John McDougall: Hi, I’m John McDougall. Today, my guest is Charity Stebbins, Senior Content Strategist at Conductor. Conductor’s Searchlight product helps customers manage their web presence to achieve higher traffic, conversions, and revenue results. Today, we’re talking about how to use Conductor for advanced SEO.
Charity Stebbins: Hi. It’s great to be here.
Conductor Vs. Other SEO Tools
John: Absolutely. How is Conductor different from other SEO and Internet marketing tools?
Charity: I would first differentiate between Conductor Searchlight and your analytics. That’s a question that we get a lot. I like to think of it this way.
Analytics are like your rear‑view mirror. You can see historical trends. You can see how you’ve performed in the past. It’s all about what has already happened.
Searchlight is much more about opportunities in the future and forecasting, “What would happen to my revenue if I fixed this part of my site, or how about that part of my site?” and making those kinds of decisions and seeing recommendations to basically optimize your future performance.
That’s the main difference between Searchlight and your analytics. Then, just a couple other notes.
I’d say that Searchlight, as a platform, is also there to help people manage their data quality, the efficiency on their team. We had an agency client I spoke to recently, and they wrote about this in a blog post that you can check out, where they went down from 17 tools to one platform, and it made a huge difference in terms of their data quality and the way that they were able to scale.
They shared with us that they had an over 400 percent increase in SEO sales. That was really exciting for us to hear.
My last note on this ‑‑ although I could go on, this is my last note for now ‑‑ is that compared to other platforms in this space, Conductor is much more focused on, one, team enablement — we have work spaces that are set up based on persona, so you can make sure you have a Searchlight for your content team, a Searchlight for your executive suite, and set up channels of communication between them.
And also focus more on your organic presence, as a whole. We’re interested in not just Google and organic search. We’re talking about YouTube. We are interested in mapping your personas and the buyer’s journey across your content strategy. So, it’s a more all‑encompassing look at your organic strategy.
John: That sounds very different than someone just…not that Yoast SEO is a bad tool, we like that tool, but very limited. Just trying to beef up just limited on‑page things is not a broad enough view.
Charity: I actually use Yoast. I love Yoast. I blog all the time. It’s a great tool to help you dot your Is and cross your Ts, but Conductor is more about that big picture and scouting opportunities in the future and just making the workflow a lot easier, too.
John: It’s more a matter of understanding when to use a Yoast or Moz or something along those lines, or Ahrefs for backlink checking, and when to look to Conductor for that larger scale picture.
Charity: Yeah. It very much can be a growth tool. Like I said, a lot of our clients have gone from many small tools to one platform. That’s just a stage of growth. It makes it easier for teams to work together and to also shepherd all of these different pages as your site grows and your business grows.
Does Conductor have small business options?
John: Do you have small business options?
Charity: Searchlight was built for midsize to enterprise level companies. That’s what it is intended for. However, what we really have been seeing is companies that have a big focus on online customer acquisition — even when they’re small, they start using Searchlight, and Searchlight is a part of their growth into the next tier.
We have people who have 50‑person SEO teams using Searchlight. We have people with one‑person digital marketing teams. I spoke to the director of online marketing at Nutricap Labs, and he is in charge of email, he’s in charge of the website, all of those things.
Searchlight helped him bring down his cost-per-lead by, I think it was 60‑something percent, and really just make it easier to manage SEO as a one‑man team. It’s a vast array of different uses and sizes.
Getting Started Using Conductor
John: How do you get started using Conductor?
Charity: This is something that is completely up to the specific customer that comes on board. We talk to you about your maturity and what you want. You can have everything from your account completely set up.
We have a professional services director who came from Yahoo, and he’s been with our company for the better part of a decade. He does an amazing and exhaustive setup of keywords and URLs and competitors and all of that good stuff. Or you can do it all yourself.
We have a customer success team that’s dedicated to each client. They just help you customize your experience and let you do your thing.
