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#30: Alicia “AK” Anderson

Episode Summary

Today we talk with Alicia “AK” Anderson, former Associate Director of SEO at WebMD, former head of SEO at Hipcamp, and currently a freelance SEO.

We discuss:

  • Her path to SEO
  • Her pursuit of a PHD in mythological studies
  • SEO news including page speed
  • Google’s acquisition of Fitbit
  • The importance of SEO education
  • What makes a good SEO teacher

And much more.

Episode Transcript

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Hey everybody this is Jacob stoops and we are back for the 30th episode of the page to podcast we somehow have managed to stumble our way to 30 episodes. I am here with Jeff.

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Louella.

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Who we forgot to introduce last time. And I want to make that mistake again. And we are also here with Alicia AK Anderson. How you doing, Alicia.

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doing really well.

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And Alicia is right now she’s a contractor, but she’s a former head of SEO at hip camp as well as an Associate Director of Web MD. So a lot of really, really amazing experience coming from from Alicia side.

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Thank you for having me today.

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You’re welcome. So I here by reading your Twitter bio that you are a storyteller. So tell me a story, tell me a story. How did you get into SEO. Tell me about yourself. Let the listeners know who are you

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So I’m in the early to mid, mid 2000s.

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I was working for both south, which if you don’t live in the South. It was originally take it was taken over by at AMP t

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And in that time period.

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I was a billing manager and I was doing data analysis sequel database queries and dealing with data at a very minute dollars and cents level to the point where the

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Big project I did was how to round or truncate your minutes into dollars it’s. It was ridiculous. Lee detailed um I made the career decision that I wanted to work more in Word and Excel. I said, I want to write. I want to do something that’s creative, I’m tired of all this data, which is

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Because I then ended up in SEO.

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But where I ended up going with that urge was this was in the the the era of the bygone days of pre Panda of content firms and you could write content on the internet and make like a pittance for any number of sites and it was how I went about gaining work experience in SEO.

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Because what I was able to do was create web content and then track how it performed

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And one of the specific sites actually had SEO training and SEO experts working for them in like the forums and stuff like that.

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And they actually taught us how to do keyword research how to track our progress, how to use keyword information for content strategy like basic keyword information that I’m in 2007 was kind of avant garde and I discovered this whole realm of SEO as a job.

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At that time, the at AMP T takeover happened at both south, which is essentially the Jetsons taking over the Flint, or the Flintstones taking over the Jetsons is is how I would put that

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I did not want to go to the Stone Age and so

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I took a package I left. And with that extra money I freelanced and basically worked my way as a web copywriter into learning SEO from agencies.

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And then I started working in house from there. I’ve been working in house for. So I’ve been in SEO for 12 years going on 13 years which I’ve seen everything from hummingbird to like I’ve seen all the big updates.

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Which is kind of insane. And I actually focused on global SEO really early in my career, which is how I ended up at Web MD, because they needed somebody who understood global SEO for their UK Cobra and

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I was at weapon D for six years, and

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Then I actually got a chronic illness and couldn’t handle the stress and couldn’t handle like the massive amount of work that was

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That was happening there. And so I scaled back and I took on the job at hip camp as their head of SEO for a year and a half, as a remote job, which was fantastic. And it was exactly what I needed.

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At the same time, because I don’t know how to like set limits. I, I also started grad school.

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And so I was doing grad school and hip camp for a couple of years, and now I’m contracting and doing grad school. At the same time, I’ve earned my masters. I’m now in the PhD program again because I don’t know how to say slow down.

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And yeah, I’m contracting and

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Enjoying it I’m I have about a dozen clients right now. Some through an agency that I work with, and some through personal contacts.

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And it’s been really, really interesting.

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We were talking earlier via email about my passions and what I found is that in the last three or four years or so, I’ve really found a passion for training and teaching SEO and using training and teaching to get buy in with stakeholders and to

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You know, create SEO as part of the DNA of a bit of a business, instead of just kind of an afterthought.

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So let me ask you something. And I’ve got a lot of there’s a lot there. The

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Question that I have, um, I do. First one to ask about mythological studies.

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You’re, you’re getting a PhD in mythological studies. So for those people, myself included, that don’t know what that means, explain it to us.

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So, um, my program is the is of the lineage, the academic lineage of Joseph Campbell.

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Um, which is a concept of comparative mythology cross cultural comparisons of mythologies, as well as

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Kind of the underpinnings of what makes this culture way over here and that culture way over there have very similar myths.

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And understanding did the myth just travel and they’re telling the same myth or did it arise separately, and this is a part of the human condition and a part of our psychology

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So that’s essentially what mythological studies is it’s a global cross cultural psychological look at

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At myth.

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So I find it fascinating that in SEO is studying myths and mythological logical stuff. Um,

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I guess I have to ask, what’s the biggest SEO myth, you’ve come across

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Um,

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Biggest SEO Miss I’ve come across. Honestly, I have an entire shelf that is nothing about but that crossover like technology as symptom and dream is the book I’m staring at an internet dreams, um,

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I think that

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As Google is attempting to meet human needs by using AI and an algorithmic answers, they’re attempting to

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mimic human behavior and understand and breakdown human behavior online. And one of the myths that I think is happening is that the whole like

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You know, SEO and UX side where people are saying, um, you know, if you solve for you actual software SEO hundred percent of the time, I believe that that’s

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That’s like kind of my answer of if it comes down to doing this for the user doing this for us to do it for the user. But at the same time, I feel like Google is not necessarily all the way there yet. And sometimes you really do have to spoon feed the Googlebot just a little bit.

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Because solving for you. X 100% still isn’t going to get you there.

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At the same time, I do think that Google is really trying to emulate the human response. And so isn’t

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It doesn’t make sense to speak to it as if it’s a robot either. So it’s like you’re talking with, you know, an Android or data from Star Trek The Next Generation or something that has like somewhere in the middle.

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Yeah, I think this, it’s, it’s interesting. We

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Live in an interesting time in space within within SEO. Right now we are on one side. Things are getting really, really advanced in terms of Google and other search engines, but mostly Google

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Their use of AI and their ability to render websites to understand the difference between very similar similar queries. And then on the other side we’ve got

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Sites that I get. I don’t know. Jeff, you tell you tell me, and Alicia. You tell me. Like I feel like a lot of the stuff I run up against when I’m helping clients is still incredibly, incredibly, incredibly basic. Like we’re helping them like learn how to walk when

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Over here you know Google is, is, you know, very focused on to use an analogy I guess running. They’re focused on on running when there are many, many websites out there that are still just struggling to walk. And one of the things that I see very often is

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Things as simple as, like, your UX can be really, really great. And you can have a beautiful website.

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That consumers like but if you’re missing the content that people search for

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You don’t have a lot of chance to be successful, like your site can be technically, technically well optimized. I work

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With a client that is that is exactly this way. They’ve got a really good brand. A really technically well optimized site.

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But there. They have been missing some key content and until they’ve added that key content. They’ve been like we don’t we don’t get it. Why is an SEO quote unquote working well, sometimes in order to rank for something you have to have a page for it. I know, it’s crazy.

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But if you’re

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If you’re designing for customers most customers don’t like to read. I mean, if you

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If you’re looking for a research paper. Yes. But when you’re looking at a product. I think it’s like you want a couple points about it. And I think most of the time you’re probably reading reviews but

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But at the same time it’s it’s interesting because to design folks don’t like to put lots of words on the pages because again, people don’t be bogged down with all this content though Google needs it to read. So I think it is one of those

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Thought, I’m not gonna say a battle. It’s really becoming everyone get on the same page, like we have goals. We need to have traffic.

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These are some things that Google needs at the same time we have, you know, design needs right I again. If it was up to SEO is I think most of our websites will look like Wikipedia.

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Which is because it were like a great here’s a whole bunch of content. So we need to have that that balance there so

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Yeah, and I find with like B to C customers specifically right now. What I’m bumping up against is the, what is it,

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So many of the head terms the ranking is educational. It’s a what is query. It’s an informational query. And that’s where you want that Wikipedia page that is like

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A big long list of all the things you ever needed to know about this thing.

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And the issue is that most of these companies that are B to C are going that their decision makers and the people who are searching for them.

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Are people who already know what it is. And so to convince them that they need a, what is it page.

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In order to round out their content portfolio when their clients and customers and the people who are landing on their site already know what it is it that’s that balance that’s that, like, okay, but you kinda still need a, what is it page.

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Very high funnel low conversion stuff introduce her content. I like to call it, but not necessarily transactional

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Hi. Well, and that. And the thing is is that that’s not that’s not where their their their customer is um but it’s where the search traffic is so it’s a very

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It’s, it’s absolutely something I bumped into constantly

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Yeah, I see that type of content. And when I’m when I’m trying to sell it. I try to sell it obviously for the the

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That’s where the search traffic is. And the question I get is, Do I even want to rank for this. And for me, like, for the most part, the question is yes because you’re potentially

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You know, running exposing your brand to a lot of different consumers and maybe one or maybe two or maybe three of those consumers will later on down the line. Maybe not immediately.

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Turn into customers because they weren’t aware of your brand before and now they are because they’ve read that piece of content but part is everybody that gets that piece of content going to be a converter. No.

