Below you can watch our ‘TWiO‘ show from Thursday the 2nd June, with topics discussed including “the increased width of the SERP”, “Google’s ‘Rich Cards'”, “SEO for voice search” and “how livestreaming fits into the content marketing mix”.
Joining me were Alexandra Tachalova from AlexTachalova.com, Alex Tucker from Practice Web, Andrew Shotland from Local SEO Guide, Gianluca Fiorelli from iLoveSEO.net, Matt Hodkinson from Influence Agents, Oren Greenberg from Kurve, Rebecca Lieb from RebeccaLieb.com and Tyler Barnes from Emfluence.
DAVID BAIN: Should every website be preparing for rich cards, and how should live streaming integrate with the rest of your content marketing strategy? Welcome to This Week in Organic episode number 45.
Hello and welcome, I’m David Bain and each episode I’m going to be joined by some…some episodes it’s going to be loads of people like this one here, it’s eight guests we’ve got on, so some knowledgeable, opinionated folks to discuss the latest happenings in anything that impacts organic traffic. And as for you in the live audience, get involved. If you’re watching live on the Authoritas blog, you should see a comment box just right below the video so let us know your thoughts on what’s being discussed, I’ll try and read out the best ones during the show, but let’s find out a bit more about today’s guests, where they’re from and what’s caught their attention recently in SEO and content marketing. So, I’m just going to do it according to the faces I see on the screen right before me there, so starting off with Alex, and this is the male Alex.
ALEX TUCKER: Hi. I’m Alex Tucker, I head up the marketing team for a firm called Practice Web, which helps financial professional services firms with digital marketing and one of the things that’s caught my eye in the news this week is that Google is testing third party reviews in SERPS.
DAVID BAIN: Interesting stuff. Okay, we’ll have to make sure we come back to that particular topic. So good to have you on board, Alex. And, the other Alex, we’re going to have to call you Alexandra, definitely, for this particular episode, otherwise it will just get too confusing. So, also with us today is Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: Okay. Hi my name is Alexandra, but I also prefer Alex, but for today I will be Alexandra, just not to make a mess. So basically I’m mostly focused on content rather than SEO as it is, but I do a couple of tests, so actually we discussed it a little bit, and the thing with changing their length of title, the meta descriptions, and I don’t so far see any huge changes, but basically I think that right now what is really capturing my attention, by the way on 21st June we are running a big online event, so if you really want to know more about digital marketing, I highly recommend you join us. It’s called Digital Olympus and you can find it on digitalolympus.net. We have really cool perks and [unclear – 0:02:54.6] speakers. So basically that’s all from me.
DAVID BAIN: I’ll absolutely do that, Alex is great at putting together a bunch of digital marketers, so I’m sure it will be good.
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: Thank you.
DAVID BAIN: And Andrew Halliday, a previous guest on TWiO is already saying in the chat, ‘I’ve missed TWiO.’ We’ve missed having you on TWiO, Andrew. And was a previous guest when we were did it live at Brighton SEO and Andrew, get in touch more, we’ll have you on on a future show as well. But another Andrew that we do have on the show today is Andrew Shotland. Hello, Andrew. How are you doing there?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: I’m doing well. Can you hear me okay?
DAVID BAIN: We can hear you fairly well, yes. So tell the audience a little bit about you and perhaps one topic that’s caught your eye over the last week or so.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: I have a SEO consulting company called Local SEO Guide. We do multi location SEO and just normal big crazy website SEO. The thing that we’ve been focused on over the last month or so is we’re actually completing probably the largest study ever of local SEO ranking factors across about 35,000 businesses that we’ll be publishing at SMX Advance on 22nd June. And so we’ve been focused on that and not really paying attention to Google too much, although the thing I’ve noticed lately is how badly everyone keeps blowing their HTTP to HTTPS transfers. So that’s been keeping us busy as well.
DAVID BAIN: Wow, okay. That’ll be intriguing to find out more about that and it’s something that we don’t have to worry about when we launched Authoritas.com because we went straight to HTTPS, but obviously a lot of people want to keep their brands and it can be challenging, so I’d be interested to hear your horror stories about that, certainly. And also with us today is Gianluca.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Hi. I am a freelance consultant SEO and the founder of Inbounder Conference which took place a couple of weeks ago here in Valencia and it was luckily a big success. It was funny, because I was preparing my own talk for Inbounder and Google was crazily launching new features and making announcements, because there was a Google IEO. So my personal interests are related to everything like voice search and personal assistant, so I think one of the topics today here is going to be how you can optimise for assisted voice search. I have a few ideas, so we will talk later.
DAVID BAIN: We will and we look forward to hearing them. But in the meantime, we will hear from Matt.
MATT HODKINSON: Hey, David. Nice to be here again. I’m Matt Hodkinson from Influence Agents. We’re an inbound agency, specialising in content marketing for B2B tech firms. What’s been on my radar this week? I’m always fascinated by the number of privacy concerns that people have and the emerging story that Google voice search has been recording everything that you’ve been saying around its products, possibly for years. The good news is you can listen to it all and you can delete it if you really want to. But that’s an interesting one, I think.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, great. And another chap joining us today is Oren.
