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Chris: And here we go. Hi and welcome to the SEO Podcast: Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing. My name is Chris Burres, owner of eWebResults.
Matt: My name is Matt Bertram, also owner of eWebResults.
Chris: That is correct. Welcome back to another fun-filled edition of our podcast. This is gonna be an amazing podcast. You guys are really gonna enjoy this. We have none other than Loren Baker joining us. Search Engine Journal fame joining us. He will be joining us shortly. Before we get to that, as always – this is podcast number 403 – we have a tip from our previous podcast and that tip is…
Matt: Create high quality long-term content instead of creating marginal content ‘cause it doesn’t work anymore with keyword variations.
Chris: So there used to be a time where you would actually make shorter content or just throw up any content that you could that had the keywords in it, and that would be effective. That’s no longer effective. It’s better to make really in-depth content that covers those keywords and you’re more likely to place well. So that’s the tip.
Matt: Yeah, I mean you can’t stuff keywords anymore, you really gotta use semantic learning, Google’s really looking at the context of what you’re writing. I’ve actually seen some things where if you’re writing quotes, bullet points, facts, the better that you can kind of frame what you’re talking about, the better Google’s gonna rank you.
Chris: Absolutely. Subscribe. Follow.
Chris & Matt: Boom. Alright, back to this. Please remember we are broadcasting live here from Houston, Texas. And Matt and I, we are your Results Rebels!
Chris: Yeah! I wanted to get this. Somebody got on to our SoundCloud feed and actually put in a comment. So I really wanna read this. They’re a long time listener of the podcast, it’s PetPortraitArtists.
Chris: And it says, “Excellent podcast! Note – I did share it, but wasn’t able to using the email share facility here–” that’s on SoundCloud, “so I sent the link myself to a friend 🙂 Still counts as a share. No more tear tattoos!” We have this tradition, I get a tear tattoo when I don’t get a review. And we’re counting that as a review ‘cause I really wasn’t interested in getting a tattoo under my right eye. So if you haven’t seen this podcast before: howdy – we’re in Texas – welcome to the podcast. If you’ve seen this podcast before you know what we’re about to skip. We run a contest each and every week and the contest is if we get 10 shikos– what’s a shiko?
Matt: A share, a like or a follow.
Chris: If we get 10 shikos and a review then we move this piece to the end of the podcast. We will in fact move this piece to the end of the podcast. So we’re not gonna tell you to leave us a review on Yelp, we’ll tell you that later. We’re also not gonna tell you how you can connect with us.
Matt: We’ll tell you that later too.
Chris: We will tell you that later. If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you know you get value out of this, you’re probably interested in our, “5 online marketing mistakes that can tank your business & how to avoid them.” You can get that for free, all you need to do is go to our website eWebResults.com/SEOTips and you will get there. Also if you would like a free website analysis it is back. It went away for a little while, it is back. Just go to our website eWebResults.com/– what is it?
Matt: Well there’s a button.
Chris: No, you’ll see it right there. The button’s right there.
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Matt: Everybody’s loving those. And I mean people are still jumping into the Profit Plan.
Chris: The Profit Plan. We have a program called the Problems to Profits Plan. We’ll dive into your website, identify the problem, figure out how to lead those to profit, and you get a plan.
Matt: And that is risk free.
Matt: It applies to your services, it’s only $499. It’s fantastic.
Chris: And it’s totally risk free. If you don’t get value out of it, we will give you your money back. That’s just what we do.
Matt: Yes, and no one’s asked for it yet. So we’re doing a great job. We’re doing a couple of them every week, everybody loves them.
Chris: All three of them we’ve done nobody’s asked for their– no. Alright, so let’s jump into this content. Sometimes we talk a little bit about news, we’re not gonna do that today.
Matt: We have an even better– than to talk about news.
Chris: So if you don’t know, if you go ahead and pull Loren up here. Loren is the founder of Search Engine Journal. I think one of the founders as I was looking at some of the bio there. And he has joined us today. We’re excited to have him. Loren Baker, welcome. You’re right there behind us, look at that.
Loren: Hey guys. How’s it going?
Chris: It’s going wonderful. So what I like– maybe what some people might now know about you, if you could kinda give a little bit of an introduction. And then we’ve had a little bit of banter about what we wanna talk about today. So if you could just get us started with a little bit about your background.
Loren: Yeah, sure. So I got into internet marketing about the same time you guys did, right? ‘98-’99 and it started– back then there was really no definition of what you did. You did enough to get your clients really good traffic and hopefully they would convert. So in ‘99-2000, I really got into SEO, I was doing it a lot. And then in 2001 – I was like 26 at the time – I decided to quit. I quit my job and I wanted to go live abroad. So I lived in Japan for a couple years and then Brazil.
In 2003, right? I wanted to get back into what I was doing previously, but I’d been out of the game for a while. This was a long time ago, but still it was a pretty emerging industry at the time. So I started getting updates and participating in a lot of forums and things like that, and a lot of stuff had changed. Google became a powerful search engine and–
Chris: Not just a player but a powerhouse, yeah.
