Digital Profits Podcast – Episode 22: The Search Engine Marketing Random Show

In this rapidly evolving digital age, staying ahead of the curve is not just an option but a necessity for businesses. From SEO strategies and content creation to digital advertising, the landscape has seen a seismic shift, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Let’s delve into this transformative impact as we share a wealth of insight into the future of AI-integrated tools. 

The AI Odyssey: Jasper, GPT 3.5, and GPT 4

Have you heard of the latest advancements in AI, including the groundbreaking models like Jasper, GPT 3.5, and the highly anticipated GPT 4? If you haven’t, these powerful AI models are redefining how we interact with technology, from natural language processing to generating creative content. 

Jasper’s human-like speech synthesis could transform voice tech, making our interactions with virtual assistants more seamless and lifelike. Explore the vast capabilities of GPT 3.5, from writing code to generating articles. It’s like having a tool that could not only answer your questions but also generate entire essays, reports, or even stories for you!

But that’s not all, GPT 4 is a game-changer as it is projected to revolutionize not just natural language processing, but also the realms of content creation, chatbots, and a myriad of other industries. While we can only speculate about its potential impact, the anticipation around its launch suggests it will be a significant leap forward in the AI space.

Search Generative Experiences (SGE) and SEO Strategies

Now let’s unravel the concept of Search Generative Experiences (SGE) and its implications for SEO strategies. SGE is reshaping the way users engage with search engines, and marketers can adapt their SEO approaches to stay ahead of the curve. 

The integration of AI into Bing’s core search ranking engine has also been a game-changer. The AI model powers chatbot features and improves search ranking, providing more accurate and relevant search results. This reflects the evolution of search engine behavior and use, where AI and social media technologies are delivering more precise search outcomes.

AI’s Hand in Schema Writing and SERP Analysis

Delving deeper into the technical aspects, let’s examine the pivotal role that AI plays in schema writing and Search Engine Results Page (SERP) analysis. AI algorithms are not only shaping the presentation of search results but also influencing the way content is structured for maximum visibility. Understanding the nuances of these AI-driven processes is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their online presence.

Navigating Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

It’s also worth noting that there are challenges posed by the integration of AI in SEO and PPC strategies, but there are immense opportunities that arise from embracing this transformative technology. 

The key to thriving in the dynamic realm of SEO and PPC is focusing on user-centric content and embracing adaptability. We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to keep your content up-to-date and engaging, as this plays a significant role in improving your site’s relevancy and visibility. 

Remember, search engines love fresh content and so do your users. Furthermore, as the digital landscape continuously shifts, being adaptable is not an option but a necessity. Adapting to changes, be it algorithm tweaks or new trends, allows you to stay ahead of the curve and utilize every opportunity to its fullest. 

The pivotal role AI is set to play in the future of our digital ecosystem is undeniable. From redefining search experiences to influencing content creation and analysis, AI is reshaping the way we approach digital marketing. 

So, are you ready to navigate through these challenges and seize the opportunities that come with the integration of AI in SEO and PPC strategies? Then don’t miss out on the latest episode of the Digital Profits podcast for a stimulating discourse on the future of AI and its profound impact on Search Engine Marketing. 

Gain valuable insights, stay ahead of industry trends, and position your business for success in the AI-driven era. Listen now to unlock the secrets of the future!

Intro: Welcome to the Digital Profits podcast where you’ll learn how to grow your business faster using paid traffic and SEO. Each episode will feature a breakdown of digital marketing trends and answers to your burning questions that will provide actionable takeaways to make your marketing better. So join us Ben Page, Ray Sawvell and Blake John as we guide you on your journey to higher profits. Remember to join the profit and get ready to profit in three, two, one.

Ben Page: Hey Squad. Welcome to the show. We’ve got everyone together here in the studio today, including Blake John.

Blake John: Hey Squad.

Ray Sawvell: Hey everybody, it’s Ray. Hello.

