Sitting in two comfy armchairs, looking at the sea in Brighton. We start with a chat about machine learning in Google’s search algorithm, PageRank and then onto the Knowledge Graph. There are less entities in the world than webpages. So Google’s job is easier. But the Knowledge Graph is biased – the seed set for google’s understanding is a bunch of librarians (aka Wikipedia editors) who have little in depth knowledge on the topics they edit, especially in anything that is not within their culture. We happily grab examples from the surrounding environment. Piers become a central point, and piers in Ethiopia in particular. We move onto fan sites, that are not necessarily accurate, and perhaps people believe that William Shatner is a space man. Errors such as that at the start of a seed set will mean learning is biased and perhaps inaccurate… and can quickly spiral out of control. They are building on what Dixon calls ‘areas of light’, but that is biased too. One problem is that genuinely good new ideas are going to have trouble surfacing because of the bias against ideas that are not popularly held belief. We move onto loops of truth and self-fulfilling prophecies. Fake news gets a look in (of course). As does bad fact checking. Then we finish off with InLinks – Dixon’s super new SaaS for automatically building internal knowledge graphs and writing scheme.org structured data on the fly. I ask a trick question, and Dixon deals with it rather well. And we end by coining the phrase ‘The Wikipedia model’.
Susan insists that voice search is happening faster than we think. 5 years, not 10. Half life theory comes into play with technology. Don’t underestimate “Call mom”. Then we have the great debate about the amount of voice data. And Susan nails her argument by identifying what are the fallbacks for these machines? Interestingly, even if we think the answers / system is weak now, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going somewhere very interesting very fast. Susan acronyms. I keep using them. But they are ambiguous. So she convinces me again… I agree. featured snippets are super important (and super exciting).
We start talking about building community. David gives some great tips – he has 22,000 people in his genius community who share 50,000 messages a month, so he knows what he’s talking about. he points out we all have a community whether we know it or not. We talk about implicit and explicit communities, then have a debate about the word ‘crumbs’. But then David turns the table on me brilliantly by asking about the red t-shirt… and the second half is him getting me talk about the digital nomad lifestyle and the podcast. My initial though was to only publish the first half. But David does a great job as interviewer, so I left it all. Warts and all ! At the end Susan Westwater (the previous podcast guest) joins in because she thinks we are just having a chat (and not recording a podcast). Finally, right at the end, we end with a Mexican standoff.
We start with a delightful chat about New York, Halloween and even get a quick (made up) Broadway ditty. Then onto E-A-T and how this is affecting our approach to digital marketing. You need to get your information more accurate with help from experts. The problem comes from the fact that the returns aren’t immediate, which is a problem for a lot of people since their job often depends on fast results and quick returns. Is there a quick-win cheat? And is Google a chicken with its head cut off (terribly good analogy for Halloween)?
We start with an idiotic James Bond analogy. Paul pulls me back to the serious business of ‘what is technical SEO’? And the definition is wider than I thought. 4 types of tech SEO. Paul has a plan to tell me the 4 types. Like a child, I keep trying to jump ahead. Paul then looks at skillsets and venn diagrams. And that we should look at (and accept and appreciate) these crossovers. SEO is one giant Venn diagram of skillsets. Then onto the fact that in SEO we are (and need to be) multi-skilled. We end with ‘it’s important to get into the weeds’. Who knows what that means (ask Paul)
Marty starts with his musical career and the segues very neatly into why that initial career path helps with digital marketing. And, as we all know, there are a lot of musicians in this space. Mentions for Robert Smith, AC/DC, The Monkees… And we also learn to love our lard pack… and it becomes yet another spur of the moment silly ditty
Once again I get the pronunciation of someone’s name wrong. How does James find clients: referrals, conferences, content promotion… and a little SEO :) Keep a good customer base. Never have one single client who represents more than 10% of your income. Next how to hire great staff. Conferences, job sites, Facebook groups… Enthusiasm, a personality that fits in to the team, motivation… I decide we are talking about ranking factors for getting jobs. The first year is always going to be really tough. Surviving the first 3 years is key. Then you are rolling. After 8 years, 80% of Jame’s job is networking. Great clients are hard to find and bad clients and easy to find.
In the pub, just before the second day of the Takeitoffline unconference. Barry hates AMP and is an attempt by Google to force the web to conform to their vision of the web. Now they are getting involved in WordPress, and we should be very worried (especially when we get words like PWAMP). A commercial company should not be the organisation that decides how the web works – because they will do what is best for their bottom line, not what is best for the web. Google is an advertising company with 90% dominance and should be regulated. They started wanting to make the web a better place, but are now a company looking to make money. We dig into how the European Directive may pan out for news sites. Although they are playing hardball on the EU directive, and the recent updates have impacted the publishers enormously (and cost them dearly), Google are trying to be more political with the publishers. Then onto what business models might work for news publishers – not a one-size-fits-all. I vaguely float the idea of calling him Happy Barry. Then onto Google breaking the Social Contract, and the ins-and-outs of permission to scrape. Conclusion – Barry chirpily says that Google don’t feel they owe anyone anything.
We discuss pest control, cartoons, and eventually get onto how to get great online reviews for an offline business. It’s all about relationships. Oh, and asking nicely. Bribing people doesn’t work. Top 3 platforms are Google, Yelp and Facebook
For once someone gets all over excited about brand SERPs. I manage to keep reasonably quiet and let him talk, despite the fact I am over excited about it too. He actually does proper audits on all terms that contain the brand name, and gives some super duper insights we should all be taking note of. So go out and manage your branded searches. Easy win, and vitally important.