OREN GREENBERG: Hey there. Hi, everyone. I’m Oren, I’ve worked client side and agency side, client side probably a bit more some big names, like Wonga.com, Nutmeg.com. Now I work as an outsource CMO for disruptive start-ups so some of my clients are kind of between the seed and A-round some of my clients are in 500 Startups, some of them are in other accelerators. In terms of the news, I think it’s really interesting what’s going on with, um, Google Home, home automation, IOT and I think it’s really interesting kind of Amazon Echo and how Google is going to tackle that. I think personalisation and voice and home is something we can all actually relate to, rather than the nuances of SEO, which can get quite technical. This is something that we can all get really excited about. So that’s a bit about me.
DAVID BAIN: Difficult to get excited about SEO is it Oren?
OREN GREENBERG: Well after twelve years of doing it, you kind of…
DAVID BAIN: And also with us today, or re-joining us and hopefully not having any technical issues, is Rebecca.
REBECCA LIEB: I hope you can hear me?
DAVID BAIN: We can hear you fine.
REBECCA LIEB: I had a screen freeze and have managed to get off and on, phew. My name is Rebecca Lieb. I am a research analyst and author and a strategic advisor. My area of specialisation currently is content strategy and content marketing. I sort of have the dubious claim to fame of having conducted the most research in those fields that anybody else out there, for better or for worse. I also have a search background. I was formerly editor of Search Engine Watch. I’ve written a book on SEO, but really for the past six or eight years now I’m looking at content strategy and content marketing and that’s the advisory capacity I’m working with my clients on.
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful. Okay. Well I’m sure you’ll offer lots of insightful thoughts today, Rebecca. Obviously if people want to find out more about our guests, we’ll include all the links to everyone in the show notes there. But also joining us today is Tyler.
TYLER BARNES: Hi, my name’s Tyler Barnes. I work with Emfluence Digital Marketing in Kansas City, Missouri. We are a full service digital marketing agency and I head up the search team over here. I think one thing that we’ve been working on a lot over the last few months is really trying to take how we can integrate Google DeepMind and semantic search into some next level predictive technology, like trying to see where that’s going to go and what’s going to be the next step in, um, voice search and also kind of how we’re looking at semantic rankings, we’re trying to get more creative with our meta data and also getting the joy of testing out...Google’s shortened the SERPS and now they’ve lengthened the SERPS. So good to go back to seeing how that’s all going to work out.
DAVID BAIN: Well that’s all the time we’ve got for the whole show ! No, it’s wonderful that we’ve got so many great guests on, so what you’ll have to do is just jump in there, give strong opinions about topics that you’re particularly passionate about yourself there. And Tyler that was a wonderful link into topic number one, because The SEM Post reported that Google have started to increase the width of its main search results from about 500 pixels to about 600 and, does it look perhaps as if that means that we can lengthen our titles in meta descriptions? Perhaps not. Moz did a study to show that Google are now cutting things off by the whole word rather than actually part word, so it might not necessarily mean a longer title or meta description. So, Tyler, as you mentioned about this in your intro, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think websites need to be thinking about the length of their titles and meta descriptions again?
TYLER BARNES: I think so. I think it’s interesting that it’ll allow more listings in the SERPS right now and so you can strategically try to place a full sentence in there. So we’ve always done that, but now we can go a little bit further so that allows for that stronger call to action at the end of some SERPS if you’ve got an ecommerce product, which is something we’ve been trying to configure, that’s kind of where we first tackled it, was with our ecommerce clients and saying, ‘Okay, how can we use this extra 100 pixels to add a little bit of a more robust call to action for each individual product?’
DAVID BAIN: So that means that it’s actually a call to action rather than increased branding that you would have?
TYLER BARNES: Indeed, that’s kind of what we started off with. We are now getting into the branding side and saying, ‘Okay, how can we configure our branding?’ But that was the first thing I thought of whenever I saw the 100 pixel increase was, ‘Okay, well now we can have a little bit more room to diversify these products’ especially in the more…we’ve got some clients that are more B2B focused, that are kind of like boring stuff, like cantilever racks, giving more description on that.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: I want to add one thing that I noticed, there is a difference between mobile length or mobile and the length on desk top. And it’s somehow indicative but in nominating that the length for mobile title tag for instance, is bigger than on desk top, which is also confirming how Google is really, really more interested in mobile since a couple of years when desk top search and second, it was in the news today, there was some sort of official confirmation that our branded searches, we don’t need to put any more of a brand in the title tag, because Google is putting a brand name by itself in the title tag. So this is also good news, because sometimes you have to deal with very, very complicated brand names that were stealing all the space for something more meaningful. And just to finish, I think we always knew but a meta description especially was a place to write a really persuasive call to action, especially for an ecommerce but not only for ecommerce, also to real state, classified and so on. And finally, I consider that on the practical side nothing really changed, because most of the time the problem was better with title tags or our client were way too long, so at least in my case I used to cut them a lot.
MATT HODKINSON: I know we’re talking about organic at the moment, David, I wonder how much of this is driven by Google’s announcement around AdWords, because this does affect a few different Google products, but AdWords especially have been publicising the fact that they’re going to lengthen the amount of copy in the title and in the description, which of course advertisers have been crying out for for a very long time and I wonder how much of this is driving, from a layout perspective, secondly I think it makes perfect sense to create that additional space and it’ll be interesting to see how much attention is shown towards the bottom of the, above-the-fold SERPS now and how the percentage split between the top positions is affected by the fact that we’re now going to see potentially one or two additional results, depending on the device you’re using.
