MTM Ep#6: Hungry for #1 rankings? You need the E.A.T framework with Alex Swope

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I’m joined today with Alex Swope.He’s a dear friend but also a resident SEO SME (Search Engine Optimization Subject Matter Expert) here at WebMechanix. Alex has years and years of experience under his belt dealing with tons of different clients, industries, and sizes. He’s seen it, he’s smelled it, and if your problem has to do with SEO, this is the guy to talk to.



– Google is paying very close attention to what it calls the concept of E, A, T, EAT. Welcome back, I’m Arsham Mirshah, your host. I’m joined with Alex Swope today, the Swopener. The, I’m not even gonna. He’s a dear friend but also a resident SEO SME. Probably the resident SEO SME (Subject Matter Expert in Search Engine Optimization), here at WebMechanix. Years and years of experience under his belt dealing with tons of different clients, different industries, different sizes. He’s seen it, he’s smelled it. If it’s Search Engine Optimization, this is the guy to talk to. And near and dear to my heart also because that was the first service line of our agency and therefore like the first kind of marketing channel that I learned, went really deep into. So I love this topic, and thank you for joining us today.

– Yeah, absolutely, thanks for having me.

– Of course, of course. So, well we wanna talk about Search Engine Optimization today. In particular, Google. Biggest search engine in the world, I think they have 70 or 75% of the search market share. So what they say goes. You know, what they say goes and you should probably listen to their guidelines. Speaking of their guidelines, can you tell us about their guidelines?

– So this is crazy, so Google actually has a document. It’s 168 pages, it’s a PDF, and you can just download it. It’s available on the internet.

– Free of charge.

– Free of charge and it literally details what they consider high quality content and they go over a couple of concepts in there, but good thing to know about this, is this was written for humans to actually go through and evaluate websites manually. So you know they’ve got the Google algorithm, which is doing a lot of work behind the scenes.

– Right.

– But they also have, you know, folks going in and kind of like manually checking things and giving–

– So hold on this was Google’s guidelines to it’s own kind of quality search team?

– Exactly.

– Search and span view, really?

– Exactly, so–

– I didn’t know all that, I thought it was for webmasters. I guess it could, webmasters could use it too.

– No, no. No, and they have you know, different guidelines that they put out for that, but this is kind of like an internal document that Google put out for these folks, so it’s like a step by step guideline. You know, look for this kind of content and example of high quality this or that would be X, Y, Z. I’ve got examples of that.

– Let’s zoom out a second Alex, right?

– Okay yeah, sure, sure.

– This is good, so I didn’t know that. I thought that they had put it out to webmasters like hey, you know, use this. Okay didn’t know that, it’s an internal document. 168 pages. Let’s make this podcast the TLDR, the too long didn’t read, because he read it. 168 pages, I did not, so he’s gonna TLDR it for me and for you out there. But first let’s talk about Google. They’re a search engine, they have a mission. Their mission is:

– To organize the world’s information. That’s the number one thing that they care about. It’s not based around ads, although that’s where they get ton of revenue. Their stated mission is organize the world’s information.

– Yeah, and so, you know if you think why do you use Google, why does 75% of the world use Google? I don’t know if that’s the US or the world, check me on that. Why? Well I think it’s because they deliver the best answer to your query, right? And so if they’re doing their mission right, they’re organizing the world’s information, then it stands to reason that they can also then deliver the information that you want in half a millisecond. So they’re looking for publishers. Businesses, publishers, content creators to come out with the best information in their field and mark it up using HTML so that it’s easily digestible by Google’s indexing spiders. Did I go way nerd too fast, or?

– I think that’s basically it. You know another way of thinking about what they’re trying to do, is they’re trying to give the user the best experience.

– Thank you.

– And if they’re providing the best answer that’s most relevant to what I type in there, then I’m having the best experience.

– Right.

– If I have to go through 10 pages of Google to find what I’m looking for, that’s not a good experience.

– Right, right.

– But as we all know, nobody ever really goes past the first page. You know, you usually see what you want in that.

– Or you change your query.

– Or you change your query because you’re like oh okay I wasn’t specific enough, or I’m getting things that don’t match my intent.

– Right, good point.

