Digital Rage

By Jeff Byer

Jeff Byer & guests talk about all things internet. From SEO to Social Media, Marketing to Technology, Design to Development, we will discuss the latest topics and interview leaders in the industry.

  1. 1.
    38 | Jeff Byer – Using Descript, Agency Site Review, JAMStack Options
    24:21
  2. 2.
    37 | Jeff Byer – Backlinks, Memory Hacks, Tech Talk
    29:31
  3. 3.
    36 | Jeff Byer – Chrome Dev Tools, Shopify, CCPA and Tech Talk
    43:20
  4. 4.
    35 | Jeff Byer – Natural Language Processing and the BERT Update
    21:51
  5. 5.
    34 | Rachelle Golden – Accessibility Law, the Domino’s Case, and What This Case Means for the Future
    31:41
  6. 6.
    33 | Geoff Atkinson, SEO, Schema Markup, Dynamic Rendering, Static Websites
    44:26
  7. 7.
    32 | Scott Desmond Dahlgren – Advertising, Acronyms, Offline Audience Targeting
    32:47
  8. 8.
    31 | Jeff Byer – Weekly Recap, Google Core Algorithm Update, Feature Creep
    19:49
  1. 9.
    30 | Jeff Byer – Weekly Recap, Breadcrumb Schema, Reviews Rich Results, Algorithm Updates
    18:59
  2. 10.
    29 | Lily Ray – Link Attribution, EAT, Google Survey, Green Fish Wallpaper
    44:48
  3. 11.
    28 | Barry Schwartz – Algo Updates, Bing Imports from GMB and GSC, Authorship a
    31:47
  4. 12.
    27 | Jeff Byer – Happy Labor Day Weekend
    3:59
  5. 13.
    26 | Bill Slawski: Google Patents, GS1 Schema, Semantic Search & Contextual History
    44:29
  6. 14.
    25 | Dr. Marie Haynes: SEO, E-A-T, and Google Rater Guidelines
    59:43
  7. 15.
    24 | Cindy Krum: Fraggles, SERP’s, and Mobile Marketing Domination
    36:14
  8. 16.
    23 | Beverly Macy: Social Media, Blockchain, IoT, and AI
    45:43
  9. 17.
    22 | Kevin Indig: SEO Landing Pages, MicroSites, XML Sitemaps, Twitter and Gutenberg
    56:22
  10. 18.
    21 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: LaunchPop Event Review
    45:00
  11. 19.
    20 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Review Previous Podcast Episodes
    1:19:26
  12. 20.
    19 | Steph Smith: Change Your Life, Work Remotely, and Learn to Code
    40:02
  13. 21.
    18 | Jason Reynolds: Importance of Digital Engagement and Activation
    45:08
  14. 22.
    17 | Jane Lee: Startup Marketing with Shopify
    30:26
  15. 23.
    16 | Rob Taylor: SaaS Development, Marketing and Scaling
    46:30
  16. 24.
    15 | Rachelle Golden: Accessibility Law
    48:25
  17. 25.
    14 | Jason Siciliano: Marketing and Copywriting
    38:49
  18. 26.
    13 | Ali Cox: Agriculture Marketing
    53:53
  19. 27.
    12 | Jonathan Tobin: Business Automation
    43:25
  20. 28.
    11 | Mic Pam: Ecommerce Development, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce
    46:23
  21. 29.
    10 | Michele Landis: Web Accessibility, Certification, Testing
    49:56
  22. 30.
    09 | Kevin Indig: SaaS Marketing and Review Sites
    40:10
  23. 31.
    08 | Brian Wood: Public Speaking, Training and Tools
    34:39
  24. 32.
    07 | Pierre Zarokian: SEO and Reputation Management
    29:19
  25. 33.
    06 Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Shop Talk
    36:16
  26. 34.
    05 | Esteven Gamez: Social Media Marketing
    36:26
  27. 35.
    04 | Neal St. Clair: CMS and LAMP Development
    30:01
  28. 36.
    03 | Tom Reynolds: Smarketing
    46:27
  29. 37.
    02 | Jeremy Rivera: The Current State of SEO
    36:37
  30. 38.
    01 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Water Cooler Chat
    31:22
  31. 39.
    00: Introducing the Digital Rage Podcast
    23:07

Listen to Digital Rage now.

Listen to Digital Rage in full in the Spotify app

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Justin Briggs@justinrbriggs article about how to write for natural language processing On-page SEO for NLP post

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Kevin Indig quoting a Fortune article. I am embedding the tweet to show the comments and expose that this is not “new” as the article title might be misleading.

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\"👀\"
“Language understanding is key to everything we’re doing on search,” said Pandu Nayak, Google fellow and vice president of search. “This is the single, biggest, most positive change we’ve had in last five years.”https://t.co/3LVXGjFu0epic.twitter.com/jRzeTb7OC3

— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) October 25, 2019
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Transcript

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processing…

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Jeff Byer    00:08    Welcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer. Today’s episode, I do not have a guest and I wasn’t planning on recording an episode. This was going to be the first episode that I skipped since, , end of January, 2019. But, , I’m gonna call this the accidental episode because I came across so much, , tweets and posts about natural language processing and the so-called Bert update that, , I had to, , throw in my 2 cents and provide you the audience with everything that I’ve, I’ve been following and watching and learning and, and how all of this affects search moving forward. So let’s get started with how this, you know, so when it comes to natural language processing and, , language itself, I look to bill Slawsky and his study on how Google has, , published their patents on language processing and Bill’s breakdown of those patents and how they relate from patent to real life search results.  

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Jeff Byer    01:26    So he, so bill retweeted an article from Ibraham Sharif El den as an introduction to natural language processing. And so I started digging in there and started realizing that different variations of natural language processing are taking a a sentence basically and breaking it down into its primary parts with the nouns, the adjectives and verbs and taking a, a word, a word that that is meant to be. I don’t want to use the word keyword here because it’s completely in different contexts. The contents here is, it’s basically the root word of the sentence and how many jps from the root word backwards. Can you put the word into context and choose its actual meaning based on that. So in natural language processing and previous iterations of that, those, those jps from that, that main word in the sentence, we’re, we’re toward the beginning of the sentence and not many hops from the, from that word to the end of the sentence.  

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Jeff Byer    02:45    And now what I understand this Bert update or Bert is supposed to do is it is supposed to take the, the words that are not on it’s bi-directional means not only the w taking the context words before the main word, but after the main word and going further after the main word. So that all the, everything, all the possible data can be taken into account. So that the understanding of the context of the root word and all of the contextual words found in short jps from that root word will provide an actual context. And based on that context, you will, a search engine would then provide the appropriate response in context. So what that means for SEOs and content writers is, , a system that, , that you w a system of writing or a style of writing that if you’re writing for SEO, you want those words to be relatively close to each other and provide as much context as possible for what the sentence that you are building is trying to convey.  

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Jeff Byer    04:09    And if there is any, , ambiguous is there, if it’s an ambiguous term, , the term can mean many different things. There’s so many different ways that it can be interpreted. So your answer needs to be as clear and sustained as possible and put in all of the relevant information possible to give Google or any, , natural language processing algorithm with algorithm. The best opportunity to understand in full the context of what you’re writing and what you’re saying. And you know, in turn what you’re basically doing is providing the, the searcher with the most informative and complete answer to a query that you could possibly offer. So, , what I’ve been finding in a lot of these writing guides for, , natural language processing and what the style of, of writing would be is that, , you’d need to, you know, it’s, it’s not as creative writing and it’s not super technical.  

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Jeff Byer    05:27    Writing is writing for understanding. , and so natural language processing is trying to take the natural progression of speech into account. But for people like me who find it difficult to explain technical concepts, simply, I just find it difficult to speak in general, which is why I do a podcast to become better at it. But when I’ve start explaining something technical and I get into details, my, my sentences tend to get longer and longer and longer, and it becomes harder for the listener to connect those dots. As an example. That sentence that I just said, the, the explanation took way too many words. And so if I was to rewrite that sentence over, I would get more to the point and say, this is, this is the problem, this is the solution. And that’s it. So, , as I’ve been researching and digging more into it, , a tweet by Jon Henshaw, he re posted an article from AGA cone from a year ago.  

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Jeff Byer    06:40    And what he tweeted was, I just re-read this article by J cone from one year ago, and it’s quite possibly the most relevant article about Bert and SCO on the internet right now. And so what I did is, , I went to that original tweet and, , I’ll have it in the show notes so that you can reference it and see the context of how my learning on this subject progressed. So the Bert update, , is basically, it’s been used for a long time and there, and I’ve, we get into this later in the, in in my learnings, but it just seems like this wasn’t much of an update because it’s been happening for a while. And so this article came out a year ago right after the medic update and we’ve talked about the medic update, , in several of our past episodes. So, , if you need to catch up on that, I can put links to where we talked about it and specifically how it affected, , one of my client’s sites and, and how it corrected and all linked also to a recent tweet from Kevin indig, which I’ll get into in a second.  

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Jeff Byer    07:56    But basically the, , here is the original tweet. , here’s the quote reading article reading the article by aJ  cone one year ago about natural language processing. Burt its relation to the medic update, what went wrong with the update and how it was corrected. So this, after reading through the article in detail and it said that the medic update was actually not medic at all, but it was a, a attempt, an initial attempt at a improving the natural language processing, , for, for search and , mainly for content so that, , for search results. So this started the whole discussion, you know, as in the quality greater guidelines about, , experience authoritativeness and which is eat and SEOs now have to consider all of this because Google is now considering all of this information. And in this article he explains that the, the , medic update initially got it wrong and was, was not understanding the context of a lot of, of medical, , information and how it would relate to searchers. So a lot of medical information sites, which is how this update got the, the term medic.  

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Jeff Byer    09:33    , it was basically nay natural language processing error in the update itself. And it only affected, you know, the medical, your money, your life categories. This is based on this article. So I know that the update had a lot more going on, but specifically to natural language processing, this is how the medic update was, was seen, applied and reversed. So this, the, , example in the article uses it uses a SERP analysis. I’m just looking at back up again so I can, I can tell you exactly. , so the OG in the article, it States the audit August 1st error, , that, that the new content ranking didn’t match the intent of the queries. And so by October of 2018, rankings came back because there was a reversal in how the syntax was calculated in, , on pay for a natural language posts, how it was being processed and how it was being rated as you know, better or worse for a query.  

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Jeff Byer    11:00    So taking out any ambiguity in your answers to Google is has always been something that people have been talking about for a long time, especially since we’re starting to get into voice searches and searches that that we can’t and we can’t rely on the searchers to put intent or put context into their searches because most searches are going to be as fast as possible, as little skis, keystrokes as possible or shortest questions as possible. And that’s just the natural part of it. So the query itself will not have context. Your answer has to, and Google is going to use everything they can to ant to, to anticipate what the searcher’s request means. Put that in context based on any historical data that they have on the, on the searcher, on their previous searches or you know, anything related to what they have searched recently and are now searching, trying to get in depth.  

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Jeff Byer    12:06    So all you can do as a content provider, as an SEO is make sure that your answer, using those root words has as much context as possible and putting those contextual definitions as close to the root word as possible. And using proper sentence structure. So big long run-ons is going to, , not process very well because you’re gonna end up getting so far away from the root word that the context and the semantics are not going to match up or they’re going to get diluted. And the way that natural language processing works is that if there’s too many jps, then it’s, it’s diluting the context and the meaning. So that’s it, at least my understanding of all of this. Now. , so let’s get back to my rundown here.  

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Jeff Byer    13:10    And so, , in the article in this, , Bert update article from a year ago, , in the article, , just in Briggs article about how to write for natural language processing was linked. And so in reading this article, I got a lot more information about what, what a proper sentence structure is according to a natural language processing algorithm and how to write for it. And what, , , lemmatization refers to, , w word dependencies. So the example that they use in the word to set dependencies is a, is a search term that says safe temperature for chicken. So that can mean a lot of things. Well, it can mean a very few things, but if, you know, there’s probably one thing that comes to your mind, but the, there’s the whole point of this th this specific, , term is to match the searcher’s intent. And so if your answer is process is structured properly, it will have, you know, is looking for a temperature so that temperature could be in Fahrenheit or Celsius.  

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Jeff Byer    14:31    So you’ve got in your, in your answer, you should define which temperature you are referring to. , you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta asse the, the search processing, the language processing. It’s going to asse that this has something to do with cooking because a walking around chicken, nobody really cares what their internal temperature is when they’re alive. It’s not that, that’s not something that we should be, you know, concerned about on a global level. But as far as a search intent, they’re probably talking about cooking. So the, the, the proper, , answer structure that they have used is the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That is as complete of an answer as you can give to that, to that, , query con, it’s a concise answer and all the word dependencies are very few hops away from each other. So, , internal temperature, , is exactly what you’re looking for when you’re cooking.  

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Jeff Byer    15:40    External temperature doesn’t matter as much as internal temperature, , cooked chicken, you know, chicken and then one hot backward is cooked. And then for 165, there’s a degree symbol that they use, which also has context and natural language processing. So you can use the use of the word or the symbol. And then Fahrenheit is the definition of the scale that they’re using to get the temperature. So it is very, , it’s a very simple and to the point answer. And so the only way that this could be more thorough is if you offered the, , Celsius alternative to Fahrenheit, but that would be more links away from, you know, or it would re answer the question a little further down. And natural language processing would put that as secondary. It would take your first temperature reading first in that context. So, , it’s very interesting.  

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Jeff Byer    16:42    And dissecting your current content and looking for those root words and how many hops away the context defining words are from it is going to tell you a lot about how, how , natural language processors are reading your content and understanding its context. I just had this, , a client created a page and wrote all the content for this one page that were struggling to get ranked because when you look at the, the results that it’s given there, they’re trying to rank on a, , a fairly competitive term, but they serve a specific niche in that term. So we’re not going to ever rank highly for organic for the general term because it, we, for the majority of searches, we’re not the right solution for that search. We’d have to go deeper into understanding more context of the search. So it’s, it’s type of a type of measurement that we’re doing, but it’s specific to a industry or a specific to a, another type of measurement.  

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Jeff Byer    17:59    So, , the, the main term is not our target. Adding words to that main term is getting us closer to that target. But then they also are using a, a product name that is a, a standard name that is also being misunderstood. So we’re getting results all over the place about the T. so it’s becoming clear that Google doesn’t know if this product is a car or it’s a measuring device or it’s a part or it’s , has, , an animal. , it’s having really a really difficult time understanding the context. So once I brought that to the customer’s attention, they had said they, you know, light bulb went off and said, Oh, okay, now we need to put this in context. So now we need a separate page describing taking the, the, the root term as a starting point, but narrowing it down and covering all different facets of how the, you know, two, we’re not going to rank for the actual term itself, but any of these added words on top of that, we’re going to give it context.  

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Jeff Byer    19:23    So we’re answering a lot of questions on our new content page. We’re talking about a lot of industries where this product is used and we’re relating all of it back to that product. So in our context under our domain and the links that are coming into that product from other domains such as distributors and things like that, that we’re giving as much context to this product as possible so that the product name alone does not end up hurting us. So, , it’s, it’s really interesting all of the natural language processing and, and I’m starting to reevaluate all of our content and how we, how we’re using, , you know, names and root words and the different, how, how many hops it takes from a root word to understand its context and the meaning that we’re trying to give it. , it’s very fun. I’m going to link to all of this information in the show notes.  

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Jeff Byer    20:25    , but it’s, it’s a great read and great to understand natural language processing and how Google is, is using all this information and trying to come up with the best possible solution based on reading your content and understanding the intent of the searcher. So there’s a ton to, to dissect there. And, , if you have any questions, you can always email me or tweet me. I’m on twitter@globaljeffandiamjeffatbuyer.co. If you need any other information or you want me to link to any other different sources. So that’s it. That’s the accidental episode. I’ve already reached out to a couple of people for interviews this week, so next Monday will be a fault episode, so I apologize, but at least I got this one out there. It’s a little late, but it is out. So, , thank you very much for listening. As always, if you, , enjoy the episode, please rate and review on your pod catcher of choice. And if you have any ideas for future episodes, just let us know. Thank you very much for listening. Talk to you next week for show notes and information. Go to digital rage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at bam. And please give us a rating review is sincerely appreciate it. 

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Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks with Rachelle Golden about the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear Domino’s petition on whether its website is accessible to the disabled, and what it means for website accessibility litigation moving forward.

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About Rachelle Golden

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Rachelle handles labor and employment law and litigation. She defends employers before state, federal, and administrative agencies and provides counsel regarding all aspects of human resource issues and compliance to help clients avoid penalties and litigation.

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Robles v. Dominos

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Bloomberg Law Article by Alexis Kramer
CNBC Article by Tucker Higgins
Mashable Article by Siobhan Neela-Stock

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Transcript

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Jeff Byer   00:07    Welcome to to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer. Today I had a good discussion with Rachelle Golden choosing an attorney at ha maker law group and she specializes in accessibility and equal access for people with disabilities. She’s, , got firsthand information about the,  

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Jeff Byer    00:33    , domino Roblis vs Domino’s case, which, , two weeks as you, two weeks ago as you listen to this was, , the Supreme court denied an appeal to, , they, okay. So what happened is we explained the case in the interview and how the case came about and where the case stands today. But, , what happened recently, which triggered me contacting Rochelle is the U S Supreme court’s decision to not hear Domino’s petition on whether its website is accessible to the disabled. So a very interesting discussion and, , it was awesome to get the details and understand the impact and how this is, this case has the, the opportunity to define website access moving forward. We also discussed that a worst case scenario is that Domino’s settles the case and we don’t get any resolution in the courts to decide what is an acceptable level of accessibility for websites.  

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Jeff Byer    01:41    One of the main takeaways that we got from our conversation, or I get from my conversations with Rachelle, is that if you have offline access, , ADA compliance, accessibility, , guidelines to follow, then that should also be duplicated on your website. So if you sell Rochelle’s example is that if you sell gift cards within your store, then you should be able to buy gift cards on your online store. And if anybody with disabilities has special access that they, they have to buy those gift cards in the store, that same access needs to be provided online. , she also said that in this wikag 2.0 AA and you know, basically WCAG 2.1 moving forward is not going to cover everybody. , disabilities have such wide ranging, , you know, symptoms and how people use assistive technologies to, , get information with their disabilities that it’s never gonna cover everybody.  

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Jeff Byer    02:58    And it’s not gonna be possible that every single individual is going to have equal access and a digital property. All we’re looking for is what is going to avoid litigation and complaints in the courts. You know, keep this, keep this not illegal issue and give us standards that we need to meet. And , and so that’s what this court case could possibly do. But for now it’s back to the lower courts and it’s at a standstill. So that’s all I got for now. I’m going on vacation. That’s why I’m posting this short episode early. But this is a very important episode and lots of very quality content in here. You can reach me. I am on Twitter at global. Jeff please, if you have the opportunity and the time please rate and review us on any of your pod catchers. It really helps and I’d love to hear any feedback that you have about the show.  

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Jeff Byer    03:57    And we are , there was a request online the to go into more static website hosting and and a static website rendering. We are going to get into that in the future. , right now I am working on a WordPress plugin that’s going to be able to give you the fastest possible load times using WordPress as a backend. , and we’re cause all of my tests using the API are taking way too long to render. So we’re moving forward with the static version. So I am going to give you my recipe for static versions most likely in the next episode. So stay tuned. Thank you for listening. And here is Rochelle golden  

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Jeff Byer   04:52    All right. Today we have for shell golden for shell is an attorney, a court with hatmaker law group. , Rachelle, will you briefly just explain, , you what you do and what your specialty is?  

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Rachelle Golden    05:05    Yeah, sure. So, , I’m an ADA defense attorney. I represent businesses all grow up the state and state and federal courts and, , I am a proactive consultant with various businesses as well to make sure that they become compliant with the, not only construction-related access laws, but as well as the website guidelines that are produced by the worldwide web consorti. , and so I do, like I said, defense, litigation and then proactive consultant as well as employment litigation as well for various businesses.  

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Jeff Byer    05:39    Excellent. So, , the topic that we’re going to just discuss today, which I sent you, was the, , Supreme court’s decision to not hear Domino’s petition on, , the <inaudible> case. So a little bit of background. , what, how did this all start?  

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Rachelle Golden    05:58    So I’m mr O bliss is a blind individual and or a sight impaired individual and he sued dominoes because he said that he was unable to access the online services to order a pizza. And at the time, , there was no banner on the website, so there was no, you know, if you’re having difficulty call us or call our 24 hour hotline at such and such nber, , that, that wasn’t in existence. And so he sued dominoes for at website accessibility and said that because there was no, , coding on the back end that met the out worldwide web consorti guidelines, which is the, , website content accessibility guidelines, WCA G, , he said that because it wasn’t coded that way, that it was a barrier to accessibility and a violation under the Americans with disabilities act. And so that’s how it started. , last year. Correct.  

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Rachelle Golden    07:02    , I believe it was in 2017. Okay. I believe it was in June. I think the, I think the complaint was filed in 2017 and so that originally the district court, which was the first court to hear it, the first federal court to hear it, , dismiss the case because the, , because dominoes then after the complaint was filed, put up this banner that said, call us 24 hours for assistance. And the court said, that’s sufficient. You’ve effectively remediated the issue because there’s a 24 hour, one, 800 hotline that people could call an accident, access the same services, , for ordering pizza if you have a site in permits. Well of course Mr. Robles didn’t like that decision. And so he appealed it to the ninth circuit court of appeal and the ninth circuit court of appeals said, , not only did you not comply with a website content accessibility guidelines, , that banner didn’t exist at the time.  

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Rachelle Golden    08:02    And so there was a right case for, , for the case to continue. And ultimately the ninth circuit court of appeals said, , setting aside the ban or issue or you know, we’re not going to really focus on that. We’re going to focus on whether this website needs to be coated with the would gag, the website content accessibility guidelines 2.0 AA or higher in order for it to be, , provide effective access. And the ninth circuit said yes, in order for there to be the remedy for the injunctive remedy for website accessibility is to have, , the website coated to comply with those guidelines. , and it needs to comply in order for there to be equivalent access for persons with disabilities. But the catch was, it said in order for  

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Speaker 4    08:56    a website to need to be in compliance with those webs, with those website guidelines, the website must have a nexus. There must be a direct correlation between the product and services that are offered on the website to the brick and mortar of the business. And since Domino’s has brick and mortar locations that somebody could walk into and go order pizza, and they also have one site prevalence, they need to ensure that they are coded properly to meet those guidelines.  

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Jeff Byer    09:27    Yeah, and I remember the first time that you talk to you brought that up is that it’s got a, the accessibility online has to match the accessibility offline. That was one of the key takeaways I took away from that. That’s right. , so, , so now Supreme court, , based on those guidelines said that they say can continue. , so, so the, , the petition, what was the petition about?  

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Speaker 4    09:57    So, , Domino’s then said, we don’t really like that response from the court. So they did a petition for Ori up to the United States Supreme court and asked them to hear whether, , the, the WCG guidelines are the appropriate guidelines for relief to have a, an injunctive remedy. And so what the court, the ninth circuit said is because the wikag guidelines are not codified under the code of federal regulations because there’s no specific statute or lot implementing those guidelines. That’s not the standard for accessibility, but it is certainly a way to remediate accessibility barriers. So they got around it and that’s how they phrased it, , to make sure that they weren’t creating some sort of standard that wasn’t codified in the law anywhere. And the Supreme court said, yep, we’re not going to touch that. You know, we were, doesn’t seem to be that there’s a split in the circuits, , about these decisions. Most circuits now say that there must be a nexus to the brick and mortar that, you know, if your coated into, to be compliant with the WIC ad guidelines, that that’s effective relief for injunctive relief action. And so we’re gonna leave it alone so they didn’t hear it.  

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Jeff Byer    11:16    Quick little break here because our phones got disconnected. Hi Rochelle.  

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Speaker 4    11:22    Hi. I think I lost ya. No,  

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Jeff Byer    11:24    I could hear you perfectly. I heard everything you said. , you just couldn’t hear me for some reason. Oh, okay. Sorry about that. No, no problem. , you know, it’s technology. What can you do? Okay, so, , so back to the appeal. And so, , so now, , wikag is, is not codified in any way, which means that the Supreme court can’t rule, , in favor of that being a being a guideline because it’s not actually a law.  

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Speaker 4    12:02    So how I see this playing out is that if you’ll recall last time we spoke, the house of representatives have asked the department of justice to make the standard. Just codify it. If you’re going to hold people to being in compliance with the guidelines as the effective remedy, just say so formally to go, at least everybody’s on the same page. And unfortunately they said, no, we’re not gonna do that. , we’re gonna leave it up to the business owner to really determine how they want to provide access on their digital platforms. But this is kind of what we recommend. Okay. So that’s what the department of justice the is. And so the Supreme court didn’t say, , yes, wikag is the guideline. , they didn’t, you know, they didn’t, they didn’t make that ruling and neither did the ninth circuit court of appeal. The United secret court of appeal just said, you have to provide access, digital access per person with persons with visual impairments. And in order to do that, you know, the wicked guidelines are the universally accepted standards. So that seems like a good, a good measure for relief. And the Supreme court left it alone and said, yeah, we, we essentially agree with that. , and so it’s not, wikag is not the law, it’s just a measure in which accessibility can be, , implemented if you use those particular guidelines as your, as your website coding.  

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Jeff Byer    13:40    Okay. So, so, , this all goes back to what we, what we had talked about originally is that if you’re, if your offline experience has a level of accessibility than your online experience, , must have the same level of accessibility. , your, your example in our last episode was that, , if you can apply for a job, , at, at a location and you can’t do it on the website, that’s a mismatch of, , of access that would, that would, , , allow somebody to file a complaint.  

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Speaker 4    14:19    Right. If you could, if I can go into, you know, ABC restaurant and buy a gift card than I should and they have a website where they sell gift cards, I need to be able to buy that same gift card online as I would inside the brick and mortar.  

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Jeff Byer    14:35    Okay. And so with, with all that said, does this move the needle in either way as far as, , online accessibility going forward?  

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Speaker 4    14:48    Yeah, basically. , there’s, there’s going to be an, in my just professional opinion, , and kind of the consensus in the community, the legal community is that, , if you’re a business and you have a brick and mortar and you offer interactive services on your website, , you better get ready because it basically gave the green light for plaintiffs to bring these lawsuits, , at nause. There’s really no way to get around the well, it, there’s no, no, it’s, it’s not there. I guess there could be an argent to get around the nexus argent, but, but that’s not going to be something that you’re going to be able to get out of at the first pleading stage. It’s going to be something that you’re going to have to litigate on. So it’s gonna be costly. So this is even, , of, of more significance for businesses to look at their websites, see what they can do to make them as, as, as accessible as possible.  

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Speaker 4    15:48    , if it’s out of your reach, you know, if it’s going to cost you 10 grand to do an audit and to, to remediate, then you know, maybe you need to hire one of those 24 hour, , phone service companies that can take a call over the phone and leave a message for what have you, even if it’s after hours. , because if you provide 24 hour access to buy gift cards online, you still need to provide 24 access to buy gift cards over the telephone essentially. , and some in some, , visually impaired advocates would say that’s not sufficient. It’s still different. So, but that hasn’t been decided as of yet. No court has, , that I’m aware of. No court has taken up that issue as to whether, specifically whether having a 24 hour telephone nber is actually an equivalent to having 24 hour access online. They’ve, from, from everything that I’ve read, , through New York, , Florida, California, Arizona, all the courts have kind of punted that issue. They haven’t gotten into the nitty gritty of that. So that certainly still an argent that can be made on the advocacy side.  

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Jeff Byer    16:56    Okay. And so, , so I’m, I’m going through, , I, I, I a P certification right now. Okay. And great. And, , it’s, you know, this brings up a ton of points. , obviously, you know, comparing online offline experience across the board, , using accessibility like, , surfaces like accessibility three 60 to do a full and complete audit. , cause there is really no, no, , audit made automated way to do it. So, so is this robust case, is there still, , more action to be taken? , in, in regards to what like is, is, is, has, has there been a full trial, has there been, , word given, anything  

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Speaker 4    17:50    like that? No, this case is just incomplete. It’s just in the initial pleading phase. So no discovery has been taken. No depositions have been taken that the motion to dismiss was the first pleading that Domino’s filed in the original case. And it was granted because they had already put up that 24, seven telephonic banner on their website. And so the court, so that was enough and then it went up to the ninth circuit and then it went up, you know, to appeal to the United States. Supreme court got denied. So now it’s been kicked back to the district court to hear the remainder of the case. And so at this point in time, I’m not aware of whether the case is settled. I’m not aware, you know, I would imagine that it’s still in litigation. I haven’t seen any, any dismissals as of yet. So it’s still left to be seen how the case is going to resolve because it’s now back down to the district court level.  

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Speaker 4    18:43    So Domino’s deciding to settle with that, would you see that as , as a disappointment because we won’t actually get a ruling? Yes, I would be, I would be really bmed out if they decided to just settle the case without actually going into the nitty gritty of, okay, so let’s, now we do have this banner. Is it, is that, could you, could you access the same goods and services as you would if you were using the website or going into the brick and mortar? I think that that’s a question that should be litigated and I think because everybody, not everybody, but, , the consensus in the disabled community is that communication barriers vary. They’re so different from person to person based on whether their cognitive, visual or hearing, , that accessibility for communication barriers is really tailored to that individual. It’s not like a wheelchair where if you have a ramp at a certain slope, yeah, you’re going to, you’re going to capture the vast majority of the audience.  

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Speaker 4    19:49    You know, or if you have a restroom that’s 60 and turning radius, most wheelchairs are going to be able to do a three 60 turn. You know, it’s a pretty standard, , communication barriers or not that way. Communication disabilities are not that way. There are so nuanced. And so I think it would be a disservice, , to this issue to not litigate that into really take it through all the way to, you know, motion for smary judgment or to trial to really see what the issues are and what the, what the results are from those issues that pop up throughout trial. So that way we have some guidance. You know, we really, we really, those of us in the community who are really trying to, , help our clients be proactive and to really make sure that they’re doing things the right way so that they are providing access.  

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Speaker 4    20:35    And so they’re also protecting their bottom line. You know, we’re kinda shooting in the dark here of like, okay, well we need to comply with what GAD guidelines, but what does that really mean? Does that mean every single technical thing throughout the need to be adhered to? Or are there certain things that are easier to do that can kind of capture the biggest amount of, of persons who need those types of, , you know, that sort of technical compliance, that would be a great starting point for those businesses who maybe can’t do a complete robust, full change of their website. You know, how does this really play out? So I would really like it. See it litigated.  

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Jeff Byer    21:13    Yeah. Cause this, this, so basically this has the potential to be the case that defines, defines a future of, , online accessibility. That’s right. Okay. And , so nothing has really happened since, since this, , this, , , this was, , sorry I’m completely lost. So since the petition has been denied, there has been no activity. No. Okay. And so the next, the next phase is that, , either, you know, what would be the logical next step cause Domino’s is basically saying, okay, , you know, we do have the complaint and it is it up to the plaintiff to, to continue.  

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Speaker 4    22:00    Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Until there’s a settlement or a dismissal or until there’s another motion that’s filed, maybe a motion for smary judgment after discovery has taken place and discovery meaning written questions between the two sides and depositions where you know they actually get the plaintiff in the room and start asking Mr. Robles questions about his, his experience with the website and what those barriers if any. There really were. And you know, just because it doesn’t comply doesn’t necessarily mean there was a barrier that he accessed. So and that’s what we see a lot with the construction related access to the same that okay. Yeah. Just because it didn’t technically comply with the California building code doesn’t mean that there was an actual barrier there that you person, you plaintiff actually experienced. So while it may be technically not compliant, there still has to be, he still has to prove Mr. Robles has to prove that there was some sort of barrier to access to him that made the website more difficult or unable for him to use it in the way that other people who were cited could use it.  

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Jeff Byer    23:01    So barrier barriers is interesting language because if something was purposely blocking his access to make a phone call,  

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Speaker 4    23:13    no, it would be, it would be, let’s say that he, , he could have used the website as it was without calling a telephone nber, but maybe he had to, maybe he cited to a certain degree. Cause just because you have the visual impairment doesn’t mean you’re wholly blind. There are a lot of people that can use magnifiers on the screen that will blow up, you know, the font so they can read what’s on the screen. So based on what his site limitations are, whether he’s wholly blind or whether he just has a visual, I mean, you know, it says that he’s blind in the pleading papers, but there’s been no discovery on what, to my knowledge, to what extent he’s actually visually impaired. And that’s what I mean by it really is going to depend upon his particular disability and how he uses websites and what he needs in order to access the website, , to, you know, order a pizza and his experience might not necessarily be the same as somebody else’s.  

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Jeff Byer    24:14    Right. And like you were explaining, there’s unique circstances for every type of disability and providing access isn’t, isn’t universal. That’s right. That’s right. Okay. So barrier doesn’t mean that something goes purposely keeping them from, from, , performing the task. It was that there just wasn’t a way in this, in the way that they were trying to gain access. There just wasn’t a way to do it with their specific disability  

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Speaker 4    24:44    and it doesn’t. And, and, and that’s the other thing that’s so, , frustrating for four defendants is a barrier doesn’t mean wholly prohibited from a barrier, just means extra difficulty or, , not as easily usable. Okay. Okay. So, so if there was a barrier, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t order a pizza at all. Maybe it was just that he had to squint harder in order to see his magnifier to access the screen. That could be considered a difficulty. So, so, you see what I mean? It’s so, it’s so individualized and that’s what even even, you know, website, , remediation companies will tell you is that even if you are wicked compliant, that doesn’t mean that you’re accessible to everybody because you’ve just, you know, you can’t, you can’t capture everybody based on one set of guidelines.  

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Jeff Byer    25:40    So with, with this case specifically moving forward, , is, is it possible that in the, in a a suit or, , with, , a next complaint, the based on the wood wood wick act 2.0 AA a B, the assed standard or it’s still not, not, ,  

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Speaker 4    26:06    no WCAG 2.0 AA would be the most commonly accepted, , in forced standard from the courts across the country. So if you’re, if you’re at an AA level, , and let’s say you haven’t gone to the, the, the 2.1 level, , most courts, I’ve not seen any court in, , enforce anything different or use any, any other standard to, to provide injunctive relief. Okay.  

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Jeff Byer    26:36    And so, , exceeding that standard going into 2.1 or anything like that would show an extra effort so that it minimize any, any future litigation because you’ve done as much as what the agree beyond what the agreeable standard is, even though it’s not law and it’s, it’s not, it’s just something that’s been used as a benchmark in previous cases.  

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Speaker 4    27:03    That’s right. Yeah. And you know, for the 2.1 standard, and I, and I will do this with my client signs now, even though it’s not, you know, it’s kinda the, the, if, if they’re gonna do it and you’ve got a really strong mobile app presence and that’s how you’re getting most of your traffic, which, , I would, I would guess most, most companies are just do the 2.1 standard. I mean, you’re already spending the money and if and if, and then 2.1 is, is more compatible with mobile applications. So why not just do it anyway? I mean, why go to the 2.0 AA and then, Oh wait, now we need to go to the 2.1 because our, our app isn’t connecting properly and things like that. Don’t waste your money. Just go all in. I mean go big or go home at this point you’re already neck deep, you know, you might as well just go the extra, the extra mile and really just say I’m 2.1 thank you for visiting our mobile application. If you can’t access it, there’s nothing more that I can possibly do for you. And I’m sorry, I’m happy to answer any questions you have over the telephone. Give us a call.  

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Jeff Byer    28:01    Yeah, I completely understand that. And so offering as much as possible is, is a where most people should be since they’re going through the process anyway. But if you’re, if you’re trying to, if you’re trying to retrofit something, , you know, and there should be no real difference between just retrofitting for a 2.08 and 2.1 that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. All right, well, thank you very much for that clarity. , it’s, , it’s always helpful to understand what this means moving forward and, and you know, how, how this keeps coming up and it keeps being brought up into the spotlight. And so it’s something that, you know, with, with me going through this certification, I want to keep up on current events. Sure. Is there a way that this case can be tracked publicly?  

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Speaker 4    28:58    , there’s several different blogs out there, so like if you just Google, , like <inaudible> versus domino blog, there’s several different law firms out there that are, are tracking that daily and th they’ll give you, they’ll feed you the updates that, you know, the relevant updates. So that’s, I would say the most simple way, , because it’s back down to the district court level. , really the only way you can track it is to go on pacer and set up an account and, and keep, you know, check it every, every week or every two weeks. , and, and track it that way. Cause pacer is, you can, you can get access to any federal Kate in the, in a federal case, in the country through pacer dot. I think it’s pacer.gov and you sign up for an account and costs money, , to, to do that. When you download, like let’s say you download the docket every two weeks, it’s going to charge you a dollar to do that every two weeks or what have you. , but that’s another way that you can do it. But I recommend just kind of Googling, Googling blogs and there’s other law firms that are already doing that on, on the public’s behalf.  

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Jeff Byer    30:10    Okay. Yeah. So unless something is, is unless there’s a public filing, , there’s no real way to track it. So I’ll, I’ll link to a blog, a blog that I find, , has valuable information in the show notes. So, yeah. All right. Excellent. , so where can people find you? , what do you have to, , tell the audience?  

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Speaker 4    30:34    , people can find me at Hatmaker, H I T M a K E R Hatmaker law.com. Again, my name is Rochelle golden. You can find me there. You can email me directly from the website, , which is Rochelle, , at Hatmaker law.com. Or you can simply just give me a call. I’m happy to answer any calls that I receive and I will answer any email that I receive. I’m not going to guarantee you within 24 hours, but, but I will certainly get back to you. My telephone number is (559) 374-0077.  

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Jeff Byer    31:08    All right. Excellent. Thank you very much for your time today and we were, we really appreciate it and , looking forward to speaking with you again soon. Absolutely. I’m, I’m available anytime for ya. All right, thanks for <inaudible>. Alrighty.  

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Speaker 1    31:22    Bye. Bye.

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For show notes and information. Go to digitalrage.fm Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digitalragefm. And please give us a rating review we sincerely appreciate it. 

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Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks with Geoff Atkinson (@geoffatkinson), Founder and CEO of Huckabuy. We talk dynamic rendering, automated schema markup, cloud serving dynamic renderers, and Google’s perfect world when it comes to websites and their content.

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About Geoff Atkinson

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Geoff Atkinson @geoffatkinson
CEO of http://Huckabuy.com, former http://Overstock.com SVP, online marketing, search, SEO, skiing, biking, golfing
https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoff-atkinson-7311872/
https://huckabuy.com/seo-company/geoff-atkinson/

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Episode Links and Mentions

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New article: "Identifying site structure weaknesses"

"Site structure" is one of the most loosely used terms in SEO.

That's why I attempt to clarify how Internal linking, Taxonomy, Click depth, and URL structure play together and how to optimize them.https://t.co/31h2YXJ55g

— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) October 9, 2019
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Transcript

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Jeff Byer     00:07   Welcome to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer and today we are featuring an interview I did with Jeff Atkinson. He’s the founder and CEO at HUC buy and we talk about dynamic rendered sites, static sites, search for Google, Google’s perfect world and what they really like to see and respect  

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Jeff Byer    00:33    when it comes to , crawling websites and website content. So dynamic rendering, cloud rendering of a of a large website is the key to what his company does and they take large, , constantly changing sites and serve them through a cloud system as far as what I understand. They serve it through a cloud based system that does cloud-based rendering of their site and gives Google a perfectly static rendered version of the site that is quickly crawlable and indexable so that there are no barriers to Google being able to get the structure, the content and list in search results. So very fun. We also talk about dynamic, , schema markup. So there’s a few tools out there. I found one called in links that , that kinda does the same thing. It’ll go through your content and it’ll find all the opportunities that your, your HTML has to add schema markup to it.  

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Jeff Byer    01:50    I don’t, I looked at the results and what it, what it picked out as being, , able to have a, have structured data connected to it and it wasn’t completely accurate. It uses keywords and tries to, , tries to automatically select a topic based on your HTML content and it’s not completely accurate. It had a few, a few things that were out of the scope of what the content was. And we’re off topic as far as what the website as a whole is about. So the, at least this tool in links takes a lot of customization and hand holding to make sure that it, that you get it right. But Jeff’s tool at Huckaby is much more, much more one on one and does, , you know, it does a better job of identifying schema, , in HTML and served as static version with the scheme so that Google is very happy and can index easily.  

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Jeff Byer    03:02    So that no content is missed specifically. It’s, it’s good for very large sites that change very often. So the Google can keep up with it. And the faster that you can deliver that information to Google, the faster that it gets indexed and added to the knowledge graph. So, so that’s that. , other news is there was a Supreme court ruling for a ruling. Basically Domino’s appealed the decision, the judgment that they had against them last year where a blind person sued them for ADA compliance because they couldn’t order a pizza from the website. So the Supreme court decided not to hear Domino’s appeal. And we talk about, we’re going to talk about what this means for the future of, , ADA compliance and accessibility laws regarding digital properties for large corporations. And you know, basically everybody is that this is, this is something that’s going to become more common and it’s time now for everybody to assess their websites and make sure that they are up to speed on accessibility and that they meet the requirements for accessibility.  

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Jeff Byer    04:24    I’m S I’m in the process of getting certified right now, , as WebEx, web accessibility expert at IAP. So, , once I have that, I’ll, I’ll keep you updated on everything that you need to know as far as being certified, getting certified training courses, things like that. But next week we are talking to Rachelle golden who is an accessibility attorney. She’s been on the show before and she is going to talk us through the details of what this decision means and what it could mean moving forward for , corporations and accessibility in general. So keep on the lookout for that. My specific portion of this accessibility topic is going to stick to what my audience mostly wants to know is all of the technical requirements and technical aspects that go into being WCAG 2.1 compliant. So, , look forward to that and we will, , you know, lead by example and reach out to all the sites that we’ve worked on for the past 10 years and let them know what’s involved, how their site fares as far as ADA compliance and what will be required to make it compliant and give them the opportunity to opt out.  

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Jeff Byer    05:54    So the opt out is important because if any judgment comes or any complaints are filed against a website for ADA compliance, that it can’t be assed that it was part of the original project that it had to be opted into and you need to opt out of it if you don’t want it done. So just something that we are moving forward with and hopefully by the end of the year, most of our large sites that do have a ADA compliance in their brick and mortar are going to also be accessible through their website. So that is that. Let’s get into the interview with Jeff Atkinson and if you have any questions or suggestions for topics or interviewees, please let us know. You can hit me up on Twitter. I’m at global. Jeff, you can go to the website, digital rage.fm and leave comments on the show notes. , anywhere where, , you can email me, , show@digitalrage.fm and I think that’s all I have to tell you about. So let’s get into the interview with Jeff Atkinson.  

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Jeff Byer     07:21    Hey Jeff. Hey Jeff with a G. Hey, doing good. How are you? I’m good, thanks. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you as well. , so I usually just start recording and, you know, edit in whatever at any time. , perfect. So, , the way that I described my show is it’s a  

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Jeff Byer    07:42    digital marketing for digital marketers, so feel free to, to get in the weeds, use acronyms, you know, talk, that type of stuff. So cool. Yeah, for sure. , so to start out, let’s, , I’ll, why don’t you introduce yourself and introduce your company? Okay. Right now, just go for it. Yeah.  

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Geoff Atkinson    08:04    Cool. , so yeah, I’m Jeff Atkinson. I’m the founder and CEO of HUC by , formally the SVP of marketing@overstock.com. And Huckabee is a SEO software company, performance driven SEO software that does automated structured data markup as well as we have a product called SEO cloud that takes advantage of dynamic rendering on Google. So that’s, that’s me.  

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Jeff Byer    08:29    Very cool. , I was reading through the, the white paper that, , that got sent that did a little bit of the, , the overview of what your company does. I’m really intrigued, so I completely agree with, you know, the Google perfect world, the way that I build my websites is, is exactly like that. Lots of , static rendered HTML, , for speed and for ease of crawling. So yup,  

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Geoff Atkinson    08:54    I heard that on your last podcast  

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Jeff Byer    08:56    and was super impressed. I pretty rarely hear about people building this way. So, , yeah, I was like, boy, this guy gets it. , let’s build in static HTML. Let’s give the bots what they want. , so yeah, I think we are going to, we speak the same language. Yeah, definitely. And so, , one of the new sites that I was building just related to this was a, we were going to build it using a react, but get react to, , export through Gatsby so that Gatsby creates everything, takes all the dynamic content and creates, , , just one big static site with all the resources compressed and an image, , manipulation and everything. So yeah,  

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Geoff Atkinson    09:39    that’s great. So, you know, we find a lot of, a lot of companies just simply can’t do that necessarily because of business requirements, you know, put onto the website that they wanted to interact with users in a certain way. And so that’s really what our SEO cloud product is around, is allowing them to sort of do whatever they want on the front end and still have this perfect crawl experience for, for bots.  

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Jeff Byer    10:04    Yeah. So, , explain that, explain the, , the, , the cloud rendering, , portion of your product.  

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Geoff Atkinson    10:12    Yeah, for sure. So, , there’s this sort of concept known as dynamic rendering, which basically means that sites load dynamically based on what called them. , the simple example is if I go to a website on my mobile phone, I’ll get one experience by go on my desktop, I’ll get a slightly different experience and that’s all well and good. It’s best practice. Google supports it. What they’ve really changed though is they said, well now you can actually give an experience just for us and that’s , opened the door for us to basically create SEO cloud. Now you still have to have all the same content. You can’t, you can’t do any sort of tricks, you can’t keyword stuff or you know, alter the page in a way still has to be the same content and information, literally the same site as the user experience. But you can now que ups or this what we call Google’s perfect world.  

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Geoff Atkinson    11:02    So we do much like what you’re doing with Gatsby but it a little bit different level where we’re taking a site that has quite a bit of dynamic content, whether it has dynamic content or not and translating into a flat HTML version. And that flat HTML version is usually, you know, 30% on average, the size of the previous page. And if you actually look at it, it looks identical. , you know, the, the, the way that it renders and the way that it actually looks and fields is it identical kind of shows how much code bloat you know, is actually out there on these websites. Right? We then take that, that light version and hosted it in a caching layer. So we use, we have a partnership with CloudFlare to provide edge delivery, , for this sort of HTML version. We then obviously add structured data, , world-class structured data to the top of the page and sort of queue up this perfect Google crawl experience.  

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Geoff Atkinson    11:56    So this is a product that, , SAP uses. , a lot of kind of enterprise customers that have very complicated sites with lots of business requirements are now able to sort of have this fantastic crawl experience. And one of the things that we’ve noticed that’s interesting is a lot of, a lot of websites have more, , index issues than they actually know about. You know, if they have a very big site that’s relatively slow, you know, a lot of their content, even though they’ll have a big contest, right, it actually isn’t even getting accessed index correctly. So this sort of frees up all those issues. It takes care of a lot of issues and, and really allows a complicated website to get properly called index and, you know, get sort of the search attention that it deserves.  

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Jeff Byer    12:39    Now is that related to amp in any way or are you serving amp pages?  

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Geoff Atkinson    12:43    You know, that’s a great question. This product actually started as an amp product. So we, our first intention was, all right, let’s build, you know, have it have a sort of automated amp, , you know, version of a page. Then we kind of figured out that Google, despite them saying that they would index and crawl any type of amp page, certain bots are really the only ones looking for amp pages. So when your SAP or someone like that, the type of bots that are hitting that site actually aren’t looking for amp links. And so it almost kind of made the product look a bit useless. So then we got into sort of the dynamic rendering world, so it does not create amp versions of the page. , I think, you know, as Google includes more and more, you know, page types in there amp index, , that could be a very viable product.  

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Geoff Atkinson    13:36    , but for now it much more as around just building the flat HTML version and sort of this perfect crawl experience for Google, , rather than, , amp pages. It’ll be interesting to see sort of how amp plays out and how much, you know, cause developers hate it. Google obviously loves, it’s very strategic for them to be kind of hosting the internet. , and so it’ll be kinda interesting to see how, how amp ends up playing out across industries. I think obviously it’s been, , somewhat of a success, or at least it’s very well adopted in sort of the news and publishing arena. But to see if it actually gets into the mainstream. And other industries like B2B software, e-commerce I think kind of remains to be seen. There’s just so much functionality that’s stripped out that I think you’ll have a lot of business users sort of pushing back on whether amp works for them or not.  

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Jeff Byer    14:30    Yeah. And so that’s the other thing about, , serving a, a site that’s, that’s not dynamic or serving static HTML is that amp can make it amp by just removing the tags that they don’t want. So Google has the power to do this on their own, but their first attempt was making the developers convert over to it. And that obviously hasn’t gone very well if it goes well for new sites and people who want their content scraped and served elsewhere. But, , yeah, I I did not adopt app a amp because none of my sites are really news sources. We have content strategies, but amp wasn’t, wasn’t a good solution. And you know, every report I see online is for, from SEOs perspective is that, , amp does nothing for their rankings.  

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Geoff Atkinson    15:19    Yeah. I think it has been a bit of a failure outside of the, the news industry. They, they certainly could do it themselves. Although they typically take this approach of accessing developers first. You need to think about their Chrome and chromi product, the way that they render pages and the way that they’ve sort of taken over the way that the internet is literally, , rendered and served through Chrome browsers. , they’re the ones that get to decide, you know, whether flash for example, the viable language or not. , and they kind of did that surreptitiously. I don’t think many people realize how powerful their, their sort of takeover of the browser world via Chrome and the way that they render a using Chrome and chromi. , so they typically do go in this way, you know, trying to, to get adoption within developers. I just don’t think they expected so much pushback. , they made it so rigid and, and nonfunctional that, , you know, they, they, I think the most upset, you know, probably yourself included are our actual developers that are, that are coding pages and creating websites. They’re just like, no, this doesn’t work for me.  

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Jeff Byer    16:25    Right. If we could easily dp out our current content into an amp page and, and serve it that way, that’d be fine. But there’s so much else that goes into it because with most of my clients, the goal is some sort of interaction or you know, some conversion action that’s not possible.  

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Geoff Atkinson    16:43    Yeah. That the cart a form fill out. , you know, exactly. They need some, some S some sort of interaction with the page that allows that customer to, , to convert. And that an amp is very, , difficult to do any kind of work like that with.  

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Jeff Byer    17:00    So your clients there, they’re already, you’ve got a pretty large sites, some dynamics. I’m not. , and you, so from what I gather, you’re scraping the content and putting it in a more packageable format for Google and S and serving it on cloud.  

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Geoff Atkinson    17:20    Yeah. So we actually have our own renderer. , so it’s a little bit less about scraping and more about actually rendering each page converting, , stripping out and non-important, you know, aspects of the page that Google doesn’t care about converting anything that’s dynamic into flat HTML and whether it’s dynamic or not, the way to be able to sort of lighten up the page, make it a lot faster and then host it. You know, using a partnership with CloudFlare at edge delivery just has great, you know, performance aspects to it. , Google just kind of can cruise through a very big site in a very short amount of time and that’s really what they’re looking for. That’s really ideal for them, is to be able to, to, you know, if you think about how much time and resources, which is, you know, money that Google is spending, waiting for pages to load, for them to be able to understand websites, it’s gotta be infuriating.  

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Geoff Atkinson    18:16    People always think, you know, when we talk about page B, I’m like, how many times does Google have to yell from the mountain tops? That page speed’s important until people start listening. And it’s really not just their main motivation I really don’t think is actually the user experience. It is when it comes to mobile. Right? You do need to be fast for mobile to really work, especially as, as they grow in the, really their, their growth. Now it’s in the third world getting people online, you got to have that fast page speed because the connection speeds are low, but there are selfish reasons are that they waste a ton of money waiting for sites to load. So it’s like having the lights on but no one’s home. , they’re just sort of sitting there waiting for a page to load when they want to be downloading and indexing information and content. So, , it’s just incredibly, probably frustrating for them. And that’s why they reward sites that are fast because they’re able to access the information in a timely way.  

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Jeff Byer    19:06    Yeah. It makes their bots more efficient. So how do you handle a canonical ization across, , cloud sides?  

