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This episode of Ecoffee with Experts has a very special guest, Bill Slawski. Bill has seen the evolution of SEO and has also been instrumental in the way marketers use it to leverage their digital endeavors. With more than two decades of experience in SEO and all that it entails, Matt Fraser asked Bill some pointed questions about digital marketing. This one is a must-watch if crushing the SERPs is your priority.
If you can find the weight of the links to a page with the amount of words on that page from the inverted index, you’ll get an idea of how much that page ranks
Hello everyone, and welcome to E Coffee with experts. My name is Matt Fraser and today on the show I have a very special guest, Bill Slawski. Now, Bill is the director of SEO Research for Goldfish Digital and the editor of SEO By the Sea. He’s been doing SEO and web promotion since the mid-1990s, after he first came across AltaVista dot digital dot com and was a legal and technical administrator in the highest level court in Delaware. Bill has a juris doctor degree from the Weidner University School of Law and an undergraduate English degree from the University of Delaware. He was a moderator and administrator at Creative Site Forums for eight years, which covered SEO, web design, and usability, among other topics. Bill reads search-related patents and white papers and writes about them on SEO by the Sea and the Goldfish Digital blog. He has been a keynote speaker at SEO industry events such as SMX West, SMX East, PubCon, SEM Tech and international conferences across the globe. He also has articles published in search engine journals SEM Rush and Search Engine Land, just to name a few. Bill, thanks so much for being on the show today.
Thank you Matt.
Yeah, it’s awesome to have you.
We didn’t make any coffee, but.
Yeah. I don’t know where they got that name from, but it’s interesting. Anyway.
You have had an interesting journey so far. You’ve been doing this, you know, not to date myself, but you’ve been doing SEO since I graduated from high school. And as you were saying to me earlier in our pre-show talk, someone has been following you on SEO since there are 14 on LinkedIn. And it’s a pretty interesting journey.
Who are you as a school kid? Like were you always interested in analytical things?
I was. As a major. I was studying things like deconstruction. Taking apart things people wrote in to see what made them important. When I went to law school, we were when we studied using the Socratic method, which meant answering questions in front of a professor, usually involving homework from judges and their opinions. And it would also often involve breaking the judicial opinion down to nine parts questions by the action part. So there’s a lot of analysis of those opinions. And literary criticism was a lot of analysis of those. And that sort of flowed over into what I was doing with websites. And that’s the insight stuff.
So you started your career. You just mentioned where you were studying law. And I know that you were, you know, the highest court in Delaware. You worked there for a while. But how did you make the transition from that? To do SEO and websites.
I helped some friends. I was a service mechanic at a car dealership. He hated his job.
I was reading a book on how to run an incorporation business in Delaware, and it required that you had an open office and that you received mail. Those are the technical responsibilities of being a registered agent. You charge people, say, 100 bucks a month or whatever, to be the registration. You accepted the mail. You told them that they were being sued.
And so that’s what you did for your friend who but he had his car he had he worked at the car dealership as a mechanic.
You said that’s a good idea, Bill, but. No Web site hand that. Oh, the store I bought it to amount to weeks book.
In two weeks. I’ve got a website. Wow. You helped. Just get another friend. Had a law office. Yeah. And my first friend moved into the empty room in the law office. Ran the appropriations business from there.
Ended up being a successful business. And I did that.
You did that for eight years.
First thing I did, one of the first thing I did wasn’t SEO.
Looking at the customer base.
Taking QuickBooks Mail merge.
That’s some customers. So we can build people.
Sales is priority number one.
Database. So you built a website from a book like in the 1990s before content management systems existed, right. And did it was. Yes, that’s even a thing. Back then I can’t even remember.
The site looked like a Christmas card.
Probably wouldn’t want to share it.
It’s simpler, but. I still started doing the technical stuff, looking at the patents and writing about them.
And you started writing. Did you start immediately writing like did a seal by the sea? Because I know you write about topics about there. Is that where you started or was that come on long later?
It was up to our WordPress site.
To our WordPress site.
It took me 2 hours to build parts.
To build it.
And so what was your background in law that like really? Because I know you read a lot about patents, I’m assuming you read a lot of the Google patents and break them down.
We didn’t touch those and lost four.
There are like three areas of specialization in law that the Supreme Court allows lawyers to say they’re involved in the example of the patent law. Those are two of them.
But. But. Patent law means normally that you have some type of scientific background. And in this case, it was. We were trying to sell a business based on legal merits to people wanting to have the business in Delaware.
After three years of law school, that was really easy to list. Why you might want to choose Delaware.
Delta is a popular state for incorporating a business, isn’t it?
The law doesn’t have a judicial framework for business.
For chancery. So these equity judges don’t use jury trials.
