What is the digital shelf?

Dave puts Mat on the spot and asks him to explain what he thinks it is.

Marketing channels? Or is it data in the cloud space?

– Mat

Sorry Mat, nope!

What is the digital shelf – really?

Think of when you are at a grocery store and you are down the cereal or chip aisle? Think of where things are placed in terms of eye level with adults or with kids. Think of how many items are on a shelf for a brand and how much of the shelf they take up.

The digital version of shelf space is a SERP (search engine result page) in Google or Bing. For your brand, category keyword or target term how many of those listings do you directly own or indirectly own?

That (to Dave) is what digital shelf space is/means.

How brands can own the digital shelf?

For your brand you work at or your name you can leverage social sites (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dribbl, and industry specific sites), personal site, speaker bios, guest post bio, podcast bio, etc.

The video above is from Aleyda Solis’ Crawling Monday YouTube series that you should check out even if you don’t work at a SaaS company.

Why you should try and own the digital shelf.

Even if your brand’s site or social profile is not specifically listed, obtaining shelf space on 3rd party sites will allow you to rank for keywords that you can’t otherwise.

So whatever the 3rd party aggregators that show the “best” or “top” or “local” brand you can work in that “eco system” to have a strong position and while not getting a direct listing, still have an opportunity to capture interested prospects.

Why is digital shelf space an important metric?

The higher the percentage of shelf space that you own, the more often your site and thus company will have an opportunity to be in front of prospects. To calculate what the percentage is will require a bit more work than just dropping keywords into a tool and being done.

To fully know what your ownership of shelf space is you will need to pay attention to 3rd party sites AND your own sites to figure out what your shelf space metrics look like.

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt  and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have you join us for another one of these business of digital podcast episodes as always. Thank you very much for listening to us and taking the time out of your day. So I believe, uh, we have Dave in the house.

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:24] How’s it going? Dave is in the house.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:27] And, um, I’m a little bit nervous to start this one. Cause you know, when you’re, when you’re again, when you’re told you’re going to be thrown under the bus a little bit,

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:36] I did phrase it that way. It didn’t. I literally just phrased it

Matt Siltala: [00:00:40] that way. This is going to be an interesting one.

We were going to talk about what digital shelf space is and how it can help your SEO. So that’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:50] why it matters and why you should care and

Matt Siltala: [00:00:53] all that stuff. So feel free. They’ve put me on the spot.

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:58] So we did not talk a [00:01:00] lot about what this is. And so I’m putting you on the spot. I’m not throwing you under the bus, I’m putting you on the spot right away.

Um, it just seems gentler when you hear me say, we’re going to talk about digital shelf space. What the heck do you think that is? Cause I’m curious. Cause I’ve heard, I hear some people say it and I hear other people say it, talk about it, but.

Matt Siltala: [00:01:24] I almost think of it as, as two different things. Cause I have to admit, I haven’t heard until you said you wanted to talk about it.

I haven’t really heard people talking about digital selves shelf space. Um, and so just, I have two thoughts of it is one of them would be, is this kind of like marketing channels or is this kind of like your. Data in the cloud space. I don’t know.

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:50] Well, so think about old school way of shelf space is if you were to walk down the aisle for cereal [00:02:00] at a grocery store or a certain meats or chips you can pay to play to get in there.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:08] Okay.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:09] So you get shelf space, so you, you have shelf space and there’s. Premium at certain levels and there’s better ones. So, you know, if you were, if you’re targeting kids with cereal, you want the lower ones because that’s where the kids see all the toys and everything. If you’re going for the adults and the parents and stuff, you want the healthier ones upside up top.

Where did they’ll see it within their eyes,

Matt Siltala: [00:02:34] or if you’re a candy bar, do you want the checkout line?

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:36] You got it. Yeah, I got ya. So that’s, that’s the shelf space. So the digital version of that, um, and maybe there’s other versions or what people think of it is the SERP.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:47] Okay.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:48] So if you are, think about your brand.

So if someone

Matt Siltala: [00:02:52] does a search where you’re positioned.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:54] Correct. And just owning it as much as possible. I like it. So, uh, I’ve [00:03:00] had, I’ve been, I’ve had the idea for that a little while

Matt Siltala: [00:03:04] you coined this term or, Oh, okay. No, I couldn’t have heard it said. Okay,

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:09] gotcha. Um, okay. No, I do not think I did that. That would be cool, but I highly, highly, highly doubt

Matt Siltala: [00:03:16] that you just use it.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:17] I just use it a lot. Gotcha. Um, but they actually talked about it in a recent video. That later did with it, wasn’t it? Um, it was one of her crawling Mondays and we’ll have a link and I’ll probably actually, I can embed the video, um, with Matt Howell’s Barbie, from HubSpot and Jackie Chu, who is, I think she was at Uber when she recorded this, or she just moved to Uber and they were just talking about SEO for SAS software as a service.