DAVID BAIN: It’s an interesting point that, that perhaps organic look and feel is driven by ads and that if they do want to change the ads, then maybe they feel that they do have to change the organic to make it look more like ads or…
MATT HODKINSON: Yeah they couldn’t favour the sponsored positions, if they were wider than the rest of the SERPS, then it’s going to look a bit strange.
DAVID BAIN: Gianluca, just in relation to your point about including the brand, I take it you would still obviously advise websites to include their brand in the title of their home page though?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Well necessarily the brand is really clear in the contents of the home page, if Google is putting the brand itself, maybe I can skip out one, will be something that we always need to test, but sincerely if it’s Google putting the name of a brand, because it’s able to understand the brand as an entity from the home page and the rest of the site and all their external signals, I think we can save some space and not ask our client to put the brand name in the title tag.
OREN GREENBERG: No, but it does eat up your title tag, anyway, the brand space takes up some of the characters that you…
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Yeah, sure. But I think that sometimes the brand name, we can…something about it is really tricky, because you know that you have to show it, but maybe sometimes it’s better…I prefer to use the meta description as a place to clearly put the brand name and actually use the title for something stronger, something more important.
OREN GREENBERG: I think it really depends on if you’re focused on local or if you’re focused on broad. So if you’re thinking about localised search, you know, the title H1, have a much greater impact, so the way that you’re editing that particular page for that particular keyword, you should take that into account in terms of the length. I think the length and its impact, the maximum amount of characters you have to play with to maximise your click through rate, because really once you’re in the top five positions, it’s really the difference in the text in your description is enticing those visitors to click and that’s where it becomes really critical.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Yes, that’s why I always say that the title is for sales and the meta description is for copywriters and marketers.
OREN GREENBERG: Yeah.
DAVID BAIN: Andrew, did your ears prick up there at the mention of local?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Yes, just went like that. What’s interesting to me about this whole change is we’ve looked across clients adding up to several million queries and how there has been almost no change in click through rate as a result of this. I was expecting to see either a big up or down and there’s nothing really discernible that we can see and it’s always amazing to me how Google makes these wholesale changes across the UI and it has these imperceptible impacts, at least on the stuff we’re looking at, so it’s a marvel to me, how they manage these things. They’ve got pretty good at disrupting whatever they’re doing without creating huge disruptions which used to screw everything up when they did this stuff.
DAVID BAIN: So any further comments on this at all or shall we move on to topic number two? Okay. Next topic is Google have introduced rich cards, at least for some of the sites, so this is a site mark-up code that allows some content to appear more visually in the SERPS, but is this only for, at the moment, I think recipe sites and movie sites to be concerned about? Or is this something that is highly likely to be rolled out for other categories on sites and do sites really need to be a bit more proactive now about including this kind of mark-up code within their sites? Andrew, yeah?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: So we work with a bunch of movie sites, so we’re seeing it in real time working. So certainly if you’re in those categories, um, it behoves you to implement this stuff. When it’s going to roll out for these other categories, who knows? But the good news is that a lot of this is just standard schema type mark-up. There’s some special things that you need to add, but they’re not super complicated, so I don’t know that we’d drop everything to prioritise this, but if you already have schema implementation on your road map it couldn’t hurt to add this extra stuff in.
OREN GREENBERG: I think it’s probably more pertinent for sites that the visual component is really significant for the conversion. So I think ecommerce websites, when we see a lot of ecommerce going on on Instagram or Pinterest, so having those images can get you better traction and get you more traffic, I think, from the SERPS.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: I did a post on this on Search Engine Land about two months ago, just looking at how they were testing these local business cards and I think what it, to your point, what’s going to drive businesses is to invest more heavily in image and content because you can really control the SERPS in a crazy way with this stuff if it rolls out the way we think it’s going to.
DAVID BAIN: Gianluca, what are your thoughts on the future look and feel of the SERP? Do you think that we’re going to see many more images being incorporated there and is that something that every category of business needs to be thoughtful on? Or is it only going to be certain categories of businesses like Oren said about, like ecommerce that it is going to be particularly relevant for?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: I think if we look to the past on Google let’s say look and feel, this combination of text and image was something that all the people I’ve had to deal with a Google News already knew. What was quite making me feel strange was seeing this kind of rich card and results for Wikipedia pages. Related to recipes or food-related stuff, but it was Wikipedia which was a little bit strange for me. However, I consider that, especially on mobile, everything is going to be like a card in the future, I’m not saying in the next few months, but in the coming future, in the middle term and to make a really, really futuristic hypothesis I wouldn’t also discard the opportunity as we have now with our phones to discover something, just swapping a message or a notification, maybe we can start swapping search results if they are cut. So I don’t know, I think that this can be a cardification, I don’t know how to call it...we are going to deal with.
TYLER BARNES: Cardification.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Especially with mobile SERP and as desk top searches tend to mimic the mobile ones, I think we are going to see those on mobile…on desk top. Sure, I think Google will start experimenting with the most obvious niches, so recipes were the most obvious, because when you see a search result, a search snippet for a recipe, you have to look for a final product in order to be sure that you are going to click the right recipe. For instance, for a paella recipe, I’m from Valencia, so if a paella recipe is one from Valencia or is one from Alicante which are…the only thing they have in common is the rice, so you have to look at the photo, in order to understand if you are going to waste or not a click. So that’s maybe why Google started with recipes, but then obviously we are going to see for local it’s quite obvious too, for ecommerce in order, the problem with ecommerce is how the rich card is going to be…we are going to be able to distinguish from a Google shopping voice, because it’s probably going to be quite similar, so I think we are going to see for many months, many better testing, A/B test from Google and we are going to see tools like Multicast or other self-control tools dealing with crazy metrics.