– And some of the ways that Google tries to match up your query with the best quality content, is not only through this algorithm, but also kind of double checking it against these more manual principles, and guidelines. So we can assume that these principle and guidelines outlined in this document are informing their algorithm and vice versa.

– Right, yes, we’re making that assumption. Making that leap, but it’s not a big leap to make, I mean from our experience, I know you’d agree with this, like if you follow these guidelines, you tend to see your site ranking higher for the queries that you want it to rank for.

– Yeah.

– Right? And then you get the clicks and then you know presumably you get the conversions and then the money, right? So let’s do this TLDR. So give me the big principle man, what’s the big kind of takeaway here?

– Yeah and so one of the thing I wanna say is that, you know when we’re talking about SEO, a lot of times people talk about like keywords and length of content and back links and, you know this, that and the other thing. You know, make sure that your page title and your H1 have the primary keywords you’re going after.

– All this technical kind of stuff.

– Yeah, and like that’s all very important, but that’s not really what this document outlines. This is more about the quality of the content.

– Yes.

– And kind of that more qualitative aspect of it rather than okay is the keyword there? Is it relevant to what the user types in? That’s kind of assumed as like a precursor. So, you know that’s a whole other topic that we talk about.

– Sure.

– But we’re talking mostly about like the content itself. Well–

– And the quality.

– And quality. So the big two things that are outlined in this document, big two concepts that if you don’t remember anything else, remember these two things. Google is paying very close attention to what it calls “Your Money” or “Your Life” pages.

– Mm hmm.

– And it’s evaluated based on the concept of E, A, T. Expert–

– EAT.

– EAT, which is why I wore my donut shirt today.

-He’s eating donuts!

– And that stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

– Okay.

– So let’s start with the “Your Money” or “Your Life”, because I think that’s just important. The E.A.T applies to everything that Google’s looking at.

– Yeah, “Your Money”, “Your Life” is kind of a subsegment, so this is very–

– Right.

– If you’re, if I–

– Go, this is all I got.

– If your industry has to do with money, so debt consolidation or credit cards or banking or probably anything “Your Money” or “Your Life”, so anything health related in this case, right? So health and wellness, I don’t know, supplements, or hospitals or home care, whatever.

– Yep.

– This is what we’re talking about.

– Yep and so another thing that I didn’t even realize until I went through the document was that the “Your Money” part also applies to any kind of e-commerce or shopping stuff.

– Oh wow, see, yeah.

– So it doesn’t even have to be, you know, something that is–

– Financial services.

– financial services. It can be literally like “I wanna buy a pair of shoes”.

– Wow.

– So you know, they consider

– That makes sense. Because they want it to

– you know,

– be secure.

– that broader.

– Okay.

– Exactly.

– So it’s even broader than what I was talking about, so wow, this applies to a lot of y’all out there then.

– Yeah, anyone running an e-commerce site or any kind of shopping platform, this applies to you as well. “Your Money” or “Your Life”.

– So what about that? So what are they saying in the document about “Your Money”, “Your Life”?

– So the E.A.T, aspects that they evaluate a site on, doesn’t tell whether or not it’s high quality. They hold a higher stricture.

– Higher standard.

– The bar is higher.

– For “Your Money” or “Your Life”.

– For “Your Money” or “Your Life” pages.

– Mm hmm.

– You know, if it’s a recipe for how to bake the best cookies, they’re less, they’re more lenient on that. Or if it’s like, you know a strictly informational like, oh how to play, you know, Arsham teaches you how to play guitar.

– Right.

– Then they’re less strict on what they would consider high quality.

– Okay.

– And for “Your Money”, “Your Life” pages, the strictures are much much higher.

– I understand, okay.

– Yeah.

– So expertise, authority and trust.

– Exactly, so let me break that down a little bit, because there’s overlap between those three.

– Okay.

– As you can imagine. But generally speaking, expertise is about who wrote the content. So did somebody write this page about, you know, the best way to you know, defend yourself from a legal issue? Did someone whose a lawyer write that content?

– Uh huh.

– Or is it unclear who wrote this content?

– Oh wow, really?

– Is there like an author byline who I can go look and see, is actually someone that has expertise an this field.

– Okay.

– Does it seem like the quality is in-depth and written with a sense of expertise?

– Okay.

