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Future-Proofing Your Marketing: Why SEO Should Be Your Best Friend

In Conversation with Aaron Taylor

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Aaron Taylor, SEO Director at Prosperity Media, an Advertising Services Agency located in Surry Hills, New South Wales. Aaron provides valuable insights into the evolution of SEO, debunking common myths, and highlighting the importance of SEO as a growth channel. From mastering the art of public speaking to navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in SEO, Aaron offers practical tips, real-world examples, and expert advice to help businesses craft effective SEO strategies.

Watch the episode now!

Patience is crucial in SEO it’s a long-term game where credibility and signals to Google are built over time.

Aaron Taylor
SEO Director at Prosperity Media

Hey, everyone. Welcome to your show E-coffee with Experts. This is your host, Ranmay here. Today we have Aaron Taylor, who is the SEO Director at Prosperity Media with us. Hey, Aaron.

Hey, Ranmay. Good to be here.

Great. Aaron, before we move forward pick your brains on SEO. You have been doing SEO for forever now. Let’s get to know the human behind the mic first. Talk us through your journey. How did you land it in the space? Then probably if we can throw some light on prosperity media, what you guys do, what you guys specialize in, and then we can take it from there.

Yeah, for sure. I came up with the SEO strange way. I feel like most people who can come in the SEO, they into it somehow. There are not many kids growing up saying, Oh, I dream of being an SEO when I grow up. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a while. I was a bit directionless.

That is so common with all of us. We all did not know what we wanted to do as we were Growing up and here we are.

Exactly. I love it. I love it. I may as well go to university because I was mucking around, I was playing in bands and it’s working like hospitality jobs. I may as well go to uni. I went to uni, I studied journalism. Then after the third year, I just wasn’t really enjoying it that much. The job of a journalist looked like you worked really hard, there’s not much money, and there’s not many jobs going anyway. I was like, Okay, I need to get something else out. In my second year of journalism, my degree, I started looking for a job, and I got a job as a digital marketing assistant randomly in a childcare center. But it was just near my house. At this time, I was studying journalism and I was learning how to use a video camera and take photos and write copy and do social media somewhat. I thought I might as well try and pivot away from journalism and use these skills that I was learning in marketing. This was a job that was going. I thought, I’ll give it a go. When I was working as an in-house digital marketing assistant there, we started getting put with the SEO agency.

The work they were delivering was this terrible garbage. I was like, What is this? What are they doing? I started really getting a bit curious. I thought they were taking us for a bit of a ride.

Tell us how difficult were you as a client.

I was probably a nightmare client to have because when I was getting calls, I was like, I think you’re going to get us penalized by Google. What are you doing? I remember that guy on the call, he said to me something like, Google won’t penalize us because we’re a Google partner agency. I had no idea what that meant. Now I know it just means they’re spending money on the ads. That’s good. No, nothing to do with getting penalized. But yeah, I got this view that SEOs are just dodgy people, can’t be trusted. And then it’s quite ironical. Now I’m an SEO director. So that’s part of it. Yeah, I’m on the other side and I got curious and I started learning SEO for myself. Outside of work, I was listening to podcasts, I was reading about it. I was doing all that thing. Then I graduated Uni, I had two years experience in marketing. So I already had some work experience and I applied to heaps of jobs. And the only job that really got back to me was as a SEO role. I went into this field just willy-nilly. This came to get started and it took me a while to get passionate about it.

I’m definitely very passionate about SEO now. That’s what I’m talking about at work, and very keen in the SEO community in Sydney here. Good journey.

Lovely. Yeah, quite a journey, I must say. You do a lot of public speaking, right? I’m at industry conferences like the Sydney SEO conferences, which is a great way to establish credibility and thought leadership. What was your experience in speaking at these conferences? How do you prepare? How do you feel that it has helped in terms of not only your organizational growth, but also in terms of growing and getting more confident as a person and then establishing more network for your own self as ww?

