In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Mike interviews Dave Collins, SEO and internet marketing expert about Google’s new search results. They discuss how these recent changes will affect small business owners and what you should be doing to stay up to date.
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Mike [00:000]: In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, I’m going to be talking to Dave Collins about how Google’s new search results will affect you. This is Startups For The Rest Of Us episode 279.
Welcome to Startups For The Rest Of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products. Whether you built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.
Dave [00:25]: I’m Dave.
Mike [00:26]: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. How’re you doing this week, Dave?
Dave [00:30]: Hi. I’m fantastic. Thank you, Mike. How are you?
Mike [00:33]: I’m good, good. So I want to give you a quick introduction everybody. If you’re not familiar with who Dave Collins is, Dave is a SEO and Internet Marketing expert from Software Promotions, and he’s a frequent MicroCom speaker. He’s been doing this since 1997 or so?
Dave [00:48]: Yeah.
Mike [00:48]: Which is a really long time. I think I was still in college, and probably many of our listeners had not even gotten to college yet. So just to make you feel old there.
Dave [00:56]: Thanks very much.
Mike [00:57]: So I guess to get started with, let’s take a little bit of a step back and talk about some of the recent changes that have come up that Google has pushed out. First of all, why does it feel like everything is always changing in the world of SEO?
Dave [1:09]: So really it depends on who you ask. Every SEO question, that’s how the answers always start, so we can’t be proven wrong. But everything’s changed. It’s very, very fluid. Google has to keep moving and redefining the goal post.
It depends how cynical you are. Personally, I believe that Google keep changing everything, basically to provide their users with the best experience. But this isn’t with their interest in mind. It’s perverse. It’s with their interest in mind. As in, if every time we go to Google we don’t find what we’re looking for, there’s a limited number of searches that we can carry out before we start thinking about looking at Yahoo or Bing or DuckDuckGo or wherever. So there’s this constant cat and mouse game, in a way, between the people who are trying to trick Google, and the people who’re trying to manipulate the results, and Google who absolutely don’t want to be manipulated.
Mike [02:05]: I can’t imagine anybody trying to manipulate the Google search engine results.
Dave [02:09]: No, must be some sort of, I don’t know, science fiction type of thing, but there’s nothing to gain. Why on earth would someone want to do that?
Mike [02:16]: Right. So let’s talk about a little bit of recent history. What’s happened over the past couple of years? Obviously there’s been various updates. Most of them have been named like Panda, and things like that, that have come out, and for the most part, it seemed like these changes were good. It seemed like what they were trying to do was they were trying to identify the people who were trying to game the results, and modify things such that they would get rid of those people, or at least remove those people from the search engine results by identifying them in certain ways. Clearly they mishandled some of that, and there were certain people who got dropped completely, and then got added back in after some complaints and everything. But they at least had some basic ideas of what it is that they were trying to accomplish. What else has gone on recently that we need to be looking at?
Dave [02:58]: The trend. It all goes back, in a sense, is cat and mouse. That in a sense, days gone by, Google more or less came up publicly and said, “One of the ranking factors that we take into consideration might, for example, be how many websites link to you.” So all these scammy SEOs all over the world got very excited. A whole industry was born, and up to a point it’s still running, of products and services that will simply get you links.
So then Google changed the rules a little bit and said, “Well, actually, it’s not all links. It’s more about the quality of links.” But people didn’t listen. So then, they effectively said, “Okay, if you have too many really horrific links pointing to you, we’re going to penalize you. We’re going to slap you. And it hurts.”
So this game is constant and ongoing. People have a theory, “This makes a difference. Doing X results in an increase in traffic.” Everyone does it. Google stamped down on it. So they’ve stamped down on links. They’ve stamped down perversely on over-optimization. So depending on how you look at SEO, I looked at it as helping Google understand the content of your website. So if you do too much of helping Google to understand your content, you get penalized for it. And yeah, it’s ongoing. But the most recent of all is what we’ve seen in the last week or so with the total change with what’s happened to the ads on the right-hand side of the search results.