– Is it citing other sources?

– Yeah that’s good.

– As a reference.

– Right.

– Or is the piece basically just saying trust me.

– Or is it just a bunch of words on a page.

– Yeah.

– You know ’cause it’s the internet. Anyone can just hey I read it on the internet, it must be true, right?

– Exactly.

– So right, okay.

– And so you can imagine you know, if Google is putting a bunch of information out there like, oh the recommended dosage of Aspirin is 10 times where it actually is supposed to be, yeah that could be super super harmful for somebody. And so Google has a vested interest, not only in, you know the health and safety of the people using it’s service, but also you know, kind of like an obligation to present the correct information out there.

– Right. That makes sense, so but like how does that. What is the implication of that, if I’m like a, whatever business owner or a, If I’m a VP of Marketing, like how do I, do you know what I mean, like what?

– Yeah.

– Do I go and put a by–

– What’s the action.

– Yeah, what’s the action? Do I go put a byline on every single one of my service pages or product pages?

– Yes, so.

– You know, I mean.

– Probably not, right? But what you do wanna make sure is that you are writing content that is showing that you’ve got an expertise.

– Okay.

– It’s written by somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

– Mm hmm.

– So a lot of times marketing departments, you know, the onus to write the content might be on you. You might have to go out and find freelancers that need to write the content because you may have internal subject matter experts that aren’t able to take the time to write the content out. Especially if you’re responsible for producing, you know, multiple blog posts a month and things like that. And so what you can do is you can either find a freelancer that has–

– Expertise in that field.

– Expertise in that field, or if you have a particular service line or a product that’s relatively niche, that there is not a lot of freelancers out there that have the experience. Something that we found really really effective in our own work as an agency is doing informational interviews with the subject matter experts. So having someone that knows how to write and write well and knows how to write for the internet, knows how to write an SEO optimized piece of content.

– Right.

– Do an interview based around keyword research.

– Yes.

– So that it’s driven from that marketing strategy and then you’re asking the appropriate questions to pull out the data–

– From the subject matter.

– From the subject matter expert.

– Right.

– And then that, in a 15 minute conversation you can get enough content to write two or three blog posts. Or to really beef up your services pages in a way that shows that expertise. And you know, you can certainly include an author byline or co-author a piece between you know, your marketing department and the subject matter expert. That’s probably more important for like a medical topic or a law topic.

– Right. So “Your Money”, “Your Life” stuff again, right?

– Exactly. So if, especially if you’re operating in that kind of field, you know if you’ve got like software as a service or something like that.

– But it may not be as important.

– May not be as important to show that like you have someone that is a software engineer writing the piece of content. But–

– Right.

– If your target audience is software engineers, they’re probably gonna be able to tell whether or not a technical person wrote that piece.

– I would agree, and I’m glad you said keyword research because I think that’s where the marketing department can help bring, make sure, so, you wanna make sure your piece is– shows that you’re an expert, has expertise right? Well people are searching in Google all day, all night about your topic, about your industry, so you can do the research to see the kind of secondary keyword they’re using and then bring those to the interview of the subject matter expert. So it’s like, tell me about the benefits of it, tell me about the price, tell me about the, I don’t know, competitors, tell me about whatever, you know what I mean? Whatever you find as a secondary, you as the marketing person bring that to the informational interview or the subject matter expert, thereby, really drawing that expertise out.

– Yeah.

– You know?

– And you’re directing them.

– Yeah, you’re directing them, right.

– The whole reason you’re doing this because the subject matter expert doesn’t have a lot of time. So if you can say look, we’re gonna be talking about these particular topics because, these are the things we see online that are really really important to people. That’s what people wanna know. I mean keyword research is basically business intelligence.

– Yeah.

– It’s basically people saying this is what I wanna know about, so tell me about it. Show me that you know about it and do it in a way, this is where the marketer comes in, writing for the web, doing it in a way that is easily digestible, easily, you know, easy for me to read and scan.

– Yeah, and talking about like thought leadership, I know a lot of folks out there, you know CMO’s are probably like how do I become a thought leadership in my industry. How can we promote that? You know, these expert interviews are a great way to demonstrate that thought leadership because you’re literally going to the source, the thought leader, and pairing that, you know, with like you said, the business intelligence of the keyword research. In order to get that, you know, synergy between the marketing department and the, you know, actual subject matter experts. And you put those two things together with the right kind of promotion strategies, all of a sudden, you’re out there in front of your user base or your customer base saying like hey, here’s some knowledge I’m about to drop on you.