Loren: Yeah, exactly. Yahoo kinda gave them the golden key to that. So a lot had changed and I wanted to catch up on stuff, so I started participating in forums and email lists. And basically I realized that I was contributing to other people’s context when I was doing that. So I wanted to do was to start my own site where I could write about my thoughts about SEO, the stuff that I had kinda relearned. And around the same time Google bought Blogger, and blogging started to get really popular. So I’m like, “Hey, I’m gonna start a blog about SEO.” There wasn’t really any out there at the time. So I went and I searched on GoDaddy for a SearchEngineBlog.com and my buddy Peter Da Vanzo had already gobbled that up. So I searched for the next logical thing, Search Engine Journal. And I started writing on Search Engine Journal which used to be powered by Blogger, then I transferred it over to WordPress and just started writing about the industry, writing about stuff that I loved, giving tips. And the next thing I know about two months later, someone contacted me, wanted to pay $35 a month to put their banner on the sidebar.
Loren: Hell yeah, I’ll do that. That’s dinner, right? So next thing I know, I’m getting more queries, getting more traffic, and it just really exploded over time. My goals were to reestablish myself in the industry, to build up my personal brand, then to also build up a brand where I could build trustworthiness. And over time it kinda got bigger than myself. I brought in some other partners, about six years ago, and it’s grown ever since into much more than a blog. Now we’re more of a– I like to think of it as a media network.
Matt: I would agree.
Chris: Very cool. Yeah. I tell you, I kinda went back through– ‘cause we keep a list. Most of what we do in this podcast is we choose an article, I’ll actually read a number of articles from a number of different sites and then find one article that I think is gonna resonate with the audience and cover some important information. And I was just looking at how many of them come from Search Engine Journal, and it’s a lot. Like I didn’t do any statistics on it, but I’d have to say probably 50% of–
Matt: I think more.
Chris: Or more have come from Search Engine Journal. You know, where they were published, on Search Engine Journal. So, it is of course great information.
Matt: Yeah, we appreciate it.
Loren: That’s really cool to hear. Thank you.
Chris: And we’re excited ‘cause we’re just starting 2018, 2017 just finished. Actually our last podcast was covering an article about five things, five SEO processes or something along those lines that you should leave back in 2017. And so we wanted to talk about predictions, it’s always fun to make predictions going into the new year. And so I wanted to just turn it over to you for a little bit. I’ve got some ideas but– you know what? You just finished your story about SEJ, I wanted to ask this question, about your whole experience in kinda creating all the way up to this point. It’s been a long time, right? What has surprised you the most about the whole experience?
Loren: I think what surprised me the most was me on a personal level. I had started in 2003 and I think 2007-2008 I went to my first SEO conference. And it was really weird to walk around because people were levitating towards me, right? “Hey man, I read your stuff all the time.” And for me, I was just some dude writing – in my house or my apartment or whatever – my thoughts, right? I never really experienced that component of it.
Fast forward to now, I would say kind of the most surprising thing and one of the best decisions ever made, was to bring on great editors to expand and run the editorial staff. So I love hearing accolades, but I really have to give it up to Danny Goodwin, who’s our executive director right now. He used to be at Search Engine Watch previously and has a background in newspapers. And he’s really been able to corral like a great group of contributors, internal staff members, we have Roger Monty writing for us now who’s stuff’s has taken off like wild fire. So it’s just been amazing. That’s really been the most surprising thing, and one of the best decisions I’ve made and I can recommend others do. Like learn when to step back a little bit and let the machine kind of take care of itself. So it’s been fabulous to see that happen.
Chris: I can tell you – and Matt’s looking at me – I’m in the process of learning how to step back and letting the machine take care of itself literally as we speak, as it relates to the company. And I certainly have like exact empathy to go– every now and then we get people who call in from our podcast, and they’ll say something like, “I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity.” So I know that feeling you had when people were like walking around looking and they’re like, “I read your stuff,” and you’re like, “Well, I’m just writing kind of stuff.” Anyone could do it, it’s kind of the fact that not everyone does. And you’ve just taken it to a whole different level. So you mentioned that you were a professor in Japan, that was probably an amazing experience, also in Brazil. Is world travel something that you do kind of regularly?
Loren: It is. It is. And you know, in my twenties I kinda just decided to pack all my stuff up, go out there, travel. It was great in Japan ‘cause I could make somewhat of a living of it. When I got to Brazil, that’s when I realized that you make a little bit less money teaching English in Brazil than you do in Japan. So that’s why I brought the blog back together again. But now, even like married, have a great kid, great family, and everything else. I still like to get out there at least once a year, maybe every two years, see other things, and experience different cultures, and introduce that to my kid as well.