Mike [04:27]: So really, what we’re talking about is this giant cat and mouse game between people who are trying to game the system, and Google, and the rest of us who are caught in the middle of it, where there’s a lot of us who aren’t necessarily trying to game those search results, but because we’re caught in the middle we’re affected by them. So it seems to me that that’s part of the reason why Google is doing this. It’s not to directly hurt us or help us. It’s because they want to make the search results better, and they’re trying to basically fight these types of people who’re doing these gray hat or black hat strategies that they are not comfortable with and they don’t like. Are there any other reasons that they’re doing it?
Dave [05:03]: Well, all things lead back to profit when it comes to Google, which will surprise absolutely no one. So there are two things they’re trying to do. They’re trying to give us better results, which in turn feeds that profit. And they’re also trying to make more money out of people who are clicking on the ads, which is obviously where most of their revenue comes from.
But you touched on a really, really important point. That this whole idea of collateral damage, that you today don’t need to have done anything horrible black hat to get hit by one of these penalties. Like I said, Google redefined the rules of what’s good and bad. They don’t just move the goal post. They completely, sometimes, make them invisible and put them in different ends of this stadium. But you don’t need to have done anything wrong to get slapped. It’s just that, a, you might have inadvertently done something that Google have now decided, after the fact, is not a good thing. Or you might actually just be collateral damage. You’re caught up in it, and you’ve not actually done anything wrong, but Google have decided for whatever reason, you fall foul of their invisible unknown rules, and you take a hit, and it can be devastating.
Mike [06:10]: There’s a term that gets thrown around a little bit called, “The Google Slap,” which is essentially, somebody looks at your site and says, “We’re going to basically ban you from Google search results.” Is that different than this type of collateral damage that we’re talking about, where they’ve just changed the rules and you happen to be affected by them, versus they went in and they said, “We’re taking you out”?
Dave [06:30]: Yeah, there’s very much a difference. What they both have in common is when you see that your Google organic traffic has fallen from 120, 150 a day to 1 or 2 a day, irrespective which rule you’ve broken, or which type of penalty you’re experiencing, it feels the same. But they are very different. So in your Google Search Console – what used to be Google Webmaster Tools – you can see a “manual penalty”. And that’s exactly as the name implies. If Google have decided, for whatever reason, for instance, you have far too many horrible links of low quality this or that purely to manipulate them, they’ll apply a manual penalty, which is more or less someone in Google typing it into the Google PC – if they use a PC – and basically saying, “We don’t’ like this site. Let’s remove it from the listings.”
The other type is they change the rules, they roll out a new filter or a new algorithm, and you just fall. It’s not that they’re penalizing you, it’s just that they may have decided that your website isn’t as relevant for the people searching for these terms. So instead of, let’s say, having an average position of three or four, you’re suddenly on page two. So you’re going to plummet. But you’ve not actually been hit by a penalty, but you are very much a victim of these changes.
Mike [07:49]: So how much of this is based on their own self-interest, versus them wanting to help people be recognized for providing good content and providing great links out to the community?
Dave [08:01]: So, in a way, it all goes back to the same place. If Google provide you with a good user experience that means you’re going to continue using Google, which means that you’re going to click on some of these ads and they’re going to make more money. So they’re all very much interchangeable. But nowhere have I ever heard anyone from a senior position in Google saying that in some way they’re motivated, or driven, by the desire or the wish to make the world a better place. I’m not sure. I think Reddit used to have some sort of goal about making the world a better place, or making the world less sucky – something like that.
So Google’s great aspirational goal was – in days gone by – “Don’t be evil.”, or “Do no evil.” I can’t remember the exact wording.
Mike [08:45]: It was, “Don’t be evil.”
Dave [08:46]: “Don’t be evil.”
