Srinath Rangaswamy


Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Srinath Rangaswamy, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Srinath has worked with Fortune 500 and small businesses. He currently runs a full-fledged digital marketing agency with clients in jewelry, medical, SaaS and e-commerce.

He is working on revamping GMB audits and is poised to make 2019 the year of GMB for his agency.

Having lived in both India and the U.S., he understands the importance of communication between the team and clients.

If you have any questions related to GMB or SEO, please feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.


Table of Contents

What’s easier, getting clients in India or the U.S.?

The sales cycle time in India is longer than in the US, so easier to get clients in the US as I consider that with longer times, interest wanes at both ends.

What are some cultural differences we should beware of when hiring a VA from India?

Great to start off on this. There are several misconceptions about Indian SEO agencies and would like to dispel them to the extent possible.

1. Most Indian agencies are loath to lose any business and hence have tendency to say yes even if the area of work is new to them.

This causes undue irritation.

Pick low risk projects to test them out before plunging into heavier ones.

2. While English is defacto form of communication in Digital Marketing, some of us are not comfortable in the written form.

Help them out with templates, checklists and video walkthroughs.

3. Ask to see on video the entire team.

Sometimes Team A is showcased to win the project and Team B or Team C is brought in.

Do note that appreciation from a client is considered huge and can ensure your project hums smoothly.

So an occasional pat on the back for a job well done would be great.

What do you look for when auditing a GMB listing?

I check the GMB completeness itself, the website, the reviews, keywords and categories, brand search results, 3rd party results, etc. A list is mentioned in the image.

Pick His Brain! with Srinath Rangaswamy 1

What do we need to be prepared for when the GMB listings are close to 100?

Can you specify the kind of business this is? Is this one entity or different entities?

Does it work for “Trust” in google’s eye? Does it work for any niches? Suppose, I have an affiliate niche site, d I apply for a GMB?

I recommend GMB for enhancing the retail presence and for dominating your local area and to ensure you are in the running when the “business near me” search term is used.

Dentists, Plumbers, locksmiths, retail stores, small businesses, doctors, the list is endless.

Seems everyone is selling fake addresses so you can get a local GMB presence for rank n rent sites. Are there alternatives to this? Is a service area as good as a local address for GMB and SEO?

Unfortunately this is a concern which Google has been unable to address with any form of conviction.

Your best bet is to be honest and ensure that you have filled in genuine information and the fake ones are ferreted out.

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There has been a recent trend of competitors complaining to Google about the undue usage of keywords as a suffix to the company name.

I’m signed up on two accounts as a local guide. How can this help? Review locations I create?

I forgot to answer this question.

The Service area unfortunately is not quite good enough and I hope Google does something about it.

However in certain niches like plumbers, locksmiths, where everybody is on an equal footing i.e. without a local address, it doesn’t seem to play a bigger role.

What is the way to push your GMB. I am currently ranked around 5 or 6. I have done site cotations lots of them. Optimize photos complete details schema on my website and all the normal stuff. I have 33 legit reviews. The listing is about 7 or 8 years old. I still have new ones out rank me all the time with less optimization. Anything you would recommend?

I would like to see your GMB listing.

The way Google ranks the listing – to paraphrase and add on what Churchill said – is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, in a black hole.

Why are US n UK clients so obsessed with the word ” native”? Why do they show hesitation in recommending or hiring Indian talents? ( exceptions do happen)

Unfortunately some black sheep have taken advantage and hence caused undue harm to everyone.

It isn’t the case everywhere. The IT industry has been able to show its talent and get hired.

This is possibly more in content writing and less so in other areas of digital marketing.

What’s the best way of researching visibility drops? I have a Sistrix account and use GSC, but can’t spot any correlations between the volatile URLs. I work for a news publisher in the UK and our competitors have seen similar large visibility drops. Do you think Google might be playing around with a ‘fake news’ algorithm?

Google never plays around with anything.

Everything is deeply thought over, tested and retested and then released for production.

The only area where the product is piss poor is Google sites.

As Google+ is phased out, what options do you recommend for websites that are not local and don’t have a service area? For example affiliate sites.

I haven’t worked much on affiliate sites but I find some of the older blogging.

Q&A and micro-blogging sites are still open for business – Medium, Twitter, Quora, etc.

So there are no replacements like GMB for Google+? Is that what you’re saying?

Well, Bing Places for Business is available if you want to go the Microsoft route.

You can also update Google Sites and embed the Google site in one of your pages.

If a business is rebranding, changing website domain, but keeping core services, NAP etc. Is it best to create a new GMB or can I rename the current to the new biz name and new web address.
I know I can do it lol, is it wise to just start from fresh.

Do you have a lot of great reviews on the current GMB?

If yes, then makes sense to rename and keep the current one.

Do note that not all name changes are seamless.

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We have faced some issues in renaming and porting to new address.

We have multi vendor portal (woocomerce) for subscription boxes. Does we should consider GMB as important factor to consider??

GMB is not a factor in online businesses.

Reversing a question Steven put forward earlier on – having worked with both US and Indian clients, have you noticed any cultural differences or particularities between the two business environments? A quick follow-up question: have you noticed any differences in terms of techniques that work for the US vs the Indian market? In your experience, are there any significant differences between the way the algo works for Indian websites vs US websites?

Ultimately there are only three things that drive a sale.

Increase in top line (sales), improvement in bottom line (profits) and a distant 3rd – regulatory, safety or client demand.

It’s boiling down to leads and revenue in the SEO business.

The expectation on the SEO has increased from just bringing visitors to the site + ranking to conversions and revenue.

This has put pressure on the SEO. Coupled with the temptation of FB Ads.

Predatory pricing on guest posts and quality backlinks SEOs are putting up a brave fight everywhere.

SEO is still a very technical subject in India and often handled by web developers.

I always say that the website should be owned by the Marketing department not by web development.

There are still lot of SEOs swearing by SEO 1.0 (cut and paste backlinks) techniques. Content is a major worry for Indian SEOs.

Good content writers are rare and they aren’t much interested in SEO anyways.

I teach blogging at a local college here but find it difficult to sustain their interest and writing is hard.

Its easier to pass a few comments on FB than write 500 words for a technical blog.

Pick His Brain! with Srinath Rangaswamy 2

Funnels haven’t caught on in India as much but chatbots have made an entry.

Manychat is still the most used followed by Chatfuel and Mobile Monkey.

Pricing for SEOs is on a monthly retainer basis – based on Keyword number. The hourly rate is unheard of here.

What’s your take on GMB posts which they push almost weekly to update with something new? Any tips for making them more impactful for CTR, overal GMB account authority?

Good question. The efficacy of GMB posts is as yet unknown.

However I recommend that you actually publish more than the minimum 4 posts per month.

Another tip is to use the events and offers section of Google posts to push your events, meetups, and offers even minor.

Unlike posts, events and offers will stay as long as the event date.

You can track whether these posts bring any site visitors by incorporating UTM codes.

Another technique is to integrate your blog or 3rd party scheduling tool (Social PIlot, Zoho Social, Hootsuite, etc) with Google posts.

Do you see any relationship between branded searches and local rankings?

If you mean whether branded searches are leading to better local rankings.

I haven’t seen any data to back it up.

However it gives an opportunity for those with a stronger brand presence to consolidate their GMB foot-hold.



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