SMX West 2018: Interview with Search Metrics

This interview is part of our SMX West expert interview series taking place between March 12th and 16th, 2018.

It was an absolute treat to have the chance to interview Holly Miller, the Brand Ambassador for Search Metrics at this year’s SMX West event. Search Metrics is a digital marketing tool designed to help industry professionals craft the best enterprise SEO and content marketing strategies.

Search Metrics are also well known for delivering ranking factors to the search industry year after year. Recently, they’ve transitioned from general ranking factors to industry based and micro-ranking factors in order to improve results for digital marketers.

Here’s what Holly had to say about this year’s ranking factors and why they’re different, as well as Google’s latest hashtag: 



Chandal: Hi Everyone, this is Chandal at SMX West 2018. I’m here with Holly Miller, the Brand Ambassador for Search Metrics. Thanks so much for taking a few minutes with us today. For anyone who doesn’t know, tell us a bit more about Search Metrics.

Holly: What is Search Metrics?

Chandal: [stunned]

Holly: [laughs]

Chandal: I was like, oh no!!!

Holly: [laughs] Hopefully the SEM community knows about us. We try to come every year. We’re pretty well known in the ranking factors industry but we are an enterprise SEO and content platform. So we work with a lot of the big enterprise companies that really need that help to crawl their website, understand what’s going on technically, what they need to prioritize. Then we come in with the 1-2 punch on content and really try and help them understand what they need to be focusing on and we can help them to create better content to meet the needs and the intent of their users.

Chandal: Yeah 1-2 punch! That’s a trifecta of services everyone needs in digital marketing. So what brings Search Metrics to SMX West?

Holly: Actually our Founder, Marcus Tober is a regular here and he comes every year. I think he also speaks at some of the other advanced summits as well. He brings our ranking factors study every year. We try to do some new things but I think about a year or so ago, we actually figured out that the ranking factors studies were getting a bit stale and we discovered that actually there were ranking factors for every industry. So we’ve been putting out things about ranking factors that contribute to health websites (ie. what is going on that makes health sites rank better), finance, media and e-commerce. We might have done travel..there were so many! But basically, general ranking factors are dead. You can’t just say “Ok, I put 2000 words on a page, I have this many backlinks, and I got all my keywords in the right place and [snaps finger], that’s it.

Chandal: It’s not a blanket solution, it’s case by case.

Holly: It is. It’s case by case, industry by industry. And so this year in 2018 the team has some new information and it’s now micro-ranking factors.

Chandal: Getting more granular.

Holly: Yes more granular, niching down or synching up, however you want [laughs]. But we’re getting even more granular, which is if you think about it what’s really happening. That’s what Google is having to do anyway, to figure out the intent of your query, where you’re going with it, what type of information you need. Because they just want to make sure they’re as helpful too and people go to Google first, rather than to Amazon or YouTube or whatever. So they want to have the best search results for the oddest thing that you might be searching for. So they’re trying to understand the intent of your query, whether you need information or you want to buy something and it varies by industry. It’s really interesting.

Chandal: And everyone is optimizing with the same formulas and the same techniques so you have to get more granular if you want to stay ahead, if you want to get ahead. Is there somewhere our audience can go if they want to learn more about these micro-ranking factors by industry?

Holly: Sure! Check Twitter, Marcus tweeted the link to the deck. Definitely check it out under the hashtag to the event. Also the ranking factors studies are typically uploaded to the Search Metrics website in our Knowledge Base. So you can go searching for that or you can ping me on social media (@millertime_baby), and I’ll get you the right information.

Chandal: Holly Miller everyone…ping her! Ok last question: What’s the coolest thing you’ve heard at SMX this week? The most interesting piece of insight or whatever you want.

Holly: Gosh.. You know for me it’s the attribution piece that is still really interesting. Because it’s bringing together all the different players. I think everyone is looking to get away from the last click model and search doesn’t always get credit for that,  it’s PPC that usually does. So it’s really interesting to hear how Google’s wanting to move away from the last click model and really encourage a data-driven approach. They even have an acronym for it, it’s DDA. I was like, “Ok, LOL man, this is interesting!” [laughs]. So that’s gonna be a really interesting piece because it encompasses everything from search to display to paid to social. So it’s everything and even though it’s still hard and attribution is difficult, it’s still one of those things that we have to consider. Nobody is just making their transactions cleanly on their desktop, we’re using all these devices, it’s happening everywhere, and optimizing across the board is a really important piece of it.

Chandal: That’s pretty awesome. Well thanks for sharing. Hashtag DDA everyone! We learned something here, so did I!

Holly: I hope it’s the right acronym that will bring you to the place you want!

Chandal: We’ll see or worse that it’s already used!

Holly: Yes, exactly the hashtag with just the D’s is way different so make sure you include the A.

Chandal: Yes, get that A in there! Thanks so much Holly for taking a few minutes to speak with us we really appreciate it.

Holly: Of course! Thanks!


Stay tuned for more coverage of SMX West to come!


Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash/Matthew Henry

Video property of Acquisio by


Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s Content Director.

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