Mike [08:46]: They don’t still subscribe to that is what you’re saying?
Dave [08:48]: Well, it seems to have vanished. It’s a big company. There’s a lot of data, and it’s quite tricky to find references nowadays. But I’ve always thought of all the goals to set yourself, I have all sorts of personal and professional goals. And actually a little bit of me wants to make the world a very slightly better place by raising my children to be nice, good people with good values. But having a goal to do no evil, don’t be evil, what is that? They’ve drawn a line between bad, very bad, and evil. So they can do something bad, or they can even do something very, very, very bad. But they’re not going to quite cross that line into pure evil. So as we discussed earlier, does that mean murder, an act of just killing one person? That’s very bad, but not necessarily evil.
So if that’s what you’re about, if you were at least in the early days driven by not being evil, surely they could’ve set the bar a little bit higher?
Mike [0:09:47]: You would think. You would think.
Dave [09:48]: There’s room there, isn’t there?
Mike [09:50]: I suppose yeah, you’re right. There is definitely a little bit of room there. I don’t know how much.
So with all these changes that are going on, as I said before, it seems like the people are trying to do the right things, and trying to at least pay attention and help Google and provide them some guidance around what your website is doing and how it’s laid out and things like that, but not be overly helpful, because quite frankly, most of us just don’t have that kind of time on our hands. How is it that we’re supposed to keep up with changes like this? Are there resources that we can use? I know that Mark Cutts puts a bunch of stuff out, but it’s hard to stay up on top of all of that stuff. And there’s obviously tons of different websites that you can go to that are doing nothing but constantly talking about different tactics that you can use, and different strategies. But is there any resources out there that you can use – newsletters for example – that just, kind of, distill things down a little bit for you?
Dave [10:42]: So, again, you’ve touched on a really good point that – for want for better phrase – “normal people” don’t have time for this sort of thing. And even if you do — let’s say next week as an example, you carve out three hours and you’re going to do SEO. So Monday morning 9:00 till 12:00, you’re going to do SEO. It’s written in the diary, in the calendar. Well, once you get there, the very first thing you’re going to think, most likely, is, “Where on earth do I start?” And if you go searching for what people are saying, the SEO industry has no shortage of; let’s say, “opinionated people with questionable values”. Let’s put it that way. So a lot of people are going to say a lot of things, but the signal to noise ratio is absolutely horrific.
So Google have a whole load of amazing resources. I already mentioned Google Search Console. This is free. You just set it up. It takes a minute to set up, and it’s way better than a whole lot of SEO tools that actually a lot of people pay for. Then they also have no shortage of their information and resources for webmasters. Only a month or so ago, I think, they issued their latest webmaster guidelines. Trust me, this is not a document that you want to be reading. It doesn’t help.
But there is again – I’m going to be off Google’s Christmas card list forever by the end of this – but there’s a certain level of hypocrisy, because I always feel that up to a point, Google are kind of saying, “Don’t optimize. Don’t do SEO. We’re brilliant. Our spiders and robots and our coders, developers, we are brilliant at figuring out what’s on your site.” But then they also give you some information, and it’s like every time someone from Google opens their mouth and says something -=- you mentioned Mark Cutts who’s been out of that side of Google for quite a while – but they had the Mark Cutts version too. Every time he says something everyone quotes and it goes back to that cat and mouse. People go frantically to change this, or add this add-on, or put this in their agenda, or look into the latest thing, and it doesn’t really end.
There’s some really good information out there. There’s SearchEngineLand.com, which I think they do daily email summaries. But there too, to be honest, there’s so much speculation in the world of SEO, so much, that it’s really hard to find a trusted source.
We got a newsletter called Google Demistifier. It goes out every Tuesday, only covers one topic, and we try to be completely biased, because we’re looking at a lot of data, a lot of people’s accounts, so we get a good idea for what’s out there.