Ben Page: And I’m Ben, your host. So today we’ve got a fun show lined up. It’s going to be the random show, and in fact it’s the last episode of 2023. So we’re going to be doing a look back at this year, some of the trends, the insights, the changes we observed, and then we’re going to talk about what we’ll focus on moving into 2024 to get even better results from organic and paid search. So a few updates to share with you guys in 2024, we’re going to take a break from this podcast in this format to focus on our owned content, which you can find on our site, of course, two one We’re also officially launching our community plus coaching program which is called the Profit Squad. You can find details about that on our website and we’re going to lean in a little bit more to our social platforms, YouTube, maybe TikTok, if Blake has anything to say about it, and certainly LinkedIn. So hoping that if we’ve provided any insights or value to you guys, you want to connect with us, have your questions answered, reach out to us on those channels, and we’ll love to connect and just keep growing this community together, moving into next year. So what a crazy year, right guys? I mean, a few big picture topics stand out from 2023. Let’s kind of think back through this year and what really stood out to you guys. Anyone can take it away. To start. Where should we begin?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I mean, for me, we’ve already done like two podcast episodes on this, but it’s just the use of AI, right? At the end of 2022, I remember using tools like Jasper, Ben, you introduced me to that, but I feel like 23 was just the year of AI. How are we as marketers using tools like chat, GPT, or additional tools to adjust our workflows? And for me, that’s been one of the key points for this year.

Ben Page: Yeah, I posted on LinkedIn recently about this idea that the capability of AI is accelerating at an exponential rate. And to your point, Ray, we had tools like Jasper for a little while, then GPT 3.5 and then this year GPT four and the additional expansion of capabilities even within Chat GPT. But then to your point, mid journey now, Gemini’s new release just dropped the evolution of Copilot from Microsoft as well as dozens or hundreds of other micro tools that are being developed. It’s getting crazy.

Ray Sawvell: I would imagine moving into 24, things are going to move at even a faster pace. Things are going to just continue to move towards efficiencies, I would imagine, and then just more the AI getting smarter, I guess, to make it very generalized. But just more capabilities from these tools.

Ben Page: Yeah. More efficient machine learning models, we’ll say more training tokens, more hardware and human resources being deployed toward the development and commercialization of these tools. We did talk in one of our episodes about SGE search generative experiences, the impact of AI on search results. I think we’re going to keep seeing that have a broader and deeper impact. I think we’ll see a lot more advertising within SGE results and I think we’ll also see some reimagining of SEO strategy to maximize visibility within those results like we have seen with featured snippets.

Blake John: Yeah, and it’s interesting because truthfully I haven’t seen much in terms of impact on performance from SGE and generative experiences on search engine result pages, but I suspected it like it is. But I just haven’t seen it in my own world have that sort of significant decline. Because when those things first launched, do you guys remember SEO is dead? Like those conversations were happening all over again. Well, that’s not the case. And I think strategies will evolve to sort of continue to more like a featured snippet optimization process involved in. How can you get into that SGE, the result that Google displays all the time. But yeah, the impact of that has been not as significant as I was expecting it to be.

Ben Page: Yeah. Or at a minimum it’s very difficult to quantify the impact as of know. I imagine in future state perhaps Google will release tools to better assess visibility, know traffic from those kinds of results, whether that be in search console or analytics or via some other mechanism. But I expect that would be forthcoming.

Ray Sawvell: I think the one area where we kind of have seen it has been on Bing. Like when I think about some of the ads that we’re running on Bing, we’re seeing increases in impressions for top of funnel navigational types of terms and backing up really high level. It’ll kind of be interesting to see what happens with Bing market share of people using edge or that browser. I don’t think it’s going to overtake Google by any means, but just seeing Microsoft and Chat GPT working together, are more people going to shift towards that browser?

Blake John: I don’t know, Well.