Opinions. So if somebody has a shareholder dispute, the chance to hear the case or write down an opinion. And this is an opinion that everybody throughout the U.S. can rely on.
It has story decisis. Is it n the plant-based on that judicial opinion?
Interesting. I always wondered why. Now I know it was other people.
So law school throughout the country. People studied Delaware law.
Okay. That’s amazing.
I know websites have changed over the years, but how have you seen what are some of the things you’ve seen a change in your over 25 years?
There are little tiny things like the disappearance of spinning globes on websites.
You. Yeah. Yeah, I know. You know, I used.
To design websites for people, and I stopped doing it because people ask me to put things like that on them.
They’re the little things involved in SEO that you may not notice right off. Yeah. Yeah. There are information retrieval methods behind them. Like an inverted index.
An inverted index means that the words you query your words, probably show up in the document you’re creating.
So if you have a query that’s five words long or five words, show up on that document. Yeah, the words. And it’s part of an inverted index that the search engines track, in all those words, what they might be.
Now, something like PageRank. They’re also adding the strength of links to the page. Okay, that’s a little bit tricky. I know some of the toolmaker’s struggle with this.
Correlation studies, but. A link from a page like the home page of the New York Times is worth a thousand times a link from the home page of a local newspaper.
It just carries that much more weight. Yeah. So if you can find the weight of the links to a page with the number of words on the page from the first index, you get an idea of how much the page ranks.
Net your idea behind Netscape.
Absolutely. Can you expand a little bit on the like and give me an example of the inverted index?
Okay. So you come up with the phrase like a featured snippet. Okay. You expect to see the words featured snippet on a web page. Absolutely. Bada of the burning index. Okay, so it’s a list of words that might appear in a document. Okay, we’ll put these huge index word traps. All of these words that might appear on documents looked up.
So. Yeah, exactly. So, in other words, like, if this is to be simplistic, if best, best, uh, California plumbers or best Chicago plumbers, you would. That’s the index, the reverse they’re keeping track of. And then you’d expect those pages to come up.
And then how important is it then, like you mentioned, the New York Times website. How important are relevant links backlinks regarding that query coming up and being served as the first position?
As The New York Times is a popular website, it gets traffic and hits lots of links, pointed to it by many other papers.
When it links to somebody, people say, Oh, this is from New York Times.
Wow. So what do you think the future of the CEO looks like?
Instance. So, for instance, how do you think here’s a question. How do you think I think A.I. is going to how the rule the A.I. will play in search engine results in SEO and search engine marketing?
We see the evolution. We saw in 2012 that Google came out with what they call a knowledge graph to know. They started identifying entities instead of keywords and said, okay, there are certain people, places, and things. People want to find out more information. They want to find facts related to those things. And. We see it all the time. We get millions of searches a day.
We have an idea of what’s happening here. We get all these query logs where we know what types of things people are searching for, what types of questions, and how they phrase things.
They’ve asked for certain types of things. We can answer these questions. We’re just matching the keywords in their queries with words on documents. We’re answering questions about identities and people ask.
So that’s one of the major shifts that’s happened, I guess with the entities being a factor or search engine and making the. Do you think that’s made the search results more relevant and better for the end-user?
I think it’s been going on for a long time. People are not necessarily paying attention.
We see it in places like Yahoo! Where people are asking questions about celebrities. We see it in Google, where people are asking questions about businesses.
I should’ve asked this question earlier, but to be doing what you’ve been doing for so long, you have to probably, in my opinion, have a passion and a love for it. So what is it that you like about SEO so much?
The same reason why at one point, Tom was considering practising law.
Rich. It’s. It’s. Questions are solved by answers with their information filled.
And I guess maybe it’s always is dynamically always changing. There’s always something to learn, I find. I mean, you know, it’s incredible.
They’re there. To use the old statement from the Wizard of Oz. Ignore the man behind the curtains, you mean? Debbie Harry sure does know a lot.
Absolutely. What are some essential myths you’re tired of hearing about?
There are a lot of them. I’ve seen a lot lately that it’s just an old technology called Lanes Matic indexing, which is 88.
Semantic. And it is panning by a Bell Labs for you to drive past it. On time ago, the labs in New Jersey were developed for small static databases.
There’s a patent related to it. An example of the database made out of eight books.
The patent says every time you want to update this index. You need to start from the beginning. Every time you add something new to the index. You need to start over again and re-index.
The Web changes too quickly, people. Ed commented people to lead start people add new pages. Yeah. Create stuff to put on. It’s not small. It’s not static.
So that’s one of them.
So. So chances are Google’s released paper saying we don’t use make indexing. Yeah, we use something that’s called probabilistic weighting, semantic indexing for advertisement
What is a probable probabilistic label?
Semantic indexing, which means it’s just a statistical approach.