And they, they talked about it and I was like, Oh, and something sparked in my head that we should actually do an episode. Mmm. Okay. But also if you were into SAS [00:04:00] or if you want to hear about different, how people do SEO differently for, you know, software that really doesn’t have a lot of services to talk about.

It’s 18 minutes. It’s a great, it’s a great lesson. You to interview discussion, but. For me, like if you do a search and I’m going to type you to type,

so I just did a search for business of digital podcast websites. Number one, we’ve got site links. Um, our stitchers number two, stitchers number three, uh, podcasts on Apple. Number four, Spotify iHeart. Pod tail and our Instagram, we own a hundred percent of that shelf space.

Matt Siltala: [00:04:45] Good for us.

Dave Rohrer: [00:04:47] Good for us. I should hope so.

Um, you know, if I do a search for my name, Dave roar, um, there are some people that probably do not like me, um, also with very similar name, [00:05:00] although like, Oh right now I’m not number one. Normally I’m like, I own like almost the entire page one. Um, there’s a deputy and a pastor who seemed to be having now listings above me, but then everything else is me.

Like literally all other eight listings on my name or me. So I own 80% of the shelf space.

Matt Siltala: [00:05:24] So you got me thinking when, when we’re doing this. Cause uh, I went to the, uh, the restaurant that I’ve been helping out lately going that my son works at. And you got me thinking about this. And so like I typed it in and all the results that come back, I start to think about like that shelf space and what we’ve been telling people forever, why you need to be doing certain things.

Like, for example, they set up their Google, my business account. And so they show up and they have a big old section on the right hand side of the SERP. Now, if you don’t go and set that up, or if you don’t go do that, or if you leave that to someone else, [00:06:00] To set it up or try to add your business for you.

They may add it with wrong information. They may do it incorrectly. And so making sure that you have that, so you have that shelf space. I also look at things like Yelp, for example, you’re adding that shelf space to your SERP. You’re adding, um, again, like I’m guessing that these are the things that you’re talking about,

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:22] correct?

Yep. Yep. And we all, we all want our site to be number one. But for certain terms, if you can just have, you know, if there’s three paid listings and you have one of them, and then there’s one local listing and you have one of them and then there’s, you know, a couple other ones or, you know, people also ask and you can be one of them, those five each time and each little group, depending on where people are going and what they’re clicking.

If they’re clicking on images, Or if there’s video or there’s, you know, the local listings or just organic, you know, 10 links, which we [00:07:00] rarely see now, if you can take up as much of those and be on those pages and even if it’s a Yelp. So even if it was, you know, Mexican restaurant in Chicago and you’re on that front page of Yelp, I still consider that a win.

Matt Siltala: [00:07:15] Oh yeah,

Dave Rohrer: [00:07:16] for sure. Because someone clicks on Yelp, you’re still there. So I still count that as a win, but you have to be on that page. One of, you know, TripAdvisor or Yelp or Angie’s list or whatever it is. I just count that as a one. So it’s like when you look at shelf space, whatever the search is. Sorry, go ahead.

Matt Siltala: [00:07:39] No, I, I look at it from, um, you know, I’m glad that you mentioned that because like TripAdvisor, for example, um, happens to be the really big one for like a lot of the tourism industry. Um, I mean for good reason, but like the Alaska lodge that I talk about that I frequent every year, um, they, they [00:08:00] got on, they have people that book them simply because of the reviews and things that they have found on TripAdvisor.

And so if they didn’t take the time to upload images, to get people to use that, or if people, you know, if they didn’t make sure that the, all the information was correct or that they monitored it. That could probably hurt them as opposed to how it helps them, but that’s their digital shelf space that is helping them in this case.

And to your point,

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:26] well, and there’s, I know some people don’t like them, but there’s certain sites that list like agencies, SEO agencies, some of them are pay to play some of them aren’t. But if someone’s looking for SEO agency in Chicago and I can show up on, you know, UpCity G2, TrustRadius reviews, sites and stuff, but also show up in organically.

No matter where you go, I’m still making sure that my brand, my company, you know, my employer has a, we’re still in the game. We’re still an option to be selected.

Matt Siltala: [00:08:58] Well, yeah. And I don’t know if it’s so [00:09:00] much of a thing anymore, but like Angie’s list, for example, I know several people, many years ago that built their businesses because of Angie’s list and the pay to play part of it.

