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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, we have James Walters, President of Click and Create. Matt and James discuss the future of SEO and upcoming trends that can be game-changers for businesses. Watch for some great insights.
Identify the personas first, speak to your audience, know their pain points, and address them. Marketing 101 has never changed, just some of the ways of it has.
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Yeah, that’s always tough. And so the remainder of this year, and I have been saying this for a long time, I think your core values of SEO have always been the same. Creating content. Links are really important because it’s a good indicator and signal to Google that the big powerful sites ranking and linking to you mean it’s a good referral. Your content, people are engaged in your content or sharing your content. And having a backlink is the core of SEO, and I think it is still super vital. Those are probably your important pieces. Of course, there are a million other factors, so trying to determine the most important factor. But if you always go back to your core principles, you’ll be okay. So, you said three factors for 2022?
Yeah, I think AI it’s here, and it’s not going to go away. It will affect all parts of life, not just Google search or search. But it’s going to just creep in more and more and more. Now, I believe that the AI part isn’t that big of a factor. But I think we need to keep our finger on the pulse. Google did a recent release, and they talked about how the search will change; that’s a cool thing where you could combo up your criteria, like a photo with words. So you could go one of the examples today, say you’re looking for a nut-free, dark chocolate bar or something like that. You go to the grocery store, and they’ve got hundreds of chocolate bars. So you sit there and read them all, but you can take your phone and show it, and it would identify the ones with nuts. And they had a lot of cool things coming. They have a lot of great ideas. But when you think about it, the way you’re searching will change, but the fundamentals of search are still there. The way you’re searching, it’s just working on the data keeping the best answer back.
You have to call it your foundation, your structure, your site has to be built properly. Because depending on how much you do about SEO, Google doesn’t index all your content. It looks at the indicators and goes, Okay, this piece of content about this, right? Is there an index it just takes your keywords as a signal, and you’ve given it? We find title tags, organize your content, and optimize it properly; it’s not rocket science, just making common sense. Man, it goes a long, long way, long way. We’ve had tremendous increases in search rankings by just sitting with a client and going into their site, optimizing it, and redoing title tags are important. Just making sure they’re using the right keywords on the pages is basic stuff.
Well, just to make that clear, I’m saying that you have all this content on the page; it’s not indexing that entire piece of content. It’s indexing a page, but it’s using some signals identifying what that page is to be indexed for. When you have a larger site and sit down, it’s hard sometimes. People come to us, and they might have 60 pages of content. And everything’s a mess. And ultimately, it’s your job as a website owner, SEO person, or marketing person to paint the picture for Google. So when they crawl your site, they understand what your site’s about. If it’s all a mess, messy, and there’s no structure, it makes our job much harder. So our job is to go into, you hear the word silos or…
You have, in general, categories of content, right? So, an example of that would be, you have a service, your main service page, like a service that you’re offering, we typically work with, we love services and professional service businesses. That’s hard, especially e-commerce to service. Say you have a couple of different services, right? When your service’s parent page, you’re not going to change that very much, right? Like that service will stay pretty concrete; they’re not going to change that much. But then you’re building a base for it, and you’re going into more niche or niche under that parent page, and you’re linking them all back to their link, and you’re telling Google, Oh, okay, and you can rank for these longer tail keyword phrases on these child pages, linking back to the parent page.
Yeah, optimization and architecture are really important. I still haven’t seen design necessarily, as a great design overtake. I’ve seen some oily sites with great structure do very well to this day. You’re just blown away now. I want to make a point. I keep getting it as we talk. Anyways, go ahead.
