Really great conversation about how often we underestimate Amazon as a marketing / advertising channel. Amazons business model is diverse and better balanced than Facebook and Google. Amazon are sales focussed which makes it a big opportunity for sales and there is still time to jump on the train. In that he and Dan Saunders appear to agree. Eugene gives me tips on buying razors, then segues neatly into fake reviews on Amazon and Google. SEMrush are now offering Amazon tools alongside their more ‘traditional’ SEO tools. I try to convince him that selling SaaS products through Amazon could be an option. It could, but isn’t (yet!). Amazon is likely to displace Google for product searches. Aven relationships with Target et al won’t save Google there because Amazon is a crowd-driven marketplace (brilliant strategy, apparently :)
Greg has a lot of tattoos. And a great beard. nd a cup of tea. And he tells me that the weight of GMB and proximity have increased immensely. We discuss the differences in that proximity weighting for car dealerships and coffee shops. As local search becomes more and more no-click, GMB has become your digital showroom – replacing your website. GMB reviews are the be-all-and-end all in local search. I ask a rather naive question about brand searches. Greg puts me straight (despite not watching much TV). GMB is a great feed for the Knowledge Graph about ‘who you are and what you do’. Then onto department listings, which I thought were 100% great, but Greg has a couple of less enthusiastic things to say about. Further, local search is getting increasingly complex to deal with, and mom and pop stores are likely to get left behind, especially as much of this new stuff is Google prepping for voice search. Onto local business Q&A and the low down on Posts. Beyond zero click search we are moving towards zero search search
Felipe came out of the sewers to do SEO. We then get off to a bad start by disagreeing about the role of answers in SEO. But then he convinces me he has a great point of view. For a converting strategy, you will need to create different content for different countries and different cultures. We swap stories about the specifics of Spanish and French countries. Felipe tells me that ‘basic is advanced’ and I tell him that ‘getting to simple is a complex process’. Mention of French SEO Olivier Andrieux who runs a site dedicated to investigating featured snippets and analyse what Google can and cannot digest. Felipe takes that into a more strategic sphere with the idea of building brand using featured snippets (with a boxing example). Then takes a swerve over to SEO as a marketing discipline rather than a tech one. We should be talking to the CMO, not the CTO. Brand searches are key. Drive those, and you both drive a better SEO strategy, AND convince the CMO that you are performing. Then we get enthusiastic about getting the SEO and PPC teams together. And I wangle my way to a conference in Brazil, despite the fact that I forgot they speak Portuguese.
Chris explains about the size of the first chunk of data on 3G and that leads Chris and I invent and perfect what we call ‘the mobile gold standard for speed – 14K trick’, and it takes us less than 20 minutes :) Like it was back in the 90s. And that is an advantage for me and Chris over the youngsters who were probably playing on my website back then. Like Bill Slawski is the patent reader, Gennaro Cuofano is the ‘financial statements reader’, Chris Liversidge is the ‘Google documentation reader’. In terms of speed, AMP is something you do when you give up. AMP is a crutch – the gold standard is PWA with the 14K trick. The Big Daddy update and the Mobile First update are good examples of Google giving sites a fair warning to give them time to adapt. But they often don’t. I ask why we can’t have Flash back? Chris is cruel to be kind and tells me we can’t.
Amy comes from the offline marketing world – having started back in advertising in the 90s, we have a great conversation about how relevant traditional marketing is to SEO/AEO. We get interrupted by the (very tuneful) Federation Bells in Birrarung Marr park, but quickly get back on track (well, Amy does). In the old days it was all very simple. And it still is, when you dig down to the root of what we are trying to do – connect to customers. Many companies looking to market online today are quickly overwhelmed, but they need not be. Amy gives great insights into how to gently and effectively bring offline businesses online. Back to basics, get excited about traditional marketing and put the heart back into marketing. Brilliant!