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Geoff Atkinson    19:16    , in terms of like category pages where there’s multiple canonicals just  

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Jeff Byer    19:21    if there’s a front end, front end facing site and then this, this cloud-based site is how do you, is is Google able to differentiate that or do you have to canonical lies everything. <inaudible>  

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Geoff Atkinson    19:34    so you actually can tell them what the server response. So you’ll say, you know, Google will come in and they’ll say, you know, user agent is a Google bot and we’ll recognize that and say, okay, this is the version for you to come crawl the way that they kind of can just or verify that the site is accurate. And the same as the user experience is stuff using like they’re, , they’re evergreen bot and they’re their JavaScript bots that will come in and actually look at that dynamic content. That’s how we sort of theoretically think that they, you know, can, can check the, the actual user site to make sure everything is matching up. We don’t actually see them doing it very often. They really do enjoy having this, you know, , dynamic version or dynamically rendered version. , so, , there isn’t any sort of a, it’s all done server-side through the communication of the bot when they come make a request and we, we talk to them at that point and say there’s an a Google friendly version of this site and that’s, that’s what they go into and crawl. And I’m sure they can, if they want hit the actual user site, they have many ways to do that, but we just don’t see them doing it very much.  

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Jeff Byer    20:47    So is the  

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Geoff Atkinson    20:48    implementation for this on a customer to customer basis depending on technologies that their original website is built with? Yes. , it’s, you know, most sites have some sort of a, either caching Lehrer, you know, Akamai or CloudFlare. So we have modules that, that, , can implement a site with. You know, that covers maybe 90% of the internet. And then there’s the sort of one off ones that are sort of unique that we have to figure out a way to integrate. What’s exciting though about this cloud player partnership is , in the future and about a couple months we’ll actually just have a marketer can just go in and change their DNS, , settings and literally in two minutes they’ll be live on SEO cloud. They’ll also get, , the sort of optimal CloudFlare optimization of their user site as well. So that’s really our, our big product that we’re working on now is like you’re not just going to get the perfect crawl experience, , for Google in this sort of edge delivery for Google.  

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Geoff Atkinson    21:57    You’re also an edge delivery just, I dunno how much your audience knows about it but, but essentially edge delivery is just saying that, you know, instead of having to call to a server and that server responds and you know, works through all this stuff, there’s actually distributed servers around the world that are based on locations that each have the, all the information that’s necessary to serve a page right there located and in memory. So that say a bot comes from China, it’s still going to be instantly available in China as it is. It doesn’t have to make the laps around the world, I guess is the best way to say it. It’s right there, available at the edge. , and so this, this partnership with, , CloudFlare is exciting for the implementation purposes cause it’s just a very simple DNS change. And then actually they don’t just get SEO cloud, they actually get this very, you know, 30 to 50% improvement in page speed just to everybody, which is pretty exciting. 

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Jeff Byer    22:51    Yeah. So, , we’ve been implementing CDNs for a while now and, , it, it does help a lot. I mean there’s, there’s, , you know, pluses and minuses, the implementation and the, and the distribution of assets to the servers, which, you know, you want to make, , as, as seamless as possible. But, , yeah, we do understand that the, , the benefits of a CDN, especially on sites that need to perform internationally.  

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Geoff Atkinson    23:20    Yeah. I mean, just listening and researching what, what you’re doing, , you’re doing it exactly right. I mean, you think about page speed and delivery and how to sort of have a site be optimized for what Google wants. You know what we always say, you know, Google is actually pretty open and honest about what they’re looking for out of these websites. And if you could give it to them, you get some real nice benefits.  

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Jeff Byer    23:43    Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And we will monitor all that for our clients. Our clients are usually small to medi size businesses. We do have a, a couple of medi to large size, , international B2B manufacturers. But for the most part we, we try and keep it simple and make sure that what we’re putting out into, , into the, the web is, is very clean HTML structured properly and has clear signals to Google’s structured data, everything like that to what it is, what it’s, you know, how to use it, how to crawl it and who’s responsible for it, which is now a big thing with the EIT.  

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Geoff Atkinson    24:22    That’s fantastic. And I hope your customers, , understand what they’re getting because, , it’s pretty rare that even in the enterprise size or small and medi, it’s pretty rare to have someone be able to provide that. And you’re obviously doing that. So I hope they appreciate you.  

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Jeff Byer    24:38    Thank you. And my clients have absolutely no clue. I keep the taking stuff out of it, out of the art conversation.  

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Geoff Atkinson    24:46    You can play that clip back and put it on the website, whatever you want.  

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Jeff Byer    24:50    Very nice. , so, , do you mind if we get in the weeds a little bit, a little bit of the yeah. , how the product was built for sure. , what, , what kind of, , development stack are you using to, , to implement this?  

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Geoff Atkinson    25:08    So, , the main application layer runs on Google cloud, , which is a phenomenal product. So just a warning. I am not a developer, you’re more experienced than I am. I happen to have a fantastic CTO who’s brilliant and, , really has, has built this thing. , I know that we’ve almost finished my garage and completely on the Google cloud. , Google cloud is incredible in terms of what it can do. I think it’s a real disruptor and it’s going to sort of take down AWS and a bunch of other, these sort of, , storage and application layer providers. So yeah, almost the entire application runs, , in Google cloud. And then obviously our edge delivery and how we’re actually serving a site is, , is done through this partnership with cloud player, which also is just amazing. , so, you know, my background goes back to, you know, overstock and, and the days where, you know, storage was expensive and all these, all these, you know, just the amount that we spent on tech was kind of just for storing things and serving the site was just sort of mind boggling.  

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Geoff Atkinson    26:18    You know, I remember we had like server farms in Utah here and , to think what you can do now, , is just sort of mind blowing. , a lot of these technologies too aren’t really getting leveraged yet. Like the, the CloudFlare edge delivery, we’re one of the very first, if not the first partners are leveraging this for actual business reasons and intentions. And the, when I every, you know, every week when I had my one on one with our CTO and is describing what Google cloud is capable of, I’m just like, this is insane. And their, their prices are so low. And so yeah, almost everything is between Google cloud and CloudFlare.  

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Jeff Byer    26:57    Okay. Yeah. And we’ve been, , we’ve been experimenting with a lot of different , cloud based services as well. , so in the, in the Google cloud is your main application and the application, , the client sends the DNS through the application, the application is able to do all the translation in the cloud.  

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Geoff Atkinson    27:22    Yeah. So it does the actual rendering of the site and into an SEO cloud version of the site. And that’s done through, , Google cloud.  

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Jeff Byer    27:32    So is the proprietary portion of this is how the app decides what is required and what is not.  

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Geoff Atkinson    27:40    Yeah. So it’s the translation of the page and the conversion of the page from whatever it is today into that flat edge, that light plat, HTML version. That’s really the big chunk of the proprietary technology.  

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Jeff Byer    27:53    And so does it, does it do the same thing like on a lighthouse report when you see that you have unused CA CSS and the lighthouse report, is it something similar to that where you can actually strip out on UC CSS?  

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Geoff Atkinson    28:07    , I believe so. This is getting a little bit more technical than I know about the product, but I believe, yes, it’s, it’s include CSS that’s being used that’s actually, you know, serving the, you know, helping the page load. , and look the way it does. But unused CSS and things of that nature, I’m quite certain are being stripped out and taken out of the page.  

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Jeff Byer    28:28    Okay. And so have you handled any, , like, you know, having to translate through WordPress or any other, , of the, the major open source platforms?  

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Geoff Atkinson    28:41    Yup. Yes, we’re pretty platform agnostic. , cause we’re really just looking at the front end. So WordPress is a, , it’s actually quite a guilty party when it comes to page speed and the amount of sort of code bloat that goes on. I think it’s a, it’s a fantastic, , you know, we’re on WordPress on a ton of software companies around WordPress just because of its flexibility. And also it’s relatively SEO friendly. There’s a lot of nice plugins and such. , but yes, we do find that a lot of WordPress sites have a lot of these issues where there’s, , just slow page speed, a lot of code bloat, you know, oftentimes a lot of dynamic stuff going on. So SEO cloud can help a WordPress sites quite a bit.  

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Jeff Byer    29:23    Yeah, I’ve been experimenting with, , accessing WordPress through the API and translating the API server side so to the, to spits out a static HTML. And right now the first implemation implementation I’ve I have right now is through PHP. So it uses the PHP connection to render it server side. So it does cause a little bit of a delay. So my next, , the next thing I’m going to try is doing a server side cashed solution so that the content is always there and it only updates the API when the, when the site changes, when something saved. So trying to try to make a, give the client a WordPress back end that they’re familiar with, but serve ultimately static files on the front end. So  

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Geoff Atkinson    30:15    that’s brilliant. I think that’s a really, that’s a really great way to approach it. , we haven’t gotten to the level of like actual integrations with CMS, which it sounds like, you know, what you’re heading down, where the user can actually still interact with the CMS at their choice, but they’re going to get this really nice, you know, quick site. , we’re more taking whatever that CMS spits out and then translating that into a faster site. But I like the way that you’re thinking about it.  

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Jeff Byer    30:42    Yeah. I haven’t been able to avoid it. I would tell my customers, you know, the, the pluses and minuses to WordPress and it definitely has pluses for them cause they can edit their own content but minus his performance. , if you rely on any third party plugins, , that’s a huge, huge issue there. I’ve had sites taken down, there’s one right now that we’re having to completely rebuild because one of the third party plugins, , just stop being supported.  

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Geoff Atkinson    31:11    <inaudible> yeah. You know, it’s funny, we sometimes joke about how you’ll have these massive sites that run through WordPress and they’ll be, you know, 75% of traffic or something is organic search and they rely on free plugins to, to do a bunch of very important things. And , you know, that’s sort of a scary, and when you think about how much revenues flowing through these sites and these channels to be reliant on free plugins is, is, is always a, it’s a risk and , it can be a scary proposition if something goes wrong. , and people just sort of have a bit of like kind of blind faith that these apps and plugins are going to be around forever. And you know, what, if the guy gets a job or you know, moves or something, you know, they can kind of, you don’t really know the support team behind any given plugin. And, , when your business is pretty dependent on it, it’s good to know that you, you have a trusted source.  

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Jeff Byer    32:10    Yeah. And, , you know, with any open source platform or even even hosted platform like, like a Shopify, if you depend on a third party plugin, you better make sure that you’ve, you know, who’s behind it and, and that they’re, they can be reliable. So, , I’m a big, I’m a big fan of, of your solution. I liked the, , you know, the rendering in the cloud. What are some of the, , big success stories that you’ve had with your, with your solution?  

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Geoff Atkinson    32:39    So if you think about just structured data in and of itself, that product has gotten us a long way and it’s gotten our customers along the way. So our average customer that’s using the structure data product, and this is funny, how about, I remember Matt Cutts always talking when structured data first came around about how structured data doesn’t influence rankings or doesn’t influence traffic. Our average customer just on structured data product grows 62% in 12 months, which is pretty incredible. So structured data definitely moves the needle. If you just think about how much Google understands with a site with very good structured data versus a site that doesn’t have structure data take about like an SAP. You know, here’s a really complicated website. It’s not organized like an eCommerce site. There’s not product pages that are all structured. There’s not category pages that are all the same.  

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Geoff Atkinson    33:30    It’s very complicated product, very important site, very high domain authority. , when they come to a site that’s like that, it’s relatively hard for them to figure out what’s going on. , so if you layer structure like world-class structured data across the entire site and you’re saying, you know, this is a software application and it integrates with this and here’s the pro, you know, those types of clues. Google wants that information so badly. So if you go from SAP as a HTML or worse, it’s very dynamic site two, you’re actually sort of spoonfeeding Google all of this information per page be a structured data. This, the amount that they understand about SAP jps through the roof. So these, you know, really great success stories. And one of the things I love the most about sort of our direction is I think it’s really aligned with where Google’s going.  

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Geoff Atkinson    34:26    , structured data is getting used more and more. It’s getting adopted more and more, almost every algorithm update over the last five years has somehow pushed structure data deeper and deeper into the algorithm. It’s the same with mobile, right live in the last 10 years. Every algorithm update in some way, shape or form is getting more mobile, mobile friendly. So those are kinda the two things that we focus on. Mobile, you know, mobile, which was page speed and being, being responsive, , as well as, , the importance of really good structure data and they’re changing it a lot. So we root for algorithm updates. , you know, I know the industry can be very scared of algorithm updates, but, , I would say with every algorithm update, you know, some of the sites do worse and some of the sites actually do better. And we want to be on the side of the sites that do better during algorithm updates.  

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Geoff Atkinson    35:15    And typically that’s the case because we’re aligned with what they’re looking for these websites. So yeah, our average customer grows 62% in 12 months. I mean, some of the success stories are kind of incredible. Concur is a fantastic customer that’s kind of growing like crazy, but we work with companies of all sizes. , we have some S you know, startups that know that SEOs are their path to revenue to medi sized businesses that depend on, you know, want to really crank up their sales channel and online, you know, inbound leads, , B organic search all the way up to, you know, your sales forces of the world. So, , it’s, it’s cool. The thing I’m most proud of when I started this thing, it was like there isn’t a ton of performance-based SEO software. You know, the SEO space is mainly services driven. A lot of agencies, a lot of consultants, , that the software side of things is almost all analytical. So a lot of rank trackers and site crawlers and things like that. So to have something that you can actually turn live and it’s gonna help the site drive growth is a pretty rare thing. And for that growth to be 62%, it’s something that I’m really proud of. , my background at overstock is in growing, you know, very large organic search channel and, , we love to see that happen for our customers. So really moves the needle and, , those performance nbers we’re very proud of.  

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Jeff Byer    36:39    And so is the structured data service that you offer, is that , somehow automated or is that by hand?  

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Geoff Atkinson    36:47    That’s automated? Yeah. So it’s, , it’s a, we, we populated Jason LD packet of structured data across the entire site as they change content or add products or whatever it happens to be. The structure data automatically, , picks up the new information as Google also changes their requirements. , we do have to make a change when that happens, but it happens really quickly and it goes across every single customer. So 50 plus customers say, you know, , event markup change just to like in the last month, everybody’s fixed within 24 hours. While the rest of the internet, you know, kind of lags behind. So, , yeah, the automation of it and the depth of our structured data is really what sort of the differentiator. , it’s very in depth and it , it is automated students a big box to check for sites to just not have to worry about it anymore.  

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Jeff Byer    37:40    Yeah. So, , we’ve been doing all of our, , all of our structure data by hand and I can tell you know, anybody who is a developer or who is starting to look into structured data on your own, the schema keeps changing constantly and they’re adding more categories and then they’re adding more identifiers to each of the categories. And you can spend months going down this rabbit hole of scheme of this, give me that, give me that, you know, everything. So having an automated solution, being able to recognize what the content is, is, , is definitely valuable. So I see a really high value in that product.  

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Geoff Atkinson    38:17    Yeah, thanks. We, we think of it as something that lends itself to outsourcing because it really is almost like a full time job. If you want to do it really in depth, , in house, you almost didn’t need like a developer working on it almost all the time. And, , that’s just one that you can find a developer that cares enough about structured data to so want that job or, or to do it is a hard thing to do. , so the automation piece really helps our customers for sure.

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Jeff Byer    38:42    Yeah. And , what was I gonna say regarding that? , Oh, ah, back to what you mentioned about, , Google saying the structure data doesn’t help with rankings. , so they’d say that because it’s not a direct ranking factor. What it is is you telling them what your content is and that content is ends up being your ranking factor. So they, they always say that this is not a ranking factor, but there’s things that are ancillary to what you’re doing that are, and so structured data is huge because all you’re doing is providing information to Google that they maybe previously didn’t have and that increases your rankings.  

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Geoff Atkinson    39:21    It’s a great way to put it. Yeah. And the, and the other piece, like one thing that we see happen, right, you know, very quickly is you start ranking for a lot new, a lot of new keywords and specifically mid detail terms that are sort of like the bread and butter of any great SEO campaign. , you start making positive and authoritative connections to these mid and tail terms that just weren’t there. You know, even if the keyword was in some sort of metadata or HTML, it’s not authoritative. A metadata is really suggested with structured data. It’s authoritative. So the connections that are made to new keywords that our average customer in 12 months, their nber of ranking keywords in the top hundred of Google on average grows 91%. So it, that’s really the, the first step is that you just get these as positive associations with a whole bunch of great keywords that just weren’t there before.  

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Jeff Byer    40:10    Yeah, it is a great, great way to, , to expose different content to different audiences and find those low funnel keywords that are directly related to your client and your sales. , so w, , just finishing up here, what are the tools you use on a day to day basis?  

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Geoff Atkinson    40:31    , me personally, it’s nothing. It’s super exciting. You know, we’re a Slack company. We rely on Slack all the time. You mean like SEO tools or are you talking about like <inaudible> yeah, yeah, yeah. , you know, I, one thing that I find that we find very valuable, so we do a lot of keyword research, which I think is so important and often so overlooked. Just the importance of keyword research, not only to for your SEO but to learn about your business and what people call things and search for things. , we do a lot of like navigation and optimization recommendations with our customers, , outside of the software and nothing beats , the vole nbers and the information within Google’s keyword planner cause it gets, comes straight from, you know, I know what they’re trying to get you into campaigns. But we do use, , we use a wraps a lot was fantastic tool.  

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Geoff Atkinson    41:20    We use Google keyword planner cause it sort of, I find it to be the best, you know, suggesting new keywords and actual voles and then kicking it over to a Moz or an AA reps and sort of get the keyword difficulty scores. , we leverage, , Google search council API. So we have a dashboard that’s in beta right now that’s pulling in a lot of statistics from Google search console from a reps and actually w as they have sort of minimized and gotten rid of the old Google search console. , and kinda don’t show as many crawl stats and crawl information. We actually are the loan company that can provide that information cause we’re actually monitoring the crawls and what, how, you know, SEO cloud is interacting with Google, which is pretty exciting. So, , starting the LeBron, you know, we never really did it any reporting, like a dashboard type of reporting and that’s a new product that’s, that’s part of our product now that people can log in and see really cool SEO statistics that are kinda going away. , so leveraging some, some cool API. As in SEMrush, API erupts, Google search console, those are, , and then cloud player. Of course, those are the sort of the hot hot tools, certain in products around Huckabee right now.  

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Jeff Byer    42:37    Nice. So, , Huck by.com is , where the, where the information is. How do people, , get in touch with you, follow you, ask you questions, bother you.  

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Geoff Atkinson    42:51    Yeah. , so one promise I’ve made for podcasts that I’ve been on is if you, if you go to our site and fill out a contact us form and put in it that you heard me on your podcast or whatever, I’ll actually make sure I talked to you personally, which is cool. So that’s probably the best way. If you want to have a conversation either about Huckabee or just learn more. , and then , you know, typical LinkedIn, Twitter, , pretty easy to find cause it’s Geoff with a G, G O, F, F and , Jeff of the day and then Jeff with a J. So, , that’s the one way you can remember it. And then, , yeah, I’m pretty, , I’m not super active on Twitter, but I do answer questions there quite a bit. And , and yeah, just your typical ways and you’re always welcome to email me and just Jeff at G O F F at <inaudible> dot com.  

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Jeff Byer    43:36    Great. Well thank you very much for your time and , and providing more information about your, your products and your services. Really, , really interested in, I really like what you’re doing, so  

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Geoff Atkinson    43:47    thanks Jeff. Likewise man. It’s cool to talk. Pretty rare for me to talk to someone that with your level attic, your Dollage about what we do is probably even a little bit higher than my own, which is a, doesn’t really happen that often, but you’re <inaudible> speak the same language that I love what you’re doing and a really cool podcast. Thank you so much for having me.  

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Jeff Byer    44:07    Of course. Thank you. We’ll talk to you too. Talk soon. Thanks for show notes and information. Go to digital rage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at <inaudible> digital rage at them, and please give us a rating and review is clearly appreciate it. 

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Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks with Scott Desmond Dahlgren about the past, present, and future of advertising as well as the transition from digital to traditional to omnichannel media sales.

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About Scott Desmond Dahlgren

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West Coast Digital Sales & Programmatic Lead
Xandr (Formerly DIRECTV)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottdahlgren/

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Transcript

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Jeff Byer   00:07    Welcome to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer. Today we have our first in studio guests. My cousins, Scott Desmond Dahlgren. He does media sales, at Xandr. Xandr is a division of AT&T and he, uh, explains the combination of data from each one of 18 <inaudible> sources so that they can not only target  

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Jeff Byer    00:33    they’re advertising audiences, but they can, uh, try and keep track of them as well. And, uh, he talks about the differences between online and offline targeting and reporting. So very fun conversation, especially for a this audience, which is strictly online digital marketing and how traditional TV and, uh, and the media that he sells is, it differs from what we do, uh, for PPC on a day to day basis. Uh, and we talk about my history with, with him creating digital and uh, and all the following him with all the companies that he’s worked with and done sales for. And he uses me as a creative resource, which I always very much appreciate. Um, so, uh, beyond that, uh, not much else is going on in the, uh, in the, in the Jeff buyer inc realm. Uh, lots of, lots of proposals out, lots of, uh, work going on.  

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Jeff Byer    01:37    Um, the, you know, PPC specifically it, we’re doing a bunch of rebuilding and I’m trying to clear off a lot of, uh, lower, lower level stuff off my plate. Get mostly outsourced and get, uh, the bigger projects started. Uh, we got a huge project build a, a relaunch of a, uh, a celebrity brand name that’s coming at the end of the year. So once it’s done, I will announce it on the podcast. You guys can check out my work. But for now, the site that’s up is somebody else’s work and it, uh, quite frankly is not very good. So, uh, we’re gonna have that fixed by the end of the year and we’re launching probably mid November and then a brand new, uh, celebrity and indoors product brand is also going to launch at that same time too. So we’re going to have two pretty large launches, uh, within the next month, month and a half. So, uh, be look beyond the lookout for that. And I will definitely, if you follow me on any social media, best way, best place to follow me is on Twitter. I am at global. Jeff and I will announce all of our product launches there and, uh, you can ask me any questions. Uh, go to byard.co for, uh, anything related to business and contact information as far as website design and SEO. So let’s talk with my first cousin Scott Desmond.  

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Jeff Byer     03:05    Doug. So today we have Scott doll Graham who goes by guy. He’s my cousin. She works for Zander and uh, he does a lot of advertising, but Dez, why don’t you tell us what you actually do? Scott Dahlgren   Hi, Jeff. Jeff, my first cousin. Uh, my name is Scott Desmond Dahlgren and I work for Zander, which is a part of that  

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Scott Dahlgren    03:31    at T and, T, which also owns direct TV and AppNexus and Warner media. So it’s a large media conglomerate. Uh, and I have 15 years of digital advertising experience where I worked at AOL, Disney interactive and a startup called GumGum. So I’ve been working in the digital advertising industry for quite some time now. Yes. And, uh, thank you for bringing me along and all these ventures. It’s fun doing work for you with all these companies. Yes, Jeff’s been, uh, very helpful, uh, with creative and other things that I’ve needed over the course of the last 10 or 15 years. So it works great. You, you’re the creative genius behind the ads that I sell.  

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Jeff Byer    04:12    I didn’t, you know, I don’t think of the creative teams, but I liked being, uh, being included. So, um, today I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the, uh, some of the, uh, the terms that you use on a daily basis and, and what you, what, um, acronyms that, cause I remember talking to you one night at a, at your place and you’ve used a bunch of acronyms and I’m like, do you just speak in complete acronyms at work?  

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Scott Dahlgren    04:41    Yeah, the digital video and just digital advertising ecosystem has really changed a lot in the last 15 years. Um, when I first started at AOL, um, about, like I said, 15 years ago, we were primarily selling digital, uh, banner inventory, you know, banners that are referred to by their sizes and pixels. So four 68 by sixty’s or seven 28 by nineties. Uh, and it was really the emphasis infancy of the digital advertising sort of revolution. Um, you know, and over the past 15 years it’s gotten a lot more complex. So now instead of just selling banner or display mentory, we’re selling things like native ads also, banner still exist. Um, but more rich media, uh, video in the form of pre-roll and mid-roll. Um, and that sort of refers to where the video actually takes place in the content, either before the content, during the content or after the content.  

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Scott Dahlgren    05:39    Um, and then of course we have things like, you know, linear television, uh, advertising, which are kind of the spots that you’ve seen, you know, for the last 30 years on television sets. Um, and now those are also getting more digital. So they’re turning into things like addressable advertising. So the really changed over the last 15 to 20 years and it, and it’s poised to change even more over the next 10 years. Um, so I can kind of talk a little bit about how it’s going to change and then, you know, share some of the acronyms as well. Um, but it’s probably better to lay a little bit of foundation in terms of how it’s all coming together and how people are using it.  

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Jeff Byer    06:17    Yeah. Cause this, this, uh, audience for digital rage is digital marketer marketers. So it’s people doing mostly online, uh, PPC or anything using digital properties. So, um, one thing that’s come up is how much, how much is programmatic and how much is, is, uh, manual placement. How much programmatic do you do?  

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Scott Dahlgren    06:41    Uh, well when I joined, uh, direct TV about five years ago, we did very little to no programmatics. So primarily we were selling at that point, addressable television, uh, against direct TV’s, addressable television audience. So to put it in context, direct TV is the largest pay TV service in the United States. Uh, at T and T is the second largest wireless service in the United States. And then <inaudible> and then, uh, the third largest broadband service in the United States with at and T broadband. So we have a lot of different platforms to sell off of. Um, and the programmatic part of that is really consists of the digital video area. So within digital video, indirect TV, you’re talking about things like TV everywhere, which is direct TVs, uh, kind of lap top based service that allows you to watch your direct TV, not on your conventional living room television, but maybe on your mobile device or your, uh, iPhone.  

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Scott Dahlgren    07:40    Um, so we sell programmatic inventory against that product and also against our other OTT products. Things like watch TV, which is yet another OTT service that we offer with at and T wireless subscriptions. And then yet a third service called DirecTV now, which is sort of a, uh, you know, basically a direct TV light. It’s for people who don’t want the satellite dish on their roof, don’t want the set top box, but still want access to the direct TV programming. Uh, people who maybe have a sling or a Hulu account, but are typically cord cutters and cord nevers, they would sign up for that service. So on all three of those services, watch TV, direct TV, now TV everywhere we sell pre-roll and mid-roll advertising. So these are 15 or 30 seconds video spots, um, that you can buy across the 75 networks that we insert those spots on ’em.  

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Scott Dahlgren    08:29    And you can buy that in either a direct IO fashion, which is kind of your old contract based transaction or programmatically, which is a more auction based environment. So we started selling in, this is sort of a long winded answer to your question, but it gets to kind of how it all kinda came into place in the first place. Uh, we sell against those, uh, those video properties in those two ways on a direct IO basis or a programmatic basis in each one of those ways. Different kind of benefits to them, um, depending on pricing and how you want your inventory to fill, um, you know, and targeting. But, uh, essentially those are the two modalities that we sell. Digital video again,  

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Jeff Byer    09:09    that’s true. And are the big brands doing any type of live testing or do their videos already go through focus groups? And what you get is final, final across all media.  

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Scott Dahlgren    09:20    Typically we’ll, you know, being one of the largest advertising companies in the world where we’re working with fortune 500 companies who generally have their creative figured out, they understand who they want to reach from a targeting perspective and they’re coming to us to, um, you know, see how we can reach that target. Um, and that’s where things get even more complex because we kind of differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with respect to our data. So we have, as the, you know, us as biggest TV service, the second largest wireless, third largest broadband, we have basically a 170 million people across the United States who have a billing subscriber relationship with us. So that gives us tremendous first party deterministic targeting capabilities. And when we say first-party and deterministic, we basically mean we know these people, they give us their billing information, we know their address, we know how many people are in their household.  

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Scott Dahlgren    10:19    Some basic credit credit information. Um, and so we basically use those 170 million targeting relationships to create ID graphs. So things around geolocation data from U a T and T wireless device. Where are you aware, have you been, uh, viewership data? What are you watching on direct TV? Uh, and then we can also target by mobile search and browsing history. So what have you looked up on your at and T wireless devices? So if you imagine combining all three of those different targeting variables, you can get really specific. You know, if you’re looking for, if you’re Alexis and you’re looking to target somebody who’s in market for a new car, one target could be people who’ve looked up luxury cars on their cell phone for the last three months. That’s simple enough for us to do a, but then a whole nother target could be, well, we want to target people who’ve looked up luxury cars at least three times in the last 30 days and also have been to a dealer lot. Well, that could be a whole different targeting segment for somebody who’s much further down the purchasing funnel. Um, so we can create a lot of really specific and powerful targeted targeting segments based on our subscriber relationships in first party.  

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Jeff Byer    11:25    Are you using, so this is a thing that Google started implementing. Are you using geotargeting based on cell phone location too to verify business visits?  

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Scott Dahlgren    11:37    There are a lot of different ways that we can use geolocation. Uh, we used to outsource it to companies like placed or place IQ, um, who basically use apps on phones to make a determination on where people are or have been. Uh, now we don’t have to, since we’re a third of the wireless population, we basically have geolocation data across a third of the wireless population, which is huge. It’s over a hundred million us citizens. So, uh, we’ll use that in a lot of cases. Um, you know, but there are other ways we can establish a person’s location, whether it’s, you know, if we want to target them at home, we obviously know their billing address. Uh, so it kind of depends on the client and the campaign and what they’re looking not only to target, but then how they’re looking on the back end. Uh, you know, what KPIs are they looking to read?  

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Jeff Byer    12:23    Yeah. Cause a retargeting is, is you know, the flagship portion of any paid ad on online and digital for, for digital marketers. So, so, um, retargeting is how aggressive is it compared to, you know, online retargeting and in your industry, I think it’s a little bit <inaudible> different.  

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Scott Dahlgren    12:43    So, um, you know, when we’re selling our inventory, we’re not doing it as much online. Our, our, our biggest source of advertising is really addressable. Uh, and that’s running across DirecTV has about 23 million subscriber households, of which about 16 to 17 million are addressable households. To be addressable, you have to have a set top box that allows for addressable advertising. So basically an HD DVR set top box. So that’s why it’s not the full 23 million. Um, but when we’re running addressable ads, frequency management is much more important than retargeting. So we can actually say within a three to four week flight that you want to reach a user, you know, four times a week or three times a week, uh, in a typical frequency over a four week flight. Might be 16 exposures. Uh, what I think we use more than retargeting in the addressable television world is attribution.  

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Scott Dahlgren    13:36    So when we’re doing an addressable campaign, and we’ll, we’ll just keep with the auto examples. Uh, if we’re targeting people who are in market for a luxury car, uh, we might say, okay, we have found 3 million of our 16 million addressable households that their leases expiring in the next 60 days. And they are in market for a luxury car because we know they’ve had a luxury car in the past. Um, so if we find 3 million of those households, what we’ll do is we’ll hold out 10% of that group. So we’ll serve an ad to, you know, the 2 million and change, uh, and then hold out the, the 10%. So, you know, 200,000 in this case or 300,000. I said 3 million, um, and not serve them an ad. And then we can look basically throughout the course of the flight and then maybe 30 to 60 days after the flight, depending on how long we do, sort of a post attribution window on car purchases.  

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Scott Dahlgren    14:27    So, you know, did the people who were exposed to the ad purchase a car more than the same target group that was not exposed to the ad? And then we can actually show a lift in car purchases. Um, that’s a very simple explanation. That’s kind of what we did four years ago. We’ve gotten a little bit more sophisticated with our attribution in the year sense. Um, so now for example, we might say, look, it’s job to get them onto the car dealer lot, but it’s sort of your job to sell them the car. So now for an attribution on an addressable campaign, we might look at something like, did they visit the dealer live, you know, using that same control and exposed methodology. So a little less about retargeting since we’re not in an online forum where people kind of come back in that way, but more about attribution.  

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Jeff Byer    15:12    Okay. And, and you, in that answer, you also explained how, how you, uh, how, how you determine something like a conversion metric. Uh, and I, you know, trying to use the mass as to, uh, determine a purchase, the, the purchasing and the, the return on investment.  

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Scott Dahlgren    15:33    Absolutely. And it doesn’t even have to necessarily be a purchase. It could be a website visitation, it could be a dealer visit like we said, or an actual car purchase. It really just depends on what the client wants to measure. Uh, and more often we’re doing things like brand studies too. So a company will say, well, we want to see how the exposed group views our brand as a whole. You know, do they have unaided awareness? Do they have aided awareness? What’s their affinity with the brand? Uh, their likelihood to recommend it to a friend. We can also measure all that stuff against that same control and exposed a user base on addressable. So again, it’s a little bit different than what your audience is probably used to hearing in terms of just the kind of searched based and social base, digital marketing. But, um, but they do have very similar characteristics in that you can do full funnel attribution analysis. You can do brand health studies and things like that.  

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Jeff Byer    16:24    All right. So, uh, should we get into some, some acronyms? Sure. Yeah. All right. There’s a lot of them. All right. So, uh, what, what do you got on the top of your list?  

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Scott Dahlgren    16:35    So, uh, I mean, programmatic is, has really taken off in the last couple of years now that we have more and more digital video supply sources since we launched these new products like direct TV now and watch TV. Uh, again, we’re selling that digital video inventory more frequently and we’re doing it programmatically. So a lot of times when we’re selling a programmatic campaign, we will set up a PNP, which is a private marketplace auction. This basically allows our clients to bid on this inventory in a private kind of reserved auction. Um, they could use a DSP that we have, uh, or they could use their own DSP. And that’s, uh, the demand side platform. So those are companies like trade desk or a mobi or oath or DV three 60, which is Google’s product, which is a big out here on the West coast or they could use app nexus.  

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Scott Dahlgren    17:27    Our DSP is actually called invest, uh, which we just launched recently as well. Uh, the demand side platform is basically a user interface that allows people to auction that inventory in a private marketplace, not to be confused with an SSP, which is a supply side platform. Uh, and that is a platform that sort of sits in between the DSP and the auction where the supply sources sit. So, uh, there’s a lot of kind of acronyms just in the programmatic world, um, but also many in the addressable world as well. Um, CSX cross stream, cross screen addressable, that’s the ability for us to, you know, target all of those people who are watching direct TV on their living room. But we can also then send ads to all the mobile devices in their same household. Uh, regardless of carrier. If it’s a T and T, great, but if it’s another third party carrier, that’s fine too.  

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Scott Dahlgren    18:17    Uh, so cross screen CSX is, has gotten, um, quite popular in the last couple of years as well. I’m trying to think of any other ag acronyms off the top of my head. Looking at a cheat sheet here. Oh, data-driven linear DDL. That’s another popular one. So is linear television, you know, uh, gets more popular. We have products like data-driven, linear DDL. Uh, so in the past a company might want to buy mail networks, so they would just look at, okay, what are the networks that have the most males? Well, it might be the golf channel or ESPN or uh, you know, the wall street journal, news channel, whatever, or the Playboy channel or the Playboy channel. Lots of men there. Exactly. Uh, and now we, with data-driven linear, we can do that on a more scientific basis by actually looking at the users who are watching it and sampling and actual audience size and saying, we know you’re reaching at least 70% of, you know, men or women or whatever. Um, so a lot of acronyms and advertising and probably more so even at Zandra specifically just because we have so many advertising products. I think our general presentation is something like 85 slides and we sell about 22 products now. Uh, you know, not including the app nexus and the DSPs and the SSPs and, and all that good stuff.  

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Jeff Byer    19:39    DSPs assessed PS. I’ll just, that’s way too much  

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Scott Dahlgren    19:44    ID graphs, uh, you name it and Eve and then, uh, you know, data. That’s a whole nother set of acronyms. Uh, you know, we work with probably 75 different data companies, Axiom, Epsilon, Experian, uh, Polk, new star companies that a lot of people haven’t heard of, um, that are being acquired more and more by advertising agencies because they want to own a data company so that they can have their own sort of niche in terms of what they can offer to their clients. So, uh, the advertising world just in general, is filled with acronyms from the data companies to the platforms, to the products. Um, there’s, there’s lots of acronyms to go around.  

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Jeff Byer    20:27    All right. Well, I mean it definitely, I like how, uh, how different that, that each of these, these models is from, from, uh, online digital to, uh, what you sell, which is, you know, pretty much everything under the sun, including online, digital. So, um, for the, for the big brands, what, what trends are you seeing in, and like you mentioned at the top of show, where do you see all of this going?  

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Scott Dahlgren    20:53    Yeah, I mean, I think, um, you know, the trend that we’re seeing now over the last couple of years is, is basically a shift from, um, the formerly siloed way of doing business at an advertising agency or advertising client to a more integrated approach. So you used to have, for example, a digital team at an agency and maybe an advanced television buying team and then over there a programmatic team, and then you’d have a social, uh, and search team over there. Uh, what they’re finding is that they’re needing to work together, uh, more collaboratively. They’re all fighting for budget, of course, for each of their different teams, but often not looking at the overall bigger advertising pictures. So what the trend now is, is really more about measuring the unique reach across these different platforms and devices and trying to figure out what the most effective mix of that media is.  

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Scott Dahlgren    21:47    Um, so it may be that you know, you’re reaching the majority of your people effectively just by buying addressable television and you don’t need to run as much search or social or your audience may be more millennial focused. And so you need to run more search and social social to, to reach them because they’re watching less TV. So we’re seeing a lot of different companies kind of pop up that will measure where people are truly consuming media and what the best mix should be to reach them. Um, but we’re also seeing clients get more sophisticated and bringing a lot of this stuff in house as well. Uh, relying a little bit less on agencies because agencies basically have their own products that they want to sell that may not be in the best interest of the client. Um, you know, IPG bought Axiom, publicists bought Epsilon, Dentsu bought Merkel, WPP bought Vaxis.  

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Scott Dahlgren    22:41    Well, all of those agencies will want to use the companies that they paid billions of dollars for. And the clients are well aware of that. So they’re a little bit skeptical sometimes. So we’re seeing a little bit more push back from the client in terms of how best to use data and what media mix to to reach. But really things are just evolving so quickly, uh, in this space. I think there’s really just been a data kind of revolution in the last five years. Uh, that’s both good and bad, but it’s just changed a lot of the marketplace. And then of course, you know, as you know better than anyone that the way people consume content is changing. So trying to chase consumers across these different devices, um, is complex as well.  

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Jeff Byer    23:21    Yeah. And one thing I noticed a, especially through the, uh, the GumGum relationship is that, uh, when I first started with you and at gum gum, it was mostly entertainment, uh, work that I was getting. And slowly I niched down into automotive. And from what I can tell is that automotive, just, they advertise anywhere and no, and just spray it out there to see what works. And they’re still doing that. And I think that’s one of the only industries that I see that still does that. Are you seeing that as well?  

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Scott Dahlgren    23:57    Um, yeah, on products like GumGum, I think they are a little more receptive to opening up the targeting because they’re not spending as much budget there. Uh, when they’re, you know, putting a $6 million television investment down, they’re getting really targeted, you know, they’re looking for people not only who’s lease expires in the next 90 day, but you know, people who’ve purchased Alexis two times in the past, for example, that could actually be a target. We want somebody who’s purchased Alexis at least two times in the past and whose lease is expiring. So, you know, on one platform you may have a much wider reach campaign, uh, because the cost and benefit is there. But then on another platform you may have a much more targeted approach. So it really kinda just depends on where they’re running. But, um, yeah, we do see different kind of targeting strategies based on the platforms that they’re running. No doubt.  

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Jeff Byer    24:52    Yeah, they’re definitely doing, uh, location targeting and, and so, um, you know, their, their dealer specific and then region specific and then national and national usually matches what their national television creative is. It’s just kind of a mirror of what they’re doing there.  

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Scott Dahlgren    25:08    Yeah. The dealer autos associations will have their own kind of tier two auto budgets and so they will run a lot more regional and local campaigns that are maybe a little less widely targeted because they are geographically regional. So they don’t need to be as targeted for, for other things. Yeah. Yeah. And then the other thing I guess I would say is just in general, in terms of targeting, it’s a, it’s a little bit like back in, I don’t know when it was probably when we were kids. W w do we have like four major broadcast channels when we were kids? Or is that,  

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Jeff Byer    25:41    I just go by channels. So we had a two, four, five, seven, 11 and 30.  

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Scott Dahlgren    25:47    Yeah. So basically you’re talking about CBS, NBC, Fox. Um, and ABC, right? The regional Katy LA and yeah, but again, it was, you know, maybe you had, I don’t know, 12 different channels. And now today on my DirecTV service, I have something like 230 channels. So you know, each of whom are also trying to sell ads on their platform. Uh, so I guess the point I was going to make is it’s what we’re seeing right now is something akin to that only in terms it’s not in terms of actual channels, it’s in terms of devices. So, you know, back in the day you might have had direct TV, Comcast charter, um, and you know, maybe I’ll tease or whatever. The four big, you know, or five big cable and satellite operators were, uh, now you’ve got Hulu, you’ve got sling, you’ve Disney plus, you’ve got a T and T, T V, now you’ve got Apple TV coming out, um, plus up 50 others that I can’t even think of off the top of my head. So now there’s almost as many distribution platforms as there were cable networks, you know, kind of, uh, when we were in our teenagers. So as that number keeps growing, it’s just getting more and more fragmented. Uh, so it’s a really interesting  

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Jeff Byer    27:06    time right now. So let’s say, uh, watching on a, on a disconnected device, say that, uh, I hooked my TV TV up to a, uh, a digital antenna and I’m watching NBC, uh, D does that just fall into a black hole of tracking?  

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Scott Dahlgren    27:22    Yeah. Well, not necessarily. Um, basically, so, you know, we sell basic advertising across all of the network. So the way it works for direct TV is we basically get two minutes of advertising per hour of content to sell. And that’s where we sell either, you know, our linear addressable advertising. Typically there’s six, 13 minutes of advertising to sell per hour of video content. So NBC, ABC, Fox, CVS are all selling that themselves. We actually don’t insert on the four major locals, uh, or the four major broadcast, rather not locals, but broadcast. Uh, and that’s pretty typical for most paid TV providers. So if you’re running off a digital antenna, again, long answer to your question, but if you’re running off a digital antenna, uh, chances are, uh, NBC has selling that directly. If you’re watching on general four, uh, and what type of targeting they can do based on that is probably more limited than what we can do. Um, if we were to sell on that, which we don’t because it’s one of the four major broadcasts, but, uh, because we just have a lot more information than they do if it’s running off in it.  

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Jeff Byer    28:27    Gotcha. So the most information they can get on a digital antenna is probably the antenna that’s producing the feed and go get a general area  

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Scott Dahlgren    28:37    <inaudible> information. Uh, you know, and then you could assume just basic demographics based on who watches, you know, a local broadcast channel. But it would, it would be definitely less specific than if, uh, if we were selling it, um, or, or anybody else on a, on a pay TV service just because there’s that extra chain of custody in terms of who’s who signed up for the service, where they live, billing information, all that kind of stuff.  

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Jeff Byer    29:01    Okay. So now I have one last question as far as targeting, uh, people are tracking, uh, tracking, reporting, things like that. What, how, how well do you think you are able to tell group viewing, you know, things like bars and restaurants and places like that, or big sporting events like the super bowl where you may not get, you’ll have way more eyeballs than you do? Uh, devices.  

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Scott Dahlgren    29:30    Yeah. Um, I, we basically kind of follow the general statistics that the, you know, the Nielsen’s of the world’s put out. Uh, there’s a lot of Forester research and things like that. I, you know, I think it down to something like an average of 2.5 people watching any show at a given time on a television platform, a little bit less. So with CTV, maybe it’s like two people watching at a time. And then of course on a mobile and desktop, it’s, it’s a one to one relationship. You usually don’t gather around that type of screen. Um, so, you know, we, when we’re selling advertising, it’s on an impression basis and it’s really only for that one person that we’re targeting. But we do know that there’s a lot of ancillary benefit to the people who are also in the room watching television in bars. That’s even more exacerbated because you potentially have hundreds of people in a bar.  

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Scott Dahlgren    30:18    Um, and we’re very fortunate as DirecTV because we’re in 90% of the bars in the United States because we’re NFL Sunday ticket. So, uh, we have a lot of reach there as well. Um, but yeah, there’s that, that question comes up quite a bit and, um, there’s definitely a lot of co viewing going on. Uh, the other thing that’s going on that we get even asked even more isn’t so much how many people are gathered around the television set, but how many people are watching TV while also looking at a tablet or phone? Um, and then that’s where cross screen advertising comes into play. Again, that ability to send that addressable message on day one and then maybe on day two of the campaign, follow that message up with an ad on their mobile device. Um, so that, that comes up quite a bit as well. And then of course, we track all of it as well.  

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Jeff Byer    31:02    Okay. Well there you have it. Um, all right. Uh, follow up. What do you, uh, do you have anything from out where people follow you? Uh, what’s your address? Um, how do you, how do you get into your car? What do you, if you, uh, looking for any addressable advertising solutions? It’s Scott dot dahlgren@zanderxandr.com. Yeah. And I watched that video, uh, that I helped you cut down. Uh, the video. Zander w is a basically a, uh, modified abbreviation of, uh, Alexander Graham bell. Oh, that’s right. Yeah.  

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Scott Dahlgren    31:40    Yes. We’re going back to our roots. So Alexander Graham bell invented the telephone, uh, and we thought it would be cool to go back to our roots and named the company’s Zander. Uh, I think we also looked at a bunch of other names. The, I think ampersand was up there because of the, and, and at. T and T a there were, they tested quite a few, but Zander is where we landed. We’re going back,  

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Jeff Byer    32:03    do our roots. We’re cool. And we’re now hip. We’re not just a, uh, you know, copper line based telephone company anymore. Now we’re at real digital cool company like Google. Yes. And you’ve got a very cool branding and merge. That’s a big thing in your area. Industry merge. Lots of jackets and lots of swag. Yeah. Yeah.  

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Speaker 1    32:25    Alright, my man. Thanks for coming to the office. Thanks for talking to us and uh, yeah, it’s been a digital rage. Thanks Jeff for show notes and information. Go to the digital rage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at bam. And please give us a rating review is really appreciate it. 

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Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks about this week in digital marketing and recaps the findings from his projects after the Google Core Algorithm update.

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About Jeff Byer

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Jeff Byer has been designing identities and building websites since 1995. He is the CEO and co-founder of Print Fellas LLC, and CEO at Jeff Byer Inc, a web design company in Redondo Beach, California specializing in Web Design and SEO.
Twitter @globaljeff
Bio https://www.byer.co/about-jeff-byer

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Show Links and Mentions

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Starting to see some clients have nice jumps in traffic with this core update.

This one is a medical site. pic.twitter.com/uCGrKc653I

— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) September 27, 2019
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Transcript

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Jeff Byer:\t00:07\tWelcome to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff buyer and today I am exhausted probably as most people are. The big thing that happened this week is the core algorithm update and a lot of controversy, not controversy, that’s not an appropriate word to use. A lot of speculation about what it is and what it’s about. And mostly it’s been about medical sites and and mostly a

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Jeff Byer:\t00:38\tAlready and trust on anything related to medical issues. So the site that I’ve been mentioning in the past few episodes regarding SEO and EA T actually a was fine. There was a very little volatility it stayed even and even gained a couple of, a couple of spots on, on words that were related specifically to medical. So that was good news in the bad news department. I got a local business site that got a little bit hammered. And so I figured out that in one of my breadcrumb links, as I was updating the breadcrumb schema, I got one of the links wrong and got errored on that. So just fixed it today. I will report back next week and see if we get those spots back. But but overall they’re still way ahead of any of their competitors.

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Jeff Byer:\t01:34\tSo what, how it affected their business is probably minimal. It was just search and usually that’s a, you know, and, and is specific to a very highly competitive keywords that they really didn’t get a lot of conversions on any way since they’re small, local. So, so that’s it on the core algorithm update, I’m sure there’s more to follow. Marie Haines posted stats from one of her customers that seen good gains. So who knows if that was the algorithm update or just Marie Haynes doing a very thorough job on cleaning things up. I did submit a few disavow files this week just to clean up past mistakes from either me or who I inherited the websites from and disavow some toxic links that were obviously toxic. So we’re going through those and still seeing him pop up. But we’re using SEMrush to identify those backlinks and get them all straightened out.

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Jeff Byer:\t02:42\tSo my friend Matt, he texted me last week talking about what do you do when you’re in the middle of a project and you start getting more and more features added on from your customers. And what I like to call this feature creep, it’s kind of an industry term and feature creep is, is you know, the, there’s many drawbacks to it and one is that you keep pushing the launch date further and further out. The second is it costs more money to develop and you keep changing things around. And so I experienced this on a small scale with one of my new projects that we started out, we’ve, we threw out the statement of work and we bid the project and we got all the way through the design and got, you know, got an approval that included a bunch of changes.

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Jeff Byer:\t03:44\tSo it wasn’t really an approval. And the, one of the biggest changes was they’ve got a whole new line of products that wasn’t included. So we had to backtrack in our designs, go back through all the navigation and all of the content structure, restructure it, redesign it, relay it out and get it going. And this also had to come without any they, they expected the changes to come without any change of the deadline. So that’s the stress that I’ve been dealing with. I think we’re gonna still end up pulling it off. I did, I had to end up taking a lot of the work on myself because the designer on the project was kind of a, not too happy about having to go back and redo everything and basically just did kind of a half ass job. I’d hate to say it. So I had to spend most of my day, most of my week actually refining and rebuilding.

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Jeff Byer:\t04:51\tAnd what I ended up doing in the end is that it, you know, this could have stayed in design for another whole week, which we didn’t have. So what I did is kept it clean and simple on the new pages. Cause one with the new products we don’t have any information on yet. So we mock them up with, with you know, placeholder images and placeholder text and to the products that we do have that are their flagship products already have a, a look and a feel and an aesthetic. So the new products are going to look very tame compared to the flagship products. But that’s also kind of kind of okay, since we still want to push people to the main products and the other products will gain in popularity as, as we see fit and we can add on once the website is done.

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Jeff Byer:\t05:38\tSo this website deadline is real and the popularity of the products or the hype on the products can come later at it’s, can come later. We do have a retainer to stay on and do a maintenance SCO, SCM. So during all that process we will be doing improvements. Another topic that came up with one of my clients is they hire writers that are specialists in their field. And so they sent me a writer and said, what do you think about this writer and what, how will they work as far as SEO? And now that we have to take in, you know, the reputation of the author, especially in health related industries. I went and looked and they’re well published throughout the internet, but the, the places that they are published are not authorities in the industry. So the sites that they’re plump published on have less authority than, than most other sites.

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Jeff Byer:\t06:47\tThe other thing is they don’t have any credentials or any authorship that would lead them to be experts in the fields that they’re talking about. So I had to unfortunately send the feedback to, to the client saying they, I know that they can write and the product and the, the, their writing is great. The problem is it’s going to do nothing for SEO if they make any type of medical claims because they don’t have any verifiable authority to speak on these aspects of the industry. So client understood they respected it and they’re going to keep looking for writers. So that was, that was on that project. Let’s see what else we got going on. Oh, so project changes the way that I address it this on this project, I, I knew that I could do, I could pull it off without having to do anything drastic.

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Jeff Byer:\t07:49\tSo I just made the changes and moved on. And e-commerce, it’s funny about e-commerce is it is very forgiving that way when you’re just adding products and not changing brand and not changing real structure. An E commerce site already comes with a pretty set structure. You’ve got categories and you’ve got products. So it’s, it was, I knew it was going to be easy just to add those in and, and move on. But if you’re in a project and features keep getting added on, that’s when it needs to be addressed. So most of my clients, our agency clients so the agency is the one that’s actually bringing the changes and there’s an in between so I can speak more frankly and just mention if it’s something structural that’s going to change either the site map or the navigation or require a unique individual pages, then it will require a change order.

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Jeff Byer:\t08:46\tAnd that’s the standing rule that I have with my agency clients that that is, is pretty much understood. So when a feature creep situation comes up and a client is asking, so now I’ll switch from agency, from working for agencies to working one on one. When a client comes to me, direct client comes to me with several changes. I say, great, those are great ideas. Sounds good. Let me get you a quote for those. And we can go from there. And sometimes they expect it and sometimes they say, wait a second, why, why couldn’t we just make these changes? And then I get into the technical aspects of what it’s going to take to change. So right now with another client, a direct client, we are, we were down the path of a complete redesign design approved and static homepage built. And now we have a decision makers coming in and asking questions and making, they’re not really making demands, they’re making suggestions.

