We start with a discussion about sunglasses, then quickly move onto InOrbit2019 in Slovenia and some great advice from Ian Anderson Gray and Dennis Wu – create a one minute video. now. Going into people’s houses to do their paperwork in France (sounds creepy to me, but isn’t … and is a ‘thing’, apparently). Administrative Phobia is a thing too, and ZenCafé is going to help people with that problem. Interestingly, InOrbit2019 and ZenCafé is the (strange) combination that pushed Anders into DIY marketing and inspired him to embrace the empowerment age. Anders brilliantly takes DIY Marketing to the next level live on screen (you’ll need to watch the YouTube video). Onto the fear of looking stupid (Anders and I got over that a long time ago :) We get a bit sidetracked with Paul McCartney (and I sing a Beatles song). Anders goes on to sing a Danish love song adapted for LinkedIn (who wouldn’t want to hear THAT ?)Andre Then back on track with a video a day to promote on social media. Anders’ motto – Do It Yourself, I have no clue I will try. Brilliant. I make the worst Bing/Google joke ever. Another great quote from Anders. The more you try yourself, the better you will be at hiring people to do it for you. Anders answers the question “What is perfect?” (wow !). Then he tells me where innovation from. And that rotten food is the way forward in Digital Marketing. Makes sense to me. Go figure ! Finally, your marketing budget can be 150 €. And Money can’t buy you love.
Brad starts by telling me why Microsoft won’t stop Bing anytime soon even if the they stay on a low market share. He also gives a breakdown of the MAG cloud businesses, and moves onto the voice assistants. Microsoft are a great number 2 player who bide their time and step in when the number 1 makes a mistake. Microsoft were ‘the borg’ and are now a nice, cute puppy. They are the slowly slowly gets the monkey company. Google have messed up on search, apparently with entity based search, specifically in cases where there are multiple entities. Bing are better at entity based search. Brad looks at Google as a verb, and why Google are now OK with it. A quick diversion Facebook being a bigger worry for Google than Amazon. Amazon is not a worldwide competitor, whereas Facebook is. We have a quick chat about the different business models. AWS vs Azure vs Google. And finish up with ‘What ARE Facebook doing?’. Brad figures out a new business model. Mark Zuckerberg, are you listening?
Jef gets us started with a nice Elvis impersonation. And we agree he has an admirable business card. On a more serious topic, AI is science fiction, Machine Learning is what we mean. And will we ever allow AI to get to the stage where it can truly emulate a human. In Digital Marketing, ML has allowed us to move to become more marketers that tech. What we are doing in marketing, but just using modern tools. And that means we should be thinking in terms of strategy rather than focussing on tactics. There is no point in trying to hack the algorithm. Understanding, deliverabilty and credibility is a solid approach (I led Jef very not subtly into agreeing with me there). Then onto “ML started in the 50s… why is it blossoming now?”. And with that our job is now to effectively feed the machines with information. We are moving towards a knowledge graph in real time. And things are moving forwards at an accelerating rate. Are we perhaps moving too fast? And as it moves forwards we are now at the stage where we can no longer even look into the algorithms and data since the format is not understandable to us. Then I get overwhelmed with something as simple as Captcha. GAFA use mechanical Turks. R2D2 gets a mention. Jef tells me that I do indeed have more computing power in my phone than NASA took to the moon.
Quick fun discussion about Scottish accents (he says that he sounds like Mrs Doubtfire on Helium). Then onto Brand, Brand, Brand. Ross loves brand :) A great approach to linkbuilding / PR is to help make their life easier… and to make YOUR life easier, scrape their articles and use NLP to write the perfect pitch to each journalist – Ross calls this programmatic PR (and it is brilliant). We manage to get onto Justin Bieber who doesn’t have two babies (and Ross makes a brilliant groan-worthy joke). We briefly discuss hacking the social media algorithms – trick is to have a video of my daughter playing with a cat. Onto images and then videos (Ross is enthusiastic) and then trite Cornflake Packet philosophy in PR (Ross is sick in his mouth). Interestingly he was down the Old Kent Road when he started his Bootstrap business. He’s not there any more. Quick plug for the Canonical Chronicle – no idea what is in it, but the name is brilliant.