It doesn’t just encompass its more static database. It’s better than that.
It’s bigger than that and more complex than that.
With all the patents that Google has for search, they have. I don’t even know how many they have, but they have a lot. How many? 2500.
The net all search for Google through signing Google.
Do you think in their search results like everybody uses Google-like with that many patents they have and hold holdings off of that to produce relevant search results? Is there any chance of anybody ever catching up to that? And taking away market share, in your opinion?
The idea behind it tends to be to exclude other people from using your intellectual property.
So one of the issues with that is sometimes Google will cancel things and you’ll see something similar to that from Bing, and then something very similar come out from Yahoo!
That is exactly the same. The words are different. They run a little bit differently, but they do very similar things. Now, Google probably has a head start on the other two because they’ve developed more stuff in the past few years. Google’s taken away some of the search engine talents from the other two sources.
Interesting. Is there any way to test and see if a Google pattern is actually at play in the Google algorithm? That came from one of my contacts on Facebook.
Sometimes you can read Pat and say, you know, this is in play, this is the news, and something you and say, I know who the heck these guys are. I’ll go look up the authors. And Lincoln said, Oh, you were the head of core web search in Google for 14 years. You must know.
Excuse me. Absolutely.
I’m trying to do the research behind this, but this guy was with some machine learning initiative for years.
There’s one guy who was involved in what was called the annotation framework.
Google and went to work for Foursquare. But not.
But before he was in charge of 13 other search engineers of Google who developed patents, then developed into the knowledge graph.
It’s following the history and reading about some of these people means that you have to go beyond the patent walls.
And take a look at the person who developed it and worked on it. When they move on, as you said, he works for Google, and develops his pattern for Google. Then he moves on to Foursquare, like it’s excluded from implementing what he developed at one company like Google and implementing it into Foursquare.
That’s a point behind the pattern. Yes.
Wonder how he does that. Like, how would you just? Segment that part of your brain off and say, okay, I can’t use that.
You want the.
The threat of being.
You’re working on a lot of stuff that’s somewhat related.
And probably maybe the threat of being sued.
All your work for ten years. Can’t use it.
Yeah, exactly. That’s. Wow. So on that note, like we were talking about, you know, come to the conclusion our patent is no longer, uh, is no longer part of the algorithm, but. What do you think about single variable NCO testing? Single variable as your testing. So, for instance, you know.
It’s like the LSI is based on similar variable testing.
Yeah. Well, yeah, I guess like, for instance, um. You know what comes to my mind that the approach that.
There are some limitations.
It’s not quite as complex as some modern stuff that’s doing similar things like word vectors.
Which are being used, in some of the language models.
You have to forgive me. Don’t even know what word vectors are they?
So. So King is to queen as man is to woman.
That’s their head in certain directions.
You hear the meanings of those words and words around them to keep that in mind, how it fits. There was a linguist, a computer linguist named John Firth. You know the phrase you shall know a word by the company keeps.
Okay. All right.
In just the way words are connected to each other. When you hear knowledge craft.
When he refers to the word knowledge in a patent, they’ll define it for you sometime.
So they’ll tell you. Knowledge means relationship.
So. So now scrap is a relationship graph. It’s a relationship graph.
All these entities are related to each other.
If someone’s building a website, how much attention, how much effort should they place on implementing the proper schema tags? I guess because that’s how you implement the knowledge graph.
There are different ways to implement the knowledge graph. So the one one that I would think about using is I would look for what is known as frequently totaling words. Okay. Right. For the same thing. So you have a page that’s about the president of the United States is going to complete meaningful phrases on it, such as Oval Office or Secretary of State or so on that. If you take them, look at them all together and say, Oh, that’s probably a page about the president of the United States.
That’s the appropriate semantic topic model.
Um. So from your experience and what are some of the most important factors for improving Google search rankings besides the knowledge graph?
So there’s one if we go all the way back one of the original ones from Google is actually Stanford’s patent that was assigned to Stanford. Okay. Once Page developed it, it was a page, right?
Each requisite a way of. Better sorting pages. They were hiring and worked a certain way. It followed something that page called the Random Search for the model. And one of his employees, Jeff team, used a lot of stuff dealing with how Google calls pages, updated it, and turned it into something called the reasonable serve model a reasonable, reasonable search for model. The reasonable model was finding a link on a page and asking yourself, what is the probability that someone might click on this link to go to another page? The higher the probability, the more patrons it’ll pass.
So is that only include like links from like off-page links from others. Then pages to your site.
That includes both external links from other sites and internal ones from your own site.
And it could.
Play it’s partly because it’s one of the features, one factors that determines how pages rank in search results.
So backlinks are still. Like there’s no getting away from. Getting backlinks to your website. It’s illegal to increase your your results.
Google’s been saying in patents that some links are losing value.