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Jeff Byer:\t09:57\tAnd so when you’re this far down the line on a project and those suggestions require going back to design, that’s when a change order is required. So we’re still in talks on that and we’re still negotiating as far as what can be done and what can’t. Budgets are definitely a concern. Timeline is also definitely a concern. And the, the decision makers are wanting me to go back and verify all of my data. So we’re kind of taking where we’re paused, where we are now, which is actual, you know, HTML before we go into as full site build. So basically I’ve got a prototype of what the homepage navigation, everything is going to look like, pausing that, going back to square one into pre production, running all of our preproduction data again so that we make sure that it’s current and we’re not basing it on when we did pre projection previously, we’re going through all of our, our keyword data, all of our current syrup data and re re presenting it saying this is how we came to this conclusion.

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Jeff Byer:\t11:10\tAnd if at that point anything changes within the company or within the, the thinking or within the data or anything like that. And those changes require us to go back to design, then we’re going back to design with a change order in mind and the, you know, we’re not going to, you know, completely start over in that whole portion of the site gets paid for. Again, there’s definitely things that we’re going to use going forward, but I think that having to redo all of the pre production and everything is probably going to be a 50% upcharge on the original design phase charge. So that on top of having to lie night item line, item out, everything that goes into the new build is also something that they’re expecting as well. So all good, all stuff I’m ready for, there’s nothing to hide. There’s no, you know, I’m very upfront with all of my clients and you know, they come to me with questions and sometimes they come to me with, with challenges and, and I try and do as much as I can for my clients without having to ruffle feathers or you know, or mess with anything, mess with budgets, anything like that.

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Jeff Byer:\t12:30\tBut sometimes just for self preservation, I need to step in and mentioned that things need to need to get need to get done as far as they require them to get done, then there’s going to have to be additional resources to do it. So that’s been my past two weeks. I had my neighbor tell me yesterday, he’s like, wow, you look tired. I was like, yes. Having dealing with rankings and, and clients making changes and, and all of that stuff that goes into being a solo preneur it’s been tough. So I’m very exhausted. Obviously I didn’t have time to track down a guest, but I did schedule two guests for next week. We’re going to have one who does television sales, which, you know, television and digital. So in sales w w I just find it funny whenever I talk to him, he comes up with all of these acronyms and, you know, being in SEO, which, you know, most people don’t know what SEO is.

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Jeff Byer:\t13:39\tSo having S SEO as an acronym for my particular industry and you know, all sorts of other acronyms that we commonly just use. And as second language, I’ll think about, same thing with sales and ad ad buying and, and things like that. So he’s gonna come in and go through a bunch of those acronyms because I think they’re hilarious. We also have a a digital marketer coming on that’s going to talk about web development, SEO, SEO, you know, the full package, full, full digital marketing spectrum. And he and I, I’ve, I read through some of his content and his white papers and he and I agree on a lot and specifically what we agree on is, is what Google likes as far as a high quality website likes as far as technology, as far as speed, content organization technologies mobility, you know, compatibility with several devices, responsiveness, things like that.

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Jeff Byer:\t14:54\tSo he has from what I understand, he has a proprietary platform that he builds that is that renders static websites. And so that’s what I always tried to do is render static websites out to the, the customers so that they’re fast and they don’t rely on any server side calculations before loading. And so a lot of my new sites have almost, you know, between 97 a hundred percent performance on lighthouse reports. So, so that’s all good. So next week everything will get back to back to normal as far as the office is concerned. I, I’ve, so I got the floors done, I got the walls knocked down and I’m, you know, kind of struggling with, we’re, we’re going to be setting up video and you’re going to be doing video from, from here on out with, with you know, interviews and intros and things like that.

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Jeff Byer:\t15:50\tAnd so I’m trying to figure out what my background is going to look like. It’s going to be kind of a personality wall is what they refer to it as. So I first thing I needed to do is address all of the I needed to address all of my windows in the front, my whole front. It’s a retail space. And so the whole front is glass. So I had a interior designer come and she brought in some some window covering experts to come in and, and take a look at the windows and give me quotes on estimates. And so my goal was have, have just sheers up during the day so that, you know, I can get the sunlight, but I don’t see specific people, specific people don’t see me. It’s just kind of, you know a blur which I’m doing no matter what.

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Jeff Byer:\t16:45\tAnd then I wanted to add blackouts to all the windows so that when I need to shoot indoors, I can predict the lighting predict the temperature and everything. That part is where I think it got really expensive cause I have 14 foot ceilings in here and I love having the high ceilings and it definitely helps as far as photography and rigging and things like that. But what I wasn’t expecting is that this whole system to have the sheers, the sheer manual sheers, and then electric motors on the blackouts that could just roll down. I have a feeling to two things. It’s super expensive and I don’t know that this system that they came up with is even gonna look that great. So what I have in, in my studio now is I have these, these Muslim backdrops and there are about 80 bucks a piece and they’re 10 feet by 20 feet and they, they look nice, come in a bunch of different colors.

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Jeff Byer:\t17:51\tThey’re naturally blackout material and they can, they can span from the, from the the ceiling to the floor and for not that much money. So I’m looking at it, I’m looking at the cost effectiveness of if I was just to hang a couple of Muslims out up on my wall and have them draped down and then I could just undo the, the drapery bands and black it out enough that I wouldn’t have to go through all of this. The only thing that I would need to worry about is the sheer situation, which the studio across from me, they just put up this translucent film and they, they etched out the, their name into the, the translucent film, which I thought was really cool and I was like, that will do everything that I need. So I’m probably not going to go through this huge issue of having to do, you know, motorized curtains and build boxes and custom fit sheers within the frames and all that stuff. It’s, it’s overkill. So I’m going to go back to the drawing board. I’m gonna price out Muslims and mounting hardware up onto the walls and go from there. So that’s the story on the office. I am exhausted. So I apologize. Short episode, no gassed, but next week going to have two good, good interviews, going to release them. You know, every Monday this is going to come out on Monday the 30th. So have a great week and

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Jeff Byer:\t19:28\tGood luck with all of your clients and the projects. I look for, show notes and information. Go to digital rage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at bam. And please give us a rating review is the seriously appreciate it.

","id":"53DzpH4Y9eVAgEH2vLJlBK","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"31 | Jeff Byer – Weekly Recap, Google Core Algorithm Update, Feature Creep","release_date":"2019-09-30","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:53DzpH4Y9eVAgEH2vLJlBK"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/d9c0c4b8a91e620a48eafac2835c743cc3314a68","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks about the news and updates for this week in SEO and Digital Marketing.","duration_ms":1139200,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/3h5fk9ghnzoBEukC2V7Asr"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/3h5fk9ghnzoBEukC2V7Asr","html_description":"

Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks about the news and updates for this week in SEO and Digital Marketing.

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About Jeff Byer

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Jeff Byer has been designing identities and building websites since 1995. He is the CEO and co-founder of Print Fellas LLC, and CEO at Jeff Byer Inc, a web design company in Redondo Beach, California specializing in Web Design and SEO.
Twitter @globaljeff
Bio https://www.byer.co/about-jeff-byer

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Show Links and Mentions

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Google Chrome on Android Will Provide Answers to Queries Right in the Address Bar via @MattGSouthern
Organic search responsible for 53% of all site traffic, paid 15% [Study]
Barry Schwartz @rustybrick
Matt Southern @mattgsouthern

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Transcript

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Jeff Byer:\t00:08\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things Internet and the people who make it great. My name is Jeff Byer and Today is episode 30. I can’t believe its been 30th. Already met some great people, had some great conversations and we’ll have more in the future. Just, it has been hectic lately, not only for me, but the digital marketing community in general.

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Jeff Byer:\t00:33\tThose were the things we’re gonna discuss quickly today, but could not get a guest lined up but also didn’t have the time to really hound anybody down because of everything that’s been going on with the with the algorithm updates and the search console report updates and you know, having an ads campaign that completely spun itself completely out of Control and having to reel that back in all sorts of fun stuff. So I apologize, but we will get somebody more interesting than myself on the show next week. So as I stated, we’ve have a couple of, you know, we’ve had algorithm updates going on and there’s no real, there’s no real consensus on what is causing it and any type of issues that are surrounding it. It’s just that the algorithm update and may be directly related to the s structured data and search console reports.

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Jeff Byer:\t01:45\tSo let’s get straight into that because that was what woke me up this morning was all of my search console alerts about my breadcrumbs. So the way that I do my breadcrumb Schema is just on pages that need breadcrumbs. So the home page obviously isn’t going to have one. And when I have categories and deeper categories that I link to the, the homepage, then the next breadcrumb link is the category and then the next breadcrumb link is the landing page. And I always thought it was weird to link the page to itself in the, in the breadcrumb. So I never put the link in, I just put a span around the name of it so that I could have the item prop name in the structured data. Turns out that with this new update, Google wants the page linking to itself because it uses that link as an ID.

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Jeff Byer:\t02:43\tSo a, I’m going to have to go and fix my, my breadcrumb structure in all of my templates. And it’s kind of pushing me towards this unified SEO template that I’ve been thinking about for a while. But having a, a standard custom modular way to make updates like a schema and, and structure, it has nothing to do with layout or design or content. It is basically just an overall structure for pages, especially with categories and, and you know, any type of Schema or, or metadata that I can automate and be able to syndicate a template so that changes like this can be immediate across every one of my clients. But for now we’re going through one by one and changing them. So the first thing that I didn’t even think of adding when I first built the breadcrumb screen is position.

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Jeff Byer:\t03:51\tSo the, they want to know it’s not, you know, since they can show up in any position or not show up at all visually Google would like to know what position each link is in your breadcrumb. So I get that easy enough, you know, one, two, three homepage is one, category two and landing page three. Then I got penalized for missing field item. And so I was, I had an item prop, so it’s item list and then item for the breadcrumbs. That’s the Schema that it uses. And I had the item, I had assumed that the item would have been in the w by defining the Schema, but apparently I was wrong. And you have to actually define the item Schema in it and and the item is what I’m referring to as it uses the link as the item Id. So very interesting to, to get those corrections and I’m glad that I’m getting them corrected because, you know, this has been several years that my breadcrumb Schema has been just fine.

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Jeff Byer:\t05:06\tSo that is my rundown of the breadcrumb Schema. And since I was just getting it rolled out yesterday, according to Barry Schwartz and it’s still continuing to roll out, but I got this, I got two console alerts on two of my sites and that, and then they started to roll in and there keep rolling in. So this is going to be something that is going to consume a lot of my time for this weekend and next week, but I want to get it fixed because anything that shows up in in search console as an error is what we considered a high priority and we fix it as soon as possible. So related to that is the reviews rich results. So this has been kind of kind of controversial because it basically, John Mueller basically said that if you have res, if you have re star reviews and ratings on your site for your site or your products that are on your site, Google’s not going to count them because they’re self-serving.

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Jeff Byer:\t06:15\tSo it sounds confusing and everybody is trivial. You know, it’s always been worrisome that, you know, for one of my pages I just put this, the, the rating scheme Schema as static in there just to just to be in there. And sure enough, I got whatever rate star rating that I wanted out of that Schema because you know, I put it in there and it’s simple. But now Google is saying, all right, if we’re actually gonna put this in our search results, we have to verify this and verify it through a, a trusted third party, not just anybody. So that even if you get them from a trusted third party and you embed them onto your site, it’s still no good. And they’re not going to use them in that way. They’ll use them directly from the third party. But if you can manipulate it in any way possible by just displaying them on your site, that’s what Google is trying to avoid.

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Jeff Byer:\t07:09\tSo trusted third parties, which I’m figuring Google reviews are probably going to be one of the, the priority partners for reviews. And then there’s the yelps and the bbbs and you know, going on from there. But now it’s more important than ever to push your audience to review your site on any of the third parties where you are allowing reviews. So in, in local small businesses we point people in a number of places and it gets really confusing for the user, cause they don’t know where to go. And we’re, and we used to point them in several different directions. And now my unified point is the Google my business page. And I can, I have a deep link directly into the review, pop up for each one of my Google my business pages so that it’s much easier just to go in, write a quick, quick review through Google, having somebody signed in through their Google account who’s verifiable, knowing that they are a customer but not affiliated with the company in any way.

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Jeff Byer:\t08:21\tGoogle likes that history, likes that verification. So that is the reviews, snippets algorithm updates. We touched on it earlier and they are, they are wreaking a little havoc. I’m gonna, I’m going to just take a quick look at semrush right now and just look at the graphs across all the projects that I haven’t semrush and see, see if I can see a a trend in how it, how these are being reported. So let’s go to, so what does the site I’m choosing right now is a they get most of their traffic through organic because they rank well for most of their pay, most of their key terms and they have a very low to modest paid campaign. So this’ll be something that I’ll be able to tell. The best, it’ll be a more clear and sure enough, yeah, there’s a market drop in, in traffic.

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Jeff Byer:\t09:47\tTheir overall position for their main keywords is, is the average dropped by a quarter of a percent, a quarter of a position. So not that big of a deal. But average, you know, estimated traffic dropped by quite a bit. So that’s a little concerning, but it may be just, you know, featured snippets are, are showing up and and solving people’s questions within the syrup, which that’s something that we all have to be okay with. Now. let’s go to the organic organic traffic insights and see if there’s any, anything fun in there that we can decipher. But not, I mean, not a ton of fluctuation now. And not a lot of tennis punctuation through the Algorithm update period. Users are up, sessions are up, pages per session are slightly down, but not, you know, that’s more of a content issue and an interface issue that we’re currently solving. Right now we’re in a complete overhaul redesign and a new, a new VP of, of 

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Jeff Byer:\t11:18\tOf digital, not digital of, what am I trying to say? Oh, business development. A new VP of business development came in after we’ve already had our, our designs approved and page developed. He came in and he just wants to go through everything and verify our thinking before we move forward. So we’re kind of on hold with the full redesign of, of the page, but the full redesign is also going to be containerized and super fast. And the interface looks my Buddy Miro designed that and I’m really happy with it. Clients really happy with it. So we’re re reorganizing the content and making some, some landing pages for a PPC once, once we get past this roadblock and get approved. So that’ll be fun. And I’ll share that on Twitter once we, once we relaunch and I’ll send links out so that so that we can get some feedback.

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Jeff Byer:\t12:22\tBut yeah, so algorithm didn’t, didn’t hit that cipher very much, so not too concerned about it. So in, in some other news Matt Southern, he reported that Google chrome on Android is going to provide answers within the browser, not even at a, at a, a serp. So you know, trying to optimize for a browser is going to be pretty difficult. But since it’s a Google browser, you can guess it’s going to use the same algorithm. But how are we going to be able to report that we actually earned a, a featured snippet through a browser address or a, yeah, a browser address bar and not an actual serp with, you know, it doesn’t, I don’t know that it’s going to relay any of that activity back to the Internet if it doesn’t need to, especially if it works when it’s offline is a completely different issue.

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Jeff Byer:\t13:33\tSo lots of different things to, to bring up there. But for the most part android users probably have something similar like this or are testing something like this and it’s the overall percentage of people that are going to see this and the amount they’re going to reporting is remains to be seen. But my guess is it’s going to be pretty small. And in, in the case of, of where my client stand I am assuming it’s going to be insignificant, but I will be tracking it, testing it and making sure that if there is a way to track it, we have a way to track it. So and the next little piece of news is a survey result on organic search is responsible for 53% of all site traffic and paid is accredited for 15%. And so I’m pleased with that.

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Jeff Byer:\t14:41\tThat’s, that’s a, that’s good. I think you know, keeping their, the being the majority organic is still encouraging for SEOs and digital marketers and that it’s not, you know, Google doesn’t want to be paid a play, but they are respecting bigger brands more and they’re respecting bigger budgets more because, you know, if you’re currently, there still is a way in Google ads to overcome somebody’s ad just by spending more money. And reputation for a small company against a big company is very hard to overcome. So you know, history, a number of years in business and all of those different factors that they, that they look for in experience and overall authority and trust issues. The, the whole eat you know, system that Google uses, all of that is making things move a lot slower, especially if you have a brand new site.

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Jeff Byer:\t15:50\tSo all things to consider, all the sites that I’m building and rebuilding are all going to be focused heavily on user experience eat for the customer and linking out to resources citing other, you know, credible resources when we’re creating content. And also trying to get cited for our, my clients areas of expertise and, you know, building that ups and, you know, it’s been increasingly difficult to actually get my clients to to put a person to the content you know, take claim responsibility, be a real person so that we can work on authorship and and work on a reputation for this person. And if this person is an expert for the, you know, if they work at this company, they should be an expert using that expert as a way to verify the validity of the content that we’re putting on the site.

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Jeff Byer:\t17:04\tIt’s very difficult to get this done. A lot of people don’t want to do it. They don’t want to be a person. They want to stay private or they just want to attribute it to the company, which is fine if the company already has a stellar reputation, which is, is pretty rare. So working through those issues. But that’s that’s pretty much it. That’s all I have for today. Sorry, it’s short. Sorry that we don’t have a guest, but the the issues with, with clients and Google and, and updates and everything else is going on. I am completely overwhelmed and need to hire people. If you know anybody, let me know. Looking for a full time designer, looking for a full time programmer, a front end front end developer. So putting it out there, hit me up, Jeff at j, buyer.com if if you know anybody who’s interested. All right, that’s it. A follow me at Global Jeff on Twitter and on Instagram. I will start being more active on Facebook right now. It’s just a bunch of pictures of my son and as cute as he is, I think it’s pretty one dimensional right now. So I will work on being diverse in my content for Facebook and Instagram. So that is all my friends. Thank you very much for listening. Please consider giving us a rate

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Jeff Byer:\t18:37\tIn review on any of the podcast platforms that you grab on the phone for show notes and information for the digital rates. Dot FM. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at Bam, and please give us a rating review. Sincerely appreciate it.

","id":"3h5fk9ghnzoBEukC2V7Asr","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b8db033105f8ae05e764b44f7380e32a2504a631","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/c2986cda145dba8e6a50f04b91c078ef898652fb","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/5a3567feaad591527cb6226c1d0c0c7e274a354d","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"30 | Jeff Byer – Weekly Recap, Breadcrumb Schema, Reviews Rich Results, Algorithm Updates","release_date":"2019-09-23","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:3h5fk9ghnzoBEukC2V7Asr"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/3bb3fb9db311b71666a221fad25eb894804bcfea","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks with Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc) about the Google link attribution announcement and its Twitter backlash, EAT, PubCon, Music, and green fish wallpaper.","duration_ms":2688026,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/3qIhYvS0ZnlcD6OiRPVn0R"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/3qIhYvS0ZnlcD6OiRPVn0R","html_description":"","id":"3qIhYvS0ZnlcD6OiRPVn0R","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/5202de0284024277f00cd5f75aae5a1a713623e1","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/33f5889d0afd682fea2fa1ecc169a5a4117faeba","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/3b1ea408d1acc983a3da1d8d96a4707fcfe3baf5","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"29 | Lily Ray – Link Attribution, EAT, Google Survey, Green Fish Wallpaper","release_date":"2019-09-16","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:3qIhYvS0ZnlcD6OiRPVn0R"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/cc4d8d24cc669536daa6968d66f8623cd710f75b","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today Jeff Byer interviews Barry Schwartz about an unconfirmed algorithm update from last week, Bing Webmaster Tools adds import tool from Google Search Console, Bing Places adds an import tool from Google My Business, and much more.","duration_ms":1907670,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/24700tN4nKdqpvUXrwMQpI"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/24700tN4nKdqpvUXrwMQpI","html_description":"

Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) interviews Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) about an unconfirmed algorithm update from last week, Bing Webmaster Tools adds import tool from Google Search Console, Bing Places adds an import tool from Google My Business, and much more.

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About Barry Schwartz

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About Barry Schwartz
Follow Barry on Twitter @rustybrick
Subscribe to Barry’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp8Kv-cF9YfA-G33CRxv6SQ
Read Barry’s Blog https://www.seroundtable.com/

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Episode Links & Mentions

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Signs Of A Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update On August 29th
Google Search Ranking & Algorithm Update Over The Weekend?
Bing Places Also Lets You Import Your Google My Business Listings | August 30, 2019
Bing Webmaster Tools Lets You Verify Your Site Using Google Search Console | August 29, 2019
Google: We Try to Recognize Author Details, Reviewer Details & Overall Site Quality Details
@Marie_Haynes
@bill_slawski
@feedly
@TweetDeck

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ICYMI: Basecamp is forced to buy a Google Ad because competitors are bidding on its brand name – the ad calls it ransom – pretty smart https://t.co/V2Awml0FQApic.twitter.com/1PaXZKcWQ5

— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) September 4, 2019
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Videos

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Transcript

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Jeff Byer:\t00:08\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things Internet from the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer and today we talked to Barry Schwartz. @Rustybrick on Twitter. He is a Google search engine nerd or a search geek is what he calls himself on Twitter. We talked about an unconfirmed algorithm update. We talked about Bing Webmaster tools, being able to import from Google search console, we talk about [inaudible]

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Jeff Byer:\t00:32\tBing Places being able to import from Google my business, which I didn’t see but other people are. So I’m going to dig a little deeper into that. We talk about authorship. We talk about the base camp, Google ad controversy, and if you need to purchase ads against your own brand name to [inaudible] competitors we talk about Google versus duck duck go, which is a interesting case about Google actually responding to naysayers. Talk about verifying, testing and citing your sources in your content. We talk about the tools that Barry uses and tools that barriers built. His blog is actually built on the custom platform that he made at his company that he owns with his brother called rescue brick. And we want everybody to go check out his youtube channel, rusty brick and subscribe so that he can build his subscribership. These video interviews or video intros are going to be part of the podcast going forward so that we have a presence on, on video channels and we also want to keep them under two 20 so that we can post them to Twitter. So that’s right.

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Jeff Byer:\t01:35\tIt enjoy the interview with Barry. So today we have Barry Scwartz on the podcast. He is a self-described search geek based in New York. You run search engine round table and his articles are often referenced by top SEOs as well as Google. How are you today?

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Jeff Byer:\t01:56\tI’m good. Thanks for having me.

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Jeff Byer:\t01:57\tOf course. Thank you for coming on. Do you mind letting us know how you got started in digital marketing and became the authority that you are today?

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Barry Schwartz:\t02:06\tI Dunno if I’m an authority. I just read a lot. But I have a web development company called Rusty Brick. We started at my brother and I actually started in 1994 or so, we’ll know when we were in high school. And we build software. I don’t really do digital marketing, I just write about it. So my company really just build software, both, both desktop software that runs in the web as well as mobile applications that run obviously off your iPhone or android phone. And we do that for any types of purposes. In terms of the SEO stuff that I write about, search engine land and searches around table, it’s more of like a hobby. I don’t necessarily consider myself a journalist per se. I write a lot obviously, but it’s more of like a hobby for me where I just like to keep track of what’s going on and changing in the search industry. But I published a lot of that on my own site and that probably started I started writing search in 2003. And I really didn’t stop. I just kept writing and I probably write about five to 10, sometimes more articles per day just on search.

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Jeff Byer:\t03:12\tSo you are kind of an anomaly where you’re writing about a search for the sake of search where most people that own agencies are looking for answers on behalf of their current clients.

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Barry Schwartz:\t03:24\tYeah. Or they’re doing this to market their own agencies. So I just write about it because I find it interesting. I love the community and it’s a good way to keep track of what’s changing. It’s a, Google is a very fascinating company. Search engines in general are really fascinating and that’s the reason I write about it.

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Jeff Byer:\t03:42\tSo lately, have you seen an uptick in activity from Google as far as not only algorithm changes but the the features and options that are now available on the result pages? [inaudible]

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Barry Schwartz:\t03:59\tNo, actually it depends what you call feature. So the, if you go to Google and you want to do a search and you type in like, I don’t know, whatever you want to type in. And I was like, Google. And then you would have the options to filter by different search tools. So now you can filter by like time, like date range and other things. There used to be tons more of features in terms of how you can filter the search results.

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Jeff Byer:\t04:21\tSo the activity has been pretty consistent over the last couple of years as far as with their features and ad-ons

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Barry Schwartz:\t04:27\tThey’ve been removing features in terms of those types of features. I mean there’s other things like Google lens and Google maps that they are, so that type of stuff, the cool stuff that you’re seeing is stuff that the release hold time, but they’re also pulling back on a lot of features that they’ve launched years ago and no longer use. That includes technical features like certain types of markup like authorship or certain types of other features they released over the years. They removed that and now they’re big into Schema and they’re big into other things. So Google, like most technology companies, try things, see if it works, and then we’ll, you know, stop doing it if it’s not catching on or they find another better solution for it. You’ve seen that with Google’s multiple social networks you know, orchid, Google buzz, Google plus, et cetera. And you seen that with lots of services like Google reader tons of Google products, but specifically with search, like Google search just wants to make it easier for people to search without them having to use special features. So the info command or certain types of advanced search operators stop working over the years. Because Google says they don’t want, nobody really uses it, at least I guess a normal surgeon doesn’t use it. People like you and I probably who are more advanced searchers probably do use it.

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Jeff Byer:\t05:40\tYeah. I use filter by time all the time. If I’m looking for code examples or things like that. A post from 2015 is not gonna help. Right. So and also the, I noticed the image filters, they removed filters by size.

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Barry Schwartz:\t05:58\tYeah. That was just that was interesting. They removed the last week I asked for a comment. They did not give me a comment yet. I surely follow up. But before that they removed two by accident. So, I’m not sure if it was a bug they moved to by accident again or if it’s like a feature where they removed it because they don’t want to support it anymore. So it’s hard for me to know. They removed it I think hog a week or two ago. And people use it all the time. They want to find images specific size. They want to find images that are certain larger than a certain size and now they can do that. Only they can search for are by large, medium and icon.

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Jeff Byer:\t06:31\tYeah. And that was particularly helpful and I think that image search could have, you know, is a spot where Google could have a lot of improvements as far as usability and you know, knowing their audience and knowing the intent of the searcher that searching for images you know, editorial wise or content wise or just research,

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Barry Schwartz:\t06:55\tWell, image search is a tough thing for them because there’s different laws of different countries. So I know over the past several years, Google has different user to come to digital rates on all things. Internet would have [inaudible] buyers and maybe top [inaudible], stuff like that. Rusty brick on Twitter. I think also a lot of the filter [inaudible] search Geek is what he calls his cell phone to Twitter. We talked about outgrow settlements with them in terms of tools. Don’t reference Google search console, talk about it being places being downloaded from, we didn’t click on the image itself, but other people are and that changed little years ago that we tried out the basecamp, Google ad, go onto [inaudible] or whatever you need to purchase on brand name, shoe as competitors. We talked about Google versus Dow in case watermarks. Actually responding to naysayers, right? Verifying, testing and citing your sources in your content.

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Barry Schwartz:\t07:56\tYou used to talk about the tools that Barry uses and tools is a blog is images from life stock are getting off in this stuff or the brother called restaurant brick and just separate buddy to go check out his rusty brick doc and subscribe it just so you can build your subscriber ship. These video interviews or video interests are going to be part of the podcast going forward so that we have a [inaudible] recap. Those are posted video channels and we also want to keep them under 20 Twitter updates. Enjoy the interview with Barry Schwartz. Yeah. So I mean I track the, the chatter of an SEO community. I’ve been doing that for yeah, for five, 15 years. And when I see the SEO community start to like spike up and say, Hey, my rankings have changed, then it kind of symbols. It’s kind of, you know, signals that something’s going on with the Google search algorithm and maybe there’s some type of filter.

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Barry Schwartz:\t08:52\tMaybe there’s some type of penalty who maybe was some algorithm update. Maybe there’s manual actions. So it’s hard for me to know exactly what’s going on. The chatter from over the weekend or you know, just recently, like earlier this week was not as strong as maybe like a penguin update from the past or a panned update from the past or even these core updates. Google hasn’t confirmed anything around his updates. So Google says they don’t confirm from all updates anyway. They only confirmed the larger updates. And I haven’t heard anything from them, so it’s hard for me to tell you what it is. But there’s definitely a lot of webmasters. That’s why master is saying, Hey, we got hit or we did better on August 29th or August 28th. And the actual tools that track these updates like Moz cast certain metrics, you know, rank, ranger, SCM, rush, all these types of SEO tools that track the changes in the Google search results are also showing that change.

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Barry Schwartz:\t09:49\tBut again, it’s not as significant as a massive core update or the old fashioned penguin and panda updates. But they’re definitely, in my opinion, was some type of update that Google did not confirm. Gotcha. And the only way to really find out anything about it is to dive in and do a lot of research and find out, you know, topics. So sometimes like bigger updates, I’ll do a survey asking the SEO community to send me their sites. Sometimes I’ll get like 500 to a thousand different websites that say they got hit or they, they actually changed the rankings. I’ll ask them to fill out a survey saying, what was the site? What did you see in terms of traffic changes up, down the same. What was the day you got hit a bunch of questions and then I’ll analyze the sites themselves and I’ll say, all right.

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Barry Schwartz:\t10:31\tThe sites either have, are very at in general, are very ad heavy or maybe they’re, a lot of them have bad links or maybe they’re in this specific industry or that specific industry. It’s been harder to find the pattern with Google updates recently because it’s not really one thing. Penguin was about links. A panda was specifically around content. Google has, you know, algorithms that look for add pages that have lots of ads that are distracting. It’s never, it hasn’t been the past couple of years. One thing that would actually hurt a website, and it’s always hard to like pinpoint that this is the issue. Back when Google released on August 1st of last year, 2018, I kind of named that update, the medic update because I saw based on the survey results that a good, like 70% of the sites that were submitted to me were literally in the medical health, fitness, health and wellness type of field.

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Barry Schwartz:\t11:23\tAnd then the next time you Google did a core update, I did another survey, it was more financial related. I’m going to, Google is kind of saying, yeah, we do have this concept of y m y l your money, your life, which is around financial websites, banking, websites, health websites, medical websites, PR, you know, those, those types of things. That core updates actually have a stricter I guess core updates in a stricter sense on where they want to make sure the content on those websites are much more authoritative and written by experts. So my theories on that or some of the early SEO people are on that concept where correct. Although it wasn’t just specific to medic and I probably shouldn’t have named named and medic. But you know, you got to give it some name. So

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Jeff Byer:\t12:05\tYeah, the name stuck definitely. And a, I had a client specifically that got hit pretty hard. We had them ranking number one for all of their key terms for up to two years at that point. And they make on an oxygen analyzer device. So they don’t actually claim anything about health specifically, but they make a product that serves the health community and they got slammed. And now it was more it’s more apparent that the reason they got slammed is they don’t have any authorship and they don’t have a ton of, of authority. And the claims that they make are not really verifiable because it’s their product. And then they’re up against some huge brands that have a huge built in authority. Right. So, so I also picked up a little report that you said that being places is now offering an import for Google my business.

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Barry Schwartz:\t13:03\tYeah. So that was interesting. At first, it was the first day before that actually reported that Google, sir, oh, sorry. That big webmaster tools lets you import your Google search console sites, right? So for a couple of weeks before that I saw Martin split, who’s from Google reach out to the big webmaster tools team. And I guess they stopped by basically what happened was they figured out a way to say, all right, let’s find a quick way to import all those sites. We have verified Google search console directly in my big webmaster tools. So now if you have big, you’re not really using big web at big web master tools and you are using Google search console, you could just go right into bing, bing webmaster tools, login, click the import button and they’ll do some type of verification authentication to import all the sites you have verified already with Google search console.

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Barry Schwartz:\t13:48\tSo it just gives you more access to more tools or [inaudible] tools. And I know being web master tools is actually investing more these days than they ever have in the past or in the past few years, at least on that and the suite of products. So definitely take a look at that. It doesn’t hurt to have more data. Also they, after our report of that basically big places, which is equivalent to the Google my business center is lets you sync your, your places. So if you add a new place, I guess in Google my business it’ll sync over to big, big places as well.

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Jeff Byer:\t14:22\tYeah. So I saw the, the, the search console sync. I didn’t see the Google my business think in a, in the bing places interface. So I’m not sure if that’s actually rolled out to everybody or are possibly just specific to, to certain users.

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Barry Schwartz:\t14:41\tI think it’s rolled out to everybody. I mean, there’s two different things. So one is bing webmaster tools and one of them being places. So yeah, I would think if you log in now, you probably probably see it. You don’t see the big webmaster tools at all?

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Jeff Byer:\t14:54\tNo. I only, I took a screenshot of the search console, but I didn’t see it in being places I didn’t see an import button for Google my business.

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Barry Schwartz:\t15:08\tYeah, I see. I mean, you saw my screenshot. Yeah.

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Jeff Byer:\t15:09\tRight, right. And that’s why I immediately went in there to try and sink them and, and didn’t see it. So maybe it’s just a slower roll out or or I’d need to dig a little deeper, but I figured it would just be right there on the, on the home page of my places.

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Barry Schwartz:\t15:27\tIt is, it’s right on the top for me. I log into being places the dashboard, the first option I have here is sync with my Google my business. I felt that’s been around for a lot longer actually than the big webmaster tools. But I could be wrong. So,

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Jeff Byer:\t15:40\tYeah. So I don’t see it, but we can research that a little later. So also would you consider yourself a friend of Google? You have a good relationship with them?

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Barry Schwartz:\t16:01\tI don’t know what that means exactly and I can tell you this. So there are many Googlers that don’t like what I have to say. There are many Googlers that understand why I write when I write sometimes. And there’s many Google was at like, what I have to say. I’m the same time, there’s many SEOs that feel like I’m a Google fanboy and there’s many Googlers that feel like I hate Google. So you can’t win fast. It makes sense.

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Jeff Byer:\t16:27\tYeah. And from what, from my experience, what I see is, is you’re very fair about how you report and what you report. And so why I’m bringing this up is your recent riding on the base camp Google that and, and so that issue, it’s an issue that I’ve had to deal with as well is that, you know, you ranked number one, but you’ve got your competitors ranking above you and you have to combat that. Have you ever suspected Google to strike back at shots, fired against them using their own tools? So

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Barry Schwartz:\t17:07\tI mean, the whole base camp thing kind of surprised me that it got so much attention. It’s literally like on CNBC and stuff like that or CNN or one of these sites, it’s getting a lot of attention. Huh. It surprised me because this is a strategy that’s been, that the SCM community and PPC community been using for years. I mean, you do, you see the back in the early days of Superbowl commercials or were airing and the competitor and the person who air the super called commercial wouldn’t go ahead and bid on their own brand name. So you, let’s say for example, you would have, I don’t know, KFC advertising in the Superbowl and then McDonald’s will go ahead and [inaudible] out at the McDonald’s, go ahead and like bid on the keyword KFC Subaru commercial and say, all right, you know, this is our ad. Instead a was even see that happening for it for years and it, it, it costs pennies to bid on your bid.

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Barry Schwartz:\t17:54\tNick, your name and I’ll see, I don’t think it’s a big deal to be honest. I don’t think it’s a big deal that Google allows you to bid on like base camp at Hec base camp can mean a thousand things. Obviously it’s a brand, but base camp is also that could be a base camp. It’s not, it’s a generic keyword phrase. But Google has very strict rules by country on the ad side. What people could bid on in terms of trademarks and so forth. And they stick by that. So they’ve changed those rules over the years. I don’t think they’ve changed it recently. But they’re very clear guidelines around that. So I, it just funny that it got so much attention. And of course the ad is very, very cute. You don’t want to run this ad and we’re doing this against our will. We’re forced to pay it’s ransom. It’s against a giant tech company. We’re a small little company based on base camp is a small little company relative to Google but not to you. And I guess so.

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Jeff Byer:\t18:45\tSo do you think Google has ever taken adverse action to people using their tools against them or attempting to,

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Barry Schwartz:\t18:54\tHmm. I don’t know. I mean, this is, I don’t know if this lecture they take, I mean

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Jeff Byer:\t18:57\tSlander them, you know,

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Barry Schwartz:\t18:59\tThey might say this ad is not relevant and they might take down the specific ad based in their guidelines. But no, I mean, people beat up Google and times they bad things about them. I was only penalized once and I say bad things about them all the time. So yes, I don’t think so. The two big to go ahead and say, oh, this person’s talking bad about me or this company’s talking bad about me and take action. Yeah. I have to act like, but the doctor [inaudible] was interesting. So I don’t know if you saw that Danny Sullivan, like that goes constant coming out with negative stuff around Google cause you know, privacy and this and that. And Danny Sullivan actually responded directly to DuckDuckGo and then I saw him, he now works for Google. And he’s basically saying this and this allegation about from Dr [inaudible] saying about Google is incorrect. We don’t have filter bubbles. We don’t have that much personalization. And personalization doesn’t put you in this filter bubble. And he actually responds, it’s the first time Google actually responded, or a person who will actually respond to the doctor, go from my opinion. So sometimes they take debate, sometimes they don’t.

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Jeff Byer:\t20:03\tYeah. and then recently you posted your interview with Marie Haines. When was that recorded?

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Barry Schwartz:\t20:12\tThat was at Mozcon in Seattle like a couple of months ago. Okay. Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of, so besides for the Friday recaps and trying to get more blogging going, so video blogs, video blogs and just going, well I, I probably have about 30 videos. I published about half of them so far. And I’m going to keep it going. So probably once a week, probably on Wednesdays going forward. Just a video of a personality and the SEO Industry. So if you ever, I don’t know what your base, maybe I could stop by your office one day

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Jeff Byer:\t20:45\tA la anytime you’re in la, come on by.

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Barry Schwartz:\t20:47\tYeah. Yeah. So why, why? My rule was I have to do it in person cause it, you know, I could always do it over Skype and no offense to Skype, but it’s something about being in person with somebody that will be cool and I go to enough conferences and I travel enough that I could probably make it happen. So hopefully I’ll see you in la soon.

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Jeff Byer:\t21:02\tYeah, I was going to try and make it to pubcon. Are you going to be Vegas?

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Barry Schwartz:\t21:07\tWon’t be a pubcon is always almost always on a Jewish holiday. So I was at pubcon last year as you may know and it’s been a while since they’ve been there before that because it’s always on a Jewish holiday. And I told them I wanted this like search personality award thing and I told, and they said, you have to come back in the new year after to give the, they give you this little tight Tiara or whatever, $10 tr and you have to like give to the next person, like crown the next, you know, winter. And I’m like, I looked it up when I was right after the, after I got the award. I’m like, you know, the dates you have there is like on Yom Kippur, which is like the most holy as Jewish holiday. There’s no way I could go. So like, oh, we’ll figure it out. But they didn’t change the day. It’s so there’s no way I could go. I in Pumpkins, a fun, fun event. I wish I could go, but it’s just a shame.

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Jeff Byer:\t21:53\tYeah. that’s unfortunate cause yeah, I’ve, I like meeting people in person and yes, Skype is, is an impersonal way to to get these interviews done. But but since I’ve just started out and meeting people in real life is definitely one of my goals moving into the next year. So

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Barry Schwartz:\t22:12\tNo, I mean it’s definitely is the most these things are done over Skype or Google hangouts or whatever. And it was great. It’s just I bought this little camera on him, I don’t have in my bag over there. So DGI pocket camp and I brought him cause look cool. I’m like, now what am I gonna do with it? So I’m like, alright, maybe I’ll just start doing blogging. So I technically I can’t use Skype with it. It’s just like a little like cool camera. So forcing myself to meet people and stuff.

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Jeff Byer:\t22:40\tYeah, it’s always a great, great thing to do. So with your your Marie Haynes episode, you know, everything, Marie Haynes, I always ended up talking to her about eat and what it means. And in your in your September Google Webmaster report, Google says, you know, you’ve pointed out specifically in the video that Google tries to recognize author details. What does that mean? I mean, if you’re, if you’re an author and you have an authorship page, but they’re still trying to recognize author details. Is that no,

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Barry Schwartz:\t23:17\tI don’t think Google doesn’t look at authorship anymore. I wish they did. I used to, I used to love it when they had authorship. I used to love it when they had authorship. There because even whenever SEOs did searches, your little photo would come off and would always be like a photo of you and the Google search results. But Google says numerous times, they don’t look at authorship is not something they look at anymore, but s some way Google’s able to figure out who wrote what piece of content, if they’re authoritative and so forth. And it’s clear. I mean, I quoted John Mueller numerous times of what he said around that. So I, it was, I mean I would just re read what he wrote or read what he said and you can interpret it multiple ways. Cause the way John has talked this kind of cryptic, so I don’t necessarily put words in his mouth.

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Barry Schwartz:\t23:59\tI tried to quote him a lot and I try not to necessarily I have to write a title for this, for the story. So I recognize all the details, reviewer details and overall site quality, you know, details. But then I just try to quote them as much because then, you know, I don’t want people to take me out of context or him in that context. But I, I do think they have some way of figuring out is this content written by a specific type of expert in the area? And Google did say, I think a few, maybe a month or two ago, how they actually go ahead and recognize or how he would go. I asked somebody that, John Mueller, how would you go about recognizing that? And they’re like, well, we have a, say we have a big index and we’re able to see how, you know, us, they have a hundred competitors and 80 of those competitors are writing this about this topic and you’re writing that something else about that topic.

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Barry Schwartz:\t24:52\tThen then obviously if you’re writing differently than maybe your stuff is not as accurate as maybe as the rest, maybe stuff like that. And then, you know, if you have these sections of your website, but your competitors have those sections on your website, maybe you should also be covering it, know, covering these details that you’re not constantly because everybody else is covering those details. And that’s what he kind of said. There’s probably an article there in that recap how they recognize high quality content and stuff like that. But yeah, I mean, I’ve written so much about, it’s, it’s hard to say how Google exactly does that, but there was a a video of John Mueller talking about that I think a month or two ago. Like I send you a link to it if you want to. She needed.

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Jeff Byer:\t25:34\tYeah, I’ve got it. I’ve got it open and I plucked a little pieces out of it. And one thing I plucked out of there is that author data should not be hidden in the Schema but made public, so they’re gonna treat whatever they can find about the author that’s public and viewable to the user rather than just in the Schema a, they’re gonna respect that a little bit more. And so what I was trying to do is figure out if we had content that was based on a authority that was mostly an offline authority, didn’t have much of an online presence, or would that still count?

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Barry Schwartz:\t26:17\tYes. I don’t think it’s, again, I don’t think it’s specifically about that specific person writing that content. It’s more about what the content says, if that makes sense.

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Jeff Byer:\t26:28\tRight. So it’s not a, so what Marie Haynes was saying is that they’re, they’re trying to penalize people who post things that are not of a generally accepted opinion, especially with medical issues.

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Barry Schwartz:\t26:48\tI Dunno. I mean, there’s lots of theories out there. I don’t, I, I don’t know for sure. I don’t think it’s penalties and as I say, but I mean, how does somebody know that somebody is really a doctor? I mean, you see a link to their hospital profile on this different website. Maybe Google’s able to pick up, all right, this doctor has a profile on, I don’t know, this medical center website or that medical center website, but how do you actually verify, is there a list of, I guess maybe there’s some type of database of approved doctors dos versus certain types of doctors versus, I know Chiropractor, I mean, where do you go from there? And I don’t, I’ve never heard Google actually say they have a database of doctors. I don’t know.

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Jeff Byer:\t27:27\tYeah. And so it leads to a, another question that bill Slawsky asked, which I find very important is what is, what source do you use for reliable, verifiable SEO information?

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Barry Schwartz:\t27:46\tMe? Yeah. I mean in the [inaudible] obviously you can go with what Google says. You go with what SEO, say you go with the different SEO studies have said bought the best SEOs testings and see what works. Because what works for one, what works for one site might not work for the next site. What works for your agency might not work for a different agency. And the truth is what works within your agency for one client might not work for what’s it within your agency for another client. So it’s really, it’s interesting. I think you kind of test and you’ve got to test on a client by client basis and not just even across all your clients. So, you know, adding, I don’t know, a h three tag on a webpage worked for client day. It might not work for client B and there’s multiple SEOs, I’ve come out and said, hey, you know, this case study worked really well for these three clients of ours, buffer the other 30 clients that did nothing. So sometimes we think what works is not really what really works. So just keep testing

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Jeff Byer:\t28:49\tGreat. Taz, you know, and, and you are often cited as a source and that’s why I introduced you as an authority because you do do that testing and you listen to a lot of people who are doing the testing as well and report on that and you cite your sources, which is really important. So, yeah.

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Barry Schwartz:\t29:06\tYeah. I always say my, I, I think the web was built with hyperlinks and I think it’s very important to link places. It’s a shame. I mean, a lot of what Google was all about was about links and of course that kind of really internet because now nobody links out anymore because they’re afraid of being penalized. But I’m still gonna link out forever and link, try to always link to the piece of the source that I got the information from because community is amazing and you have to credit those who find what they find.

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Jeff Byer:\t29:31\tYeah. Well, it’s, it’s definitely helping us as consumers of your content. So thank you very much for doing that. The last couple of questions before we wrap up. What are the tools that you use on a daily basis?

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Barry Schwartz:\t29:48\tSo I use a bunch of tools. I guess Feedly is one for tracking RSS feeds and different types of keyword subscriptions. I use on a desktop and mobile. I use I have my own internal tools. I build a tool for tracking different things. Internally. I actually use a lot of bookmarks as well, believe it or not. I use my own [inaudible] I built a lot of internal software. My company is a software development company, so we have a lot of internal software for, for everything. In fact even searches around that will be pulled out a custom CMS platform. I am big into email, I have to, I use tweet deck social media, all this type of stuff. So, but my finger I probably use the most is probably a Feedly and probably Feedly is the thing I use the most. In terms of for the SEO stuff I do.

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Jeff Byer:\t30:39\tOkay. And do you have a, anything to promote where people can follow you? Where people can find more information? About you.

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Barry Schwartz:\t30:47\tSure. so my profiles at rusteberg.com/berry, I’m on Twitter, active or reactive at rusty brick. And also obviously searches around tables, searches are land, and if you can, I’m trying to get more subscribers to my youtube channel. So everybody who’s listening to this and watching this they say, and youtube world smashed out like button and subscribe and hit that bell.

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Jeff Byer:\t31:12\tFantastic. Hadn’t called rusty brick. So check it out. Fantastic. I already did that and the contents. Amazing. So thank you very much for your time. This has been very helpful. And we will have this out for you to, to review on Monday.

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Jeff Byer:\t31:28\tSounds good. Thank you. All right, thank you for show notes and information. Go to digital rates.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at Bam. And please give us a rate and review it. Sincerely appreciate it.

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In this special video version of the podcast, Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) wants to wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day weekend, and he runs down the upcoming guests for next months shows.

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Show Links & Mentions

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Barry Schwartz – @rustybrick
Glenn Gabe – @glenngabe
Lily Ray – @lilyraynyc
Marie Haynes – @Marie_Haynes

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Episode Video

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Transcription

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Jeff Byer:\t00:01\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things Internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff buyer and today we are doing a special video edition of the digital rage podcast because it is Labor Day weekend so we will not be publishing on Monday. Instead I’m going to just send this little, a little bite out as a podcast and a put it on my youtube channel and uh, hope everybody is going to have an amazing Labor Day weekend. So a few things upcoming is a, we’ve got our next three guests on the docket. I’m actually scheduled next week is Barry Schwartz. He’s searched geek and he runs SEO Round Table, um, uh, overall great guy and publishes a, a weekly, a weekly update every Friday for all the search engine news that happened. Uh, he did report a algorithm update that uh, that’s been gaining a little bit of, uh, a little bit of noise online lately and I looked at our traffic traffic’s down, but rankings are still maintaining pretty much so, uh, not sure what’s going on.

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Jeff Byer:\t01:12\tI think our traffic is basically just holiday. You know, I’ve been seeing people out of the office for the whole week, so, um, I think that’s related to my projects, but, uh, for him, uh, it’d be interesting to get more information and find out, uh, what actually happened and see if Marie Haines also has any information on that as well. Um, Glen Gabe is going to to come in. We’re, we haven’t scheduled a time, but, uh, he’s gonna come in to come on the podcast and we’re gonna interview him. He is a digital marketing consultant and contributor to search engine land. So, uh, he’ll be fun to talk to and uh, get his thoughts and insights of all the, all the news, uh, current when we get them on the show. And then Lily Ray, she’s hopefully coming back from, uh, from vacation this week or weekend and we’ll try and schedule a time for her.

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Jeff Byer:\t02:08\tShe’s speaking at Pubcon, so, uh, it’s going to be a little tight, but, uh, that’s pretty much the guests that I have lined up so far. If you have any ideas for guests, please reach out and let me know. Um, so, uh, I’ve stopped on my B2B campaigns. I’ve stopped all the, uh, PPC ads for the weekend just to, uh, you know, clear the plate. It’s, I, I do it because, uh, we usually don’t get any traffic and it’s a good reset to have everything go to zero and see where we go, where we start or end up once we kick them back in. So, um, it’s something that I like to do every once in awhile and knowing that it’s a holiday weekend for my B2B clients that are specifically targeted in the United States, um, they’re with it. And I, I just, I think it’s good to have a little bit of contrast in your reporting and, and analytics so that you can see, you know, if anything reboots, anything gets reset, anything changes. And, uh, you know, I like having that mark in my graphs so that people can see, oh, that was a three day weekend from here on out. We should be good to go. So, yeah. Uh, that’ll be everything back to normal in September. So that’s all I have. Thank you very much for watching or listening. Whatever you’re doing and have a great weekend. We will come back next week with Barry Schwartz.

","id":"6WCGlIhnl3KtnHDhr73Yh7","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"27 | Jeff Byer – Happy Labor Day Weekend","release_date":"2019-08-30","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:6WCGlIhnl3KtnHDhr73Yh7"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/9b2cdae4228929e872c225c7580aa1f46efc1e6a","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) talks with Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) on the current state of SEO, Google Patents, and understanding the way Google interprets ambiguous queries. Bill is the Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital and is very generous with his time and knowledge.","duration_ms":2669140,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/3lRGQwi3hxZPILSShB06It"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/3lRGQwi3hxZPILSShB06It","html_description":"","id":"3lRGQwi3hxZPILSShB06It","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"26 | Bill Slawski: Google Patents, GS1 Schema, Semantic Search & Contextual History","release_date":"2019-08-26","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:3lRGQwi3hxZPILSShB06It"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/ac5667b3c6e7629817c8ab296c91b4c273a66343","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today I talk to Dr. Marie Haynes, she is completely obsessed about Google Penalties and algorithm changes...Penguin, Panda, Unnatural Links, QRG, and diagnosing the reason for a site's traffic drop.","duration_ms":3583948,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/3EX3GuaF8gFqblMW0KHkQU"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/3EX3GuaF8gFqblMW0KHkQU","html_description":"","id":"3EX3GuaF8gFqblMW0KHkQU","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"25 | Dr. Marie Haynes: SEO, E-A-T, and Google Rater Guidelines","release_date":"2019-08-19","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:3EX3GuaF8gFqblMW0KHkQU"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/8d100b57a93601c901767e16518daa21d8341a23","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we talk with Cindy Krum based to talk about fraggles which Kevin Indig mentioned in Episode 22. Cindy is a mobile marketing innovator and CEO/Founder at MobileMoxie. About Cindy Krum Company: https://mobilemoxie.com/Follow Cindy on Twitter: @SuzzicksTry MobileMoxie for 30 days free – Promo Code: DIGITALRAGEArticle: https://moz.com/blog/the-importance-of-fraggles Show Links Ted Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes https://twitter.com/randfish https://twitter.com/jonoalderson...","duration_ms":2174093,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1itp4ONbLukwCox2Omsdql"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1itp4ONbLukwCox2Omsdql","html_description":"

Today we talk with Cindy Krum based to talk about fraggles which Kevin Indig mentioned in Episode 22. Cindy is a mobile marketing innovator and CEO/Founder at MobileMoxie.

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About Cindy Krum

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Company: https://mobilemoxie.com/
Follow Cindy on Twitter: @Suzzicks
Try MobileMoxie for 30 days free – Promo Code: DIGITALRAGE
Article: https://moz.com/blog/the-importance-of-fraggles

\n\n\n\n

Show Links

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Ted Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en\n
https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes\n
https://twitter.com/randfish\n
https://twitter.com/jonoalderson\n
https://twitter.com/mediadonis\n
https://twitter.com/screamingfrog\n
https://twitter.com/semrush\n
https://twitter.com/Moz\n
https://twitter.com/sitebulb\n
https://twitter.com/DeepCrawl

\n\n\n\n

Where were you a year ago today? I was visiting with a client at the very moment this Medic recovery started happening.

