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Lunch Break with Corey Eulas

This week Mike talks with Corey Eulas, Inbound Marketing Director at ZocDoc. They tackle topics including the possibility of PPC being considered inbound marketing, author rank versus page rank, and “not provided” keywords.

This week on Lunch Break with Mike King, the Inbound Marketing Director was joined by Corey Eulas.

Eulas is the Inbound Marketing manager at an online scheduling and review service that aggregates doctors and allows users to sort by various features including location, insurance accepted and specialty.

They covered a variety of topics – including why Eulas changed his title from SEO manager to Inbound Marketing Manager, how he feels about guest posting and where he thinks link building and SEO strategy is headed.

[TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED BY SPEECHPAD]

Announcer: And now, live, from the iAcquire Offices in New York City, it’s
Lunch Break, with Michael King.

Mike: Welcome back folks to another edition of Lunch Break. I’m Mike
King, Director of Inbound Marketing here at iAcquire and we have, how do I
say your last name?

Corey: Eulas.

Mike: Corey Eulas here from ZocDoc. How are you today?

Corey: Good Mike. What’s going on man? How are you?

Mike: Trying to think about, enjoying this blizzard that’s about to
come and hit us, or how can you enjoy something before it actually comes?
Anyway, we also have Eric Ratner here. Here’s one of our Account Managers
here at iAcquire and just wanted him to join us because we’ve got two
Jersey folks up in here, and we just want to have a quick little
conversation about stuff.

So, how are things on your side over at ZocDoc?

Corey: Things are great. We’re growing like crazy. We’re expanding,
so, we’re taking over 568 Broadway which is were FourSquare is and
Thrillist.

Mike: Wow.

Corey: Tons of fun. Good space, but you guys got ping pong also, so, I
don’t know.

Mike: We got a little too much ping pong.

Corey: Yeah, startup life.

Mike: So, you know what I don’t know much about? How did you get into
SEO? Like, everybody always has some weird, crazy story as to how they
ended up here, so what’s your SEO story?

Corey: I started on the computer at a super young age and I think sort
of a similar background to you. What I was doing was, I was building
websites. I was sort of in the pay to surf space. I got in affiliate
marketing, when PayPal came out. It was a $5 and $10 referral based on
friends. So I started building mini micro sites there. Then in 2004, I got
a call from a guy who said “Hey, I want a guy for SEO,” and he said “What I
want to do is stuff a bunch of keywords in hundreds of different websites
and I want you to build them out and I want it to scale,” and that’s where
I started. I built probably near to 100 websites.

Mike: Wow.

Corey: And we try to get them to rank and we did and we did a lot of
shady SEO. Right? I think we did that. We contradicted everything that
Bruce Clay laid out, you know?

Mike: I think everybody that was actually good at it did that.

Corey: Yeah, back in the day.

Mike: Alright, so, you used to be Head of SEO at ZocDoc, but I heard
a funny story as to why you changed your title to Inbound, what, Manager of
Inbound?

Corey: Yeah, Inboud Marketing Manager. Most people change their title
on LinkedIn because they don’t want to look like an SEO when they do
outreach, right?

Mike: Right, right.

Corey: But I changed my title because I wanted to get solicited less.
Then all of a sudden then, inbound.org came out. I think I remember reading
an article on SEO at my house, like, “You’re gonna see more and more
inbound titles on LinkedIn,” so I’ve gotta figure out the next one, right?

Eric: You’ve gotta stay ahead of the curve.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, even our sales guys, they go hard after people
with SEO in their title, so, I mean, I’m sure our sales guys have hit you
up before, but probably less now.

Corey: Yeah. No, absolutely. I’ve seen the leads for, like, or at
least the inquiries for jobs, like, significantly drop. It’s sort of like
an ego, dropper, or lessener, but it’s something that definitely makes my
inbox a little bit more manageable.

Mike: Yeah, word. Like, I mean, I still get ridiculous, all types of
solicitation, but it’s definitely less about “Oh, come be our SEO Manager”
or whatever now, so I’m cool with that.

Corey: Right.

Mike: Like, if I was to move on I probably wouldn’t want another SEO
job at this point. Like, I’d probably want a more holistic digital strategy
job or something anyway.