Yeah, it’s funny. I did in a conference talk last year. We just recently had the Sydney SEO conference 2024. My first talk was the 2023. I was going through It was the biggest part in my life where I was trying to get out of my comfort zones. Izonesome crazy things like sky diving and all that stuff. The opportunity came to speak. I had terrible experience public speaking when I kid in primary school. I just thought, I want to do something that’s going to challenge me and get out of my comfort zone. I did it really as a challenge for myself to face my fears. Yeah, it was great. It was actually really rewarding. I had no idea about how to give a good speech. When I now had 20 minutes last year, I did 77 slides in 20 minutes.

Oh, gosh.

On average, it was like 20 seconds a slide. That That was a rapid fire. What I did, I actually built three templates. I basically was showing everyone how to do the template and all the results I had from it. I was trying to be super practical, but I didn’t understand how to give a good speech, a good keynote speech. So after that experience, my boss got us a public speaking coach. So maybe he probably stole me, screwing around a bit, and I thought I needed some help. So we got a professional public speaker coach come and do training for the whole team. And she was great. She’s organized TEDx Sydney and that stuff. And she told us how to structure a speech properly, how to deliver it. And we prepared a small speech for her to give us some feedback on. And then in between that, I’ve had three more speeches. I’ve got another two coming up this year. Yeah, slowly, it’s been a journey. I think it was this most people would want their first speech to be a small setting. My one was in front of 220 people at a paid conference. So the baptism of fire things.

Yeah. So last, it was just March 1. It was 300 people. And I think that was my best, most confident speech. I’ve given them slowly, I’ve just given more confidence, more comfortable being on stage. Great.

That’s lovely. And An honest way of sharing your experience. How did it go? I see a lot of speakers talk about how their first experience on the stage took off. But yeah, thank you for being so honest there because that is the learning experience that one goes through.

It was great because I think the best feedback I got was from people on the team, prosperity, said, seeing how far you’ve come in one year, inspires me. I want to do a It shows because right now you see the top speakers wherever the top SEO conferences, and you say, They’re amazing, but you don’t see where they started. Some people are gifted that they can just give an amazing talk, but for some people, it takes a bit of time. It’s good to see the growth and other people get inspired. That’s probably the best feedback I got.

Lovely. Great. Then you have been an SEO ambassador in the sense that you have emphasized SEO as a very important growth channel. Could you elaborate on how you quantify the growth potential of SEO compared to other marketing channels?

Yeah, for sure. I put a few LinkedIn posts up last year. They went a bit viral because I was a bit, or as you say, It might have been a bit click-based and a bit controversial about pay-per-click and the difference between SEO and paid search. I thought one up, I think it was 20-something shares, 40,000 impressions. I was talking about the benefits of SEO and investing in an asset that you own. I didn’t know that you could outrage paid search people like that. But yeah, let’s just say I’ve stopped doing it as much because I just don’t want to be as controversial. But yeah, so when I’m talking about SEO as a growth channel, I break it down into three factors. So firstly, it’s scalable. So when you say scalable, you build one landing page. It can have multiple outputs. One input has multiple outputs. And as it’s scaling, it’s extremely cost-efficient. So if you’re investing in paid search or an equivalent ad platform, you’re going to have ad inflation over time. The cost is going to go up over time. One input for the same output gets more expensive.

But say you build a particular content cluster, there’s a fixed cost, a high fixed cost at the beginning. So the very first click you get from that cluster will be an expensive click. But then as Over time, as more and more users come and click on that page, the cost of that cluster you’ve built gets more cost-efficient over time rather than the other way. So there’s that aspect. Then there’s the aspect that you actually own the asset. When you’re optimizing the website, you’re owning the asset itself. You’re not renting the traffic. So if we’re making any changes to your website, we’re improving the tech, the tech side of it, we’re building links to it, whatever we’re doing, that is an asset that you own. And if you stop any work with your SEO provider, then you keep all of that work that’s been done to date. And you have that built in to the website, essentially. We made these improvements and enhancements to it. While if you’re renting traffic or you’re paying for traffic, you stop paying for it, the and tic stops. And then we’ve had instances where we’ve done lots of work. I’m sure you have, too, where you’ve done all this work for a client, they’ll stop.