Looks like there is another update of some sort happening today, although not as big as Aug 1, 2018.https://t.co/frVfqpCoL4pic.twitter.com/uazmdZTDxD

— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) August 1, 2019
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Transcript (sort of)

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Speaker 1:\t[inaudible]

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Jeff Byer:\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things Internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer and today we talk with Cindy Krum, she’s a mobile marketing evangelist and CEO and founder of Mobile Moxie. Our topic today is Fraggles, a new Google search feature that will grab content from your website, bring it into the search engine result page with a deep link directly to the mention of that content on your page. This is

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Jeff Byer:\tvery important and today we had a discussion about it on Twitter. Glenn Gabe posted that Google is starting to index these deep links and starting to pay attention to them. And this is exactly what Cindy and I talk about in our conversation is that they are generating these deep links on the mobile result pages going directly to the content that they pulled out of your page. So really interesting topic and it was fun that a, this topic came up right after we interviewed Cindy. So more on that in a bit. But for now, uh, we’ll talk about, one thing that came up from our conversation is that Marie Haines tweeted that it was the one year anniversary of the medic update. And for those of you in SEO, you remember the medic update. If you’re dealing with your money, your life issues for your customers, these are issues dealing with health and finances mostly.

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Jeff Byer:\tUm, they expand to other, other genres. In my specific case, it extended to a manufacturer of products that are used in, uh, in medical scenarios. And, uh, this was, this update hit my client pretty hard and it took almost six months to fully recover and some of our main keywords didn’t recover at all. But, uh, it was a major shift in the Google algorithm and how Google treats experience authority at trust. So the good news is we got Marie Haynes on the books. She’ll be here, um, interviewing next week to talk specifically about, uh, experience, authority, trust, the quality rate of guidelines and how all of this is basically going to be the new way that Google judges the quality of your content. So, uh, beyond that, nothing new to report. Just, you know, busy keeping everything alive and, and keeping the digital rage train rollin’.

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Jeff Byer:\tWith that we will get into the interview with Cindy Krum. All right, today we are speaking to Cindy Krum. She is a mobile marketing evangelists and CEO and founder of Mobilemoxy. How are you?

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Cindy Krum:\tI’m good. How are you?

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Jeff Byer:\tDoing well, thank you. So we’d like to, to start with the really hard hitting questions right off the bat. So first question is what does your screen name mean?

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Cindy Krum:\tIt’s a good question. I um, I’ve had that screen name since I was a kid since the AOL disc came in the mail.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh Wow. Very nice. So is that a nickname?

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah, it was a nickname. So I liked, this is way going back, but when I was very little I loved Dr Seuss and they would call me Seuss and it just kind of evolved into Seussicks. And so that’s what my family called me when I was a kid.

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Jeff Byer:\tAh, very nice.

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Cindy Krum:\tSeussicks not Sussicks. I just was bad speller as a kid and I decided how it would be spelled.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. Well now it’s yours. You own Suzzicks with Z’s. So, I saw you retweeted a post for Marie Haynes. Uh, this marks the, yesterday technically marks the one year anniversary of the medic update, which was a nightmare for me as well. One of my clients, a B2B manufacturing role for oxygen analyzers. And most of them are used in, the medical space. So she posted, you know, her nightmare last year. How did that affect you?

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Cindy Krum:\tUh, well, so it, most of our clients weren’t particularly affected. We have one, you know, company that comes and goes as a client and in the medical space, but, but most of our clients are outside of, uh, any of the industries that were really hit hard.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. So out of the YMYL categorization. Right. Okay. All right. So what, what I really wanted to talk about is what a Concept brought up last week, which was Fraggles. So, in your words, what are Fraggles?

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Cindy Krum:\tSo at Fraggle is a fragment plus a handle. So what we found is that Google seems to be indexing a smaller than page level units. Now, um, they’re indexing not just the page but pieces of the page and linking to it. And they’ve done this for awhile with jump links. Um, but, but the important thing here is that they seem to be able to do it. Even if the jump link isn’t there, they super impose a locator onto content to surface it sometimes. And so that seems like a big, big deal.

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Jeff Byer:\tAnd is it links or are they just scraping the content and putting it in the syrup?

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Cindy Krum:\tSo they’re lifting the content. That’s the fragment, the fragment of content, and then, uh, linking to it. So when you click on it, it’s not just that you get to the page that it’s from, instead of scrolls you to that piece of content on the page.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. And this is without any, any direction control from the website itself,

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Cindy Krum:\tright. Direction and control helps. So, for instance, using, um, jump links and h two tags that seems to help get you frag goals. Uh, but we’ve seen it where it, it seems like Google is just putting them there and you can especially see this too with amp featured snippets. Um, if you have an amp page that gets a featured snippet, what happens when a user clicks through on the featured snippet is Google scrolls directly to where it’s from and even highlights the featured snippet so you could read it in context.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. Okay. So, uh, the, you know, they’ve been, they’ve been scraping content on the knowledge graph for, for a while now. Uh, but it’s the links that are, that are really the, the more unique part.

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Cindy Krum:\tIt’s the scrolling behavior. Yeah. Because if you think about a page like indexing pages isn’t a good way to surface answers. And really what Google is trying to do more than surface pages now is respond with answers and there might be many answers on a page.

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Jeff Byer:\tCorrect. Yeah. Though I was talking to Kevin and deg about was a, the concept of microsites that within a site you go a in depth into multiple pages of a big topic and serve a bunch of different answers and in the context of that one big category.

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah, absolutely. Well and [inaudible] as well with my theory that I’ve been kind of, um, talking about with what does mobile first indexing really need and loosely I think mobile first indexing really means Google switching from being a website or a search engine that surfaces websites to a search engine that surfaces answers. And more specifically that means index the information around the knowledge graph to understand how this topic is related to that topic and how we can answer questions within those topics.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah, I lifted from your, your uh, Mazda article that I, that I was reading that just got posted, um, that you, uh, you basically redefined mobile first indexing as portable, preferred an organization of information.

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Cindy Krum:\tExactly. But actually that is from, so the art, it’s in the article from this year, but I first talked about that I think it was two years ago at, at Moz con. Yeah. Cause I think people are really wrapped up in this um, switch of the user agents. But honestly like Google used to switch user agents that it crawled with like casually on a Saturday without two years of preparation and notice, uh, I think the, the mobile part is tripping people up. Uh, and they’re, they’re really hung up on the user agent when I think the indexing is the most important part of the, the name mobile first indexing.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And so what, when it first came out, when mobile first indexing was first brought out, everybody thought it was device specific. So they were all testing their sites on, on the devices and you know, thinking that the device, if it wasn’t a hit, if it was hidden on a mobile device, that it wasn’t going to get indexed. But that was proven not to be the case.

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Cindy Krum:\tRight. Well with the front javascript indexing, Google is good at like doing the expanders and stuff like that. The Java script might trip up a, I do think that there is some validity to saying if it doesn’t show up on a mobile phone, then it’s going to struggle the index. But Google has also said that they’re still indexing desktop content. Uh, and that, you know, they’ve, they’ve been a bit hazy there. Uh, so I do think that that showing up on a mobile rendering is still important, but I think that we have to think like Google and Google has always like two or three years ahead of us. They know what’s happening before we do. And for them what they’ve been doubling down and investing in and building tech for is um, connected speakers, connected home hubs, these dummy screens and connected TVs where it’s just a poor dulling and windowing content from all over the web. And for that to happen, they can’t just window a webpage. They want to window the most relevant content. And, and in some cases they want to like strip it out or lift it and show it in a context where it’s relevant and useful, but not messing up the design and UX of whatever else is going on.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah, and I think I’ve read an article about it and though the title of the article is called the, uh, the invisible syrup, which is that f with voice search and smart devices and not necessarily needing a screen, they need to provide search results. So whatever format possible that they’re going to do it that way. So, um, is uh, is uh, the fraggle based indexing is optimizing for fractals or uh, uh, something that you would suggest for your clients?

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah, absolutely. So, so what we’re doing to help get frog when we can is, um, number one using the speakable Schema. And within that it’s how to Q and a and FAQ and, and then adding back in, uh, the jump links and h two tags like I talked about, that seems to help. Okay. So it’s not fully like, it’s not fully a fraggle that Google just made up. We’re saying like, here is the section of the content where that answer is to kind of help it along because I don’t know if you’ve heard, um, but uh, search console is starting to index Hashtag URL separately from the main URL. Again, like this is like 1995 when they stopped indexing jump links as a separate URL. But now in search console you’ll get the main URL and then you’ll get the jump link URL with their own traffic data.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh Wow.

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Cindy Krum:\tOkay. So that’s, that’s fun to see and a point I think. Yeah. Yeah. So it makes sense that they’re gonna start using that as a, as a a serve option as well, especially in mobile for the jump links and, and things like that. So the more that you can describe those jump leaks and provide Schema for them, the better. Uh, I did have a technical question though on the FAQ. Um, when I was reading the Schema, uh, instructions from Google and from schema.org for Q and. A, they expect Q and a Schema to be on a dedicated Q and a page. And most of what we’re seeing now is Q and A’s being included on the content page. Is it, is it that you can optimize for, for question to answer fractals within a larger piece of content. So they distinguished between Q and a, an FAQ, uh, by saying that FAQ, you write the questions in the answers in Q and a, uh, they have to be submitted questions. And my guess is that, um, you know, with the GMB staff, they’re just starting to make the reviews and Q and a searchable, my guess is with a separate page, it’s just easier for them to lift an aggregate. Right. Okay. Um, but

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Speaker 5:\tah, okay.

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Cindy Krum:\tI think that that’s, they’re putting that in their requirements, but it’s probably more of a preference or in the long term it’ll probably be more of a preference. Right?

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And I’ve got, I’ve got an experiment running right now. I just published it yesterday with, uh, with long form content landing page for a specific, uh, uh, keyword, a high value keyword with a Q and a section, which is within the content, but it’s using the, the, the, uh, the FAQ markup so that it’s for question, it’s subtitle with the question paragraph with an answer and then a square photo to go with it with all the, the Schema markup to see if those questions actually get pulled.

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Cindy Krum:\tBut remember FAQ and Q and a are different and you are asking a question about Q and a and the Schema that you said is on the pages FAQ.

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Jeff Byer:\tFAQ. Yes. I didn’t mean QA. I didn’t even use their submitted. Yeah. Okay. Sorry about that. Confuses it.

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Cindy Krum:\tBut it sounds like a good test.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Yeah. So, uh, we’ll see what happens. And um, cause I, from the way that I read it, it was supposed to be a whole page just for questions. And so I’m just sectioning off a section of the page just for questions. So we’ll see if that works. So, um, what are, uh, what are you seeing as the, the latest trends in, in mobile marketing?

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Cindy Krum:\tNo, mobile marketing as a whole or mobile SEO?

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Jeff Byer:\tUh, both. Yeah.

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Cindy Krum:\tOkay. Mobile

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Jeff Byer:\tmarketing as a whole. And I just think that the, the word mobile is losing its fidelity to the device and that mobile means anything that’s not, um, a laptop or a desktop. Uh, so mobile includes like TVs and includes connected speakers and home hubs and uh, stuff like that. Mobile is like a catchall for anything that’s not a more traditional computer. Uh, and so that makes it kind of easier and harder. It means that it’s easier to find data that says that mobile is whatever you want, uh, growing, shrinking, flat, you know, whatever, because you can include all these things or not include all the things or, or what have you. But the main thing I think that that’s really fundamental from an SEO perspective is that, um, Google is taking more and more in the, of the top of the Cert, uh, and websites are getting less and less click through.

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Jeff Byer:\tThat’s a big deal. The other thing in mobile that’s related to that is that the mobile device is becoming the hub for everyone’s life even more than it was before. Um, and the, the special growth is in media and entertainment, like movies, TV, stuff like that. And I think, um, because there are so many cable cutters, uh, Google sees that as a huge opportunity to monetize, um, because like lots of money used to be made on network and cable TV commercials, selling them, barring them, having them, whatever. Um, and without as many people watching TV and that like that, um, there’s a vacuum like power vacuum or opportunity vacuum, uh, that Google wants to fill with TV ads, subscription rental, buy all of your media from Google and youtube or from Google play and depending on your device. But it’s like most people don’t realize, cause most people don’t work on both android and Ios. But basically everything that’s in Google play is now in youtube as well. But it might be subscription model for TV or rental or whatever, rent this movie by this movie, whatever. But it’s the same inventory has surprise Google on some boasts. Yeah, yeah. And so are you seeing that, uh, you’re trying to translate the, the traditional offline models into a mobile experience? Or is it that we’re carving new directions with the proliferation of entertainment being mobile, being shifted to, uh, phones and, and tablets.

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Cindy Krum:\tIt’s, it’s new directions and it’s not just the mobile aspect of it, but it’s all the on demand consumption. So Netflix now has its own series and movies and Hulu has it’s own series and movies and so there are new competitors in the market as well as new formats and new ways to monetize.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. And new ways to target

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Cindy Krum:\tany ways to target. Right.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Okay. So it’s, so in, in the SEO specific side of, of mobile marketing, how, how would you, uh, how do you go about what more, what am I trying to say? Uh, probably more what the strategy is when you’re thinking about SEO, uh, compared to, you know, a desktop based SEO to a mobile based SEO.

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Cindy Krum:\tSure. So I encourage people to think outside of the blue links, uh, because really on, on a lot of the big, heavy hitting terms, the top of the page is Google, Google and Google, just different variations of Google content.

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Jeff Byer:\tHmm.

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Cindy Krum:\tUm, and you know, from a traditional SEO perspective, the best thing you can do really is get one of the featured snippets. But if you’re thinking outside of the SEO box, you can think like, what else could I do to be up here in the top? And like SEOs who don’t have a local background, don’t think about what could I do in Google my business to be here if there’s a map pack or a, what could I do in, uh, other outlets? Uh, for instance, like in Google play or, um, youtube to be here, right. Is there a video ranking? Why is it not my video? Oh, cause I don’t have videos, you know, so stuff like that where it’s not necessarily going for a blue link to your site. Um, but just content that’s yours

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Jeff Byer:\tbeing visible on the, on the top of the result page in any way possible. Right. Okay. Right.

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Cindy Krum:\tAnd some of the PPC stuff is getting much more engaging and um, competitive. Uh, so for instance, I’ve seen them testing something that looks like an Instagram slideshow where it has a, uh, a huge image. Um, that’s like a square that takes up most of the space above the fold after you’ve got your navigation and Google stuff at the top and it’s mostly, and then it’s got dots so you can swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe and see like a beautiful slideshow of Adidas shoes or whatever. And it’s not just the, the product photography with white backgrounds, it’s more like instagrammy

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Jeff Byer:\t[inaudible]

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Cindy Krum:\tuh, with models and settings and stuff.

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Jeff Byer:\tAnd, and they’re showing user generated content as well. Right.

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Cindy Krum:\tSome user generated content. I haven’t seen as much of that, but, but there’s also the, the pls and then the shopping stuff where you search for, I have an example in one of my most recent talks where it’s buy guitar near me and Google divides the, the sponsored product stuff, the sponsored pla stuff with buy online, buy in store and either one, either tab that you click, it’s got a carousel of actual guitars that you can buy right then like pictures of the guitars. So why would you want to hunt in someone else’s website when Google is giving you a feed with filters and you can, you know, sort by brand, sort by color, whatever. I mean it’s really engaging where you, you get pulled in by the picture of the product that you want or the question do you want to buy online or do you want to buy in a store? Um, and before you know, you’ve clicked on a pla or a paid ad because it’s a better experience than wrestling with someone’s website or landing on a bad landing page that doesn’t actually show you what you want or it’s out of stock.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Yeah. True. So they’re, they’re trying to control the experience and make it best for the, for the searcher and, uh, and also, uh, trying to predict their search intent. So, so searching for a guitar, uh, usually means purchase intent. That doesn’t mean you, you know, just kinda looking around or getting information. So yeah. Uh, and Barry Schwartz has been doing a good job of, of posting a lot of these new cert features and seeing experiments. So I, I follow him for that specific reason. It’s just what is going on and, and, you know, it’s nothing we can modify for because they’re just doing experiments. But, uh, it’s good to know that these things exist so we can, so we can build media towards it.

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah, exactly. But also from an, from a mobile perspective, if you’re doing mobile SEO, I encourage people to think really hard about what is part of the knowledge graph because, for instance, um, the Google my business, that’s part of the business aspect of the knowledge graph. Uh, the pls, uh, the stuff that they’re getting in merchant center, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but they’re now creating product knowledge graph pages. So for this specific guitar, it’s within the knowledge graph and knowledge graph knows that this guitar comes in White, red, black and green.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh yes, yes. I have seen, I’ve in some searches I have seen that and I’ve, I always wonder where they get the data. Is it Wiki Pedia or

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Cindy Krum:\tmerchant center? Merchant Center. Yeah. That’s historically PPC, but it’s coming up. We see merchant center carousels now in the organic.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. And so brands or re re retailers can gain access to, to to that information.

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Cindy Krum:\tYup. Or get inventory shown in those carousels.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. And is that based on the uh, the submission of product lists to Google shopping?

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Cindy Krum:\tYes, but you can submit them without running the paid ads. Okay. That’s what I’ve been told. I’m not a PBC expert. Okay. But you can send them all of your product specifications and data and then not run the ads. That was my understanding.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. So what is, what is something that the audience can take away as far as a typical, a digital marketer that is wanting to, to modify their content, not only for Mobile, but, uh, I’ll try and get Frankel’s as well. What’s, what’s the philosophy

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Cindy Krum:\tI think in terms of chunks of questions and answers and liftable content, cause B, Google’s going to be lifting and representing more and more content and SEO is, they’re getting mad about it now, but I think it’s gonna Continue. They can, they can get mad all they want. I can’t stop the Google train. Right. So you have to kind of let Google lift your content if you want to be there at all. That seems like the new play and you know, being upset about it as fine. I agree with like some of the stuff that ran his talking about with, uh, the, the anti competitive nature of what Google’s done to change the syrup. Right. Where everything, all roads lead to Google. Yeah. Um, I agree that that’s a problem, but also Google’s a business and we rank, uh, in their search engine at their discretion. Yeah. It’s their game. They don’t have to rank any of us.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And so that brings up another question is, are you, uh, expanding into other distribution channels so that you’re, you know, if for some reason Google’s yeah. Gone off the deep end and nobody uses it anymore, what is, where, where is your content also living?

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Cindy Krum:\tSo I think that, um, I’m, I’m doing everything I can to make sure me and my clients are putting their content in all of the Google channels available. So for instance, um, putting videos in youtube, putting podcasts in Google podcasts and Google play, um, putting stuff in Google my business, including doing Google posts and products and stuff like that. And it’s, it’s, uh, loosening your stranglehold on needing to do SEO on the website and doing SEO in a more holistic way. Um, just thinking about not just driving clicks and rankings, but driving visibility in the syrup,

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Jeff Byer:\tvisibility and engagement

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Cindy Krum:\tand engagement. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s also about, we have to, we’re not, we have to be real marketers and market good products and not just tricksters who, no loopholes in Google.

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Jeff Byer:\tRight. And that’s, that’s

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Cindy Krum:\tkind of been, you know, Google’s philosophy and trying to do everything they can to, to keep fake engagement and, and ranking signals from being, from being manipulated. So, so yeah, that’s something that there’s evidence that sometimes it works, but for the most part it’s not something to rely on. Right. Yeah. So I also saw a post, um, is Barkley there with you? He is. He’s being so quiet. He’s asleep.

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Jeff Byer:\tNice. So you’re a dog lover.

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Cindy Krum:\tI’m a dog. Larmer I also have a cat.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh, you do? Okay. So you list dog lover on your, on your Twitter profile. All right, so, uh, living in Denver. Um, so what outside of SEO and marketing do you like to do?

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Cindy Krum:\tI mostly do a lot of SEO and marketing occasionally. Uh, I love, I love, uh, audio books. It’s kind of something I, I’m always reading something and I’m always happy to talk about what I’m reading. Um, so anyone will listen. So what are you ready? The happiness advantage right now? It’s, uh, about, it’s kind of neuro psychology or neuro pop psychology depending on who you ask about or how your brain performs better, when you’re happier so you can be more efficient versus unhappy brains struggle.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And if I’ve, yeah, there’s a bunch of, uh, books that, that touch on that, but a, this sounds like a great, a great deep dive into the psychology of it.

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Cindy Krum:\tAbsolutely. I think I did a really great ted talk that I call Amy the Unicorn Ted talk because that’s the most memorable part is he tells a story about his sister Amy, the Unicorn.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh, very nice. I will look that up and link to it in the show notes. Okay. Uh, and so one question that I ask, uh, all of everybody that I have on the show is who do you follow and, uh, look to for information.

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Cindy Krum:\tI follow everybody. The people who I get the most out of, uh, recently, uh, always rand is good. I don’t always agree with everything he says, but it’s always well thought out and very smart. Um, uh, Jonno Alderson is super smart. Again, I don’t always agree. These, these are people that have strong opinions and I also have strong opinions, so I don’t always agree, but I totally, uh, I often agree with Jonno and uh, respect the thought process and stuff like that. Uh, let’s see. Marcus Tandler MCASS Tobler the two Marcus’s. Um, that’s the top of

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Jeff Byer:\tmy list right now. Who’s the top of your list? Oh boy. I have, I’ve, I’ve been, you know, ever since boss Con, uh, just a whole rash of people who were, who are, uh, providing a ton of information from Moscow. So that brought you into the fold. Uh, Lily Ray, uh, Marie Marie Haynes, uh, and uh, of course rant, but rants, uh, like some of his is his frequency of posting on the, the Google serpent and decline of Click throughs. Um, it’s, it seems to be the majority of what’s taking up his time right now,

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Cindy Krum:\tI think. Yeah, well it’s a big deal because you can be, if people are stuck in their analytics and they’re just looking at analytics or search console or something and they see they’ve maintained position one for years and years and years, but traffic’s down. Like that’s a hard conundrum to deal with. Like we’re doing everything we can and we’re, we’re still position one, but the traffic’s just not there anymore. So I get it. I’m, I’m, I’m there with him.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And it’s something that, you know, businesses are just going to have to learn to adapt to and, and switch. So I’m dealing with this too. Two of my customers now, uh, both of them deep B2B, so, um, it doesn’t have quite the, you know, the impact as far as bottom line. They’re still doing traditional, uh, outreach sales. Uh, but I’m trying to get their online presence a little more omni-channel so that, uh, they’re bringing in because they have a very, uh, personal touch when, when customers engage, but getting them in front of their customers is the more difficult part. So, uh, that’s why instead of them just concentrating on telephone calls and emails, getting them to branch out, offer content, offer value, and invite people in to ask them questions and engage with them without any pressure of sales. Yeah, definitely. So, yeah, I follow Barry Schwartz and Dan Scher and um, uh, a bunch of, uh, other SEO experts that, uh, I like to follow that, uh, optimize the and rob woods, uh, and smarty.

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah. I follow all those people. They’re all astic there a lot of super smart people in this industry. It’s why I love it so much.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Bill Slawsky he’s always fun.

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Cindy Krum:\tWas Great.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo, uh, what tools do you use other than obviously mobile? Moxie?

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Cindy Krum:\tI use the mobile maxi tool. What other tools do I use? Um, I was pretty old school. I use screaming frog a lot. I use SCM and Mas. Um, sometimes they use like the new crawlers, like a site bulb or a deep crawl. Those are great too. Um, and then search console and Google analytics, we’re getting into more data studio in tag manager. I’m excited about that. So that’s pretty much it.

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Jeff Byer:\tThat’s fantastic. Uh, yeah. So yeah, screaming frog, it’s amazing how long that tool has been, has been relevant. It’s been adapting and changing so well, I’m really, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, other than the, the Google supplied tools, it’s one of the oldest tools out on the market.

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Cindy Krum:\tYeah. So, you know, my concern with, with all the tools is that they’re still focusing so heavily on desktop and Google has said they’re mobile first. And so I’m doing everything I can because we have API APIs into tar. Um, emulators and simulators are what we’ve renamed to the page of scope and the circulator. Yeah. We have the ability to plug those into other tools so that they can at least like show a mobile version. Uh, because I feel like so many of these, when you dig into what is the mobile data, it’s either an approximation based on desktop or you know, there’s kind of shifting stuff in there. So, um, yeah, I, I’m ready for the rest of the industry to update to also be mobile first.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Well, you’re, you’re at the forefront of it and you’re not, you’re a, you’re an innovator as far as mobile marketing and, and using traditional SEO tactic tactics specifically for mobile. So, uh, I appreciate what you’re doing and it’s, it’s helping all of us, which is great. Yeah. Thanks. Um, all right, so, uh, to finish off here, where can people find you? Follow you? Um, what do you want to promote?

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Cindy Krum:\tSure. Uh, so like you mentioned earlier on Twitter, I’m Susie x, s u, zed, zed, I c k. S. Uh, that’s the easiest place to get me. Um, but I’m all over the place traveling and speaking at conferences. So always come up and say hello to me if you know I’m going to be around, uh, or my email address is just Cindy at mobile maxi. Uh, and what am I trying to promote? Let’s see. I’m trying to promote, uh, my tools. We just did a redesign of the homepage, which I’m really proud of and everyone laughs, but our tabs are screaming fast, like loading situation. Beautiful. I’m really proud of my team for that. Um, so I don’t know, do you want a promo code? I’ll make a promo code so that all your listeners can get 30 days free and the tools has that. That would be fantastic. What do you want your Promo code to be?

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Jeff Byer:\tA digital rage,

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Cindy Krum:\tdigital rage. All caps then. All right, perfect. Do it.

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Jeff Byer:\tI’ll do it in the next five minutes. Thank you very much. Well, thank you for your time and again, a really, really fun conversation, loved having you on. And uh, I look forward to following you, seeing the updates and uh, hopefully we could do this again.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Awesome. Anytime. Happy to do it. Thank you very much for show notes and information. Go to digital [inaudible] dot FM. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at them. And please give us a rating and review. We sincerely appreciate it.

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Today we talk with Beverly Macy, Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Technology & Marketing Consultant. Beverly specializes in Blockchain, IoT, and AI technologies and is a published resource on the cutting edge of the present and future of these technologies.

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About Beverly Macy

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Twitter @BeverlyMacy
LinkedIn BeverlyMacy
Article: The Forecast for IoT: Cloud with a Chance of Blockchain
Article: How 3 Top Trends Will Shape Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies in the 2nd Half of 2019

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Show Links

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Unchained Podcast
@laurashin
Google Alerts – Monitor the Web for interesting new content
@globaljeff

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Transcript

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Speaker 1:\t[inaudible]

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Jeff Byer:\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things Internet and the people that make it great. My name is still Jeff Byer and if you want me to prove it, go follow me @globaljeff on Twitter. Today, we talked to Beverly Macy. She is an adjunct professor at UCLA Anderson School of management. And she is also a digital technology consultant specializing in blockchain, IoT, and AI.

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Jeff Byer:\tShe mentioned a large automotive client that she’s working with currently. Most of her work is in supply chain management which makes sense for anything like blockchain to work. So, we’ll get into that in detail a little later. So before we get to the interview, just wanted to talk about a recent interesting website audit I did for a customer. A current customer was asking me if I could help his father’s business because they were having some issues with SEO and website performance and overall digital marketing and business. So of course I want to help out and plus I want to see, you know, how this local business is failing. So bad in a relatively a medium market, not a big market. So I went, I was excited to look at it from a research standpoint.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo I went and looked at it. And as typical with these local businesses, I’ve been through a couple of different designers that have been through a couple of different WordPress themes. and I just laugh because none of them optimize anything. Most of them are not developers. They’re just, they modify themes through the WYSIWYG and what they can’t get done. They just ignore as far as requests from the customer. So needless to say they hosted on Bluehost, which I have been public about, my disdain for bluehost and there are performance issues that they don’t even, they don’t even offer HTTP/2. You have to still pay for an SSL certificate. They don’t allow you to use any of the free resources from the c panel. Uh, there’s many issues and you know, they have, they have very opaque pricing. They’re going to get you in on a $3 and 95 cent per month, or you know, I think it’s four 95 a month, but then they’re going to charge you 20, 95 a month on your next year renewal.

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Jeff Byer:\tIt’s very unfair policies, a lot like GoDaddy’s pricing policies where you pay a $5 for a domain and then it costs you $28 when it renews. It’s, it’s a, it’s not something that I advocate and I’ve moved away almost completely moved away from both companies. So that’s the way you should treat companies that you’re not exactly happy with. So anyway, they’re hosted, they have a wordpress installation that’s hosted on, on bluehost. I looked into their statistics and SEO and they’re doing fine for their company name, but none of their other high value keywords are working at all. They look like somebody sold them into a content marketing campaign that was completely out of context. That was never going to rank because Google knows that they are a service provider and the information that they were providing was out of context for keywords that probably weren’t even going to convert.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo it was an interesting case study. I’m, I’ve did a couple of, you know, their, their lighthouse report was terrible. There were two links. There were two images that were being linked from the development server of one of the previous designers. Uh, it’s, it’s a mess. And so, what I started to is go through the technical issues. so one fixing the errors in the console to looking at the the security vulnerabilities that are always included with j query. Uh, they were a bootstrap based theme, so it was requiring j query, but it was an old version of j query. But I think even the newest version of j query is still going to give a vulnerability air. So I’m not sure that that can go away completely. Uh, this was the funny part is they actually do have https security on the server.

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Jeff Byer:\tIt’s just not a, I think only three or four of the pages actually use it. So they’re getting penalized there. they’ve got uh, poor color contrast on all text on the site, which you know, is not only a usability issue but a accessibility issue and a SEO factor as well. Not being able to read the content images, didn’t have alt descriptions, links with no discernible names and small tap targets on mobile. So these are all really standard things when, when we build websites here, especially in the design process. So since we custom design everything, we address these issues from the beginning working with themes, you don’t get to design. And if the theme developer decided that you know, this fancy way of doing buttons though not accessible, was easier to sell, then that’s the way they’re going to do it. And unless you know the code and are able to get in there and modify it yourself, you’re going to inherit all of those issues.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo one great article that I was, that I saw while I was poking around in this stuff is when you’re, when you’re deciding on a theme, accessibility and performance should be your number one priority. So don’t go to theme forest and just start looking at designs, get that, get in there and test these things. and then beyond that, you know, the hosting and using CDNs caching, all those performance upgrades are an absolute must. So needless to say, there’s a lot to do with this company and I am going to help them out and hopefully I can share the case study with the public once we have it done. there content issues started when I wasn’t receiving his emails and that’s always a bad sign because that could either mean his, his domain is being penalized. So I use Gmail for my business, the g suite and g Gmail jumped his emails to me and these weren’t cold emails.

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Jeff Byer:\tHe, I had already been introduced to him through my client and he was not able to get his emails through the Google junk filter. So, he’s probably been sending email campaigns through his domain, so or through his actual email server, but bluehost is nefarious for re giving out IP addresses that have had previous penalties. And so he could have just inherited assist an IP address that has had issues in his is blacklisted or, or at least put on a spam directories. Uh, so dealing with that, that was the first issue is that I didn’t get emails from him for a week because they were all being junked. So once I figured out they were getting junked, I whitelisted him. I’ve started using his direct Gmail address and uh, did a quick IP IP penalty search and there were no apparent IP penalties. But getting them away from bluehost and getting him on a clean, dedicated IP is definitely top priority.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo moving the site is going to be number one. He has in the last three months has a ton of spammy backlinks sites that obviously aren’t anywhere near what his, what his John MRA, so completely out of context. But none of these links had over a 10 domain rank. So really bad spamming links. He got talked into some sort of an old SEO firm that is doing more harm than good. So I told them we’d have to disavow, start disavowing all of those links that were purchased and start over with good quality links and good quality content. none of, like I said, none of his keywords are ranking on page one a, the keywords that he is ranking for or at least optimize for are very low volume. And so I’m thinking this keyword research was done by somebody who, one wanted to just show rankings and get quick wins or two didn’t actually take into account the effectiveness or do any competitive research and see what their click through rate or success rate was for each of these words.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo another issue, a stock, a really low resolution photo for the, for the big banner image means one thing to me is that the person who was installing this template and, and playing around with the template had no idea how to use Photoshop or optimize an image. and to the source images were probably low resolution as well. So instead of asking for better assets, he just put this really low resolution, terrible looking image, and having this huge banner on top of the website with absolutely no real value was awful. Anyway, so the first impression look on the site is terrible. Uh, then he’s got a stock photo of a guy holding a plumber’s wrench with no personalization, no personality, no actual. It looks so generic that this could be for, for any company in the world. it’s missing calls to action.

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Jeff Byer:\tThe goal, the main call to action is a telephone call, but there’s no links on the telephone calls. Uh, the other call to action is a email, but there’s no links on the emails. Call to actions. The buttons go to the contact page, which is not secure. So you get a warning as soon as you get there. the blog has really thin content. Whoever’s writing this content put in, you know, the minim I don’t even think most of the articles there are over 500 words. and obviously that’s not, like I said, it’s out of context. There’s no ownership verification there. Google my business listing, it got slammed early on with a couple of bad reviews and the customers never, they responded to the customer in time, which was the right thing to do. But the [inaudible], they never asked the customers to reconsider their refuse after talking to them or resolving their issue.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo, so they’ve got issues all across the board. So, the links are really what’s killing me or what’s going to take a while to overcome the SEO tactics were just outdated and they’re spammy backlinks, the keyword stuffing, no verifiable public information. I mean, this is, this is the, this is starting from zero on eat, even though their domains been around for awhile. So this current state of their website is awful. So I think what my, what my my, what my gut is telling me is get it, just get this out of wordpress. They’re not gonna use it. put it into a easier to use probably Java script of a content management system, but get the site static as soon as possible. Get rid of all of those extra resources, simplify it and make it fast on mobile as fast as humanly possible, get better assets, better loading assets and uh, put, put an, put a face to the company and uh, actually get some, get some credibility, have the author himself write articles so that he starts building up a following and uh, get, get their social media campaigns built up and uh, hopefully get, gets backlinks from resources.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo big project there, I’ll use it as a case study because it’s not, it’s not going to be for profit. Uh, I’m helping a existing client out who who I really enjoy helping out. So this’ll be a fun one, a good case study. So I’ll keep you posted on that. And now we have our interview with Beverly Macy. Once again, Beverly Macy is an adjunct professor at UCLA Anderson School of management at digital technology consultants specializing in blockchain, Iot and AI. She has been published several places and used as a resource for people like Oracle and uh, and people on the blockchain in blockchain technology who are doing innovating and sharing information. So she’s at the forefront of all of this and it’s a very exciting conversation. So here we go, be Macy

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Jeff Byer:\tHow are you today?

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Beverly Macy:\tI am great, thank you. And thank you for having me.

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Jeff Byer:\tOf course. Of course.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo to start out, why don’t we talk about the beginning, how you got started in everything digital and technology.

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Beverly Macy:\tOkay,

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Beverly Macy:\tsure. So I’ve always had a passion for emerging technology. I started my career as a software developer way back a long time ago. I was in corporate America for quite a while in traditional marketing and sales roles. Then I started my own company and I’ve been teaching it yes,

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Beverly Macy:\tCla

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Beverly Macy:\tfor about over 15 years and traditional marketing kinds of courses. Somewhere in the mid two thousands, it became evident to me

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Beverly Macy:\tthrough my consulting work that clients were beginning to ask about things like blogging and podcasting. Interestingly enough. And we did some research on behalf of one of my larger clients and discovered the whole emerging world of social media, which is now really digital media, including mobile. and that was kind of how it all started. I’ve always had a pension for the emerging technology of the day, so.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And so based on that, how did, what was the idea that spawned the, the book about Social Media Now?

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Beverly Macy:\tWell, when I was that guy, UCLA a in the early days, we launched a, one of the very first social media marketing courses in the United States at UCLA. And that was very breakthrough at the time. And we started doing some business conferences around social media marketing, this new phenomenon. This is the mid two thousands, 2008, 2009. And I was actually approached by McGraw Hill at after one of my talks in New York City. and they asked me to write the book, which I was really pleased to do. And I was joined by my coauthor Terry Thompson, who had been a former student of mine, but she also had a background in marketing. So we were able to, pull all of our resources and write a pretty seminal book on social media marketing. The book went on to be used in a number of universities as well as kind of a strategic look at social media for our businesses.

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Jeff Byer:\tOkay. And at the time, what what was the the hot social media trends and what has changed since then?

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Beverly Macy:\tWell, the interesting thing is we were very naive at the time. We saw a social media marketing and social media as you know, the good thing that was going to connect everybody and make everybody happy. and in the beginning it kind of did. There was a lot of discovery. People were very excited about being able to kind of bring the global world, you know, right to your fingertips, if you will. and what was happening at the time the, we didn’t actually write the book about specific platforms. We approached it more from a strategic standpoint, but at the time it was, you know, Facebook, Twitter, linkedin, snapchat I don’t think can be really hit the market yet, although I will say that in the book we do cover a couple of things that were very forward leaning. One, which was virtual currency, which nobody was talking about, but it was being widely used in gaming platforms. So that’s the predecessor to bitcoin and, the crypto currency world. And the other thing, we devoted a whole chapter to measurement and analytics. And back in 2011, nobody was talking about analytics and social media. So it was pretty forward leaning in terms of what we covered, I think that what’s changed is unfortunately, we’ve seen

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Beverly Macy:\tkind of the dark side of of social media and I think we’re ironing out all those kinks now, but we’re realizing that, you know, we’ve kind of unleashed a, a two headed monster and we want to really hopefully get back to the positive side. the other side of that coin is that everything is now mobile. So early on, social media was at the desktop or on the left up top. Now it’s clearly mobile. So

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Jeff Byer:\tnow that, that Pandora’s box we opened, you’re, you’re referring to free speech and uh, and negative negativity on social media or,

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Beverly Macy:\tyeah, I think so. I think it’s the idea that if anything goes and, and that’s great, you know in the early days anything goes, but it turns out that anything goes can kind of go dark also. And I think it’s been a little bit shocking to marketers and to people in general to realize how negative, you know, the, the anonymous public can actually skew. So that’s been a little bit, you know, just the unfortunate, I do think that we will get past that so to speak and we’ll be able to counter it. But

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Beverly Macy:\tI think that’s definitely been an issue. And then of course the other thing that’s come up in the last couple of years has been privacy insecurity. And I think those two issues are also getting a new look. You know, what does it really mean to be giving my data away for the opportunity to use the platform? in the beginning that sounded like a fair exchange. And now I think some people are starting to question that.

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Jeff Byer:\tOh, and the devices have a lot to do with that too, right?

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Beverly Macy:\tAbsolutely. Absolutely. There’s a lot of factors in this. I mean, we could spend a whole hour talking about kind of where this all went, not wrong, but how this kind of new phenomenon is occurred. But nonetheless, from a marketing standpoint, you know, and from a digital media stand point, we want to try to counter that as much as possible.

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Jeff Byer:\tGotcha. Yeah. Uh, so transitioning from the social media you are now wrote the book on Social Media Marketing and that extended into digital marketing. Yeah,

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Beverly Macy:\tabsolutely. Well, I think the market changed it itself. You know, digital social was kind of a thing over on the side. So you had, you know, traditional marketing and marketing and PR, whatever, and then social media marketing. Now everything is really digital. I think we could all agree that, I would say the digital umbrella includes social platforms. It includes mobile, you know, it’s now starting to include a lot more about voice activation. So I think all of these things are, part of digital.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. I, I, and I don’t know that there’s even a separation between traditional marketing and digital marketing now because digital has to be a part of even your mainstream campaigns.

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Beverly Macy:\tTotally agree. Totally agree. And I think that’s a really blending. Finally, I think there was a lot of pushback on that in the beginning and traditional marketers wanted to kind of have a, you know, a firewall between the two and I think that that’s absolutely come down. That would be correct.

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Jeff Byer:\tSo now let’s transition a little bit into the blockchain. how did you get to be involved in, in researching and, and blockchain reporting?

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Beverly Macy:\tSure. So, let’s see. I’ve, as I said, I’ve always been interested in emerging technology in this, started to bubble up, you know, the bitcoin phenomenon started in 2008 with the Sitoshi white paper on Bitcoin, but, that was kind of way off to the side. and as I said in our book in 2011, we did write about, um crypto currencies or what was called at the time, virtual currencies. And just the whole concept of it, not so much specifically to a platform. as time went on, I think that in 2017, we saw a big rush of what was called ICO or initial coin offerings. There was a lot of buzz around what is a cryptocurrency bitcoin new coins we’re being in and her introduced to the market. But my interest was really more about the blockchain technology that was underlying all of these crypto currency phenomenon.

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Beverly Macy:\tAnd I happened to meet, with a group of people who ended up starting something called the La blockchain lab, which is a consortium of UCLA, USC, cal tech, the city of Los Ans was some corporate members. Panasonic was a founding member who really wanted to look at the marketplace and look at the opportunities from the standpoint of, you know, what is this phenomenon? Where will it be applicable? Are there any real use cases that we can get our arms around who’s doing, you know, study into this and really kind of take it quote seriously rather than just say, oh, you know, the new shiny object bitcoins.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah, I remember. It was, yeah, no, I remember when wind, you know, bitcoin was, was bitcoin and you, everybody is like, okay, what is this and how does it work? And there the word was blockchain and so everybody associated blockchain with cryptocurrency, but blockchain itself didn’t actually get separated from crypto currency recently as far as, as far as general reputation, not as far as technical minded people, but uh, people who, who were looking at cryptocurrencies and people who are looking at a blockchain and realizing there were two separate things.

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Beverly Macy:\tAbsolutely. That’s 100% correct. And so I, um have, you know, only a couple of clients that I work with these days I picked very selectively and one of them is in the high end auto automotive space and they wanted to look at blockchain as it relates to their supply chain management. So we did a very exhaustive study actually in Europe, with some other folks related to looking at what is block chain number one, and educating ton of the board of directors of what does it even mean. And number two, who are the vendors that are working in it, you know, talking with companies like Oracle and sale, even sales force and SAP and IBM and really kind of doing a deep dive into how are these vendors that that primarily, service the enterprise market. How are they approaching block chain? What are they looking at, what are they doing, who are some of their early customers, that type of thing. And getting, all of that information in a report and delivering it back to the client, which we completed in the beginning of this year. So it was a very exhaustive study and it was very revealing because it gave a good kind of state of the market, if you will, of where, where all this is at.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. And I remember doing my deep dive into blockchain and you know, creating different you know, small little exchange apps and things like that just to get a better understanding of it. and my you know, you always think of like, what would it be a dream project? So something that that is a problem now that you could use blockchain to solve. And funny enough, what I came up with was in the automotive space, but was being able to track every the history and transaction of a vehicle. So when you buy a used vehicle, you know, when it was purchased, when it was serviced, when it w w when it had accidents, you know, all verifiable information so that there isn’t so much scamming and, and uh, and distrust in the industry.

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Beverly Macy:\tAbsolutely. And that’s the provenance application. You know, the idea of the historical, tracking of, of a, an object that is also being used now. IBM and Walmart have a a study going on in food safety, the ability to track the seed to the marketplace. where does food go? There’s a lot of fraud in, in fish, in the fish market and the olive oil market. You’d be surprised at how deep some of this can get. Also. I know that de Beers diamonds was looking at this related to diamond mining. so there’s a lot of different applications. When you start thinking about tracking something’s life and the components of that product or serve, you know, that product that you’re talking about. So you’re absolutely right. And that is an exciting part of blockchain. it’s, again, it’s, it’s in development.

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Beverly Macy:\tThis is a completely different way of thinking about our supply chain, which is that this idea that you’re going to track every single part of it, down to, you know, the screws in the, in the car or the carburetor or whatever it may be. and I think it’s really exciting. It’s, it’s not a quick fix. However, it’s not something that you think of an implement, you know, quickly this is being taught to, you’ve got to get all the different vendors involved to sign up to this. Everybody who’s on the supply chain has to agree to this level of transparency. And that’s, you know, that’s a challenge. Let’s face it. So,

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Jeff Byer:\tyeah. And there’s going to be plenty of companies that would be you know, it’s in their financial interest not to expose all that information.

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Beverly Macy:\tWell, that’s true. And so blockchain, you know, there’s permissioned and permissioned lists blockchains. So you can actually develop a permissioned blockchain where everybody is basically a private chain where everyone involved or all the parties and stakeholders involved could have an agreement with one another but not be public to the public so to speak. you know, so there’s lots of different things that are being looked at. And I think, what I’m interested most interested in [inaudible] related to blockchain and I’ve been writing about this is blockchain and combined with AI and Iot. So in the enterprise or what, what sums vendors are calling intelligence systems or the intelligent enterprise, which is all of these new technologies that are talking about linking, you know, Iot is all about sensor data sensors everywhere and the data that comes back, it’s way too much data for most companies to know what to do with. So AI is part of kind of parsing all that data. What does it all mean? Who needs it, where should we route it? And then the blockchain is not necessarily just a storage, but it’s kind of an infrastructure or a highway really for everything to live on. So we’re seeing companies like SAP,

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Beverly Macy:\tIBM, look at these, three kinds of technologies of how can they kind of service one another and maybe something will emerge from that. So I think that going into 2020, we’re going to see more of that kind of approach in the enterprise, not just here’s our standalone blockchain. And then I think that inside of that, a, what could begin to happen back to the conversation about, you know, different stakeholders in the supply chain is something called, you know, tokenized incentives. So could you build in some incentives that are a token or a currency but not, not a Fiat currency or a currency on the public market that could be generated to incentivize all the players to be part of, you know, this transparency that’s going to be required. So it’s kind of interesting to begin to think like that. It takes you in some fascinating conversations. They get pretty deep.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Yeah. And I do agree with your previous point that the the blockchain is a to look to as a tool but not the product itself. And in combination with other technologies, especially AI technologies that it can be very powerful and be used in, in ways to automate a lot of resources, especially you know, thinking resources like sorting through data on sensors that you mentioned. that’s a ton of data constantly coming in. So yeah,

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Beverly Macy:\tyeah. And companies are finding that they just can’t, you know, big data. I, I wrote him a piece of a while back on, you know, forget big data. Let’s go to small data. The problem is that what data do we really need? You know, and, and sorting that out, you know, we have a lot of tools to do that, but AI can do it so much faster. So what’s the data that’s going to be required? And sometimes we don’t even know what that data is. You know, data begets data in some ways, you know? Uh, so I think that applying AI to this marketplace is going to be fascinating to see where it goes.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. It’s going to be incredible to see the implementations, especially on the larger scale, like the, like the larger companies that are have the resources to do that research and have the the ability to to, to process large amounts of data on scale and see what, see what’s found. Cause that’s, you know, I think there was a few articles that I read that this is the, the generation of data where it’s just producing tons and tons of data, but, you know, pay me a 1% of it actually gets, gets sifted through to find results.

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Beverly Macy:\tExactly. And then, you know, what, what do we need? I mean, you start thinking about the insurance industry, all the data that’s involved in the insurance industry or the legal industry or anything, you know, all of these industries with tons of data and can AI began to help, you know, sort through that for some interesting, some very, like I say, some very interesting results. So, yeah, I think it’s a fun time and I tell students all the time, this is a great time to be. If you, if you have a, an inkling towards these kinds of questions, this is a great time to make an impact in how business is structured for the next 20, 30 years. You know, I think this is going to be a longterm project. So

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Jeff Byer:\tyeah. Uh, it’s, you know, this is pretty much the beginning, but but happy to see where it goes and, and, I love staying on top of it and I’m sure you love as much being involved in it on a, yeah. As a, as a consultant and and as a professor, you bet

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Beverly Macy:\tyou bought one. It’s really fun. There’s some great thinkers right now. We, we the the blockchain lab,

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Beverly Macy:\tI just did a, um oh, couple of months ago at USC, we held an event with the city of Los [inaudible]

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Beverly Macy:\tTangelos can, we talked about smart cities and we talked about blockchain and AI and Iot and some things related to the Olympics. Coming to Los Angeles in 2028 and how some of these technologies might be applied to you know, whether it’s the logistics of moving people around the city or whether it’s you know, entertainment or tracking what’s going on. It’s, it’s, it’s really fun to start thinking about those kinds of real world projects and situations.

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Jeff Byer:\tThat’s great. so are there things that are, that are live now that that utilize the blockchain that most of the general public wouldn’t know? Is there interacting with the blockchain?

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Beverly Macy:\tYou know, I don’t know that there’s the public would know or not know. I will say that there are, some use cases that are of note. One is myrisk, which is the biggest shipping company on it’s out of the Netherlands, I believe, but it’s the biggest shipping company on the planet. And so every time you see these great big gigantic barred ships with, you know, thousands of containers and if you get down to the port of La at the harbor or whatever, you would see these kinds of things. IBM and Myrisk have an HSBC. The bank has done some really interesting things with blockchain around tracking on shipping containers and even tracking inside what’s inside of some of the shipping containers. So that’s not going to affect the public directly. Although, you know, the idea here is that as we get better transparency in this type of thing, the products that you actually do receive as I, I’ll go back to like, is that really all of oil? Well let’s hope it is, you know, and maybe now there’ll be a way to prove that it is. So there’s things like that

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Beverly Macy:\tthat I think also is again, in supply chain management is one of the biggest areas at least that I’ve been looking at. you, we talked about provenance also this idea of being able to track a vehicle or a diamond that type of thing as well. we are seeing a lot of you know, early Beta kind of projects and that, but I don’t have something that I could point to that would say this is blockchain and it’s affecting the rest of the world.

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Beverly Macy:\tHowever, I will pivot to say that Libra, the announcement from Facebook, which is not technically a virtual currency or not technically a token, is going to be very interesting to see how that develops and what it has done. The announcement is it’s brought it to the public consciousness of what is a cryptocurrency. Even the conversation around Libra has sparked people to say, oh, I didn’t know what it even was. So that’s a kind of a public education almost, if you will.

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. Kind of like when a, when o.com was accepting bitcoin and uh, that proprietor introduced it to the public. Like, wow, you can actually exchange bitcoin for good goods was a huge step and now, and now Facebook is yeah. Using its mainstream popularity to, to make this public. And Yeah, there was a lot of outlet out outlash as far as, you know, why is Facebook building their own cryptocurrency? But, it’s, yeah, it’s what they do with it. Just like anything. It’s like what do you do? What does Facebook do with all their data and,

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Beverly Macy:\twell, exactly. And you know, Facebook, I mean, you know, opinions on Facebook again as a whole other show, probably a whole nother conversation to have. But I think, again, just the benefit of putting it into the kind of public consciousness is useful because that gets people thinking and talking about a new way of exchanging value with one another. And I think that is a positive, what Facebook actually ends up doing with it. You know, will it just be chuck e cheese tokens for 2 billion people or will it be more than that? That’s, that’s to be determined, you know?

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Jeff Byer:\tYeah. So we’re kinda getting to the end here. So there’s a couple of other questions I’d like to ask each of our guests. so obviously follow your person to follow as far as blockchain and and, you know, current events falling blockchain. who else do you follow in this space?

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Beverly Macy:\tThat is a really good question or a really good point. there’s a number of podcasts that are out there that are pretty good. There’s one by, I think her name is Laura Shin. It’s called unchained. And she has very interesting guests from everything from the enterprise approach to the kind of crypto currency approach to the kind of wild cryptocurrency. She did

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Beverly Macy:\tsome really good interviews with folks around Libra when it was first announced for instance in different things like that. so that’s a podcast that I like to pay attention to. I also follow on it just in the General News, you know, r one, I do have a Google alert set for, you know, blockchain and AI and Iot. So I get lots of different kinds of news that comes in and it’s kind of interesting to see where it’s all coming from. You know, who’s talking about it on Twitter and on, linkedin. There’s lots of people talking about crypto. I try to make a definition, you know, between crypto and blockchain. And so I am interested in what’s happening in the crypto space because it’s, it’s going to matter as time goes on. But my primary interest is in, as I said, the blockchain Iot. AI.