Ben Page: And will that browser even be necessary? Before we jumped into the studio, we were talking about Gemini and Google’s rapid updates to infuse their AI capability into more of their product suite, if you will, whether that be in record or notes, et cetera. So one interesting idea is like in 2024, will there be organic and paid results that are generated by AI but infused into other non search products? And so think about the Microsoft Windows operating system 365 suite teams as these different tools that we’re utilizing become more integrated and AI is working behind the scenes to power more of those tools and experiences. Suddenly, will it be possible within your notebook LM or keep or you’re on a teams meeting and someone know, oh, we should really look into this thing? Will it be possible to do a search know, it’s like a new way of finding answers and data and information at your know, I think something like.

Blake John: That is, I mean, Google is trying to embed this into every Google tool. And us personally, we’re on Google tools all the time, like worksuite or whatever it is, we’re going to see it all the time. It’s going to be embedded into all the process. It kind of scares me because there’s going to have more and more and more data on us and we’re going to be reliant and all of our process will be just without Google, what would we be? You know what I mean? That thought scares me, but it’s definitely going to go in that direction where it’s just like new processes will be built in and you’ll be able to do so much without actually going to a search. I think.

Ben Page: Yeah, for years there have been discussions around this concept of second brain, right? Using things like first it was Evernote and tools like that, and then later notion and notion has been leading on some AI capability in their tools and now even Google and big tech is bringing those same functionalities into their suite. So yeah, that will be interesting. Let’s talk about how has the acceleration of AI’s capability changed the way we’re doing marketing and specifically SEO, pay per click, et cetera? What are we doing differently? Because now we can upload documents. I’m trying to think of some of those things to give the audience ideas on how they could begin to get more benefit from tools like chat. GPT.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I mean, I can kick us like the biggest way I’ve been using GPT, I would say, is from a creative standpoint, it’s not perfect, but it helps. I would say if you have a creative block, you can use GPT to brainstorm with you. So some key examples is like on the Google side of things or meta side of things, if you’re creating actual ad copy and verbiage, you can give it very explicit instructions to say, write me a headline, that’s xYz. You can break in themes from websites or articles, or ways to write specific ads you can take in client feedback. Give that to GPT. There’s like a whole bunch of things that you can do where, at least for me personally, my role has went from a creative standpoint. I would say instead of writing all of the ads, I’m using GPT to maybe write 60% of it, and then I’m editing the other 40% of it. So I would say I’m going from more of creating it to editing the ads if the output from GPT is good enough. That’s like the key distinction though, because we talked about this way back and it’s gotten better, but it’s still garbage in, garbage out. And if you don’t give GPT a good prompt or the necessary information, it’s going to give you like hot garbage. So it’s really important that you are using the tools to your workflow. And for me, it’s been creative. That’s been the big one this year for me.

Ben Page: Yeah, drafting and editing. And I’ll add that for me, one of the game changers recently has been custom instructions. And to your point, like Ray, we’ve been doing this for a long time. At a minimum, having custom threads or tailored threads per client, per task that we’re working on because of the ability to train and specialize even within a know. And we’re seeing too the custom gpts that are purpose driven being launched for that. So I assume where we’re heading is we’ll have even more personalized data that will bring to train our own custom gpts and task oriented threads, and those will become more efficient and productive for these discrete tasks like help me brainstorm Google Ads headlines, help me draft faqs for an article on this topic, or title tag, whatever the case might be.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah. One other note is like, this is maybe just a little bit of a rant, but from an organizational perspective, in GPT right now, I think it’s not great. It’s really hard to find what you want. So hopefully in 24, we’re also getting better organizational tools where it’s like folders, and I know there’s extensions and stuff like that, but right now it’s a little annoying to find exactly what you’re looking for in GPT. If you have hundreds of threads, it is.

Ben Page: I agree with that 100%. And every extension you install, I have a little bit of paranoia. Typically, I’m like, yeah, I’m opening all my threads to a third party that is unvetted, potentially anyway, so there’s that risk. But man, that would be great if you could do that or even have links to threads. I’m imagining like a Google Drive like experience where you could create your own folder structure, but then you could hot link to threads.