The traffic with the clusters that we’ve built and the content we’ve built and length of the build has brought them leads for years after we’ve stopped the work. So owning the channel is an important thing. Then you’ve got the other aspect that SEO can be amplified into other channels. So say if we build a piece of content and it can be amplified across social, can be amplified across email. Say we’re making tech improvements to the website, we make it faster or add vitals and things like that’s going to improve your page speed, which you get you more conversions and a strong correlation between page speed and reversions, going to improve your quality score and your Google ads. All these things that we’re building the foundations of your website are going to improve it in other channels. It’s going to amplify it across everything, not just the isolation in SEO itself. And then fourthly, people understate this is the sale value of the business. To say if you go to sell the business and it has a humming, thriving SEO channel, that’s a much more competitive advantage have of your competitors than a thriving paid search channel.

But a competitor can easily just outbid you to get those clicks, but I can’t overnight just take your SEO channel. If you’ve been established over the years, you’ve done it the right way, that’s a lot harder to get market share in another channel. That’s why I think SEO is an integral channel for any business.

It’s organic in the long term. If you put in effort to get there, so you do not disappear overnight. You cannot just come and take it over. That is where we do a lot of links there. You cannot fight a battle on the SEO platform with someone who has double the domain authority that you have as a website. Then it is the long-term game where you have to build your credibility and you have to send multiple signals to Google so that you have got some credibility coming into your site before you start ranking on SEO. Like PwC, you said, you can land up there if you have the budgets in place. You can disappear as well if your competition decides to show their financial muscles if they have. I can completely agree with that.

A paid search for a business that’s getting established, paid search is the right channel. You’ll get some wings on the board straight away. You’ll get revenue in your straight, and that’s what you need.

Initially, you want your phones to be ringing, right? It gets you that. It gets you that. I believe when people talk about SEO versus PPC, it has to be a mixed blend. Even if you’re doing, let’s say, a search to land up immediate business. Then also you should be doing SEO in the background, looking at long-term brand-building exercises because you’ll not be in a situation to spend funds through and through, even if you have grown as a brand. Once you have grown as a brand, SEO takes care of your phones, ringing leads, coming in, and everything. Then you lower down on your budget for paid search, and that increases the bottom line at the end of the day.

Yeah, because the thing that I was saying mainly in this post that got a bit of traction was the three H, is that we have clients that are spending big money in paid search, and I’m sure you do as well. But then they’re very hesitant to increase SEO or they want to drop it. It’s a fraction of their ad, a tiny fraction. Their organic revenue is good, but people seem to be addicted to paid search. It’s just the thing that I see in the market.

Patience has a lot to do when you are doing SEO. I just wanted to ask you this question. In fact, how difficult or easy do you find to convince your clients to get those high-quality guest posts or back-to-date things?

I call myself a content-led SEO enthusiast. I would say If the budget is limited, stick with content. We have great content writers. We have all our in-house writers. No ChatGPT. We all survive the March update. I will always I’ll do some SEO work at the beginning, and then I’ll say, look, let’s send them to the content team because you can’t rank without a page to rank for it. And I think I was saying before we started, that we mainly deal with mid to enterprise clients. A lot of these clients have established brand searches got established backlink profiles. I think putting them, putting the budget towards content makes a lot of sense. But in many instances, then we’re dealing with some clients that are maybe like a well-funded startup or something like that. And they don’t have an established brand, but they do have a budget for the links. We’ll say, look, right now you’re up against some big competitors. We need to start putting some money into your links. And we do that with high-quality posts. We have a digital PR team as well. So to get those top-tier links, we had a campaign that went viral actually across Australian news outlets.

It was on the radio, it was in the newspapers, all that stuff for one of our digital PR campaigns. I would say I’m a big believer in digital PR and content-led SEO. But yeah, so we always push people toward content if the budget is limited. But then if you’re, against it, if you’re not a high authority in your space, you need links. We all know that Google, as much as they want to not say it, loves the link. It loves the link. Google is addicted to links as much as marketing managers are addicted to paid search. Absolutely.

I’m glad you said it. I’m glad you said it. And you touched upon a very interesting point, Adam, about ChatGPT. Where do you think are we heading with this AI revolution? Which has been happening for quite some time now. But where do you think are we heading? Not only with our industry at large, with our CEO but also with life has come to a point where we are using it beyond our professional lives. Where do you think are we heading with all this AI and machine learning evolution?