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Beverly Macy:\tOkay. So, you know, I follow the traditional folks in that, the oracles, the, the IBM’s, the SAP sales force, you know, to see what they’re doing and talking about. So that’s kind of how I do it. And then through the lab, I’m one of our, one of our goals is to begin to do more education kinds of seminars and things like that. But we ourselves exchange a lot of information. So it’s been very useful to be part of a really smart group of people who are deep into the topics.

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Jeff Byer:\tThat’s fantastic. So we’ll, we’ll link to that into linked to all those resources in the show notes. And are there any tools you use on a regular basis that that help with searching for cryptocurrency or doing research for clients, anything like that?

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Beverly Macy:\tWell, as I mentioned you know, Google alerts are always useful. It’s unbelievable how they’ve been around forever and people forget about them. But the Google will deliver right to your email. you know, news about whatever your topic is. So I do think that that’s useful. I also, you know, I, I, there was a meetup here in Los Angeles. It was the Beverly Hills Blah, a bit corny and I think, and they, they did some events. So I tried to just kind of stay in, in touch in general with what’s on. the tools that I use in research are pretty much, you know, what everybody uses. There’s a lot you know, there’s, there’s a lot available out there. It’s just a matter of getting to it. And then I will say that, you know, through the partnerships that I’ve built myself as well as through UCLA and also the lab, you know, we can get some pretty good briefings from some of the companies I talked about. they’re not giving us proprietary information, but they are helping us to do a deep dive into how they approach the market. So I think that’s very useful. And I know Amazon is now in the block chain market. They’ve got a pretty good public, like slide deck that you can find somehow by searching Amazon and blockchain and you know, I think it’s

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Beverly Macy:\tin their cloud services that kind of got bundled under that, but there’s lots of information out there. So,

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Jeff Byer:\tyeah. And uh I’m looking at the article that that uh, oracle has posted on their blog. Uh, your article of the, yeah. Uh, the challenges, and it’s linking to uh, iot-analytics.com.

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Beverly Macy:\tOkay. Okay, good. Yeah, that’s great. And that’s probably an oracle. Yes. I have done a couple of different things for Oracle. there should be another one as well. This one just was

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Beverly Macy:\treleased, I guess last week. so, you know, talking with them about these subjects

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Beverly Macy:\tand then of course they share with me some of, you know, how they’re approaching the market as well and that that helps build the knowledge. I think the nice thing right now, I’ll just kind of end with this. The nice thing in the blockchain universe right now is that everybody’s in a sort of a learning mode. So there’s a lot of sharing of information and that’s helpful, you know I know MIT is doing some great stuff, other universities. but I think there’s a nice kind of, again, sharing between, you know corporations and universities and Eaton, the city of Los Angeles. We’re here talking with them and they talk with us. And so that’s very helpful,

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Jeff Byer:\tright? Yeah, yeah. Open source communication definitely paves the road for progress, especially in new technologies like this. So it’s important to keep that open. And I think having that public pressure to, for corporations to keep that open trend is has been amazing. And especially for emerging technologies like this. Uh, everybody can benefit from everybody else’s experiments, research mistakes, Eh, ah, yeah. Fail fails. Yup.

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Beverly Macy:\tWell said. Well said. Yep.

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Jeff Byer:\tAll right. Beverly will thank you very much for being on our podcast. We’d love having you and it’s great to, to talk about cryptocurrency and, and digital marketing and Iot with you. anything, everywhere you want to promote a, have people follow you, where can they get in touch with you?

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Beverly Macy:\tYou know, you can follow me on Twitter at Beverly Macy. I’m on Linkedin. I’m, I’m everywhere. would love to, you know, connect with folks and you know, I’m happy to spread the word. I think this is a, again, this is a very exciting time and as I said, I tell my students this all the time, you know, if I was sitting in your seat, I’d be, you know, tactically jumping out of, out of my chair with excitement because there’s so much opportunity out there.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah, there’s definitely an opportunity. Well, thank you for, for bringing the subject to the forefront and also teaching the students about it so that we can have a, a, a well well-informed workforce coming in after college. So thank you very much for, for your time and

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Jeff Byer:\tyeah, we’ll look forward to speaking here against you. Okay. Thanks a lot for show notes and information. Go to digital [inaudible] dot FM. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digital rage at them. And please give us a rate and review and sincerely appreciate it.

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On today’s episode, we bring back Kevin Indig, VP of Content and SEO at G2.com. Jeff Byer talks to Kevin about microsites, landing pages, SEO, sitemaps, and a couple of Twitter controversies.

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Transcription:

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Jeff:\tWelcome to Digital Rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer, and today we are having Kevin Indig back on the show. Kevin did a talk in Minnesota and talked about using microsites instead of landing pages, which stirred my interest. So I wanted to get him back on the show and talk about landing pages and all the good things that he’s doing over at G2.

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Jeff:\tJust quick short announcement. Matt is taking a little bit of a hiatus from the podcast. He’s gotten very busy, and this does take a lot of time and a lot of resources. He’s always going to have this opportunity to come back on the show and either promote, cohost, whatever he wants.

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Jeff: But for now, in order to keep the consistency and be posting every week and create a weekly show, I am going to take over all parts of the production. So, the things that might be a little on the sketchy side moving forward that Matt used to take care of is guest-booking and the show notes. So the show notes I will do my best. I’m probably going to have to go with an automated solution for the show notes as a starter and then go back, read through them and have them all transcribed and sent to me. So a lot of outsourcing there, outsourcing the design issues and refilling the queue again.

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Jeff: So, what we’re going to do is reach out to all of the guests that are on my list. My list includes Izzie Smith, Lily Ray, Marie Haynes, Bill Slawski, Rand Fishkin. There are quite a few people that I follow that have a ton of questions, people that I interact with on Twitter. I interact with Kevin on Twitter a lot, so he was natural to get on the show and talk about SEO and content marketing, digital marketing.

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Jeff:\tThe state of digital marketing is that everything is changing. Google’s AI is getting smarter. Context is a huge factor now. You can’t just go after a keyword and expect to rank for that keyword just by creating a landing page. You need to provide value and context.

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Jeff: So, there’s been a lot of great content floating around about context and about understanding semantic search and Google understanding which search results are more relevant for the user’s search intent. And so, we talked to Kevin about that, and Kevin starts every project with no keyword research, and he was kind of hinting that keyword research is almost dead. He didn’t want to go all the way to say that it was completely dead.

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Jeff:\tBut what he starts with is the problem that your product is trying to solve and then understand the customer’s journey from when they have that problem to making a decision to choose a problem.

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Jeff: So, the top, middle, bottom of the funnel, create an experience, and that’s how the idea of microsites came about. And his time at Atlassian showed that these microsites really do work, and it is a viable option for your content strategy moving forward, especially big sites that have a lot of different content and ideas around them focusing an idea into one bucket, which is what we’re calling a microsite now. Not a separate domain or subdomain but on the actual site taking your main content and building it out into its own mini-experience inside of your whole brand experience.

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Jeff: Great conversation and definitely he’s one of the best. He’s our first repeat guest so love having him on. So, before we get to the interview, sorry I’m talking too fast. Before we get to the interview, a couple of things I wanted to bring up. There were a bunch of tweets about MozCon, so MozCon was a couple of weeks ago now. And a lot of people were live-tweeting, especially Lily Ray. I love Lily Ray. She was doing a great job live-tweeting during the event and doing a great job introducing the presenters and the presenters’ topics and things like that.

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Jeff:\tA lot of the content that I found really valuable is that content should include information on contributors. So, this goes to what Marie Haynes and Lily Rae have been talking about for a long time, which is author pages and letting not only Google but the audience know who’s writing the content and what their credentials are.

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Jeff:\tSo this is something I’m going to start implementing something for myself, which is everything that I put out there. I will have one page with all of my information, where I’ve been published, where I post, where to follow me, all of my LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram profiles. Basically just an author-info page.

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Jeff:\tAnd then along those lines is that brands that post on behalf of the brand and do content marketing as a brand. That brand will need a profile on why this brand has the authority to post about things like this.

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Jeff:\tSo, it’s a lot of somehow verifying that you do have the expertise in the subject matter that you’re talking about. So opinion pieces, things like that, it’s not as relevant as what your day-to-day job is and what you post about is going to have to be connected and verifiable through third-party means. And for Google-trusted third party means.

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Jeff:\tSo, for a lot of big brands and celebrities and things like that, that’s going to include Wikipedia and IMDB and follower counts and things like that. For us normal people, it’s going to be a little bit more difficult, but the more we’re out there and posting, and the more we’re getting noticed and our content is being interacted with, the better we’re going to do as far as being a trusted resource.

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Jeff: And HARO, Help a Reporter Out, is a good way to get started with that. And Marie Haynes mentions this a lot. And HARO is basically just reporters looking for sources on different articles. And so I’ve been a member of HARO for a while now. And I’ve contributed to quite a few articles. Now that I’ve looking to make an author page for myself, I have to hunt all those down, which is going to be a little bit of an issue, but it’ll be fun all the same.

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Jeff:\tAnother topic from MozCon that came up is that Google My Business, which we always refer to as GMB, and in this interview, we’ll refer to it as GMB as well. If you reach out to your customers and ask them how happy they are with your product, if they say yes they’re happy, and you send them to write a Google review, and if they’re not happy you send them somewhere else where they can rant but not publicly or not on a third-party forum, this is a violation of the GMB guidelines, and you could get penalized for that.

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Jeff:\tSo this was interesting because we have an episode. I forgot which episode it is, but I’ll put it in the show notes because I’m mentioning it now. But, this was a tactic that one of our interviewees had performed in the past. And that is previously, you wouldn’t think about it. It was common sense that you’d ask your customers if they’re happy, and if you are, you ask them for a review.

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Jeff: But now, since it’s against the rules, it is somewhat weighing your reviews towards what you want as the result, you’re influencing it a little bit by filtering them out like that. But for the most part, I still think that in Google My Business or any review site in general, the only way that people are really going to be fired up to write a review is if they’re not happy.

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Jeff: So, having good service and a good product, of course, you’re going to have the nefarious one-star trying to bring your rating down. But, for the most part, I think that as long as you’re paying attention to your customers, responding to customer service requests, making sure that people are unhappy are heard and addressed and somehow try and make them happy, that’s always the best policy. More of a business policy than anything else. If you want a good review, a good rating, that’s how you get them is to be a good company and be a good person in general or a good citizen.

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Jeff: All right so another controversial few tweets that I addressed, and I talk about this in the interview. So I don’t want to ruin it all. But, one of the tweets that were being sent out during Mozcon was that there are no longer any national SERPs, which is a search engine result page.

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Jeff: And so, what that means is I had to do a lot of clarifying, and I was tweeting back and forth with Lily Ray and a few others. And what that basically means is Google’s search engine results pages are no longer … cannot be isolated from geographic influence.

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Jeff:\tSo, if you are going to search for anything, anywhere, anytime, your geolocation will have something to do with how that page is displayed. So, we already know that if you’re searching for a local business or a service around you, service near me, something like that, absolutely that’s a given that you’re going to be served a map. The map is going to know your location, and you’re going to see results based on ratings and reviews and things like that.

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Jeff: So, it was an interesting discussion, and Kevin and I get into that more in the episode. But it was nice to clarify that. So for a software company that serves everybody, the fact that their GMB listing is based in Minnesota is that going to affect the rankings. And I’m currently running a test on that, and I will publish my results and make sure that everybody who’s involved in the conversation is copied on that.

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Jeff:\tMoz now is promoting their new, local analytics tool. And since local is now a staple of every search results page, it makes sense that analytics will follow suit. So, it’s definitely an interesting tool I want to check out. I stopped using Moz a long time ago because I was getting better data. No tool is perfect. And you can use five different tools and get different numbers on each tool depending on what access they have, what frequency they’re crawling, things like that.

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Jeff: So, right now Ahrefs and SEMrush seem to be my go-to for analytics research and reporting. But obviously, analytics, Google Analytics, and Webmaster tools are on the list as well. So Moz I will probably give another chance because of this new inside local analytics tool.

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Jeff: And then algorithm updates were happening during MozCon, which was kind of funny. So Marie Haynes was chomping at the bit to get home and do a new version of her podcast and newsletter talking about all the changes that have been happening, all the volatility in surfs for the month of July. And as soon as she gets back home, she gets sick. And finally, she did this week she posted talking about all the volatility.

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Jeff:\tAnd I think this is the new world we’re living in is that Google is going to be constantly working on their algorithm and making changes that seem major but now it’s almost completely up to the AI and running real-time searches really fast. So I think this is going to be the norm until. I don’t see it normalizing for a while. And I think that Google is also going to build into their algorithm that they like to switch up the results, change things up a little bit.

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Jeff:\tThose are my thoughts on MozCon. We’re going to get into GMB short names and things like that later. But for now, I want to bring in our guest, Kevin Indig.

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Jeff:\tAll right today we’re talking to Kevin Indig. Kevin Indig is the VP of SEO and content at G2.com. He’s a mentor for German Accelerator and is the creator of the Tech Bound newsletter. Hey, Kevin, how are you?

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Kevin:\tGood morning. I’m doing well. How are you?

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Jeff:\tDoing well. Thank you. So, what spawned us to have you on the show again was when I saw you were giving a talk in Minnesota about microsites. And this is a topic that I’m very interested in.

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Kevin:\tRight yeah.

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Jeff:\tSo my typical approach. I’m dealing with SMBs, so my typical approach to these content strategies, SEO strategies for them is landing pages for their high-value keywords that are relevant, contextual and serve the user. And now microsites is basically that on steroids. How did this idea come to fruition?

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Kevin: So, it basically started at Atlassian, where I was before G2. And we basically iterated on the format and finally got to it. We have to take a step back. There are many good reasons to have landing pages and blogs and all these other formats that are around. But what if you merge the two? What if you were to combine them and target top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel keywords all in one experience? That’s kind of the question and the point of view that we started at Atlassian. And we created a couple of really successful microsites that turned out to be our cash cow in terms of getting traffic. Some topics like [inaudible 00:15:58], ITSM, DevOps. And these are all really important topics for Atlassian and for Atlassian’s products.

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Kevin: So again, we asked ourselves why are these experiences fragmented across a website? If you think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you think of it further, blogs are a format that’s 30 years old. But the web has evolved ever since. So, you want to provide an experience that catches people at the very beginning of the problem and them leads them all the way down to convert.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And inside the same experience, all the relevant content is in one bucket basically for them to cross-pollinate.

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Kevin:\tIt is. And even further, this concept of a microsite that I introduced, I have to explain that this is not the classic microsite that a lot of people have in mind, which lives on a sub-domain and is a one-off for campaigns.

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Kevin:\tThe concept that I introduced is much more a maintained, living content hop if you will that lives on the root domain, off in the sub-directory. But has its own experience. This is something that I think is really important and that the brands were successful with this have embraced. To provide customer experiences for different topics that all live on the root domain and are connected to the brand. But they’re almost a bit isolated in themselves.

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Jeff:\tYeah and so that’s the other part that the word microsite became basically even sometimes on its own domain, something for specific to campaigns. But this is a separate experience within an existing domain within an existing website.

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Jeff:\tSo, how would you start this process? Would you create all the funnel keywords and then create an experience from there, or do you try and predict user use cases first?

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Kevin:\tThat is a really good question because it plays into something bigger, which is CUIC research and how we create content nowadays. I personally think that we’re a bit [inaudible 00:18:22] keyword research. It doesn’t really fit into how SEO works nowadays.

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Kevin:\tIt’s a concept that worked really well when pages were up to four single keywords, but nowadays, pages allude much more to topics and user intent and therefore CUIC research in the classic sense probably isn’t the most helpful anymore.

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Kevin: So, the way that I start this is I usually start with the big problem that the product tries to solve. Every product solves at least one big problem. A car solves a problem of mobility for example. You could think that a computer solves the problem off productivity. These are all important topics, right? So to make it a bit more tangible and concrete, at Atlassian, one of the biggest cash cows was Jira, and Jira is a tool to solve project management. So project management would be a topic that I’d start with.

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Kevin: Number one is to identify the big problem or one of the big problem that your product solves and start from there. Once you have the problem, you start to think of all the use cases that this problem occurs in, right? And then you go from there.

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Kevin: So it is a problem-driven approach to content creation and CUIC research. And of course along the way, you would figure out stuff like search volume and maybe keyword difficulty, and you look at user intent. But it’s not the first thing you start with. And this message is really important for me to bring across, right? A lot of people still go out. They have an idea of what their main keyword is. They throw it into a tool like Ubersuggest, they look at all the variations, they sort out the search volume, and then they go to create content.

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Kevin:\tI don’t think that’s really the best approach anymore.

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Jeff:\tOkay. So starting with the problem that you’re solving and getting into the mind of the user and creating content there. So, from what you’re saying, you could actually do pretty well with an experience without doing any keyword research at all.

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Kevin:\tPretty much yes. Again, the reality is I still check search volume from stuff. I still look into recommendations from tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. I don’t disregard that. But, I’m not driven by that either, right? I try to have an empathetic approach to users and really create content for their problems. And that worked really well at Atlassian.

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Kevin: Now again, of course, we check, we did some sort of CUIC research at Atlassian. But it’s not how we started. We started with a user approach first. And I thought about what is the problem that we’re trying to solve. What are all the questions that people have? And where do they get stuck? What are the big pain points? We talk to customers and users. We looked at forums like Reddit and Quora. We’re looking at what people are searching for. Hacker news. Of course, depends on your topic a little bit, right?

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Kevin:\tSocial media and social networks. So basically looked at platforms that people use to exchange questions and answers and looked at what are the big questions that they’re dealing with and not what keyword has the highest search volume. That’s what I’m really trying to say here in essence. And we even talk to some of our customers, interviewed them. We talked to thought leaders in the space.

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Kevin:\tWe did a lot of classic surveys and market research and then created content based on that. And then, somewhere towards the end, we checked the recommendations from tools and search volume.

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Jeff:\tSo, more customer and content research first. And the keywords followed after that.

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Kevin:\tYes sir.

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Jeff:\tOkay. So that would be a great point for anybody, even when you’re first starting your business, you’re going to have a lot of this stuff already nailed out. So you wouldn’t need to bring in SEO research, anything like that until all that is already established.

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Kevin: Yeah 100%. And then you take all of that, and then you map a journey. You map a user journey, right? You can be super old-school, you can write it down on post-its and put it on the wall. Or you could find some other method, right? There are mind mapping tools. There are all sorts of ways that you can get to the goal.

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Kevin:\tBut the tool doesn’t matter as much as thinking about what is the journey that people go through when they have that problem, right? Some of these journeys are three steps long. And others are 30 steps long. It depends on your product and your target market, your audience.

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Kevin:\tBut really think about the journey. Try to be empathetic and then create your content along that journey. I think that is what makes people really successful in brands.

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Kevin:\tOne example that I recently saw that I was really impressed by is a site called Policy Genius. I think they’re on policygenius.com. And they do that really well. And then I recently read an interview with one of their chief editors I think it was who explained how they took that approach. And I’m happy to send over the link so you can enter the show notes.

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Kevin:\tBut they did a really good job in helping people with different use cases. I’m sure there are a couple other sites out there that do this as well.

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Jeff:\tYeah. They do a very good job in marketing. They do approach it in the right way. This is a great topic for anybody starting out in SEOs that it’s no longer going to be go dominate a keyword because that’s not going to do much if you actually have a business.

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Jeff:\tBecause a lot of content marketers are teaching that method, which now doesn’t seem like it’s valid.

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Kevin:\tYeah. I think we have to detach ourselves from the idea that every page should be optimized for a keyword. I’m saying detached and not throw it in the trash right? I think there are still … it helps you conceptually to think about how to optimize a page. But it doesn’t help you strategically.

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Kevin:\tSo strategically, you also see that with Google. They kind of changed and announced last year that they’re going to change their knowledge graph toward embracing these user journeys and anticipating questions that users have. And I think that’s a great example. It’s much more about use cases. It’s less about keywords.

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Kevin:\tAnd users have evolved. They evolved away from just typing in abstract keywords towards asking Google questions and having real user journeys and experiences with Google. And I think us as SEO and content marketers, we have to embrace that. We have to be a bit more creative because that’s another side problem of this main problem is we’re all trying to create content for the same keywords, and it makes sense to a degree. But how do you differentiate? How do you become creative in your content strategy?

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Jeff:\tYeah. And following the journey and the content strategy and not going after keywords. Not ignoring keywords but not making them the primary focus like they were two years ago.

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Kevin:\tYeah.

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Jeff:\tAll right. So another post that I saw on Twitter. You refreshed your post about XML sitemaps, which I really enjoy. I always use XML-sitemaps.com. I think they do a great job, especially their free version does pretty much most of what you wanted to do. What was the reason in updating that post?

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Kevin:\tSo SEMrush asked me if I could refresh their post, which is previously written I think by another person. But I think it was a bit older and needed an update. I recall a very spicy situation back at Atlassian when I just started. I wanted to get a quick win on the map. And so I realized Atlassian didn’t have an XML sitemap, which in itself is pretty fascinating.

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Kevin: But, then I thought hey this is awesome. Quick win. Ran over to the devs. Asked them to turn this on, and I see a mess. And they told me that it’s not possible. And I was pretty stumped by that. Long story short, I eventually crawled the site with a screaming frog and created an XML sitemap from that functionality and uploaded it. And we saw a significant increase in traffic. Now it’s not 2x or 10%. But, I remember seeing a visible spike. I think it’s no surprise that XML sitemaps are important, but that reminded me of these simple things that you tend to forget that have a big impact.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And John Wheeler just said it’s not a ranking factor. It’s a directory factor. It’s a way to find your stuff.

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Kevin:\tYeah absolutely.

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Jeff:\tSo I think a lot of people took that wrong. But yeah it’s not going to get you to rank better. It’s going to get Google to find your content easier, which is a lot of what structured data is all about, too. It’s like what are you talking about and put it in context and give it a structure.

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Kevin:\tYeah for sure. People often think that everything is a ranking factor in SEO and no. There are actually three different steps: crawl, render and rank. And XML sitemaps clearly help with the crawl factor. They even help Google find orphan pages.

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Kevin:\tAnd I remember, I think it was, now I’m butchering the source. But someone from Google mentioned that actually XML sitemaps are the second-most important method to find and crawl URLs. It doesn’t matter how large your site is, you should always have XML sitemaps. You should use the full extent of what they offer.

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Kevin: In this post that I wrote, I outlined a couple of advanced tips, not that advanced, but something that is not obvious or that Google doesn’t tell you right away, like structuring your XML sitemaps after subdirectories or after page [inaudible 00:28:41] to get extra visibility.

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Kevin:\tBut, it’s the simple thing that scales, especially for a larger size, especially news publishers, big e-commerce stores. They have an extra benefit of that simply because there is so much more for Google to discover and crawl.

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Jeff:\tYeah and so I read an article, I started running an experiment I put my images into a separate image sitemap. What are the advantages of that?

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Kevin:\tYeah so for Google it’s just a better or an easier way to find all of the different images. And also crawl images, when they’re being updated or when they’re being changed, which also happens to a fair degree. So you can either, with most of these formats like images or videos, you can either add an extra, separate sitemap. Or you can add extensions to your current sitemap.

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Kevin:\tAnd you can add more information to help Google understand what the picture and the video is about. So, Google is not yet, probably soon, but not yet in a place where they can actually see what’s in the image. So they rely on factors like the all-text and sometimes links or surrounding text of the image.

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Kevin:\tAnd XML sitemaps are just another way for Google to understand the context and content of that image. So, all of your rich media, especially when you’re a site like Pinterest or a video platform, you should definitely think about adding those kinds of rich formats to your XML sitemaps.

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Jeff:\tSo would you create a separate sitemap for a microsite?

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Kevin:\tThat is a good question, and the answer is probably yes. I think it depends on the beta on the size of that microsite. But I often create specific XML sitemaps for subdirectories. Just simply to be able to see if there are any problems with indexing or if there’s anything else weird going on.

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Kevin:\tAny type of content format on a site, whether it’s a blog or a microsite or something else, would be worth to have a separate XML sitemap for it.

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Jeff:\tOkay. And the separate file doesn’t matter as long as you’re clear with telling Google where your content is and what it is.

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Kevin: Yeah you can get crazy with XML sitemaps. I think there’s a size limit of 50 megabytes if I recall correctly. But otherwise, other than that, it doesn’t matter much if you have some overlap in between different XML sitemaps. It’s the same kind of logic as with Google search console accounts. You can create console accounts for different subdirectories or subdomains or whatever you want. And that shouldn’t have a detriment as long as all of the URLs return a status quo to a 100. You wouldn’t want to have any redirects or 404 pages in your XML sitemaps. But as long as you keep that standard you can become really creative.

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Jeff: Yeah. That’s great. And sitemaps are often overlooked tool that is not ranking, but it is discovery. And it’s the key to discovery I think. It’s one of the first things I do when a site goes live is make sure that the sitemap is submitted to search console and discoverable, no errors and test with a bunch of different tools to-

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Kevin:\tIt’s one of the most basic things that are often overlooked. And so, [inaudible 00:32:19] the robots.txt, those two things are one of the first things that I check when a site reaches out to me and has problems or one of the sites that I’m working with has any problems, I always double-check what’s going on there. Also because these two files are analogous.

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Kevin:\tSo, that means robots.txt is often used to tell Google what not to crawl. XML sitemaps are used to Google what to crawl. So, if there’s any problem, check those two first and see if there’s a big issue there.

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Jeff:\tYeah. Yeah. Definitely. All right so I was scrolling through your Twitter feed, and you’ve said something very controversial that I have to bring up. You like the new Twitter, and you like Gutenburg. So, I don’t mind the new Twitter. I think it’s fine. A lot of people were in up arms about it I know. But Gutenburg?

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Kevin:\tSometimes I say these controversial things and stir the pot. People have strong reactions about that. I stand by my word. I like the new Twitter. I don’t love it. But I think it could have been worse. And, I also like the new Gutenburg. It’s a way to be a bit more creative with their content, especially in terms of layout and experience that is very easy for people to use.

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Kevin:\tI just like you can install a couple of extra blog plug-ins, and you get some really cool functionality there where you can just helps your content stand out a bit more, right? I think a lot of the content looks the same, feels the same, and that kind of content experience can be a differentiator.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And so for me, from a UI standpoint, it looks like that you’re only allowed to work with one block at a time. But, if you paste in a huge document that you wrote in something else, it properly separates it out. So the UI tells one story, but the functionality is different. And that’s why I don’t like it so much is because there is a disconnect there. You expect it to act differently than it actually does.

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Jeff:\tAnd that’s basically because we grew up with bad UI like Microsoft Word and Google Docs and stuff like that. So we expect things to be just a flat piece of paper. So it is a new way of thinking, and I understand that I probably need to evolve. But at first glance, taking a fresh blog post and writing it in blocks was a bit of a stretch in my brain to figure out how it would work.

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Kevin:\tIt is a transition for sure, absolutely fair point there. I think it’s interesting from a standpoint of … I think about the web evolves. And when you pay attention to Google, I often take the SEO lens of course, right? But when you look at Google, they kind of have a block thinking as well. And I know that they collaborate very closely with WordPress. That’s public knowledge.

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Kevin:\tIt’s interesting to see how Google takes little pieces of content and starts to enrich the search results pages more and more. Sidney Crum, who’s an expert on mobile entities calls this fraggles. And it’s basically … the gist of it is Google is just getting better at understanding content to a very deep level and is able to pull different fragments from different sites and combine into something new in the search results pages.

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Kevin:\tAnd Gutenburg is interesting because you kind of start to adopt that block thinking, and you can create content better in certain blocks. One of the easiest or simplest representations of that are featured snippets, which are the little answer on top of the search results. You can create a custom or reusable block for that keeps an optim link that I think it’s between 60 and 70 words, has a little headline on top.

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Kevin:\tYou can just better at thinking in these formats that have an actual benefit when it comes to SEO and content.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And I was just listening to Izzy Smith. So Izzy Smith said that in the UK, they don’t have an issue of where the rich snippet text and the rich snippet image are from different locations, but we do.

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Kevin:\tOh yes we do.

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Jeff:\tA lot of my rich snippet results that I get are we either have the image or have the text but not both. It is Google mashing up content, like you said, and making something new.

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Jeff:\tHere’s something off-topic but wanted to bring it up anyway is how do you think, as digital marketers, we’re going to be impacted by Google adding so many features into the SERP to keep people from clicking through.

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Kevin:\tNot good. I have a very clear standpoint on that. And if you follow me on Twitter, read my stuff, you’ll see that I’m more skeptic toward it. I’m not a prophet calling the death of SEO. But, I do see severe problems with how Google is transforming into an answer machine. And they publicly say that. It is not a secret. It’s not something we have to interpret. Google publicly said that they want to get better at giving users the answers right away.

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Kevin:\tAnd I think the actions or the changes that we’ve seen in the last 1-2 years are very clearly showing that. So, I think it’s a problem. I have not read the transcript of the most recent earnings call that I think came out yesterday. But I saw a couple of tidbits on social, and I think organic traffic has dipped as in the traffic that people get from Google.

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Kevin:\tAt the same time, I think their ad revenue increased by 28%, though I might butcher that number slightly. But, I think that is a very clear result of Google’s new mobile design and of how they give more answers in the search results, which allows them to show more ads, which at the same time is bad news for webmasters.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And Rand Fishkin has been very vocal about this. It seems like every talk that he’s given in the past year has been how click-throughs are going down and ad revenues for Google are going up.

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Kevin:\tRightfully so. And the drama of the story is that us as webmasters, SEOs and CART marketers, we have to feed the monster in our self-interest and against our self-interest. We’re basically slowly killing ourselves in that sense. And again, I’m exaggerating a little bit to make the point here.

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Kevin:\tBut, we’re in a conflict, and the best solution there is to up your game, invest more into content, keep people on your site, become more of a destination and diversify your traffic to not be too reliant on Google.

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Jeff:\tAnd okay speaking on that point, is it time for another search player to come out and make search an open platform again?

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Kevin:\tI think yes. I think the more Google becomes its own destination and less of a platform, the more they create and leave a vacuum that has always been filled since the beginning of the internet. But it will probably take a bit of time for a new player to step into that vacuum because first Google has to transition more into a destination and answer engine. They’re in the transition process, but it’s not completed yet.

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Kevin:\tAnd then there needs to be some sort of a courageous player or founder or whoever to tackle that. Now I know we have DuckDuckGo out there. They recently got way more attention, and I also recall seeing statistics that they send more organic traffic over to sites. And I think they have a very interesting format, right? There’s a lot of stuff to be liked about DuckDuckGo.

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Kevin:\tHowever, the big problem is I still, and everybody else, still uses Google, and the results are still really, really good, right? The thing is that users, and including myself here, don’t hate Google. The product is not bad. It is fantastic. So the pool of incentives for users to use DuckDuckGo is still a relatively small, whereas webmasters would wish that they had more traffic from DuckDuckGo would come.

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Jeff:\tRight. And so, on the DuckDuckGo conversation, how concerned are you about your online privacy?

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Kevin:\tTo be honest, I’m not too concerned. See, I’m from Germany, Jeff, and Germans, Europeans are a bit more sensitive to the whole privacy deal. I do think from a monopoly standpoint point of view, we do have a problem for sure with the big tech companies, but that’s another different conversation.

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Kevin:\tSo, for me the primary incentive to use DuckDuckGo is less the privacy concern and much more the concern of a company becoming a monopoly and basically cutting off the content providers from traffic.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And I want to be out there. I put myself out there. I advertise myself to be out there, so I basically volunteer my information. So, privacy is obviously not a concern for me. It is for some of my customers that don’t even put a credit card online. And so, I understand the issue, and I want to be respectful of that issue. I’m actually kind of forward thinking as far as the privacy concern.

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Jeff:\tAnd my site right now, I have a no-tracking policy already in place so that when the privacy laws come into effect, I am a good example of if you don’t want cookies or to be tracked at all, I’m giving you this option. And if you accept, then nothing trackable gets installed. The only thing that you’re going to get is a PHP session cookie, which is out of my control.

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Kevin:\tYeah for sure. We have to be respectful and mindful of people who don’t want to be tracked or who have a problem with this. It’s not enough to say I don’t have a problem with this, so nobody else should have this. There should be some sort of democracy in that sense.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tAnd there’s pros and cons to both, obviously. But I like the approach of DuckDuckGo of saying that contextual advertising is probably good enough. There is a lot of merit to that.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tAnd to add another interesting standpoint to that conversation, I recently read an article by a professor, whose name I don’t recall at the moment, but who has been doing a lot of research on Google and on search engines and who basically promotes the notion that Google should open up their index as an API and allow other search engines to come up. And I just thought that was a really interesting point.

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Kevin:\tEven in the interest of Google, I think there’s great ways to diversify their business problem in that sense because they’re super reliant on ad revenue.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tBut also because competition tends to make everything better. And so, I think it’s the same for privacy, right? If DuckDuckGo was a bit stronger and people had more choices to use platforms and search engines to respect privacy more, I think that would be a great addition to the web and keeping the web what it is today and not transforming it into something ugly.

\n\n\n\n

Jeff:\tYeah. And I don’t want to seem like privacy is a big issue, but I don’t want to seem hypocritical because I still use tracking data to inform decisions and content and interface. So, as digital marketers, we have to look at the data. But, Google’s already started blocking some of the data. Some of the search queries we’re not able to see because Google has deemed it some sort of privacy concern.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tOh yes that played that really really smartly over time. They often use the benefit for the user as a gateway to make some pretty drastic changes. The same way with how they promote AMP, which is basically a commoditization of content that they control.

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Kevin:\tNow I know that Google and the AMP organization are separate, and AMP is not owned by Google. But when you look at how they can make this the standard simply by giving more visibility in search and how it aligns with some of their interest, then it doesn’t matter if they’re the same company or not.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tSo, anyway, long story short, I think we can have our cake and eat it, too. We can track users without violating their privacy and provide great experiences for them.

\n\n\n\n

Jeff:\tYeah. And, the question is always raised and never answered is that if Google is blocking that info from us, does Google use that info?

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Kevin:\tYes of course. No, until Congress forces Google to open it up or until they are being more transparent with it. But, it’s the same as how Chrome basically has integrated AdBlocker and how Google then decides what ads to block or what not.

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Kevin:\tSo, you just see these bigger shifts and lots of different areas where Google gets more control over the web and over the experience that users have. Users don’t complain because in most cases it makes sense for them. But it also means that Google just becomes more of a monopoly, and we as citizens of the web and as humans and as SEOs and content marketers, we have to join the conversation and figure out together how much of that we want versus how much of that we should not want.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And, if it’s making our lives easier, then it’ll be easier to forgive once it turns into getting bombarded with things we said into our smart [inaudible 00:47:27]. Then we’ve got an issue.

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Jeff:\tOne more thing I wanted to bring up, I know we’re running out time, but MozCon. A lot of people were tweeting about there are no more national SERP’s. So, it was tweeted out of context. So, I went on just to correct people and to say for most queries, not all queries, but for most queries, the national SERP doesn’t exist. That you have to take some of local in mind.

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Jeff:\tHow for a company like G2, and a company that is serving as a info-base, specifically for software, a software company, let’s say, an international software company. How would that affect them?

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Kevin:\tRight. So I do agree when we talk about personalization or customization. We’re talking about local user intent. Now, meaning people googling for stuff like sushi near me or car shop, Google shows more local search results because Google deems it more important to show people local instead of something else.

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Kevin:\tNow, I think the reason for people saying that there are no national SERP’s anymore is because the amount of these searches with a local intent are so big. So, there are so many of them.

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Kevin:\tAnd so for companies like G2, it affects part of our business. It affects the part aside that lists local service providers. And in that sense, yes. We have to adapt the way that we monitor and track results for these specific pitch types.

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Kevin:\tBut the majority of our business is still software products that do not have a local user intent, right? But, I think 2019 is the year where everybody should have had local on their radar for 5 or 10 years already. It’s not something new in that sense. But what is new and what I do observe myself as well is that Google deems that more searches have a local intent and shows more local packs in the search results. And I think that’s where a lot of people feel that local is growing. To my opinion, it is just Google shifting more search intent for specific searches to local.

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Jeff:\tYeah, and so I’ve tweeted out to Lily Ray about this and said that a software company that has a GMB page for their headquarters in Minnesota, and they’re selling software everywhere, because it’s online cloud-based software, are they going to automatically get associated with the center of the country because their headquarters is there?

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Kevin:\tWhat did she say?

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Jeff:\tShe said it’s likely and that it does come into play and because this is along the lines of a national SERP, and I said how could this SERP not be national because it doesn’t matter where it is. For a software company, it doesn’t matter where you are. And she said well if it doesn’t influence the results, it’s going to influence the SERP because local items are going to be thrown in. So it does change the SERP.

\n\n\n\n

Jeff:\tBut how you market to it, how a digital marketer overcomes that, I have no idea. It’s like do you not have a GMB page for a software company?

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Kevin:\tRight. Yeah. It’s definitely something that we need to tackle. It’s also something that provides a bit more opportunity. The local bags have their own … it’s not that they work differently completely from organic search, but they follow a different logic. They’re much more review-driven and driven by the validity of their address and those kind of things.

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Kevin:\tAnd I know because my mother and my brother both have local businesses themselves, and so we did a bit of work there to “optimize.” And that its own kind of ranking.

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Kevin:\tWhen you think of search, apart from classic organic search but also in the realms of something like images, videos or maps, people search maps as well and that functionality’s increasing. You can now throw a generic keywords into Google Maps, and that … it’s a lot of search volume going through Google Maps. So you want to be present for that as well.

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Kevin:\tHowever, it’s a different way to optimize for a search engine because it’s basically a local or geolocation-driven search engine. So, it’s just something that I think provides a lot of opportunity that us as SEOs have to wrap our heads around a little bit and embrace a different way of search.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And so, I’m following this closely because for the SaaS company that I was telling you about on the last episode, they’re starting to get some attention. They have GMB page for their headquarters in Minnesota. I overcame their problems of one of the employees closing a GMB page for their LA office. So, whenever anybody on this side of the country searched their company, it said permanently closed. So I finally got that figured out, so the only GMB page for them now is their headquarters.

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Jeff:\tBut I’m looking at where their users are coming from and trying to gauge whether this is making a difference or not. So, I’ll probably write a report on that once I have enough data to have an opinion one way or the other. Right now, it doesn’t seem like there is.

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Kevin:\tGreat, no but good job on helping them out with that. I think it’s super important. Also because I’ve seen anecdotally that Google uses some of the information of the GMB account in organic search. So, especially when it comes to something like brands factors. There seems to be an impact.

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Kevin:\tAnd one other example is that I see it mostly with is when you have a domain migration or a URL migration, you change your domain or URL, Google sometimes will rewrite your titles for you if you want to or not, and they often use information from the brand that you edit in your GMB account. So, I think there’s another connection there.

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Jeff:\tYeah. So, GMB, for one of my accounts, they’re using the GMB listing as the verification system for their ads account. And they’ve moved, and that was a huge issue for their ads account.

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Kevin:\tIt’s major.

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Jeff:\tYeah so. All right, so where do you want to send people? What do you have to promote?

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Kevin:\tWhat I have to promote? Nothing paid because I have a job. That’s a plus for me. But, if I were allowed to send people somewhere, it’s probably going to be my weekly email called Tech Bound. It’s an email where I write a weekly short block article about all things digital marketing with a focus on content marketing and SEO of course. I invite guests for exclusive interviews, and I curate some of the best content that I found that week on the web. It’s a free weekly email, and it’s all-exclusive stuff, so you wouldn’t find it anywhere else. It’s not block articles that I wrote on my site and then copied to the newsletter. It’s all-exclusive stuff that you’ll only find there. So, feel free to check it out. It’s called Tech Bound.

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Jeff:\tYeah. And the last one was great with the interview from Otho about the backlink story. Yeah, we could do a whole nother episode on backlinks.

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Kevin:\tThank you.

\n\n\n\n

Jeff:\tBut yeah I loved it, and I loved the five pieces of the week at the bottom. Those were all really great content that I had missed throughout the week. So it’s fun to have you put those together and collect all those pieces and news.

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Jeff:\tSo, where you want people to follow you?

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Kevin:\tYou can follow me on Twitter. Name is @Kevin_Indig. So you just google my real name, and you’ll find me. Or my site, which is Kevin-indig.com

\n\n\n\n

Jeff:\tAll right. Perfect. Thank you very much, Kevin. Again, this is a great episode and look forward to having you back.

\n\n\n\n

Kevin:\tThanks for having me. It was a pleasure [inaudible 00:56:05] with you.

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Jeff:\tFor show notes and information, go to digitalrage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @digitalragefm and please give us a rate and review. We sincerely appreciate it.

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Kevin Indig’s Links:

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Kevin Indig https://www.kevin-indig.com/
Twitter @Kevin_Indig
Subscribe to Tech Bound: https://www.kevin-indig.com/tech-bound/
https://www.g2.com/

\n\n\n\n

Other Links:

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Cindy Krum @Suzzicks#fraggles
Lily Ray @lilyraynyc
Rand Fishkin @randfish
Izzi Smith @izzionfire
Policy Genius: Refreshing advice: how Policygenius used organic search to boost on-site recirculation by 300%

","id":"1f43cTom0smae8Fbla3WUS","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"22 | Kevin Indig: SEO Landing Pages, MicroSites, XML Sitemaps, Twitter and Gutenberg","release_date":"2019-07-29","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1f43cTom0smae8Fbla3WUS"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/436a28e0b33e2905a4594df02fc8062fdca55da8","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Jane Lee's Pitch Event mentioned in Episode 17 was attended by Matt and Jeff, and we break down the pitches as well as the event itself.","duration_ms":2700878,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/5vSz9P3vvTfyIONMElUM98"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/5vSz9P3vvTfyIONMElUM98","html_description":"

Jane Lee’s Pitch Event mentioned in Episode 17 was attended by Matt and Jeff, and we break down the pitches as well as the event itself.

\n\n\n\n

Launchpop Pitch Event by Shopify

\n\n\n\n

10 brand pitches led by Jane Lee

\n\n\n\n

Elenita mezcal drinks, not yet launched, prototypes made in their kitchen.

\n\n\n\n

Lunata beauty technology cordless hair tools, in retail.

\n\n\n\n

Ateyo esports and gaming brand, apparel, sitters, pants designed to sit in.  Sponsorships. Made in Los Angeles.

\n\n\n\n

Graydon skincare natural plant-based superfoods.

\n\n\n\n

Ballsy, the $5k startup made 4m sales, humorous products names, Adam Hendle, wipes called handys, shampoo called good head.

\n\n\n\n

Neuro gum and mints based on a multivitamin formula created in college b vitamins natural caffeine. Founder former runner, snowboard accident left him paralyzed. Available at CVS, GNC, JetBlue. 

\n\n\n\n

Mai Vino wine in a baggie/pouch lasts 30 days after opening. Launch in NYC. $18 subscriptions.

\n\n\n\n

Subtle beauty, stackable portable makeup, customized, 3 month supply smaller than travel-sized products “ho on the go”.

\n\n\n\n

Siren snacks Elizabeth plant-based protein snacks women-focused grain free dairy free soy free gluten free targeting offices and food service offline marketing 

\n\n\n\n

Kova helmets for bike share and scooter share foldable helmet, removable covers and chin strap Kova means helmet in Hebrew.

","id":"5vSz9P3vvTfyIONMElUM98","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"21 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: LaunchPop Event Review","release_date":"2019-07-22","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:5vSz9P3vvTfyIONMElUM98"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/17320785f233f2bd5e27bc305794cb85ddc4fe9e","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today is a very special episode of Digital Rage, it is our 20th episode. We review all of our episodes and our key takeaways.","duration_ms":4766380,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/6VFh542rEwR7Id6eOh45iq"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/6VFh542rEwR7Id6eOh45iq","html_description":"

Today is a very special episode of Digital Rage, it is our 20th episode. We review all of our episodes and our key takeaways.

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\"\"
\n\n\n\n

Episode 0 with Matt & Jeff:
From Jeff:
– We actually recorded episode 0 right after recording episode 6
– We mention our early January meeting that sparked the podcast

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Episode 1 with Matt & Jeff:
From Jeff:
– recorded on February 1
– launched March 5
– Matt first mentions accessibility
– The purist shop talk episode
– We didn’t know what the show was going to be
– My email alerts kept going off, and my mic was too hot
– I had fired my advertising client for the first time
– matt mentions honeybooks and bonzai – are you still using bonsai?

EP 2 SEO with Jeremy:
From Matt:
– The year of Marie condo for SEO – back to the simplicity and processes. What brings you joy?
– Always check to see what a website actually does to make sure it’s in line with the SEO strategy.
From Jeff:
– Our first interview
– I blew it right off the bat, saying “CEO” instead of SEO
– Jeremy chuckled a little before answering
– I was nervous
– my mic was still too hot

EP 3 with Tom Reynolds – Smarketing:
From Matt:
– Sales needs to support marketing and vice versa. I like how Tom thinks and wants to figure out how he can increase sales with his marketing and projects he takes on. We also talked about accessibility on this show
From Jeff:
– I totally messed up the recording half way through
– I wanted to hear myself in my headphones so I tuned on input monitoring
– That created a doubling effect which made everything too hot and sounded like we were in an echo chamber
– we learn what Smarketing is
– I got to vent my frustrations with b2b manufacturing seo
– tom and I commiserate on the struggle with closing the loop
– not having access to the whole process, like sales and service
– We did an after-interview convo about matt’s concern about our audience not being broad, most people wont understand it
– I confirmed that I / we like to talk shop, and essentially our audience is us

EP 4 with Neil:
From Matt:
– Loved how he loves to build. He’s putting out great websites and a ton of them at that. I like how he’s found a niche and is sticking to it.. He’s referred me a few clients over the last few months that are not in his niche.  A coder with design sense!
From Jeff:
– I loved this interview even though my mic was still too hot
– Neal is awesome, I want to have a beer with that guy
– He joined the skype convo using his laptop, no mic or headphones, so were getting delay feedback from his end, and an angry dog in the background
– Talking shop about full stack development is very fun to me

EP 5 with Esteven and Social Media:
From Matt:
– He loves social. You could tell he really knows his stuff.
– With social you can get the word out there on a cheap budget and turn the needle.
– Liked his story about the recycle xmas tree program in Long Beach and how some social ads helped increase the awareness.
From Jeff:
– The first hint of matts name butchering, more on that in later episodes
– My mic was still too hot
– Esteven Gamez opens our eyes to social done right
– The impact of local social marketing stands out
– The Christmas tree recycling campaign
– He uses buffer, which got me to use buffer for the podcast
– Surprisingly, this was our first Skype hookup

Ep 6 shop talk:
From Jeff:
– Starts off with matts furious fingers typing
– My mic is STILL too hot
– This was right around the launch of the podcast
– I mention I am still working on technical stuff before launching
– We were still deciding on a podcast hosting platform
– This is our first mention of Privacy which is also a recurring topic
– I forgot about TAYL
– I was reminded of my idea of automating a podcast using TAYL to read blog posts
– Hot tool talk, and I started to use notion
– Matt, have you invited Pat Flynn to the podcast yet? 

EP 7 with Pierre / SEO:
From Matt:
– SEO has changed again. Smaller budgets aren’t doing what they use to do.
– He’s been larger in the past and has had to scale down due to competition but I like how he’s still at it and trying to figure out how to grow the biz. He’s also into reputation management, social, and web design.
From Jeff:
– Don’t take this the wrong way – I love it – but you have butchered some names and this was the best
– Zarokian turned into Zarkonian
– SEO is obviously one of our most popular and actionable topics

EP 8 with Brian Wood:
From Matt:
Great show! Easy to talk to and super inspiring. I like how he’s still hustling after all these years. He’s not resting on his success and his books. And liked how he gave advice to people just getting going. Just do it. Start putting up videos. Adobe and others are out there and could see you and your content.
From Jeff:
– Mic was way tooo hot
– Podcast just launched
– We changed the format to chat, then interview
– Instagram and facebook went down
– Love Brian Wood, he inspired me to create 6 minute training videos
– He mentioned going to Adobe Max – you still want to go together?

EP 9 with Kevin Indig:
From Matt:
– Another fun show. And it’s been fun to connect with Kevin after on twitter. Super knowledgeable in the seo space. And the growth and saas marketing area. Talked a lot about content and the role it plays. Just another reminder that if you’re trying to get people to your site you need to figure out what they need and give them great content. 
From Jeff:
– My mic is finally fixed!
– I pre-wrote my intro and completely stumbled on it
– Our most popular episode so far
– Mostly because Kevin has a huge following for SEO
– I mention my construction software client
– He did a great job using my client as an example of how to technically market them correctly.. which confirmed I was on the right path with that client

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EP 10 with Michele Landis:
From Matt:
– Accessibility is super important and in this show we heard a ton about this space. After this show and others we’ve done on the space it’s become super apparent that we need to remove barriers for all. 
From Jeff:
– My mic is way tooo hot again
– Our first failed t-shirt design
– Also our first accessibility guest, matt had mentioned it in episode 1
– Live user testing was a main takeaway
– We first hear of accessibility trolls which is a huge problem

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EP 11 with Mic Pam:
From Matt:
– We did this show twice so def a learning experience. Surprising to hear how far woo has come. Def will keep in mind for future ecom jobs if it’s on the smaller side and/or if wp is important to the site.
– Key takeaway was to really listen to what your client needs and find them the best solution. Sometimes we tend to offer the solution that we prefer due to familiarity but that doesn’t always translate to what’s best for the client.
From Jeff:
– The mic pam episode drama
– The first recording was so bad we had to do it again
– We learned about e-commerce
– And I was surprised that Magento was still a popular platform

EP 12 with Jonathan:
From Matt:
– Automation is important. But you shouldn’t automate a process that is broken or not working well.
– A good reminder for sure on systems and automation and how they can help save time.
From Jeff:
– Jonathan Tobin, programmer turned lawyer
– Helps us with our legal questions
– How easy trademarks actually are
– How a signature is still standard for executing contracts
– There are probably a ton of quotes we could pull out of this episode, before we started pulling quotes

EP 13 with Ali Cox:
From Matt:
– Loved hearing her passion for the industry she’s in.
– Wow. And also loved hearing how ag is using content marketing to market themselves – video, social, websites. Very inspirational.
– We could also take notes on what she’s doing and apply it to other businesses. Story is key. And what better way to tell the story than video and social.
From Jeff:
– My first guest! Ali Cox
– I state publicly that I am rebuilding print fellas
– Turns out it is going to be harder and more expensive than I thought
– But I am doing it because it is hard
– If I can rebuild print fellas, I can build anything
– We talk AWS, my new favorite platform
– we talk about ag and telling our customer stories
– I was in the middle if my 4 day website build nightmare and completely spaced out for the fist few minutes of the interview

EP 14 with Jason Siciliano:
From Matt:
– Another great example of putting out content that educates the consumer to who you are. Also love how he started the modern copywriter and is keeping it going. He’s helped a ton of people and in turn has been able to help himself from time to time with the site.
From Jeff:
– Matt talks about nuns and meditation – his trip to the woods
– I talk about the 4 day CBD website nightmare I was dealing with in episode 13
– I talk about posting my videos and an automated publish everywhere approach
– Jason was awesome
– He has the greatest job ever – buying thousands of dollars of tech and destroying them with robots

EP 15 with Rachelle Golden:
From Matt:
– More accessibility and the importance of it and how it’s hitting all types of businesses. She brought the legal side to the table and did a good job keeping it easy to understand.
From Jeff:
– Mat gets the guest name right, but butchers her company name
– Hat maker turned into hat macker, rachelle corrects him, and he tries to repeat it and says hate maker
– Super inspiring episode
– Matt talks crypto
– Jeff talks about buying drugs online
– Drag and drop bootstrap
– We did the intro after the interview – which I really like
– My favorite episode
– Got my to sign up for an online course and schedule testing and certification

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EP 16 with Rob Taylor:
From Matt:
– SAAS marketing and his custom solution. Great episode. I’m excited to see where he goes with it. I feel at some point if he wants to scale it he’ll have to stop customizing it. But that’s just me. 
From Jeff:
– My second guest! my brother rob Taylor
– We discuss the medic update
– Matt discusses his cms, organic, and how he adapted it to conferences
– We talk tech stacks
– How to market an app
– Learning apps for certification qualifications

EP 17 with Shopify Jane:
From Matt:
– Too short of an episode but great to hear about what she’s up to. Look forward to following her and see how they do.
– She’s got some big clients already and I like her biz model as far as taking equity in a company. I’ve considered that over the years.
From Jeff:
– Shopify Jane!
– Another post interview interview… which I really like. did I mention that?
– She was busy and we started late, so although short it was a lot of fun
– I talked about that last weeks of my automotive contract
– Print fellas gets an actual start… sort of
– Matt mentions Gatsby, which send us down a rabbit hole
– Launch Pop – we were supposed to attend her event this month
– I expose my idea about tumerice
– Now that I think about the name, it sounds like tumor, which nobody likes
– We find out gary vee is a launch pop client which stirs the vee pot

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EP 18 with Jason Reynolds:
From Matt:
– Super dense with info. Great to see the industry he’s in do content marketing. It really works in all spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing the updated site. As of now it looks pretty good so curious to see what more they do. Also great to hear that such a high ranking domain won’t rank if you don’t put in the footwork to do the SEO. Ranks for 261k in the top 100 now and in may it was 324k. They’ve been hit!
From Jeff:
– My 3rd guest – Jason Reynolds
– Matt talks about privacy policies and quotes his favorite lines
– Matt asks about headless and gatsby using the wordpress api
– I compliment Matt on his company IG account – looking good
– Matt explains his social process
– We talk about building basically a micro site within a huge corporation and huge global website

EP 19 with Steph:
From Matt:
– I believe she’s in her late 20s and super mature. It was inspirational to hear her story and see someone that is really thinking about a good life work balance and taking steps to make sure she’s happy. Working full time remotely and coding side hustles. Love it!
From Jeff:
– Listening to that episode on headphones I noticed I had a lot of interefence
– Sounds like a constant hiss – probably a power cable too close to an audio cable
– Steph Smith – the name that kept alluding me
– I forgot to hit the record button on our intro
– This was another post interview intro – like that
– We tease this episode 20 format
– Matt mentions what Google calls the June 6 update
– Algo update that effected his clients
– I mention the medic update and how this sounds similar
– I mention a years old schema code, that google just sent an error message for, which triggered my suspicions about an update
– Another mention of Gatsby
– Matt was a little distracted 
– We talked to Steph about remote work and distributed companies how Steph quit her job and redefined her life
– She calls in from Bali – how cool is that

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","id":"6VFh542rEwR7Id6eOh45iq","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"20 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Review Previous Podcast Episodes","release_date":"2019-07-15","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:6VFh542rEwR7Id6eOh45iq"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/0e0b240697401da87e2dc939f6e9fd173d3b7744","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we talk with Steph Smith about how she left consulting 2 years ago to redesign her life. She’s now a maker and works remotely leading the publications team at Toptal.","duration_ms":2402900,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1vgxG7Cg5PWVB1zuMywbo5"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1vgxG7Cg5PWVB1zuMywbo5","html_description":"

Today we talk with Steph Smith about how she left consulting 2 years ago to redesign her life. She’s now a maker and works remotely leading the publications team at Toptal.