It’s from real time results. So in tweets, earthquake. Chances are there’s an earthquake.
And nobody’s had time to link to that tweet that says earthquake.
That’s all that makes so much sense.
Our news story, something that’s like a brand new news story. Empire State Building catches on fire.
If it catches fire, it’s it’s burning regardless of whether or not somebody links to it or not.
Interesting. So therefore that the different sources of link citations or, you know, the sort of link sources is yeah, a link on Twitter that someone is possible earthquake. That’s nothing that’s not really going to. So trying to build.
I was in Virginia earthquake hit 60 miles south of me canned beans rolls off one of my shelves hits kitchen floor. I knew it sounded like somebody ran across a tin roof and sound like something. Right. No legs.
It was definitely an earthquake.
Stupid enough to drive 60 miles south and drive through the town. Drive past a sign that says nuclear power facility.
Ask myself, why am I here?
So what are some ways that people can, you know, acquire backlinks in, like, baseball? There’s lots of. People say lots of different things, but from your experience, like someone starts to build backlinks, like they look at their competitors and see what backlinks they have and go after those and replicate what they’re doing. Do they, you know, other other ways that that can be done based on your experience? Okay.
It’s not a cheat. Yeah. Say you start with a new client. You ask to talk to people who work for the client. You talk to the salespeople. You have to talk to the customer service people. Okay. So contact with customers on a daily basis?
So you can ask what questions are people ask and what are they? We we get a lot of the agency I work with. It has been a number of people at this point in time.
It does. What? What are known as creative working campaigns or creative content campaigns.
Ask questions like that. We worked with the limo dealership and in the limo driver. Drivers told us where people were getting engaged in being here. So we created an interactive map. People can go to click on get photographs. So those place where people get engaged. This was all proprietary information from a limo driver. It’s absolutely. There is stuff people are furious about. We get lots of visits. We get lots of people who linked to the site who talked about the site. We’ve had campaigns like this, not necessarily that one where people on radio stations or TV stations talked about them.
So you’re building like obviously stellar content. That’s such a great idea. By doing investigation into talking to the stakeholders, the. People involved and people are just going to link to it, which obviously makes sense.
No, it. It did. We worked with the jeweller.
And one of my coworkers visits Reddit a lot.
He met somebody on Reddit user hydraulic press website and YouTube with 500,000 subscribers.
He talked the guy into taking one of these diamonds from jewelers and crushing it. With his hydraulic press.
So kind of like the the will it blends thing that the guy with the the crazy blenders.
Right. Wow. So because 10 million views in a matter of months.
And they actually crushed it.
It had a link to the jeweler.
It’s like they crushed it. Wow. I’m sure he asks. Question How well does a crushed garment burned using stone torch? And these videos that.
The amount of links, the amount of links that must have been generated as a result of that one campaign. Do you know, I’m just kind of in shock right now that they crushed a diamond like I know somebody. How much was this diamond worth that they crushed?
It was a 1.3-carat diamond. So it’s worth more than a thousand bucks.
Yeah. That’s nothing to turn in. That’s not a small. Yeah. Hey, I’ll bet you the amount of links that that produced was way more than the value of the diamond. I’m just.
I would think so, too.
Yeah, I’m just guessing here. That is such a neat idea.
So coming up with cool ideas by talking to people to create great content to get. Just natural links of people. People link to things rather than just using steam rush to find your use.
Writer Data Information. People don’t know this. They won’t find the answer.
That’s amazing. There are probably questions that salespeople have and customer service people have answers that people are asking all the time, that nobody taps into that into there.
Yeah. So one of the first tools that I gave somebody was my first in-house IFCO job.
Guy who incorporated businesses. You know, Pat, I said anybody asked you any good questions? Write them out. And then written answers for our website.
Let’s try to figure out what was that first CEO and how seselja.
It was a Delaware intercourse nature. It did really well in terms of incorporating businesses.
Oh, yes. Yes. As you said in the beginning, I didn’t realize that was the very first. I thought you were just building websites, but then you started to build out and do the SEO as well.
Yeah. My friend. Who is his search mechanic job?
You’re mentioning like you like incorporating people.
Okay. So he eventually was able to quit being a service mechanic and do that full time, I’m assuming.
Were you guys able to sell or what you mentioned was a profitable, successful business re able, to just, uh, to exit it and sell it?
He sold it to his partner who had signed somebody else.
So I’m assuming he didn’t have to be a mechanic anymore and started his own or whatever.
He didn’t have to be a mechanic anymore.
So if that’s a great way to get it, it’s coming back to that backlink and creating backlinks. I mean, that’s such a smart idea and, you know, maybe. For some people, it’s something they’ve already thought of. But I guess my question is that that’s a great way to get backlinks. But what about internal linking strategies on a website? How would you approach that? What are some of your favourite ways to because I’m building a website right now and trying to think, how will I interlink these pages? You know.