But doing SEO is incredibly difficult today. It’s become a lot more complicated. It’s become more time consuming. And I think probably a fair number of people who listen to this podcast will relate to the fact it’s pretty scary doing SEO, because we have this fear of, “If we do this and Google don’t like it, what’s going to happen?” And I think that’s part of the problem for the industry, or for the area of SEO that we all face. But I do believe that nowadays we’ve got to the point where you can’t sit there and do nothing anymore. You actually have to more or less proactively start doing this, even if it’s scary.
Mike [13:57]: Now one of the things you mentioned there was the Google Search Console, which is not the same as the Webmaster Tools.
Dave [14:03]: It is the same. They just renamed it, just to confuse people a little bit.
Mike [14:08]: Because it looks completely different than the Webmaster Tool.
Dave [14:11]: They’ve done it up. You see if you log in to Webmaster Tool, it just redirects you now to Search Console.
Mike [14:18]: Oh, I see.
Dave [14:18]: They’ve done it up. It’s a seriously useful resource. It’s quite incredible the information they give you.
Mike [14:22]: Got it. Got it. Okay, because yeah, that makes a little bit more sense. Because when you do log in – I have come across that page before, and it obviously lists out a bunch of different web properties that you have, but it’s not necessarily showing you things that you have not verified through your DNS records, for example.
Dave [14:41]: Exactly. It’s not a be all and end all. But there is something so useful in there, which there’s a section in the Search Console called HTML Improvements. And ultimately, what HTML Improvements is, is Google pointing at your website and saying, “This is what we would suggest you fix on your website.” So there’s a lot of hype and there’s a lot of misleading information, but when Google basically say, “Fix these five issues on your website, because this can only help your SEO,” in my opinion, that’s worth paying attention to.
Mike [15:15]: Got it. So we’ve got things like some of the different Webmaster Tools, the Google Search Console, the newsletter that you guys have, but a couple of other resources that we just talked about – we’ll link some of those up in the show notes. So those are some of the places where a small business owner can go to at least learn some of these things. Now let’s talk about one of the main things that we really came onto the show to talk about, which was, what are some of the recent changes that they have done? What are the biggest changes that Google has made recently that is probably going to affect most of the listeners here?
Dave [15:46]: So this is something that’s happened just in the last week – very, very recent. And basically what they’ve done is they’ve taken away all the ads, all the text ads that are on the right-hand side, that were on the right-hand side. They’re gone. This is obviously on the desktop; mobile is a completely different ballgame. But on desktop, there are no longer ads on the right-hand side. Before, they were up to three ads on top, while now they have up to four ads on top. Usually it is four ads on top. And up to three at the bottom. So what this means is when you carry out search on Google, instead of seeing the standard couple of ads at the top, organic listings, and all down the side the actual paid ads, it’s totally, totally different. It looks different; it feels different. I’m actually pretty amazed, in a sense, by how little fuss has been about this. This is, in my opinion, the biggest change that I’ve seen Google roll out, ever, since possibly – maybe since introduction of AdWords. Maybe it’s even bigger than that. And it’s going to affect, not everyone, but almost everyone.
Mike [16:49]: So we’ve talked a little bit before about why Google has made some of the previous changes. Are there any specific reasons why they made this particular change?
Dave [16:57]: Well, obviously, it’s all speculation, but the only possible incentive that I can see for Google displaying four ads at the top instead of potentially no ads at the top is revenue. I can’t see any other reason whatsoever. It’s certainly not about quality of the results that are shown, because as we all know, we’ve all experienced searching something in the ads that we click on aren’t necessarily relevant to what we’re looking for. So this is not a quality update. This has to be driven, in my opinion, solely by revenue.
Mike [17:31]: So we talked a little bit before about a lot of us being collateral damage. What are the downsides to this particular change that they’ve made?