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I think that there’s a there’s definitely a brand element. There’s a marketing element to the brand there. The other element of that that I see and I see it even more now is

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Contextual ality we each site has an about notice it has a context. And what I find is that

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You have to have that. What is it, and you have to have that that established expertise in your field.

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For that contextual reality because ranking well for the, what is it, even if those visitors aren’t converting will help you rank well for the things that the, what is it is linking to

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Yeah, and so I find that contextual ality tends to be more of a play there as well. And a lot of those spaces, especially when it’s a really complicated thing.

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You know, we’re the experts in this 50 word saying, it’s like, Okay, well, we need a, what is it that

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I think this whole discussion really comprises and I hate this word, but the at expertise authority trust. Yeah, I think that building that full portfolio is all about establishing UT which I really hate that I’m using a buzzword but i but i am i’m

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Going to go back. I do want to go back because I we got way down in the weeds and that’s cool. I love getting in the weeds, like my favorite thing to do.

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But you mentioned stress and I think on the agency side like it’s a big giant ball of stress. Stress all the time. Especially now in the holiday in the holiday season.

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Um, I also find it ironic that you were working at Web MD, when you were having this stress in the in the in the in kind of the medical condition that you

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That you could that you mentioned. So I guess. Talk to me about the process of what was working at Web MD, like, and I’m just also thinking about other people that might be going through this. How did that stress kind of come up for you and how did you deal with it.

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The stress was absolutely um

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You know, a joint a joint effort in terms of my own inability to set limits and

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The demands of the company.

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You know, I work, I work a good bet on the agency side right now and I find the stress levels, very different.

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I find the stress the words very different

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On the in house side. What I find it’s funny you said the irony about working at Web MD and that that I was having health problems because of it.

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In psychological terms every basically the concept is every time you invoke one thing you also invoke its opposite. So Web MD invokes health and also invokes ill health and and i think that that’s that’s part of what happens in the office culture.

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You have to really have super strong boundaries and really set limits in any in office environment. I’ve worked in so many corporations, where the the corporation will eat you alive if you let it

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And and i think that’s true of any employer these days with, you know, the way that our world works.

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And I believe that part of it is about is about that setting of limits.

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One of the issues that I bumped into was adequate resource planning.

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Because I was

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The, the cycle of hiring help is so long. It’s such a long ramp and Jeff knows this. The Atlanta market is we’ve got kind of a weird mix of people who have SEO experience. And so getting the right person to hire in the Atlanta market is is tricky as well.

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So that long rep of resource getting the right person in often happens, eight months after the project started.

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And then you’ve got to train them and they have a six month ramp up and now the project is in full swing. And you’re like, good, allow me to overwhelm you.

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And I think that that honestly my own you know that just the resource planning of understanding where the business was going so quickly and then having that kind of lead time for resource planning was a big part of it.

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Another big part of it for me specifically was there’s a battle. I’m especially with a publicly traded company Wendy was taken over and is now privately owned

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In since I left, but at the time it was it was beholden to the quarterly shareholder reviews and it was a publicly traded company and I find with publicly traded companies that that quarterly shareholder review. We’ve gotta show what we’re doing to show our value and show our growth.

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Every single time is actually incredibly toxic. Um, the, the stock, the stock shareholder kind of market of of growth for growth’s sake.

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Always be growing is is not sustainable.

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That’s why you have mergers and acquisitions. That’s why you have like all of these other things. And I feel like it’s cancerous.

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Growth for growth’s sake, without really carefully growing where you want to grow is is the definition of cancer, um, which again haha Web MD.

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Funny side note, just so you know.

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While I was there.

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They. It was a I’m going to say this publicly and I’m far enough gone. They can’t hurt me. Um,

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It was a massive PR fail on their behalf on their behalf, because they did not own the memes um they redid the symptom checker symptom checker 2.0 happened while I was there, and prior to symptom checker 2.0 the symptom checker when you plugged in your stuff with alpha, alpha baptized

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So cancer came above everything because it was at the top of the freaking alphabet.

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Now it’s done by prevalence and now you’re can get common cold and flu above cancer because it’s done by prevalence

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And so they recreated symptom checker to make it so that cancer wasn’t at the top of everything. And this is like seven years ago and they never like owned it and said, hey, you’re not gonna have cancer anymore.

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They never like played with it and said, this is what we can do, like we sometimes use checker 2.0 it’s not alphabetical anymore. Like for me as as like an internet marketer. I’m like, oh, that’s such a loss like it’s such a waste to not just own the funny and go with it.

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But anyway, that

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The, the growth for growth’s sake model is really, really hard for any SEO team.

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Because first of all, SEO takes time. A lot of our efforts. It’s like, yeah, you’ll see that effort in three quarters. So what have you been doing this month. Well, what I did a year ago or what so and so screwed up two years ago.

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So you see that growth pattern for for those traded companies can be the source of so much stress when it’s unrealistic.

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And then it comes down to messaging and it comes down to. Can your C suite hear those messages. Can you adjust what you’re saying, how do you talk about those things like that that becomes a whole nother another bollocks. I’m

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Getting out of that pattern for me was really, really important in terms of stress, just getting out of the not having enough help in the right time.

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And getting out of the pattern of the growth for growth’s sake was really, really important. Um, I, I used to prefer in house because I liked seeing the long term results and right now I’m really enjoying agency, because I can go here’s all of the things that you need to fix.

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And I don’t have to wait for that. But we’re not growing every quarter.

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Which is actually quite a relief, honestly.

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Yeah, I mean, it can be a relief I I do sometimes want to see things all the way through to the end and on the agency side if the clients don’t necessarily see that growth or at least are aligned with your vision of when the growth will happen.

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Have plenty of clients that have been like

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You know, cut your contract because we haven’t seen the growth. We wanted to see. So like stressful on the agency side but

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If you’re aligned with the client and and i think i think is the best side of things in the agency world just because

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When you get to do a whole bunch of different like you get problems thrown at you all the time and you get to, you know, try to solve those problems, which is great.

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But sometimes I do feel like I walk on eggshells a lot with clients because one. You don’t want to call someone else’s baby ugly.

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Know, even if they’re paying you for it. And I’ve worked at some large agencies where we made the ugly baby and and I gotta then tell them that our team. We made the ugly baby.

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It is interesting that in that approach to so

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You guys are touching on kind of an interesting point that I feel like we do with all the time. So, like, I’m just going to give a little bit of kind of a case in point. So I’ve got two clients, one of which

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I don’t want to give away too much information, but I’ll say client a we’ve been working with for a while, often on by their choice and their traffic because of our recommendations is growing wildly, but because they they

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Don’t even know exactly what like can’t see it, like they can see their traffic growing wildly, but I think that there’s

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A belief that maybe it wasn’t due to us or our recommendations or all of that. So there’s that.

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On one side, and on the other side. There’s another client where we’ve had a very successful year and we’ve overcome a lot of challenges and their team is very, very small.

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But we’ve made progress, but it’s not yet the type of progress that has produced tangible results from a traffic standpoint, it’s a lot of

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Coming out of nowhere and getting right on the cusp of doing great things because you were nowhere before and the next phase is going to be moving from being on the cusp to

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Pushing it into a position where the tangible results will start to show it’s a lot of stuff happening below the surface.

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And I have a great relationship with that client and like there’s no doubt that they’re going to continue to work with us and it’s just the juxtaposition client a

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Doesn’t really want to work with us and they’re getting great results client be results aren’t there yet loves working with us. We have a great relationship. And it’s just like

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This world in that we live in is is insane. And sometimes the the thing that you think should be true is not always true. And it leaves me kind of with the question, how do you

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Best come in this deviates from the stress question, but how do you put in this actually does stress me out and keep me up at night. How do you do a good job of messaging.

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The real story of what’s actually going on when the C suite only looks at vanity metrics and sometimes doesn’t even look at that.

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Or when the C suite doesn’t know the full story and is coming to you with whatever they believe to be the truth, whether it is or not, like, how do you deal with that. How do you get them to see the light. How do you build that build that dam and build that relationship.

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Um,

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So one thing that just that is a little bit tan gentle about your question or the about your what you were saying is that the client that you’ve got that you’ve got that great relationship that is not showing results yet.

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I have one like that, that I worked with for six months and what I do because this was my personal client, not an agency thing.

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Every six months I checked, I go back into all of their metrics and check everything and send them an update and go, this is what you’re working on. This is what you should do next, like, and I do it for free.

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You know, because they can hire me to help them with those action items but it allows me to, you know, a little bit selfishly, look at the data and go. Hi worked

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I get that little that little boost of dope. I mean, um, but also it’s a great way to to kind of resell to clients that do work well with you in that kind of agency world.

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In terms of getting C suite on board when they only look at vanity metrics.

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So,

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That’s a combination of two things. One is you give them the fucking vanity metrics.

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Um,

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And

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If you can get other stuff that really has to happen in order to give them those vanity metrics, great. Um, one of the things that I’ve spoken about on multiple occasions is translate your, your goals into their monopoly money.

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Like, do a currency conversion if their vanity metric is something you don’t care about, but you can currency convert your metric into there’s do it.