Chris: Alright, excellent. Well I had a couple other questions, but I’d really like to jump into predictions for 2018. I think it’s great to get to know you, and the podcast listeners are gonna be like, “Okay, let’s get to the meat.” We have a part of our podcast – you heard a little bit of it – we typically call it the potatoes. And then the meat of the podcast is like that content that people are looking for. So talk to us, talk to us about 2018 and what you think is on the horizon.
Loren: Well, here’s my big prediction for 2018, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think Google is– my prediction is that Google is going to stop recognizing the no-follow attribute in links.
Loren: It’s been around for 12 years. I think they have it figured out by now. More and more publications have done a sweeping no-follow across like all of the TechCrunch sites, Huffington Post mostly, AOL-owned sites, forms, for some parts of the site. And they have no-followed everything and I can’t imagine discovery happening without those key influential news organizations being able to introduce readers and the Google bot, to authority-oriented links and sites. I think right now we’re getting to a point where no-follow has been around for 12 years, I would not be surprised to see Google announce that they no longer recognize the no-follow attribute. I think with disavows, the Google Search Console, everything like that. People being able to report shady links or bad backlinks. I think they could probably do a better job of identifying quality sites without the use of that tag. That’s my big prediction. I don’t know if it’s gonna happen or not, but I’d like to see it happen.
Chris: I think one of the things– I would cosign that. One of the things is just Google is just getting more and more sophisticated. And so I use the example, ‘cause it’s in our reports about when we do an analysis for somebody, we’re comparing like no-follow links and links you need to explain it to customers. And you talk about, is the link in the article? Or is it in the banner that’s next to the article, right? And one is more valuable. But Google can figure that stuff out, it’s not– we could parse the code. Just look at the code and kind of understand it, so can Google, so that makes a lot of sense.
Loren: Yeah exactly and the other thing I’d like to add too is— so for example if I have– if my client’s PR company or if we end up getting a client featured in a site like Forbes and it no-follows, well that doesn’t mean people are not going to find that link, click on that link and go introduce themselves to whoever that influencer is talking about, because if you go in and you look at your referral logs in Analytics you’ll typically see that people do click over from those links, so there’s still value there. And I just can see they’re not necessarily being long term SEO value from that kind of placement.
Matt: Absolutely. Authority positioning for sure.
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So one of things that we kinda had talked a little bit about, was like featured Snippets and reduction of clicks. I know one of the new team members here. We actually– one of the more talented SEO consultants in Houston is Josh Belland. He actually called moments ago. We’re on air Josh, we won’t be answering the phone right now.
Loren: He’s doing five on a Friday–
Chris: He had mentioned like featured snippets and what impact you think that they’re gonna have moving in to 2018?
Loren: Well I think we’ve seen– at the end of last year we saw Google implement more carousels, images, internal photos of people and influencers talked about in the snippets. But a lot of them still have a link to the source, but Google’s integrating more multimedia into those featured snippets. And if you notice, recently, they’ve taken a link from the bottom to an “according to” link at the top. So you’ll see there was a bunch shares on it from Search Engine Round Table and probably our blog, SEJ, the other day about this. So we’ll say, according to WinePair or according to Forbes or whatever, and then it’ll have the meat and potatoes of the snippet and then maybe some links to some other Google-housed information.
So what I think we’re gonna see is a reduction of clicks coming specifically from Google citing the source in a different manner and then introducing their own knowledge, right? Because they’ve been accumulating all of that through the Knowledge Graph, through Google My Business, through Schema Markup, and everything else. The Google AI at the end of the day is getting better at answering questions. So they can reference a site that they got it from, but it’s no longer going to be a quote and a link to source. It’s gonna be more like, “This is everything that we’ve merged together and these are our sources.” Keeping people on Google for longer and answering their question, especially when they’re visiting on their mobile phone instantly, so there’s really no need to click.
Chris: Right. Yeah, I was thinking about that. I read one article about predictions in 2018, and some of them were talking about– it’s like the demise of your click traffic.
Matt: Well I was just gonna say with what Google+ does with likes and shares and stuff like that, I think it’s an expansion of that, of trying to connect, and where they know about the information, and that’s the same thing with what’s happening on Facebook. So like, where the information’s being cited from and the value of it to that person.
Loren: Yeah, and at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily that they’re blocking us from doing marketing, but to an extent they’re introducing new KPIs that are different from what SEOs are used to. So it used to be that the KPI was to click in the distant site. Now with Google Local and with Google Knowledge Cards and Local Cards, the KPI is – if someone searches for your business – a call, or directions, or even now the ability to send messages directly through the Google interface to your business, and have someone at your business answer them, that’s a lead directly from Google.
Chris & Matt: Right.
Loren: It used to be that an SEO KPI was a visit to the site, someone fills out the form on the site, you get it, reply back. Now they’re going directly through Google. So at the same time–
Matt: Someone texts you.
Loren: Yeah. At the same time it may be a little less traffic, right? But the amount of opportunity is also rising. So I would say for everyone out there, especially if you have a brick and mortar, or a small to medium sized business, keep your eyes on Google My Business and making sure your Google My Business profile is updated, and you’re taking advantage of the new things that are rolling out such as messaging and video.