And again, I don’t know, I haven’t done a lot with Angie’s list lately, so I can’t speak to. It’s effectiveness now or whatever, but I know that several years ago, but again, that’s just one example of taking advantage of that shelf space when you can

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:24] in, in, in such a pain. Because as I look there’s for software or, you know, especially if you’re in a B2B space and you want to get listed on Capterra TrustRadius, G2, there’s get app.

Um, and there’s probably like four more that I’m forgetting that again. Each of them is their own little micro search engine where you have to try to make sure that you’re ranking. But for certain terms, Google likes to put those kinds of Yelps and S you know, aggregated sites, because it’s so high up in the funnel or [00:10:00] so early in the funnel.

Now you don’t know what you’re searching for. And Google’s figured out that you really don’t know what you want and to provide you with just one company. You skip it because you’re like, well, yeah, I’ve seen that name before, but I want to see who the other ones are too. And so for self space, even if you’re not spit, your site’s not ranking.

I still consider that as a win. If you can be listed,

Matt Siltala: [00:10:28] let’s even take you, uh, doing a Google search of a business of digital one step further and talking about how, um, owning that digital shelf space on. I mean, we can honestly. Had just, you could have just stopped at putting us on iTunes or whatever, and decided that, Hey, that’s good enough, but no, you know, take up that shelf space on Spotify tape, but take up that shelf space on Google, play YouTube, um, pocket Katz, overcast player FN, any of these that you have with us [00:11:00] here on.

And that’s more to, again, just, and again, I almost like to think of it as the old school. Um, way that I used to do reputation management, like just own everything. It doesn’t matter if you know, you’re never going to, I use this one profile or whatever you, you own that space. Cause you never know if someone, if you’re going to make someone mad, I find it interesting.

I’m seeing all kinds of commercials lately for like reputation management and companies that I know are not going to do a dang thing for you. Cause I know how tough reputation management is. Um, but, uh, it’s just interesting that I’ve seen that kind of stuff, but that’s what this kind of gets me thinking of.

It gets me thinking of that old school. You own this stuff. Now you control it. Now you create the narrative and then someone’s not going to come over and, and, and dominate your name or your business or whatever, like you’ve controlled that space. So it’s smart for, for online reputation management purposes as well.


Dave Rohrer: [00:11:59] Well, [00:12:00] yeah, it helps if I unmute the, uh, well, everyone talks about rankings and stuff like that. And this one is a bit more difficult to, to quantify. Like you just can’t throw, throw keywords into, you know, whatever tool you prefer to use and then have it spit out and go, Oh look, we were number three or something.

You actually have to pay attention. And. Do that, check the rankings and check the SERPs, but then look at the sites that are ranking and go, okay, do we have a presence there? How are we doing on that site? Because everyone shops and researches differently. And they’re not just going to search for whatever your services in Google or whatever your services and being, and be done.

They’re going to probably browse and review and compare. Yeah. And, you know, spend months and weeks, or maybe just hours and minutes, but yeah, the more places you’re on and the more chances [00:13:00] you have and more of that shelf space that you have a presence on, the more opportunities, the more awareness you have.

And it’s partly for me, it’s part, you know, Brand awareness. It’s part conversion. It’s also part kind of reputation management, because if you have all of those strong presences everywhere, and if someone does a search for your name and say, you do have a person that works at that company that does something stupid, um, or you’re in the news for something that you probably don’t want to be in the news for.

You could you have a better chance to kind of control that narrative and control that what that circle looks like when you already have five, 10, 15 different profiles, strong ranking for whatever it is at least for your brand.

Matt Siltala: [00:13:47] Right. And I have one of those, uh, last names, that’s that unique. There’s not, you know, it’s not a John Smith.

And I found it ironic a few years ago. There was a Matt Silva that lived in. [00:14:00] Minnesota. It was a police officer that mowed someone’s an elderly person’s lawn. And for whatever reason, it just blew up. And people were where there was a news story written about it. And like forever, I had no problems like owning the SERP, but then that new story is it shared a gazillion times, but everyone started creeping up and I finally got it for the most part out again.

But, uh, it’s just interesting how, like you never know stuff like that can happen or. Um,

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:26] luckily it was a good thing.

Matt Siltala: [00:14:27] Well, yeah, luckily it was a good thing. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t my brand. And, and, uh, in any way, it’s just, it’s interesting. It’s just the thought that I had that while we’re talking about all this and like, you know, what could I have done to avoid that?

Well, there’s nothing really that you could’ve done to avoid that, but you just have to do your best to take control of those, like you were saying,

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:47] Also when I start typing in your name, Google suggest is officer not so tall.