Ray Sawvell: It’s got to be coming.

Blake John: Yeah.

Ben Page: Or like Gemini, they’ll figure it out with their own.

Ray Sawvell: For me, that would just help my personal workflow so much. Like if I could break it down between even personal work client creative data, even if you can just segment it that way, would just make it so much more clean. And right now it’s just kind of just like blob throw up of everything, right?

Ben Page: Hundreds. I have, literally, I have hundreds. Periodically, if I have a down moment, I scroll to the beginning. I’m like, do I still need this thread? Oh, no, I had a better version of that six months later. Yeah, super interesting. Oh, actually, you know what, talking about capability, you know what’s scary good is when you’re using chat, GPT, the app on your phone with voice.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, it’s crazy.

Ben Page: It’s unreal.

Ray Sawvell: I use it to tell bedtime stories to my children.

Blake John: That’s incredible.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, well, mainly they talk to it to get that information to them. Tell me a story about SpongeBob and this, and it’ll do it. It’s sweet.

Ben Page: What do you think, Blake? How has the accelerating capability of AI tools impacted your life and your work?

Blake John: Yeah. So it hasn’t infiltrated my personal life, and I feel like I’ve made. I don’t want it to, to be totally honest, I really want to keep it separate. I’m just very cynical, I suppose, in the way that I view those things. It kind of just freaks me out.

Ben Page: Optimist, too.

Blake John: Yeah, right. In addition to the creative side of things, because honestly, that’s where I’ve seen the biggest benefit as well. It’s like, hey, I have this piece of text, but I need it to be more actionable. I need to be a little more engaging. Can you just edit this? And getting immediate feedback from an unbiased. You don’t even necessarily have to use what they, but you could just take one. It’s like, oh, they just flipped these three words around and it’s like it changes everything. Just can be that simple. So from a creative aspect, that’s where I’ve seen the biggest benefit. But I will say a couple of other areas. Really. There are really mainly two. One is schema. Writing schema for me is like a game changer. And truthfully, it’s usually not right the first time, but if you know it semantically, you can see it and visually you understand you can make the edits pretty quickly, but it’ll just drop the information, everything that you need. It’s 90% there, so, so fast. Really effective. The other one is actually SerP analysis, where I’ll say, hey, can you take a look at this? Essentially, Google this search term, which is like a newer development in the last couple of months where you could do that, and it’ll tell you about the SErP and some of the themes and some of the top competitors, and it’ll even give you, sometimes it’ll give you insights into, say, why specific competitors are ranking, or it’ll tell you about mixed intents. It’s like, hey, there’s four results about this intent and then there’s another five results about this sort of competing intent. So it’s really interesting. Those are the kind of the two main analysis research components that I’ve expanded my AI use with and just gotten tons of benefits from.

Ben Page: Yeah, on the analysis side, I’ve been testing to some degree things like uploading CSVs from Google Ads for NGram analyses.

Ray Sawvell: It’s not fully there yet, at least for me. I feel for uploading the data sets like it doesn’t fully know what it’s looking at, especially if you export directly from Google. It’s like, what is all this? And I find I have to explain exactly what every column is. That’s where I’m trying to make custom gpts to say, when I upload this type of file, you look for this, this or this, and it’s maybe like 50 50 right now. But I feel like once that happens, that would also be like another efficiency play, at least for my own personal workflow.

Ben Page: Yeah, agreed. And I’ve seen false positives, but I think some of that can be solved by, to your point, providing definitions for metrics, giving clear direction on what to look for. In this example I’m looking for 3 grams where ad spend is high, conversions are zero. Know things like that. Giving it tighter instruction would probably help the output. Yeah and ditto. Like Blake, I’ll jump on what you said. Using it to generate drafts of code for custom scripts to do other analyses in platform and building micro tools and things has been really, really helpful.