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And I say to do this. This is what I did across departments, I did this across clients, um,

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If this department really only cares about lead gen and you know this one specific form, then I am going to use approximations and percentages and ratios to say

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If you let me do this project. It’s going to give you five lead gen forums on this forum for every you know widget. We move or whatever, I’m

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Just kind of backing into those metrics that even if they’re a little nonsensical just using percentages to keep like getting there. Um, the other thing about the vanity metrics. I guy. I have a lot of clients that want to rank for kind of

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Ridiculous.

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keywords that are not that are important to their marketers, but our sales team, but are not important like they’ve got 50 searches a month or something like like less than that. And you’re like, really. Okay, let’s go spend all our time on that.

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And honestly, the way that I would do that is looking for those wind winds of, okay, we’re going to try to rank for this thing, they really want to rank for that is kind of ridiculous.

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And we’re going to simultaneously make these lesson learned worked over here where it actually is going to move the needle, um,

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Sometimes it is about education. Sometimes it is about teaching the C suite what’s going on. Um, I’ve done more than one high level to four slide long presentations that are. This is what’s happening here are the numbers. This is why I’m telling you this is what matters.

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Because sometimes it is your job to change the focus. Sometimes it is your job to educate and and that’s that’s super challenging. It’s super challenging to

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Take somebody that has the like my nudist amount of attention span and you’ve got their, their attention for like five minutes and you’ve got to go. What you think matters. Doesn’t matter. Here’s what matters in that five minutes. And that’s I’m

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Very, very, very difficult. And I think that’s where the, the difference between an SEO specialist and an SEO manager comes in.

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People with management skills and people who are at the management level are going to be able to drill down a bit more rapidly in that way.

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Yeah, I always say

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Finding the things to fix is it’s not the difficult part getting things implemented is the difficult part and the even more difficult part is proving your, your value when, in some cases it’s it’s not clear, or telling your story and I feel like

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Talking to executives and sea levels.

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Or VP of whatever higher ups leadership within, within a company is something that like

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I don’t feel like anyone starts off as a natural at doing doing that. I think it takes a while, and I find myself even kind of

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Deeper into the into the experience side of things like I’ve been doing this for a long time. And there are times when I still just

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Don’t know what I need to say to make them understand it. It almost becomes a bit of a psychological

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exercise where you have to play out different scenarios and put yourself in their shoes and try to predict what they want to hear from you. That will turn them in the way that you need them to be to be turning so

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My hack for that. Yeah, I was, uh, because I always I was known for writing emails that were way too long. I was known for writing these like novel emails and you guys are both laughing and I know that you you totally understand.

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Those

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Those like super, super long emails. So, I will write that email with all of the because this and here’s the data for that. And here’s this and here’s that and then I will write the TL Dr.

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And put that at the top like because we’re used to doing that right that’s like part of our world is doing the TL Dr. Right. Then I will take that entire email and save it to word

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And send the executive only the TL Dr.

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And that tends to be exactly what you needed to say and then often they’re like, do you have further data about blah, blah, blah. And you’re like, Yes, I do.

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Because you’ve already done all that homework.

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That’s great approach.

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So Jeff, I wanna, I want to put a pause on this and then I want to get back into kind of the teaching aspect, what’s in the news.

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Cool. So one of the big things.

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Will be okay. It’s one of the big things we have this week is Google. I mean, Google is really been focusing on Page Speed, right, so last week and probably the week before we talked about PHP going into Google Search Console.

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But now they’re actually looking to build badging into Chrome to let people know that sites are slower or faster than you know the average bear, I guess.

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So it’s, it’s interesting because, again, I’m always trying to push my clients to be faster. And this is another approach that Google is taking to say

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Hey, your sites aren’t fast enough. Now we’re going to alert the world just like to do with HTTPS and you’re not secure

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So again, another thing I can show my clients to say like, this is really serious. This time I know before it said it was serious. And then now like but you know nothing changed. Now that you know it.

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Really seriously and

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That was really serious because

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Now you’re going to get like a red X next year site or something that says that you’re slow so

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I really do think that PHP is important. And I’m kind of running a study now trying to look at a whole bunch of e commerce sites and where they are in page beads

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Those sometimes it’s hard to get those metrics. Right. So I hope that when Google get tell somebody that their site is slow that they actually get the right metrics there because

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I am noticing about out of 150 e comm retailers that I’m looking at there are about 20 of them that are giving me inconsistent data inside of Google page speed insights

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Using their API. Sometimes I’ll get 100 and I’m like, why is this like giving me 100 right now. And that’s because they got a page that was blank.

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And like, hey, we have no JavaScript this page must be fast. But then I rerun it. And then I get a 36 so I am just hoping that we get those metrics down before we actually start putting people on blast.

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I have a question for you guys about page speed. This is a actually something that’s come up multiple times.

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You know, the whole is it important, is it really important, is it really, really important. Now, however, no site. I’ve been on has cracked the nut of actually having a fast site that does all the things they want it to do.

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Um, my question for you guys is one of the things that I’ve been feeling for a while, is that it really depends on the competition.

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That it that benchmarking the Page Speed across the competition is more valuable if everybody in your competition is a 35 and you have a 40, you’re probably okay.

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Um, if everybody in your competition has a 75 and you have a 30 you need to pay attention to it. Right. Um, that’s been my approach. More recently, what do you guys think in terms of the fact that nobody’s going to have a perfect score.

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Right, so that’s actually part of the reason I’m kind of putting together this little study that I hope to have

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One, it’s holiday season. Everyone thinks about e commerce, but so many of my e commerce clients deal with kind of go that route. Right. I

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I run a report. And I’m like, you got a 45, you know, we can, we should be at least by the 80s and then I run it against their six competitors and they’re doing better than their six competitors, so

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And e commerce is also tough right because you have lots of images and if you know for we’re designing for customers. Customers don’t want 10 products on a page.

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You know, they want to have more because they don’t want to have to click keep clicking next. So it’s one of those where I think industry specific. I also think it’s his competition specific

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Though I have found a couple that were, you know, put one out there IKEA. They’re getting like close to 100 all around with their reports and I gotta dig a little bit deeper into them. Like, why are they doing that.

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But it’s if they seem to have really great scores. While some other ones like I was kind of laughing, but like dollar tree gets a one and it’s like $1 so so it’s kind of a it’s ironic there.

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But in general, like

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I think the industry somewhere in the middle right you have those outliers, but for the most part, everyone’s getting between a 40 and 60 or something like that, where no one’s crushing it. Um,

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But yeah, I think, again, as a consultant. We’re always like, we want to be the top of the bunch, where we get the benefits of it.

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Right before everyone put scheme on their website, you had that big benefit of getting some, you know, stars in your reviews.

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Now everyone’s doing it and Google’s cutting it back because they can’t have everybody have an enhanced listing right so

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It’s one of those things where I think getting ahead of it is one great for your customers, but you’re not even thinking about rankings thinking about like your customer experience.

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You know that it’s really great that way. But on top of that. Now it’s a ranking factor and Google’s really trying to

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Push that inside of the search, you know, this is one of the ways doing it by having it again. It’s just in Chromium right now, but they’re one of those things like once it gets pushed live. You’re just like could be put on blast. So watch out balladry

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I’ve been the thing I’ve dealt with and I’ve been like fighting this uphill battle for years and I don’t know how many more hints

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Google can possibly give to say that it is important. I mean, they’ve made it even a ranking factor, and now it’s obviously not a big ranking factor, but it’s a factor nonetheless.

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I just don’t know how many more bones, they can continue to throw before people decide

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Or finally come to the realization that it’s that it’s actually important and take it seriously of the thing that I even still, to this day, run into is just a high level of skepticism.

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And when you go to a client and say, Hey, your page is getting like a 40 on mobile page speed, they really look at me and it’s almost like a. So, what

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What does that really mean. Or where was that test from because everybody knows Google uses a lot of lab.

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In industry industry data. So like, you don’t get to specify like device type or location that you’re testing from like you can with a webpage test and even with that they’re, they’re still skeptical.

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So there’s for whatever reason a lot of skepticism. I will say that in the few times that I’ve been able to convince

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Clients that this is the right thing to do, it came down to money and putting the putting the money like very clearly on the table and showing them how much money they were losing by not improving. There’s any number of studies that talk about the effect of the

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Inverse relationship between load time and conversion rate in revenue, the higher your load time goes the worst of the worst your conversion rate is and the less revenue that you get in the door. And I remember like

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clear as day sitting in a meeting with a huge hospitality client at another agency in telling them, and even when I made these numbers up. I felt like

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These are ridiculous numbers. But then I realized like the scale know this could actually be this could actually be right.

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I told them, like, Hey, your conversion rate is here and this is how much revenue you get from that.

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I think by increasing your speed, your conversion rate could be here and should be here and this is how much revenue you would gain and it was in the realm of millions and they laughed me out of the room and didn’t take me seriously. And I was like I was so mad. Let’s stop serious

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But then they partnered with a

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vendor who specializes in speed and helping people fix speed because they finally started to think, maybe there’s something to this. And the vendor who does this all the time for a living.