Corey: I think that’s what everyone wants in SEO.

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: Right?

Mike: Sure.

Corey: We’re not link builders anymore. We’re actually, like, a
pivotal part of a marketing strategy.

Mike: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, to be honest, like, there isn’t
much difference between SEO and digital strategy. It’s just that digital
strategists tend to get more control because people know what that is.

Corey: Absolutely. I think people’s knowledge and understanding of SEO
is definitely less, more so than it has been, but still it’s low. So it’s a
lot about educating staff and sort of setting expectations of what an SEO
does.

Mike: So, I’m guessing you’re interfacing with a ton of teams over
where you’re working. What are some of your challenges and how are you able
to, like, overcome it just from a standpoint of dealing with people?

Corey: I mean, since I’m an in house SEO, I sort of have similar
problems to an agency in terms of expecation setting, but I don’t have
clients. My clients are my internal, you know, teams, like UX and PR and
content strategy and paid search and social and the developers, right? So,
luckily I have, like, a really receptive team who’s energetic and
passionate, but the best way to get through it is education. It’s teaching
people “Hey, here’s what SEO is. Here’s what the goals are?” and then
setting a clear, sort of definition of “Here’s the task, here’s what the
potential results could be, this is very experimental,” you know, “We’re
trying to come up with sustainable strategies. There’s no short term gains
that are something that you want to try to tackle.” So, education.

Mike: Definitely. So, I’m kind of fascinated, because you guys have
such a large site, but I’m gonna keep it moving because I understand you
guys don’t like talking too much about, you know, what exactly happens.

Eric: Startup, startup man.

Mike: Yeah.

Eric: You’ve gotta stay ahead of the curve.

Mike: Definitely, definitely. So there’s this kind of debate over
whether or not PPC is inbound marketing. How do you feel about that?

Corey: I mean, what we’re doing is we’re targeting a keyword. We’re
defining what the user intent is, and we’re building pages to try to
increase conversions.

Mike: Right.

Corey: I think it’s very similar. I work closely with the paid search
guy at our team, and we need to define, the user’s a user, but whether they
come from a paid channel or SEO. They’re coming from primarily Google, so
our customer is the same, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re on the same
page. So I would consider it very similar. Obviously there’s different
skill sets that are gonna be needed for each individual role, but it’s very
similar.

Mike: Okay. So what do you think about this new, well, not new,
because it was kind of something that we were just talking about, like,
late 2011. But what do you think about Eric Schmidt coming out in his new
book and saying that author rank is gonna, like, basically supplant page
rank?

Corey: Yeah, so, I think it’s something that we need to pay attention
to. It’s definitely sort of transforming our industry, taking away, you
know, link building as we know it to define authority. Right? And setting
up this agent rank. I mean, we’ve been reading about it since the patent
came out and SEO By The Sea, came out with the article in, 2008 or 2007.
Basically it said that this digital signature that you’re assigning to a
person is going to be the new page rank and you’re gonna pass your
authority onto another person. So I think what we’re gonna start seeing is
remember, like, this whole bad neighborhood thing when we were doing link
building?

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: I think people are gonna be more cognizant of this guest
blogging.

Mike: Absolutely.

Corey: Because of the sort of bad neighborhoods that you potentially
could be hanging around in.

Mike: So how do you feel about guest posting right now? Like, I feel
like, well, I don’t know how you feel about it? How do you feel about guest
posting right now?

Corey: Good question. I think guest posting is something that’s, you
know, I feel like it’s the new article, you know, submission type deal.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely.

Corey: And I think that enterprise sites are going to have, or
continue to have a difficult time with it. Basically, because right now the
author rank and the rel equals author is going to be very similar to the
rel equals publisher. I mean, it is right now, but the way it’s sort of
embedded in the, I guess, what do they call it, content structure now
instead of rich snippets? Whatever. So basically the way it’s embedded in
search results with the photo, right, and it’s assigning or attributing it
to an author, I think brands are gonna have a difficult time creating these
authors for the brand voice.

So, I think that when we start moving away from guest blogging and we
start tackling this author rank, guest blogging is gonna have to start
fazing out.

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: Well at least for enterprise sites.

