in Cornwall. They're actually offering wetsuits in Cornwall now, cheap wetsuits. He said it's a nightmare basically.
Jack: Would you rely on a £10 wetsuit?
Steve: Exactly. He said it's pretty bad. How many people are going to throw away wetsuits after the season and find out that doesn't really work for...
Jack: Mark's an experienced diver, we'll check in with him later on. See if he'd buy, ever buy a wetsuit from Primark.
Steve: So we're watching the data carefully on this one. And the signals are at the moment is that they've lost little bit of visibility. Clearly, they have more SEO work to do, they'll be working on redirects. They'll be working on internal linking. So things can change and it will take about go Google about three months to really work everything out, I'm sure it's a massive website. If Google starts to see signals that say, okay, maybe it's worth pushing this up in the servers, might see some testing getting the big search terms appearing in page one. And if the response is good from searches, then maybe it'll stay there. But with Next, 75 times is more visible. H&M, which is also a fast fashion shop, I think, I can't remember the numbers now. Something like 30%, that's right. Three times more visible, maybe even more than that. There's a lot of competition out, there's not a lot of space for them. There's only 10 links in there, so 10 blue links. And if you're not getting enough, you're not going to get in there.
Jack: I think it's a really interesting case. I can't think of a brand this big that has done something that kind of goes against all of the obvious things you do for your brand, right? You're going from, like I said, a nationally known company, like Primark to build a website that is everything, but e-commerce apart from the add to basket button, and to see how search engines react to that. Because I think it, the intent is so key there. People I have done it myself. I have gone through Primark and assumed I had, was able to buy stuff online years ago, made that mistake, and then I was like, what earth?
Steve: It is an expectation, isn't it? And new customers going there, potential new customers going to get shock, aren't they?
Jack: And I wonder because they're going for this, like I said, everything, but the add to cart button is there. So are people going to be frantically clicking around, oh, have I gone wrong? The users I think could potentially get confused there. Is that then a negative sign in the eyes of search engines, will they see a negative effect on that from long term results in Google? I'm fascinated. I'm very intrigued to see that going against the kind of typical e-commerce advice. How is that going to affect them?
Steve: I also should mention another example, that failed many years ago to get the logistics right was Tesco. Tesco Direct, which was going to be the Argos competitor and the Amazon competitor. They stated that they couldn't get logistics, that the efficiency of logistics right, so they were struggling as well. And they were working on higher-margin goods as well, and more expensive goods where, okay. Even the margin, if the margin is low, it's going to cover that, £5-10 return cost. And the other thing is Primark still have opportunities. So click and click, they don't do, they could do, they've got their back-end sorted out now such that they could. For example, this new availability SERP that I saw last week, the organic SERP that has a Google map image in it that says it's available here.
Jack: Oh, wow.
Steve: That's interesting. Whether that is opposed off single for the organic result, I don't know. So that's, interesting. And then...
Jack: That's going to be something Primark want to be focusing on, right now.
Steve: Perfect for Primark.
Jack: Store finders availability, stock availability, all that kind of stuff. Definitely.
Steve: I want this, it's Friday afternoon. I want this, is it in my High Street for when I go out tonight? Great, I'll go down there and get it. That's perfect. And then if you are talking about HomeGoods and more high-value goods, then maybe there's a possibility for them to test it with high-value goods and do it that way. But at the moment, it's still a fan side.
Jack: So let's talk about some upcoming stuff from SISTRIX. Let's wrap up with some ideas for the future. See what you can and can't say.
Steve: No, this is where you, this is where I ask you, isn't it? What do you need? What, and I'm going to turn it around. I'm going to say, Jack, what do you need? What do you think that is needed?
Jack: What do I need?
Steve: In the data then, take that away. And then we can help you.
Jack: I'm thinking how interesting the content stuff sounds. You said getting outside of the kind of search volume side of things. I don't know, Mark has talked about this extensively with, also asks and his recent BrightonSEO talk, not everything needs search volume attached to it. Would you think of looking at things like kind of what answer the public do with the auto completes and the, what also asked does with the PAA data, is that something SISTRIX is interested in looking into from the kind of content perspective and looking at longer tail stuff, zero search volume stuff? I want a better phrase.
Steve: Yep. Now we've got actually a free tool, keyword research, free tool, which is quite interesting. Actually, there's a little bit more data in it than actually in the toolkit, which people should check it out. /Free minus tools where we go into other PAA segment, we go into breaking out relationships, not just Lexico relationships, but relationships within the search results. We call it the SERPS environment. What other keywords are these URLs ranking for, they're in the top 10. We've got all the PAA data. And one of the things we're working on now is to optimize that content process, as I mentioned. And there'll be that data in there as well. So yes, it's coming. What about for you, Amazon data? How many of your customers are thinking about that now? I mean, I presume you've got customers that are doing e-commerce. Are they talking about using Amazon now, bearing in mind that you can do Prime from your own website now?
Steve: How's that going to play into it?
Jack: So a couple of my clients here, e-commerce clients here at Candour, and I don't know, I've talked to one of them specifically who works in kind of like first-aid and medical and all that kind of stuff. Very much talking about working with them into Amazon stuff. Like I said, I was kind of looking into it a few weeks ago after this talk, I was kind of inspired. I was like, Hmm, I actually might work quite well. So, I think that is definitely something, I don't know. Like I said, a lot of SEOs need to have that little switch in their brain of like, oh yeah, that is a search engine. And like you said, when Amazon people talk about SEO, they talk about in for one a phrase, their internal stuff, it's all Amazon and I think, is there anything Amazon doesn't offer these days?
Steve: No, goodness. That one was a complex one for me though. When it's your product that is going to be sold via Prime on your own website, so you need to be doing Google SEO, not Amazon SEO to promote your product. So it's Amazon products coming to, it's a complex one.
Jack: Definitely. I guess if you're offering both, that's a whole other, you got to think about targeting both Amazon and Google and how they vary. And would you change optimized particular product descriptions to display on only one, but not the other and different horses for different courses?
Steve: Could, Google and Amazon look at it each other's data and start to learn from that as well and work out what's really working.
Jack: And that's truly when the corporations take over.
**Steve: Oh, I see.
Jack: Amazon and Google start working together.
Steve: Then I'm off into the metaverse.
Jack: So that's all we have time for this week. We'll be back next week on Monday, the 16th of May until then. Thank you very much for listening. Hope you have a lovely week.
Get in touch