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Actually said that estimate was actually low, it’s worth more. And finally, they started taking little old me seriously and a lot of other recommendations went through a lot of

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You know way easier. But it was it was nice vindication but for whatever reason, like I just don’t get it. People don’t take this seriously, it’s really hard. Don’t get me wrong, speed is really hard, really complex, but like, people don’t take it seriously and I don’t get why I

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Think that you just nailed it on the head, that it’s really hard. It’s resource allocation and you have. So going back to my hip camp days.

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We had an engineering team of, you know, between six and 10 engineers at any time focusing on any number of projects and to focus on Page Speed would take away focuses on

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You know, fixing the shopping cart or the mobile site or this part or that part or, you know, this new thing that we’re creating

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And that conversion into money, putting it in the in the monopoly money that they care about that conversion into the dollars and cents that they care about still isn’t enough.

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To warrant taking that engineers. Time to because the. The other thing is, is that the engineers are looking at, like they do all the low hanging fruit. Right.

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And then they look at the stuff that’s left

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And they’re like, that’s going to take weeks.

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And the person who’s running that team goes, I can’t have a person tied up for weeks on Page Speed when we don’t know what the ROI is and we don’t know what this is. And, and, like, how was that worth it and and then it just comes down to the ROI equations really

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Having the inverse relationship of conversions absolutely is a huge part of it. Also the bounce rate is a huge part of it. That’s part of what I use to talk about it.

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You know it, but it does often come down to not that they don’t take it seriously, but that they don’t

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That it’s not as serious enough to allocate the resources that it would take to fix it.

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Because it is so site wide it is so endemic. It’s not like you can just fix one page. It’s not like you can just like pull a couple of levers, these are these are like you’ve got a restructure your JavaScript have fun.

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Go over some basics.

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Ages and all of them have giant images.

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Here to have fun. Go fix them all.

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And there are some things you can do that are basic like giant images. I have no one client who continually

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In their main navigation. They have a drop down where they put a little image on the bottom of the drop down and it changes monthly

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And it’s, it’s always two or three megabytes in size, for some reason, right, and it’s on every single page throughout the whole site and once like I put a ticket into the ticketing system, we get a fixed next month designer uploads and other one. That’s it.

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So without training and processes.

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So so valuable.

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Exactly and education is awesome because a lot of times I’m personally dealing with so and so, who works in this department.

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Sometimes it’s the tech team sometime it’s the marketing team. Never. Is it the design and like design team. So it’s like one of those where and designers. Nobody wants to really

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be told what to do. I used to be a developer in SEO is used to come to me with

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Their list of keywords and title tags and I was like, get out, like, you know, I’m trying to solve the world here, you know, by coming up with new fancy ways Dakota site and

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Then, once I moved over to the SEO world. It’s like, oh, you know, I mean, that’s, again, things that we need to do, but there’s so much other things and

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I wrote like a 27 page document for my one client who kept on having those issues just about image optimization in general.

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And I kind of white labeled. It’s like, give it to any client, but at the same time. It’s like this is one thing we can do on our site which shouldn’t take any tech time. It’s just once we learn that process, we can update our images and we’ll save three seconds or whatever that would

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So this is

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I’m glad that there are services like cloud flare and cloud and airy. It’s another one that are beginning to take this out of the designer who doesn’t give

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A shit about page speed or anything. It’s just trying to do their job, which is designed a beautiful sight and a beautiful image, whatever it is.

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There are there are now tools that begin to automate that and I can’t wait for them to become more pervasive within the way people manage that pervasive probably not the right word, but to expand into into the reality of the way that more people manage sites.

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I think that automation and processes, a very big important part of that, however.

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One of the things that I learned was

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That empowering people to help you and to have them help you with your problem solving is probably the most effective thing you could do. So going back to Web MD, you know, it’s a site that is really dependent upon SEO traffic. And so our, our department had

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A little bit of clout and so I was able to kind of swing that very gently into providing an SEO one on one for

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Any new hire coming in the door, because basically the the office where I sat in Midtown Atlanta had about 200 300 people and every single one of those people touched SEO in some way, shape, or form they made my life, good or bad depending on their day.

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And I needed them to know that I needed them to know that they were doing SEO regardless of whether they knew it or not. And so I did a little, um,

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Top Hat And Tails gig for new hires every couple of weeks, I would, I would go in and do this hour. And essentially, the whole hour was where our jobs intersect where you’re doing SEO and I’m

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When to call me and hi I’m friendly. This is what I look like. Say hi to me in the break room. And I’m such an introvert. It was really, really funny that I knew, like the entire company because of this.

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So, um, the way that that shook out was that the managers of these teams would sit in on these on these classes and they would go, Oh, this is amazing. I want this for my entire my entire group.

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And then I would get invited back to do a lunch and learn for the engineering team that was SEO for engineers or a lunch and learn for the design team that was SEO for designers and then I’m in the room with the entire design team for an hour.

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And the, the being able to show them. Okay, file size. This is what the difference in file size does this is what the file type and the way you’re saving it does. Please do this, but this is what file image naming conventions matter.

293
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You know, and this is why this is what I keep asking you to do.

294
00:48:30.210 –> 00:48:36.300
This is how this actually integrates and works on the site. And then this is how you’re succeeding.

295
00:48:36.960 –> 00:48:45.360
The key to all of it was not just this is how you’re making my life difficult but also this is how you’re winning and something you can put in your performance report.

296
00:48:45.720 –> 00:48:52.800
And I became the go to person for everybody to go, what can I put in my performance report about image sizes and image search and

297
00:48:53.430 –> 00:49:01.110
You know the improvements in Page Speed and and like I literally had one of the engineers. Buy me a steak dinner because she was like

298
00:49:01.440 –> 00:49:10.200
You, you just completely got me my bonus because you gave me all the metrics that I had no access to otherwise because I don’t understand how nature works. And this was awesome. Thank you.

299
00:49:11.790 –> 00:49:23.160
And so that was actually like I became their source for those metrics and so I’d be like okay so image search. This is where your images are showing up in search results and show them the Search Console report.

300
00:49:23.610 –> 00:49:31.770
And let them see which images are kicking ass and show them the the searches and actually show them what the search results look like or the image carousels where those call outs were

301
00:49:33.360 –> 00:49:40.320
And suddenly, they’re like, they’re like, oh, this thing I’m doing is actually visible on Google and they can, like, go home and show their kids, you know,

302
00:49:40.620 –> 00:49:47.220
And believe it or not. They do. They go home and show their wives and husbands that this is what they’re doing, because they’re like, I learned something new today.

303
00:49:47.820 –> 00:49:54.810
And they get excited about it and then all of a sudden you have buy in, you have cooperation, you have, you have a teamwork that is cohesive

304
00:49:55.170 –> 00:50:04.860
And then you can say, hey, as far as process improvement goes, Can we, you know, make saving files, the smaller thing as part of your process and then they like you and they’ll do that.

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00:50:07.980 –> 00:50:09.090
softer side of evil.

306
00:50:13.470 –> 00:50:15.960
So this is how, why I’m passionate about training.

307
00:50:17.520 –> 00:50:19.650
Very important, very important.

308
00:50:21.000 –> 00:50:21.330
Cool.

309
00:50:22.440 –> 00:50:24.150
We just beat the shit out of Page Speed

310
00:50:24.750 –> 00:50:25.830
Yeah, I know. So

311
00:50:25.890 –> 00:50:26.190
That’s one.

312
00:50:26.340 –> 00:50:33.450
Thing that I kind of think ties into, you know, with MD, in a way, though it’s not really Web MD, is that

313
00:50:34.500 –> 00:50:38.310
Google just bought Fitbit and I know with Apple

314
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And I know with Apple, you know,

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00:50:41.820 –> 00:50:46.860
Apple just, you know, with their Apple Watch. They do the ECG stuff and they also now.

316
00:50:47.700 –> 00:50:55.860
Just released their research apps where you can submit all your data to Apple and just for general research because their goal. And Google has the same goal.

317
00:50:56.160 –> 00:51:07.050
They want to figure out, health, while it’s happening. And hopefully by wearing a device they can say, like, hey, you’re about to have a heart attack, you better, you know, are all signs are pointing to this better go to a doctor.

318
00:51:09.120 –> 00:51:13.740
And a little bit of me and there’s like, you know, it’s not right away, of course. But what if

319
00:51:14.940 –> 00:51:25.230
They can also affected like you went for a run and Google knew you and for running, you get back. And now you have an ad for Gatorade because hey you’re parched, or if you’re

320
00:51:26.190 –> 00:51:33.570
You know your heart rate is up and it’s nighttime. And, you know, pay. Here’s an ad for melatonin. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping, because we can track you know

321
00:51:34.740 –> 00:51:41.160
It, it’s to me. It’s kind of open that up like not that Google is looking at it to be even. I think they are evil. I think they’re really looking to

322
00:51:41.700 –> 00:51:50.370
To figure out kind of health because anyone who can figure out house like that I think makes a ton of money. But Google is also known for advertising and

323
00:51:51.330 –> 00:52:03.150
Being able to to pull ads around your Fitbit I think would be an interesting dilemma. When it comes to privacy. I mean, hopefully, that there is privacy laws that prevent this, but

324
00:52:03.510 –> 00:52:15.300
I think there’s always ways to figure that out. And I think coming from the talking about stress doing everything like this. Like there’s going to be devices and there are devices that track all that and they profit.