Why should we respect web standards when Google doesn’t even respect those who DO respect them? There are more invalid sites on the web than valid. I suggest 98% with absolutely no supporting evidence. Simon wants a reward system for well-built sites. I suggest that there maybe an indirect ranking benefit. Simon refutes rather deftly. He then moves on to getting inaccessible US results on Google UK. More and more US sites are blocking EU visitors due to GDPR, money-saving and copycatting. The bugbear goes further to include a rant about US-centric results. Next onto the homepage deindexing issue – 6 days to fix a bug is simply too long. Are Google losing control with the AI stuff they are pushing out? Simon suggests that Google’s AI is all string and sticky tape with Homer Simpson in charge. Then onto a gremlin about structured data. Apparently Screaming Frog have a great validation tool (that I didn’t know about)… and he loves their customer support (and Hover’s). Google is a slow, giant corporate beast with internal politics and infighting. Along the way, he sneaks in some French.
First question. Very obvious “What are the ranking factors”. He tells me that ranking factors are just a means to an end. Then Nagu tells me that relevancy is Bing’s North Star. There is no point in distinguishing between ranking factors and ranking signals. I ask what the ranking factors are (again) and Nagu politely that he gets leery when answering on the details. Tells me that obsessing on individual ranking factors is a futile excercise since the factors and their weightings are constantly changing. He guides me to the three considerations that a search engine to optimise user satisfaction. Relevancy, Quality and Context. We move onto what is the optimal keyword density. understanding without Deep Learning and Neural Networks (that Bing has been using since 2006). I manage to bully Nagu into agreeing that that everything we do as SEOs should serve Understanding, Deliverability and Credibility. I tell Nagu my theory about how the topic layer might work and he tells me my theory is a great product idea. So I suppose that means my theory is wrong and isn’t going to happen anytime soon :( Then a chat about the weather which sounds boring but isn’t. Does Bing have the same bidding system as Google for rich elements. No clear answer there but Nagu hints that it is a similar system. Bing is getting jiggy with real time information so freshness and recency is really important to Bing and is a driver of rich elements too. Theresa May gets a mention – because when she was 5, “Bing wasn’t a Thing”.
Stewart starts by stealing my job as host. He quickly gets back on track as the guest. And proceeds to look at why we should be taking image search more seriously. Where and when voice is not appropriate. That voice search will lose out to image search. Clue: images are good for public use, voice for private. I shamefully get Lukasz’s name wrong by calling him Kaspar. Use Google lens to translate a menu or to find out what cocktail your neighbour is drinking or a live band we should go and see. Marketers should be flooding the web with images. This is all very convincing, especially as Gary Illyes says that image search is his new favourite thing. Then look at what Pinterest, Facebook and Microsoft are doing. He goes on to talk about the ‘generation timeframe’ for new technology’ and the fact that image search have a big head start on voice search. WeChat gets a special mention. And Squirrels. And my Grandma. And Fridges. Cellphones are the driver in image search and image as part of the user experience – we have been using them to take photos for 15 years and there will soon be 4 billion cell phones in use… all taking photos and pushing them onto the web. Images are here and now, voice is tomorrow. The ending song is a stunning fail.
I start badly by getting his name totally wrong. But Razvan is kind and (I think) he forgives me once I call him a genius. Razvan then kindly goes through the three types of keyword – know, go, do / informational, navigational, transactional… and helps me make better sense of them, how to include them more intelligently in your content – in short what to do, what not to do and how to best exploit the three types. He also agrees with Kate Toon – getting rid of churners is a good plan. Razvan makes the same point as Andrea Volpini – that when using machines to do SEO, the human remains essential and that there is a dance between humans and machines. We then move onto measuring brand and product mentions, including sentiment, and using context to disambiguate.
She starts with the quote ‘You shall know a word by the company it keeps’, which is really cool. She uses seashore as an example, which is perfect because we are sitting on the beach in Brighton with the seagulls in the background (but that isn’t the reason she chooses the example, surprisingly). Dawn is a super interested in academic papers and their importance to industry, so we end up talking a great deal about that… I assume that academic papers come from university, and Dawn gently corrects me and gives several really interesting examples of academics in industry at Google, Spotify, Yahoo… Conclusion is that industry would not be funding these studies if there were no commercial potential. Her (convincing) argument is PhDs are often the precursors of commercial implementation and patents, so she has the jump on pretty much all of us. Finally, NLP and BERT – whereas NLP will look left, then right of a word, whereas BERT looks both ways at the same time and thus vastly widens the context window. And that is going to revolutionise machine understanding of context clouds, co-occurence, relatedness (and probably RankBrain). She then goes on the theorise of what is coming next, which is wildly mind-blowing (and VERY hard to keep up with her). Listening back now to the conversation, I can picture multiple jaw drops. The future is about machines understanding language more and more within the idea of entities, knowledge graphs and… context.