Dave [17:38]: To be honest, I don’t want to be all “doom and gloom”, but there are a lot of negatives. So what we’re now seeing is potentially 11 ads on the first page’s search results is now at best it’s 7. That’s going to have a major impact; more than half of them at the top. And it’s safe to say that, with time, those top four slots are going to start costing a lot more. But ultimately, if have an ad with an average position of eight, that’s on page two. And you can probably – it’s safe to assume most people don’t even get to page two when they’re looking for something. They refine the actual search. So that’s one thing.
The actual organic results – the SEO results, if you like – they really got pushed down. So the typical format, if you carry out search at Google, you now see four ads, you see the knowledge graph, which is effectively Google scraping websites and just pasting that information in, that can still be on the right-hand side. But quite often it’s below the ads that you have, ads knowledge graph.
And on a recent blog post that I wrote I took a screenshot of the search results for things to do in London. And you had four ads, a load of knowledge graph information, and right at the bottom – this is at pretty high resolution on my monitor – at the bottom there was one single organic listing being shown. And sure I can scroll down the page, but if I’m going to find what I’m looking for, why would I? There’s all sorts of theories out there, but ultimately no one knows what’s going to happen. But this is definitely going to have an enormous impact on SEO, and I don’t think it’s going to be positive.
I think the biggest ramification that we’re going to see is some AdWords account holders – if they’re especially with let’s say low margin products or high competition, or both – they’re going to be squeezed out. They’re going to be squeezed out by companies with budgets that actually can justify, make sense, or perhaps they’re just oblivious to how much they need to spend for these top four. And I think that’s going to hurt them quite badly.
And the other negative I can think of is I can’t see how this is actually going to be positive for the user, for the person going to Google and searching. I just can’t really see that happening.
Mike [19:55]: So it doesn’t sound like there’s any reasons for Google doing this other than basically making money. It’s not really because it was for the end user experience. It was basically because they want to make more money from this. And obviously, us as website owners, we are in an unfortunate position where Google has such power over the traffic on the Internet that there’s really just not anything that we can do about it, except just deal with the aftermath of it. We’ve talked about a lot of the downsides for us. Are there any upsides to this change that they’ve made?
Dave [20:24]: Yeah, there definitely are some positives, definitely. I think one, I think when you advertise on AdWords, you’re going to see hopefully some more meaningful and accurate average positions. So the days before these changes where you could get three ads at the top and let’s say seven or eight ads on the side, adding fourth position could be the very top at the right-hand side and that could actually sometimes be more effective than being in position one, two, or three, because you appear to be the top. So number four could most likely do better than positions two and three. So that gets a whole lot simpler, because now we know top four means exactly that. There is no right-hand side. There’s going to be better clarity there.
I also think – potentially, it’s all theory – there may be more consistency in ads as well; that they’re starting to look more familiar. Things like the side links aren’t jumping out, so that sort of evens things out a little bit.
Definitely, if your ad in position four for the most part, you’re going to be happy. Then there’s also – I should’ve mentioned this already — the other thing that could be on the right-hand side, as well as the knowledge graph – in other words the Google scrape – Google shopping ads are showing up on the right-hand side still as well. So if you’re using Google shopping ads, you’re probably going to see quite a significant increase, and you’re probably going to see that working quite well for you. But I have my own issues and reservations with Google shopping. But yeah, it’s not all bad.
Mike [21:56]: Right. But again, most of these push people down the path of spending money with Google in order to get to some of those top rankings, with the exception of those situations where you end up in the long-tail search results, and you happen to be at the top. But you’re still going to be below paid listings at that point.
Dave [22:14]: Exactly. So irrespective which viewpoint you take, and which stance you take, it seems every direction you look it’s all about an increase in revenue.
Mike [22:24]: Right, right. So based on that, where is this headed? Is this the only change that you can see them making in the near future, or are there other things that they’ve, kind of, announced that they’re going to be rolling out in the near future that are things that we need to pay attention to, and take a look at, or at least be aware of?