Chris: Yeah, so Google My Business is incredibly important. So just like keep it on your radar, it may be changing, you wanna make sure that you’re staying up to date with it. That makes perfect sense.
One of the things that I was thinking as in these predictions we’re talking about the demise of click traffic, when it comes to the Knowledge Graph is the Knowledge Graph tends to ask questions. So if you think about the sales funnel and I’m sure if you’re like us, we think about the sales funnel all the time. There’s that direct response marketing that they’re about ready to buy, that’s probably not as subject to the Knowledge Graph, it’s more subject to carousels and other things. And when you’re looking at higher up in the funnel when they’re just kinda entertaining the idea of a product or a service and asking questions about it, that’s where you might not be able to get the introduction as easily because the Knowledge Graph is gonna carry so much weight.
Loren: Yeah, I think so. And it’s just ways to utilize what’s there, right? So there’s one strategy, which is trying to do what used to work previously. And the other one is organizing your content, organizing your strategy to be able to hit people where they are in the funnel in the same way Google serves that information during that funnel from an intent perspective. So someone’s just doing investigative information, they’re looking for informational content, they may not necessarily land on your site, but you can get content placed on other sites which Google is serving in that sequence, right?
Loren: As they’re closer, drop more breadcrumbs on the way to the transactional money page at the end of the day. And really this all leads into better AdWords spend and more AdWords management.
Chris: Funny how that works.
Loren: Exactly, just like Facebook, right? Facebook’s announcement today that business pages are not going to necessarily show up as much in the news stream. While that’s great if you wanna hear in full power from your friends, but it also means that if you’re a business, you have to pay a little bit more to Facebook. Same with Google. And really if you consider SEO to be part of the marketing journey, then it’s not a problem, it’s a question of connecting the dots across the board to make sure at the end of the day, hey SEO may have been an assist, but it led to you getting that sale through a follow-up paid campaign. Or paid may have driven that user to the site, but when they looked at the landing page, they read information that led them to search after the fact, and then find the business again. So it all is connected.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah, I think that just the days of pure just SEO and that’s all you need to do is just gone, right? It’s one of the decisions we made with our business, is we’ve gotta have multiple services because they really all tie together.
Matt: Well you know, I just started to think about like the attribution of like is it last click? Is it first click? How you break it apart, like how are you valuing that lead? Because I’ve had a lot of conversations as we bring on new clients on what’s important right? And how that person comes in and you know, essentially where do you attribute that lead coming from? And so I think Google is starting to kinda tell you what they want and how you’re gonna get a hold of that click.
Chris: Does that make sense? So the next thing I had on my list was the importance of video. It could be a really short answer, but go.
Loren: I think video – to add to what you’re talking about earlier – Google serves Google properties first, right? So being on YouTube is incredibly important. We’re on Facebook now, we’re gonna be on YouTube soon. You might be on YouTube now, chances are you found that via Google Search. Also video is important in the costumer review process as well, I think we’re gonna be seeing more of that. Yappo, which is customer ratings company, has rolled out the ability to crowd source video reviews for your e-commerce sites. So people can see people like them not only writing reviews, but talking about you. So content makes sense for discovery, but content also leads to conversion. Video is content, it’s some of the most effective content out there on the web, we’re doing it right now. Integrate video into your conversion process and your commerce process.
Chris: Yeah, we’re constantly pushing our customers to get those reviews. Do you have any– have you read any studies or any stats on the difference between like a high production, whether it’s regular video or review versus just the cellphone? Again, regular video, maybe content video or a review?
Loren: No, I haven’t. I haven’t. I’d like to read into that. I know with me personally, when I see someone on their cellphone I think of it– even if it’s setup, I think of it as being real. Like someone’s really talking to me, or I’m talking to them through my device and I trust them a little bit more. Therefore I’d probably go over to that cellphone kind of homemade video angle as opposed to production value. And I think production value may have it’s benefit and more enterprise and things like that, but in order to make something look real 100%, sometimes you have to add some value into that too.
Matt: So I don’t remember where this stat came from–
Chris: I think he made it up. I’m just gonna be honest.
Matt: But I did read like, home-made content is three times more likely to be viewed or to– you know, everybody just thinks everybody out there’s– what is the word I’m looking for? They’re really skeptical of everything that’s out there on the internet, and so any homemade material is three times more likely to be viewed and watched and believed and that sort of thing. And I think I believe that too, and it sounds like you do as well. So it’s kinda interesting to see that, you know?
Chris: Did you write that article that you–?
Matt: No, no. But I’ve been reading a lot like about men vs women, are they looking at the product? Are they looking at the button? Are they looking at you? Like what happens with conversions. And so there’s just a lot of data out there with big data now that you can find out what’s working and what’s not. And really at the end of the day our job is to get more conversions for the clients. So that stuff’s important to me.
