SEO Battlezone

Round 1

The Problem with Google's Discovery Engine

Michael King and Zach Chahalis vs. Google

Episode Time Stamps

  • [0:00] Intro
  • [1:56] Limitations In Google’s Algorithm
  • [3:19] Focus On Search
  • [4:26] Provide Relevant Results
  • [6:01] Focus On Personalization
  • [7:43] Invest In Search
  • [8:27] Google Won’t Lose At Their Own Game
  • [10:52] Outro

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In episode 1, Mike King and Zach Chahalis of iPullRank discuss the limitations and challenges within Google’s discovery engine.

Mike and Zach share their thoughts on why Google should be focused on investing in improving their search algorithm rather than competing in other arenas.

We also discuss what adjustments Google can make to ensure their users are getting the most value out of their search experience.


Is Google going in the right direction as a discovery engine?

Zach’s Take: That’s entirely debatable. It depends on the purpose of what they’re trying to do.

As a discovery search engine, the algorithm is still limiting them in terms of what they can show there.

They’ve gotten better, they’ve added things around.

  • Rich snippets
  • Feature results
  • People also ask answers

But from a discovery perspective, no. If you’re still having to scroll through someone’s entire life story to get to a recipe… What is the benefit of doing that?


Mike’s Take: I don’t think it’s the right move for the product.

Google trying to go more in the direction as a reaction to TikTok being the biggest website or the most visited website… it feels like a knee jerk reaction.

I’m more fearful that they’re not gonna focus enough on improving the search product by going in this direction.

I don’t think it is going to yield improvements. And in fact, I’m hard pressed to believe that people even really use visual search as much as Google’s indicating that they do.


What should Google be doing to improve their search quality results?

Zach’s Take: I think the big thing is actually providing relevant results to users.

The amount of times that we’re seeing something in search results that is just not relevant or completely wrong is still way too high for as advanced as the search engine has supposedly gotten over the last several years.

The amount of times that we’re seeing issues with the artificial intelligence around image detection, completely detecting the wrong thing, how does that make that a better user experience for anyone?

If Google wants to kind of do a little bit better in the discovery search side, I mean they own YouTube. They could be doing better there if they’re trying to provide that information.

So, work on actually improving that. Work on providing some quality video content that’s actually related to what I’m searching for at the time.


Mike’s Take: I think Google should, should focus on improving their personalization.

We’ve talked about search personalization for forever at this point, but I feel like there should be, effectively an algorithm that represents you.

And I think that’s where we were going with Google Now and things like that, but it seems like that’s kind of gotten lost and I think that that should be easily toggleable when you’re like, “I feel like I’m in a filter bubble.” Cool. Let me turn this off so I can see what everyone would see for this query.

There’s no reason that you shouldn’t get precisely what you’re looking for every time for any query.


Do you think that Google will actually improve their search results?

Zach’s Take: It depends on how we’re defining improvement.

I think that iteratively they will continue to get better over time. They’ve proven that they continue to get better over time. Will they ever get perfect? No.

I think that they should focus their attention on doing that rather than trying to compete in spaces that they’re not readily able to compete in.


Mike’s Take: Yes, Google will improve.

I mean, they’ve got thousands of people that just work on search.  It’s not realistic to expect, they won’t improve. A lot of the things that have improvement information retrieval in general are function of technological improvements that started at Google.

It’s just, we’re gonna have to deal with a lot of distractions on the way there. And I think what we’re discussing right now is an example of one of those distractions.



Your SEO Battlezone Fighters

Michael King | Founder & CEO | iPullRank

Zach Chahalis | Director of SEO | iPullRank

Michael King

Title: Founder and CEO

Business: iPullRank

Bio: An artist and a technologist, all rolled into one, Mike King is the Founder & CEO of the enterprise SEO and content strategy agency, iPullRank. Mike consults with companies all over the world, including brands ranging from SAP, American Express, HSBC, SanDisk, General Mills, and FTD, to a laundry list of promising eCommerce, publisher, and financial services organizations.

Mike has held previous roles as Marketing Director, Developer, and tactical SEO at multi-national agencies such as Publicis Modem, iAcquire, and Razorfish. Effortlessly leaning on his background as an independent hip-hop musician, Mike King is a dynamic speaker who is called upon to contribute to conferences, webinars, and blogs all over the world.

Zach Chahalis

Title: Director of SEO

Business: iPullRank

Bio: Zach Chahalis has over a dozen years of experience in digital marketing focused on developing and executing SEO strategies for Fortune 500 brands including Genuine Parts Company, GameStop, Michaels Stores, Sodexo, CoStar Group, and Global Payments Inc.

Zach also has experience working both agency-side and in-house with companies of all shapes and sizes ranging from local universities and regional home builders to national hotel groups and multinationals. Additionally, Zach leverages his experience and degree in business administration to develop data-driven marketing strategies beyond SEO, including developing several national loyalty rewards programs as well as leading analytics implementations and PPC campaigns for large brands.

Zach is also the co-founder of the ATL SEO organization.

Referree: Garrett Sussman

Title: Demand Generation Manager

Garrett loves SEO like the 90s loves slap bracelets.

Each week he officiates the fiery hot takes that Zach and Michael are slinging.

Enjoy this? Check out Garrett’s video show round-up of everything search engine optimization, The SEO Weekly , and his weekly SEO podcast Rankable.

Garrett Sussman

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