Dave [22:41]: So all of this is very new. So right now, there’s some noise about this on, for instance, the WebmasterWorld Forums. And some people are seeing an increasing click-through-rate, for instance. Some people are seeing a decrease in cost per conversion, which is all very well and good, but it’s all new. So it doesn’t mean anything. New behavior isn’t the same as what you’re going to expect to see in four, five weeks, six weeks down the line. So Google are in no way putting their feet up on the desk now and saying, “We are now done. Our goal to not be evil, and to maximize our ad revenue is complete. We’re finished. Everything’s done here. Now we’ll just let the internet run itself.”
There are some predictions being made already, which is beyond insane, but no one knows what’s going to be ahead. But one thing that’s guaranteed, Google are not going to – first of all, they’re not going to finish to try and maximize their ad revenue – which I don’t have any problem with. They’re certainly not going to finish trying to provide better organic results, so that we find what we’re looking for, so that we keep coming back to Google.
And you see that touches on the aspect of this that I, personally, find most interesting. This is the first update that I’ve seen by Google that’s actually left me scratching my head wondering, “Aside from revenue, why would they do this?” I wrote this in this blog post that they wrote about it. This is the very first time that I actually started to do the unthinkable, which was look at options like Bing. I actually went to Bing and DuckDuckGo, because there’s already – for some searches – it looks like the results are very ad-heavy. And they are. I can’t even imagine what it’s like at a low resolution, where really you are only going to see ads on your screen without scrolling the mouse. And we’re all lazy. We only scroll the mouse if we have to.
So as we touched on when we were discussing this, I have to wonder how many people are going to want to go to a search engine when the results that they see are primarily dominated by ads. If they keep going in this direction and become mainly, if not solely, ads that are on display, I can’t see people wanting that experience. I mean, would you?
Mike [24:59]: No, probably would not.
Dave [25:00]: No. It’s a strange, sort of, future that they’re potentially carving out for themselves. But I do have faith in Google that they’re smart people; they will have thought about this. I’d love to hear Google’s response. But, yeah, I’m completely baffled and I’m pretty much certain that what’s ahead of us is more change. I can’t overstress it. It won’t even be the first move in something. It’s not even really starting. It’s all rolling out. It’s all new.
I think another interesting aspect of this brings it more in line with the mobile experience. So for a while now, you could have four ads at the top of the mobile result. You know, search on your mobile phone. And I think, again speculation, but I think it’s very much about this convergence of devices that there are blurred, more blurrier maybe, blurrier lines between desktop, PC, smart phone, tablet, laptop, and so on. And I think Google want to give this consistent experience across all devices. So I suspect, I do think that’s probably part of it. But, again, it all goes back to profit.
Mike [26:08]: So, I guess we’ve talked a lot about what they are currently doing, what they have done, what it means for us, but we haven’t really talked about the one issue that I think is probably most important to the people listening to this is, what is it that we should be doing? Because obviously what we don’t want to do is sit in the middle of that game of cat and mouse between Google and people who are doing black hat SEO tricks, and end up – we don’t want to spin our wheels, we don’t want to do things that don’t matter – but we want to maximize our time and the return on the investment in that time. So what do we do?
Dave [26:40]: So the first thing to do, I think, is if there’s ever been a good time to put SEO and Google on your – let’s say, take it off your “to-do” list and put it on your actual radar – so this is something you start to pay attention to. Now is a really good time. I’ve heard a few people express this, sort of, helplessness along lines of, “Well, if organic is going down there’s nothing we can do about it.” But I’m a big fan – a big believer – in staying informed. And I think more than ever we have to stop paying more attention. We need – especially if you’re spending on AdWords – you really need to pay very close attention to, for instance, average position. Which I think a week or so ago, before this change, your average position was an indicator, but not as important as a lot of people thought. Whereas now it’s vital. If you’re consistently getting your ads in average position five, it’s very, very safe to say you’re going to see a huge drop in performance, and you’re going to have to market his informed decision whether it’s worth doing what you can to either try and get the ad higher by, in a way, gaming the system, getting a better quality score, or if you’re actually going to simply pay for it to get in that top four.
