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Emerging Trends in SEO Algorithms

In Conversation with Mike Lowe

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Mike Lowe, President of Growth Saloon, a one-stop digital marketing agency located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Mike provides valuable insights on effective search engine optimization in this interview. He highlights the significance of quality content, user experience, and relevant keywords. Mike emphasizes the importance of a well-structured website, engaging with the audience, and staying updated with evolving SEO practices. Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

Effective SEO requires a holistic approach, encompassing on-page optimization, technical elements, and off-page strategies.

Mike Lowe
President of Growth Saloon

Hey. Hi everyone. This is Ranmay here on your show E-Coffee with Experts. Today we have Michael Lowe, who’s the President at Growth Saloon. Welcome Michael to our show.

Thank you for having me Ranmay.

Great. Michael, before we move forward and understand more from you in terms of how SEO industry has evolved, what is your take on it?

I request you to introduce yourself and Growth Saloon to our audiences tonight.

Yeah like you said, we do SEO but my name is Mike. I am the president here at Growth Saloon that I’ve been running for three, almost four years now. Started in 2019, we’re experts in SEO but we also specialize in focus in CRO conversion rate optimization, web design, and web development, which we think all of them go hand with any successful campaign.

Absolutely. And SEO has so many aspects to it, we cannot narrow down one to create a successful campaign like you mentioned. Michael talking about SEO, it’s constantly evolving and then there are a lot of trends that happen, and they all have their timelines during which those take place.

According to you, what are some of the emerging trends or changes in SEO algorithms that businesses should be aware of to stay ahead of the competition because it is a cluttered market, and then maintain a strong online presence there?

So there, there’s a lot recently, especially with all these AI coming out which are great tools as well for any business owner.

They allow you to, be competitive when you don’t have the resources to have the manpower of some of these big competitors of yours. But a big one from even last year that continues to main prominent is the video and incorporating high-quality video into your SEO campaigns, the content that you’re publishing.

Google likes that it gives people quick answers. It gives visual and audible learners a way to learn from your content and ingest it, especially people with any visual impairments or disabilities. It gives them a way, to digest your content as well. Whereas previously they can’t.

And it’s more convenient than obviously reading thousands of word articles, many SEO campaigns required to be competitive, so the video is huge. The big one, and then we talked about this too in the past Ranmay is EAT, that one came out last year with Google. Which was just known to be your expertise, your authority, and your trustworthiness in any given topic that you’re trying to rank for.

So topical authority became prevalent last year, but now what Google’s been emphasizing and what should be emphasized in any good SEO campaign is the user experience. And so what they’ve just released in their previous updates has been what some people call the double eat update.

So now it’s still expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. But there’s another E in the beginning for the experience. And so it’s more not only just user experience but displaying your experience in any of these topics. So if it’s a product that you’re trying to market what’s your experience in using the product and what are other people’s experiences in using that product?

If it’s a service, what’s your experience with that service and other similar services that will lead into the rest of EAT. So those are the kind of trends that you need to keep up with the updates that’s what professional SEO’s should be doing because the other, techniques, we still apply them, but they get outdated.

And if you’re only applying them, you’re gonna lose. But video and just really focus on optimizing for the user experience in any way you can, which video does, and it’s gonna make your content that much more valuable and Google will see that and they will reward you because your content is valuable to their users.

Absolutely. And then you did touch upon AI which is a very, burning topic these days and the storm that we all are in. What is your take on AI in general? Where are we heading? Exciting times ahead, how do you look at it?

A lot of people get threatened by AI and as an SEO, especially with all the updates that we know Google’s gonna be rolling out, it is scary because the times are uncertain.

But I’ve loved AI for years now, even before I was doing SEO. It’s really exciting to see how far it’s come, especially since it hit the mainstream, not even probably a little over a year ago where I think Jasper Jarvis. If you remember, yeah. That was like the first real big mainstream tool that we were seeing in SEO.

And now a year later you get tools like Chat GPT which kind of just opens the floodgates with open AI. With all these new tools, and so my prediction was we’re going to get a lot of really awesome tools that we can leverage to make even better content and do our job that much better too for our clients but you’re going to get left with a lot of half-done tools because of how quickly these tools are progressing and coming out. People make these awesome solutions and then they leave these products almost like in a beta stage where it’s like some of the features work, some of them don’t work or they just don’t work at all.