You do have tools like training frog that you call website.
And they’ll allow you to develop. Visual graphics about how you sort of connect.
You create flowcharts.
Show how pages are connected and identify which pages you want the most links to.
Go back and create points.
That makes so much sense. So screaming frog will actually give you, like, a visual. I’ve used it, but never the paid version, I guess. Um. Although I should, uh. It’ll give you a visual. Sounded like a word cloud that shows you. Based on the way your website’s built, you should aim to make these pages and think this page or that page and so on and so forth. Or is it? You got to think about it yourself.
It’ll show you the visual aspect of it.
It proves some things are true in private, which lets you do the work. Yeah. I want to show you our actual short quotes.
Do you think? Like specifically for WordPress. I know there’s a gentleman I don’t want to say his name just because I don’t know if I should or not, but he’s developed a WordPress plugin that will show you. Different. Different pages you should link. Do you think there’s any value in that or do those things work, in your opinion? Ever seen anything like that?
Internal linking does have lots of value.
I guess I’m just saying the tool. Using a WordPress plugin has to be a pretty sophisticated tool.
There are pluses and minuses with plug-ins.
Is relying on them too much. They can end up slowing down your site.
And site speed plays a. How big of a role do you think safety plays?
If somebody enjoys going to your site and has a good experience there.
You know, before other people, you say, this is with you more likely than not. Yeah.
And I read every 1/2 delay for an e-commerce site. You know, I can’t remember what the statistic was. But. If you have a slow start, it can cost you money definitely in the form of conversions, from what I understand.
And conveyor belts in factories sort of things that.
There’s a question I was going to ask that if you’ll bear with me here. It was on top of that. The internal hacking tools. So what are some? Um. I think you’re an answer to this question, so I’m going to ask that one. So what’s the best way to crawl a site as Google to see if Google is recognizing links on the Web pages from your experience?
So we’re trying to set it up so that it is emulating Google boss.
Yeah. Because someone asked that question from Fey on Facebook about, you know, what’s the best way to do that. And screaming frog is um.
Before screen from there was an older tool I used to use called genie which was it helps you identify broken links and pages to. Oh yeah it, it will identify architectural problems of the website. Sometimes you have problems. Such as spider traps.
Just disappear as it gets.
Duplicated even though they shouldn’t be.
So it gets stuck.
And so. So screaming frog. Is it a man? I’m going to get in it.
And then it’s worth trying.
Absolutely. You know, I’ve been aware of the tool I’ve just never coughed up. That’s De Niro. But now I’m going to be taking a second look at $300. Yeah. Does it take that much money, to be frank, like for your thought, you know, based on how many users they have.
It’s close to £200.
I have no idea how much that was in U.S.. I have a disadvantage because, you know, our listeners need to know I’m from Canada, so we have like a 30% loss on everything we buy, cost 30% more. But anyway.
My birthday happened one year that just came out. I said, Yeah, that’s my birthday present.
My birthday present. Oh, right on. Hey. Do you think so? Here’s a very interesting question. I think so. Anyway. You’re talking about backlinks and backlink from the New York Times being a great link. Yeah. Do you think that there’s a diminishing value in the number of links that goes up from a website? So, for instance, is the first link from the New York Times back to a website worth more than the second link and a third link in the fourth link and the fifth link. Do they diminish in value the more links you get from a source site, or is it all the same in.
Sort of tethering? Couple of things there, but there is a. Links are definitely part of the value that Google looks at when it shortage.
However. Chances are Google’s diminished the amount of weight that carries.
So it doesn’t necessarily have the same amount of weight that it did ten years ago.
That makes sense.
Now we’re saying the real-time and news results. Not every backlink.
Anymore. Not every link. Yeah. Links from. Yeah, exactly. Interesting. Um. What do you think? Like what? You’ve. You’ve worked for various different, I’m assuming. Various different you worked for. Create a site, create a site forums dot com for a long time. And you worked it in different capacities. What do you think qualities are. What qualities are required in order to be effective as an FCO? If someone is wanting to get into an actual role.
People from Google have produced documents where they’re talking about high quality sites and oh yeah, one questions that they have associated with that is, would somebody come to your website and use it? Would they feel so? And that’s that’s if they would feel safe using pressure on your site. It’s a higher quality site.
I get it. But I guess the characteristics of someone who wanted to join Goldfish Digital, which is where you work for, like what? What qualities and characteristics do you look for in those people to be successful in the role of doing SEO? Again, analytical being one of them.
Okay so often. We look for skills, things that we can employ. He would search for an employer in their workers, like a college. It shows that they’ve accomplished something.