So, more than ever, you’re going to have to know your numbers with your AdWords accounts. And same with SEO. I can’t even begin to guess right now what effect we’re all going to see in our organic data, other than, say, it’s going to be very big. But the one thing I definitely want to know is I’d want to know what’s happening. I’d want to know if my organic traffic is dropping, by how much – if that’s a really vital channel for me.
If I’m a business and, let’s say, I don’t know, organic traffic accounts for 60% of our traffic and let’s say 50% of our sales, it could be time to diversify into other channels, and start spending a bit of time – maybe money – in some of the other options. But it’s really about being informed. And I think one strategy that will actually work for both – for AdWords and organic – is long-tail keywords. I think these are a potential – I won’t say a life-raft, but let’s say a lifebelt – in that, AdWords for instance, you’re not going to have as much competition with the long-tail keywords. So these are the keywords that aren’t so obvious, that aren’t getting quite as many searches as the big obvious ones, but add them together and they can be very sizeable. So I think in AdWords, long-tail keywords could be a very good strategy right now, because you’re going to have less competition meaning, you can make sure that you’re in that top four throughout.
And long-tail keywords’ always have been a good SEO strategy, but bearing in mind that the SEO results are getting squeezed down right to the bottom of the page, I think more than ever this has to become a more or less a standard SEO strategy from now. Well, I won’t say forever, but from now until the next major update.
Mike [29:36]: And just to be clear, one of the things that you’ve alluded to, but didn’t directly call out, is that there’s a very big difference between what your ad placement ranking is – whether you’re third or fourth position – versus your search engine result ranking. Those are two entirely different things, and you would monitor them entirely differently using different tools.
Dave [29:53]: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a huge – it’s almost impossible to pin down the differences, they’re so many – but it’s most simple obviously for AdWords you get to decide if you want to go up, either tweak the system or spend more. With SEO, sadly, it’s never quite that simple.
Mike [30:11]: So essentially, all the things that you’ve talked to boil down to what amounts to four different things that we need to be doing. First one is to monitor the placement of your ads and keywords. Are you number one, number four for ads – or in terms of your keywords – are you on the first page or are you on the fifteenth page? So that’s the first recommendation that we can take out of this.
The second one is monitoring your traffic levels, and making sure that you know where they’re headed based on other things that you’re doing. The third one is using the Google Search Console to identify things that you need to do on your website to either fix usability issues, or improving your search presence. Because Google will tell you directly what it is that you have to do. And then the last one is to really just stay, at least peripherally, informed about what’s going on, either using your newsletter, or the WebmasterWorld Forums or a variety of the different things that Google has provided. Is there anything else that you want to add to that list?
Dave [31:06]: Yeah, I’d say and the other thing is hidden number five is most businesses have SEO on their to-do list. In other words, we all mean to get round to it at some point, but there are always more pressing things to be done. And I think we’re now are at that time where it’s become, I’d say, pretty close to mission critical. It doesn’t mean you need to invest ten hours a week. We don’t have ten hours a week. But if you can be keeping an eye on this, and if you can just schedule 30 minutes a week – just to keep an eye on these things – and at least respond to the most pressing issues, in my opinion, that’s seriously time well-spent.
Mike [31:41]: And that could be something incorporated into “Marketing Monday” of all days.
Dave [31:44]: Absolutely. Exactly. Or Mocking Wednesday.
Mike [31:48]: Well, thanks for coming on, Dave. I really appreciate you taking the time to step in and help our listeners understand a little bit better some of the changes that they’re going to be seeing from Google, or what Google has already rolled out.
Dave [31:58]: Thank you very much. I love the show and I’m delighted to be here again.
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