325
00:52:15.780 –> 00:52:23.970
It depends on which letter of the alphabet has access to the data. Yeah, quite frankly, um, interestingly, I

326
00:52:25.470 –> 00:52:37.410
I won the lottery. Have we had big meetings that my boss and I both had to get somebody had to go to at the same exact time and one was in Mountain View and one was in Minnesota.

327
00:52:39.150 –> 00:52:41.010
And I won the Mountain View, visit

328
00:52:42.360 –> 00:52:47.400
Which was was really exciting. My boss had to go to Minnesota and

329
00:52:48.990 –> 00:52:58.770
I went with a team to the Google offices for this like SHOW AND TELL day between Google and Web MD, they like, did the Web MD cook cupcakes and everything.

330
00:52:59.280 –> 00:53:08.100
And they were showing us they had people coming in from the various letters of the alphabet to show us the various things that they were doing in the health space everything from the human genome tracking to

331
00:53:08.550 –> 00:53:13.740
And they wanted to like sell us Big Query and stuff like that before they rolled it out and stuff like that. But, um,

332
00:53:14.580 –> 00:53:25.620
You know, it was also exploring. Is there a way we could be working on like their image recognition and the symptom checker and like actually exploring. Could we work together in in ways to kind of build some of this information.

333
00:53:26.040 –> 00:53:34.680
Because at this point, um, you know, this is three, four years ago. But at that point, the CDC was actually using the symptom checker data to figure out flu outbreaks.

334
00:53:35.190 –> 00:53:45.570
Because we had faster data because people were plugging in their zip code as they were plugging in flu symptoms and then the CDC was able to go, oh, this is a code is having a flu outbreak.

335
00:53:47.160 –> 00:53:55.200
And and so it was that kind of real time information that we were talking about with them and quite frankly they had basically everything that you would have on a Fitbit

336
00:53:55.590 –> 00:54:07.380
On your Android device at that time. This is three, four years ago, they already had that anybody who had an Android phone. The same way that Google Health. I don’t have an Apple Watch, but I still have my steps in my phone whenever it my phone in my pocket.

337
00:54:08.700 –> 00:54:16.890
Um, and they had already cracked the code of figuring out, okay, this is a person walking on a sidewalk versus a bicycle versus a car.

338
00:54:17.370 –> 00:54:21.750
Based on where you were in the map on like GPS data.

339
00:54:22.560 –> 00:54:36.900
And your rate of speed, like, Oh, you’re on a scooter. We’re not going to count that as a step, they’ll actually be able to tell that based on your accelerometer and where you are, like, on the sidewalk or on the road. These are things that they could do years ago and so

340
00:54:38.010 –> 00:54:47.220
With Fitbit being monetized my feeling and and that data being available to be monetized. Really, it literally depends on where that that data can go

341
00:54:47.940 –> 00:55:00.210
Um, HIPAA as a privacy act and PII kind of information that can support that can protect this really honestly can’t protect you all that much. Um, it’s

342
00:55:01.500 –> 00:55:15.300
It can’t protect you from like ad retargeting and the reason why Web MD won’t do ad retargeting on the stuff that you look up is because it’s incredibly hot button.

343
00:55:16.920 –> 00:55:25.320
Because can you imagine like do I have an STD or. Am I pregnant. And then, you know, having those ads following you around. That’d be really, really awful.

344
00:55:26.880 –> 00:55:28.620
When you’re doing a presentation for a client.

345
00:55:28.950 –> 00:55:29.940
Right, right.

346
00:55:30.450 –> 00:55:32.010
Or if you’re 15 you know

347
00:55:32.940 –> 00:55:33.840
True to 15

348
00:55:36.480 –> 00:55:45.780
And so it’s just one of those like that’s a. It wasn’t that they couldn’t. It wasn’t that they legally, couldn’t it was that they wouldn’t because it was a bad idea.

349
00:55:47.850 –> 00:55:49.530
And so, um,

350
00:55:50.790 –> 00:56:01.710
I think Google already could do all of those things if they wanted to, um, and yes, they are absolutely trying to crack the nut. They’re doing a massive study with

351
00:56:03.450 –> 00:56:15.300
University of California in Berkeley, I think, um, where they have a clinic and they have like this lifetime study of people that they’ve taken every blood test known to man.

352
00:56:16.020 –> 00:56:23.850
And they go in and do these like massive physicals like all the tests that you like never run like that your doctor just doesn’t bother with unless you have a symptom.

353
00:56:24.510 –> 00:56:33.420
They run all of them. They also run all their DNA markers. They also run all of this stuff and then they watch and wait and see if they get sick.

354
00:56:34.500 –> 00:56:40.710
And then if there’s anything from that data that can actually be an earlier prediction of some sort of illness.

355
00:56:41.460 –> 00:56:58.080
Whether from the genetic side or from like you had a blood test that was off for this vitamin when you were 12 and now you have this, you know, and that kind of thing. And they’re using they’re attempting to use the big data concept to to manage human human health.

356
00:57:00.300 –> 00:57:02.940
Will they use it to gain financially.

357
00:57:04.260 –> 00:57:12.600
Oh yeah. Um, but I don’t think that’s a right away. I think that depends on who’s where the walls are and within the company.

358
00:57:14.370 –> 00:57:29.880
I’m looking at statistics in take this for what you will. I’m big data by 2020 is projected to be a $56 billion industry. And if you take that out by 2027

359
00:57:30.390 –> 00:57:48.030
It’s expected to almost double 100 and $3 billion. So like when you look at Google and you look at Amazon and and of course my Google Pixel just went off so Google’s listening to this, so they know what I’m doing. And I’m going to turn that off because that’s creepy.

360
00:57:51.060 –> 00:57:52.470
I don’t want any Amazon result.

361
00:57:53.340 –> 00:58:00.060
Every time I say seriously Siri was clicking on and I had to like turn off all of her microphone settings for that.

362
00:58:00.060 –> 00:58:17.880
So anyways, so Google being creepy that’s and it’s funny. It’s funny that that happened because that’s exactly what I’m worried about and I in. I don’t know if you guys feel this way but like everybody knows one of Google’s big internal credos is don’t be evil.

363
00:58:18.990 –> 00:58:19.590
And when I

364
00:58:19.770 –> 00:58:21.090
Don’t forget you.

365
00:58:21.150 –> 00:58:23.790
You are calling on the equal and opposite.

366
00:58:23.940 –> 00:58:25.350
Right. Right. And when I

367
00:58:26.190 –> 00:58:36.510
When I when I heard about this acquisition. The, the first thing I thought was they, I don’t know that they necessarily care about Fitbit as a company

368
00:58:36.900 –> 00:58:43.860
They just want their data. And it’s the same with with Facebook. It’s the same with Amazon is they go through the process of

369
00:58:44.310 –> 00:58:51.780
Consolidating and acquiring all these companies and it kind of just seems like an arms race between some of these big companies.

370
00:58:52.110 –> 00:58:57.330
To just acquire as many companies as they can. And I don’t know that they care about the companies.

371
00:58:57.810 –> 00:59:12.000
But because data is projected to be such a massive, massive industry, the one who holds all the data is the one who can dictate the terms of whatever whatever is going to be in the next

372
00:59:12.660 –> 00:59:24.960
10 years and I do feel like at some point, like because of the nature of Google Google’s of business and like you said earlier, they’re beholden to shareholders. So they’ve got to turn a profit.

373
00:59:25.260 –> 00:59:34.740
So You’re damn right, they’re going to use this data to their advantage in probably in some ways that are not in my opinion, probably entirely ethical

374
00:59:36.660 –> 00:59:37.650
guys feel about that.

375
00:59:38.550 –> 00:59:56.100
Well i mean the the trick with big data, um, has been up until recently, very recently, um, the trick has been that very few companies have had the bandwidth and the ability to do anything about it.

376
00:59:57.180 –> 01:00:08.100
It’s like they could collect all the data they wanted. But it was so much noise because how, how the hell were they going to parse it and understand it and do anything and and pull any learnings out of it.

377
01:00:09.120 –> 01:00:23.220
Google, Apple, Amazon are probably, you know, maybe, maybe, Microsoft, um, are the ones that I feel like have the capacity at this point to actually do something with their big data.

378
01:00:24.480 –> 01:00:31.620
Because you have to have both like the speed and the storage and the ability to actually now analyze it.

379
01:00:33.900 –> 01:00:42.150
And I feel like that. You’re right. They are just gathering their Scrooge McDuck in the gold in the house, you know, in the silo full of gold.

380
01:00:43.320 –> 01:00:49.500
Going, we don’t know what we’re going to do with it, but will swim in it for now and then figure it out later and. And yeah, I totally feel like that’s what they’re doing.

381
01:00:50.940 –> 01:00:57.360
I think that’s what’s happening with the echo in the pixels and all of that. Just and Siri, just having the microphones on all the time.

382
01:00:57.750 –> 01:01:11.850
Facebook is the only one that’s used his microphone data in a way that people are going, I just talked about that. Now there’s an ad EU and like it. They were just too transparent with it. Like they they literally were just too obvious. Everybody else is like just playing it. Cool.