– Right.

– And all of a sudden you look like a thought leader to them.

– Yeah, there you go.

– So.

– So that’s expertise.

– Expertise.

– In EAT.

– Yeah.

– Okay.

– E, A, T. Onto A, the authority.

– Okay.

– And this generally has to do more about where is the content appearing?

– Okay.

– So expertise, whose writing the content.

– Okay.

– Authority, where is it appearing? So it’s on your site. And as you can, there’s kind of like some overlap.

– There’s overlap, yeah feels like.

– You know? So let me disambiguate a little bit here, so if we were to look at like the site and say okay on WebMechanix, who is WebMechanix?

– Mm hmm.

– They’re, okay they’re a marketing agency.

– Sure.

– Are they, you know, have they been around for a while?

– Uh huh.

– Are they linked to, from other kinds of–

– Other prominent sources, right.

– Prominent sources, especially you know, professional organizations or high quality websites.

– How about how often do they, how often do they add new content?

– How often do they publish new content? What’s the content about?

– Right.

– You know.

– Is is semantically relevant.

– Absolutely.

– Like are they writing about fish one day and then I don’t know, microphones the next day.

– Absolutely, so yeah. And so if we have a bunch of content on SEO, all of a sudden we start publishing content about what you know, the best microphone to use on your podcast is?

– Yeah it’s weird.

– Yeah, all of a sudden, Google’s like, uh, you know what, that’s not related to the rest of their content.

– You’re not an authority.

– They might not be an authority on that.

– There you go, well said.

– Yeah, so. Couple of things, there are obviously backlinks. References from other places. Kind of demonstrate that you’re an authority. In a particular field. The kind of content that you’re producing. The amount of content that you’re producing. And likely we said, you know the semantic.

– The semantic relevance.

– Relevance, which it also goes into how your content talks to each other.

– Right.

– Whether or not your content is linking to other relevant pieces. So with that, it kind of goes into the site architecture a little bit as well.

– Right, yeah.

– So authority encompasses a lot of things, but you can generally think of it as the “who”. You know, are the / is the org– sorry. The expertise is who created the content. The authority is where is the content appearing, but also the “who” of the organization.

– Okay the organization, so right.

– Yeah.

– So larger, the larger, the macro, the more macro like.

– Yeah.

– The org or the site really, I mean in this case

– Yeah because you know, you think about a piece of content written on the New York Times. You know, that journalist is not the New York Times.

– Right.

– But because it appeared on the New York Times, they’re very authoritative.

– Right.

– So–

– Right, right.

– It lends credibility and quality, you can assume that because there’s you know an editorial process, and because they know what they’re talking about generally, that this piece, you know, has a kind of halo affect.

– I understand.

– Extending out to it.

– Right.

– Right?

– Makes sense, makes sense.

– Yeah.

– There is definitely an overlap here. Because you could have, you know you could have a blog that is the thought leadership or like the personal blog like Seth Godin’s blog, right? That’s Seth Godin. That’s your expertise and your authority all in one.

– Yep.

– You know. So there is, there is, I see your overlap.

– Yeah and that’s like a personal brand kinda crossover for sure.

– Sure right. So does it also then, so E, A, T, trust. Does it also, does it also kind of overlap with trust?

– And trust definitely has to do with the organization and like where is this appearing. But more so than that, it’s about whether or not you can be trusted. So this has to do with what other people think about you.

– Okay.

– So not only are you being referenced and linked to from other outside authorities.

– Mm hmm.

– But also are there reviews?

– Mm, okay.

– Because you could be linked to from a bunch of different places.

– But it may be bad!

– You could have a bunch of like really crummy reviews.

– Right!

– That say like hey, these guys are you know. Not trustworthy, I didn’t get the service that I was promised, you know. The quality is very low.

– That’s a good point.

– And so that can be you know it’s whether or not you’re reputable.

– Mm hmm.

– In a sense, and whether or not you can be trusted to provide the correct information.

– Right.