So now the challenge becomes free to be able to sort through all the crappy tools and find really powerful tools that you can use and add to you what I refer to as my toolbox, right? And so I love ai. I think it’s really exciting. It’s gonna be really interesting to see though, how SEO develops for the next year as Google starts to roll out Bard into yeah, their search result pages.
That’s gonna be a challenge. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like beyond there, but it’s exciting. I like AI.

Great. And as you mentioned, people get scared, especially content writers, it can never really be your final product. You still got to have some human mind, hands, and brain to it to have that finesse in the final product or deliverable product as we say. Yeah, but exciting times are ahead, right?

They’re jumping off points, right? Yeah. They’re, if you just if you put something in Chat GPT and you get all page written for you, all Chat GPT is doing and the other AI tools are doing is scraping the search results or, yeah.

With Chat GPT even the older models like three, 3.5, and even four don’t do live web scraping. They’re scraping whatever’s in their database for that topic already. Yeah and so if you’re only getting the contents spit out for that topic, you’re not adding any new value, your content’s not going to rank.

It might maybe. If you’re lucky, you get on the first page of an uncompetitive, sir but for the most part, you’re adding no value. You’re not focusing on the user experience, and you’re not gonna get rewarded because of it. But if you use it as a jumping-off point where you can now add stuff and do that kind of skyscraper method, right?

That’s where it’s a tool and it’s not just something that you’re using as a cheat code or a workaround for an easy one when it’s not gonna happen.

Yeah, I’m not gonna stay for long for sure. As we have learned the hard way in all these years. And talking about content marketing and SEO often go hand in hand because like they say, the old saying goes, content is the key.

Can you elaborate on the relationship between the two and share insights into, how businesses can create content that not only ranks well, but also, engages with its prospective buyers or, target audiences and converts those visitors into customers, and, gives them that trigger to purchase their product or service.

Yeah, so content is king, right? It is critical for any successful SEO campaign. You can do a lot of things that we’ve talked about in the past, like technical SEO, get your page performance to be high, that’s good for user experience. Hit your on page SEO stronger. Make sure that your keyword density is good for your articles because that’s going to help Google.

Their algorithm identifies you in their massive database of billions and billions of pages as a page that likely is talking about any given topic that’s being searched, right? But content is the underlying piece of all of these campaigns, and without content, without new content, you’re not going to rank, you’re not going to have a successful campaign because Google wants not only high-quality content but also want new content that answers questions even better than the existing content.

So in your content, you should be looking to do a lot of things, like a lot of people make the mistake, they’ll use these SEO tools out there that you write, let you write a high-quality article right off the bat, and know what your keyword density should look like and what other keywords should be roped in but when they do that right, and they’re just writing in that kind of page editors, they’re just writing for the Google album, they’re not writing for the user and so that doesn’t work anymore. Whereas before you should start that and you should write your article first. You should break it down and write a high-value piece of content.

Then go plug it into one of these SEO optimizing tools and then you can add your keywords in there next, right? Then take your articles. If it’s high value, go make a video for it. Don’t make one of those easy AI videos, cause they all sound like crap, right? They’ve all got the same robotic voices that no one wants to listen to.

I don’t know what Google does, to prevent that in the future. I’m sure they’ll find a way. They’re a trillion-dollar company. Google will figure it out. Go make a high-value video though, that has someone going through each component of the article that you can then go paste into your content at the very top when you publish the pages, right?

And, you do this, you do that, you do a few more other things to just add value to your readers. And yeah, your content is King and it will win. I don’t know, you’re not gonna guarantee the number one spot or even the first page, but it will get noticed by Google and there’s a very high likelihood that gets put on the first page over the people who just optimize through the SEO tools.

So yeah. That’s how I’d focus on content. Just focus on the user at all times in your user experience. Do just little things. Even adding tools to your website could be a piece of content you know. If you think your users will use it like calculators are big, that’s gonna add value to your users and your user experience goes up, they’ll stay on your site longer and Google will notice that as well.

So you’ll start winning in other areas besides just that main piece of content.

Absolutely. And you have been in the industry for so long now, Michael, from your experience, what are some of the common pitfalls or obstacles that entrepreneurs face while trying to scale their business? And what are some of the effective strategies to overcome, those obstacles that come their way early in the all in the hustle?