Ben Page: Yeah. And brainstorming. So analysis, brainstorming, drafting research. Also in use cases like you mentioned, crawl this website, crawl this sitemap, give me a summary of the top pages or brainstorm article titles based on these URLs. Or crawling at scale and crawling and synthesizing at scale to provide summaries. Recommendation. That capability is really cool, really helpful.

Blake John: Yeah. And actually too you kind of mentioned this, but I love using AI tools for drafting metadata because I’ll say, hey, give me ten examples of a title tag for this page. And almost always what I see is they all are bad, but there’s like pieces of two or three that it’s like oh, that’s exactly. And you just kind of like mix and match and you have the perfect title tag. And then same with meta descriptions too. You take little bits and pieces and you can kind of create the puzzle a little bit and it speeds it up so much faster. And it’s honestly extremely effective. Getting from point a to point b is so much faster.

Ben Page: Right. It’s rapid, it’s iterative. That’s a very similar process to what I’ve done for things like headlines. Give me ten possible headlines like this is the audience. Make sure you include this kind of keyword topic. Here are some of the benefits or usps that client has. It spits out ten and you’re like, keep number two, number six and this part of number eight and recast, reroll, give me ten more. And then it’s like that. Iterative. But ultimately you come to something that maybe you wouldn’t have generated on your own and it’s super tight and punchy and it’s just like, yes, that’s powerful. And on the SEO side, since you have some knowledge of the targeted keywords or what has volume, you can say, okay, yeah, this is close, but if I play with word order or I inject this phrase, suddenly you have a blockbuster title.

Blake John: Exactly. And it’s so effective. Just the efficiency too. And I think the idea that you could do all these things on your own too and they can be really effective. But just getting that unbiased opinion just to see more ways of thinking about things. For me, it feels like I have another person in the room almost to draft. And that’s the real benefit because just two minds are greater than one, right? So getting that immediate input is just extremely valuable.

Ben Page: Yeah. And a vision I have for this too. Whether it’s in SEO, like title tags like you’re talking about, or Google Ads copy testing and we’re trying to drive up click through rate or it’s CRO experiments, it’s like imagine you’ve gone through this process with your quote unquote AI copilot. You launch a test like you implement the title tag, they copy the landing page update. How cool will it be in the future when you say, here’s the objective. Like what we’re trying to move is click through rate in this example and then it will run in the background doing the assessment and data collection for you. And it’s just for 14 days. Like monitoring. Oh, you like net gainer on impressions, click through rate went up like 0.3. And here’s the recommendation, oh, keep title tag or modify again or kill revert. And the ability to kind of track those experiments at scale, that’s going to be game over. Yeah, I mean close to it. I mean, until the point when it’s like fully recursive. And what I mean is when the model can, of its own accord, make a determination, like do analysis, make a determination, implement a finding and then do the monitoring and then learn from it based on that outcome. And then it has its own feedback loop that it’s driving.

Blake John: Correct me if I’m wrong, is that not like, and I really don’t know, is that not Pmax? Is that kind of.

Ray Sawvell: Not really. It doesn’t make the changes itself.

Blake John: Okay.

Ray Sawvell: All the assets.

Blake John: Well, although there are the dynamically created assets.

Ben Page: Right? That’s what I was thinking, automatically created assets.

Ray Sawvell: I opt out of those normally because they’re bad today, but eventually I think they’ll get better.

Ben Page: Yeah, they may. It’s almost like an early version, but imagine right now it’s like a low resolution, it’s powered by a weaker model probably. But when we’re like three generations from now, as far as the models and the number of trading tokens and whatever, it’s going to be. Lights out. If what is writing the copy has digested all of the literature on persuasion, influence and human psychology and all these things, and it’s just engineering basically clickbait. But it’s still relevant. But it’s just like optimized. And it can run tests at lightning.

Ray Sawvell: Speed and know when to make the change at every single asset level, correct?