– Or whether or not people generally have a good experience with you.

– So again back to the action, so you’re talking about reviews in this case.

– Yeah.

– I think also you could look at your backlink, you could do like a backlink analysis so you can look at all the companies, or all the sites that link to your site, and look at what anchor texts they might be using.

– Right.

– Is it favorable?

– Is it scam?

– Right, right.

– Or not. But hopefully not.

– It’s like check out this scam! Like that’s nowhere near as good as like, you know, this awesome service, right? So that’s, that goes into trust. So I think, and also whose linking to you right? Is it just these SEO wheel WordPress sites, you know which is like tons.

– Private blog networks, stay away from those.

– Stay away, please don’t go to Fiverr and buy, you know, 20 backlinks for five bucks. Please don’t do that. It will hurt you way more than it hurts you. I mean helps you. It won’t even help you, it’ll just hurt you.

– Yeah.

– Don’t do that.

– And so not only reviews from things like Google, Yelp, if you’re, especially if you’re a restaurant or something like that, you know, Facebook. Whatever relevant, you know, there’s ones for doctors specifically.

– Sure.

– So whatever–

– Even tech. There’s G2 Crowd, there’s Clutch.

– Yeah for Clutch.

– Yeah. There’s a review site for every industry. You know what I’m saying?

– Absolutely. And so you wanna be monitoring those and monitoring your online reputation. Another place that, and this is straight out of the document that Google says, you look at these places to see, you know, whether or not these people are reputable. Check out news articles about them. Check out Wikipedia articles about them. Check out blog posts from other places, magazine articles that are about them. Forum discussions.

– Forum discussions!

– So there’s a wide range of places that play into your online reputation.

– Interesting.

– And you can imagine, if a customer, potential customer is going out there, looking at you and trying to figure out what your service is, even if I’m going to like buy a pair of shoes.

– Mm hmm.

– I might real quick Google like, okay these look really cool, but Google the brand plus reviews or whatever.

– Alright.

– And check out, you know, or if I’m looking for a new phone or whatever.

– Sure.

– You know a Mashable article or there’s probably a Reddit post about it.

– Definitely there is.

– Or a Quora post.

– Unquestionably there’s a Reddit and Quora post about it.

– Yeah. And so that’s, you know, that’s something that your customers are probably gonna do anyway. But it can also impact Google’s, you know, Google’s view of you and your reputation for Google. So that’s kind of in a nutshell, that E.A.T.

– Right. So this document, this is very interesting because I, first off I thought that it might be, A I thought it was external facing. No, it’s internal, okay to Google. So this is Google telling their search quality team hey, this is the guidelines to look for. That’s A, B– it’s not technical almost at all in nature. It’s not about, you know, are the keywords in one phrase, or are they broken up, or is there semantic or not or whatever. It’s, is it in the title tag, is it you know, how many backlinks. I mean there’s some of that in the backlinks but, it’s like total opposite of that, it’s totally about the quality of content. So now, I’m a CMO. This is a framework, I think, is it fair to say?

– Oh yeah.

– E.A.T is a framework.

– Oh yeah.

– Right? So you can kinda use this framework, use this lens to look at your site through and say are we, you know, what is our, how would Google rate our expertise? Are we having the subject matters come out and talk and give all, you know as much detail as possible? Are we answering the questions that people are searching for or querying for in the search engine? Right, or that we think that they would be even though we can do the research and see it. Authority. Are we, is our organization viewed as an authority? You know. You know, if we haven’t been around a long time, can we, do we have, can we do some, Will Reynolds RCS, real company stuff? Right?

– Yeah, I’ll give him a shout out. And real company stuff being like, you know sponsor some things. Get written up, do some press releases like this is a real organization. They’re around, they’re publishing on a regular basis, they are an authority in their industry or in their space. Right?

– Yep.

– So this is just the lens basically, and then trust is, you know, how is our reputation? Are we delivering on our promise, on our brand promise? Are we, you know, do we have those mentions and on articles and Wikipedia and forums? Or do we have high ratings on Yelp or on G2 Crowd or whatever, right? Wherever your thing is.

– Yeah.

– I love this, I love this. This is making me think, like, we’ve gotta reevaluate ourselves on this framework, you know?