Loren: Yeah. To add to that, I did read a study by CallRail where a local phone number, if served on a landing page was five times more effective than a toll free number. So if you think about that, the local number in your area is almost like, you know you’re gonna reach someone down the street. You see a homemade video that someone did on their cellphone, it looks something that your neighbor did. You may trust them a little bit more. So yeah, I agree.
Chris: Yeah, and that’s great. You’ve got a stat. Because I’ve always– as soon as we get client– and some will have an 800 number and they’re like, “Well, we service the whole country if anybody wants to use us.” And we’re like, “Well, what percentage is in Houston?” in our case, and they’re like, “Oh like 95%.” And I said, you need a local number. And now we’ve got an actual stat on that, so that’s pretty good.
Loren: Yeah, look it up.
Chris: And the other thing when you see– I think maybe this is some of what goes into it, when you do a full production video people know it’s been edited and I’ve partnered with a guy here in town who does videos, amazing guy. And he talks– his name is Nolen Davis. If I didn’t mention his name he would probably punch me in the face.
Matt: In a bad way.
Chris: Ina bad way. He’d kick me in the shins. He just talked about like your personality comes through in video. And so if you’re a jerk it comes through, if you’re real it comes through. And so yeah, they’re real people saying real things about, ya know, real products. I like that.
Matt: I do.
Chris: That’s pretty good. We should start a video company.
Matt: No, no. Go ahead, go ahead.
Loren: Okay. By the time something’s produced, it might’ve already– like in today’s age information happens so quickly, by the time something is professionally produced it may even be old information. So the ability to just pick up the phone, tape yourself, show what you’re surroundings are like. It’s so easy to put out there, etcetera, etcetera. And there’s strategy to it, so there’s still need for your guy Nolen I think.
Matt: Well, I think the movement, right? The movement attracts like the eyes, it draws people into it. People are interested in what’s going on in the background. You know, I think also it’s beneficial for storytelling, everything’s about storytelling. Someone relating to what you’re sharing as well as getting the emotions going to get them to take action. And so the most effective form of that is video. And so I can see how everything’s already leading that way and kinda saw it coming, you know?
Chris: Alright. Alright, so we know that mobile is getting bigger. It’s been getting bigger, it’s big, it’s gonna continue to get bigger into 2018. Google has kinda given us forewarning that it’s gonna go mobile first indexing. What is your prediction related to that?
Loren: That’s a tough one man ‘cause they have been telling us that they’re gonna go mobile first for a long time. And my prediction is we’re gonna see – at least from an SEO perspective – we’re gonna see jumping around of ranking just so they get it everything figured out.
Chris: Right. Now when you say, “they get it figured out,” is that us as SEOers figuring out the new algorithm and like fixing the mobile version?
Loren: No, that’s Google. I mean I think as long as you follow mobile best practices and you have a line up of content on your mobile experience that syncs up with your web experience, you’ll really be fine. But the other day I was doing a search, it was like a security systems search in some town, and I noticed that the number one listing in Google Local on my mobile device was a site with no website– a company with no website and one review which was a one-star rating. And there was just a link to call them. That was it. And it goes against everything that Google says they’re gonna do in a local mobile site, right? So it’s gonna take them while to get it figured out.
If you’ve noticed over the couple years, they’ll throw stuff out there, let us fix it, get all the information back and put together a finished product. And I think they’re gonna slowly roll out mobile first, so just really keep your eyes on it. And if you start to see movement, don’t panic. Let them roll out the whole thing first, get it straight and then move forward. But just make sure you have everything together.
Matt: So one thing that I know that we’re guilty of and we’re really working on, is when we’re still designing a website, we’re designing it for desktop experience and not for mobile. And we’re really having to try to force everyone to think, “Hey, how is this gonna look on mobile and then we’ll figure out desktop later.” And so I can see even us kinda struggling with that, you know?
Chris: Right. So you’ve got good processes and procedures to follow up with in mobile design, but really we should be starting with a mobile design in some real senses.
Loren: That’s a really — client. I have a client that has 80% coming from mobile right now, 80%.
Loren: Around, yeah. It’s amazing.
Chris: So hey, about that town with the one-star rating, was it a small enough town that they were like one of the only vendors? Or do you think there was like–?
Loren: No, it was Colorado Springs.
Chris: Oh wow.
Loren: Small, not tiny.
Chris: Don’t plan on being secure in Colorado Springs. Is that maybe the message? Or their customer service is gonna be really bad. So we’ve had a lot of forewarning, I feel like this is one of the things that Google has forewarned us the most, but you know, it’s not what I do regularly like you do. Is this one of those things that has been kind of foreshadowed the longest of any other trend Google’s been planing on having as you recall?
Loren: As I recall, yeah. They’ve also gotten a lot better at warning us before hand. And remember we were supposed to have Mobilegeddon a year and a half ago and then some other stuff that kinda just didn’t really happen. So I think with fair warning you get it right, because they know how much of a big deal it is. And if you think about it, if they were gonna introduce a whole new mobile index, it was completely different, shift around the rankings, it be kinda that old Google Florida updates that we had back in the day. That totally messed up a lot of businesses, right?