Mike: The problem with it to me is like, okay, content marketing is
supposed to be, like, this Trojan horse for us. Where it’s like “Yeah,
we’re not gonna blast you with interruption messaging and stuff, we’re
gonna get you for the things that you’re actually looking for,” and then
what’s gonna happen with all these really bad guest posts is people are
gonna start realizing “Okay, this is garbage too.”

So, they’re gonna, like, put their blinders up and it’s gonna be,
kind of, as bad as display is right now where people are just ignoring it.
So, I feel like if we don’t fix this or at least invest in better quality
in these guest posts, that we’re gonna kind of run that tactic into the
ground, like, not even just from the standpoint of Google and what they
think, it’s about, like “What does the audience think?” They’re gonna just
be like “Oh, another guest post. This is clearly not written by an expert.”
Like, I think that’s the real problem with guest posting.

Corey: I agree with you. I mean, the problem right now is that as you
mentioned this, people’s sort of, their understanding of guest blogging
right now, it is completely, like, smarter than it was five years ago.
People sort of . . .

Mike: Sure.

Corey: . . . they sort of ignored the nonsense, right? So it’s not
something that I’m gonna start pursuing and something that, like, when I
get emails and requests of “Hey buddy, what do you think of this?” on G
Chat, I probably would say, like, stay clear. Focus on building great
content. You’re gonna see a lot more start ups start popping up for content
and scaling, like, really great content. So, if I had to recommend a young
14 year old a job, it’s content development. It’s going to be something
that a lot of companies are gonna start paying for more and more.

Mike: Definitely. We will be right back after these messages. What
are we gonna talk about next?

And, we’re back. So, we’re talking with Corey Eulas here from ZocDoc
and we left off on author rank. During the break Eric brought up some
pretty cool things about author rank that we wanted to touch on.

Eric: Basically we’re talking about author rank here. We’re talking
about guest posting and kind of the future of SEO and where it’s going.
What are you thoughts on that? Where do you think SEO, link building and
content strategy’s really going?

Corey: Well, I think it’s a good question. I don’t know what I think.
I mean, I think it’s something that we’re all trying to figure out right
now. We’re all trying to identify what is that, what is the next trick that
we’re all gonna be doing? Nice segway. Boom. I mean, if you start looking
at websites like Target or Home Depot. They don’t even have rel equals
publisher on their site. So what did Matt Kotz recently say, that “the
usage of no file links is in the single digits,” in a recent video?

So, I think the adaptation of getting high quality authors on
websites is we’re far from that. I think it’s gonna be a two year out
strategy. I think right now a lot of people are scrambling to get their
Google Plus page verified, but how many people are really gonna start
verifying themselves on Google Plus?

Mike: I mean, realistically, like, we’ve heard Eric Schmidt say it,
we’ve heard, like I say, even I was saying “This is the next big thing,”
and I was saying that in 2011. At the end of the day we haven’t seen any
real benefit from this “author rank” yet, and it’s not gonna happen until
we see that. Like, that’s when, you know, you’re gonna have kids in India
and they’re like “Oh, I’ve gotta get my Google Plus profile connected,”
like, it’s not something that has a direct benefit. It’s like schema.org.
So there’s all this different vocabulary for schema.org, but nobody wants
to spend the time that it takes to implement that across your code if
you’re not gonna get this direct benefit right now.

Corey: Absolutely.

Mike: So . . .

Eric: You can be open graph. You were talking, I think you tweeted
something earlier about social cards, social media cards you could put on
the site . . .

Mike: Yeah, social meta data. Like Twitter cards and open graph tags,
like, most pages don’t have that. But there’s definitely a benefit from
those, because the way I look at meta data is like, having your content
make the best first impression on your users.

Eric: Right.

Corey: Right.

Mike: And you have different types of users on Facebook than you do
have on Google Plus and so on and so forth. So they’re all giving you the
different meta data that will allow you to make the best impression on
those people and people or marketers aren’t really maximizing that right
now.

Corey: Absolutely. I mean, if you look at the rich snippet tool right
now to test pages, I actually tweeted Matt Kotz today that there is an
error on, when you start looking at the examples. I mean, if you go on the
review or rating example of Schema, they use Yelp, and it renders that
there’s no review or rating Schema on the page.