– Absolutely, and so that’s the thing, you know. There might be people out there listening and saying you know, I haven’t really been thinking about these three things: expertise, authority and trust. And yet, I’m still ranking pretty well on Google. I’ve got my keyword research down. I’ve got, you know my backlink profiles really healthy. And you know, I don’t, what’s the relevance of this to somebody like me? And you know, I, first of all I would say you’re right. It’s an additional thing to lay on top.

– Yeah.

– That’s going to take you to the next level.

– Right.

– And allow you to get most likely a better user experience and a better qualitative feeling that your user’s gonna feel when they visit your site. So these are things that are not necessarily gonna come out and you know, a hard metric. You know, you might see time on site increase a little bit.

– Right.

– But!

– Or conversion rate.

– And you’re probably gonna see conversion rate inquiries. If you produce higher quality content that makes people feel like they wanna trust you.

– That’s a good point.

– It makes people feel like you’re an authority, and that you’re better. So, so that’s–

– This is way more than SEO in this case.

– It’s a brand, it’s kind of a branding thing in a lot of ways

– Yeah that’s a good point.

– So you think about like Apple, you know? What are their, what are their commercials about? Right?

– Yeah. Right.

– It’s always. What kind of feeling do you get when you looking when you’re looking at like an Apple commercial, it’s like okay this is something that artists use. This is something that makes the world a better place. This is something for people that, you know–

– It’s easy.

– are creative.

– It’s intuitive.

– It’s not about how many gigs of RAM it has, it’s not about how big the hard drive is.

– Right, that’s true, right.

– It’s not really about how awesome the screen looks.

– It’s how it makes you feel.

– It’s how it makes you feel.

– Mm hmm.

– And so that’s such a huge part of marketing. And a lot of times digital marketing we can get bogged down with, you know the metrics and everything like that, but this, I think is a great framework to pull out away from that, and say okay but seriously. We just wrote all these blog posts

– Dang it.

– Are they actually written in a way that–

– That’s helpful to the user!

– That’s helpful to the user and that expresses our expertise and that they can’t get somewhere else. ‘Cause if they can get this somewhere else, guess what? Now we’re competing on price point and–

– Right, now it’s monetized.

– and that’s not a– that’s not necessarily a fight you wanna be in.

– Dang it, Alex.

– And so, yeah. So and another thing that I wanna say is that even if you’ve been having a lot of success not thinking about this, I wanna talk about August, 2018.

– Mm hmm.

– So Google regularly rolls out algorithm updates. They’re doing these, you know, multiple times a day. You know little small tweaks here and there. But every once in a while something shakes up the industry and shakes up the search results so badly that people take notice of it, and it seems to be a wide reaching, large change. And these usually have a name, like Penguin was a big backlink one.

– Yeah.

– That a lot of people care about. Well August 2018, something rolled out that people have been calling Medic. So we’re talking about “Your Money” or “Your Life” pages. So they noticed that a lot of medical device and medical product sites all of the sudden were going from one on Google, second page, third page, dropping like stones kind of like overnight.

– Wow.

– And this actually also, you know later on in like September, financial sites also saw some issues.

– Yeah some dropping ranking.

– Dropping ranking.

– Less traffic.

– And for a long time sites that had been up there for a while that have been doing very very well.

– What was the, why?

– So–

– It was EAT.

– It was EAT. That’s what people have been, and a lot of times there’s not a lot of information coming out from Google about–

– Yeah of course, right.

– and sometimes there is, Matt Cutts, if you’re not following him on Twitter or checking out what he’s doing, he’s a guy over at Google that actually, you know. People will ask him questions about the algorithm and he’ll give, you know a lot of times he’ll give really good answers. So Matt Cutts is someone to check out. But when this happened in August, there was really no information. And believe me, I was checking. I was like okay so what, what is this?

– I need to know, I need to know.

– What’s happening here? What are the changes that Google’s made to the algorithm to prioritize different things about content and about sites? Well as it turns out, some very smart people out there got together and analyzed all the sites, and ran some experiments and they found that focusing on these EAT guidelines was something that they were able to do in order to bring their sites back.