Loren: So I really think that this is something they wanna get right, ‘cause they don’t wanna mess up or screw over, or however you wanna put it, mom and pop shops that are relying on Google SEO traffic. So I think they’re gonna roll this out slowly.
Matt: Makes sense, makes sense.
Chris: Yeah, it’s a lot more responsibility. What has been a lot of responsibility for quite some time. I’m glad with some of the things they did, because you had this sense before they really got kinda hyper local, that somebody would just dominate an area and there was nothing you could about it, and mom and pops just couldn’t come in. And the hyper local focus is really kinda opened the door to just– it was a relief actually as that was frustrating from an SEO perspective ‘cause now you gotta have different strategies and do different things, but that keeps us busy. But a relief because I was always concerned. You know, even if we’re the ones who make the big behemoth that nobody can supplant, it just doesn’t feel right.
Matt: Well that just got me thinking about the new doorway updates and building out. And I was curious to hear just kinda your opinion on that as far as doorway pages and what’s going on with at. Because I can see like when I’m reading, I’m trying to read between the lines of what they’re saying, what they’re asking for, and what to stay away from.
Loren: Well I think there’s two fronts here. One is the orphan pages. So doorway page by definition is a page that kinda hangs off of your site, it’s meant to be a landing page maybe for like PPC campaigns or emails or something else, then people try to bring them in for SEO. So I think that one: it’s a clue that hey, if you’re doing a lot of other marketing, you should not be exposing those pages to Google ‘cause they can be conflicting with your SEO pages as well and bringing your whole site down. So by de-indexing, making sure those are disallowed whenever it may be and not introducing all those other landing pages to Google from an SEO perspective. It’s smart and helps them clean up the index. Number two is that there’s been a lot of content spinning on doorway pages for years, right? So find and replace city/state, the rest of the content is the same across the board.
Matt: I don’t know what you’re talking bout.
Chris: Is that a problem?
Loren: So I’ve seen Google rewarding a lot of sites whether they’re large or mom and pops that are actually writing real content about the locations. Airbnb, TripAdvisor, a lot of sites that have user generated content or people have gone in and written reviews, are doing a little bit better now. Sites that are just basically directory lists are not. So I think the doorway page update or whatever you wanna call it, works on both sides. Better content, not just snippets written for keywords but more in-depth usable content that people will wanna read and share. And at the same time making sure that the pages that you want people to find via SEO are integrated into your navigation so it’s easier for Google to find it, and then easy for a normal person to find it as well.
Matt: I like that.
Chris: Yup. And then I’ve got– well, we just hopped into doorway, great. What do you think about AMP pages? So what I look for– we haven’t done much with AMP pages. I know in your industry you guys do a lot with AMP pages. What do you think about AMP pages coming into 2018?
Loren: I hate them.
Chris: Tell us how you really feel ‘cause I feel like there’s not enough emotion in that.
Loren: We were an early adopter at SEJ for AMP, amp, whatever you wanna call it. And you know, it took a– well for us, we’re a pretty nimble WordPress oriented site, so it was a pretty easy fix. We implemented some plugins, we tweaked them, etcetera, etcetera.
We have a full time WordPress developer on staff so it was a pretty good fix. But I’ve seen companies over the past year spend a lot of resources and time not only trying to implement AMP, but also trying to make a decision whether or not to do it. So what does Google do? They roll out AMP at the top of news results, AMP at the top of local results, AMP at the top of mobile results. And they’re really trying to push people to go over to AMP. Now all of a sudden, they make the announcement a couple days ago that instead of serving AMP sites on the Google.com domain, they’re gonna show the real domain of the site in the results as well.
My personal opinion and why I hate it, or I don’t like it, if I wanna get kinder. Is because I think it’s kinda forcing everyone into a box that they have to play around in and not become creative in. So the opportunity to add creatives that you may have used to previously to the mobile experience, isn’t there as much. You have to really work on a brand new template, you have to put in development time, and it’s something that is always changing. And I would much rather spend that time developing a fast WordPress based or whatever the CMS is based interface that works as fast AMP, but isn’t restricted to the AMP protocol, if that makes sense.
Chris: Yeah, it does. And you know Google, even in terms of mobile providing kind of guidance, they have mobile speed test, which is interesting.
Chris: But they can give you guidance. Why not just double down on that kind of focus. It makes a lot of sense.
Loren: Well, every speed test I do, the stuff that slowing down the site is hosted by Google, right?