DAVID BAIN: So talking about specific niches, Alex Tucker, your firm provides digital marketing services for accountants, so is this kind of extra mark-up that needs to be added to websites something that you are using to actually change the way you do things? Or is it not something that impacts an industry like the one that you focus on?
ALEX TUCKER: Well, we’re talking about rich cards for recipes, events, products – that type of thing at the moment, and so it would be wrong for us to run out and tell the accountants of the world that they need to redesign their websites and change everything they do right now based on early days with Google implementing rich cards, but I think Gianluca called it cardification and I’d say that we need to have an eye on the future and still be encouraging our clients to produce content that is more visual, but also is as useful as it possibly can be, in order to perform well in future in this kind of search environment. It will be also be interesting to see just how much more, we’re talking about rich cards, but how much more rich they can become, because we’re still really talking about pictures.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: I would like to add a little thing. I think three weeks ago, or a little more, one month ago was the release of a project on schema.org, so talking about services and now with Schema you can declare the service as a product. So maybe why not take it also for services or consultancies, something like a rich card?
TYLER BARNES: And if the cards continue to grow and integrate, the next step, it’s probably pretty far down the line, but individual people and personality cards, because in the accounting industry as well as in, like, law, the person and the service go hand in hand. There’s an accountant that specialises in this specific field and you’ve got like your sultan, etc., etc. And so that would be an area where cards can really come in very handy.
ALEX TUCKER: That’s absolutely true, Tyler, for our clients often it’s all about the personality, um, and the reputation of a partner in a professional services firm, as much as it is about the brand. The personal brand is a really big deal is this business.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: It’s also the time to ask lawyers, for instance, to change their wardrobe – they always wear the same. So I imagine in Google search, we’re looking at the same people.
DAVID BAIN: Rebecca, I see you stroking your chin there now, contemplating things there, and I know that you’re an expert on integrating SEO with content marketing and trying to actually learn off each other. What do you think that this cardification actually might do for the perception of the brand and is there anything else that we need to do from a content perspective to perhaps take the best advantage of this?
REBECCA LIEB: Well this was mentioned earlier. This is a visual marketing play and I think it is inevitably going to push forward into ecommerce and I think we have to therefore look at what Google Shopping has been doing in requiring of merchants to display their wares and also companies like Amazon, so there might be, I don’t want to use the word panic, but a sense of urgency in coming up with things like white backgrounds and other requirements for showing off product and I wouldn’t be surprised if this also became a commerce channel, with a click to buy component to it. I would be interested in other people’s reactions as well.
DAVID BAIN: Alexandra, what are your thoughts on this one? Do you think that we’re seeing more of an integration of paid and organic here and is what Rebecca is saying about click to buy, meaning that we’re going to see a further degradation of pure organic?
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: Actually I think here is just one thought about like schema as at is, because when I search on Google, I travel a lot, I search in the UK, I search in the US, I search in different places. What I see there are still a lot of websites that are really poorly not only optimised as it is, but they don’t use schema, their titles, meta description, they are totally ugly and I think there is just a really good part for agencies to occupy this kind of niche and just produce schema as a service, because I was looking at a lot of different digital marketing agencies’ websites and their scope of services, and I tried to capture the idea that some agencies are providing this as integrated services, so are going to take your ugly website and are going to update your click through rate with the help of schema, because I think right now sometimes when I think about the future of SEO as it is, which I understand is a huge topic, but sometimes I think there is no need for SEO as it is, I mean as a service, because if you have a good developer that knows how to implement schema, if you have a good digital marketing team that know how to use keywords etc., and some other stuff on that side, then why do you need SEO as it is if it’s not like a really complex website? If it’s like, not a small business one, but not for instance like ecommerce is a huge one, so we are talking about medium size, so there are some particular niches that are not covered fully by digital marketing agencies, like schema. So I think all those kind of…I think they are going to produce further services related to it as it should go in that way.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, that’s interesting and perhaps an opportunity for a niche digital marketing agency to set up. Okay, well let’s move on to the third topic and as Google have introduced Google Home and the Google assistant, so both of those services are helping users to communicate more directly with its search engine, but will these services mean that users interact with search engines differently in the future? And if so, how do you SEO for voice search and this Google assistant service? I think it was Gianluca that mentioned something about this in the introduction about SEOing for voice search. Do you think that SEO will have to change much, or will the existing practices ensure that your site is optimised quite well?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Well, actually it’s not changing too much, in the sense that if you’re already paying attention to everything semantics, you are probably going on the right way, on the right direction, because when I was preparing my talk for Inbounder, I started focusing on what company was buying Google since 2012, something like this, you were saying, exactly, did mine, but also many other companies like DMNM search if you have your [unclear – 0:31:56.3] jet pack dark blue etc. etc. At the same time I was seeing what kind of outstanding patterns was filling Google and you were saying patterns about synonyms, the one about CTR feedback, the one about watch time, using concept pattern, etc., etc., etc. Also we saw an update of our recent all classic reasonable server pattern and then we are having Giannandrea as the new head of Google Search, so I think that if you put all these things all together and just start looking, you’ll see that how everything related to passing and understanding for Google in this area is key, right now, because voice search is complicated. We saw it with Synternet; Synternet presented a really clear statement by Google that just a simple phrase with 30 or 40 words can reach about 10,000 different meanings, depending on the combination. So to understand for Google it’s becoming really complicated and the only way you can do it, is helping for us, is helping him in making everything like understanding the meaning of what we are writing or what we are using as images etc., etc., in our website easier for Google. And that’s why I think everything related to semantics which is not just schema it’s also using a well, ‘clean’ HTML, using well done information architecture and so on are essential for doing SEO for something like voice search as a whole. This is it, so I think that we can have ways to improve the semantic force of our content, so doing that we are going to, let’s say, having the competitive advantage with respect our competitors for everything voice search, so with Google assistant, but Google insist it is not just an evolution of Google now, it’s a real new way, a new search platform for Google. So it’s everything. We also have to start thinking about everything related to how to take advantage from personalised search. So I think it’s not an easy evolution also for us, but is surely more interesting and more exciting than talking about how long must the title tag be or the function of an H1, all the classic things?