John Bonham, Keith Moon … Lily Ray. Rock drummer icons all :) Lily sets herself apart because a) she is alive and b) she knows boatloads about E-A-T. We discuss August and March updates. I suggest that Google has a slap-and-reward system. Lily politely ignores that, and gives some very encouraging information about E-A-T. Much of it is an easy fix. She then identifies what the constituent parts of building E-A-T really are. I ask for a lot of free advice. And Lily very kindly gives it to me – she is super practical and smart. We now need to be obsessed by Brand SERPs. And even gossip sites can be useful, as can comic sites… as long as they provide useful information. Pure buzz has no long term value. Trust rank is (perhaps) a thing? Then Lily finishes with a wonderful summary of the fundamental point of an SEO’s job.
At CopyCon, Robert gave an amazing talk based on the book by Dr Valery Young “the secret thoughts of successful women, why capable people suffer from imposter syndrome and how to thrive in spite of it”. Over 70% of people struggle from imposter syndrome at some point in their working life. And, of course this happens to men and women in any industry. The five types of people who suffer from imposter syndrome (according to Valery Young): perfectionist, superwoman, natural genius, soloist, expert. This is a phenomenally interesting conversation about something that isn’t directly digital marketing but is well worth the listen.
Why not use Content Delivery Networks to manage some of our tech SEO? And not just the simple static stuff. CDN nodes allow us to intercept the request and adapt the content on the Edge without even going back to the original host. Several use cases: speed, overcoming restrictions of your host platform, A/B testing. Most importantly, it frees the SEO practitioner from some of the shackles that the tech imposes, which is brill. But not without its dangers… it is easy for an SEO changing content on the Edge to mess up big time, so demarcation and chain of commands are vital. And for anyone who knows ‘the Google Tag Manager’ trick of changing HTML on the fly, please note that this is more reliable, better performing, faster, has more use cases… And it gets better and better as the conversation progresses. Getting access logs from the host ever been difficult? You can get them at the CDN level. The Edge can become a powerful, simple and fast routing system. Nils gives us a glimpse of how. By the end of the conversation, Edge SEO has become my new favourite thing.
This conversation packs in a phenomenal amount of fascinating information about linked data, knowledge graphs, AI, machines… Andrea started working on semantic web technologies back in 2000 – so Andrea has been expecting the web to transition from being page based to being entity based for 20 years (see also Bill Slawski and Sergey Brin). All three have waited patiently for a long time and were starting to get impatient :) I then get unreasonably excited at the mention of Tim Berners Lee and his web of meanings. I find out that AI is hungry for data (as opposed to angry with data, as I had understood after a few beers the previous evening). Building a knowledge graph is a way to transfer the knowledge you have in a specific domain to the world, and in that sense it is much like a webpage. Andrea foolishly mentions the move from Mobile first to Data first… so I push him to look into the future, and he brilliantly comes up with a lovely concept of Solidarity first and ‘the web of solidarity’, which sounds really cool to me. We finish off with a chat about DBpedia Bus, Norvig, Chomsky … and the possibility of telepathy further down the line!
Milosz and I debate the merits of different social media platforms, then how that plays into linkbuilding. Find the right people, the right angle, the right introductions… then adapt your personality to the type of person you are interacting with. There are only three types: salesman (Milosz), maeven (Omi Sido), connector (Anton). Navah Hopkins mentioned dividing people into 3 groups: geeks, nerds and a dork. I overstep the reasonable and suggest that three is the magic number … But then Milosz tells me 7 is the magic number. Or maybe 4. But then again, it might be 3. Turns out which of those 3 (doesn’t that just prove my point ;) is the magic number, it depends the context! As the conversation goes on, Milosz gives me half a dozen stunning tips and tricks for outreach for links – starting with the obvious – authority, sentiment analysis, social… and then a few (increasingly) sneaky ones (that elicit a rather Dastardly and Muttly laugh from me). And ends with a rather nice analysis of indirect linking.