There’s some type of history when I’m recommending to people that they study certain things to become CEOs. One of them is building a hobby site. Maybe I’m necessarily mission-critical, but you can learn from you can put your search console on it. Now you have an idea of how works within the framework of the web of things.
That makes a lot of sense. And. I’ve heard that recommended before. It is. If you want to learn and show that you don’t build a hobby site or something around your topic.
You can start with a hobby.
Something more serious.
That you can build a hobby site is a plus.
Absolutely. So do you think that being able to build websites that is building it, being able to build websites, a skill, a skill set that SEO should have, or at least knowing that that the way there the architecture of them is done.
There are lots of moving parts. It doesn’t.
It’s amazing. So as soon as it was obviously based on websites. And. Things have become so complex. How many people do you think it does? It takes two to actually. Get that website to the point where it’s. You know, it’s ready for the market. Like off the top of my head, I can think of six different skill sets. But in your opinion, like.
Obscene sites sexually dropped by one person.
I work with the company that has around 70 right now.
Just the for one person to do everything. Because you think about you have copywriting, you have on page SEO; you have a design, you know, you have information architecture that you have to consider. The optimization and sense of speed, I mean, the various skill sets that are involved. And they always say, like, you know, you should just focus on one thing to become good at one thing rather than being, you know, a generalist, everything. I can’t read what the phrase is master of none or whatever. So it’s just it’s interesting to me that. All of the skills it takes to do a site and pull it off are significant.
It’s why I’m recommending people don’t have it strongly. Usually, it’s the people who are interested enough that they’ll do everything.
Rather than just trying to build something that’s.
No purpose. Their passion behind it.
Okay. That’s awesome. How do you recommend doing site audits? What’s your process behind that?
Usually, somebody needs to come to you with the idea that. I said I would be helpful to them.
And then when I do one, I’ll try to cover everything I can cross every T and dot every. I want to see what works well. What doesn’t work well?
What I might recommend changing.
What are the various different tools that you use? I mean, I’m obviously I’m you’re probably screaming frog beside screaming frog. Are the other tools used for doing site audits?
I usually use Green Frog first and create what I refer to as a content inventory.
A content inventory.
It tells me what exists on that site, which phrases people have chosen, and which they’re using in titles, descriptions, and headings.
Where do you think Google is going with their product review updates?
Multiple directions. For a little while, FuelWatch was grabbing. Phrases from reviews express sentiment and information from those reviews and knowledge graphs. All these statements about sentiment, dealing with products or services from inside.
And that would give people who visited a Web page that had knowledge about for certain business, information about that business and how it works. The idea was to create the general impression that sometimes people will prefer to as a brand.
So that’s the. They’re going in? Yeah, absolutely.
Someone said we’ve seen Google Trends, medical and affiliate sites. I mean, I haven’t seen that. But again, this question comes from people in my network. What area do you think they might clean up next?
This is part of transformation. Again, it’s like when Google is updating stuff like medical sites, they’re using a slightly different classification approach.
So. There’s a lease one patent from Google that is referred to as website representation vectors. Which uses neural networks to classify the language on a web page to give people an idea of who the speakers are. If it’s a medical website created by doctors, was it created by students at medical school, or do they have an idea of who the answers are, who the people decide which questions they should probably be answering.
Can get good sense of which search results should come. From which pages? From which sites?
Based on who wrote it. So the author. The author? Source plays a role in that.
And to some degree is speculation. We don’t know. But it seems like that’s probably what’s going on.
So I’m assuming this person was asked this question because there was, you know, you know, Google was trouncing. And you know, there’s maybe medical sites that weren’t as high quality or authenticity. But are there other are there other niches or industries you think they’re going to clean up next and go after?
There are some medical sites that are written by people who are. More popular scientist.
Like. Like. Show off the benefit of walking through the beach barefoot. Okay. Cool response.
Maybe it isn’t the best way to cure it then. Things like. Like heart disease.
No websites that do things like that.
Oh, wow. Is there a time when you made a site recovery that you can tell me about, like a favourite site recovers site recovery story.
I can hit one quick.
Okay. So we had a we had a site that was having problems appearing in top stories in Google searches.
I had looked at the website and noticed that in the old tags, all the entities being referred to in those pictures were being mentioned twice. So. Oh, that cured stuffing.
Get rid of one mentions. Name these for each of those. They got rid of them and started appearing in those top stories again.
So if I hear you correctly. If I could just repeat that they were using the same keywords in the alt tags to the images.
They were stuffing the keywords. Right.
So they weren’t varying there. There. Wow.
Doing that’s like the 1990s, like.
Like looking at a picture of Matt Damon. You say this. Matt Damon. Matt Damon.
Text. No reason to name twice.
No. So they’re inserting. Inserting the word twice. Okay. What were they doing for this? Were they doing that over and over again for the same images? Or were they just inserting the word twice per tag?