I ask versus you know what? I haven’t seen necessarily where just because your design is great. What I’m trying to get across is your architecture and optimization matter more. That makes a bigger impact even to this day. You have apples to apples. Right. The point we’re talking about is that there’s a tremendous amount of content. And you think about Google’s job, but I’m using Google as generic, like Coca-Cola for sort of, yeah. You index all this content in the context of growing rapidly. Their job is to do it, they have to deliver good answers to your questions, or you lose value. They have the best they can to index and deliver the right search results. So if I step back and think about that, I think, ultimately, not just creating content to put out there, but creating good content. And that’s let’s create content. We’re creating content. Let’s just spend the time to make it good. Having a good amount of content is good on your site, but don’t do it just to create content. So when they get engaged, because I think what’s going to matter or how it does is, how long can you stay on the site? How many people are linking to your page? I mean, stay on your page linking to it. How many people are sharing it? All that kind of stuff matters. It’s going to happen more and more as we go forward.
To me, good content means speaking to your audience; your audience is coming to you with the question in your house. And so, the best content is you have a lot of content; you answer the question, you do it visually, that’s just a big old block of content. You mix it up with infographics or photos so it makes sense and it’s easy to read. It’s easy to flow. But I think ultimately, it’s just speaking to your audience, like understanding who will go to that page and answer their questions.
I think you nailed it. I think that’s going to be huge going forward. Because longtail has been around for a long time, more niche searches help conversion rate. So that’s one of the first things we do when we sit down with clients; we want to create personas. Because you have to understand your audience, and it’s amazing, sometimes as a large company, that’s pretty large, 10 million, 20 million, 100 million might come to us. And you don’t know. They were blown over, and they’re like, God, Marketing 101. Because we’re doing a lot now, we’re creating content for each persona so that people can navigate through the site and get the content that makes sense to them.
I am trying to think of an example right now. So we’re working with a company that does marketing. They’re an advertising company. One of the things we did was we went in and did a quick redesign to help increase optimization for a ton of traffic, but they wanted to increase their conversion rate. Conversion rates have gone up a lot. And now what we’re doing is we’re creating great landing pages for each bucket. Because they target different industries, it’s amazing, and we’re creating campaigns around each industry, and it gets to people better. Their conversion rates are so high because you’re speaking specifically to these people and are showing examples from their industry and language for them. They feel you’re talking to them, not to this broad audience. So I think that’s a big trend and I think that’s something people really should think about. So, understand who’s coming to your site if you have a mom, a stay-at-home mom with three kids, or another professional with no kids. Maybe a young professional, like they’re different in what they’re looking for and a lot of times how they view life is completely different. So you can speak to that to them, you can answer their pain points, you can talk to their pain points.
I think the way we search will change. And as far as Google goes, you haven’t seen much Voice Search. I don’t approach a project now knowing that voice search because I think, in my opinion, the words we’re voicing are similar to the words we’re typing. But I think what we’re going to start seeing, and you already are, is the different devices. So like, we have Alexa. Was it the Amazon?
The devices, those things I think are going to be a little bit different. I think those things will start having an impact, where people will be able to work off of those. They’re going to have to be amazing. Or get search results out of that, like, what’s the best Indian restaurant or Mexican restaurant or whatever, you know, Italian restaurants near me? So I think those are things that we factor in. Because it needs to be voice added into Google. I don’t think it changes much versus typing it. Maybe other directories have to get added, too; how do these things get their listing? So those are things we have to think about.
Well, let’s say you’re going to do, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing. If you’re going to do a voice search and say we’re on our phone? How is your voice search different from what you’re typing in search? I’m asking, what would be different? What do you think? Do you think there’d be a difference?
Now, those are going to be different. That’s different. That’s why I think that’s a big change.
And we’re more focused now. I haven’t studied Alexa and understood how they’re getting their search results because it’s not quite a big factor at the moment, but we’ll pay attention to it. Google’s probably using Google’s results, but what’s Alexa using? So those are the questions I need to find out. Another thing to think about is if you have heard a lot about Web 3.0? I mean, with a call on web 3.0?