Just in society or? Overall.

Let’s first focus on SEO and digital marketing, and then probably overall at large.

I think AI is crazy. One of my jobs actually when I was at uni was working as a communications officer for the deep learning and machine learning lab at the uni. They were doing that stuff back then. In terms of SEO, It’s for content. If I talk about content, I’m sometimes AI, and some people are always AI, and I think they got hit hard by March for the update. I have seen people that are very sophisticated with their prompts, that they edit their output quite well. I have seen people do it well, but some people haven’t done it. Then other people are on the other side of the camp, never AI. They’re like, I’ll never use AI. It hallucinates, it’s low quality. But I’m sometimes an AI person. We have clients for the content we’re doing, it’s too sophisticated for a ChatGPT in its current iteration. We have content specialists that are writing quite technical content in agricultural spaces and things like that, that AI can’t do They can’t do that task. So that’s where we’ve got specialists, content writers, and that’s where they’re thriving in the content where writing is thriving in this AI world because AI is going to be inaccurate.

It’s not going to have information gain. It’s not going to take all the things that Google wants in a good piece of content. But then there are other pieces of content that I think an AI answer would suffice. So for example, if you’ve got someone that’s running a piece of content that’s like, how do I go from here to there? Or how do I rent a car from this city to that city? There’s a sophisticated A dedicated writer needs to spend their time writing that content. Does someone need to write heaps of content about rubbish removal in Surry Hills, for example? Do we need a human writer for this stuff? I think AI is fine. But I think it needs to be human-edited and things like that. I think low-level writing is out. If you’re a writer who writes low-level content and low-level copy, you need to find your career. But high-level content, the stuff that Google likes and rewards, that’s where you need this head of writers. In terms of AI, for the SGE, all that stuff, that had me thinking, do I need a new job? Like last year, what’s going to happen here?

But it’s been in beta for so long now. I think Google is afraid to release it because it’s so inaccurate. You can’t trust its results. I think it could potentially be harmful to their paid business and they’re going to lose money. Sure. So I don’t think Google is going to get it out of the bag until it has to. But then I think in the long term if we’re thinking like 5 to 10 plus years, if you’ve read some of the stuff that Sundar Pichai is putting out, he is saying that AI is bigger than the Internet. And if the CEO of Google is saying that, I have to believe that he knows things that I don’t. So I think Google will transition eventually to being an AI company somewhere in another, whether it’s in Gemini or whatever it is. That’ll be its main monetization model, I’m sure, in the future. But I’m not an AI expert.

Lovely. Great, yeah. Great, Aron. It has been a brilliant conversation. But before I let you go, I would like to play a quick rapid fire with rapid-fire you’re game for it.

Let’s go.

All right. Your last Google search.

My last Google search. I was googling around for work, but I tell you, last night I googled something and I found a good Reddit result in the search. Everyone hates Reddit ranking, but I goog the best cooking YouTube channels. And Reddit was ranking I clicked on it to see what it was ranking. It had a great user experience. Found some great channels worth following.

Lovely. Where do we find you on Friday evenings? Now it’s already around that mark. It is Friday evening.

You’re not right now.

I’m saying that now it’s almost around that mark and you’re not married. Where do we find you?

Usually at an eating out somewhere, a nice restaurant with friends, that thing. All right.

Your favorite sport, Adam?

I’ll say basketball.

All right. Great. Your next vacation, where do you plan to go?

I think the thing I’m planning to go to is Singapore in November. Yeah.

All right.

The Ahrefs conference.

Yeah, I was about to say that. I was about to say that for the conference. All right. How was Adam growing up as a kid?

That was probably the black sheep of the family.

Who does not know what to do? I think that’s the thing about that.

Seo is an interesting character. Everyone’s got an interesting story. That’s the main thing.

Absolutely. I will not grill you any further. Thank you so much for taking your time and doing this with us. We appreciate it. Our audiences, where do they find you? How do they reach out to you?

You can find me with Aaron Taylor, SEO, one word on X and LinkedIn. Yeah, those are the main places I post.

Brilliant. Thank you so much, Aaron.

Thank you. Cheers. Have a good day. Good Friday.

Yeah.

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