– They were able to pinpoint and say hey if we follow these guidelines then we can come back. Or the sites that follow the guidelines didn’t get hit as hard or hit at all. This is crazy because we started this episode out saying hey this is SEO, I love SEO, you’re the SEO SME, Subject Matter Expert in Search Engine Optimization, but you know what, this is so much more. So much more than Search Engine Optimization. This is about your brand. This is about your positioning. This is about creating fantastic user experiences. The results of which, if you create this great, you know, user experience, then the result of that might be you ranking higher on Google, okay fine, or on Bing. Or Yahoo, take your pick. The result of which might also be though, more time on site, like you were saying. A higher conversion rate, or even more referrals from word of mouth, from your customer base or future customer base to your future customer base you know, more referrals. So I think that this topicyou just took it from you know, you blew my mind because I thought we were coming in here talking about, you know what I mean, seriously, I’m not kidding. But like, I thought we were gonna talk about SEO, but really this is, this framework, this concept, this lens is much, much, much bigger than just Search Engine Optimization.

– Yeah, yeah.

– And this Medic algorithm update is you know, okay the impact was on rankings and therefore on traffic, but, you know those businesses lost a lot more than that. I think.

– Oh yeah.

– Or at least, because they lost a lot more than that because now they’re not getting that traffic. So if you’re not getting that traffic organically, there’s no way that you’re gonna, or it’s gonna be much more difficult for you to build your brand.

– Mm hmm.

– Right? Whereas if you, you know. If you build your brand and you’re coming up in the rankings you’re getting organic traffic, and you’re getting word of mouth, and then you’re getting some emails, some advertising traffic. And you’re just creating that great user experience you’re gonna be, um. So I think this is like, it’s a long term thing. Like if Search Engine Optimization can be sometimes, it’s like you can do certain things to your site, like we call, what do we do for short term gains?

– Oh like a quick win for SEO? So you know, you can look at your, if you have somebody tracking your keywords, you can look at tipping point keywords.

– Uh huh.

– That are, you know, just about at the top of the second page of Google. Go in and find a place where you can use theirs and find a piece of content or write a new piece of content that targets those keywords.

– Yeah and extend that page that’s ranking, make it even longer, add some expertise to it.

– Absolutely. You know we call it an AWOP, you know using Anatomy of a Well Optimized Page.


– You take an existing piece of content and add some keywords to it, add some additional value to it.

– Maybe add some rich media to it, right? Add some images, add some video to it.

– Absolutely.

– So that’s like a short term tactic. But that’s like short term and kinda tactical as it pertains to Search Engine Optimization, but, this Google guideline, this 168 page document, and this kinda E.A.Tlens, this is way more long term. I mean you’re, this is an investment.

– Yes, so, Arsham I know you’re a financial guy, CFO of the year.

– Don’t have to remind ’em.

– So you know what’s the most magic thing in economics, or in personal finance.

– Uh huh.

– You know we’re thinking about this is the compound interest.

– That’s right.

– Right so if you’ve got a retirement account or something like that.

– Compounding returns. Yeah, sure.

– Let’s say. You know if you’ve got money in there, it could be doubling every seven years.

– Mm hmm.

– And you know, maybe I say I want that hundred dollars right now to go buy a lot of ice cream for me and my friends.

– Yes!

– But if that hundred dollars when I’m 65 is gonna be, you know $10,000, then maybe I delay that gratification. Make that investment up front. I think that.

– Yeah good point.

– You know when we’re talking about marketing, a lot of times CMO’s, you’ve got quarterly deadlines, you’ve got–

– Yeah.

– Quotas that you have to hit. Sales teams knocking on your door saying where are my leads?

– Yeah.

– And so it’s important to hit those things, but if you can take maybe 10% think about like a retirement account.

– Good point.

– Take 10% of your efforts or your hours or whatever, and put those into a longer term investment like building the brand. Like building the expertise. Like producing some more long form, higher quality content.

– Putting process in place to get that higher quality content out there.

– Absolutely that’s even better. That’s an investment on your investment.

– Can I give another, can I give another example? Is, you know, marketing to your point, we feel for your marketers out there, because you do have these deadlines, these quotas, these goals to meet. But, it could be all for naught if your company goes under because you focus too much on the short term, so another thing to look at is your reviews and your are you delighting your customers, right? So I think marketers, I talked to um, Jeff Goldsher about this where it’s, you’re not, marketers yes, like they sit in marketing, but they also can impact sales obviously, they also impact the product too. The product or the service because they can go and they can get clean insights from the customer to then bring back to the product or service teams and say hey our customers are saying this, or the market is saying that, we should probably focus on that. And that’s gonna help your reputation.