383
01:01:14.040 –> 01:01:23.820
Yeah, and we are all the lobsters in the pot and all these companies are slowly raising the temperature and we’re all boil before we realize what’s happening exactly

384
01:01:24.540 –> 01:01:31.440
Oh, so let’s um let’s move out of the news to me last topic or to then kind of the deep dive.

385
01:01:32.130 –> 01:01:49.650
I also want to be respectful of respectful of time, but today we wanted to kind of deep dive into teaching Alicia, you have a passion for teaching. So I, I just wanted to dive into like what’s behind your love for teaching others teaching SEO, so on and so forth.

386
01:01:50.880 –> 01:02:11.610
Um, well, like I said earlier, I believe that the most important way to get buy in from other parts of the company from clients that have that are resistant to see sweets that are resistant to getting an allocation of resources is education.

387
01:02:13.320 –> 01:02:24.030
I think that teaching somebody in a way that is accessible to them and that matters to them that speaks their language is the number one way to get what you need to get done. Done.

388
01:02:25.440 –> 01:02:33.450
My boss at Web MD actually had a really good thing that he used to say, which was we don’t actually do any SEO. We just convinced everybody else to do it for us.

389
01:02:34.950 –> 01:02:43.950
Which is pretty accurate because we had like some control over page titles. But like we had to have editorial team right a thing. And then the doctors review it.

390
01:02:44.370 –> 01:02:56.430
And then, you know, we could like stare at it and go, Hey, can we change this word, but we didn’t really have a lot of control, all we had to all we had at our disposal was education and

391
01:02:57.510 –> 01:03:08.250
You know, buy in from the 200 people in the building with us. And, um, I find that that approach in the agency world actually really helps.

392
01:03:09.390 –> 01:03:14.580
Because by giving education buy in and success reports, what you get is

393
01:03:14.970 –> 01:03:23.010
People who are much more invested, you get clients that are going to renew you get like the you get those clients that even if the results don’t show up.

394
01:03:23.430 –> 01:03:26.340
They start seeing like the little wins, because they’re educated

395
01:03:26.790 –> 01:03:32.520
They start understanding that this is stuff going on below the surface because they’re educated if they understand the CTR hockey stick

396
01:03:32.820 –> 01:03:43.710
And what that graph looks like. And I go, yeah, SEO traffic is low because we’re ranking number nine. And we have a point 3% click Ctr. I get that. Here’s what it looks like when you move up the page.

397
01:03:45.000 –> 01:03:54.420
Know, and they understand what that hockey stick looks like when they really can get that, then they’re like, All right, let’s go for number seven. You know, like they get all in and that’s

398
01:03:54.690 –> 01:04:03.180
That buy in is what makes us move the needle. That’s where you get the resource allocation. That’s where you get the people taking you seriously when you go really seriously page to be matters, y’all.

399
01:04:04.620 –> 01:04:13.020
Um, one of the things that I found that helps the most is speaking in terms of metaphors.

400
01:04:14.970 –> 01:04:20.790
I honestly believe that a lot of the issues that come with SEO in our world.

401
01:04:22.080 –> 01:04:30.510
Is that people get stuck in the jargon and they don’t explain it in simple enough terms to make the other person actually understand they’re very

402
01:04:31.170 –> 01:04:41.220
Very concerned about sounding smart and being correct and not worried about the other person truly understanding which I were just were like my teaching hat comes in so much

403
01:04:43.050 –> 01:04:55.050
Because I prefer not to use the jargon, like you were, you were like, I don’t want to use EA t. And I was like, Yeah, exactly. I like I won’t use the at I’ll say the context of your site matters.

404
01:04:56.640 –> 01:05:04.380
And, and, like, I’ll take it all the way back to to like when you were in third grade, and you were learning from context clues. How to Understand a sentence.

405
01:05:04.710 –> 01:05:08.610
And you came across a big word. And then your mom’s like, figure it out and

406
01:05:09.270 –> 01:05:15.840
You know, like I take them to the third grade with that. And then I walk them through understanding context clues as a Google bot.

407
01:05:16.260 –> 01:05:27.990
And then I’m like, now understand good Googlebot you know with hummingbird they became like a a college freshman of understanding context clues and I was like a now they’re like smarter than us.

408
01:05:28.920 –> 01:05:38.370
So, so it’s the idea of contextual reality and then I’m talking in terms of context and not talking about you. I’m really talking about it.

409
01:05:38.910 –> 01:05:50.040
But I’m not using the jargon and I find that using that kind of teaching methodology tends to win people over and get them on board a hell of a lot faster. Um,

410
01:05:51.510 –> 01:05:56.400
Other stuff that I taught. One of the things that is really funny is my people at women D, the

411
01:05:57.240 –> 01:06:09.840
Metaphors and phrases that I’ve coined they thought were industry terms, so much so that they didn’t know when somebody else didn’t know it that that was like they were like, oh, clearly you have nothing. You know nothing about SEO.

412
01:06:10.650 –> 01:06:23.490
Because I made it up. I’m the editorial team at Web MD thought that keyword cannibalization as a term was Ag, so I called it sibling rivalry and told them to pick a favorite child.

413
01:06:24.750 –> 01:06:26.520
It’s the same thing.

414
01:06:28.710 –> 01:06:34.950
But they all thought sibling rivalry was totally, totally an SEO term like all over the world.

415
01:06:36.540 –> 01:06:45.270
And so it’s the same concept. I’m like, the kids are arguing in the backseat. You want one of them to be in the front seat. So, you know, shove the other one off into the ditch.

416
01:06:50.070 –> 01:06:56.130
And, and, like, it’s that concept of humor and like visual images where they’re like, okay, I’m going to pick a favorite child.

417
01:06:58.950 –> 01:06:59.700
Great analogy.

418
01:07:00.570 –> 01:07:06.840
And talking in those metaphors, is I find really really helpful.

419
01:07:08.070 –> 01:07:18.510
I use them constantly I’m one of the ones that the that I know a lot of my team is sick of hearing, but it works so well.

420
01:07:19.800 –> 01:07:24.780
Is I talk about 301 redirects are permanent address changes with the US Postal Service.

421
01:07:26.010 –> 01:07:37.440
And how, if you’ve moved around a lot, and done a lot of those through a lot of address changes with the Postal Service, you know that if you do too many and too fast to time, you lose bills and possibly checks.

422
01:07:38.910 –> 01:07:44.460
Like that the Postal Service doesn’t know how to find you, things don’t get forwarded to the right place. Every it’s mayhem.

423
01:07:45.060 –> 01:07:53.070
And so you want to do them with great care great deliberation and probably no more frequently than every six months and

424
01:07:53.910 –> 01:07:57.390
Comparing it to just an address change, which is what it is.

425
01:07:57.720 –> 01:08:07.890
But actually making it something that is real life that they can hold in their hands like you can actually hand somebody that you still US Postal Service envelope and go, this is the thing you’re doing with that 301 redirect.

426
01:08:08.580 –> 01:08:18.540
And if it’s a forum for it just means you moved in didn’t fill this out you know and and you can like really explain server hundred responses by Houston. This wasn’t stupid form from the post office.

427
01:08:20.250 –> 01:08:29.070
But it’s tangible and it’s something they can think about like they can think about bills and checks coming in, they can think about like they have this tangible relatable thing.

428
01:08:29.400 –> 01:08:33.420
They don’t care what the numbers mean. They care what the actual effect is

429
01:08:33.990 –> 01:08:46.920
And so that’s the kind of thing that I use when I’m doing client education as well as when I’m when I’m talking to C suite I use the same like I’m not talking down to a person. I’m just assuming they don’t give a shit what a three or one is

430
01:08:49.050 –> 01:08:50.430
They don’t care.

431
01:08:51.900 –> 01:08:57.480
They don’t care what acronym. I’m talking about. They just want to know what what they need to know

432
01:08:59.430 –> 01:09:09.300
So those are the kinds of metaphors that I really, I get into using and people laugh that I do it, but quite frankly, I find it is incredibly effective

433
01:09:11.130 –> 01:09:15.360
Because you have people who understand. Oh, we don’t want to do too many three ones will lose bills.

434
01:09:19.440 –> 01:09:30.120
Questions question. So there’s like, you know, we don’t learn this in college right SEO in general is not being taught in schools, maybe there’s a class or maybe there’s like some high level stuff but

435
01:09:30.660 –> 01:09:50.370
We’ve learned, like I’ve spent countless and endless nights learning trying adding stuff failing getting stuffed good at reading doing all this stuff to to get to where I’m at and been doing that for the last 10 to 15 years and doing that. And I have a ton of experience doing that.

436
01:09:51.390 –> 01:09:52.680
I mean, you feel there’s like

437
01:09:54.300 –> 01:10:01.680
An ethical responsibility for me to teach the lesson experience. I mean, I feel like I’ve learned a lot of it on my own.

438
01:10:02.130 –> 01:10:07.140
But in general, I mean, is there like that pay it forward mentality that would like

439
01:10:07.800 –> 01:10:14.310
I should be sitting down with more junior telling them everything teaching them everything I’ve learned in there. I was in the SEO world there’s

440
01:10:14.790 –> 01:10:23.520
Are some people who hold on to their knowledge and there’s tons of people who share it and and i think i do share a good bit about it. But I think there’s sometimes I’m just want to say

441
01:10:24.270 –> 01:10:31.290
Go, you know, hey, go build a website and then you’ll learn how to do a redirect or you’ll learn that something’s you know

442
01:10:31.770 –> 01:10:43.020
when something breaks, like you’re just not constantly having to call me even though I do like being in that position where people call me it’s like it’s a weird thing. But I was wondering, like, kind of what you feel about some of that.