Chris: So that’s one of the things that’s in our reports too. And another thing, not just explaining the no-follow to the clients, but explaining to, “Here’s the speed test. And it looks really bad, but let me tell you why it’s not actually that bad. Your load time is under two seconds.” I’m kinda okay with that. I don’t mean it, it’s just a go/no-go checklist. And they’re saying no-go, and the benefits of going might not be appreciable, so we don’t really have to pursue that. Now that’s an interesting question ‘cause I had this debate with Josh, do you think– one: are we in alignment? Like it’s a go/no-go checklist, right? Your images aren’t completely optimized, you’ve got more than one java script file. Is that more important than the actual load time, or do you think they’d consider both? What do you think?
Loren: I think it’s a little bit of both. I believe it’s natural to have some third party scripts and files load and take a little bit longer, but I think from a common sense perspective, Google should be able to figure that hey, you’re working off of the CDM, or you’re working off of this third party, you’re doing this. And that’s just gonna take a little bit longer to look at what’s really on the site, and look at what really loads first, and the experience, and then I guess go beyond that from the speed perspective. I do think that it’s more– I think that with things becoming mobile first, and with more companies seeing a higher percentage of mobile traffic, they’re figuring it out anyway. It’s becoming part of the conversion experience, it’s becoming part of the key people on site experience. So I think it goes beyond just load time alone, it goes beyond how people can click around, how fast they get their information, etcetera, etcetera.
Chris: Yup, that makes sense. And one of the things we always say on the podcast: as long as you’re providing a good experience to the Google user, I think Google can be very technical, but probably is not gonna get bogged down in that technicality, they’re more interested in is it good for the user. It just gives us something to have to explain to our clients.
Matt: Well I have seen a lot of data on mobile sites, if they don’t load in like five seconds or whatever, the bounce rate’s like 90–
Chris: Astronomical, yeah.
Matt: Yeah, like I don’t know what the number was, but–
Loren: Who’s gonna stick around?
Chris: Yeah, yeah. We have so much patience these days; they can wait.
Loren: The whole video.
Chris: So one of the things I read recently and I don’t remember the source, and I wasn’t really digging that subject, so it didn’t stick. But was that: yes, we have more mobile traffic but conversions are still significantly higher on desktops?
Matt: Depends on the business.
Chris: Well, that article– again, I didn’t get into the nuances, right? There’s a couple ways to look at that. What do you think of that? And I’ve got a prediction, but what is your prediction? Is that gonna shift? Is that right? Do you kinda cosign that? And is it gonna shift in 2018?
Loren: I think it’s gonna slowly shift. From my own personal experience– I mean I’m the kinda person that I’ll do my research on something, but I won’t buy it on another site. I’ll go to Amazon and buy it because I’m already logged in. So I’ll just like, “Hey, you can buy it here.” Or I’ll just go to my Amazon app or whatever and search there. One click, done. They already have all my financing information, they’re gonna send it directly to my house.
Chris: Two days.
Loren: You don’t have to spend time typing anything in, and if you are a Prime member on top of that. So I think you’ll see that shift for sites that have that together. Shopify does a good job of that with the PayPal integration. So if I’m a PayPal user, I’ll already have my address there, it makes total sense. Jet, Walmart are doing a better job. So as we see these platforms or these companies become more adopted, and people are more like to actually save their credit card information I think now because you get a hacker leak like every other week, right? So it’s not a big deal as it used to be.
Chris: We’re kinda immune to it now, “Oh, another one. Okay. Hopefully I didn’t get hacked.” or “Let me change my card anyway.”
Loren: Yeah, if I’m making a major purchasing decision, I’ll do my research on my phone while I’m doing whatever. And I get home, sit in front of my computer, in my trusted desktop, and I’m really doing my research and you really make that sale then. Or call, right? So that’s another thing that has to be put in to the whole purchase via the phone or purchase via the mobile experiences, really the ability to– I found myself calling and making orders whether it’s a pizza or a sofa a lot more than I used to just from my phone, or using AI.
Chris: So it’s interesting because this kinda goes against a piece that we said earlier, which was design mobile first. If the conversion’s the key thing and the conversion tends to happen on the workstation, then it’s not necessarily– the reality is you gotta do both, but it’s not necessarily bad that we approach from the workstation first and then– maybe it’s from what you’ve described– and I operate the same way. You know, sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or whatever I’m waiting for, I’m doing research and then I’m going back and making the purchase on the workstation.
Matt: I think it’s where they are in the funnel, right? And AIDA, right? And where you’re targeting and how you’re trying to share a content with them or value that’s gonna bring them in and nurture them.
Chris: Yeah. So the mobile can more about fulfilling the knowledge and the content need, and then becoming that trusted resource when you actually go to purchase.
Loren: Yeah, and with cross-device, we’re targeting, and cookieing, and everything else, right? As soon as I get home, even if I forget that I wanna buy that product that I saw when I sitting at the doctor’s office, Google is gonna remind me instantly everywhere I go that I wanna buy that product, right? Because I’ve already made that decision, they know it. And it’s bam, right to their product page.
Chris: Yup. It’s fun describing how that works to clients ‘cause at first they’re a little creeped out about it, and then I say, “And when it happens to your business,” and their eyes light up and they’re like, “Yes. That’s awesome. That’s exactly what we want.”