Mike: Wow.

Corey: I mean . . .

Mike: That’s crazy.

Corey: . . . So I think, I mean, I think we’re in a really, like,
beginning, new stage in doing this right now. I would say that, if people
are looking at what the next link building is, they’re probably looking at
the wrong thing.

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: I think as an industry we should be focusing on user experience
and conversions and integrating content into, like, an amazing user
experience.

Eric: Yeah. No, that makes sense.

Corey: And I don’t know how to do that yet, but I think a lot of us
are figuring it out.

Mike: The problem is, like, those things tend to be owned by other
disciplines, like UX owns that. Creative owns that. Content strategy owns
that. so it’s gonna be difficult for us as SEOs to say “Hey, we want the
experience to be like this.” They’re like “No, sit down. Do your meta tags,
and we will handle that.”

So, I think you’re right. I completely agree, but I think it’s still
difficult for us to make that happen. And if you could make that happen
that would be an amazing magic trick.

Corey: So, I think that you actually had a really good deck and I
don’t know how long ago it was, but I actually sent it to our UX team and a
lot of friends that I have that work in SEO and design. It was, like, UX
loves SEO and SEO loves UX. So, I think it’s kind of changing, if we change
the way that we present SEO to the UX team, we build a more colaborative
environment, we’ll both see our KPIs improve. So if I work with the UX team
. . .

Eric: I actually agree. I agree.

Corey: . . . It makes, rising tide lifts all boats, right?

Mike: That’s right.

Corey: So everybody wins.

Mike: Yeah, and Jonathan Coleman who I presented that with, he’s been
making some huge strides in that space. You know, he’s no longer, like, an
SEO by title. I can’t remember what his title is now, but he’s more about
the user experience and information architecture and he’s been making large
strides as a thought leader to bring those two worlds together and bringing
content strategies together with SEO and stuff.

So, I think as industry we’re pushing towards it, it’s just the other
ones aren’t completely ready for us yet.

Corey: Right. There was a recent post on SEOmoz, I would say within
the past two weeks of, I don’t know who wrote it, I’m sorry. Basically
whoever wrote it they created this dummy website, like, a dummy eCommerce
site and they kind of suggested all these different ways that you can put
content in and also make it readable for the search engines, like
expandable divs and thngs like that.

Mike: I saw that.

Eric: I saw that.

Corey: Right? Yeah. And I was like “Mike King wrote about that two
years ago,” because I remember your example was . . .

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: . . . Was it LG or Maytag right?

Mike: Yeah.

Corey: LG?

Mike: it was LG based. Yeah.

Yeah. So we had a page that we made, it’s like LG laundry tips. If
you Google that you’ll find the page.

Corey: Of course.

Mike: And the page, it looks like, you know, six pictures of
different things in your laundry, but if you click on it it expands and
it’s, like, not obtrusive to the user experience at all. But it has all the
text you need, everything is tagged properly, and it does pretty well. So,
I mean, that was, like, a good exercise where we were able to combine both
things and we actually have something similar on the new iAcquire site that
should be up in a week or two after this goes up, and we have that same
type of experience about our offerings. That’s why it was really important
to me, like, we build our new site and make it have, like, perfect SEO. So
whenever a client says “Oh, that’s too much text,” I’ll just be like “Oh,
look at our site.”

Corey: Right. Yeah, I mean, I always look at SEOmoz and I’m like “Are
they doing it as good at they should?” or, like, Search Engine Land or . .
.

Eric: That’s a good point, yeah.

Corey: . . . Search Engine Journal. I’m like “What are these guys
doing?” because these are the ones who have the most freedom to do a lot of
SEO experiments, so . . .

Mike: Yeah, I mean, at the same time, like, even moz, I know they
have, like, an old CMS and they still have to deal with things go through a
lot of people to make it happens. It’s just like dealing with any other
site, even though you expect SEOmoz to be perfect because it’s SEOmoz.

So, not to go off track, but you do magic. Why don’t you tell us
about that?