Ben Page: Yeah, that’s when it’s know and then the game’s going to get really interesting at that. Like, and this is an interesting point because, Ray, one of the bullet points I had in for today on the agenda was the paradox of going manual to scale on PPC because it’s sort of like context dependent on when you should use Pmax, when you should use smart bidding, when you should use broad match consolidation strategies. In Blake, imagine the parallel on SEO might be when you should do mass content versus evergreen deep content. There are situations when more is better works in situations where it just doesn’t. If there’s not enough signal and the noise and stuff. Super interesting. It’s coming.

Blake John: Yeah, it’s mean. It’s interesting because truthfully, that sort of has been happening a little bit on the SEO side where Google is rewriting title tags. Remember, there’s a huge time where Google was really pushing title tag rewrites and people were really upset about it.

Ben Page: They still do it today, but I.

Blake John: Feel like they’re doing it less often. And that’s obviously like the free space where things are just moving at will whenever Google wants it to happen. That’s sort of happening at the ads level too, but then there’s dollars involved and so Google has to make decisions based on who’s willing to spend. It’s really interesting like that. When you lay that on top of all that information, like, oh, well, this person is just willing to spend more money. So I don’t know. It’s very interesting.

Ben Page: Yeah. Relevance and bid. Yeah, man. So we talked a little bit about a lot about AI and so on. Moving into next year, what are we going to focus on? What advice do we have for the audience at all stages? Right from small startup to Fortune 500, everyone’s doing marketing to some degree. The rate of change is accelerating. The capability of our tools is accelerating. It’s like, what do you do from a principal standpoint in 2024?

Blake John: I can start here and I think it’s good. This makes me happy because my advice coming into 2023 is the same. I think leaving 2023 at the end of the day, from an SEO perspective especially, you really just need to prioritize your user and their needs and answering their questions, satisfying their intent.

Ben Page: Right.

Blake John: That’s ultimately how you perform organically. So that hasn’t changed. And I’m happy that hasn’t changed because if that ever changes, the Internet’s in a bad place. That’s how I view things. And the way that you can do that is deeper research. Understanding specifically, it’s understanding why competitors are ranking for keywords that you want to rank for, and doing that deep analysis to understand. Okay, this content is working. It’s meeting that user’s need. How can I replicate that and how can I ultimately beat it? I’ve said this before, it’s the same message, but that’s because it’s true. This is how you win in organic search, and it’s how you deliver, how you create effective campaigns that deliver results, ultimately. So it’s the same message coming into 2023 as it is leaving 2023 for SEO.

Ben Page: Yeah, and I’ll just jump on that idea real quick. It’s like, whether it’s SEO or it’s pay per click, begin with the end in mind. What’s that outcome that we’re trying to achieve, the business outcome that we’re after? It’s more sales, more qualified leads, it’s more in store traffic. It’s something like that. Right? Once you know that, then from a search engine marketing perspective, it’s like, which intents, which needs? User needs will lead to that outcome. You do a bunch of research, great keyword research, and you figure out, well, these kinds of keywords have this kind of intent which leads to this kind of outcome, sales or whatever.

Blake John: Right?

Ben Page: And then you just kind of keep working backwards from there. And I think, to your point, it’s like more and better research on keywords, on users, on their needs, on all of those things, and then solving those needs creatively with information and products and tools and whatever you have at your disposal or can develop within your set of resources.

Blake John: Yeah, and I’ll add, too, Google is really, I think this is kind of a trend that we’re starting to see it now, and it’s going to continue into 2024. Google is really prioritizing, like, personalized content. It’s why you see things like, we talked about this. I don’t know if it was last time we recorded, but notes is like a test they’re running where you can leave notes about a search result on Google. It’s in beta, like in labs right now, but you can do that if you sign up for it. They’re also displaying more frequently Twitter or Instagram, like Facebook posts directly within the search results, too, like they’re getting closer to trying. Basically. It feels a little more like a.

Ben Page: Social media democratize a little bit, drawing from more.