Basic Features of Conductor
John: What are some of the basic features?
Charity: On the basic side, search experience tracking, which allows you to filter your keywords ‑‑ those SERPS, by device and location. It also communicates your true rank. I think the idea of true rank is really interesting. It’s basically where you really are on the SERP, not just where you are on the 10 blue links, but where you are with the maps feature or news or other kinds of universal features.
It really helps you figure out where you’re actually appearing on that page. There’s reporting, which can be either a basic feature or an advanced feature, just depending on how interactive you want that to be, how much you want to customize it.
Business case builder is another aspect where you can forecast revenue increases you’ll have by making changes to different areas of your site. Agencies love to use that feature to figure out what they can do for clients and to make that case to potential clients.
I could go on. I’ll just mention two content insights with analytics, where you get either a high level or a deep dive of your content performance and visibility by segments that you break out that make sense for your business.
It might be by product. It might be by persona. It might be by site section. It might be your blog versus your product page. It just depends on you and your business.
John: It’s funny. As I’m hearing you say those things, apart from just drooling…I’m not a user of Conductor, and some of my team members have been. That’s part of what is intriguing me.
What’s funny is we’ve worked since 1995 doing SEO. Technically, I did it in ’95 at my father’s ad agency. We were a fairly good size ad agency, so we were working with larger customers.
Then, when I went out on my own, starting my own little digital agency, and now building it up, I’ve been through from very tiny businesses up to multi‑billion-dollar companies. It’s funny. The tools that you’re talking about, the small businesses would absolutely love.
Having some small businesses that I still work with, being able to report on ROI forecasting and how they could change things, I just think that there’s such a need for that, even at the small‑business level.
Charity: It’s so powerful, and even if you’re not, say, an agency using that business case builder tool, like I mentioned, I just spoke to an in‑house client that used it to figure out which parts of their site they should focus on. It’s not necessarily just business development, but it helps a small team figure out what areas of your site are going to make the most impact.
That is hugely important for a small team, because you’re already spread thin, so you need to know, with great surgical precision, what places in your site are going to give you the most bang for your buck. Really important.
Advanced Features of Conductor
John: Absolutely. That’s great. What are some of the most advanced features?
Charity: Content mapping is a new release. I alluded to that earlier, but we’re really excited about it. Basically, you create segments of your content, and you can do this by using your meta description or your URL structure or you can use custom segments, whatever works for, depending on the business and the site.
It lets you see visibility into your personas and the buyer’s journey, so you can figure out if there is maybe a persona who is important to you, but you haven’t actually written very much educational content for them.
This feature helps you figure out if you have strong performing content for each of these personas, throughout their buyer’s journey. That’s definitely something that’s more advanced. Not every business has developed their personas, and that’s something that takes time, but we see a lot of our more advanced agencies and direct businesses jumping at the chance to see this.
Another cool and advanced feature would be YouTube channel insights, where you can actually hook your YouTube analytics up to Searchlight, and you can see the YouTube SERP, too.
I mentioned search experience tracking, where you can look at search engine results pages, SERPs, for the keywords that matter to you. You can do the same thing for YouTube.
Thinking about all of these different organic channels and places that people are searching to get information, that’s what Searchlight does and is growing into. We’re looking at your organic web presence, as a whole, and we’re really excited about those features that help you serve your client, no matter what channel or no matter what kind of content they might be looking for.
John: Those sound like great features. I’m definitely excited to get into Conductor. Tell us how people can get in touch with you.
Charity: You can go to our website, which is www.conductor.com. Say hi on Twitter, we’re @conductor. And feel free to just email me, too. I am cstebbins [at] conductor.com. I’d be happy to help.
John: Absolutely. You have a demo that people can do.
Charity: Absolutely. Just go on our site and fill out the form there, and we’ll get you in touch with somebody.
John: Good. Check out our blog at mcdougallinteractive.com for more helpful posts and podcasts on digital marketing. I’m John McDougall. See you next time.