I’m the Founder of Visably and I’m glad you’re here. I started Visably in early 2019 because of a simple question I had been asking for years:
How do I measure all the places a brand exists in search?
A bit of background on why I was asking that question. I’ve been a marketing communications professional for over 17 years and for the last decade I’ve been operating my own public relations agency. Whatever you think it is that PR people do, it can be summed up as this:
we leverage other peoples’ audiences for our clients’ gain.
PR is all about soliciting third-party endorsements and in-so-doing, accessing the audiences of those third-parties.
The traditional platform to do this has been the publishing industry (magazines, newspapers, etc.), but over the past decade PR has transformed from an industry focused on newspaper clippings to something much more dynamic that encompasses social influencer, content creation, events, and live streaming video (just to name a few).
Personally, I became fascinated by the intersection of PR and SEO after recognizing that our most valuable PR hits were the ones bubbling up to the top of search for competitive keyword searches.
Back then, there was no strategy to it — we would just occasionally recognize that one of our PR placements was crushing it. We’d cross-check some iteration of the keywords present in the URL parameters and sure enough — there it was sitting at the top of search for a high-traffic keyword. A keyword, mind you, that the client could NEVER have ranked for on their own. And yet, there was our work — winning the top of the search podium.
Recognizing the value of PR and search was an epiphany that permanently changed how our agency did PR. Not only were we putting a credible endorsement out on the internet, but we were serving it to EXACTLY the right customers.
At the same time, we saw our clients really struggling to build front-page visibility for their target keywords.
The above graph is real data from a mid-sized brand-owned website trying to rank in organic search for a non-branded keyword over an 18-month period from January 2018 until Sept 2019. Notice how the brand receives quick gains at the beginning, but the brand plateaus once it hits page-2. The net result has zero impact on the brand’s web-traffic.
This is because it’s fundamentally REALLY TOUGH to get your content on the first page of search, especially if you’re an early-lifecycle brand. In these cases, you’re competing again websites of much higher reputation that have spent years building backlinks, monthly visitors, and authority with search engines.
The goal of PR, SEO, or any digital marketing initiative for that matter, is to be seen by your customers. Secondarily, if your communications can be considered as credible and trustworthy, then you’re really crushing it.
Visably measures the likelihood of product discovery within any given search.
To us, it doesn’t matter if a customer finds your brand by reading a PR review, clicking-through on an ecommerce site, reading about your brand on Quora (e.g. People also ask), seeing an ad, or clicking on your own website. Any way the customer’s journey unfolds is perfectly valid, so long as you capture that person within your marketing funnel.
Visably reviews all the organic links on the first page of search AND the link’s page content as well. Essentially, we review what the customers actually see: the content on each linked page within the search results. We do it in real time (so it takes a little longer), but we deliver a suite of interesting KPIs that are unique to anything you’ve seen in SEO.
What Visably Does:
Measure Your Brand Footprint in Search
Visably is the first platform to not only review the search result URLs, but also the content within each of those URLs. That means Visably identifies brand hits from PR hits, ecommerce, and more.
Provide Novel KPIs for Brand Search Performance
Visably provides traditional keyword data (Monthly Search Volume + CPC) but also some new metrics: Visably Score, Estimated Content Clicks, Equivalent Advertising Value, and SERP Channel Analysis. These new KPIs provide new insight as to how you’re performing within any given keyword AND insight into the intent of the SERP itself.
Intent-Based Keyword Research
With Visably’s Channel Recognition Technology, we can identify how the search engine interprets the “intent” of a query as transactional or informational. We map each domain as “Ecommerce,” “Earned Media,” Brand-Owned,” or something else. Ecommerce and Brand-Owned “Click-to-Buy” pages indicate transactional intent, while earned media (blogs, editorial content, etc.) indicate informational intent or “Click-to-Learn” results. These differences inform content strategy for a keyword and invites multi-channel collaboration.
Strategic Alignment Across Teams
Align your PR, Ecommerce, SEO, and digital advertising teams toward a singular goal: to improve your brand visibility in search. Visably’s data will help inform when to bid for keywords vs. when to optimize organically. Visably’s channel analysis will also inform which keywords have better opportunities for PR teams, SEO teams or Ecommerce teams. You can also sort and extract channel-specific lists, thanks to Visably’s channel recognition technology.
Real Time Data
Visably’s data is pulled in real-time, so you get a true glimpse of what the search landscape looks like right now. For this reason, Visably is slightly slower than other SEO platforms you may be familiar with – our data is identified and delivered in 8-12 seconds, whereas cached searches can be delivered in 2-4 seconds.
SEOs and digital marketers need to move the goal line from “how do I improve my website’s search position,” to “how do I improve my BRAND’s search position?”
There are so many ways a customer can find or discover a brand in search — your website is just one of them. You might be surprised at the level of branded content in a SERP already. Your Ecommerce partners may be promoting your product on their search engine landing pages. Your PR team may have secured multiple media reviews or awards that are showing up at the top of search. Or Bloggers may be recommending your product.
But without a direct link back to your website (e.g. an affiliate link to Amazon rather than your site), none of these points of discovery are directly manageable (or trackable) through traditional SEO software. They are, however, valuable customer touch points and worth trying to manage.
And that is the fundamental value of why we want to measure brand visibility in search. I call this Search Engine Visibility because it goes beyond SEO to focusing on all the ways a customer might find your brand, product or service within a SERP.
Search Engine Visibility (SEV)
DEFINITION (noun): The overall “visibility” of a product or brand within a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). All search results, paid and organic, are factored into a brand’s SEV. SEV directly corresponds to the likelihood a customer will discover a brand, product or service while performing a search query.
As a PR team, we recognized that if we could audit a SERP for PR opportunities, then we could zero in on the writers and outlets that Google was rewarding with top search results. We could then either ask a writer to update their posts with our client’s product, or set up a new review for the next time they publish a story.
For Ecommerce teams, were they even aware that their vendors weren’t merchandising their stuff on these super popular search engine landing pages? Turns out no, they had no idea — and they certainly weren’t thinking about inbound traffic through search engines as a way to capture customers.
What if they could audit all their target keywords for which ecommerce sites were including their products on their landing pages and which weren’t — and then use that audit to improve their merchandising efforts?
These were seemingly new conversations. Ones that got me very excited about what a product like Visably could do for people.
Search in a whole new light.
Marketing has always been about reaching the customer by any means necessary. It only makes sense to explore all the potential customer touch points within the SERP, rather than just focusing on how your website’s content can do the job.
Recognizing that your keywords hold more potential than monthly search volume or “SEO Competition Score” might reveal is eye-opening. While it may be true that your SEO / Content team may have a very hard time ranking for a highly competitive keyword, your PR or Ecommerce team may just need to pull a few quick levers to build brand visibility on the page.
You just have to know where to look.
Thanks and I hope you find value in Visably. Tell me what you think at Chris@visably.com
Founder + CEO Visably