Blake John: So they’re trying to work in.

Ray Sawvell: Real.

Blake John: World experience more and more and more. And that’s always been a priority for Google, but it’s kind of culminating onto the SERp level now. So keep that in mind when you’re developing content. That’s ultimately what Google wants to see is real life experience. Like if you’re reviewing a product, have actually reviewed the product testimonials. Yeah, exactly. So those things are extremely important. Getting that first world experience, getting that first world feedback on whatever you’re doing and being a subject matter expert, that’s what Google wants to see because that’s what the user wants to see. So Google’s trying to put that into the search engine result page and the search experience.

Ben Page: Yeah. Like depth, mastery, authenticity, real humans having real discussions with real experts or real products that have solved their real problems.

Blake John: Exactly.

Ben Page: Those things are going to always have more weight. Yeah, that’s really cool. I don’t know, Ray, what comes to mind for you?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I mean, I thought you guys nailed a lot of that where it’s like thinking with the end in mind, like Blake thinking about the user. I think for me, when I think about paid specifically, it’s slowing down, but doing the tests that matter. So not getting too broad too fast, if that makes sense. So running broad match keywords, or Pmax, and going all in on those strategies, it’s really testing those strategies, finding out what pockets that work and then scale them. So with all these tools that are coming into play, all the AI pieces, all the different strategies that Google meta, different platforms are introducing, really ensuring that you’re testing them, but you’re not going all in without really vetting them. Because what I’m seeing time after time is we get too broad right away and then there’s these pockets of waste where it’s like, guess what? We’re adding more broad keywords, we’re adding more Pmax, and then all of a sudden there’s thousands of dollars of compounded waste in there. So it’s really ensuring that you’re testing these different strategies, but you’re reiterating on them and you’re making sure that your data is in place. So for me, it’s like slowing down to make sure that the current pieces that you have in place to scale those types of campaigns. So again, I really loved what you guys said, too, but from a paid standpoint, that’s where my head’s kind of going.

Ben Page: Yeah. And from both, maybe it’s worth revisiting. What is your measurement strategy? Are you collecting data signals on the behaviors users are having with your content, your website, et cetera, your ads online. Are there other meaningful things you should be tracking? Are there things you should delete? Are you sure that everything is accurate? It’d be a great time to revisit. Go and fill out your forms as though you were a user. Look at the events in GA four that are firing. Look at your tag manager. Run an audit. Because in the case of paid in order for liquid campaign types like PMax to work and scale, you need to have the proper signals as feedback or effectively you’re training burning money. Yeah, it’s like you’re training the algorithm on what you don’t want if that’s not set up properly. So that’s really key. Here’s an interesting question. It’s for Blake, Blake lately or in 2024 as an SEO, do you think you will spend more time making updates to existing content, or do you think you’ll spend more time and energy developing new content? Net new content for clients?

Blake John: That’s a good question. I would say just because net new content is more time intensive. Yeah, it requires a larger time, like more input, essentially. I would probably say net new content.

Ben Page: There’s always standpoint, yeah.

Blake John: From an impact standpoint, it almost depends on the industry. I can think of one of our clients where it’s getting so competitive, new competitors are popping up all the time. It’s like, okay, we’re falling in the ranks, not because of anything we’re doing bad or anything, but there’s like new, fresh content with new perspectives. That’s winning ahead of and ranking ahead of us. So we make adjustments there. It’s really case by case dependent. I think that if I had to say one side or the other, it’s new content. It’s continuing to grow your reach, increase your organic visibility for new topics, new themes, new keywords and widening that funnel as much as you possibly can to ultimately have as much visibility as you possibly can and drive more qualified traffic. That’s what it’s about. So I would definitely pick the net new content side of things.