Matt Siltala: [00:14:53] Yeah. See, that’s funny. Let me do that. I’ve never seen that one.

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:59] Oh, wow. [00:15:00] He also gets one whole picture when I actually searched for your name.

Matt Siltala: [00:15:03] That’s funny. Poor

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:04] guy. He’s really

Matt Siltala: [00:15:05] scared. Yeah. He’s probably the one that’s like, there’s this stupid Matt socialA and why did he take my fame?

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:12] Who’s this guy make them go away. But yeah, I mean, you’ve basically done reputation management, same thing.

Matt Siltala: [00:15:18] And it’s interesting that my name re LinkedIn is number one for me.


Dave Rohrer: [00:15:23] everyone points there,

Matt Siltala: [00:15:24] I guess,

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:27] but, and, and we’re talking about very specific brand. It also works for, you know, the non-brand and for your category or certain keywords that. There’s certain going, gonna, there’s going to be certain keywords for every industry and every company that Google’s just wants to show these agri third party aggregators.

So you have to pay attention and beyond them. And you know, everyone’s always like, Oh, well that doesn’t count. No, it does. But it only counts is if you click on it and you have a chance in your showing up there. [00:16:00] Yeah. So that’s partly why we, you know, at the end of every episode we bug people to, Hey, you know, if you’re listening on whatever you’re on straight

Matt Siltala: [00:16:09] out the buggy too much guys.

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:11] Yeah. We tried to do it on the unit once and Matt flips a coin basically, and just pick some different one each time. But for us, that is our way of. Trying to, you know, do better in the shelf space because you might just search for podcasts in Spotify or in iTunes or Google play. So we have to play in Google, but we’re also playing in every other, you know, area that we can where you could possibly be finding podcasts.

So we’re trying to make sure we have as much shelf space and as much awareness for this brand everywhere.

Matt Siltala: [00:16:48] Yeah. I like it. I, uh, you know, my just some final thoughts that I have on it is, is, uh, I can’t believe it. I hadn’t really heard of it before, but [00:17:00] it makes perfect sense. And I like that. I almost kind of want to do an infographic out of it, Dave.

I mean, surprise, surprise. Um, but uh, I think it would make a fun visual, but just my final thoughts on it are, you know, again, whether you’re that restaurant, whether you’re that local business, whether you’re that. You know, big agents, whatever it might be like, you want to make sure that you go out and claim all that digital space.

And again, if you’re wanting some research, all you gotta do is just do a few searches, just go and see what’s out there. Do a few searches of competitors, do a few searches of, of whatever it is in the industry that you’re in. And you’re going to be able to see like a lot of the different places that are out there.

Okay. It’s very easy. If you’re a restaurant you could. You know, type in any popular restaurant, you’re going to see all the different places that they’re listed and that they’re talked about and things like that. And so it’s very easy for you to do this kind of research and help you, and you know how to take control of your digital shelf space.

And so, um, I [00:18:00] appreciate you bringing this, uh, to the forefront, Dave, and, and, uh, talking about it and, and it doesn’t, you can help your SEO. It helped the SERPs and. And all that good stuff. And so I would recommend everyone going out there and, and type it in their business name or their brand name or the community, whatever it is that they’re working on and see where you guys shape, you know, where, where you are positioned and where your digital shelf space is.

Say that 10 times fast digital shelf space, but now, okay. Final, final thoughts, Dave,

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:31] start with your reputation management. Think of your digital shelf space for which. Stories, you know, maybe you’re in the news and you’ve gotten, you’ve had write-ups before. How can you get those writeups? They’re the good ones.

If there’s been people that had bad service or bad interactions, you see what you can do to own the digital shelf space just for your brand and make it better positive, then move on to, what is that digital shelf space look like for [00:19:00] category terms, very specific services or products that you sell. Where, where are you strong?

Where are you week? And what can you do? And what sites do you need to work on third party sites, you know, to make sure that that you’re being, you have awareness there. So that way, and someone does go to that aggregator like a Yelp or TripAdvisor or TrustRadius or G2, um, or any other ones really. What can you do?

Or what are you doing to be there? What are you doing to improve your awareness there so that when people are using them, you again, have that opportunity to win business.

Matt Siltala: [00:19:38] Very, very good. Awesome guys. So hopefully you got something from this, uh, and I am going to throw that little plug in there. You guys, if, uh, to give us that five star rating on Google play, we love it.

And, uh, we appreciate you guys taking the time to listen to us, uh, for Dave Roth, Northside metrics. I’m that social live with avalanche media. And [00:20:00] thank you guys for joining us. Bye all.

Dave Rohrer: [00:20:01] Bye.

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