It’s hard to say. You have to stay present at the moment and know what works now. But then, like me, I’m trying to keep a pulse on the future. About Web 3.0, I’ve been listening to some stuff on it and Blockchain environments, but I think what my understanding of web 3.0 means is from 2.0 to 3.0. The big thing is that it has to make our lives easier. To make that jump. You have to, as a user, see a difference in how you use it. Everything has to become easier to be considered 3.0. And I think in 3.0, there will be more like AI and pieces than plugins whenever we get there. So just a quick example might be, how does this affect search? So let’s say I go to FIFA, the soccer deal, and I buy a ticket to a soccer event, a soccer game somewhere. Because I think it will come down to your digital wallets in the future because I think many people will know about you. But, if I book a trip now, you’ll probably need a place to stay. And so you might have to go out and search, or is that going to be our options will automatically restart being provided to, Simple things like that, because right now you can go out and search because booking.com doesn’t know that I have this trip. But if I have this token for this game in my digital wallet, now I can understand that, and it can provide me with the best solutions. Such things like that would be interesting to keep our eye on because now I’m no longer searching in a way, right?
Yeah, for example, maybe you have an American Express. And so servicing websites is probably a bad example, but just understand that you use American Express, and maybe they offer a discount for certain cards. Maybe because you’re an American Express holder, you get a discount, and you would already realize that and be able to recognize that show you or say you own a Tesla, and you have that token for that Tesla. The ad unlocks certain things for you online; it means that you don’t have to be noticeable.
So earlier in life, I sold cars at one point; that’s a grind.
One thing that kind of leads here, what I saw, is that you always think of car salespeople as pushy and aggressive. The highest sellers at my dealership were the guys that knew the absolute most about the vehicles. People would talk to them, and they could just spew out all the data and get them to feel comfortable. They were the best sellers. The aggressive guys did well, but the guys that knew the most were the ones to reach the top. What does that mean? They’re providing the information.
Whatever changes happen. However, people search for everything, and I think the fundamentals will always stay the same because our job is to make it so that the search engine can easily identify what our stuff is about. Like step one, you just have to optimize it, right? Like understanding how to optimize it. It’s not hard; you can do more technical things. But that’s always going to be a big one.
You already see the impact of video. I think videos are super important not only for, say, SEO concentration but for conversion. Like how many people are they would rather watch a video versus read a whole bunch of content?
I mean, we do a ton of YouTube ads. YouTube ads have been, they’re not great, in our opinion yet to get tons of just like instant action, but they’re super affordable. And it’s such a great brand awareness. Yeah, it’s been really, I don’t think you can tonight.
I think it’s not bad. If a company starts to focus on adding video into their strategy, they will have a leg up probably because they’re already thinking about it and in that mindset. But I think that people adopting video will surely have a leg up. Because we already see how much impact video has. I mean, yes, it’s undeniable.
Sure. This one came up yesterday in a meeting with clients. Finding people to work for you right now is kind of a big tick. I don’t know where all the people are going but before they wanted to work. I have talked to different companies and people about it. So, one of my companies is trying to find people, and they are getting people to their landing page for people to apply, but they weren’t getting what’s called a conversion. They weren’t getting people to sign up, but they hired a videographer to make this video, and they did a very good job of selling it and hitting the key points. Now their conversion rate has gone way up. They also use that video to market, not only on that page. It is a tool that allowed them to get a higher percentage for recruitment, just there alone. People were watching it and were sold. They did an excellent job. They laid out the concept; they made a case for it. But it is so different watching a video. They had testimonials from other people who worked there. It did great. So that’s a good example.
You said something good there. The fees dropped. You don’t need a professional setup to do a decent video anymore. But, what we see too is, when you said in the customer journey, from one of our customers, if you know what you are selling and a lot of the customers we work with, is not that they see your search result and buy your product, multi-role interactions. So once the role touches, and it’s that journey. And so you have to search, and then you see your video on YouTube. Your video made sense. It’s good to think that it’s very hard now to do a one-touch.