Ben Page: Yeah. More time, more energy going there. I wonder from an 80 20 standpoint, if you think about what drives outcomes, qualified leads, sales, whatever it is. I wonder if the relatively smaller amount of time you invest on on page updates for existing content, like pillar pages and stuff, is like the 80 20 though, you know, because we saw a huge example with a client this year that does coaching, virtual coaching. And yes, we’ve developed a ton of new content, their organic impressions, traffic and even like new contacts are up significantly year over year. However, I would argue that featured snippet optimization for some of the core pages may have had a greater impact. I don’t know. What do you think?

Blake John: I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I feel like we’re winning on all sides. We’re firing on all cylinders for that client, really, because we’re winning those feature snippets. We’re also, the net new content is like we’re growing at an exponential rate for them. And we’re seeing, I see what you’re saying, and I think, I don’t want to say, I think I’ll spend more time on new content. So that means you should just ignore what’s currently working for you. That’s not the case. There’s always going to be those key priority pages that you need to pay close attention to no matter what the other inputs are.

Ben Page: Right.

Blake John: Don’t forget about those. And those definitely exist. In fact, actually, for that client, one of those pages, we just lost the featured snippet, right? We’ve had it for literally like two years. Not even kidding. Yeah, it’s been like two years and we just lost it. So it’s like, okay, this is a priority now and we haven’t been touching it because it’s working. It’s working, so don’t fix it. Right. That’s kind of been the mindset, but now there’s been a little shift and it’s like, okay, let’s go back, let’s figure out what happened. Let’s make some adjustments and try to get back into that featured snippet, which I think we will. We’ve had tons of success, so I’m not worried about it. But it’s almost like, wait for Google to tell you it needs to be updated. Kind of like you can get ahead of things if you know, the seasonality is an example. You have a post about things to do in December. It’s like, okay, we should update that mid November or something to get it prepared for November or October or whatever it is, you know what I mean? But yeah, don’t forget about what’s really, truly important, what’s really like a revenue driver for your business. Don’t orphan those pages.

Ben Page: Right? Your golden geese. And the same is true on paid. It’s like there’s a subset of keywords and paid search campaigns that drive. And it’s like maybe the takeaway, because this could vary depending, too, on the level of scale in your account or complexity in your account or organically. Is it a newer domain. How many pages do you have these kinds of factors? So maybe the key is to kind of know what is the 80 20 in terms of SEO and paid and to have the tools in place to actually monitor those and know if one of the lights on the dashboard starts beeping at you. Just having that ability to do that, whether it’s through rules, scripts, alerts and paid or organically, other tools like those.

Blake John: Absolutely.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah.

Ben Page: What else, guys? Feels like we’re winding down and I think everyone can hear how much AI is important, but yet a lot of the fundamentals haven’t changed. It’s about serving users. I think it’s about going deep, doing segmentation, focusing on the 80 20 platforms, pieces of content, ad copies, landing pages at a minimum, checking in on those and seeing how they’re doing as we head into the new year. But even as you’re developing new copy, new content, et cetera, make sure you allocate time to your blockbuster hits. Make sure you’re testing your highest traffic responsive search ads. Make sure you’re visiting your highest traffic landing pages and looking at them from a user standpoint, doing some experiments on these things.

Blake John: Yeah, I think that’s maybe as like a final note, it’s a really important point. Don’t forget about your user experience. Don’t forget about the things your users have to do to convert.

Ben Page: Right?

Blake John: Don’t forget about. I think it’s easy to honestly, how often have you filled out your own form? And you mentioned that earlier, it’s like, yeah, that’s something that should probably be almost like maybe quarterly. Just make sure there’s something’s not broken because sometimes you’ll be surprised. The things you would find really important insight and thing to remember going forward is just don’t forget about those things because they’re extremely important.

Ben Page: Awesome. Well, that’s a good place to wrap up, everyone. Thank you so much for listening and following along throughout this year, our journey on the podcast. It’s been really cool. And if you’ve gotten any value from this whatsoever, please connect with us. We’re still here. SEM for life and join the profit squad if it makes sense for you, or reach out to us if you have any questions or need some help. 2100 digital.

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