So, common pitfalls. There’s one that comes to mind cuz it’s something that I have been in the industry, I’ve been in entrepreneurship for six, almost seven years now too. And it’s something that I’ve noticed not just in my own business. But in client businesses as well when you scale, you need to begin to delegate. And with me, when you spend all this time making a business, I take a lot of pride in my work, right? My reputation is on the line with every client that I take on and their project success. And you get a lot of reluctance almost to even delegate a single task to somebody else and think that somebody else can do what you do as well as you do and they don’t need to, is a hard thing to accept, right? You need to find people who can do little components of it. SEO has all these components.

You’ve got content writing. You’ve got the on-page, you’ve got the technical, and you have the link-building we talked about earlier. That can’t all be done by one person.

If it is by one person, you can’t scale at all. And so strategy for me was, all right we can either be okay with where we’re at and we can take on maybe three projects at once, or we can learn to delegate. And you have to force yourself to delegate. But for people who don’t, that’s the pitfall, right?

You hit your plateau, you can’t break through. You can get more clients, but all of a sudden they’re not gonna get results and they’re gonna start churning and all of a sudden, you’re even worse than where you were before.

So learning to delegate is something that should be prioritized if you’re looking to scale any business, and just finding people who can do little components, as I said, that can do it, 75% as well as you do it. And then all you have to do is focus your time and energy on bridging that gap to be closer and closer to what you would do. And people learn a lot quicker and you realize that, that you are pretty great.

I’m very confident in my abilities, but people can do at least one portion of your business. Just as good as you can do over time if you train them and learn to train them. So that’s the pitfall. I look out for the biggest one.

And by delegating, you also see other perspectives of it.

While we are cluttered in terms of what we are doing is sent person you get to also see another side of it, someone try their hand at it. Maybe not a perfectionist, but you never know, it’s good to have two, or three minds, sharing their knowledge pieces on a particular subject, and then you find your best practices as an organization out of it, and then you make it your Bible and put it in your value system, right?

So you never know that, and in today’s digital landscape Michael, user experience, as you mentioned earlier, has become so important, and as per Google, as well as per, different search engines as well. So how can businesses, create a seamless and user-friendly website experience that not only, satisfied the search engine’s criteria, the algorithms,
and the signals, but also engages with the visitors and the target audiences?

That’s something that I’m still figuring out as I go but I’m better at it now, than I once was. And a lot of SEO’s, their pitfall maybe some of them don’t even see as pitfall is we’re good at making content that’s gonna rank. We just spend a lot of time talking about content but a lot of them, when you look at the pages that these people are getting, they’re landing on, these are shitty pages. They’re 5,000 words long. And you feel it when you’re a user scrolling through 5,000 words. But most SEOs, don’t care if their job is to rank the content. They don’t have to care about that but unfortunately for them now, user experience is getting so prioritized by Google as it should that they need to. And so something that I started doing in the past, A year and a half or so is just focusing on developing my own web design and development skills but then building out my team for that as well so that I can incorporate all this content.

And you don’t wanna hide it as people did back in the day with SEO, but incorporating like little Carousell or something, or incorporating tabs into your posts through your pages so that you can have, maybe you have seven different sections of SEO content that you’ve just written for a list.

For any given page or topic you’re running on, we’ll incorporate some tabs there so that people can click and they see. All right, here’s number one. Maybe let’s call it I, we talked about law earlier, but let’s call it personal injuries, right? So personal injury case types. One: Car accidents, Two: Truck accidents, and you have all this big blurb underneath each of those that only becomes visible, and the tabs are clicked, and now the user’s engaging with your content, right which Google’s going to love and see.

It’s going to keep them there longer, right? And they’re not stuck scrolling through 5,000 words straight because no one’s gonna read that unless they’re doing, a full-blown research article, which on most of these topics we write, no one’s doing research articles on them.

Little things like that, help break your content up, and some images, make the user experience better. Some videos that we talked about will make the user experience better.There are just little tricks that you can incorporate into your content like that, that will create a nice and optimal user experience. And then going back to the beginning of our conversation. The technical components and the page speed have to be fast. If people are stuck there waiting for your page to load, no one’s gonna stick around.

They’re going to bounce. Google’s going to see your bounce rate go up and your SEO is not going to rank.

And then you did mention conversions and, revenue at the beginning. These terms sound very good music to the business owners. What is your strategy around it? How do you measure these tangible parameters and, the success of the campaigns? How do you all, put it and, try and achieve the set objective and also showcase it to the business owners or your clients?