Every day was Christmas. Yeah.
The lesson to learn is only to use one alt tag per image and be different. Different words for every old, every image, and a different old take.
But you name it, he wants and that should be enough.
The importance of like I see people build websites. Yeah. I have a diploma in web design. Not that I think it’s worth it. I put it this way, I learned more from a $500 course.
I have a law degree now.
So. I guess I forgot my question. Uh. Oh, darn it. I lost my train of thought. I’m sorry. We were talking about the attacks. Old images like is the importance of naming images with keywords. Is that. Because I think people just use general terms for images and I’m like, Why did you name this image? Home page banner five. It’s not.
So when Google identifies analyzes videos and they’ve had a video of a movie with the car scene, and it’s like Fast and Furious.
They know there’s a car chase it nowhere. And on the video page does it say there’s a car chase? Google knows there’s a car chase movie clip about the Fast and the Furious.
They they go through the audio of the video. They analyze it. They find the car chase. Someone searches for it. They get to see the car chase.
Just from the audio that they know, that is incredible.
From the image analysis. Right.
Wow. So therefore, there’s a diminishing value in naming your images. We some kind of keyword in the.
Like I was saying, Google is getting smarter using neural networks and things like that to classify pages. They have a better idea why not just flow to with the description of words Google might use on a YouTube page to describe a video? Yeah, actually, they’re watching the video. It’s like Google’s machine learning. Talked about in the past about watching videos to identify which cats were and they were the ones that really identify which videos had cats with cats were, which sounds they make
From the machine learning.
Or machine learning.
And that’s the A.I., the artificial intelligence machine learning, just so that people know, maybe don’t know what we’re talking about. That is unbelievable. Um, is there a favorite project that you worked on that you could talk about? Or share.
I’m not sure I can share them, but. Yeah
Fair enough. Well, I’ve seen certain things, certain technologies that are described in patents, but nowhere else worth.
And when they. When they do one wonders, natural. Whether that shows that supports that provides evidence. So this was a good idea, this one.
We touched on entities in the knowledge graph and if I could come back to this and gain all this is, you know, in your opinion. I’m just saying, how much of a factor does it, like expertise, authority, trust that that whole thing play.
So there, people.
In the role search.
For people who say to complain that there’s no actual eat score.
Yeah, some people say that.
It is as a concept is something that’s related to search results and having doing well within means that you probably. Meaning those little algorithms that result in showing off expertize, authority and trust and not getting some flatline eats for that tells you all you’ve met. Eat today. Congratulations.
The thing is.
Those. Those algorithms exist.
When? When your website shows that there are experts behind this.
From the experts behind it.
So how can that play in normal websites, for instance? North America is mainly made up of, well, at least, the states. There are so many small businesses and small business owners. What are some of the ways that like, for instance, a plumber or an h-back company could implement eat into their the build of their website?
So when I was doing it solo CEO for comments one thing I would give people was a guide. The Stanford Web portability guidelines, are one page and it’s ten items. And it’s things that you can add to your website that show that there’s an actual eat or a website. So, so showed that there’s a real organization behind your website. You can put information about your business on your website, and show you’re expertized and the people who run the website. So you show. Degrees. And you show. You talk about things that you’ve done. Experiences show on your show.
You could be on.
Don’t just tell people what you show me. States, show me that you’ve done this before. Show website exists that does these sorts of things. So you’re showing off eat, but you’re not yet showing that you’ve met these algorithms. Rules come up in older patterns that show they know how to do these things, that show that you know how to do these things.
And what would that document call the game? The Stanford.
I’ve been doing this to clients since it came out around 2004, so I’ve been with them for years, long before, long before there was me, long before there was a very rigorous fashion rule. The funny thing is, they’re both from Stanford.
That’s amazing. The the the the so to Stanford owns patents that are involved in Google. What I mean by that is like at the University of Alberta where I live, I know certain orthodontists have developed the patent that makes people’s teeth grow twice as fast or their jaws move twice as fast. And he’s trying to cut short the lifetime that it takes for an orthodontist to do corrective surgery and corrective work. And because it was developed at the University of Alberta, the university gets a royalty from every cell this guy may ever do.
And Lawrence Ross Page, and Sergey Brin were both students.
And they were working on a project, working with the professor who wanted to battle Japan for a year, but they got a trailer to work at. Yeah. So they’re doing some electronic image stuff, and they’ve started doing the work behind the trailer and found more pieces. They said We’re not going to do this work on the web. So they saw working on the Web instead. The guys, supervisors in Japan watching samurai games and maybe doing some work, get in touch with somebody once, once this as the project’s going to go off real good.
Yeah. So they developed stuff like PageRank. Filed a provisional plan for PageRank that described how it worked.