Matt: We’ve started to get into like Venue replay and programmatic ad buying and it just gets even creepier.
Chris: Creepy 2.0.
Loren: If I’m at a coffee shop, right? And I know their Wi-Fi´s a little bit funny, I’m not gonna make my purchase. I’m not gonna pull up my credit card. I’ll look around, I’ll look for the creepy looking dude, I’ll put my credit card back in my pocket and I’m gonna say, “I’m gonna wait until I get home to the security of my own internal Wi-Fi to put my credit card information through there.” And then Google can just make sure that happens accordingly. So I love it.
Chris: Yeah. In a podcast a little while ago, we talked a little bit about news and there was a Wi-Fi provider at a Starbucks in– I think it was in Argentina. And when you connected to it, it would mine Bitcoins on your device for like 10-5 minutes, and then release it. That’s very crafty. Very frowned upon and very crafty. So one of the things that I read recently of yours is the 20 years of SEO. I thought that was just a phenomenal article, the recap of everything. So this is a podcast parlance, punch in the face for you to that great article. We’re about to wrap up here. Was there anything that we could do for you? Like are you going on a circuit and need people to attend something? Or any way that we can help you Loren?
Loren: Well, I would say first of all visit Search Engine Journal. Have I frozen?
Chris: You have frozen on the screen. It is actually a very good shot though, could’ve been much worse. You’re half frozen on the screen but we can hear you.
Matt: Yeah, we can hear you it’s recording. Yeah.
Loren: So I would say visit Search Engine Journal, sign up for our Facebook page ‘cause we do a lot of our– just like you guys, we do a lot of our lives through there. And we take our lives and we record our podcast from that and repurpose that content in the post and everything else. So in the same way that you’re currently getting this information first on eWebResults, you can also get that from SEJ as well. And I’ll be speaking at HothCon in Saint Pete on February 1st , that’s put on by theHoth.com. And it’s one of my only speaking engagements really until probably PubCon in Vegas in November. I’m taking it easy from the speaking circuit for a while. So find us on Facebook, find us on social and looking forward to connecting with your audience and helping you guys share your message as well.
Chris: Absolutely. We’re constantly sharing your message. So that makes a whole lot of sense. So we’re gonna do a little– please stay with us, we’re gonna do a little wrap-up. We’ll give you an opportunity to say goodbye. We do kinda have this wrap-up scenario. What we’re gonna say is: we would like you to leave us a review. And if you could be so kind, leave us a review at Yelp. We’ve made it easy. Don’t tell Yelp we’re asking for Yelp reviews, but go to– yeah, there we go. There, you’re back? Go to eWebResults.com/
Chris: And that’ll take you to our Yelp profile. What we would like to say is if you liked this podcast, please tell three friends about the podcast. If they’re in the industry, if they’re a small business owner who really needs to know more about internet marketing so that they can stay on top of the subject and on top of their vendors. Send them our direction please. Share with three people. If you’re looking to grow your business with the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet…
Matt: The internet.
Chris: The internet, got ahead and give us a call. eWebResults will increase revenue in your business 713-592-6724. And if you have a referral– so sometimes people get confused and don’t realize that we do all aspects of internet marketing, that’s from website, social media, search engine optimization, pay-per-click. Whether that’s on all the platforms–
Matt: We’re an agency.
Chris: Yeah, full service. If you’ve got a referral, send them to us. When they pay us we will pay you. That’s a referral program.
Matt: Or donate to a good cause.
Chris: Or we can donate to a good cause.
Matt: Yeah, ‘cause that’s what I really wanna do in 2018.
Chris: I think that’s a great way to send those referral dollars to charities.
Chris: And then please remember we were filmed live here at 5999, West 34th Street, Suite 106, Houston, Texas, 77092. You can get audio, video and a transcript of this podcast at our website eWebResults.com.
Loren, do you have any kind of wrap-up words as we’re finishing here?
Loren: Pretty good. Thanks guys. It’s been a great experience, you fall under the same thing I do, so don’t forget. Agency as well, right?
Chris: Yeah, put in a plug, please.
Loren: Yeah, Foundation Digital. Check us out, we won four different search awards last year. Two on the US search award side, two on the drum award side. So, always a pleasure to help out my fellow SEOs and to meet you two. I’ve feel like I’ve known you forever, and I’ve only known you for about 40 minutes here. But I’ll see you at an event some time soon. Go Houston, Houston strong, right? Texans–
Matt: Yeah, hit us next time you’re in Houston.
Loren: Texans. I will, absolutely. It’s been a pleasure, thank you.
Chris: Alright, we’re wrapping up the podcast. We are the number one podcast on iTunes, the known universe. That is because of you all, all of y’all. Thank you in 100+ different countries. Until the next podcast, my name is Chris Burres.
Matt: My name is Matt Bertram.
Chris: And this is…
Loren: Loren Baker.
Chris & Matt: Bye bye for now.
Loren: See ya.