Corey: I would prefer probably not to talk about it because, like, I’m
already not cool because I do SEO, right? We’re like computer nerds, and
then I drop three notches down when I say that I do magic. But yeah, I
mean, I like magic. It’s fun. It’s like comedy in the sense of you’re just,
like, making people happy for free. So, you’re not gonna get ladies with
it, so if you’re looking at this as something to kind of break the ice,
it’s not a good idea. I’m like the eight year old at the party who’s like
“Wanna see a trick? Wanna see a trick?” and then people are like “Nah man,
I don’t wanna see a trick.”

Eric: You pull a quarter out of behind somebody’s ear? Something like
that?

Corey: I mean, I’m pretty good at it. I would say I’m an amateur
magician, but I actually . . .

Mike: I was impressed when I saw it.

Corey: . . . I made a graph at our office right now where basically it
said “People’s Interest in My Magic,” and then “Time,” right? And it was
like, right when I started, it was at a peak. Everyone was like super
interested, and then over time, nobody’s interested in the graphs.

Eric: You run out of tricks?

Mike: So we’re in the Long Tail of magic interest I guess.

Corey: I mean, once in a while someone would be like “Hey Corey, do a
magic trick,” sort of like how a monkey needs to dance. Right? But other
than that no one’s interested nor amazed because I am not really a
magician.

Eric: Do you just always have something up your sleeve?

Corey: I was actually gonna bring, very good, very good.

Eric: I brought it home.

Corey: That’s horrible.

Mike: Okay, okay, okay. Back on track. How do you feel about not
providing?

Corey: It kills us man. Like, one one side I wanna be the most
analytical guy ever. And I want to, like, prove ROI for SEO. I want SEO to
be something that’s not a call center for a business. I want to be
something that I can stand here and definitively say, like “Hey, here is
what we did, here are they keywords that started driving traffic, and here
are the results.” I mean, if you start looking at Google Analytics and how
much sample data they have, especially when you’re working with, like,
larger websites, and how many analytic websites I still have attached to my
GMail, it’s, like, insane.

Mike: Yeah, we do some pretty cool data dives right now for clients
that never, well, not clients, sorry, I don’t mean clients, for people in
my GMail that just never disconnected.

Corey: Yeah, or friends that say “Hey, can you look at this? What is
this? Why is Google . . .”

Eric: Just give you guest access, here.

Corey: Yeah, absolutely. And then so, I mean, what are you guys
thinking about providers, especially on the agency side?

Mike: I hate it. Yeah, I mean, I don’t like it, but at the same time,
like, you know I have a big push towards, like, a cohort analytics so I
would prefer to use it as leverage to be like “Okay, well we can’t get your
actual keyword data, but if you guys can commit to doing this thing, like,
the keyword level demographics stuff or even use another product that does
something similar, that’s way more valuable to me. Because I can see how
your audience is feeling about that content rather than using the proxy of
keywords to do it.”

Corey: Right.

Mike: So it’s even, I don’t need to know the keyword to figure that
out. Like, I know what the messaging is. I know they came to the site. Did
it work, did it not?

Corey: Sure. I mean, we also use real time analytics that we developed
in house, but I think if you search it it’s called ZocMon, and it’s open
source.

Nice. ZocMon.

Corey: So, I mean, it doesn’t have keyword level data, but it allows
you to sort of look at your analytics. I mean, for the engineers, those
guys use it, you know, much more in depth than I would ever use it. But I
get to look at the traffic from different channels and I monitor it versus
one week ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, and I get to
identify what happens. Sort of off track, talking about providers, but
still, I mean, on the same note about analytics.

Mike: So, this has been awesome. We’ve gotta wrap up. Corey, thanks
for coming by.

Corey: Thank you.

Mike: Make sure you guys follow him on Twitter. He’s @coreyeulas.
Check out ZocDoc if you need a doctor or a dentist or something.

Corey: Absolutely.

Mike: And yeah, it’s great to see you man.

Corey: Cool. Next time hopefully you’ll buy me lunch.

  • Ryan Glass

    Another good update, thanks for pushing this out.

    As an in-house marketer, I entirely agree with Corey’s point about brands struggling to determine and develop the author voice who can take over as author rank raises. The benefits of putting a human aspect to our message is well-known, but the reality of building up an individual who could leave the firm and then the rank you’ve built up goes with them, is certainly still a stumbling block for most decisions.