443
01:10:43.980 –> 01:10:52.770
So, um, I’ve been exploring the idea of like creating a training program like doing kind of like an online training kind of community.

444
01:10:54.390 –> 01:11:00.750
And part of what I’ve explored with that is, what are the skills that an SEO really needs to know.

445
01:11:01.950 –> 01:11:06.840
I had a kind of an apprentice. We did an apprenticeship. He’s now a journeyman

446
01:11:08.520 –> 01:11:14.250
Is not yet a master, but he’s a journeyman he’s off traveling and doing his own thing with other masters, um,

447
01:11:14.910 –> 01:11:29.130
He and I talked a lot about what skills do you need to know. Yeah. You need to know how to use the tools you need to know which tools to use when and like the basics of what a client would expect. But the real key.

448
01:11:30.660 –> 01:11:33.000
Thing that I think

449
01:11:36.210 –> 01:11:52.290
Needs to be taught in school needs to be taught in college needs to be taught to our junior SEOs and honestly if I’m going to write a nonfiction book about SEO. This is going to be the topic, um, the concept is of information.

450
01:11:53.310 –> 01:12:15.270
validation and understanding and being able to to understand your source and to think skeptically and critically about it. Um, because what you just said was that you went off and you read a whole lot and you test it a whole lot and you tried a whole lot. And that’s how you learned it.

451
01:12:16.440 –> 01:12:23.130
Um, that is information validation selection and and critically thinking about it.

452
01:12:24.180 –> 01:12:44.340
What we have in the age of the Internet is an information overload. But it’s of all varying degrees of validity and value and usefulness and like we’ve got their SEO articles that people are still citing that are from 2008 and it’s like, Oh, honey. No.

453
01:12:46.230 –> 01:12:47.640
And the thing is is that

454
01:12:47.670 –> 01:12:48.210
Cut said

455
01:12:49.950 –> 01:12:50.550
Exactly.

456
01:12:51.810 –> 01:12:59.310
And so how do you, how do you assess that information and its validity, because it could be about a best practice, it could be

457
01:12:59.670 –> 01:13:08.730
Something that legitimately is still correct there are things from 2008 that like you know you should maybe have an old time first screen reader that is a couple of words long about that image.

458
01:13:08.940 –> 01:13:15.060
Like there are things that they were saying in 2008 that were not wrong. Matt Cutts still said stuff that wasn’t wrong.

459
01:13:15.360 –> 01:13:25.830
The problem is applying that critical thinking to. Okay. How is that different today. How does that matter to me. Where does that come in. I feel the same way about reading anything that comes out of Google’s mouth.

460
01:13:27.750 –> 01:13:32.250
Because there’s a layer of, okay, here’s the best practice. This is what they want. This is their desired state.

461
01:13:34.860 –> 01:13:43.380
How does that actually reflected in reality because they can say Page Speed really matters, but does Patriot really matter. I need to know myself.

462
01:13:45.240 –> 01:13:50.070
And how is that reflected in reality because they’re not saying where the money is.

463
01:13:51.900 –> 01:14:01.530
Because if you think about page speed as a factor and they want everybody on AMP. They want everybody to do this. They want everybody on that they want everybody on Google Cloud services so that you can have your page speed and eat it, too.

464
01:14:02.160 –> 01:14:06.930
The thing is, is that the money is in everybody’s data going on AMP.

465
01:14:08.610 –> 01:14:13.050
The money is in everybody hosting on Google because it’ll make their pages faster.

466
01:14:13.860 –> 01:14:29.490
The money is in all of these other things that is not necessarily PHP matters to users. Whoo. We’re not evil and being able to see through those layers and articulate those layers of

467
01:14:30.030 –> 01:14:39.900
Of reality. They’re not wrong PHP does matter users, there is no human being that’s ever gone GEE, I WISH THIS website were slower, but at the same time.

468
01:14:41.010 –> 01:14:50.280
You’ve got to read. You got to read between the lines that Google is a money making apparatus and this is capitalism and you know they’re going to make a buck somehow

469
01:14:51.000 –> 01:14:56.010
And so if if that’s and so it’s like okay so let’s follow that money wherever it goes so

470
01:14:57.000 –> 01:15:05.400
Understanding and being able to tell. Okay. Is this a trusted source of information that’s why one of my SEO interview questions is always, what do you read to stay up to date.

471
01:15:06.300 –> 01:15:13.260
What news. Do you read to stay up to date and SEO because if they tell me a website that I think is complete malarkey. I’m going to be like, hey,

472
01:15:15.570 –> 01:15:26.250
Or I’ll say, okay, why, why are you reading that website. What is it about that website that you find useful because they might be like, oh, it’s complete Malarkey but I read it for the comedy value like i mean

473
01:15:27.480 –> 01:15:29.550
It. There’s, there’s a lot of reasons why.

474
01:15:30.360 –> 01:15:36.660
Somebody might look at those things, or I read it because there’s black hat tips in all of the comments or whatever. I don’t know.

475
01:15:37.140 –> 01:15:45.450
Um, but the thing for me is it’s about information evaluation. And if you’re going to teach somebody anything that’s teaching a man to fish right they’re

476
01:15:46.350 –> 01:15:56.160
Teaching them to because we’re all skeptics every, every SEO that has like an old salty SEO that I know is skeptical and paranoid every last one of us.

477
01:15:59.010 –> 01:16:02.100
The older and salty or we are, the more skeptical and paranoid. We are

478
01:16:03.810 –> 01:16:05.460
We’re experienced, we are

479
01:16:11.520 –> 01:16:17.640
We are skeptical and paranoid and and i think that the worst SEO is a gullible SEO.

480
01:16:19.410 –> 01:16:36.300
And if you feel compelled to train a junior up. I feel like that is the skill to train them. That is the thing that is the thing to hand on to if you want to be Yoda. That’s what you give Luke because he’s gonna run off before you’re done training them anyway.

481
01:16:37.770 –> 01:16:46.860
Buddy and and the thing that my apprentice kept running into was, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know anything about that. I was like, I run into shit. I don’t know how to do every day you learn how to Google it.

482
01:16:48.090 –> 01:16:58.560
You learn how to look up 17 sources on that one topic and like do a complete brain dump and then go. Alright, this is how I’m going to test this. And that’s how you learn.

483
01:16:59.820 –> 01:17:00.480
So I think

484
01:17:00.540 –> 01:17:16.050
The, the overarching question still remains, you’re a person that has a lot of experience. Should you not, maybe not. Can you teach somebody else should you should you, is it worth your time.

485
01:17:16.950 –> 01:17:18.240
I think that depends on the person.

486
01:17:19.500 –> 01:17:22.980
I think it depends on the person, because I’m

487
01:17:25.560 –> 01:17:45.510
Are industry is so rife with weird complex battles and drama and so much of the like old stuff still getting sold and the snake oil still getting done. And I can’t tell you how many people go, oh I hired for somebody for SEO and I got really burned by it.

488
01:17:46.530 –> 01:17:50.040
I mean, I hear that daily and

489
01:17:51.090 –> 01:17:52.380
Is it our

490
01:17:53.970 –> 01:18:01.050
If we are passionate about this as a as a effort as a career as a vocation.

491
01:18:02.070 –> 01:18:10.230
Is it our calling and requirement to build others who are not shoddy snake oil salesman, you know,

492
01:18:11.610 –> 01:18:12.240
Um,

493
01:18:13.950 –> 01:18:23.550
I honestly believe that that’s a, that’s a personal question. Um, I personally was really burned out. I still am kind of burned out on SEO.

494
01:18:23.970 –> 01:18:37.560
And I find that teaching and training is a way for me to tap into a passion and be excited about it and feel like I’m doing good in the world. Instead of just get more Google visitors to this website like it’s

495
01:18:39.570 –> 01:18:41.070
It’s a way that gives me, meaning

496
01:18:42.120 –> 01:18:47.790
And I think that if it’s meaningful for you and it does give you meaning then. Absolutely. You should um

497
01:18:48.930 –> 01:18:50.160
Should everybody

498
01:18:51.780 –> 01:18:52.350
I mean,

499
01:18:56.670 –> 01:18:57.600
Probably not.

500
01:19:00.630 –> 01:19:01.770
I guess. Why would you say that

501
01:19:03.150 –> 01:19:03.690
Um,

502
01:19:07.830 –> 01:19:13.380
I mean, not everybody is going to be a good trainer teacher and they might teach

503
01:19:14.520 –> 01:19:18.480
Not wrong things but they might they might teach things that are

504
01:19:20.100 –> 01:19:21.630
The service to others.

505
01:19:23.190 –> 01:19:33.420
Um, I mean, not everybody set up to be a guru. You know that’s that’s the whole self proclaimed guru thing, isn’t it, I let me be your master like it’s ridiculous.