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Bio:

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Left consulting 2 years ago to re-design her life. She’s now a maker and works remotely leading the publications team at Toptal.

\n\n\n\n

She started to code a over a year ago and has launched Nomad Hub a place to explore coworking retreats, Make Yourself Great Again (a calculator for visualizing wasted time) and FeMake (data on female makers), and more!

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Show Links:

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","id":"1vgxG7Cg5PWVB1zuMywbo5","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"19 | Steph Smith: Change Your Life, Work Remotely, and Learn to Code","release_date":"2019-07-08","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1vgxG7Cg5PWVB1zuMywbo5"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/4480d9b1034b47965b05e2a79d8ff04797696329","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we talked with Jason Reynolds from 3M about content development, SEO, digital engagement and activation.","duration_ms":2708584,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/58G2A4Ld0wmONkCpKdR9AA"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/58G2A4Ld0wmONkCpKdR9AA","html_description":"

Today we talked with Jason Reynolds from 3M about content development, SEO, digital engagement and activation.

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About Jason Reynolds

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Jason is the North American Marketing Manager for 3M Abrasive System Division, North America. When I met him he was in sales, selling diamond cutting tools for precision applications, such as aerospace, and the company was acquired by 3M. During the transition he became a sales training manager before jumping into marketing.

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Unless you’re in this business, it’s very difficult to draw a correlation to how it touches everybody’s lives every day.

Jason Reynolds
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Show Notes

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[14:48] [Jeff Byer]

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Today we have Jason Reynolds.  Jason is the North American Marketing Manager for the Abrasive Systems Division at 3M.  Full disclosure, he is my cousin by marriage – my wife’s cousin. He married my wife’s cousin and so he’s family to me.  When I met him, he was selling diamond precision cutting tools and the company that he was selling for got purchased by 3M.  He was doing sales and then went into sales training for 3M and now is the Marketing Manager. Welcome, Jason.

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[15:30] [Jason Reynolds]

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Thank you, Jeff and Matt.  It’s a pleasure to be here with you.  

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[15:35] [Jeff Byer]

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To start up, will you tell us a little bit about your role and what you’re doing for the 3M Abrasive Division?

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[15:45] [Jason Reynolds]

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Absolutely.  Like you mentioned, I work for the Abrasive Systems Division.  I work for a unique business within the ASD division. It’s Precision Grinding & Finishing.  It came about through that acquisition of the prior company that I was working for, which was the Winterthur Technology Group.  We came to 3M through that acquisition. We brought along with us a unique product portfolio that 3M really didn’t focus on nor have in their portfolio.  So it was a nice complement to their Abrasive’s product portfolio.

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Currently, I am the North American Marketing Manager.  So I have responsibility for portfolio management, pricing, promotional strategy, new products commercialization, project management, for the key business segments for our Precision Grinding & Finishing business for North America.  So I work very closely with sales, manufacturing, application engineering, business services, as well as the global PG&F team, which is based out of Europe. Really, all in an effort to maximize our competitiveness [??:17:04].

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[17:23] [Jeff Byer]

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Specifically, I’m interested in what the end goal is of this website is that you were telling me that you created.

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[17:40] [Jason Reynolds]

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This was a digital activation project.  It really came about because of two things.  One is that we had a new, innovative, first-ever, 3D-printed abrasive product that we wanted to showcase, that we wanted to promote, that we wanted to get out into the market.  And then secondly, we knew that we wanted to revamp the PG&F landing page. And so it was really a two-pronged approach digitally with the focus being around that new 3D printed product.

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[18:24] [Jeff Byer]

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So not only introducing the product, but also gave you a good excuse to rebrand the whole division?

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[18:31] [Jason Reynolds]

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100%.  Our particular business segment within ASD, we had built out and developed the first-ever landing page about two years ago and at that time, it was really somewhat benign in content and overall call-to-action.  We met the objective of having the page but we really wanted to improve the content, improve the user experience, improve the call-to-action based off of that page.

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[19:20] [Jeff Byer]

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Can you tell me what some of the clients are that you work with?  For me, Abrasive System is just not…

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[19:27] [Matt Ramage]

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Yeah, I was also going to ask what the audience is.  Demographics, things like that.

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[19:36] [Jason Reynolds]

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Unless you’re in this business, it’s very difficult to draw a correlation to how it touches everybody’s lives every day.  But if you think about it, from waking up in the morning, from taking a shower, the fixtures within your bathroom, within your sink – to the car that you drive from various components of the body to various components of the engine, camshafts, crankshafts, valve-train components, gearing – to taking flights in aerospace market with jet engines, with landing gear.  So we get involved in abrasives on the precision side that really touch our lives and the products that we engage with, each and every day. It’s cellphones and the various components that go into the cellphone; the glass that goes onto that cellphone.

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We deal with abrasives and precision abrasives that go into the manufacturing of those products that you would touch each and every day that you would drive, that you would fly in, that you would ride on the water, in terms of the boats.  We touch each and every one of those products with an abrasive product. We tend to get involved on the more precision grinding side of it, which tends to deal with engines, and turbine blades, and various engine [??:21:27} components, medical and you name it.  It’s quite a varied product group for about 5 key markets that we focus on. And our customer tends to be the process engineer. This tends to be the person that is overseeing the project, that is overseeing the manufacturing of their product. That’s who we tend to get involved with, to engineer a custom solution for their product.

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[22:06] [Jeff Byer]

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How are you targeting these people?  

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[22:12] [Jason Reynolds]

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A lot of it right now is through the various companies that we had previously.  It originally started out as Plant Dunnington, which was specifically super abrasives, diamond CBN products.  Wint was purchased by Winterthur. So, really, it was through the current customer base – the markets that we were involved in.  At the time, it would have been through literature pieces and catalogs that we had available at the time. If you think back to those days prior to 3M, there was really no digital presence, no digital strategy.  It was really through word of mouth and through our presence in the marketplace and how we were known in the market. So we really didn’t have a good digital presence.

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[23:14] [Jeff Byer]

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Can you talk us through some of the different digital strategies you’ve used to increase brand awareness and sales?

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[23:23] [Jason Reynolds]

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Absolutely.  We had an opportunity with Onset at the beginning of this year and it was really involving that two-pronged approach.  One, it was to really develop a digital strategy around that new product, that new 3D-printed abrasive product and then secondly, the opportunity to improve our website.  What we did was we had to define who are customer persona was and in doing so, you define who it is that you’re really marketing to, what you’re building this digital experience for.  And so without having that person, we found at 3M that you tend to not have a very focused or successful approach because it may be too broad-based. So we went through this customer journey mapping process.  Essentially, for this process engineer, taking this engineer from their original research and awareness to testing the product, to getting production [??:24:38], to full-scale up.

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[24:41]

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We took that engineer through the customer journey and we identified gaps in that process.  And we were much more involved in the back-end – so from testing, to scale up. Where we found the gap was in that awareness, was in that research, because we didn’t have good digital presence.  And so we identified two really main key areas, which was a need for improved research around our business, and then also a need for improved contact to be able to nurture that lead through the process.  It was all through the front end that we determined where the two gaps existed.

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[25:38] [Jeff Byer]

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Was this all internally, or did you guys bring in an agency to help you with this process?

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[25:44] [Jason Reynolds]

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We have a good team and set of teams at 3M.  So initially, in determining who are persona was, we used our 3M Insights Team.  They really do a lot of the research on these personas and what drives them, what motivates them, what peaks their interest.  We utilized the Insights Team to help define the process engineer and who we were targeting. And then we have a digital team at 3M, who I was assigned to.  It was about eight individuals strong who all have varying degrees of talent and things that they focus on digitally that I worked with to build out this digital strategy and presence for PG&F.  Really highlighting those two main components of the new product and then the PG&F landing page.

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[26:52] [Jeff Byer]

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With this new persona, what action items were your team going to take?  Was it the content or the messaging/advertising? Did your division perform all those tasks?

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[27:10] [Jason Reynolds]

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Absolutely.  We determined the two gaps, what we call epics, which is really around the research and then the contact portion, and we essentially put a strategy together – how to improve not only the content on the page, but to improve how much content and the additional pages that we had on the landing page.  But rather than be somewhat superficial, you go to a single landing page – there’s maybe [??:27:53] literature. We built out a full structure. No matter how the customer went and viewed themselves as doing research, we allowed the user, no matter how they came to our site, and no matter how they research, to get to the same result.  So whether they see themselves as an application, as a market, as a technology, essentially through the strategy and structure that we built out, you get to the same result.

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And we did a lot of research on keywords, key phrases, within the major search engines that we are aligned with.  We recognized gaps within our content where we really weren’t relevant in searches. We were hitting about page three or four, which you guys know rarely does the user go beyond page one.  So we weren’t ranking very high in keyword searches.

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[29:10] [Jeff Byer]

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You would think that just being on a 3M domain would give you so much extra link juice and respect and quality, that anything you publish with a keyword would be automatically “1.”  It’s fun to hear that even with a huge domain like 3M, you weren’t able to get the rankings that you needed just by having a page.

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[29:35] [Matt Ramage]

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Is it a standalone site or is it a subsite under the 3M overall domain?

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[29:46] [Jason Reynolds]

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It’s under the 3M domain.  We had to follow some of the guidelines laid out before us and one of those is linking to the 3M domain.  But subsequently, we were also able to build out our own content, our own standalone pages, but yes, we are a part of the 3M domain within their metalworking page.

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You hit a nail on the head.  Even with our 3M presence within the search engines, which we do carry a lot of weight, it just goes to show you that if you don’t have the right content on your page, it’s not focused content, it’s very generic, you will really miss the mark in terms of high rankings and SEO optimization with those keywords within our business.  We were missing the mark clearly and we knew that.

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[30:57] [Jeff Byer]

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Gotcha.  So we’re trying to find the page.  Is it the metalworking-us page?

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[31:07] [Jason Reynolds]

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Yep.  It is 3m.com/metalworking…it you type in “3m precision grinding.”

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[31:22] [Jeff Byer]

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That’s your keyword?

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[31:24] [Jason Reynolds]

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That’s the keyword.  I’ll type along with you.  And…

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[31:33] [Jeff Byer]

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#1 organic result.  And nobody is buying ads against it.  So you’re in a unique space there.

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[31:41] [Jason Reynolds]

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That’s right.  So we also recognize that we had the opportunity to own a lot of the keywords within our business and within the markets that we target, by just improving the content on our page and within the individual pages that we’ve built out.  Much of the look will change over the next two weeks. The project, which was a 12-week project, is coming to its conclusion in the next week and a half. So a lot of what you’re seeing now we actually improve even further. So it’ll be a nice new look, very clean, with some nice call-to-actions on each one of the individual pages.

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[32:33] [Jeff Byer]

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Yeah, this is great.  I just got in a Twitter conversation with Kevin Indig.  He’s in SEO at G2 Crowd and I was talking to him. He was doing a case study on somebody with a top-level domain, but all they did was change the quality of their content and they went number one for thousands of new keywords.  I was telling him, quality over quantity is now winning, especially on Google.

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[33:04] [Jason Reynolds]

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Absolutely.  

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[33:06] [Jeff Byer]

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Did you do any advertising or Social Media to support this?  

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[33:11] [Jason Reynolds]

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We’re working on that right now.  This digital activation is 12 weeks and it’s involved 6 individual sprints.  Each one of those sprints is 2 weeks long. And so they ad piece, the social piece, was a part of this last sprint.  Awareness ads have been pushed live and it’s really videos that showcase the 3D technology. We’ll also engage on a social front as well, to really improve the demand generation.  But a lot of other components had to be in place on the website – in terms of how we process an incoming lead, how they contact us, who it goes through. So, in going through this digital activation, it also made us aware that some of our contacts process was lacking and so we also took the opportunity to improve that because studies will show you that a nurtured lead or a nurtured customer will actually increase their purchases with you, in the total purchase amount, the more that they are nurtured along the buying process.  We are really doubling down on that to make sure that’s part of our customer’s experience by going to our site.

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[34:56] [Jeff Byer]

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I’m working on a blog post right now that’s talking about the customer journey and how to hit them in each phase of their decision-making process.  And how to categorize them, and change your ads, and change your content based on where they are at in the process. And you can tell where they are at in the process by the keywords that they choose.  There’s a guy who did this for his retail company and he created a spreadsheet that had a custom algorithm in it that would pick out. He would just run a report of the top thousand keywords for specifically what he was trying to target and if it had certain conjunctions or certain specific words, he was able to use this algorithm to assign it a stage of purchasing.  Whether they are just researching or…. So it’s fun to hear that you’re going through that same process as well.

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[35:55] [Jason Reynolds]

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Yeah. Absolutely.  It’s been a nice learning experience for me in just that.  And going through this customer journey, and exactly what you mentioned, is really now being able to look at the metric of what we’re doing digitally and then what kind of results that we’re getting.  Already, just through organic traffic, not really pushing any major demand, nor activities in terms of these [??:36:26] and the social, is we’ve seen a huge uptick from a little less than 200 hits a month to now over 500 hits a month over the past two months alone.  And we’ve not even really pushed anything live to generate that demand. So we’re seeing some really nice organic traffic just by improving our content and our relevance in search.

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[37:00] [Jeff Byer]

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Yeah.  That’s great.  Jason, what type of CRM are you using to nurture the leads and keep tabs on that?

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[37:10] [Jason Reynolds]

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So that is Salesforce.com.  And this was also new for us.  We have campaigns that we attach these leads and opportunities to and we found that we needed to have a multiple-campaign structure.  We needed to understand what was coming through digitally versus other legacy means. And we really wanted to track what we were doing digitally and what impact that was having, separate from what was coming in just through our legacy means – through customer service, through our sales reps, through things like that.  We really wanted to partition that and so we built out a multi-level campaign structure where we can really get at the metric behind both online and offline activities. And just like you mentioned, Jeff, is really to understand what impact that is having so we know what we need to adjust to improve our relevance, to improve search, and to improve the conversion ratio of the customers that are coming to our site.  This is really not something that we’ve done before and now the division is even looking out what we’re doing and using what we’re doing as a pilot. This is the SIPG division within 3M, which abrasives is housed under. They’re even looking at our structure and it looks like they will go live with that structure because of the metrics that you can pull and just the pure content that you can pull from that. It’s been a nice learning experience of going through this process.

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[39:20] [Jeff Byer]

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It’s fantastic.  And seeing how all you do is understand your customer and create a better experience for them and it pays off in traffic searches and engagements.

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[39:34] [Matt Ramage]

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It’s common sense.  You’re giving the customers what they’re looking for.  It’s a great thing.

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[39:44] [Jason Reynolds]

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It’s additional content.  The original website was somewhat superficial.  It had links to literature pieces but ultimately it just wasn’t a good overall user experience.  The user couldn’t go there and learn more about a market, about a product, about an application. It didn’t dive into other pages and relevant content.  And now what we’ve done is we’ve built that out. We’ve built out a very nice structure that makes sense and we’ve hit some of the key markets and applications and products to really improve the user experience.  And through those metrics, we’ll really be able to determine where we’re seeing some really good results, good hits on the website.

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[40:41] [Jason Reynolds]

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Each page will have a call-to-action.  So we’ll see what pages the customers are going to, what they’re engaging more with, and we’ll be able to double down on what’s working really nicely and then we’ll work to improve [??:40:57].

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[40:59] [Jeff Byer]

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That sounds great and sounds like something that a lot of businesses should be doing, especially Home Depot.  I can never find what I’m looking for when I walk into that place.

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[41:12] [Jeff Byer]

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We’re just right at about the end of our interview and one of our favorite questions to ask our guests is, “What tools are you using?”  You mentioned Salesforce, but what other digital tools, or otherwise, do you use on a daily basis?

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[41:35] [Jason Reynolds]

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Just our Outlook, moreso from an email standpoint.  We are using iSmart, which is a sales reporting tool, which was new for us.  We launched SAP in the middle of last year. So along with that came some new reporting tools that we’re utilizing.  We are using PowerBI, which is linked to iSmart and it’s a way to organize a lot of the sales information that you’re pulling from the system and be able to organize that in graphs and charts – things that are a bit more appealing to the eye.  So some very nice platforms that we’re still getting used to but provide us with some very powerful metrics, reporting, and analysis that we use to better our overall business.

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[42:52] [Jeff Byer]

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And I see in your keyword research you mentioned Moz and Brandwatch?

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[43:02] [Jason Reynolds]

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These are two platforms our digital team works with to do a lot of their research.  So it’s moreso them having been engaged with those platforms just to do a lot of the analysis as we’ve been doing through this digital exercise at the various stages.  They really utilize those platforms to give us feedback and to also provide direction on what we need to look for, how we need to write and adjust our content. And just make us more relevant.  Those two platforms were very useful for the digital team as we were going through this exercise.

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[43:53] [Jeff Byer]

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Wrapping up, where can people learn about you?  Learn about the products? Where should we send them?

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[44:02] [Jason Reynolds]

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If you just type in “3m precision grinding,” you’ll be able to go to your main website.  In another week and a half that’ll have a really nice look. So you can go there and go through all the pages and content that we’ve built out.  I would start there.

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[44:26] [Jeff Byer]

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Alright.  Very nice.  Well, it was great having you on.  Some great information. It’s fun learning how these worldwide companies are handling SEO and digital marketing.  It’s very fun, very educational for us.

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[44:43] [Jason Reynolds]

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Yeah.  It was a pleasure.  Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Matt.  

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n","id":"58G2A4Ld0wmONkCpKdR9AA","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"18 | Jason Reynolds: Importance of Digital Engagement and Activation","release_date":"2019-07-01","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:58G2A4Ld0wmONkCpKdR9AA"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/574c06b2045b7cbb7cd709694d830659e6b3e04d","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we are speaking with Jane Lee, co-founder of LaunchPop, about her approach to launching startups and her pitch event to help 10 entrepreneurs with marketing and funding to launch their product.","duration_ms":1826978,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/0ecF8liPie7pX5HtDTMkDw"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/0ecF8liPie7pX5HtDTMkDw","html_description":"

Today we are speaking with Jane Lee, co-founder of LaunchPop, about her approach to launching startups and her pitch event to help 10 entrepreneurs with marketing and funding to launch their product.

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About Jane Lee

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We like to call ourselves a venture launch studio. We help high potential founders launch their direct consumer businesses. Typically, before we decide to work with someone, or launch their company, we look at the founder and figure out if they have the grit. If they have the passion and are in it for the right reasons. And then we look at the product they want to launch.

Jane Lee
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Show Notes

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Hosts: All right, today we have Jane Lee. And Jane is from Canada, has been in the marketing tech space for over a decade. And she’s worked with some big brands, such as, Pepsi and General Mills. And she started her first company in 2015 called Silly B Intimate, which was later acquired, and maybe we can hear about that later on in the show. And she’s actually a ??? entrepreneur which I actually remember seeing some of her videos a number of years ago and we were chatting about that before the show as well. So, some people still recognize Jane as Shopify Jane.

Hosts: Shopify tracked Jane’s progress of setting up a store called Shopify Stockroom, and she just kind of went through from start to finish in starting an online store. And more importantly, now she is co-founder of Launch Pop and that’s what we are going to talk about today. Launch Pop helps high potential founders launch products that will change your life.

Hosts: Welcome to the show Jane.

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Jane: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

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Hosts: Yeah! Well let’s jump right into it. Why don’t you tell us about Launch Pop? And it looks like, is Launch Pop still associated with Shopify?

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Jane: Yeah, I mean like, it is because I am still ??? industry.

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Hosts: Oh okay, got it.

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Jane: I still have such a great relationship with them. When I was at Shopify, I was in their entrepreneur and residence. And people are like, “What is that?”, and it’s kind of a lot of different things. I got to work on a lot of cool projects. And so, some of the things were like, come in this stock room. I was into speed zombie Shopify. Really brainstorming streams. Grabbing you, and also did some cool stuff like help Kylie Jenner with her lip kits, or enter Pop Glop. So, those are really cool experiences. But at the end of the day, you don’t. I really did miss working with entrepreneurs and also watching products. Because that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life, and what I love doing. I still have a great relationship with them and I talk to them often. All the founders that we work with always use Shopify. And we’re actually even planning a cool event in 2 months. It’s called Launch Pop Pitch. And essentially, it’s a shark tank pitching event in collaboration with Shopify. Founders will be able to pitch to 4 judges, and the winner will get $140k in investments. A spot-on Launch Pot studio. And also, years’ worth of Shopify for free. Clearly a very good relationship with them still.

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Hosts: Yes, wow. That’s great. Shopify is one of my new favorite platforms. I’ve just launched 3 stores recently on Shopify and I love it. And it’s a lot of fun. What is the typical customer journey for a Launch Pop customer?

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Jane: Basically, what we do. People are kind of confused and ask are you an agency? Are you an accelerator? Are you an investor? And to be honest, we’re not. We’re kind of in the middle of those 3 different things. We like to call ourselves a venture launch studio. We help high potential founders launch their direct consumer businesses. Usually they come to us and we vet each founder that we work with. The reason why is that over the past 2 years since we started Launch Pop, we noticed that the companies that did the best, had great founders. Especially when it’s early stage. The founder makes the biggest difference and the people who invest in these early stage companies, they are just investing in the founders.

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Jane: Typically, before we decide to work with someone, or launch their company, we look at the founder and figure out if they have the grit. If they have the passion and are in it for the right reasons. And then we look at the product they want to launch. A lot of them come to us at different stages. Some come to us super early stage and they just have the raw product. Some of them don’t even have a product and are still in product development. And some of them have a product that’s already had product market fit, so they don’t actually have a direct consumer business yet. We look at the product and one, it has to have a very clear white space, in terms of how it’s being positioned. And two, the market size has to be big enough for us to see the high potential, and in potential and exit. And three, it has to be a product of integrity. When I talk about integrity, I mean it actually has to be innovative and be a product that can stand on its own, without great branding.

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Jane: You guys know your style, there’s so many different companies out there right now. And there are so many different brands. There’s a lot of shit (laughs). And so, we at Launch Pop only want to stand behind products that are actually innovative, and actually disrupting categories, and helping humans live better, if that makes sense. So, yeah.

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Hosts: I don’t think my fantasy product would qualify.

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Jane: What is your product?

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Jane: Amazing

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Hosts: Yeah. And so, I bought the domain and everything, thinking this was just going to be automatic. But I don’t know if there’s even a market for it.

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Jane: What’s interesting is the first phase of when you end up working with a founder is actually finding that product market fit. I like to call our team growth minded brand people. We do a lot of testing before we decide on a brand direction. We actually do this testing through Facebook and Instagram. We mock up different Facebook ads, and we test out to see if there are actually people interested in this product. You don’t even have to have an end product ready. You can mock it up, via you can graphically designed different packages, graphically design your product. You don’t even need a real photo, and we put it on a Facebook ad. And we target hundreds of different target consumers to figure out which target consumer loves this. Where do we get the most engagement on a Facebook ad? And via the Facebook ads, we are able to see the market size and who we should target, and how we should position the brand.

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Hosts: I was just going to ask what the call to action is on a product that doesn’t exist?

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Jane: Usually it’s an ad that’s mocked up, and we say if you are interested in this product, give us your email and when we launch, we’ll give you 15% off.

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Hosts: Gotcha.

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Jane: Just like CTA will give us your emails, that’s how we count which ad is winning. That’s how we figure out where there is product market fit.

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Hosts: Yeah, that makes sense. Can you give us a few highlights of some of the companies that you’ve launched, and that you are proud of?

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Jane: We’ve launched some really awesome companies. One is Morning Recovery. It’s a hangover drink, I think a lot of people have probably seen it. We pushed that around 2 years ago and he came to us with an interesting story. He went to Korea and he had a bunch of meetings, and he needed to be productive the next day, so, he started drinking these hangover solutions. These drinks have been in Korea for a very long time, but there were no products like this in the US. He came back to the US and said let’s launch this in the US. And so, we did.

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Jane: We did this one on Indigogo, and in the first 3 months, there was a million dollars in revenue. And then he went on to get a series-a of 8 million dollars. So, that was one of the companies that we launched. Another company that we launched which was really cool, and this was super, super early stage. We helped this girl named Sarah, and she came to us saying that she really wanted to use the ingredient algae, because it’s the most carbon negative product out there, but did not know what format to put it in. So, like I mentioned before, we created a bunch of different Facebook ads. We created algae cookies, algae chips, algae bars, algae vitamins, and we tested it on various different personas. And what we found after we did the testing, was we got the most emails with the ad that was around algae vitamins. And so, we decided to create the most organic and the most real vitamin out there, which is in a whole food format. So, the vitamin without the capsule.

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Hosts: They look like energy bar cubes.

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Hosts: I’m on the site now, it looks great. It looks real.

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Jane: During the program that people watch with us, we essentially become their co-founder. It’s interesting because we do take equity in the companies that we launch, and the companies also give us a monthly retainer. Just so we can keep the lights on from an operational perspective. We end up taking equity, we have skin in the game. The way that we act is not like an agency. We don’t stop when it hits 5pm. We’re up, and we’re in flack with them until 3am or 4am. Because we have skin in the game. It becomes a very different type of relationship when we have equity. We act like co-founders. We go in day in and day out, we’re there for them emotionally. A lot of them are first time founders, so we are coaching them on how to build a team, how to build a business and scale the business, and even how to manage investors.

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Jane: What’s happened over the past two years is we’ve launched some great companies. And all of these investors in LA were like, who is Launch Pop? We seem to be investing in the companies that have been launched through Launch Pop. We’ve created a network of investors, with an array of up north*. And we give them a deal flow, essentially. So, we send them companies that we are working with. And for them, they see the companies a little more favorably. Just because we are launching them, and we de-risk their investment a little bit. And so, there is that kind of relationship as well. We help our start ups get introduced to these VCs. And we help them with their VC deck. And we help them figure out their financials as well. So, we are kind of like a full stack co-founder.

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Hosts: What would be the latest stage that you would take somebody on?

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Jane: We focus on launching the direct consumer side of their business. We have this one company that we’re starting to work with, and they already have their distribution in Pottery Barn, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, etc. But their direct consumer website is not fully there. And they haven’t really optimized on that yet. And so, they have been in business for 5 years, and they are pretty well established, but they really want to own that relationship with the customer. And obviously, get more margin. And so, we’re helping them launch. Their D2C business.

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Hosts: So, with every one of the companies you work with, you take on the creative?

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Jane: Our team is a full stack team of digital marketers. You have designers who focus on website packaging and graphics. And you have growth marketers who do paid acquisition, copywriters, brand people, info marketers, PR folks, everything is internal with our team. I like to think of our team as like The Avengers of draft consumer marketing.

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Hosts: Okay, so, you’re a godsend for somebody with a product who just doesn’t know what to do.

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Jane: And we also have another side of our business where we just do branding for later stage companies. Do you guys know who Gary V is?

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Hosts: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’m wearing his shoes right now actually. The clouds and dirt shoes.

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Jane: We’re rebranding his empathy wine, his wine company. His wine company is direct to consumer, and he trusts in our capabilities to understand consumer digitally needed brands. So, we’re rebranding his, and we’re rebranding a lot of other cool brands. So, there’s that side of our business, which is purely just a brand agency side as well.

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Hosts: Is that under Launch Pop, or is that under a different company?

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Jane: Yup, that’s under Launch Pop.

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Hosts: Great, great. Well, I know we have a hard cut off time. Why don’t you spend the last couple of minutes and tell people where they can reach you, and find out more. And I believe that next event you have coming up, is it next month?

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Jane: I really want to take this time to actually encourage people to apply to this pitch event. I know how hard it is to start a business. You definitely do need capital, because you are going against all these people that have venture backed money. And there is a lot of noise, and essentially, when it comes to direct to consumer, whoever has a lot of money is able to get the inventory that they need, and the community that they need, and create the content that they need, and obviously paid acquisition is still a very important part of the business.

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Jane: I really wanted to give people a shot at getting some dollars to start their business, if they had a really great product that they wanted to push forward in the world. Applications are due online by June 10th or 15th, I want to be flexible for everyone. It’s a really simple form that you can fill out that’s on our website www.launchpop.com. It’s very simple, you just fill out your name, the product that you have, what stage you are in; in terms of product development, why you are creating that product?

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Jane: And then I am going to be choosing 10 different people to pitch in real life, in LA. And so, we are going to be having the hosting of this event on June 28th, and 10 people will be pitching to 4 different judges. And then we will be choosing a winner to win $140k in investments. They will be able to launch with us, and also get a years’ worth of Shopify for free. And Shopify can get expensive, so it’s actually a great thing to win. And also, this event, we are inviting 150 guests. And all the 150 guests will be VPs, entrepreneurs, investors, and different agencies that you can network with and find help, if you are in the space of launching a business.

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Hosts: That’s fantastic. Well thank you Jane. Would you be able to get Jeff and I on the list?

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Jane: Yeah! Honestly that turmeric rice idea is actually pretty awesome. Not going to lie. You could totally apply.

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Hosts: All right, cool. Tumerice is on the menu. I’m ready to do it. I’ll mock up the package today. All right, where do people find you?

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Jane: You can just go onto our website www.launchpop.com. In there, if you want to contact us, you can fill out the form, or just reach out to hello@launchpop.io, and shoot us and email saying hi. Or if you guys have any questions at all about launching or D2C and what that space looks like. On Instagram too, it’s Launch Pop.

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Hosts: All right, well thank you so much Jane for being on the show. It was a brief show, but we definitely got a lot of value and I’m sure listeners will like to follow you online. So, thank you again for being on the show.

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Jane: Yeah, no worries. Thanks so much for having me.

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Hosts: And do you still go by Shopify Jane?

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Jane: People come up to me and say, “Shopify Jane!” It’s funny. I’m like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I still love that company and I’m still good friends with everyone there. So, yeah, I don’t mind.

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Hosts: Okay. All right, well thank you very much for being on the show, we really appreciate it.

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Jane: Yeah, no worries. Have a great day.

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Hosts: Yeah, you too. Thanks, Jane.

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For show information, go to digitalragefm, on Twitter and Instagram, at digital rage FM, and please give us a rating and review, we sincerely appreciate it.

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"0ecF8liPie7pX5HtDTMkDw","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"17 | Jane Lee: Startup Marketing with Shopify","release_date":"2019-06-24","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:0ecF8liPie7pX5HtDTMkDw"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/02e763d44c5556a394a3f5ff4a946823e5c75476","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"On today's episode of Digital Rage we speak with Rob Taylor from TD Media. Rob has built a SaaS product called Conference Brain that provides a complete conference and live learning management solution.","duration_ms":2790922,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/080XSyDK8eAoHuOS0URUVS"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/080XSyDK8eAoHuOS0URUVS","html_description":"

On today’s episode of Digital Rage we speak with Rob Taylor from TD Media. Rob has built a SaaS product called Conference Brain that provides a complete conference and live learning management solution.

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About Rob Taylor

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If a client wants a specific feature there is a very good chance that we will develop it for them. Where some of our competitors would say this is the way it works take it or leave it.

Rob Taylor
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Show Notes

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Alright on the show today we have Rob Taylor. Rob is the Founder and CEO of TV Media. He is also the product manager of Conference Brain. Which is going to be what we wanted to dig into mostly on this episode because it is a very interested app. And he is a father and he is also my brother, so welcome Rob!

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Hey! Thanks Jeff.

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Yeah, welcome to the show.

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So, let’s start with why don’t you tell us about the Conference Brain, give us the overview.

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Yeah. Sure. So Conference Brain is a platform that allows organizers of live learning events to manager pretty much all aspects of their events using a single log in. When we built the system it was designed as a beast mode project for a specific client and they were using six different systems to manage their one meeting. So between managing the website, the eblast, attendee registration, exhibit registration, abstract admission and judging. All of those were done in different systems so there was no single source of truth for their data. Which became really problematic when they wanted to start building advance functionality. Like giving their members discounts on conference registration. So, it was sort of the itch that they had and as we were developing it for them, we found that there were a lot of other organizations in that similar set of circumstances.

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Alright, and oh, question. What does CME stand for?

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So, continuing medical education. Doctors are required to their education on a regular basis annual and submit proof of that. A lot of that can be done online these days. But when you have a meeting in March, April in Palm Springs. It is pretty easy to attract people to come to your meeting at a live event. Um. yeah and there are just a lot of networking and things that you can do in a live context.

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Okay. So, your app will actually track and help count towards continuing education?

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Right. So they literally plan the entire meeting using our platform. Like they are already using it now to plan the 2020. We just finished 2019 right at the beginning of April. So all of the scheduling in terms of what sessions their going to offer, what social events. With CME there are pretty strict requirements for what you can give credit for and what you can’t. So if you are having a cocktail reception that is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company that does not confirm CME credit where an educational session would. So, our platform differentiate between those two things and allows the organizers to assign a value in terms of points for each session that someone attends. Then at the end they get a certificate that says you have earned 21.5 CME units. So that is how that works.

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Oh great!

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So can you maybe walk back and tell us why you choose that industry. Was that just based on one of your clients for a other company and then you got into that.

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That is a great question, yeah. That is exactly what happens. We do a lot of work in the fertility space and the client that we developed this for was the specific reproductive society. So their the second largest organization for CME for reproductive endocrinology. Which is basically fertility medicine. So they just celebrated their 67th annual meeting. They have been doing it for a while. And one of our clients fertility center we work with was on the board of directors there and was aware of the need and they were looking for companies to build something custom for them. They couldn’t find anything else out in the market place that let them do exactly what they had a vision for creating. So it found us is really the answer.

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Got it.

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So how long ago was that?

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Uh, we started building it in, about 5 or 6 years ago. They have ran 4 meetings on it. And we spent about a year or two on it just getting ourselves familiar with the organization. We went to a meeting before it was worked on to see how it was run. Then we spent about 12 months building the first version of it. Then over another period of 3-4 years we have continued adding features. For instance in the first couple years that we did it they still outsourced the mobile app for attendees for a third party but we since then have created a service that ties into our back end. Sort of work was they had to export it from one system and input it into another system and now they don’t have to do that. The mobile app pulls from the single source of truth. Which is really one of our driving principals in developing this thing.

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Do all of the attendees have, they can down a iphone and android app at the conference.

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Exactly. They can do it ahead of time. It is in both of the respected stores and it has everything from their sessions, schedule to all of the attendees contact information, exhibit map, list of abstracts. With these learning events there is a big focus obviously on education and a lot of that education comes from the community. Where they submitted abstracts and those abstracts are judged. Then there is a big poster presentation where everyone puts their big scientific posters up on a board. So it gives them a listing of what posters are at which location. All that important information.

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Ok. Now is it, is the app kind of custom tailored to each?

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Yeah. That’s a good question. Yeah it is completely branded. Just like the conference brand it self. We are currently working with two conferences. The second is the World Professional Association for Transgender Health which is a worldwide organization. Probably 3-4 times the size of Pacific Coast Reproductive Society. So obviously their installation of conference brain is custom to them. We don’t yet have the mobile app for them but were working on that but it would be completely different. The way we do that is instead of a multi tenant platform which you know a lot of these systems run like. We actually do things a little differently. We use get and code versioning  to actually create a separate repository. So we have a upstream master repository not to get too technical then we pull that down into each clients individual repository. Which allows us a lot of flexibility of customizing the platform. We don’t really have to consider something that wouldn’t work for client A if client B wants it because we would make it a configuration option and client A doesn’t see what client B wants. So it allows us to kind of rapidly scale this thing up in terms of 90% of the work is done but if they want the registration to work differently we can customize it in their downstream repository without affecting anyone else.

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And with that system it sounds like you can, in something every lastly you would worry about updates but if this is conference by conference you don’t need to worry about it lasting more than a year.

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Well, kinda. With CME regulations there is a recording requirement where you have to keep all the data for 6 or 8 years. So there is definitely a longevity concern and then with our other client Wpath they actually ran 7 conferences on the same platform. Some of those are smaller surgical courses and then there is their big national one that is coming up i believe in November where it is a lot bigger. There is the idea of keeping it running 24/7 because people need access to their CME certificates. It is also a membership system. So when they pay their dues they do that through the system as well. So um, it does all year round.

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Gotcha.

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Got it.

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So Rob, Jeff and I were talking before you got on the show. My company and I have done a couple conference. We have our own CMS as well so we have done some in the AA space, alcoholics anonymous and one of the issues we ran into was we don’t have an app for it. It’s just a website with registration. Another issue we ran into was people not having actual internet connection at the actual conference. So have you had to, how do you handle that? Obviously the people need to be on wifi but is all the information downloaded in case there are internet problems?

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Yeah. So that is a good question and we did look at that originally. Part of the original specification when we did the project for Pacific Coast Reproductive Society. That it needed to be able to run locally. Their last system was filemaker pro and they would literally shut the entire registration system down and move it to a laptop and run it locally without a internet connection to do onsite registration.

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Ouch.

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Yeah. painful right. So technically we could do the same thing. All of our deploy infrastructure is programmatic done from the command line so it would be pretty trivial to take the entire stack and employ it to a mobile computer if we needed to. We would obviously have to shut down the data in production while we are doing that because we wouldn’t have any way of synchronizing spare data sets but it could be done. We haven’t had a problem with it though the conference venues that we run at have really good wifi internet and so it has not been an issue. I am sure if it was we could probably hard wire a solution but you can’t do much with a mobile app if there is no good internet.

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Right.

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Some things are beyond our control.

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Yeah and I guess these days wifi is just kind of comes with you just expect it at conferences.

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And you could always do a mobile hotspot if you needed to even if the infrastructure wasn’t there. We would probably leverage some third party, even if we had to go satellite we could probably do that.  

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Mm.

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So two of the things that I see that you probably had as major hurdles was getting accredited to assign continuing education credits and two is uh, adoption of a new system.

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Mhmm.

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Were those, correct?

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So fortunately number 1 is nothing that we have to deal with. The society that we are licensed to is responsible for that part of it. Their kind of responsible for making the decision as to how our system would conform to those requirements. So to be quite honest we are not experts in CME compliance. We just rely on them to provide that. There are some kind of strenchet rules that we made kind of a open ended system for review of faculty material.  That is a really big deal and so when a facility is assigned to the system they have to upload their presentation ahead of time. That presentation can be assigned to a judge one or more judges and those judges have to review each slide in the deck and sign off on a series of questions that are open ended. Meaning that the client can go in and ask the questions that they want to ask and how many questions they want to ask. One of the many questions is, is this presentation free from any commercial logos. That is a big deal. You can’t and it is crazy how people will try to subtly take a picture of themselves and in the back corner is their company logo. Can’t blame them they are trying to optimize the opportunity. So by having the system it doesn’t enforce any rules but it allows the admins to say what are the questions you need to sign off on so if the certification requirements change in the future they can add a different question. They have a historical record of who reviewed the presentation so if they were ever questioned by the governing body they would have some proof to show. And then the second one in terms of adoption we have been very fortunate. You know Pacific Coast Reproductive Society by their own admission previous system was really challenging for users. For example if I registered as an attendee and I changed my address. That update wouldn’t be reflective in my membership record because that was a whole different table. They had duplicate addresses in those two tables there wasn’t a single source of truth for address. So there wasn’t really any push back in people adopting it, which was fortunate for us. I think the larger question is how to get larger companies that aren’t on our platform to adopt it.

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Yes.

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That is definitely a hurdle. It is more of a entreprise sale cycle in terms of there is a board of directors and their planning their meetings a year out and if you are lucky you are trying to get in on a opportunity in 24 months kind of a thing. Coming from standard development marketing that is eons.

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Yeah. So that is one of the main things we wanted to discuss. The challenge that you had with growing the business with an enterprise level sale cycle. What is your plans going into the future with this.

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Yeah. I wish I could speak authoritatively to this point because you know, were still trying to figure it out to be completely honest. I think the plan for us really involves being consistent. So creating content on a regular basis so were actually looking at developing documentation as content and as a marketing tool. So that as we develop, because documentation is still in its infancy but as we release different chapters of documentation publicly, even though it may give our competitors some insight as to how our system works. I think the upside of having relevant content on a regular basis will probably trump that. So, um, and then just being persistent. It is a long sales cycle and it is going to be something you have stay in touch with people on a regularly basis. Previously to be quite honest our sales approach has been try to get them to express intent and if the sale cycle isn’t closed in 6-8 weeks we probably just move on from that opportunity. Then we will need to shift from that and know that it doesn’t happen in that time frame and be more patient and invest more time into the sale. I think is kind of where we are going.

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Interesting.

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Are there competitors like direct competitors or is your product unique?

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Uh, it’s, there are definitely direct competitors and some very large ones and so that is definitely a challenge but the flip side of that challenge being very large they are trying to do things that scale and were not. Were purposely trying to things efficiently if you will. Meaning that if a client wants a specific feature there is a very good chance that we will develop it for them. Where some of our competitors would say this is the way it works take it or leave it. That is one of the things that drove wpath our second client to choose working with us because we didn’t say no to anything. We were like yes let’s figure out what you want and make it work that way. I think we’re a bit more eager in that aspect being new and we have a platform that allows us to do that customization without a downside. It would be great if we developed features that more than one client would want to license but um were still willing to work with the clients as sort of a custom application development if you will but with the benefit economically of having most of it already done. I think that is our sweet spot. We can offer them a high level of customized service but their still not paying for a complete solution.

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Yeah makes sense. Rob would you mind speaking about pricing at all or how that works. You don’t have to get into the nitty gritty.

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Yeah. That’s a fair question. So for CME compliant organization that uses all the features, including the mobile app and registration, member dues collection and all of that it ends up being around $36,000-$38,000 a year, licensing. There are organizations that don’t have membership bodies that just do conferences without membership or that do not require CME compliance so were looking to offer custom solutions. Where people aren’t paying for things that they don’t need and that would lower the price point but were still toying around with and see if we can make sort of a light version that would have registration obviously and session planning but may skip some of the things like faculty review or abstract submission if an organization doesn’t do that.

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That sounds like a good approach to have a scaled down version you could probably easier to set up for them as well.

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Yeah and the thing you know, it would include everything in terms of the website, mobile app and registration. Organizations that are doing that now through multiple providers might be attractive to them both economic and just sort of a operational standpoint.

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I have a leading question. I want to lead you into sort of like taking a peak under the hood but do you see that the customization of your app would be scalable and which would be something that would never go away.

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I think I understand the question.

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So 10 years from now you wouldn’t lock down your service like other big competitors have.

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No, I don’t think so. I honestly, we come from a development background. I am not a sales guy. I am a developer, a marketer. So I really enjoy the process of learning the needs of the potential client and see how we can address them with technology. That is sort of an inherit passion of mine so I don’t think I would ever want to just do something that was the same for everybody and if the leading question is to lead me into the technology stack and how we do that is that where you are going?

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That is straight where I am going. Straight under the hood. I want to know how it works.

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Right. So uh it is all done in PHP at least the main web part of it and company framework. If you have ever used company it is complexed but really good at what we want to do which is establish a common way to do something and add exceptions. So on the view layer just looking at how things are presented to the screen regardless of the back end logic um,. What we would call the base repo has a set of view layers but even within the company there is a really easy way to override the base layer of the view. So what we do is we pull the whole company view down into the clients repo and then within that we make new files that only live in the downstream repo and override the default view layers. So, not to be too technical. I guess it is ok to be technical. But it is really designed to, and there is some manuel going back and forth. For instance if you update the base layer you have to synchronize that override layer downstream. But it is a real easy way for the development team to focus on one core repo, push that down and there are other people who can handle implementation at a clients specific level. So even operationally it gives a really clean division of labor where developers can work on developing core features without worrying about how that is going to affect anybody down stream. Then another set of people can focus on how do we take that and make sure it works in that clients and that is not something that scales very well because you have to manually in some cases update things. Like I said earlier were not trying to scale well were trying to do things purposefully and not at scale because I think there is an opportunity there.

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Yeah definitely. It helps with the evolution of the product as well because if you have a few clients asking for the same feature you add it to the core features.

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Yeah. Then we have the options of tying things to a central configuration file and even that configuration file can be partially overridden on a client level. So there is a main config its Yamel in cemphany. So it is a config.yaml file but then we have a config.client.yamel and in the up stream repo that is an empty file but down stream if we want to add parameters we literally copy parameters from the main config yaml and change the configuration there.

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It takes priority.

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Exactly. Exactly. So the view layer has this view of overriding and priority and the config layer has this same idea and then if we need things that are programmatically different we can build two things parallel versions of something like a registration flow and we say client A uses this registration flow and client B uses this registration flow. Um so it doesn’t, we never have to touch client a’s registration flow if client b wants changes.

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Yeah.

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So company itself is fantastic. It’s complicated but for this type of development where you have uh, upstream, downstream repo. It is really wonderful for our purposes. Then the mobile app is done just to kind of give you a walk through of it. We chose reactive for the mobile app which is ok. You know.

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It’s popular for sure.

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It’s popular and I am not honestly adversed well enough in reactive for sure, it is not my strong suit. But I think those are more to me as a developer, the developer we use is great but mobile app development is so much harder than web development.

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Yes.

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Really there’s so many more considerations and it takes longer. I am so used to so quickly in a web environment so that is definitely been kind of an adjustment. This isn’t the first mobile app we have done but it is the one that has been used the most for sure. Um, then we tie the real native client to the data set using anodapi. So the mobile app connects to the nod stack and the nod stack pulls data from rethinkdb which is  really interested sort of data store. Were using MySQL. Company uses this thing called doctorant or optionaly instead of writing query you are writing indoctron. Doctor pushing company to rethink that as well. We did that kind of on purpose because we wanted the mobile app to have the same data but be redistributed multi server database environment that we could have on a different set of serves so that the mobile app would never be directly affected by the web performance. It’s a little convoluted but um it works well in practice.

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Yeah and I went straight to thinking it went from mysql to a json file. Having the db solution seems like a much easier option.

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Well and we kind of do a change feed so that as certain tables are updated we store kind of a meta table that says hey this table was updated at this date and time. Then the mobile client through nodapl stores when the last time was updated in their client and if it hasn’t changed it doesn’t bother to download it. So it knows when to download this new data sort of by this meta change log information on the table which pretty efficient. You still have to do pulling every I think we do it every 30 seconds but you are pulling this tiny information date, time and then if it’s greater than you stored locally then you go and grab the whole table again.

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Gotcha.

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I have a question about set up. If a company comes to you and they pretty much have no customization and want the features that you offer. What does the set up look like?

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That’s a good question. It could be done really quickly. The hurdle is usually importing and utilizing their user data. So that is more important to membership organizations and they have dues they want to collect and dues history that they want to import into the system um and most of those folks don’t have normalization done. Their people will be just a text fill instead of being a table. So you can have md credential you could have 7 or 8 variations of it with periods and capitalization and all of that. So, going through and normalizing all of that but short of those challenges. We can spin up in 2-4 weeks pretty easily.

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Ok. Wow nice!

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Yeah it’s already done. It’s just a matter of creating another repository and programatically creating it. So if there is you know,, it has a built in CMS for modifying. Basically conference brain is the website for the organization but if they have an existing WordPress website they can do a conference.domainname.com and do the conference function there. Then the design wouldn’t be such an aspect. We try to discourage that because having a single website, single place to log in is probably a big advantage as far as friction for their attendees but it’s an option to scale up quickly.

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Ok got it. During the actual events how are you providing support at those events.

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Yeah. It depends from a pcrs I actually go onsite and help them with onsite registration. I am actually the guy printing peoples badges and helping people buy tickets and stuff. That was an opportunity that came early on and I took it. Developing is one thing but to see it in action is another. You make a long list of things that could be better.

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On the ground. Home Depot requires all executives to work on the floor for two months attorneys and all.

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Then our other client wpath, we have been to one of their meetings because I wanted to meet the board of directors and see how the meeting was run and they run every meeting without any assistance from us. It is not like we have to be there but we certainly can be and like to be if it is feasible.

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Alright we’re coming up on the critical 30 minute mark. What we love to ask our guest is what tools do you like to use. Obviously you  use get, what else is primary to the tools that you use on a daily basis.

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We self host our repos on get labs on our own servers so we don’t use github we use get lab. Which is fantastic. I was a little intimated getting that set up myself but super easy to maintain and I would highly recommend. Macbook Air for programming. Sublime text is my primary tool of choice for coding but our dev team uses different tools php storm I believe.

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Any vs coders?

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No. I don’t think so. Sorry. Um, we have a really interesting ticketing system that no one has ever heard of called egroupware its out of germany. It’s open source but we use for all of our ticketing and time tracking internally. We run payroll of that to figure out how much to pay everybody based on how much they have worked and clients submit tickets directly into that system either by email or directly into that interface. Um, I like Iterm2. I have been using that for a while and within that I use Tmucs which is good screen multiplier. If you do any stuff you should learn screen or tmucs it sets up your workspace in a terminal and even if  you are on a remote server and it dies you can log back in and all of your stuff is still there. You can run processes within a terminal context. What else photoshop, illistrator.

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You used lume the last time I talked to you.