OREN GREENBERG: I think what I’m quite curious about with this IOT integration is you can get a feel where you’re sitting in your living room and you go and Google or whatever Amanda or whatever this voice recognition software is called and say, ‘Order me a pizza?’ And then you’re thinking, how is Google really going to do this, is Google going to go like a user would go through the SERPS and select and I think if I was Google, I would have preferred suppliers, like how on Google Maps you order a Uber directly, right? So I think for some of the common searches are going to have preferred suppliers integrated, order flower delivery, they’ll choose a big brand to partner with, where the user is no longer thinking or doing the competitive research, they just want the ease of use.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: I think it can surely be a business opportunity also for Google, but when I start thinking of things like the anti-Christ, European anti-Christ Commission and I see that Google couldn’t do something just following that path.
REBECCA LIEB: So what we’re discussing here is already an extant product and I don’t know how many of you are using Amazon Echo or have been playing with that search engine, which is powered by Amazon, but certainly when you do search for a product or you say, ‘Amazon order me this.’ In fact I just went through it the other day with cat food. Alexa said, ‘Well you’ve ordered three different cat foods from Amazon. Which would you prefer?’ And actually I just triggered it and she’s talking to me right now, because I invoked her name, if any of you heard that. In fact I might have just bought cat good, but which one? So Alexa, or I shouldn’t say that name again, Amazon knows my purchase history, knows which cat foods I customarily order and then says narrow this down for me. If I’ve only bought one laundry detergent, it will default re-order not just that brand, but that size and that type. But, again, the searches are very, very structured, and learning to use these devices is something that these smart devices are always learning, but it’s also contingent on the consumer to use near natural language search. It’s not actual natural language search. So to play a particular piece of music, you have to use the word, ‘Play’ and then the song and then the artist in that order, or the device is not going to understand you. So I think natural language search is going to become more natural, but for the time being it isn’t. But Google is certainly not going to let Amazon beat them in this arena; they’ve been working on voice search and voice recognition for far too long. Look at their experimentation with YouTube videos and creating transcriptions, that’s all a move towards voice search, not towards enhancing your YouTube experience, no matter what you might think as a consumer. So IOT, and this is the research I’m currently doing, is what happens to content when it moves beyond screens into a world of beacons and sensors and IOT is getting to be really big, not just for search but for marketing and for product development.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: That’s what I was saying about remember our orbiting of behaviour, which is all about how to use our sensors in order to predict searches, predict action and so on, was one of the most important things happening in Google in the last year.
MATT HODKINSON: You’ve got to think about the user case for this as well, and the angle of accessibility, because many people are going to be really looking forward to this technology in terms of those with disabilities or for whatever reason can’t use traditional devices to access the web and they’ve been crying out for something that works in a more meaningful way, so from an optimisation perspective and from an organic perspective, perhaps we need to be thinking more about things like W3C compliance as a ranking factor, which has obviously been in the background and been discussed for a long time, but that’s the exciting part for me, is that the applications for this technology as well.
OREN GREENBERG: I think it’s interesting the W3C point, because that’s like a focus on the on page and getting the contextual relevance of the content. I’m quite curious to hear what other people think about the importance of backlinks that are pointing to these websites, because obviously how is Google establishing the authority of a brand – it’s what other people are saying. So I’m quite curious…
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: My theory that backlinks actually, are semantics, too. Because one of the things that Google is using, it’s an hypothesis, a quite well funded hypothesis, that Google is using what we call the name entities, which are all the things related to Knowledge Graph. So person, people, brands etc., etc., etc. And what Google call in a series of patterns as are the search entities, the search entity is the queries themselves, the session of when the query is performed, the documents related to a query, the domain related to the documents answering to that query and the links. The anchor test of a link, so I think that maybe you always have to remember that link graphics is still there, so it’s still having a power.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: To Gianluca’s point, we’re actually seeing some very real world trouble with this stuff right now, with business names, where these voice assistants don’t understand the name you’re asking for and they give you some guy down the block instead of some guy that you really want to find. And we’ve been a lot of testing both with trying to get like a 100 people to ask Siri and say they get the wrong result, or do this kind of stuff with backlinking and what we’ve found is that overpowering the semantics on the site and through backlinks is what helps the most in terms of making sure, let’s say Siri, understands I meant this business name, not that business name.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: And that’s why Google also invented RankBrain. You have to see when I have to search in English with my mixed Spanish/Italian accent, Google is going crazy.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Yeah, and does Siri say how sexy it is?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Siri simply says, ‘I don’t understand you.’