Sure. Web pages. I know what design thinks. That is the sabbatical, professor. What they’re working on after the fact.
So is that patent owned by Larry Page or is it owned by Stanford? I guess I guess what I’m trying to.
It’s assigned to Stanford as an exclusive license to use. It’s expired since then.
It was dropped in 1998. I paid last 20 years. So it expired in 2000.
Interesting. What metrics do you guys use when you’re doing an SEO campaign? Are you what metrics do you recommend? From an analytics point of view and measure the performance and success of a campaign.
So the recommended approach to that is what we call key performance indicators.
What is the best way of showing off a successful campaign when it’s okay?
So that’s what we do, what we’re working on. One of those things like how many I draw prisoners it takes to crush a diamond.
I have some idea of how much is good traffic to the website.
Yeah that makes sense.
I guess. Yeah. And it would be different for every website or business, wouldn’t it, for instance. Um, you know, I worked for a car dealership for five years as their marketing director, and we measured. Um, new inventory and used inventory. Search Results Select the archive page listings, and then we measured the individual page listings and individual car pages to see if there was an increase in traffic on those pages. So I guess. In that sense. It would depend on the different types of the way you say. It would depend on the different types of businesses that people are involved in, what their KPIs are for those businesses right now.
For a business that would use cars and dealers, you put the type of car you’re looking for in the past, the dealer of one of their dealerships. It would tell you when they had the car.
So, we developed a database of the most popular cars in each state.
It did well. It had like. Three hundred thousand views in a couple of months.
And that was one of our keeps.
Getting lots of views. Is there a process you take that you recommend to take people through to figure out what those KPIs are?
It varies. It involves the station and so on. But yeah.
Yeah. I figured as much. Do you think in your in your experience, there’s. Can you name some? I mean, there’s a white hat, a black hat echoing? Some people say gray hat. Are there any black hat techniques and strategies that, in your opinion, should be avoided?
I. The whole black and white have been just about all western.
Yeah, I agree with you.
It’s not necessarily something that. I think that too much effort was put into these programs at a scale well.
On the watch works but. You can often do a lot of stuff that involves a lot of effective work.
Absolutely. So like, I mean, frankly, those ideas you talked about, about talking to staff and coming up to people who are directly related to the client and coming up with those things, you know, to create links. I mean, there’s no hat involved in that. That’s just a great way to create links. Can you tell me a little bit about the approach you take when, when, when developing an asset, your strategy, just like? High level.
This involves questioning, asking people, salespeople, etc. One client we worked with was a. Chip manufacturer.
Different chips for different customers based on what they’re trying to create. Hmm. We had to have some idea of what their customer base is. Yeah. We helped them create case studies because they wanted to resell different ideas behind different chips and different manufacturers.
So. So we would drop case studies so that people would come along and say, this is our case study. This song applies to us. It’s the one nearest to us.
And that was a strategy in that their customers were self-identifying.
For. My apologies in order for there to be content, to be dictated to be created.
To know what their potential client can do for them.
This interesting question How do you manage your health and fitness in a sedentary job role? So, I mean, like you, I sit around a desk all the time. I’ve gained £40 since I got married.
You work with somebody who has a good department.
Helpful health benefits program. I’ve probably lost £30 in the past four months or so from all the stuff like that from me. Well.
Did you take time out of your day to go for walks and things like that?
I have a stationary bike. I will ride 40 minutes a day.
It trails around me. Uh, I’m in Southern California. It’s always sunny here and there. Always take walks is nearby. Looks good. That’s with a five-foot-wide three-mile trail. And being able to drive out there and walk around is nice.
I’ve never been there, but it looks like an absolutely beautiful place to live. So I would love to maybe one day be able to visit that part of the world.
And mention beach to and walk along beaches real nice.
Oh, wow. That must be amazing to be able to do that. So. Well, thank you for being on the show. I just have some questions about the Rapid Fire questions that have come up. So the first one is coffee or tea.
Fair enough. Let’s see. I like your coffee.
Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
I like the areas of the past to now.
I go to the beach. I’ll go to Coastal one on one along the coast in California here because there are a lot of old diners and shops and things like that.
Right. On a night out or a night in.
Become lazier, like my dad.
I mean. Yeah, fair enough. Do you learn by watching or learning? By doing?
Now you talk about learning styles.
True. I think it varies depending on what I’m learning.
Okay, fair enough. And do you have a bucket list?
Lots of things we like to do and not necessarily the best.
All the things you like to do. So.
Hey, thank you so much for being with us today. I appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to have you here because I know just how big your profile is in the search engine industry. So it’s just been awesome. And a pleasure to have you.
And that I make myself a cup of coffee.
Hey. Right. Thank you very much. Young. Great day.
You too. Thanks. Bye.
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