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Yeah that is right lume is great for short videos. We do that all the time if the client has a question about something we will record a short screencast and send it over to them. I have tried a bunch of different video programs and this one is by far easiest even their paid version is like $8.00 a month. It’s ridiculously cheap.

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Yeah. I can’t express how simple they make sharing easy but how much they give you for free.

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Yeah and I like the feature that they send you an email when someone has seen it so even in like prospecting emails, i’ll record a screencast and then I’ll get insight if the prospect actually viewed the video or not. Sort of gives me how far along they are coming in terms of being ready to talk. Let’s see what else that is pretty much it.

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Well there you go. Fantastic. Um, alright so what do you want to promote how do people follow you. Where do you want people to reach out.

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Yep. Well were on linkedin, I think and I do a little on Twitter. LinkedIn is better and then conferencebrain.com is the best way to learn more about the platform and there is a demo request form there that you can fill out and we will be right in touch if anyone wants to try it out. We have a full version with demo data where you can log into the back end and see how all the functionality works and that would be the best way.

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Alright sounds good. Thank you very much rob for being here, it was very informative and fun talking to you.

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Yeah. Thanks a lot guys.

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Thanks Rob.

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For show notes go to digital rage.com and follow us on Twitter at Digital Rage FM. Consider giving us a rate and review we would sincerely appreciate it.

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"080XSyDK8eAoHuOS0URUVS","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"16 | Rob Taylor: SaaS Development, Marketing and Scaling","release_date":"2019-06-17","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:080XSyDK8eAoHuOS0URUVS"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/393d108b7103c304ea4ea410341ab1f1a67363e6","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we have another important conversation about accessibility. Rachelle Golden drops some knowledge on us, and we take immediate action - that's how important this episode is.","duration_ms":2905208,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/0ooKpPeALtByWvuJ6eQOS7"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/0ooKpPeALtByWvuJ6eQOS7","html_description":"

Today we have another important conversation about accessibility.  Rachelle Golden drops some knowledge on us, and we take immediate action – that’s how important this episode is. 

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About Rachel Golden

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My whole goal is to make sure that all businesses, small and large, are able to service their clients and to make sure that they get to keep the money that they earn in their own pockets. And not give it away to predatory plaintiff. It drives me nuts.

Rachelle Golden
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Show Notes

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Jeff: Yep, yeah.

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Matt: So, there we are. Let’s, uh, get right into it with our interview with Rachelle Golden.

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Matt: Alright, well welcome to the show today Rachelle. Today we have Rachelle Golden. Rachelle works at Hatmacker Law. Is that Rachelle? Did I get that name right?

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Rachelle: It’s Hatmaker, but close.

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Matt: Alright. Okay. Hatmaker, sorry. Um, so yeah. Rachelle handles Labor and Employment Law but especially um, you know, specializes in ADA Compliance. So that’s what we’re actually going to be talking to her about today. She has extensive experience consulting with private and public entities and actually works on policies as well for federal and state laws regarding ADA compliance. So we’re really excited to talk to you about that today. So welcome to the show!

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Rachelle: Thanks! I’m happy to be here.

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Matt: Yeah well, um. Yeah I guess we’ll dive deep – dive right into this. We uh, we’ve had a few people on to our, uh, you know this is our first- this is our 15th episode and we’ve definitely addressed this topic a couple times but we haven’t had anybody, um an attorney on the show to speak about accessibility. So, I- maybe we should do this a disclaimer at this point that this is, um. How do you say it? This is not legal advice?

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Rachelle: (laughs) This is not intended to be legal advice. It’s for educational purposes only. This is not Attorney-Client privilege. And if you have specific questions or concerns, please contact me directly. (laughs)

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Jeff: What she said.

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Matt: Perfect, exactly. (laughs) We’ll put that right there at the top of the show notes. So..

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Rachelle: (laughs) Okay, fair enough.

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Matt: Um, well thank you so much. You know I, I guess we’ll just, yeah, just jump right into it.

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Um, yeah why don’t you um, why don’t you just walk us through a typical accessibility case. You know, with regards to a website that’s not accessible to people with disabilities.

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Rachelle: Yeah, well there, okay. So, what happens is, is.. Um, and I have allergies. So if I start sneezing or need to blow my nose, just bare with me. Um, got to love Fresno. (laughs) Uh, what happens is typically I’ll get a call from a potential client or, you know, a referral or somebody and they’ll say “Hey. I either got a complaint or I got a demand letter. I don’t even know who to talk to about this. I didn’t even know that website accessibility was a thing. Is it even a law?” You know, that- that’s where the genesis of these conversations start is the person is completely blindsided because they didn’t- like I said, they didn’t even know it was a thing. So then, you know, then I’ll ask them a couple of questions about their business and what type of website they have. Whether it’s just informational or whether they’re actually conducting some sort of transaction through the website. Whether it’s, you know, if it’s a restaurant, it’s just informational. Um that’s, you know, one category. Or if it’s a hotel, um, and you can book rooms through it, that’s a different type of- of problem. Or if it is a restaurant and you’re selling, you know, gift certificates, or you’re making reservations, or, you know. If it’s interactive in some way, and you really.. Then you’re really, um, facing a situation where there could be a potential liability. So, um, the first thing that I do when I get the complaint is I analyze it with a tooth and comb. Um, typically they’re “Canned Complaints” meaning, you know, there’s a handful of lawyers who, who bring these lawsuits across these country, um, and, most of their complaints look exactly the same. So if I’m dealing with a- a law firm that’s actually using a plaintiff- And I say using a plaintiff um, because that’s exactly what happens. What happens is the- the person is working for one particular law firm and filing hundreds of ‘suits, all the time.

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Matt: Oh.

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Rachelle: So, and really the person that makes, um, this is um, you know, benefitting is truly the attorney because what I found is um, that the actual settlement itself, only a very small percentage goes to that particular plaintiff. Most of the attorneys fees and costs- or most of the settlement, rather, goes to the attorney.

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Matt: Oh, interesting.

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Rachelle: Um, so it’s not- It’s not as if, you know, the $4,000 statutory penalty. That- the plaintiff is getting that full $4,000. They usually get maybe $500, maybe $2,000 at most, and then- So then the attorney captures the rest of the $2,000 and plus they get their attorney’s fees on top of it. So it’s really- it’s not balanced. Um, so. If I’m dealing with somebody who’s actually using a plaintiff who has a visual, cognitive- I haven’t seen too many cognitives, um, probably because there’s a capacity issue there. So it’s typically visual or hearing impaired. Um, then I know we’ve got a true communication barrier-type case where then I- I need to make sure that the website is compliant with the website content accessibility guidelines, uh, to point out AA or greater. Um, or if I’m dealing with a person that has a mobility disability like myself, who’s just saying, you know, “Oh, I can’t filter your website based on your accessible features.” That’s an entirely different problem because the ADA has not met the- the communication barrier statutes are not designed and intended to accommodate that type of person because they can see the screen, they can hear the videos, see the pictures, understand and appreciate what’s on the screen. So, that’s a more defensible case in my experience because that’s not what the ADA was set out to do, in that particular instance as far as websites go. So depending on what case I’m dealing with and what kind of plaintiff I have, what the allegations are, then it truly just becomes, okay, do you want to fight this? You know? If we think we have a defense, we try it. Um, especially if it’s personal mobility disability. Um, or if it’s, say, “Well, your website is not compliant and this person has a visual impairment, and you have a transactional website. Um, it’s probably in your best interest and the cheapest route to try and settle this case.

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Jeff: Now are you.. Gotcha, got it. It makes sense. Now are you, as far as, you know, when these cases come in, are you then reaching out to, you know, like an independent audit company? Or are you guys just on staff, kind of, you know, up to the regulations in determining whether it’s accessible or not? Or..?

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Rachelle: Even if I was sounding that way,..

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Matt: Okay.

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Rachelle: I wouldn’t- I wouldn’t want to be. Um, the reason is because then I become a witness to my own client’s case.

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Matt: Oh, okay.

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Rachelle: Okay, so, um. There’s very specific kind of boundaries that need to be in place there. So even if, you know, and I intend to take some coding classes and, and intend to become.. In fact, starting this summer, really kind of diving into this issue so that I have more knowledge and to better serve my clients. Say, well this is required, and this is not required. And so, kind of learn more about it so I understand- Just like with construction related access claims. I know that with California building code and the federal designs standards barrier very, very well. So when I get a “Canned Complaint” I already know more than the plaintiff and the lawyer on the other side. And so in those particular circumstances, it’s really in the client’s best interest because now I know what’s legitimate and what’s not. What they’re claiming is- is truly and barrier and in claiming you- you know, what’s not a barrier. And I- my goal is to become the say way with accessibility for websites of: “No, this is required or this isn’t required.”

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Matt: Mmhmm.

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Rachelle: Um, but I’d- I used independent auditors to come in, and will look at, um, a clients website if they can afford it because, you know, auditing is very expensive. Um, most of the time the client’s are not willing to spend, you know, the $5,000-$10,000 just to get a thorough audit done, because that doesn’t include the remediation of the website.

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Matt: Mmhmm.

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Rachelle: So..

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Matt: Outside of an audit, what are- what would be good first steps for a company to take?

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Rachelle: Well, I always recommend if you are using a template website, you know, GoDaddy, Wix, WordPress, whatever it may be. If that’s your template- SquareSpace- if you’re using a template as a website, call the company and ask them “Hey, is this template WCAD 2.0 AA compliant? 90% of the time, they’re going to ask you “What’s that?” That’s a pretty good indicator that the template that you’re using is not accessible. Okay. I know, um, that WordPress does have a WCAD 2.0 AA template that’s expensive. Um, and it’s limited to what you can do to it, because that’s the problem with- Not the problem. That is how it’s designed in the- the website content availability guidelines. Minimal tweaking because once you start tweaking things, then you’re messing with the code in the background and so then you’ve just destroyed the accessibility component to it. Right?

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Matt: Right.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: If it’s a website that you’re constantly uploading pictures and feeds and farming people out to different third party um, sites and things like that, chances are it’s not going to be compliant because you are the, the user is manipulating the content on the website. So that is one of the limitations. And from what I learned is, that, yeah. You can use a, you know, a template that’s ADA compliant um, but you’re limited on what you can do with it. So you would really need to go through your IT people to upload it in a- a compliant way. So, then the other thing is, and the other kind of group of people, is if you design your website from scratch and used, you know, a- a very savvy IT company or a website developer or a mobile app developer. Call them and ask them. And unfortunately about 50% of the time even those companies are not up to speed.

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Matt: What do you find are the most common, um, problems with websites?

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Rachelle: It’s your basic, um, it’s basic. So, like, hotels is a big industry right now with- with the website and accessibility complaints. So what I see often is websites are not- hotel website are not- Not very big chains. Um, it, they caught on. But your smaller mom and pop, maybe a franchise, um, they are not able to be sorted by the accessible features. So they can’t you- you know they’ve got, you’re looking for a queen room with a roll-in shower, right? You can’t sort the rooms by queen bed with a roll-in shower. You can sort by queen but then you have to read in the- the jargon at the bottom to see what the amenities are. Um, and the problem is that the sorting in that particular instance, or you’re looking for a, you know, queen room with auditory alarms, or a TTY telephone, or some sort of communication um, accessibility that you would need. It’s not typically able to be searched for in a website. For restaurants, it’s the pictures of the food is not able to be translated into text. So, um, and the reason that’s important is because, yeah you may have okay, a turkey sandwich as the menu description. But then the picker- picture shows it’s on focaccia bread with havarti cheese and, you know, iceberg, or you know, maybe there’s arugula salad or lettuce. You know, the picture says a lot more than the actual description of the restaurant item. So us as, you know, people who can see without any impairment know that this is a delicious sandwich. Whereas somebody who has a visual impairment is like “Well I want don’t a turkey sandwich. It sounds boring.” They’re not afforded the same access.

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Matt: So on the hotel, uh, example you gave, are hotels required on the facility to have this and they’re just not matching on their website experience?

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Rachelle: That’s right.

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Matt: Okay.

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Rachelle: Yep. So, any- So there’s two components really to kind of title three, which is- So there’s five titles of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first is Employment. We’re not talking about that. The second is um, Government Entities. We’re not talking about that. The third is Places of Public Accommodation who are open to the public. So the publicly owned businesses that have their facilities open to the public. And then, um, the fourth and fifth are Communication Barriers and- not Communication Barriers, um, uh- Shoot, I forgot what Title Four was. They’re not relevant here. The Communication Barriers fall under Title Three and it says the- Title Three says “If you are a privately owned business who are- have your doors open to the public you need to now make your- you need to make all of your services, privileges, facilities, benefits, activities,.. Everything available in an accessible way. So people are taking this communication barrier and- and kind of adding it to that construction related access claim. So not only do you need to have ramps to get into your front door, you need to have, you know, a push button door if your door is too heavy, or inaccessible counter height, or um, accessible tables in your restaurant or accessible rooms. You also need to then put that- the information on your website so people who have communication barriers can understand and appreciate what those accessible features are.

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Matt: Gotcha.

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Jeff: Got it.

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Matt: Now do you see- so, right now as far as like, like restaurants need to have, you know, a bathroom that’s accessible to handicap, but do you, right now like, is it the actual law for, like, all businesses to have websites that are accessible? Or, I mean, I- I believe it’s not but I mean, do you in the even- do you think that it will eventually get there? To a point where, like, all businesses will, if they have a public space, will they need their website to also be accessible? Like, by law?

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Rachelle: Well, so, I think eventually the answer that question is yes. I think it will be um, I think eventually some, in some fashion it’ll either be codified statute that, in a state or federal statute, that it you- you know, here’s- here’s what the standard is. Just as we’ve done with the construction related access guide. Guidelines of, we’re saying “Here’s the standard for federal law. It must meet, at a minimum, the Americans with Disabilities Act design standards from 2010.” That’s the threshold. Okay, and then if you’re states want to impose a stricter standard, like California uses the two- California uses the California Building Code that changes every 18 months, um. California says “Yeah, you need to meet the federal guidelines but you also need to meet the California guidelines.” So now, the California guidelines meet and exceed the federal guidelines. So, if you’ve met California Building Code, you have met or exceeded the requirements in the federal standards. I presume that we will be dealing with the same sort of issue, um, as it relates to websites in the future. But right now, um, there’s a split in jurisdictions about whether every website needs to be accessible or not. So, if you’re looking at um, Floria or, um, really Florida’s the big state that talks about any website needs to be accessible if it’s dealing with the place of public accommodation, whether you can conduct transactions on it, or not. California, on the other hand, surprisingly is actually more cons- is more liberal than that. Um, no, rather than more conservative than that, they’re saying “No it’s not every website that needs to be accessible. It’s only if there’s a true nexus to the brick and mortar of the building. So, if you’re having a blog site that anybody can read, and you may have- it may be tied to your business in some way. Like, you know, a legal article or, you know, a food blog, or, you know, whatever. And you can’t conduct any business on it. There’s not nexus to the brick and mortar. It’s not as if you’re making reservations, buying gift certificates, and ordering online food. Okay, but if you can’t do those things through your website, then it need- it does have to have access to the brick and mortar and it does need to be WCAD 2.0 AA compliant.

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Jeff: Okay.

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Rachelle: Does that make sense?

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Jeff: Yes, definitely.

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Matt: Yeah and it sounds, you know, in- in the- the tradition of California, it sounds like, that, they’re going to, you know, a- a lawmaker is going to address this, and put something in- in place for businesses conducting- businesses in California that have websites. I’m sure this is, you know, in the near future and it should be addressed soon for companies.

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Rachelle: Well- well, so here’s what’s really interesting about California right now. Um, I have talked to both, uh, Republican and Democratic legislators throughout the entire state, in several different jurisdictions. Um, and when I’m doing a presentation I, uh, on construction related access claims I always talk about websites, and typically the presentations that I do are sponsored by an elected official. 100% of them that I have spoken with are, like, “This is ridiculous. When is this going to stop?” Meaning, we’ve gone too far to allow litigation over inaccessible websites. How can this possibly be? So, it surprised me, because..

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Jeff Yeah.

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Rachelle: I have been told from construction related access claims from various legislative officials “I am not going to stick my neck out and take the rights away from people with disabilities. I’m not going to say you can’t- you can’t, um, litigate over construction related access claims because I want to provide the most amount of access.” And I- I agree with that. I’m- I’m disabled myself. I use a wheelchair. So I agree with that, 100%. But at the same time, I don’t agree that you should be able to be a serial litigant over this issue. And as these- as the construction-related cases keep coming and are not slowing down, I think legislators are now more aware of, yes, we need to provide accessible websites so people with visual, hearing and cognitive impairments can use the website and access the business. It helps the businesses bottom line, number one, because now you’re excluding no one from your- from your facility and your services that you provide. But, two, we’ve got to stop this litigious soc- society. It’s gonna get abused. It is being abused and they’re giving the people who actually have a need, like myself for construction-related access claims, I need accessible hotel rooms. Okay, but now when I go to a hotel, the hotel patron’s looking at me like “Shoot, I’m going to get sued.” And the same is happening to people with visual, hearing and auditory impairments. Uh, they need those services but now these, like, you know, heavy hitters are really, um, furthering discriminatory animus towards people with disabilities, rather than eradicating barriers. It’s really unfortunate.

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Jeff Oh.

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Matt: Yeah, the bad ones ruin everything.

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Rachelle: It’s true. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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Matt: Yeah, that’s crazy. It’s, uh, they’re doing- They think that they’re- they’re presenting themselves on the side of justice, but they’re doing a complete disservice to the people that it’s affecting.

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Rachelle: 100%.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: 100%. It’s really sad. I mean, and the- and the website guidelines kind of make sense. I mean, yeah, high contrasting colors for somebody that is not able to decipher between different shades of blue because their vision is going. Or, um, you know, a picture turning into text so somebody who can’t see it all has the ability to understand what’s being offered on a website. Or somebody that, um, is completely blind and has a screen reader and needs the screen to be read aloud to them. Or somebody with a cognitive impairment who is trying to buy tickets on an online ticket service and you only have three minutes to fill out the form. Maybe it takes them three minutes to appreciate ‘first name’ means. And so then they’ve been timed out of that form before they even have the opportunity to type their first name.

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Jeff: Oh geez.

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Rachelle: You know what I mean? So it’s very important, it’s- you know, it’s gone the litigation has just gone too far.

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Rachelle: And now people are digging their heels in, are like “I’m not going to change my website. I’m just going to take it down. And I don’t care. I don’t want people with disabilities accessing my business. I have no interest in serving that population because they’re going to sue me.” That’s the mentality that’s being perpetrated.

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Jeff: Ah, oh. Uhhh.

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Rachelle: Yeah. It sucks!

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: (laughs)

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: So when it’s sore-

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Matt: So, uh, what uh- So- other specific industries decides hotels and restaurants uh, are you seeing anything? Any other industries that are getting hit hard by the litigation?

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Rachelle: Education. Education, so that would fall under Title Two. Uh, so federal agencies. Anybody that receives federal funds must comply with the rehabilitation action 508, which talks about providing accessible, um, educational curriculum to all of it’s students. And so the first real cases that we saw come down from the court system dealt with, like, MIT and Harvard about their online education system. Um, so, uh, that edu- you know, private and public education alike, are really getting hit hard. Um, government agencies are also becoming a target um, because the Department of Justice has said if you are a government agency, you need to have your website accessible. Oh and by the way, the order to comply was two years ago so if you haven’t updated your website, you’re late. Um, so, it- no, no public or private industry is exempt. So if you have a business you are exposed. Period. End of story.

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Jeff: (unintelligible)

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Rachelle: You know, Netflix got hit. Scrib, which is an on- like, audible, it’s an online book service. They got hit. Um, so any business is at risk unfortunately.

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Jeff: Yeah. Now was there, um, some type of grace period, as far as, you know, once the lawsuit’s been made, does the company have, like, a certain amount of time? And- And does that vary, as far as, you know, fixing the items and..?

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Rachelle: I wish there was. And so, actually the legislation that I’m- I had drafted a year ago. It never went anywhere, unfortunately. Um, it provided for 120 day grace period. I would argue that that’s still not long enough because if you’re dealing with a complicated website and you’ve got to completely rebuild it. Basically you got to so- you know, pull down all of your inactive pages and say “We’re working on this. Please come back at a later time.” Or completely scrap your website and start over. Um, and it costs money, as everybody likely that’s listening to this podcast knows, that building a website from scratch is not cheap or easy. (laughs) Um-

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: Especially if there’s really a lot of individualized content. Um, so as it stands right now, no. Um, the- the plaintiffs will tell you that the communications barriers statutes were inactive for federal regulations 20 years ago and, so, if you have built a website in the last 20 years, then you have been required, even though the WCAD guidelines didn’t even become on anyone’s radar until about 2008. So, uh, my approach personally for how I handle my ADA cases, my website cases, is if you’ve built a brand new website. I’m sorry, it sucks to be you. And it’s not compliant. If you have been dealing with a website for the last, you know, 15 years and it’s evolved over time, then you need to do what’s right and achievable to make those- at least those transactional pages, the ones where you can conduct some sort of business to be WCAD compliant and if it’s possible to code it, just those pages that way. Sometimes it is possible, and sometimes it isn’t, depending upon, you know, how pages feed into it. So, um, so that’s- that’s really my approach. Um, and that- that seems to have worked well with plaintiffs. Especially the older websites. But if you have built a brand new website in the last couple of years and you have not given any thought to how it’s accessible or not, um, my recommendation is to figure that out quickly and, uh, work on coding the pages that require transactions. Registering that code first. Fixing that code first.

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Matt: Now, do you have resources that you send people, uh, to get those types of website corrections done?

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Rachelle: Yeah, so, um, I use Regularly Accessible 360 with Michele Landis, who I understand that you guys spoke with, which is awesome.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Rachelle: Um, she’s become a friend of mine and she’s one of the smartest, savviest, as I’m sure you understood when you spoke with her. People in the business. She’s been doing this a long time. So, Accessible 360 is a very reputable grade company. And then I also use the the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, the OAI- or, the OIA. Uh, Sarah Dawes, the sales manager,

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Jeff: Yes. Yes, Sarah’s great. Uh.

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Rachelle: She’s awesome.

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Jeff: Yeah I’ve spoken with her a couple times and she’s super knowledgeable.

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Rachelle: Totally.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: Um, and then, as you’ve spoken with Tom Reynolds also, um, Tom was another great resource. He’s more local. He, um, he’s really- he doesn’t do audits, um, but he will certainly will be able to recode or reprogram a website if, like, ones that you’ve done, like, one of those download, automated scans and you’ve got issues popping up- I don’t recommended those to rely on them. Like, let’s say you do a scan, and then you fix your website, and then you do another scan. It’s going to give you a false positive. Um, so they’re not good to determine whether you are accessible, but they are good to determine where your holes are in your inaccessibility. And, so, Tom’s really good and taking those kind of problem areas and then fixing the website to bring it- bring it up to code. But, um, b-o-i-i-a it’s a- a company- or, you know, company affiliation and then Rachelle’s company will actually do one of these audits. Um, and- and they do a banged up job of it.

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Matt: Alright. Yeah I got to ask this question, because Jeff and I both run (laughs) a web agency and we build websites. Are the companies that build the websites ever, uh, you know brought into these lawsuits? Or-

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Rachelle: Well it all depends on what’s in your contract. Um, so, I- the argument will go like this, okay. When you have a construction related access claim, the tenant and the landlord are jointly and separately liable. So whether the tenant has access over the common areas or not, like the parking lot, if somebody comes in and says “You have an inaccessible parking to your gas station” but they don’t own the land and they’ve only rented the four corners of the actual building, it doesn’t matter. The plaintiff will sue both the landlord and the tenant, and then the courts say “You two need to figure out who’s responsible.” Unless you have specifically allocated ADA responsibility in your contract in your lease. So if you say “Landlord will assume all responsibility for ADA vi- violations in the common area.” Then the tenant just tenders their defense to the landlord and the landlord takes- takes it all. They identi- they identify the tenant and it’s the landlords responsibility. The same argument will apply to website developers. The ports will say, ‘cause the user is gonna look at the company and say “I- You’re the expert. You created this website. It’s not accessible. I hired you to do a job and it wasn’t done properly. Or access- not properly- wasn’t done in an accessible format.” The courts will say “Well there’s liability against the both of you, company and user. It’s up to you guys to figure out how you’re going to figure this out.”

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Matt: Yeah, and we brought this up with Michele Landis, is that, um, you know, the- most company’s, what they’re doing is they’re saying “If you are, you know, here’s the issue with accessibility summarized.” and saying “If you want the accessibility package on top of that, it’s an upcharge. And-

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Rachelle: Absolutely.

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Matt: It has to be. And, you know, ‘cause, all this stuff it- even though it shouldn’t be- you know, we’re talking about it should be uh, you know, best practice and assumed but it’s- it’s not. And in our industry we have to outline that, and say, you know, your- your $10,000 website is going to be a $15,000 website if we have to go through the extra steps of making sure that it’s completely accessible.

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Rachelle: And in that type of situation then I would- If I were representing you as the website developer, I would say “No, I gave them the option to provide that service and they declined it. Therefore, they are assuming the liability for not being compliant.” I would take that to the bank all day long. Um, so it really comes down to the language of your contract with your clients. It really will hinge on that. Um, especially if your contract addresses accessibility and WCAD guidelines, and the client initials next to the paragraph saying “I decline” then you as the website developer could don’t do that, do it, you as the website developer are then saying “Cool. Hands off. You’re assuming the risk for this. You want the cheaper- cheaper and easier version. That’s your choice. But I am absolved of liability for your making that- for you making that decision.” So your- your contract language really needs to be tighter. Absolutely. If- if regard- I mean, I’m glad that you guys are already doing that but I know, um, a lot of the contracts that I have seen with website developers. Especially if they’re in like a, you know, a shared workspace and they’re just getting started, and they’re just using a, you know, a canned contract for those kind of smaller, less- less experienced business owners. Um,they’re- they’re gonna be left holding the bag along with the user. If there’s- if there’s not language there. So, it’s really important for your listeners to make sure that as web developers they’re able to be in a thriving business and protect themselves from liability with that contract language.

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Jeff: Yeah, that’s great advice. And it- it goes right along with what Michele Landis was telling us, as well, is that, if- as long as we give the- the customer the opportunity to opt in or opt out then that, you know, obviously it’s got to be word- worded correctly but we can, you know, have that passed off to the customer that they declined.

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Rachelle: Absolutely.

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Jeff: And it’s defensible in court if there’s a complaint.

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Rachelle: And I wouldn’t mind- the structure, if I, if I’m giving my recommendations as to how, kind of, a contract should be laid out, think of it like an arbitration agreement. Okay, so, arbitration agreements have to be conspicuous. Um, California- they need to be kind of standalone. They can’t be buried in a handbook somewhere. Like an employee handbook. They need to be expressed language. You know, very, very detailed. Very specific. Um, you know, you need to cite the law that you’re following. Whether it’s the federal law or the state arbitration guidelines. It’s a big- it’s a standalone contract. What I would do if I were creating a contract for a website developer is, have it either be in the beginning. Right when you’re talking about the price of, here’s the option of this is what it would cost for WCAD compliance. Okay, let’s say it is a $10,000 contract and it’s going to cost $5,000 more. The cost of WCAD, um, coding compliance will be an additional a$5,000. You are declining to pay that fee and you are declining to make your website WCAD compliant. Yes or no. Check a box, yes. Okay, they’re declining it. Initial, date. Right there. Right in the beginning. So there’s not chance of that user saying “I didn’t see that.”

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Jeff: Hmm.

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Rachelle: You know, don’t bury it in your language. Make it- This is a really- From a liability standpoint, I would hate in court trying to defend a contract that you drafted because that’s going to cost more money than- So now you’re gonna have to, you know, be alone with your user and fight the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. But then you’re gonna be in a counter-suit, suing each other over breach of contract. I mean your- your, the cost of your case just exploded. So it’s really important to make sure that it’s a stand out unambiguous “You are declining. We are absolved of all liability. You are shoulding the liability for any accessibility website.” And any- any person that says that this website isn’t accessible.

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Jeff: Well, now I’m scheduling an appointment with my lawyer.

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Matt: (laughs)

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Rachelle: (laughs)

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Jeff: Update the, uh, terms of service in, uh, the master service agreement.

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Matt: Yes.

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Rachelle: That’s the other thing, too. And I- I got this question the other day actually from somebody on the East Coast. They were dealing with a standard terms and conditions on a mobile app. Uh, they were defending the mobile- mobile app developer. And they were asking the question of “What if- How can I enforce the arbitration agreement that’s in my standard terms and conditions?” And my response was- And- And the reason this is applicable. Bare with the legal jargon here for a minute. In- with arbitration agreements, it says that it can’t be an unconscionable agreement. Meaning, it has to be fair to both sides. You know, it- it can’t be an adhesion contract which take it or leave it. Um, there- There’s like six or seven different things that the arbitration agreement must have in order to be determined to be fair. If you’re burying that in your standard terms and conditions of “I accept all terms, click here” and then keep going, it’s not enough.

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Jeff: It’s not enough. Yeah.

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Rachelle: You’re gonna have an unconscionability argument on your hands. Okay. I would argue the same as going to be for your, um, inaccessibility. If you bury it in your standard terms and conditions- maybe it’s own pop-up screen, if you do it electronically. You know, maybe it’s- so that way- you know, and you can’t- you can’t click on the bottom. And I know a lot of people do this. You can’t click on the bottom “I accept” until you scroll through it, to where it’s like, at least the person had to have looked at the rolling screen before they click on that- before they’re allowed to click on that “I- I accept.”

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: And then they can go use the app or the website.

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Jeff: Yeah and to be absolutely sure make it a separate opt in.  

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Rachelle: Yeah. uh-huh. Yep.

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Matt: Alright, well Jeff and I have our- have some to-do’s to work on. (laughs)

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Rachelle: (laughs) Well good! Then it’s been helpful. At least for the two of you obviously.\\

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Jeff: I know, I know. This has been great.

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Rachelle: Yeah.

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Jeff: Well, um. Thank you so much Rachelle. Um, I guess, do you have any parting words for our audience today?

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Matt: Anything to applaud?

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Jeff: Where, um, where do people find you?

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Rachelle: Um, uh, yeah. People can find me at hatmakerlaw.com It’s m-a-t-m-a-k-e-r law dot com. Uh, again my name is Rachelle. R-a-c-h-e-l-l-e. Golden. G-o-l-d-e-n. You can email me at rachellehatmakerlaw.com Um, what I would suggest to every person who’s listening is, if you’ve listened to this podcast and you have questions, either contact somebody that you know that knows more about this, or contact me and I will be thrilled to talk to you if you want to learn more about it. Just so that way, your business can continue to thrive. Because that’s my whole goal. Is to make sure that all businesses, small and large, are able to service their clients and to make sure that they get to keep the money that they earn in their own pockets. And not give it away to predatory plaintiff. It drives me nuts.

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Jeff: Yeah. That’s- that’s great advice and a great offer and, uh, yeah I already sent one of my clients your way. And, uh

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Rachelle: Aw! Thanks!

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Jeff: (laughs) So, uh, yeah and more are coming after this conversation.

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Rachelle: Awesome.

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Jeff: (laughs)

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Matt: (laughs) It’s so great.

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Jeff: Well it was very nice to meet you. Thank you so much for your time.

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Rachelle: Yeah.

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Jeff: For coming on to the show with us. This is a very important that we have discussed, you know, three or four times now and, uh, and we want to keep professionals like you with- with this sage advice and- and, you know, honest, valuable offers. Uh, we want to bring this out to the open and make sure that everybody’s in line and participating in the- the accessibility of all the products that they- that they provide. So-

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Rachelle: Well yeah, I think the challenge is for any business is: challenge yourself. Like, yeah, I don’t know what WCAD is. Go out and learn it and master it. And now you’re like, the jam. Now you’re the master of “Hey if you want an accessible website, I’ve got this down hot. And I’m the quickest and cheapest on the market” Use it as a marketing tool to have people funnel into your business. So, you know, don’t shy away from it. Like “Oh this is hard. I don’t want to get into it.” Like, no. Let’s do this! Let’s go all in and figure this out and then market yourself as “I’m a guru of WCAD coding” you know? I mean, that’s- that would be an amazing market- I would funnel people to that type of business if someone was using that as their tagline.

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Jeff: There you go Matt. Team it up. Let’s do it. (laughs)

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Matt: (laughs) Let’s do it.

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Rachelle: Seriously. I, absolutely. Anybody who needs a website, you know. I’ll be like, “Hey, talk to these guys. Not only are the good, they’re affordable and they’re compliant.” Boom.

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Matt: Nice. I like it. I like it. Great, well thank you so much Rachelle.

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Rachelle: Thank you so much. Have a good one guys.

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Matt: Alright. Thank you so much.

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Rachelle: Bye!

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Matt:

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(music plays)

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Speaker: For show notes and information, go to DigitalRace.fm Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digitalracefm and please, give us a raving review. We sincerely appreciate it.

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Show Links

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Todays episode we speak with Jason Siciliano who is the Creative Director at SquareTrade, and founder of ModernCopywriter.com. We talk about content marketing, copywriter portfolios, and destroying digital devices for research. 

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About Jason Siciliano

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What I try to tell copywriters who are just coming out or just starting to put their stuff together is find a copywriter out there who’s doing it and has a portfolio that blows you away and do that.

Jason Siciliano

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Show Notes

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Matt: Found out more about him, but welcome to the show Jason.

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Jason: Thanks for having me man. It’s great to be here.

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Matt: Well, I guess let’s get into currently, what you’re up to these days at SquareTrade. I did check out the website this morning and I love the phone dropping into the cereal. Did you have any play in that?

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Jason: Yeah. That’s my team. I’m Creative Director at SquareTrade. I also have Coms. The Coms team here, as you’ve said, do protection plans trying to disrupt the warranty industry which was traditionally known for horrible service.

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Matt: Yes. (laughs)

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Jason: SquareTrade has just started to find out. That’s all I have to say. SquareTrade kind of came along and flipped out on its head and is now the protection plan provider at most US retailers and we’re in six countries in Western Europe. And we protect everything. You know at Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, phones and tablets and electronics to appliances and furniture and all that. So, a big part of my job as Creative Director is trying to bring that to life. Protection to life and act as an advocate for for consumers. So we do a lot of video breaking stuff. Every time there’s a new Galaxy or iPhone that comes out.

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Matt: (laughs)

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Jason: We have a bunch of robots that we developed with a robotics engineer from Cal Berkeley.

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Jeff: How fun is that?!

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Matt: I know! I want your job, Jason!

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Jason: It’s a blast. I know. It’s awesome. So we buy like twenty-grand worth of phones and go out and dunk them and drop them and bend them and tumble them and stuff..

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Matt: Oh yeah.

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Jason: It’s super fun.

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Matt: Yeah, instead of All State. You just bring the mayhem to your office.

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Jeff: (laughs)

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Jason: Exactly! Yeah, nice, nice. Yeah, we were acquired by AllState about two and a half years ago, and as they continue to expand what they need as far as protection today for their consumers from auto and home. Do you know they recently acquire- acquired an identity theft protection company and for armor, us, as far as product protection and there’s expanding how they protect people in a more holistic way. And I think you know back in the day, the first insurance plan everyone had was on their car when they were 16 and they got their first car- and I think today it’s on your phone at probably 12 or 13.

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Matt: Yeah, so speaking of all your marketing and history and everything, is there one project that stands out to you that has always been something you’re super proud of? One of your favorites?

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Jason: Oh, god. I mean I love the one at SquareTrade that you specifically mentioned, which is our Breakability Campaign. It’s been going for 8 years, 9 years- where we go and test phones with these robots. It’s a blast. The Galaxy fold has, I’m sure everybody’s aware, has had some problems.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Jason: Samsung’s pulled back on that. But let me just say, we’ve got a new robot waiting for that to come out.

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Matt: (laughs)

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Jeff: (laughs)

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Jason: So, that’s pretty exciting. There was a campaign probably, I’m trying to think of something real quick, way back in the day. I’m gonna date myself. Do you guys remember InfoSeek?

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Matt: Oh yeah. Yeah.

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Jeff: Yep.

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Jason: So, back in the dot com days, that was the beginning of my copywriting career. That was in the nineties in San Francisco during the dot com boom, and that was just launch after launch after launch, right? And there was this company, InfoSeek, this was before Google dominated everything. And they were a search engine. And the time that we launched them, they were the number three search engine. They were like, “We’ve got a $30 million budget. We want to do a huge branding campaign but we don’t really know what we are, so don’t say anything about us, just make a big splash.”

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Matt: Okay.

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Jason: Which is the most awesome thing in advertising you could ask creative person to do.

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Matt: (laughs)

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Jason:  So, we shot this big campaign for the launch of InfoSeek in Brooklyn with Vic Argo, who is this actor that was in every score cities movie. And kidnapped this guy and took him to an abandoned warehouse. And just made, basically, little movies out of it. It was fantastic.

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Jeff: Oh man.

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Jason: Yeah. Those days were, those were different days.

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Matt: That sounds very familiar. I think I remember those campaigns.

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Jason: There was a Super Bowl one. That was my one Super Bowl campaigns back in the day. (laughs)

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Jeff: (laughs) That’s great.

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Jason: Alright, so I’d have to say it. You talked about- kind of breaking phones. Do you remember the, I’m sure you’ve seen it, the blender. Will it blend? Have you guys?

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Jeff: Yeah (laughs). I heard that it was a hoax. Is that?

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Jason: I didn’t hear it was a hoax. So there’s a lot of YouTubers out there that are doing really crazy stuff with their phones, and I think that we’re taking a little bit of a different attack because we’re an insurance company.

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Jason:  Actually doing real science with it and trying to give the phones breakability scores so that consumers are really informed. It’s still really fun. We’re still out breaking stuff and shooting video but we’re trying to do it in a scientific way where people can look at it and go “Okay. Is the iPhone 10 more durable or less durable than the iPhone 8 or should I wait until the iPhone Max comes out? Is there a real difference?” Our tests are really about how people actually break stuff: drop it, dunk it.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jason: That type of thing. Rather than dropping it in a blender.

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Jeff: Right. (laughs)

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Jason: That stuff is fun. I think if we did that we’d lose a lot of credibility.

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Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. (laughs) Makes sense.

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Matt: So I have to go back to Scorcher Rate. You talked about it kind of disrupting the industry. Can you speak to that a little bit? What were some of the few things you guys did to kinda set yourself apart from all the other companies that were providing mediocre service?

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Jason: Sure, if you want to talk about warranties. Absolutely.

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Matt: (laughs)

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Jeff: Hot warranty talk.

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Jason: Yeah, hot warranty talk. I think the founders of SquareTrade. So, SquareTrade started actually as the arbitration company on eBay and for the first six years of its life, that’s what it was.

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Matt: uhuh

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Jason: And it grew to a certain size and then the founders looked around and said “Okay, this is only going to get as big as people argue on eBay. So, where else can we take it?” And they looked at the warranty category, which is just a monsterous category. $20,000,000,000 category, and said the service is horrible, there’s no innovation..

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Matt: mmhmm

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Jason: And the world is changing. People are carrying thousands of dollars worth of glass techno- expensive technology on them everywhere and protection is not caught up to it. And this was right about the time, they were fortunate, right about the time the first iPhone came out. So they flipped it around and started doing protection based on great service. Realized that people shop through ratings and reviews. So, make a warranty that people would be able to research online and see how good it is. And then they changed how the protections were done too by really focusing on accident protection. The old warranty industry was focused on “If your thing just breaks, we’ll fix it.”

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Jeff: mmhmm. Okay.

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Jason:  And SquareTrade really focused on “If you break it, then how do we fix it as fast as possible?” Because you can’t be without your phone. So, that’s what we keep doing, and today we’re already to the point where, if you break your phone, if you crack your screen, in most places we can get a check out to you in the same day and fix your screen in like 30 minutes.

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Matt: Okay. (laughs)

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Jeff: That’s amazing.

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Matt: Yeah, that’s impressive.

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Jason: Yeah.

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Matt: Can we test it right now Jason if I.. (laughs) ..break my phone on this podcast? (laughs)

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Jeff: (laughs)

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Jason: (laughs) Do you have a SquareTrade?

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Jeff: Do I have to have your service ahead of time? (laughs)

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Jason: You don’t for the SquareTrade go. The cracked screen, you can just pay for that all in cart, on the site.

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Jeff: Okay. (laughs)

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Jason: Don’t have a plan. But it’s much better if you do have a plan.

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Jeff: Okay.

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Jason: It’s cheaper, and  it’s crazy that you look at iPhone, you look at the new Galaxies. They’re just getting more and more expensive and they’re loading up with features. And, the phones are amazing, but they’re getting more and more breakable. And there’s now glass on both sides. You drop the thing and crack it, FaceID doesn’t work.

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Jeff: Mmhmm

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Jason: How you get into it doesn’t work, you’ve got a brick. So, repairs are on the iPhone Max, like $350 for the phone screen and $550 for the back.

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Matt: Oh geez.

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Jason: That’s a lot of money.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jeff: Yeah, going back to my flip phone. That thing was durable. (laughs)

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Matt: (laughs)

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Jason: (laughs) Seriously. There was nothing wrong with my little Nokia brick back in the day.

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Jeff: Yeah, it’s super dependable.

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Jason: Really?

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Jeff: Just note: no range. But super dependable.

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Jason: Yeah, and texting was like…

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Jeff: Oh mean, yeah.

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Jeff: Three, three, three. Four, four, four.

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Jason: Yeah, right. Right. (laughs) Yep.

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Jeff: So there’s a question in here that’s peaking my interest. Sorry Matt if I’m jumping in front of you.

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Jason: Yeah.

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Jeff: The question is: which content, which marketing, as far as content at SquareTrade, what has worked and what has flopped?

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Jason: As far as content, do you mean copywriting?

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Jeff: It could be copy video or a campaign, in general.

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Jason: I would say what has worked well is making stuff that’s useful to people. Like, the Breakability Campaign. And what’s kind of flopped or not worked as well is stuff that is more traditional advertising or old school advertising that was maybe  brand building without adding the useful piece to it. Or the education piece to it. We’ve done a fair amount of direct consumer advertising here, and it’s just such a complicated product and such a complicated industry that if you go with a campaign that’s pure brand, people don’t really understand what’s being advertised or why you’re better or the value. It’s forced us to be able to tell the story of the category and the product in a very real way- Like the Breakabilty Campaign- People can understand that. “Okay, I can see it. A phone is breaking and I get what you guys do. You protect phones and you do it in a better way.” What did a campaign, maybe five years ago with a big agency out of New York. We had spent like $1,000,000 on it, big tv campaign, and it was beautiful and funny and all that- award winning. But it didn’t really impact sales. And people were still kind of like “I still don’t quite get what you guys do.”

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Matt: hmm

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Jason: And the benefit of it. I would say the learning for me is maybe something different than working at a big brand, like a Target or a Yahoo, when you’re in a place like SquareTrade. You’ve got to do a lot more about education and  a lot more selling on the value of what we do than at another place where you’re just reminding people of the brand and that the brand is great.

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Matt: Mmhmm That makes sense.

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Jeff: And you have quite a staple of unique selling points, right?

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Jason: Yeah we do. It’s a ton of different categories and each category and each product that we cover has its own staple of products and features. Whether it’s a phone and it’s getting out and fixing it as quickly as possible to a big tv where we’ll say “We’ll come out- We’ll send a guy out to repair your tv in one visit and if we don’t repair it in that one visit then we’ll buy you a new tv.” Service is different for each category so how do we communicate that in as quick of a way as possible? Especially because nobody goes to the store to buy a warranty, right? You go to buy a tv or a laptop or whatever you’re gonna do and then all of a sudden when you’re there, you’ve got to make this purchase decision right there. It’s from awareness to education to value to pulling the trigger all in a minute or two. After you’ve picked this other product that you’ve researched probably a lot. So, it’s a different way to sell.

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Matt: And Jason, where are you actually educating those people? Are you driving them to the site or YouTube or how that working?

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Jason: It depends on the store that we’re at.

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Jeff: Mmhmm

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Jason: 95% of our sales is at U.S. retailers. So, if it’s a store you know like a Target that’s not highly assisted more of the sale has to come through online research. Was somebody on their phone there. Or brochures. Merchandising versus, let’s say, if somebody goes into B&H Camera and Photo in New York. That’s a super highly assisted sale so most of education comes through an associate. Talking to people.

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Jason: In that case, we make sure that we’re really arming the associate with materials and everything that they need to talk to a customer.

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Matt: Okay. Makes sense.

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Jeff: And online are you integrated with the sales process? Like a B&H Photo?

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Jason: So people can go online to SquareTrade.com and definitely check out the features and service and get education there. We’ve got a whole page dedicated to new plan holders and making sure that you know what you’re buying and when it starts and how to file a claim and all that. And then we do a lot on the service side to educate people too on “Hey, if you’re gonna file a claim, this is how it works.” We try to make it as easy a process as possible for people online because I think most people these days would prefer to do everything online, rather than have to pick up the phone and call somebody. So, we try to make it so you can do it in just a couple minutes online, and it just works.

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Jeff: Alright, perfect.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jeff: And yeah, I hate calling people. (laughs)

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Matt: And have you integrated with online retailers?

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Jason: We have.

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Matt: Okay.

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Jason: We have integrated with the online component of every retailer that we’re partners with.

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Jeff: Okay.

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Jason: Whether it’s Target.com or Walmart.com or all those in addition with eBay and other online retailers. All the way to NewEgg. Just very specific type of online retailers.

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Jeff: So, eBay, you would even cover used products?

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Jason: It’s really new products, mostly.

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Jeff: Okay.

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Jason: There’s just a couple of categories where we will do products that aren’t new. For example, we’ll protect any smartphone, new or old as long as it’s working. You can go on to SquareTrade.com and protect any smartphone. There’s a little test that you have to do. We just text you and then you reply to the text to make sure that your touch screen’s working.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Matt: Oh that’s great. Yeah.

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Jeff: Alright, well let’s jump to it. I would love to hear more. I was fascinated in just why you started with Modern Copywriter. Can you tell us a little story about that?

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Jason: Sure.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Jason: So, I started that Modern Copywriter in 2009 so right now it’s almost the 10 year anniversary.

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Jeff: Oh, wow. Congratulations.

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Jason: Thanks. Which is crazy to think about. But I started it as sort of a blog on the side. At the time I was at Target and I was the Creative Manager at Target and I had this open position for a Senior Copywriter there and just struggled. It was a great spot, I mean awesome company. In-house at Target’s a great team and struggled to find copywriter portfolios except through recruiters. It was just like “Where is the site online that just has features? A great copywriter portfolios site?” And, there’s a ton for designers, but where’s the copywriter one? And I thought “You know what? Maybe this is my blog idea. Maybe this is what I’ll do.” So I started posting copywriter portfolio sites, pulling them out of communication arts and some of my friends and asking people “Hey, is this okay if I post this up on a blog?” And people were pretty cool with it. And it took like three to six months and then school started picking up on it and using it for students. “Hey, this is, what a copywriter portfolio looks like.” And from there it really kind of took off. It’s been a great side project for me. And has kept me really connected with the copywriting community. And helped a lot of people get jobs. And helped students see what really good copywriter portfolio websites are and made me hate my own portfolio forever.

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Jeff: (laughs)

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Matt: Isn’t that with everybody in the creative industry? Your own site’s the worst. (laughs)

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Jason: Yeah. Oh absolutely. Yeah.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jeff: So what are you most proud of with the copywriting?

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Jason: With that site? I’ve gotten a lot of really cool texts from people about getting work and stuff. But I’ve also gotten a lot of really cool texts from students saying “Hey, I have used the site a ton to figure out what kind of copywriter I want to be.” I know back when I was in college, I was in journalism school in Oregon and knew pretty quickly in college that I wanted to go into copywriting. I was lucky enough to find Janet Champ’s work. And Janet Champ was a big copywriter at Wieden and Kennedy in Portland. And she launched the women’s Nike stuff. She was writing poetry, you know? And magazine ads for Nike Women.

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Jeff: Yeah, wow.

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Jason: Just blew my mind. Just totally blew my mind.

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Jeff: Wow.

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Jason: So, for me, what I tried to tell copywriters who are just coming out or just starting to put their stuff together is find a copywriter out there who’s doing it and has a portfolio that blows you away and do that.

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Matt: Mmhmm.

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Jason: And call them and talk to them and say “How did you do it?” And “How did you get where you are? And how did you get that portfolio?” We have a pretty cool industry and people will talk to each other. So, I think that’s kind of what the site serves. Now mostly it’s just writers connect and inspire writers to do better work.

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Matt: MMhmm.

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Jason: And that’s probably what I’m most proud of.

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Jeff: Have you ever thought about turning this into kind of more of a business? Or kind of a full time thing? Or is this just kind of a hobby thing for you? I mean, currently it is, but..

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Jason: I have. Over the past 10 years, I’ve thought about a bunch of different ways to monetize it. I’ve had people suggest it. I’ve thought about making a book out of it. I’ve thought about, you know..

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Jason: Do I turn it into more of a recruiting site? You know because a lot of recruiters use it. There’s something about keeping it free and easy that feels more altruistic. An idea hasn’t come across my table yet that I’ve looked at or thought up and said “Yeah, that’s what I want to invest my time in.”

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Jeff: mmhmm.

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Jason: And it’s been a great way to connect with people and do all the things that I want. It’s served me very well.

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Jeff: Yeah, yeah. When we spoke with you on the phone you mentioned you’ve hired some people off the site, right?

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Jason: For sure. Yeah. Absolutely. I just hosted, Virginia Commonwealth brand center, just had their graduation week and they always send me, Ashley Summenall, who runs their outreach for BCU, every year sends me all their student portfolio sites. So I feature them for a week on the site and I see them before everybody else.

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Jeff: (laughs) Okay.

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Jason: It’s a benefit to me to be able to see who’s coming out and if I’ve got an open spot.

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Jeff: Yeah.

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Jason: Reach out to those people first. Or if I’ve got friends in San Francisco where I’m based who are looking, I can shoot portfolios their way, too.

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Jeff: Mmhmm.

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Matt: There is kind of the dribble monetization. Now I was circling back to the monetization part where you just offered a paid tier with other thing? I was just trying-

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Jason: Oh, yeah.

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Matt: Keeping it mostly free.

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Jason: So it’s free to. The way it works is people email me their portfolio. And it could be our writers and directors also do work up there. I just opened it up like two years ago to anybody creative who wants to be on it. But there’s two ways that I’ve monetized it a little bit. One is I do paid job posts. So if agencies have an open copywriter position they want to post on the site, it’s like $150 and I’ll put that up there. And because I feel like that’s good for writers to get those jobs.

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Jeff: Yep. Yep.

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Jason: And then, the other thing is if a writer wants me to really look at their portfolio and analyze it and chat with them for an hour about their site and give them kind of an objective review of their site as someone who’s looked at thousands of copywriter sites over the past 10 years, I’ll do that also for $150. And the only reason I charge for that, honestly, is because so many people were asking me to review their site, and I’ve got a pretty busy day job. So, I just charge to make sure that people are serious. (laughs)

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Matt: (laughs) Okay.

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Jason: Actually want to spend the time- They want me to invest the time in it and they’re gonna invest the time, too.

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Matt: Yeah, makes sense.

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Jeff: And that could be incredibly helpful for someone starting their career or just looking to job seek. Having somebody say “Yeah, you’re way too in the weeds on it. And from my perspective it looks like your portfolio needs a little bit of this help, which could mean the difference between a career and still seeking for a job.”

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Jason: Yeah I get. Most of the people who ask me to do that are people who’ve been in the industry for a while. But maybe they haven’t done a job search in a couple of years and they haven’t revamped their site in a while. And they’ve got the work that they got, but they want to know the best way to present it. And that’s what I can kind of help with and say, “Listen, maybe you should move to SquareSpace or integrate Venmo with it or your nav is kind of tough to click back and forth. Most people looking at your site, the first gatekeepers, they’re gonna take about 60 seconds to click through your site and your site’s kinda hard to navigate. Or you’re missing this component, your bio could use a little help from here. That’s kinda the advice I try to give. It’s more from an objective standpoint as someone who’s looked at a lot of copywriter portfolio websites. Rather than a subjective “Hey, I’m just a creative director and I like your work or don’t like your work.” Because I think most people, I know plenty of people who can do that..