506
01:19:35.190 –> 01:19:40.380
Not everybody has that has those chops. Um, and, and to know what like

507
01:19:40.740 –> 01:19:48.180
Like I was saying, the difference between teaching a person to fish versus, you know, having them come back to me every time having this apprentice. That was sitting here every day.

508
01:19:48.780 –> 01:20:00.300
Um, I needed him to know it was okay not to know everything, and how to go find that out more than I needed him to know here’s the checklist to fill out for these 10 steps to do this thing.

509
01:20:02.430 –> 01:20:04.260
Um, and so

510
01:20:05.400 –> 01:20:20.190
It depends on where you are. I know that a lot of people really feel like they don’t want anybody else’s bad habits. So they want to like grow their own juniors from the start and be like, oh, I want this like fresh new mind to to mold. As I wish.

511
01:20:20.790 –> 01:20:29.970
Um, and that’s that is absolutely a valid way to go about things. Um, but I do find that you find blind spots in that

512
01:20:31.290 –> 01:20:37.950
Because that that new person doesn’t learn how to think in new ways without you. That’s why an apprentice has to go be a journeyman

513
01:20:38.070 –> 01:20:47.340
Often there, they might be your own blind spots. If you’re molding them to reflect who you are and you have blind spots. Well, if they’re going to have those lines spots as well. I have

514
01:20:48.540 –> 01:20:54.330
To use a Star Wars analogy because it kind of sounds like we’re talking about like six floors here but

515
01:20:56.790 –> 01:21:11.250
If you’re a paddle on and you’re looking at someone as your as your, your Yoda, your, your jet I trainer, how you know if you’re if you’re a person that you’re looking up to is completely full of crap.

516
01:21:12.240 –> 01:21:13.800
Is it a quiet gone or Apollo 13

517
01:21:13.920 –> 01:21:14.430
Right, right.

518
01:21:18.090 –> 01:21:18.690
Um,

519
01:21:20.280 –> 01:21:32.610
Yeah, well that comes down to that question of information. Information articulation and understanding, can you can you tell whether that person is completely full of crap or not.

520
01:21:35.310 –> 01:21:40.590
I’m a lot of people get sucked in by fake gurus all the time.

521
01:21:41.760 –> 01:21:42.450
Um,

522
01:21:43.500 –> 01:21:47.790
I honestly think that a junior SEO.

523
01:21:50.070 –> 01:22:02.190
The clearest way would be to talk to another master you know if if you’re talking to a colleague on chalk, talk to the OB one talk to the, you know, talk to you to talk to some of the other guys and see what’s going on. Um,

524
01:22:03.660 –> 01:22:05.940
And if they go, Oh, you’re studying with him. Hmm.

525
01:22:09.060 –> 01:22:18.480
You know, kind of crowdsource that information, but also I think understanding and and knowing how to look up that information for yourself and double checking it is really important.

526
01:22:20.010 –> 01:22:30.150
Yeah, I think I would I would tend to agree and I feel like I I’m giving you these questions as as playing devil’s advocate, I am one of those people that feel like

527
01:22:31.620 –> 01:22:34.980
The feel like we do as more experienced people have

528
01:22:36.030 –> 01:22:47.130
Maybe not an ethical responsibility, but some sort of responsibility to pay it forward, because there were people that felt responsible to pay it forward to me.

529
01:22:47.850 –> 01:22:58.410
early on in my career. So I think I’m, to some degree, always going to be trying to do that. But I also realize that not everybody’s passionate about that not everybody’s good at that.

530
01:22:59.190 –> 01:23:18.990
Not everybody wants to do that. I will say for myself. The in my career, more so than working with clients or any other thing, the area where I found the most fulfillment was when I was doing the the teaching and helping shape shape young minds, quote, unquote.

531
01:23:20.100 –> 01:23:27.810
Teaching them teaching them how to fish and even more happy for me was watching them then go out and fish and then

532
01:23:28.140 –> 01:23:39.780
Take what they started with me and branch off and develop it even further and then watching them start to teach other people how to fish like you have no idea how amazing for me.

533
01:23:40.860 –> 01:23:52.890
That felt like selfishly in not that i think i’m like super greater or anything, anything like that but it was for me, a real badge of honor to watch people that I

534
01:23:55.020 –> 01:23:59.490
helped to bring up helping to bring other people, other people up.

535
01:24:00.480 –> 01:24:08.280
But I will say that there there are people out there that are just, I remember early on in my career, there was

536
01:24:09.030 –> 01:24:14.760
A certain couple of people early on in my career I had created a blog that I call the agent SEO.

537
01:24:15.570 –> 01:24:29.610
As just kind of a way to well blogging was big at the time and I just, just like this podcast I had a creative itch and I wanted to get it out there. So I would post seo, seo content and they got so mad.

538
01:24:30.150 –> 01:24:36.630
At me for, quote unquote, sharing the industry trade trade secrets and I just never quite

539
01:24:37.320 –> 01:24:47.550
Understood. And these people were supposed to be my quote unquote teachers, and this was talking a lot about data. This was a data point for me that my teachers were

540
01:24:48.000 –> 01:24:56.550
Idiots completed, complete, complete and maybe they weren’t idiots. But like I just felt like they were off base. And for me that was a point

541
01:24:57.630 –> 01:25:00.930
A turning point for me in relation to my ability to

542
01:25:02.160 –> 01:25:09.750
To trust them, and I was never really able to trust them, but I also think, Okay, we’re thinking about this from the perspective of the people teaching

543
01:25:11.100 –> 01:25:21.480
In Jeff, you said an interesting. An interesting thing go build a website. I think that those folks coming up in the space have just as much responsibility.

544
01:25:22.080 –> 01:25:40.740
Like you said, Alicia to go out and validate and test and learn. They have just as much responsibility to go out and do that. And I have to admit, sometimes I don’t necessarily see the level of productivity that I would like with with the young folks coming up in the industry.

545
01:25:42.000 –> 01:25:46.140
Now that I’m one of the older folks, I would like to see more of that.

546
01:25:46.710 –> 01:25:49.980
Coming from folks that are that are new in the industry just

547
01:25:50.280 –> 01:26:01.950
You know, a curiosity or hey, I want to go try building a website just to just to break things just to see what will will happen and I fully realized that’s not for everybody, but I do think that as much as

548
01:26:02.400 –> 01:26:22.380
The experienced folks, the old guard has a responsibility to teach people, especially if you’re good at doing it the people coming up, have a responsibility to not just wait to be taught to go figure things out as much as possible, but that’s true.

549
01:26:23.700 –> 01:26:30.960
I agree with you that it is it is a. And that’s, you know, mythological studies going back to the to my grad degree.

550
01:26:31.890 –> 01:26:47.310
The guru relationship. The, the person who is the student does have that kind of responsibility, they have to go do their work in those real real situations, they, they have a lot more work to do, then, then the teacher does really

551
01:26:49.140 –> 01:27:01.110
You made me think of a thing that a manager said to me once, and this is way back in the bell South days and this manager took me aside and said,

552
01:27:02.520 –> 01:27:03.810
You have a lot of knowledge.

553
01:27:04.980 –> 01:27:05.640
And

554
01:27:06.780 –> 01:27:10.230
you’re mistaking that knowledge for power.

555
01:27:11.280 –> 01:27:13.800
But knowledge is only powerful when you share it.

556
01:27:17.370 –> 01:27:25.920
And that is kind of where I come from, on all of this is that knowledge is only powerful when I’m sharing it with other people.

557
01:27:27.750 –> 01:27:28.950
That’s actually a powerful statement.

558
01:27:32.910 –> 01:27:34.680
Awesome. Well, I mean, I think that’s

559
01:27:35.970 –> 01:27:40.800
Gonna be really careful of time because we’re pushing an hour and a half now. So

560
01:27:42.480 –> 01:27:43.710
Lots of editing homework.

561
01:27:43.740 –> 01:27:45.210
Yeah, no, it’s great and

562
01:27:45.960 –> 01:27:54.540
You know, I guess my final thoughts on that aspect was I really feel that I am willing to teach. But you have to be willing to learn and

563
01:27:55.350 –> 01:28:02.370
When you know some things are complicated, right, and doing any tips or coding or any types of tech I focus on technical side a lot. It’s

564
01:28:02.730 –> 01:28:17.640
It’s there are some people who just who always want to know it, but really don’t. There’s a lot of time. You got to put into doing it and it’s if I don’t feel that you’re 100% into it. I feel like I might be wasting my time and time is more, you know, valuable than than any of this. So,

565
01:28:18.660 –> 01:28:22.770
But I wanted to thank you for coming onto the show and I, you know, we’re gonna

566
01:28:23.880 –> 01:28:30.090
I don’t think we’re gonna have much editing. I think we have some really great content going on here and I’m hoping that the world gets listen to it all.

567
01:28:32.190 –> 01:28:34.530
Well, thank you so much for having me. It was it was a pleasure.

568
01:28:34.890 –> 01:28:36.030
A good way to start Friday.

569
01:28:37.260 –> 01:28:37.770
Yes.

570
01:28:39.150 –> 01:28:40.470
Oh, bye everybody.

571
01:28:40.800 –> 01:28:42.870
All right. Thank you, guys. Bye.

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