ANDREW SHOTLAND: On another point that was brought up a few minutes ago on food ordering, right now that exists. If you go into the rich card documentation, you can mark stuff up as you deliver food. You can reserve…put restaurant reservations mark-up in there, so Google has already kind of laid the ground work for anybody to be eligible for that kind of stuff.
DAVID BAIN: Just to spend a couple of minutes actually on the last topic, which is moving away from SEO really, but obviously we know that content marketing and SEO are ugly sisters or twins or whatever you want to call them, yesterday Mark Zuckerberg hosted a live streamed Q&A with astronauts on the international space station, so obviously that was a great PR coup for Facebook, but it also shows that live streaming is becoming very much in the mainstream now. So how does live streaming really integrate with a business’s content marketing strategy and indeed perhaps every with their SEO strategy with driving an audience to a page where an event is actually going on. Can that impact SEO as well and obviously how does that integrate with existing strategies. So I’m interested to hear if anyone is actually working with clients or working in a business that is leveraging that at the moment?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: I can tell you my experience with live streaming during The Inbounder, the Conference. For a series of things we weren’t able to do live streaming for all of the event although we would love do to it. But we started doing some experiments with Facebook live streaming, and especially with Periscope and surely I think that for things like events or live events or something similar, the live streaming surely is a great new format to use, so I think right now live streaming can be, depending on the niche, depending on your industry, can be another weapon you can use as a content format in order to amplify or repurpose things.
MATT HODKINSON: David, as you know, we’ve been playing with Periscope especially for over a year now, from since about week one, from both a B2B perspective, but also you see so many people just from a personal passion perspective, I saw it very early on as just a new blogging platform, and I think that just goes for live streaming as a format, and it is nothing new, it’s been around for a very long time, it predates Periscope by a very long way. I think the technology has just become more accessible thanks to the advent of 4G, broadband speeds and smart devices. But from a content perspective, let’s not forget live streaming is content in and of itself, it’s a great way to create content, as we saw with Zuck’s interview yesterday. Interviews are a fantastic way to create content from scratch and as we know when we start with video, we’ve got so many options when it comes to repurposing in terms of transcription, in terms of audio extraction and all sorts of other things that we can do with that and Gianluca’s right, from a reach perspective, for that in the moment promotion as well, we can be driving people to other offers, other web properties, other digital assets and increasing your reach in that perspective, so it’s that kind of in the moment promotion that many marketers demand, but as ever, it’s going to be about how you positon that and how you promote it in a non-sales-y way.
REBECCA LIEB: Well live streaming is really a tactic, it’s not a strategy. I would argue that we are all here live streaming right now, right this second. Live streaming is a bit of a neologism for an extant point, something that’s been around for a long, long time. In fact there’s a content conference in New York I’m unable to attend today, they’re live streaming it, I’m going to dip in and out of it. But I think it’s very important that marketers understand that there’s a big difference between tent pole events like speaking to astronauts in outer space or a super bowl or an Oscars ceremony and live streaming for the sake of live streaming and hoping that your audience, whoever and wherever they are, is going to drop whatever they’re doing to pay attention to that live streaming the moment. If you’re Apple announcing a new product, they absolutely will. But if it’s just a routine thought leadership kind of interview with an executive, it’s probably best to, if you are going to live stream it, then archive that stream, make a transcript of it, make it searchable, make it findable and make it archiveable. So live streaming, at the end if the day, is something that has to fit into a strategy and into audience and channel research, not something that’s retrofitted or bolted to an extant content programme, because it’s there and because you can.
OREN GREENBERG: I think Rebecca makes some really compelling points around the content strategy and how most businesses are really going to utilise them. I think there is this question around, when you look at vines and you can see some of the vines are so beautifully well-crafted, that a lot of thought and engineering has been put into them, and I think if a business is very consistent with formulating live video that’s incredibly engaging and relevant for the target audience, and this is probably not right for most businesses, definitely, probably not B2B businesses, but maybe on a B2C front, I think they can be very creative and well-executed and if it’s done consistently, it could be very innovative in a particular space, but I don’t know about you, but from my experience, when you are going through the initiative of producing a complicated content strategy, the amount of planning to execute and produce really high quality content, is so intensive. So to do live streaming effectively that’s really creative and really good content, isn’t easy to do on the fly.
TYLER BARNES: Has anyone worked with transitioning from webinars to live streams? Of course ideally we all want to be doing both and put out as much content as possible, be like the HubSpot strategy, but has anybody made the transition, it seems like Authoritas, you guys have.
DAVID BAIN: Personally I also do a podcast and I’ve broken then into moving into live streaming from actually just audio podcasting in different phases and I started off actually just audio podcasting, and then moved to pre-recorded video using Hangouts, but not actually broadcasting the video to anyone at all, so I did have the option of editing and then after that doing a live stream after that. So I think that stepped process makes you more comfortable with the medium, it makes you comfortable with mistakes that happen or knowing what’s happening in terms of webcams and audio and it depends on your personality, but by and large when you’re doing it live, you should be trying to focus on the content and not the technology and if you’re too worried about what’s going on, then the quality of what you deliver, isn’t going to be good enough.