– Absolutely.

– Thereby helping the T, the trust.

– Absolutely, marketers can’t just stay in the marketing departments.

– Exactly. I’m sorry to cut you off there, but I just,

– No, no, no. I mean that was great.

– It’s just, yeah it’s just, you know. To Alex’s point, something you might be able to do then is, kinda look at the hours in your day or your week or month and you know, look at where they’re being applied and then purposefully take some chunk of ’em, you choose the chunk to focus on activities that are going, that may not bear fruit overnight, or over a month or even a quarter, but will bear fruit in the future.

– Yeah.

– In the longer term.

– Yeah.

– Measured in months, quarters, years even.

– Yeah. It’s the same thing, you know, anytime you do that high level thinking, pull out, use a framework. It’s not necessarily gonna give you stuff that you’re gonna use today.

– Yeah.

– Although there is very tactical stuff.

– There is very tactical stuff.

– And you know, we’re putting together a blog post that’s gonna have kind of like checklists and more kinda tactical things to address these things. But just, you know, as we talk about the day, you know, the high level overview. The framework is gonna give you things that are gonna help guide your decision making process.

– Well put.

– So that you are saying like, oh okay how many blog posts should we do? Well, can we produce X amount at a high quality?

– Yeah.

– Okay, well maybe we cut that back a little bit. Produce some that are kind of like our quick like, bam bam bam, you know, just to keep the content churning. But let’s also invest in, you know, some bigger pieces maybe once a month.

– A research piece, an ebook, a whitepaper or somthing like that.

– Yeah.

– Right? Or some video content or something. Something so what I hear you saying is less quantity, more quality potentially. Potentially that’s a, or that’s an outcome of this kinda thinking.

– Potentially, and you know, diversify your portfolio is another way to think about it. You know?

– Sure.

– Have your very very high quality, obviously if everything can be high quality that’s great.

– Sure.

– But you know, knowing that we’re operating under limited resources, as marketers, you could, you have to make decisions. So this is prioritization kind of opportunity. Try to put some of those resources and efforts into this higher quality stuff.

– Yeah. Hey man, I think, I think we should end it here because it’s,

– Sure.

– We got, we could go on forever, right?

– Too much to talk about.

– And we have a blog post coming out right here. How many pages is this already?

– It’s gonna, yeah it’s gonna talk about all of that stuff.

– We got it, we got you here. I guess, you know, shameless plug: , subscribe to our blog and I’ll make sure that this particular piece when it comes out, is also then sent out in our newsletter to make sure, ’cause this could, I mean, I glanced over and this is fantastic content. It’s kinda contrary to some of the tactical stuff that, and quick win stuff that we talk about sometimes. But I think that’s great.

– Yeah.

– It’s fantastic. I love this framework. Thank you for too long, didn’t read in, the 168 pages, ’cause like you said, limited resources, you know, you all don’t wanna be out there reading 168 pages when you know, someone like Dr. Swope here can consolidate it for you. So hopefully this was really helpful to all y’all out there. Thank you, Alex. Any closing remarks? Anything else you want to slip in there or?

– No, I mean thank you for having me. What was really helpful about this was going back to that primary source. So I encourage all marketers out there–

– Yeah that’s a good point.

– Love all the search engine journal articles, I love all the folks that I follow on Twitter and things like that but, go back to those original sources.

– Yeah, in this case Google.

– ‘Cause I dug out a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

– Yeah that’s a very good point, yeah. So yeah, go back to the source. Google, you know they’re organizing the worlds information, that’s their mission. They put out information on how to do that. And uh, how you can help them do that. Listen to them, right?

– Yeah.

– Thank you, thank you all for listening, thank you Alex, put it here man, that was really cool. Subscribe y’all, we’ll see you next time.

– Yeah.

– Cheers!

Alex Swope

Alex SwopeDirector of Strategy

Arsham Mirshah

Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

Podcasts Info:
Creative + UX
News + Business

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