We did quite a bit on Amazon, and from when we started working with Amazon has been eight to ten years. But earlier on, we could just run Campaigns as long as you had the product people were looking for, and you could just crush it. But now it takes a lot of work. It’s not easy to break even anymore on Amazon. Then you have to play the game, work on your Title tags and reviews, and this and that.
I don’t see how Google loses its hold on a phone or a computer. I think it will lose some as more and more people get used to seeing all these different things and more comparisons, but I still think they will be dominant. As we discussed, it will be interesting to see these other devices come into play. When was it? A few years ago, Google had a Lawsuit from the Government for having a monopoly on search.
They do, but they were saying that Google paid an astronomical amount of money to come loaded as the computer research engine. I can’t remember if it was Apple or Microsoft; I think it was Apple, but don’t quote me. They were paying this ridiculous amount of money to come loaded.
Yes, preloaded, because that makes a difference. But the big question is, if they weren’t preloaded, I think there are still some people that some weren’t preloaded and would still back people putting Google on there. So from insights, is it their fault, or are we so used to Google why they are still dominant?
They weren’t the first.
I think what did it for them was AdWords, where they made a ton of money, reinvested it, and focused on it. I think it’s hard to see them going away as the dominant force for at least the next five years. Who knows in the future what might happen?
But for now, we still focus on Google first. We are still on it.
It’s a valid tactic today. I mean, you have to have links. Links are so important. Link building is weird because if you are an SEO gaining links and want to succeed as an SEO, it’s hard to get natural, good organic links. There are other sources where people have created huge networks that sell links, which they are not supposed to do. In our business, we are very open. We share everything with our clients. We are very transparent. We will present the options like you can do this, but it is up to you. Because doing that will make this hard if it’s a long time. I’m not a component of doing things illegal or shady, but also, Google has created a game, and you have to play the game. So it’s a very tough environment. You have to have links, and links matter. The right links matter.
Yes, and it is surprising when Google spends a lot of time thinking about it. Because there are say, whenever links are out there, build up a supply of links. And you wonder if complaining to Google will identify links, and suddenly those will get flagged. In other words, if you know that some links are bad, and my advice is if you follow the sound rules, which is doing organic SEO, even though it takes longer and is harder, it will not go away. We have seen in a period earlier on that the more links you had, the better. Well, maybe everyone has seen the spam links, and people don’t like some of that stuff. There have been numerous accounts of things like that. If you are not getting true organic links, my advice is to buy some links.
I talk about this, just in marketing; I agree we are a Marketing company, and we love SEO. I typically search first because I still feel like nothing is out there. You can tell where a customer is in the sales funnel using keywords. They identify people based on their search ranks. There is nothing as powerful as that. So the search is super powerful, but we may just market in general. We have done a lot of search intent displays. We have retargeted connected TV. Streaming audio, you have Youtube. Love sales funnel and automation, and there is much you can do. I always tell people that people may think marketing is something you get up and do and turn on, and you do, and just right through the gate. We sell the major results. You have a smart team working with you, and if you are trying things, analyzing the data properly and continuing to work on it, you will succeed. You just have to put in the time and the effort.
Identifying the personas first. Speaking to your audience, knowing their pain points, addressing them. Marketing 101 has never changed, just some of the ways of it. I don’t think it will go either.
They can hit me on our website,clickandcreate.us. I’m on Facebook. I’m on LinkedIn as well. I’ll be honest, this is crazy, but I’m at work for so many hours in the office that I disconnect when I leave the office. I spend time with my family and love the things we talk about, but I am not on social as many people are because I am so engaged here. I am on technology all day long, so you know what it is once I leave.
Yes. It can be a big distraction. I get on sometimes, and I partake. I don’t do it every day, all day long. I see so many people get sucked in and thought you could handle it, right? I have kids twelve and thirteen who are getting into that world. And it’s like here we go.
You need to fill in the breaks. I don’t want to take away from your ten minutes.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.
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