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: Actually I think talking about live streaming webinars, because I was involved in that process a lot as well, I think there is a huge difference between webinars, and this is a classic one, because it’s not so personalised and especially companies that use platforms like GoToWebinar [unclear – 0:50:34.4] engagement because it’s really hard to capture the attention of the user in GoToWebinar, so engagement is well in a lot of cases they’re tiny and they are really small, but talking about live streaming, I think that a form of being more personalised in terms of being closer to the audience, as well as you can somehow change the topics and you can see how people are reacting on your different ways of interaction, how you talk with them, how you present your content as well, so I think it’s more flexible in terms of the environment as well. And I really like the idea of Periscope as it is, because it gives you ability to show what’s going on on other sides of the planet, which is fantastic. And I love this opportunity being, here in Europe I can see what’s going on in the US and I can become involved in this event as well. So I think it’s just about connecting people and connecting businesses as well, but in the end it all depends on the final goals – whatever you want, more branding leads sales. So everything to be connected to your final goals. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do live streaming just in terms of doing it as a process, I think in this area things should be connected to the final targets.
DAVID BAIN: Good thoughts there about live streaming. I was thinking that a bunch of a majority of SEOs might have another strong opinion about it, but I think it’s been great today. It kind of depends on your personality as well. I think someone like Matt, if you look at Matt’s Periscope, Matt’s great at engaging with people in the comments, and I don’t feel as comfortable as him doing something like that. I like interacting with people and having someone else on a call with me, but I feel that I struggle a bit more with that one too many mediums, so perhaps it’s just about your personality and what you’re naturally good at as well.
MATT HODKINSON: I think that is logistically difficult though, to interact with people as you’re going, I think some of the more successful broadcasters on live stream at the moment have somebody effectively moderating that, they’re operating behind the scenes, so you’ve got that cameraman mentality coming to live streaming now, it is a two-man job. And I know a lot of people that are doing this on Facebook, Rebecca mentioned about the tactical aspects of this, one of the best tactics I’ve seen recently from brands is that they are using Facebook live stream to engage a large audience based on a topic, it’s all contextual around their core theme, but then of course anybody who watches that video can be re-targeted. And again it’s not organic, but from a tactical marketing perspective, that’s incredibly valuable to businesses that don’t have the organic reach that they really should at this stage in their business life.
DAVID BAIN: I reckon that just about takes us up to the end of this week’s show. So maybe we’ve got enough time for a single takeaway and some sharing of find out more details, if everyone can maybe think of one thing that’s been discussed today that the listener or the viewer needs to think about a bit more and perhaps implement within their businesses and then just leave us with your contact details, that would be great. So shall we start off, the same direction, with Alex Tucker.
ALEX TUCKER: Thanks for having me. So the thing I think I’ve really taken away for our clients is that I’m going to have a good think about how we can use services in [lost sound]
DAVID BAIN: Sorry, Alex, are you still with us there?
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: We’ve lost him.
REBECCA LIEB: We’ve lost some audio.
DAVID BAIN: Okay. You can probably hear us, Alex. If you can then we’re struggling with your audio there, so we’ll hopefully come back to you again, but Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: Okay I think I have a couple of concerns about voice search, because honestly what you can’t control from SEO side, because in Google search console you can’t find those searches. So it’s kind of making me feel really bad about that, because if you can’t control this process, how can you improve it? So that’s my main question, because normally when you do something, you can just track the results, think over it, analyse one more time and just improve it. But what is the improvement of this process? Because, yes, you can research different people with searches to search with your voice and track it, but it’s really troubleshooting, so you just need to do it over and over and it’s hard. So I think there talking about voice search there should be some kind of choice that allows you to track, and that’s I’m really waiting for, before just doing something about that, it doesn’t make any sense.
DAVID BAIN: Okay. Although there was some discussion, I believe I read somewhere, about voice stats potentially being available in somewhere like search console, but…
ALEXANDRA TACHALOVA: That’s cool.
DAVID BAIN: And also with us today was Andrew. Thanks for joining us, do you want to just leave us with some final thoughts and your contact details.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Sorry I thought there were two Andrews on. I think my thought on this all is always when there’s new stuff is how great is it to be in this business, because who else is going to spend the time to understand this ridiculous stuff? So everyone on this hangout has amazing job security for well into the future.
DAVID BAIN: So just sit back and be content with yourself, then.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Yeah. Cheers to you guys, it’s going to be a good day.
MATT HODGKINSON: We should be telling everyone else how it’s done, instead of doing it ourselves!
DAVID BAIN: I think everyone was like that for several years actually.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: What we always tell people is it’s not that hard to unclog a toilet, but why do you want to do it? Hire someone who knows how to unclog a toilet, right, who likes doing it. So I’ll be getting my rubber gloves on today.
DAVID BAIN: And, Andrew, if anyone would like to unclog their toilets, where can they get hold of you?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: At www.localseoguide.com, @localseoguide and again just to keep pimping it out, because this is the title tag sales part, we’re releasing this really crazy study on local SEO ranking factors at SMX Advanced that I think is going to be kind of a big deal. So hopefully see you guys there.
DAVID BAIN: And also with us today was Gianluca.
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Well, I think that one takeaway we can have, is that we must always be open to news, always thinking about what’s happening and what’s going on, what’s Google doing? What Facebook is doing, because also Facebook is working a lot on artificial intelligence, giving a background also to its own artificial intelligence. So yes and at the end of the day I usually see myself that most of the problem we are dealing with as marketers, search or content or whatever, usually it’s a problem related to common sense. I mean I think the secret weapon of all us marketers is it’s okay knowing about technology, implement the technology and everything and then our centre is the audience and most of the time we cannot limit people by common sense, so if we start putting common sense as a riser mentality, we are probably going to [unclear – 0:59:20.7]. If we are going to think of all the technology, all the advancement and then start overcomplicating everything with our theories and thoughts, maybe then we are going to fail. This is usually what I think when we are having this kind of interesting chats.