So what I do on all my campaigns is being a business owner myself, I know. Most SEOs try to sell on traffic, right? The traffic is great. They try to sell on keyword rankings. They try to sell on a reduced bounce rate. And these are all things that are required for a successful SEO campaign and the metrics that we look at are KPIs. But as a business owner, maybe you can sell them on traffic, but you have to realize the reason that they’re going to look at traffic and you can sell them on it, is because they’re now bought into the notion that they want to increase their revenue and this is the way that they think they can do it.

And if they don’t see revenue increase while the traffic increases, you’re going to waste six months on an SEO campaign. If you have a six-month retainer or a 12-month retainer, you’ll waste 12 months. And if you don’t get that revenue to go up, you’re gonna get chopped. They are not going to have the revenue to keep paying you.

So the main KPI that I do with any of my businesses is ROI and revenue tracking, especially. And so one does tracking the intake for them as far as leads go, how many of those are converting into sales, right? What are those sales equating to as far as revenue for the business? Tracking all of that, you can show them a very tangible, okay, you started here in your web traffic.

In these cases, they don’t even follow up traffic. They’re looking for revenue, right? If web traffic goes up, we know it should increase the revenue too, so the revenue goes up. Not only can they afford to keep paying you, Which is the number one priority, right? So you don’t wanna just wait six months for six months, doesn’t help.

Doesn’t help your needle move as a business. But two, tracking that revenue over time. All of a sudden the revenue goes up and they start to identify this as an investment activity which they should. It’s no longer a spend, it’s an investment. And so maybe they started at a $2,500 retainer, $5,000 retainer a month, 10,000 a month, whatever it is, as the revenue goes up and you show them a 400%, 500%, 600% r o i, or even higher, like most campaigns I do humbly plug most campaigns I do get higher ROIs than that, which is nice.

It takes a lot of work to achieve that and they love seeing it. All of a sudden, they have more revenue and more money to invest in this revenue-growing activity as they see it. So now you go from 10,000 a month to 20,000, 30,000, 50,000, a hundred thousand dollars a month, which seems impossible when you’re first swimming out of SEO.

But when you focus on revenue, you’re gonna grow their business and they’re gonna grow your business for you because of it. Absolutely.

Absolutely. Michael, it has been lovely speaking with you and understanding the thought process around SEO and conversions and you know how to track those campaigns as well.

Before we let you go, I just want to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope you are game for it. Yeah. Okay, great. So what was your last Google?

search? Last Google search, EAT. Just refreshing, to make sure that I get the acronym right when we talk about it today.

Okay. That’s like doing your homework. Perfect. And are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m a night person. My clients know they can access me at all times of the day, as long as it’s not before 10:30 AM. There are emergencies where I have to do that but yeah 10:30 and later is when they can access me. But they know they can access me until midnight, one o’clock in the morning because I do my best work that late at night.

Superb. Where do we find you on Friday evenings? Post office?

Post office, I’m gonna be in the office until nine o’clock most Fridays. And then you’ll find me on my favorite Fridays on my couch, just doing nothing and just recharging and resetting for that upcoming next week. Okay.

Okay, great. Let’s say we have to make a movie on you, what genre would it be?

Genre historical fiction, like a Django Unchained kind of movie or like an inglorious bastards kind of movie. I don’t have that much excitement to build yet, but I’m sure we can find a way to incorporate that into the movie to make the movie exciting. Great.

And the last one, I will not grill you any further. And this is about the industry, what is the best thing that you like about this industry that we all are in let’s say our jobs? You know what we all do.

I love a lot of the industry. I like the challenges, but really what I love about this industry is, what a community it is. When you’re doing high-quality work, you work with higher-quality people and your team grows as well. So like you find a lot of people who are very capable in all these different areas of SEO and just in, my legal niche in general.

So you work with them every day. I’ve got me, I’ve got people across the world I work with in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, in the Philippines and Israel, as we talked about, but I also have people I work with in the States every day. Like my guy Taylor, my guys Jordan and Corey, who make, all of this possible.

And we all come together to generate the success of these campaigns. So you all gotta, get the bask and the glory together at the very end of it too.

Great. Superb. Thank you Michael once again for taking out time for this podcast. I’m sure our audiences will have benefited a lot from, what they heard about SEO and digital marketing at large from you. I really appreciate you taking out time for this man. Thank you.

Absolutely. Anytime.

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