DAVID BAIN: That’s a great point. It’s very easy to get distracted by the technology and try and trick yourself to the top of an algorithm, but…
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Yes, yes, important for me is to know the technology, but in the end not be, let’s say it’s like I know this new technique, forget it and let it influence my way of doing marketing as if it was in the background, not like only focusing, because I believe if we start only focusing, for instance, I’m am really big friend of sub-semantics, when maybe we are going to forget and not pay attention to other things that I think are really important, for instance [unclear – 1:00:28.7].
DAVID BAIN: Gianluca, where is the best website that people can find out more about you?
GIANLUCA FIORELLI: Follow me on Twitter. I’ve not had much opportunity to write and post and blog other sites, so maybe follow me on Twitter, engage with me on Twitter, I like to have a good conversation there and @gfiorelli1 is my handle on Twitter.
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful, I’ll make sure I include that in the show notes, so it’s on the Authoritas blog as well. And also with us today was Matt.
MATT HODKINSON: Thanks for having me. So the takeaway from today. I’m struggling with a lot of the other stories apart from live streaming, but I guess the Google Home is something to look at – I mean getting my phone out of my pocket to order a pizza is just too much like hard work! No, it’s going to be live streaming from a content strategy perspective it’s something we’ve been using for a while, we want to see where this is going beyond Periscope and Facebook, who else is going to be latching on to this, does Hangouts still have a much bigger part to play, so that’s where I’ll be hanging out.
DAVID BAIN: Hangouts has certainly got a nicer platform to get more people together. I’ve used Blab quite a bit as well, but obviously you can get a maximum of three additional guests on there as well, so if you’re looking to have a larger group discussion, then Hangouts at the moment I think possibly fulfils that role, but you can start to use obviously third party services like open broadcast software and Wirecast to create your own stream almost and then perhaps stream that directly to Facebook Live. So many things are happening and it will be amazing to see what happens over the next year as well. So thank for you joining us Matt. Where can people get hold of you again?
MATT HODKINSON: You can Google me I suppose. Matt Hodkinson, there’s only me and some guy who does some BMX racing I think, but that’s not me.
DAVID BAIN: Well thanks for joining us. And also with us today was Oren.
OREN GREENBERG: So you can reach me at [email protected], Kurve with a K. I think the one learning from today is just to think about exceptional content and doing something that’s very different. Because I think everyone is reading and being saturated by content and all the different mediums, but I think if you can find a way to innovate given a particular medium in a way that your competitors aren’t or you’re producing exceptional content, then you’ll get noticed. And really when you think about SEO, it’s all about becoming an authority and all of that is about being innovative in the way that you are positioning yourself. So not to get distracted by the nuances, but really think about how you can leverage particularly yourself, by pushing your content strategy.
DAVID BAIN: Okay, great. Andy Halliday saying in the chat. ‘Thanks, guys, great show.’ There weren’t too many comments going on there, but I’m sure there’s going to be quite a few people enjoying and loads of people enjoying the replay as well. So thanks for joining us Oren, and also joining us today was Rebecca.
REBECCA LIEB: Many thanks. You can reach me at www.rebeccalieb.com and I think my takeaway for today was really that discussion around voice search, simply because I’m getting so interested and about to publish research in content that goes beyond screens and I’m looking at the real bleeding edge of consumer behaviour and consumer interface with content. And also ways in which brands and manufacturers are using that data for things like customer service and product development, it’s going to be a very, very brave new world affecting not just search but lots of other aspects of our digital life.
DAVID BAIN: Wonderful. I’ll include links to Rebecca’s resources again in the show notes there and thank you again, Rebecca, for joining us.
REBECCA LIEB: Thanks so much for having me.
DAVID BAIN: And finally also with us today was Tyler.
TYLER BARNES: Thank you for having me David, and you can find me at Twitter @thetylerbarnes or on the Emfluence website – www.emfluence.com – and I think one takeaway I had for today was actually we’ve got a few clients right now who are going through a complete name rebrand and so I’m actually going to take Gianluca’s suggestion here, because I’ve actually been a little bit apprehensive to completely remove the brand out of all pages. So I might try it out and see what Google decides to do, as we have two perfect opportunities, I don’t know how that happens, we have actually two clients at once that are going through full rebrands.
DAVID BAIN: And you’ve got someone else to blame if it doesn’t work!
TYLER BARNES: Yeah! No, of course not.
DAVID BAIN: Great, okay. Well Emfluence and @thetylerbarnes on Twitter. So wonderful, okay and thank you everyone for joining us again. So I’m David Bain, Head of Growth at Authoritas, the data science driven SEO and content marketing platform for agencies and enterprises. You can sign up for a demo of our platform over at www.Authoritas.com. So if you’re watching the show as a recording, remember to watch the next show live. So head over to thisweekinorganic.com and be part of the live audience for the next show and hopefully interact with us a little bit there as well. But for those of you who are watching us live, we also have an audio podcast of previous shows, so again sign up to email updates at thisweekinorganic.com and you will receive a link to the podcast from there too. But until we see you again, be fantabulous. Adios. Cheers everyone, thank you for being a part of it.