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Jeff: Right.

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Jason: But maybe don’t get the objective. “Hey your site is kind of not working great because of this and this.”

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Matt: Yeah, the presentation more than the content.

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Jason: Totally. Exactly. Yeah.

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Matt: Yep.

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Jeff: What a great service. I mean $150 is pretty much free. I think that you’re helping a lot of people doing that for them.

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Jason: It’s fun. I’ve been doing it for 10 years so I obviously enjoy it, but it keeps me fresh too looking. I get to look at so many copywriter portfolio sites and, as a writer myself, it’s a blast. I get to see a lot of work through Modern Copywriter that I would never see.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jason:  And then connect with a lot of writers that I wouldn’t get to connect with otherwise. Especially being in-house. I’ve been at SquareTrade now for almost 7 years, so I’m not in and amongst the agency community. And Modern Copywriter is kind of my way to do that.

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Matt: Yeah that’s great.

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Jason: Yeah, it’s cool.

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Matt: Yeah.

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Jeff: Well awesome Jason. We are just about our half hour mark. Any plugs? Or would you like to make any final comments to our audience?

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Jason: Yeah, this has been a lot of fun. You guys are great and it’s fun talking about copywriting and Modern Copywriter. So, I really appreciate you guys asking me to be on.

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Jeff: Great well yeah.

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Matt: Of course. Thank you so much for being on.

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Jeff: Yeah, thank you so much and we’ll definitely be listing links to the very things that we spoke about in the show notes. It was great talking with you Jason.

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Matt: Yeah and copywriters out there. Contact Jason and have him view your portfolio. That is such a huge help, and if you’re looking for a job or just looking to see what opportunities are out there, you couldn’t ask for more than a little bit of Jason’s time and to help you present your stuff.

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Jeff: Great job, Jason.

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Jason: Yeah, anybody who wants to get their portfolio featured on Modern Copywriter, again it’s free. Just send your link to Jason@ModernCopywriter.com and I’ll get you in the queue. Thanks guys.

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Jeff: Awesome. Yeah, thanks so much Jason.

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Matt: Thanks a lot Jason.

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Jason: Alright. Bye.

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Jeff: Alright, have a great day. Bye.

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Speaker: For show notes and information on DigitalRage.fm follow us on Twitter and Instagram at DigitalRageFm and please, give us a rate and review. We sincerely appreciate it.

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Show Links

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In this episode we speak with Ali Cox from Ali Cox & Company about Agriculture marketing, being an olympian, and parenthood.

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About Ali Cox

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The most effective avenues for marketing agriculture clients, hands down, is a mobile website.

Ali Cox

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Show Notes

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Jeff Byer: Yes. Alright, so I hope you enjoy it. Here is our interview with Ali Cox.

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Alright. Today, we have Ali Cox on the show. Ali Cox is the co-founder of Ali Cox & Co Marketing, co-founder of heyturlock.com. She is an Olympian, a super mom and fifth-generation farmer. Hi, Ali.

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Ali Cox: Hi, there. I thought you were going to say “Supermodel.” I was about to love you even more, Jeff.

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Jeff Byer: Oh, well, have you been? You probably were a supermodel.

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Ali Cox: That’s right. That’s right.

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Matt Ramage: Welcome to the show.

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Ali Cox: Hi. Thanks for having me. This is exciting.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Yeah.

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Jeff Byer: The first question we have is we would like to know about your experience at the Olympics.

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Ali Cox: Sure, I’m happy to talk about the Olympics. The Olympics, I was in the 2004 Olympics, which happened in Athens, Greece, and I made the women’s eight rowing boat. That was after lots of hard work and years on the team. I raced in, I don’t know, about 12 different World Cup events and then world championships. I’m also a world champion.

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The Olympics were very hard, obviously. Training is typically six and a half days a week. Requires an extraordinary amount of teamwork, but then, also, a lot of independent grit and just confidence in yourself because it’s… Making the boat is, honestly, almost harder than even racing at the Olympics. It was an amazing team experience, though, and that really has positioned me, I think, well for my career.

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How I really run our business and our agency is with a team aspect, so most of our team members touch all of our work and work very collaboratively. Really, the best idea wins. We are there to support each other, and I think that really was cemented from the Olympics. Of course, winning a medal at the Olympics is special, but truly, I think that, through sports, I really learned how…

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I liked to be managed, and I liked to be coached. I liked to be developed, as an athlete, and I’m trying to do that, as an employer, to be honest.

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Jeff Byer: Very nice. Where’s the medal?

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Ali Cox: Oh, hidden from my three-year-old.

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Matt Ramage: I was going to ask if you’re actually wearing it, today.

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Ali Cox: You know what? I actually forgot to wear it to work, today. Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Oh, okay.

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Ali Cox: My medal, I think it’s in my husband’s sock drawer, to be honest. I should probably go check.

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Jeff Byer: Nice.

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Ali Cox: Yeah, I don’t put it on the wall. It’s not even locked up. Probably, it should be, but now that the world knows where my medal is, it really should…

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Matt Ramage: Uh-oh.

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Ali Cox: It’s going to be, starting today, because–

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Matt Ramage: We can cut that part out.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. No, it’s good. Yeah, but that medal really is… It’s very ratty-tatty. Probably, a couple thousand children have worn it. I did a lot of public speaking, right after the Olympics. For about eight years, I did a ton of public speaking in the public school system in New York City, where I lived, and also in my home area.

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Matt Ramage: Oh, great. How did you get into marketing?

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Ali Cox: How did I get into marketing? How did I not get into marketing is actually a better question.

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Matt Ramage: Okay.

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Ali Cox: As a child, one of my jobs was the neighbors would all hire me to serve at their dinner parties and — even in sixth grade — to be the waitress. I think I was always selling food or, kind of like the experience of marketing, an experience person. Then, in high school, I was the rally commissioner for our high school. It had about 3,000 students, so I actually did have to pull permits, and promote, and make posters, and run content and all that.

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Those were my two very formative starts. Then, from there, I always knew what I wanted to do, starting my sophomore year of college. Then I just pursued it, relentlessly.

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Matt Ramage: Wow, great.

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Jeff Byer: What are the top opportunities in ag marketing, today?

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Matt Ramage: Or, wait, wait, maybe, can we back up and say just–

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Jeff Byer: Yes.

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Matt Ramage: How did you get into ag marketing?

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Ali Cox: We should develop to ag marketing, yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Yes.

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Ali Cox: Okay. Okay, well, let’s start with this. I had a pretty extensive entertainment marketing background. In college, I had several marketing internships and several sports marketing internships. Then, while I was training, I also worked in sports marketing, at an agency. Then, after I competed at the Olympics, I moved to New York City, full time, and worked at IMG, which is a sports entertainment marketing agency. Then that transitioned into when I started by business.

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I still did a lot of sports, and entertainment, and fashion, but I also started doing tech. I think I sold my soul a little bit, doing that, and it was about 12 years ago, I started my business. It was about 10 years ago, I think, that my dad put the idea in my head. Like, “Why don’t you think about coming in. We’re spending a lot of money on the tomato growers board and bean growers board,” and there was a lot going on in ag. Like, “Would you be interested in that,” and it planted the seed.

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Then I started thinking about how I am a fifth-generation farmer of the same land in California, and it is important to me. I had spent about 10 years in New York and then was ready to move back to my hometown — which truly is the heart of California ag — and pursue it. That’s what we’re doing.

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Matt Ramage: Hm, great, great. Yeah, so what would you… As far as ag marketing goes, what would you say would be the top challenges for just, yeah, I guess, for the farmers and just the overall industry?

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Ali Cox: Well, first, I think we should talk about the opportunities.

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Matt Ramage: Okay, yeah.

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Ali Cox: The opportunities, so the California agriculture industry is a $54 billion agency. And so, there’s an unbelievable amount of opportunity, from a marketing perspective. Also, there are really no agencies… Or there’s only a handful of agencies who focus on ag marketing. We are relentlessly pursuing that, from an ag communications perspective, and just believe that there is an opportunity for growers, and processors, and for the industry to tell their stories, themselves. That’s why we’re focusing so much of our efforts on giving the industry the tools to do that, so we will help our clients develop strategies, help them with their tools, help them put a face out there and, also, not to be scared of the media.

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I think what’s really… We’re finding a real switch and change in the industry, is that growers in the ag industry is understanding, now, that nobody is coming to save them. They’ve got to save themselves, and they’ve got to tell their own stories. They’ve got to develop strategies, in order to do that.

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We are really… I think, quite frankly, millennials get a bad rap, which I’m always advocating for millennials because it’s 90% of my team, is millennial. Really, seeing an opportunity, with the younger farmer and the younger generation, to adapt, and to innovate, and really not fight the system, but embrace the system and take control of what… the messaging that they want to put out there.

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Matt Ramage: Mm.

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Jeff Byer: How is technology making a play, in that realm?

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Ali Cox: Well, most… Ag technology is a fascinating niche technology industry, and it’s making a huge play, just in the whole landscape. Most farmers, now, carry a smartphone. There are electronic moisture sensors. There are a lot… Most farmers, like bigger farmers, have their own weather stations. Testing for… It’s just a smarter way to do ag, which I am happy to follow up on more.

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The actual farming operations is changing, to be more technologically savvy. That is something that I want to make sure that consumers understand; that California ag, in particular, is innovating very rapidly. While, yes, we require a lot of resources to do our jobs, we, unapologetically, are moving, and adopting, and adapting. That’s a story that we tell.

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From a marketing perspective, we use an enormous amount of video. We have an in-house video department. We do an enormous amount of copywriting and, also, website development and social media. Really, we work to help those growers tell those stories that are very authentic, based on whomever their audience is and understanding, right now, that audience is global.

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We just really want those growers to feel comfortable telling their stories, which is something that is not… By nature, farmers are a very gritty, confident, quiet, hardworking industry, so it is not first nature for them to go and tell their story to the world. That is something that we are helping, slowly, slowly, slowly, adopt into their practices and their comfort level.

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Of course, there’s a lot of challenges with that because it’s not normal. It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel safe. At the same time, with this new generation of millennials now stepping in… Because, I mean, baby boomers are phasing out. There’s only five more years that they’re going to be the decision-makers, so there’s a lot of transition in the ag industry. That’s really where our agency is finding our niche and capitalizing on it.

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Matt Ramage: Mm, wow, great. You know what I was thinking? As far as… You spoke about the audience as global. Can you talk more about that audience? I guess I’m trying to figure about who the actual ag is marketing to? Is it the consumer, or is it other businesses or manufacturers?

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Ali Cox: It really depends.

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Matt Ramage: It depends, okay.

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Ali Cox: It totally depends. I can’t really blanket… I can’t give you an easy answer on that.

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Matt Ramage: Okay.

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Ali Cox: Each one of our clients, obviously, when we start to help them, that’s the first thing we figure out, is who are we talking to. Who is our audience? Some of our audience are processors, so we work with the processors. If you’re a processor, we look at who your sales targets are. If you are a domestic, if you really are focusing on domestic sales, so if you’re working with the Kraft, and the Nabiscos, and the big domestic, even, or the smaller brands, you’re probably looking at more of a consumer play by default because those marketing departments want to cross market. If you’re… the majority of your crop is going internationally, like to Korea, or Japan, or Europe, then there’s a different set of specifications. Really, it’s helping understand what those are and telling those stories in a way that is very meaningful. Then, oftentimes, then we follow-up with the sales collateral, and the messaging, and the videos, to all support that.

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Matt Ramage: Mm-hm.

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Ali Cox: It really depends.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah. You have the unique opportunity of not only representing farmers and marketing their product, but representing the processors and marketing back to the farmers.

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Ali Cox: Exactly.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Ali Cox: That is part of it. That’s definitely… We have almond processors that they have an inherent challenge in that they have two customers. They’ve got the customers they sell the crop to, and then they’ve got the growers that they’re looking to bring in to process their crop.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Ali Cox: Same with our rice clients. Same with our walnut client. All of our ag clients have that issue, and that’s something that we work closely with them to–

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Jeff Byer: Is that different messaging, both ways?

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Ali Cox: It’s different messaging. There’s 200 process… No, there’s 100 almond processors in California, so, basically, there’s 100 processors processing all of the crop in the entire world. Our job is to help each one of them differentiate.

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Oftentimes, when they come to us, they say, “Our messaging is quality.” We’re like, “Okay, that’s great, but that’s not really a message.” That’s not unique. Everybody has that quality. “We’re family-owned.” “Okay, that’s great, but that’s really not unique.” Lots of people have family-owned businesses. We peel back the layers, to figure out what are the differentiating qualities.

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There’s plenty of opportunity for everybody, and that’s what’s so amazing about the ag industry. There’s how do we help them understand that there is a packer for everybody, for every grower, and every grower just needs to find out what’s their comfort level. What are they looking for?

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It’s like we all like a different running shoe. We all have a different reason why we like a specific running shoe, and so, that’s why we’re going to stick with that running shoe. It’s the same thing with your processor, wherever you feel comfortable.

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Then, on the packer side, with their customer, then they develop relationships. It’s a relationship business, a commodity relationship business with a fluctuating price. That’s the other thing.

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I could go on about this forever. I mean, really. Growers and farmers, the price change is minute by minute, so you really never know how much you’re going to make, year to year. That’s, again, why those farmers, their personalities are so tough. They have no idea how much they’re going to make, and they have an incredible amount of risk.

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Matt Ramage: Hm.

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Ali Cox: That’s why they need us.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Right, yes.

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Jeff Byer: What have you found are the most–

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Ali Cox: I love that.

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Jeff Byer: –are the most effective avenues for marketing them?

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Ali Cox: The most effective avenues for marketing them, hands down, is a mobile website. You’ve got to have a mobile-friendly website. You’ve got to invest in your content and continual development of content, so that your SEO rate can stay high; but, also, just so you can tell your story. That’s your home base, is your website.

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When we first start working with a lot of our clients, we go and we visit them at their plant. Their plants are… I mean, you could eat off the floor. They are so clean. They are impeccable. There is no dust. They have 10 different certifications that are USDA, and Japan specs, USDA specs, Korean specs, European specs, very… I mean, tons of these specifications.

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Then you go to their website, and it just looks like they don’t care. And so, that is where we often start. It’s like, “Okay. The experience I’m having in your plant is like the opposite on your…” It’s messy. It’s like a cluttered mess. It is hard to navigate, so that, we typically will be like, “Okay, we don’t have a consistent story here. Your front door is your website, and your website is a disaster.” It’s not a good representation.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah. And so, now that farmers are now going online and have the smartphones, they are looking to that as a first step to relationship because it really is about relationships, at the end of the day.

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Ali Cox: Yeah, exactly, and so, five years ago, that didn’t matter. We didn’t have… Everybody didn’t have a smartphone. Or maybe 10 years ago, it didn’t matter. Really, just that personal relationship mattered.

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Now, we’ve got son and daughter coming along, who are saying, “Great. I really value that personal relationship. That’s wonderful, but I’m still going to do my homework. I’m going to do my due diligence. I’m going to get on that website, and I’m going to make sure that these people are speaking a language that resonates with me and that makes sense to me, from a professional standpoint.” That’s why the millennial farmer and the millennial person working in ag is actually the least lazy generation because they do the most homework. They do the most due diligence. They do copious amounts of due diligence. That’s where we find our job is to go and help those clients navigate. Our clients that have adopted this processes over the last five years, they are reaping the benefits now.

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Jeff Byer: Mm.

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Matt Ramage: Ali, can you maybe walk us through one of… a case study that you were proud of and that we can get the sense of the overall… I guess, the success and how, what happened?

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Ali Cox: A case study. Jeff, this was not in the original questions.

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Matt Ramage: I’m sorry.

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Jeff Byer: I told you it was conversational.

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Matt Ramage: Or just, you know, a client you’re–

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Ali Cox: I’m looking at the logo wall.

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Matt Ramage: Okay, a client you’re proud of and that you’re just telling their story.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. Well, I mean, I’m proud of all of our clients because, otherwise, we wouldn’t still be working with them. I am proud of Monte Vista Farming Company, so Monte Vista is one of those 100 almond processors. They decided…

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The CEO is very innovative. He’s younger, but he is a steadfast advocate of ag, and his family’s been farming for years and years. Jonathan, the CEO, just decided, “Listen. We’re not going to just… We’re not just going to say we’re a family-owned business and we have high quality. That’s not okay. I’m not okay with that. I want to be the industry leader in tech and innovation,” and he was.

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I am so proud of that website. We did it a couple years ago, so it’s time for a refresh now. He decided, “Yeah, I’m happy to invest in video. I want our story told. I want… I know, when I talk to growers and when I talk to customers, I know what I’m saying, but I want to make sure that everybody knows that.”

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He was the first that basically put a line in the sand and said, “Listen. This company stands for transparency and traceability, and that’s what we’re going to stand for.” That emanates across their website, throughout their entire plant process, so much that they’re the go-to for KIND bar, for example. KIND bar does a lot of their advertising with Monte Vista Farming growers. Why they developed that relationship is because of that transparency and traceability, and so, it affects every aspect of their business, including the consumer experience.

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That’s a case study that I am super proud of, and that was one of our first. I think that was one of our first ways of doing processes, and Jeff was really, really, really instrumental in making that happen. They love our website that we’ve made, and it is time for a refresh. They also develop… They also invest in content.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah. The website that’s up now is version two. Version one was very innovative. It was the full screen, with the hamburger menu and the full screen navigation. It was really fun. Then SEO took over, and we had to scrap all of that.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. Yeah, that was a great first project though. Not first project, but that was a great first almond processor project.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah. Yeah. I had a lot of fun with it.

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Ali Cox: We’ve gotten a lot of business off of that website because, I think, people learned. Like, “Oh, it can be done like this,” and really, that was Jonathan, the CEO, saying, “Let’s just go for it. Let’s just do something different. I don’t want to be the same. I want to be different. Now, they are so successful and growing their tonnage, and have really deep relationships and, with their customers in Japan and abroad, are just fantastic. Now, we do a lot of their marketing for their Chinese trade shows and everything else, so it just has evolved. It’s evolved really well.

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Jeff Byer: Alright. You ready to transition over to Hey Turlock, another project I helped you with?

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Ali Cox: I love Hey Turlock. Hey Turlock was started out of necessity, like all good projects are. Hey Turlock, well, let’s see. We launched that almost three years ago, and it’s in my hometown, which is Turlock.

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When I came back from New York, I just was like, “Well, what’s up? How do I even know what’s going on around here?” And so, with a business partner, we created a local social media-based company. Jeff helped with the website, and another… It’s time for an app. We need to get that. We need to evolve that, too. I’m a perfectionist, so I just need to do everything.

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We developed Hey Turlock, which has just grown, and grown, and grown. We’ve developed processes and systems, and really, it has turned out to be a thriving local… a local go-to for our area. I think it’s pretty scalable, too.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah. What Matt and I usually have, when we have projects like this come up, is that the client asks for something like this, and we’re like, “Sure. We’re going to build it for you and everything.” Then, it mostly goes unused and falls by the wayside. Pretty much, 90% of the times that we build blogs or content management systems for our clients, it doesn’t get used.

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Matt Ramage: We use it.

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Jeff Byer: This was an amazing–

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Ali Cox: Let’s stay positive.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah, we end up using it for ourselves. Yeah, but this one was the process of building it and then watching them just jump on it; fill it with content; make relationships with all the local businesses; fill the calendar with events, a year in advance. You guys just took it and exploded it, so I’m really proud of you and proud of what you did with what we had created initially. It was really nice to see you guys took over.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. There’s been some transition. I bought my partner out, and so, now my agency owns it, 100%. Even in the last two months, just the internal operational changes, I’m seeing just the… I’m seeing that happening externally, also.

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Yeah, it’s really exciting. We’re growing. We added two more people to the team. I see that… I see Hey Turlock doing nothing but growing.

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It also provided a really great base for us to launch Turlock Restaurant Week, which is another local baby of mine. And so, we finished our second year of Turlock Restaurant Week in January, and we are part of California Restaurant Month and have about 25+ businesses participate. That’s a really fantastic property that I’m proud of, also.

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We do it like… The first time I launched the first Turlock Restaurant Week, I was like, “This would be a nice team project” and also one that wouldn’t get… For the other small businesses out there, it wouldn’t be… I mean, I’m the final approval. Quite frankly, I was like, “Everybody out here is going to be approving their own stuff” because it’s nice not to have everything you do changed by the client. And so, we got to be the client, and that was a good bonding experience for us.

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It was also, I think, a confidence booster because our stuff looked so cool, and we loved it. It was fresh and innovative. Again, no client was changing anything, and so, we could really guess that would maybe be a suggestion for other businesses out there, is find a passion project, and do it because it will… even if you’re just doing it as a confidence booster because it’s nice not to be edited.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Yep.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah, definitely. That’s where you and I get along well, is in the creative and in the… and seeing eye to eye on that stuff. Usually, when stuff gets changed for the worst, we both agree that it’s the wrong–

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Ali Cox: It’s the fit.

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Jeff Byer: –way to go.

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Ali Cox: Lame.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Ali Cox: I know. I think that I’m going to start… In new business presentations, I think I’m going to start showing version one of everything. I don’t want the to see what’s out there. I want them to see version one because that, always the best.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Oh, well, great. Well, you had talked about, I guess, at your company, you’ve got 90% millennials. Jeff told me that you recently spoke at a conference, working with millennials, so can you talk about how that went?

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Ali Cox: Sure. I spoke at the AgTech Summit. I spoke on the transition of decision power, of decision-making powers and, really, what is happening in the world, right now, with baby boomers terming out in the next five years. It’s already started, quite frankly.

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Now, grandpa, dad or mom, and grandson, or granddaughter, they’re all at the table. Grandfather, grandmother is probably getting a little confused by anything or just tired, quite frankly. There’s been so much change in the last 15 years of doing business. They’re just all exhausted, quite frankly. Now, just how do we make sure that we put our best foot forward, and understanding that everything’s changed.

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Jeff Byer: Right

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Ali Cox: It’s not just about, again, it’s not just about going and working with a local source we’ve had a relationship for three decades, or three generations with. Now, you’re working with people, like my brother, who are in their mid-30s and are perfectly capable of having remote relationships and perfectly capable of doing deals with banks, anywhere. They don’t have to just be here, so the whole landscape is changing.

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Matt Ramage: Mm.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah, changing for the better, using more information that’s readily available, using the technologies and… Yeah.

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Ali Cox: I mean, from our experience, I mean, from our perspective, it’s changing for the better. Talk to somebody who’s 65 and over, they might not believe that.

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Matt Ramage: Uh.

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Jeff Byer: It’s probably swallowing up the people that refuse to change. Yeah, I understand that, as well.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. That’s okay. I mean, that’s… Our job is to help bridge that, and that’s where we’ve really found a sweet spot because I think it helps that I have grown up in this. I respect tradition. I respect history, but I also love innovation. I love knowing what’s next. We just approach it very tactfully and very respectfully.

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There’s a reason why we have a successful agriculture ecosystem in California, and that’s because people worked really hard for a couple hundred years. We need to respect that; right? They’ve done a great… They’ve been stewards of their land. Clearly, it’s been a sustainable process. We’re still farming. And so, I respect that, and I also respect that times are changing, and we don’t want to get lost in the dust.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Oh, yep.

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Jeff: Understood. It’s, yeah, paying homage to where you came from, but also having the courage to forge on in a new direction, new path, new technology,` with the younger generation taking over.

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Ali Cox: Right.

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Matt Ramage: I’ve got to ask a question that’s unrelated to everything we’ve talked about. We have had a drought in California, and the drought, I think, is over. How is it, up there? Are people happier, now that we had some rain this year?

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Ali Cox: Um.

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Matt Ramage: Or are we still in it?

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Ali Cox: How political should we get?

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Matt Ramage: Right, because every time I drive up to San Francisco, I see the signs about water. Yeah, I guess we could get pretty political. Let’s not get too political.

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Ali Cox: Okay, so are we happy it’s rained? Yes. We’ve had two wet winters, which is great. It actually needs to stop raining because, right now, we are getting into some really dangerous territory of too much rain; too much rain too late in the season because it’s time for blossoms to start coming out, and planting to happen and all of that. So that is good.

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Matt Ramage: Mm-hm.

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Ali Cox: We have some severe political issues, right now, that are affecting California agriculture, that are very sensitive. The California water board has made quite a few decisions that are… adversely affect California ag. Water is definitely a hot topic. Even though it’s rained and we have our snowpack, and that’s fantastic, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to see all that water.

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It’s very touchy, but I’m going to play both sides. The pro is that we have water. There’s water to fight over. The con is… Another pro is, by having stricter regulations and all that, it’s forcing innovation. It’s forcing people to do things a little differently, and it’s forcing technology adoption.

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In the almond orchards, right now, where we are in the heart of almond country, most large growers have dual-line drip systems. That means they have paid to have drip throughout all of their orchards, in every single… Every tree is getting drip from two lines. Guess what? To install 100 acres of drip, it’s over $1 million, just to install it. That’s not even to pay for the water.

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What needs to happen is… We have all these demands on growers to innovate and to evolve, which is… Again, I’m for it. That’s contentious, for a lot of people. What needs to happen, then, is we need consumers to realize, “Listen. Growers are changing, and that means that you need to understand that they’re spending more money. You need to be prepared to spend more money in the grocery store.”

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Matt Ramage: Mm-hm.

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Ali Cox: “We need you to support California agriculture. If you’re only shopping the cheapest and the bottom of the barrel, and you’re fine eating food that you have no idea what kind of requirements they’ve been grown under, internationally, because there is no international process or law, then that’s the risk you’re putting on you and your family. You’re also not supporting your local ecosystem, and also, then you should probably stop putting those demands on the local ag community.”

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Matt Ramage: Mm.

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Ali Cox: It goes both sides, and that’s why growers have to tell our story. Because you wouldn’t know that, unless you talked to a grower. You would not know that their bottom line has grown by about 30%, in the last five years, because of a whole host of reasons.

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Matt Ramage: Wow.

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Ali Cox: Employment wages, too. Environmental requirements went up.

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Matt Ramage: Mm.

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Ali Cox: Your food should cost about a third more.

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Matt Ramage: Wow.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah, way to go, Matt.

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Matt Ramage: Oh.

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Jeff Byer: No, but that… I’m not playing around. That is a very important issue.

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Matt Ramage: Yeah.

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Jeff Byer: As living in southern California, we receive way more water than we deserve. There is not enough water, just to say, in southern California, and we know that we’re stealing from central California ag, as consumers. There’s only so much that we can do. We can vote, but Ali is front line, seeing exactly the damage that it’s causing, not having the water go to where it’s supposed to go.  

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Ali Cox: Yeah. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking because the… It’s just heartbreaking to see what happens to the economy, to be one, and also to drive by and see dead orchards, number two. They’re getting pulled out and then, potentially, developed into homes, which then require water. It’s just a cycle. `

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It’s just a cycle. Again, from a marketing perspective, my whole job is to tell the story, so everybody has the opportunity to make their decisions in a balanced way. At least, now, growers and farmers can have more of a presence at the table and be part of the conversation.

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Matt Ramage: Yeah.

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Jeff Byer: What we like to end our interviews with is tools.

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Ali Cox: Okay.

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Jeff Byer: What tools do you use, on the daily basis, to help you keep productive and keep things flowing properly?

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Ali Cox: I’m surprised you’re not laughing at me, right now, Jeff.

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Jeff Byer: Emailing Jeff is not a tool.

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Ali Cox: No.

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Matt Ramage: Jeff’s on that tool list.

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Ali Cox: Our agency is… We are in the middle of a… We’re, basically, growing 100%, every year. We have grown 100%, every year for the last five years, so we are scaling. I would say our tools are scaling with us.

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It’s something that I’m constantly thinking about, but I was just thinking through what we do now. We do a lot of digital advertising and buying for our clients. Obviously, we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Google, all the time, buying advertising.

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We use Hootsuite for social media management. That’s going to be changing, though, in the next… That’s going to be changing, really quickly. We use Mailchimp, every single day, for our clients. I would say Google is our home base, so we use the Google Drive for everything. Also, Dropbox, I’m happy to pay the Enterprise Dropbox fee, every year. Everything is housed through Dropbox. Everybody has a Mac. Everybody has an iPhone. That’s all paid for.

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One tool that I have, that has just blown the cover off the ball for me, lately… About nine months ago, I started using Gusto, and that is an HR payroll resource, I think, primarily targeted towards small-/medium-size businesses. From an administrative perspective, running payroll, that has been a game changer for me. I’m happy to advocate for it, and I have. I’ve recommended it to several other friends who have people to pay.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: They have great customer service, too. I used them, a couple of years ago, and they were just a fun company to work with.

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Ali Cox: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: The interface is great, and yeah.

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Ali Cox: Yeah. I mean, if you’re using it a couple years ago, it’s probably a different company now because even six months ago, there’s been things that have… they’ve iterated that are just even better. I mean, they’re really, I think, investing, so that’s been a game changer for me. Right now, we’re looking to move into a better content management system and for social media, quite frankly, and for measurement for social media. We use Google Analytics, every day.

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We work in an open floor plan. My rule really is that you’re not allowed to email your neighbor unless you have an attachment, or you’re following up with an actual strategy or a document. There’s no internal questions, so you have to actually talk to your neighbor. We really… That’s a rule that I enforce, too. As soon as I get this long email about how somebody feels, then I know that we’re doing a bad job. We’re not working as a team. I work to really enforce that. Really, it’s our contractors that we work with. They get the brunt of the emails.

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Matt Ramage: Okay.

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Jeff Byer: Those important people.

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Ali Cox: Those poor, poor, humble souls. Yeah, and obviously, we’re on email, constantly.

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Jeff Byer: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Do you guys do any chat? Do you guys do any internal chat?

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Ali Cox: Yeah, we… We just use the Google.

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Matt Ramage: Google chat.

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Ali Cox: Google email chat function.

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Matt Ramage:  Yep. Yeah.

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Ali Cox: Yeah.

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Matt Ramage: Alright.

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Ali Cox: We have production schedules. I guess that’s the only thing. I should, actually, drill in on that. We have 30 clients; 30, give or take, clients at any time. Each client has a production schedule that we use Google.

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I know that we could innovate. I know that we could look into more of a management software system, and we have. I don’t know. It always just seems to come back to that, from a point of ease.

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Jeff Byer: Alright.

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Matt Ramage: Yep.

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Jeff Byer: Well, where can people find you? Who do you want to promote? What are your plugs? Let’s get those out there.

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Ali Cox: My plugs is to go to our beautiful website, designed by Byer Inc. That’s alicox.com, and then, if you want to see us in the day-to-day, you should go to alicoxandco_marketing on Instagram. A fact that you will probably always find, if you look in the stories, you’ll find a team out on a photo shoot. I think that we’ve been on… This is our seventh photo shoot this week, and so, they’re all in the stories.

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This week, we have been videoing beans, garbanzo beans, garlic, pistachios, and right now, pistachios. It is mid-April. Pistachios are pollinating, right now, which is really interesting. We’ve been on an almond shoot, and we’ve been to Chico State, UC Davis, part of the rice shoot, right now. We’re going to go video a winery, this afternoon.

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Matt Ramage: Oh, sounds fun.

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Ali Cox: Yeah.

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Jeff Byer: Nothing going on, today.

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Ali Cox: Another day.

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Matt Ramage: It looks like you got a busy day.

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Ali Cox: Another day.

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Matt Ramage: Great. Well, thank you so much for being on this show. I mean, we could definitely have you back or turn this into another hour of talking. Thank you so much.

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Ali Cox: I could talk. That’s for sure.

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Jeff Byer: Yes, thank you very much, Ali.

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Ali Cox: Okay. Thanks, guys. I’m going to hold on. I’m going to take a picture, so I can put this on our–

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Matt Ramage: Oh, yeah.

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Ali Cox: I’m going to put this on our stories.

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Matt Ramage: Yeah.

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Ali Cox: Smile

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Jeff Byer: For show notes and information, go to digitalrage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at digitalragefm, and please, give us a rate and review. We’d sincerely appreciate it.

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"4YemFFUUFDz7lmMlB22DW2","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"13 | Ali Cox: Agriculture Marketing","release_date":"2019-05-27","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:4YemFFUUFDz7lmMlB22DW2"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/7f59e60f95744e1524cd6b3a35d46a8ed931b309","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Todays episode of Digital Rage features Programmer turned Lawyer Jonathan Tobin to discuss automation, as well as legalities content creators run into. We talk trademarks, training videos, Calendar automation, and Jeff has a cold.","duration_ms":2605009,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1qMQyW4mjTeUAOn3aEPkb2"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1qMQyW4mjTeUAOn3aEPkb2","html_description":"

Today’s episode of Digital Rage features Programmer turned Lawyer Jonathan Tobin to discuss automation, as well as legalities content creators run into. We talk trademarks, training videos, Calendar automation, and Jeff has a cold.

\n\n\n\n


If you automate a bad process, you can magnify your problems.

Jonathan Tobin

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Show Notes

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Show transcripts from Jonathan

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This is not LEGAL ADVICE

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"1qMQyW4mjTeUAOn3aEPkb2","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"12 | Jonathan Tobin: Business Automation","release_date":"2019-05-20","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1qMQyW4mjTeUAOn3aEPkb2"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/dfd3eec0e5d68fe981843827cabe50f5a6f56cfc","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we spoke with Mic Pam who runs a digital agency that specializes in e-commerce solutions. Mic talks about the wide range of e-commerce platforms, shifting trends, marketing, and SEO solutions.","duration_ms":2783843,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/19WJhzKK6K3jUBdY4fOrA9"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/19WJhzKK6K3jUBdY4fOrA9","html_description":"

Today we spoke with Mic Pam who runs a digital agency that specializes in e-commerce solutions. Mic talks about the wide range of e-commerce platforms, shifting trends, marketing, and SEO solutions. 

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About Mik Pam

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What’s good for your business is the first thing you have to really think about when you deploy a platform.

Mik Pam

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Show Notes

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Alright, today we have Mic From Pen Agency on the show with us. So welcome to the show Mic.

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Thank you for having me. Thank you guys.

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Yeah. Great! A little introduction Mic and I have known each other for let’s say 10 or so years. We actually worked for um, I guess were competitors working for the same clients and Mic took over working for the clients that I stopped working with and I think we did  some back and forth. And it was a crazy client we worked with, we won’t mention that name on the show but that can be um, a topic of another show. Working with..

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That is a whole other show on it’s own.

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Yess! Haha. Definitely but yea Mic runs Pen Agency. You know they do web development, marketing and they have a speciality in ecommerce and um, are ecommerce experts. He is also the director of ecommerce at waterbottles.com. So, yeah. Mic brings a lot experience with Magento, Shopify, A lot of different ecommerce big platforms. So we are going to dive deep into ecommerce today. And uh, yeah well come to the show Mic! Let’s jump into it. The first question would be tell us what are the big platforms that you are working with today or is it still Magento or a mix of different platforms now or?

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So, um, right now there is a lot of uh platforms that have become uh, have evolved and grown into like real players. But I think to preface that uh, conversation you have to realize what these platforms are good for. Like um, the top, um all of the internet is dominated by, if you took a screenshot of what is out there and what people are using for ecommerce. It is night and day people use a lot of woocommerce. That is the WordPress specific ecommerce.

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And free and open source. Yeah.

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Free and open source but again with free and open source there comes a lot of cognizant?

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Right.

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If you take a snapshot of everything on the web that is the major player right now at this moment it’s WooCommerce. It’s was basically a plug in before but now it is its own platform that is integrated tightly into WordPress.

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So, then if you go down farther into the top 1000 or 100,000 sites you will start to see the magnetos become a major player, shopify, websphere comes into play.

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Then if you look at the top 10 you will see IBM, Oracle, Magnetos still there but you won’t see the woocommerce, open carts all those guys.

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It’s what’s good for your business. That is the first thing you have to really think about when you deploy a platform.  What really fits.

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So, yeah what we really deal with, Matt and I both have this set in common. That we deal with small to medium size businesses. On my end is mostly b2b, so I don’t get a lot of chance to use ecommerce but for our b2c customers in small to medium size businesses. You know a hand full of products, is that where Magento really shines or would you go with one of the cloud services?

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Yeah. That is a great question but I would say Magento comes with a cost even when people say it’s open source. Magento developers buy on a baseline will cost you 2-3 times more than what a WordPress developer would cost you, even more.

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The platform itself needs constant updating. Magento is a more involved platform. If you are looking at the small businesses that have a few products WooCommerce might be a good solution. Shopify has grown leaps and bounds. That is the number 2 player when you look at the screenshot of the platforms. First is WooCommerce, then shopify, across the board because of the ease of integration, the cost of entry is night and day compared to something like a Magento or a Websphere.

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Yeah. You can be up and running the same day on the Shopify.

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Oh yeah!. If you don’t have a lot of functionality, just have them worry about the backend. All the nitty gritty then you will have it up and running in a week.

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So Mic what as far as the different types of businesses out there, can you give us a break down of manufacture would make sense for a Shopify or WooCommerce would be good for. Can you break down some of the different cases.

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Yeah. That is a good question. So, basically if your want to publish a lot, if you are going to do content marketing you are probably already going to be familiar with WordPress. With WordPress and WooCommerce they just provide a very important 1,2 punch for these startups.

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Because you have a functional ecommerce web form and content marketing system. It’s a minimal cost compared to the other platforms. You can get your feed to it. It is built on the strength of its community. That community made it what it is right now. It would be harder to find a bigger community than what is supporting WordPress and WooCommerce. That is how it has become what it is right now. Before we could barely put 100 items in there and it would start to give us data locks, server errors. Now a few thousands it can handle it, of course depending on your server infrastructure.

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Yeah. That is interesting because I did, I have rescued some popular ecommerce sites out of the Word Press system because of how the database was getting killed with every page request.

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This particular customer had a celebrity endorsement and every time the celebrity would tweet about it, his site would go down.

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So at the time we switched him over to Bigcommerce because they were the biggest you know enterprise cloud player at the time and fixed all of his issues. That is where I said well maybe this WordPress, WooCommerce is not all it is cracked up to be and isn’t meant for anything with any type of volume. But you are saying now they have fixed all that?

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I wouldn’t say they fixed all of that. It is not going to be at the level of these if you compare it to Shopify or BigCommerce that are Magento. Their more than capable to handle concurrent connections. These are like multiple users, looking at different pages, different sessions. It’s still going to be a lot of server dependency, how your server architecture load balancing, and that stuff. You still have to run through some hoops but from what it was 8-10 years ago. It’s really progressed a bit and I would if you had a few products, I would say 100 to 1000 products. This might be a good platform for you but if your sole purpose is to get your feet wet  in commerce, I think a path would be a BigCommerce or Shopify. Funny BigCommerce was really big back then, I don’t know why Shopify ate them up. There was nothing close back 4-5 years ago.

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Yeah and I think the biggest change because I saw it in my customers. I built a bunch of BigCommerce sites and the biggest issue they had was how complicated the back-end was. They took out features but they also simplified it. So the actual store owners could better handle the administration and order processing.

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Yeah. That is the one thing that really went, that store owners and administrators loved about Shopify. Was that it was intuitive, the back end was so intuitive. It took a little bit for the buyer to enter was really low. The floor was low. Yeah, they loved it. That is probably why they beat BigCommerce in.

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Mic if you had one platform to pick when it comes to SEO. Let’s say your selling 500-1000 products and you want to go heavy on the SEO, which platform would you pick and why?

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Ok. That is a little loaded question because I’ll always be a little biased.

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Prior to a few years ago we were Magento partners. So we were doing a bunch of ecom stuff. For the start up it is a toss up between Shopify and WooCommerce. The thing about Shopify, it has extensions or plugins that the community has built. It has a good community behind it too that will do all the, change titles, update urls, your ability to change descriptions and stuff like that. But aside from that you don’t really have too much control on the technical level. It’s a shared platform. Let me give an example. We had to manipulate how each secondary or first share URL shown on our website. You would be a little hard pressed to do that on the Shopify website. So, that is the cons of going with the self-serve services. WooCommerce doesn’t give that much flexibility. But if you are a start up with a few hundred products it’s a toss up between those two. If you are a pure ecommerce go with Shopify. We are also Shopify partners just so that is clear.

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Ok. You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes today, Mic.

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Yes.

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So, have you had any success in connecting either of those platforms with social media. For generating traffic or sales.

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Yeah. More so more than social media. Everyone who has become serious in ecommerce most of them followed the path of the Omni channel sales. It is selling on multiple platforms. Getting different advertising. Even Facebook, you can consider it a platform. You can get sales through Facebook. Omni channel that is a different layer of ecommerce. That is more like the big websites like Websphere or even Magento if you can figure it enough. You have to make use of all the data, what you are spending and what you are relying on in these channels. It is a more involved process. As far as social media, there are some, before we had to ask developers to code in Facebook connect, page connects and stuff like that. It is fairly easy. It is like drag and drop, and it connects to your Facebook page. Your post, you can automate your products into your feed. Not that you would like to do that, it’s spamming but you can do that now. With greater ease.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah and there is a ton of automation now, not only with social media. You mentioned that omni channel approach but email as well.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah.

\n\n\n\n

The latest news that Mailchimp and Shopify have seperated has that impacted you and any of your projects?

\n\n\n\n

No, so Mailchimp is uh, again it’s what it’s used for. We used it for certain services. We started with Constant Contact. I am not going to say anything about them but we had like Mailchimp. We had, so what we wanted to create was uh, that thing escapes me now. They use to do landing pages, i forget what it is called. We don’t do a lot of, so we kind of host our own email because we have a service to make our own mailers.

\n\n\n\n

Ok.

\n\n\n\n

So yeah, we kind of. It’s all depending on the client and their budget and their goals right. They don’t want to spend too much on email marketing we refer them to like the Mailchimp. Campaign Monitor was another one that is fairly decent too. As far as reliability but Mailchimp is the one that is easiest to integrate on all the platforms.

\n\n\n\n

Well, not Shopify anymore.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah. Shopify.

\n\n\n\n

I am starting to dealing with that now. So it will be interesting how this disconnect between the two companies impact my work because we have got the Shopify ecommerce site. We have the Shopify storing, data and user data. Then we have the Mailchimp marketing campaigns that go out. So there may be a few manual processes that may need to be added into our new solution.

\n\n\n\n

We found Campaign Monitor on this level as decent. If you can take a look at that.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah. I’ll take a look at that.

\n\n\n\n

So Mic where do you, as far as the future of ecommerce do you see any big changes happening in the next five years? I guess probably more automation, AI stuff. Where do you see it going?

\n\n\n\n

No. If anything we should all have already realized that ecommerce is the future. It has already shut down a few big box stores. You know you’re looking at one of my favorites is Toys R’ Us.

\n\n\n\n

Back in the day there was only one place to go.

\n\n\n\n

Now you can be very gradulate with I want this with pink ribbons and you know. You can just Google it and you will get that exact item that your heart desired. So ecommerce has, some people call it etail but it is ecommerce. It is the future. It is what all our big brands have invested a ton of money to just be the best to give the user the best shopping experience. We have seen some. There is one site I think it is Zappons. They have experimented a few years back on, not It’s an Amazon platform that sells shoes.

\n\n\n\n

Zappos yes. Their personalization was top of the game. Because they store your data. They kind of know what you are looking at. So if you are looking for running shoes they will only serve you running shoes ad that are specific to the style that you were looking at. Say you like other shoes they will show you those specific shoes. You know, it’s not rocket science. If we give you a selection of exactly what you want then you will most likely buy from them.

\n\n\n\n

So those are the types of things that are not just being developed. Their deployed and happening now. We can see that even the ads have become very personalized. Back in the day we would use if they use this keyword then send them this ad. Now there is a lot of personalization. There is categories,  like-minded buyers. There is so much to go through.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah. Now, I look at some stuff on Amazon then a week later I get an email of ten things that are what I was looking at on Amazon. And you know, some of them are on sale now. So it’s like.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah exactly.

\n\n\n\n

It’s all the tagging and remarketing. And now Amazon is getting a bit more aggressive with it and like you said Mic the personal information. So now I got an Amazon Echo in my living room that is probably listening to me because what my wife are talking about in the living room ends up in my inbox or as an ad on Amazon.

\n\n\n\n

So Mic have you ever had to optimize or purchase anything through a voice assistant?

\n\n\n\n

I have not. I tried it with Amazon but up until the point of are you sure and I didn’t go through with it. My kid always you know, kind of pranks me. He tries to try all these crazy stuff. He knows I get alerts. The first time I saw what the, but I got smart to his tricks. But there is a cool story though. My partner and I were talking about Whiskey. I did not search for it. I did not Google it. We were talking and chatting the next day I have ads for the exact brand. Even my Facebook. It’s creepy but its like can they really hear what were talking about but its correlation. It’s just kind of scary for what is out there but it is good for marketers. They got more work.

\n\n\n\n

For us. You know, I know you guys have had the same experience. You get a new client. You research them and then you are bombarded with all their ads and competitors ads.

\n\n\n\n

Alright Mic, so yeah. What else can you tell us about ecommerce. A friend of mine reached out to me that has a  have a jewelry store and they are selling jewelry online. They asked me what are we doing wrong here. So what do you tell a new person that is online with ecommerce. What advice do you give to someone who is brand new to get the ball rolling. You give them a ton of advise but maybe we can address that on the show.

\n\n\n\n

From personal experience. Beverly Hills Jewelry reached out to us a couple of weeks ago too. Their brick and mortar store is doing decently but they get 0 sales and 0 exposure. Of course these clients will tell you we want to get more, I think it is our job to let them know that we need to manage your expectations. I have told this guy we can do it but it is going to take x amount of time. X amount of resources because you have to show them these are who you are going up against. Research “custom made jewelry” you are going to go up against Custom Made, which is like the #1 store online. And if you look at their backlinks they have so much backlinks and authority. The closest you will get in within a few years time is 2nd or 3rd but to get there you will need to expand a bunch of resources. Put money into content marketing. I would tell them straight up there might be more channels more appropriate for what you want. If you want a 10% increase in online sales. That is doable. That is realistic. If you want 20% increase we can get there but of course the very first thing you do is look at their site and you can almost right away see it’s built to look good. It’s not built for search. Those are the things you point out to them. I feel like with a lot of clients they think we do magic most of the time.

\n\n\n\n

What magic?

\n\n\n\n

Like you can get us there in three months. I said I can try.

\n\n\n\n

I would say for your customer. Just trying to target their audience. Not trying to hit everyone but try to find a brand that is also trying to target the same type of audience and then make a lookalike audience and target them. This simple formula has worked time and time again. I am doing the same thing for my fitness clients right now. I am making a lookalike audience and now I have them.

\n\n\n\n

Perfect. Also the lowest hanging fruit is your best ambassadors. Right. So you look at their circle. Their circle will most likely be interested in your stuff too. It’s much less money too. Just follow the low hanging fruit and exceed their expectations.

\n\n\n\n

That is great, thank you. Thank you.

\n\n\n\n

So what tools are you using? We love to hear about tools that people are using in online marketing. What tools are you using everyday?

\n\n\n\n

We have some. First of all like when we look at competitors or prospective client. We do a preliminary audit like what kind of architecture their site has, their ranking. So, the basic Screaming Frog is a really useful tool for marketers and developers too. To find like duplicate content, duplicate tags, duplicate broken links. I would really recommend for what it cost Screaming Frog has been really indispensable. Another tool online which is called Siteliner. Siteliner.com, it is a free tool. It is web based. You put in your domain name and it will scan however much it can scan then it will tell you uh, if there broken links, page size, load time, words per page.

\n\n\n\n

I am going to my site right now. I have used it before but it has been a while.

\n\n\n\n

It still works! It will show you how many links and inbound links are you getting. It can download the site map. Then it will tell you where the duplicate content is. Those are like the easy wins when you are doing a technical audit.

\n\n\n\n

10% duplicate content.

\n\n\n\n

Don’t take it for what it is. It is just a reference. But yeah it will give you a lot of good insight on a project you are working with. Then you have the tried and tested SEM Rush and HREFs. Stuff like that, you can cross reference these things and you will see what needs to be updated or fixed on your website.  Trust me there always is something to do on the website.

\n\n\n\n

It is never ending. You get those parts that all of a site that a site is not mobile friendly because the buttons are too close.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah, too close. I hate that one.

\n\n\n\n

Do you use any project management tools.

\n\n\n\n

Yes. For the product management team we have Jira. And were trying to move over to more time based. So we use, we try to use agile where you have two week sprints, so at the end of the two weeks you can prioritize, assign task based on what is most important. We use that. We have used the Google Suite, a lot too. Were trying to mess with something called Jam Board right now from Google. Have you guys heard about it?

\n\n\n\n

No.

\n\n\n\n

I have heard about it but I don’t think I have used it or seen it. Yeah tell us about it.

\n\n\n\n

So JamBoard is like a digital whiteboard but it first introduced like a hardware product. It is expensive like $5000.00 bucks for the hardware. But you can actually use your tablet. You can skype clients and just jamboard ideas. You can buy a big tablet and use that and open it up. It’s pretty cool. It’s like an interactive whiteboard.

\n\n\n\n

Oh nice!

\n\n\n\n

That is great.

\n\n\n\n

Yes. So you can basically, you’ll have your tablet going and they can see your notes and what you are doing?

\n\n\n\n

Yeah! They can erase what you wrote, check mark it. It’s a pretty neat tool, its very interactive, it’s fun and clients seem to like it.

\n\n\n\n

I wonder if it works with a wikim tablet. Like you can write to a virtual board even though it’s not visual to you. Huh.

\n\n\n\n

It might yeah.

\n\n\n\n

It seems like it should. We should give that a shot.

\n\n\n\n

You can see your doodles.

\n\n\n\n

I am guessing it comes integrated with Hangouts.

\n\n\n\n

Yes.

\n\n\n\n

Great thanks, Mic so much! We could go on and on. We will have you back on to talk about how to deal with crazy clients. I am sure Jeff has some of those too.

\n\n\n\n

We can talk about crazy clients. We can talk about proposal processes. We can talk about all sort of agency stuff that we deal with.

\n\n\n\n

Nice well Mic why don’t you let our audience know where they can find  you.

\n\n\n\n

Yeah so we just recently moved offices were in Glendora. You can visit us at PinAgency.com, or send an email at info at pinagency.com if you have any requests or violent reactions.

\n\n\n\n

(Laughter)

\n\n\n\n

But thank you so much for this opportunity and I will still get in touch and hopefully meet with you guys soon.

\n\n\n\n

Thank you Mic, very nice to meet you.

\n\n\n\n

For show notes go to Digital Rage.fm, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at Digital Rage Fm. Please give us a great review we sincerely appreciate it.

\n\n\n\n

Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"19WJhzKK6K3jUBdY4fOrA9","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"11 | Mic Pam: Ecommerce Development, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce","release_date":"2019-05-13","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:19WJhzKK6K3jUBdY4fOrA9"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/a0113d4204003ce511299e643910f29a96a0514a","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today’s episode is all about web accessibility. We have co-founder Michele Landis on from Accessible 360, a company that provides audits, training and remediation help for businesses for people with access needs. About Michele Landis Co-founder of Accessible 360 Digital Accessibility Expert With Equitable Access Know How Public Speaker Industry Leader & ADA Policy Strategist...","duration_ms":2996010,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/2L6kE25Ccl6PmeoVMWHnZd"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/2L6kE25Ccl6PmeoVMWHnZd","html_description":"

Today’s episode is all about web accessibility. We have co-founder Michele Landis on from Accessible 360, a company that provides audits, training and remediation help for businesses for people with access needs.

\n\n\n\n

About Michele Landis

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with websites, apps, internet of things, enterprise systems and so on for people with disabilities.

Michele Landis

\n\n\n\n

Show Notes

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"2L6kE25Ccl6PmeoVMWHnZd","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"10 | Michele Landis: Web Accessibility, Certification, Testing","release_date":"2019-05-06","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:2L6kE25Ccl6PmeoVMWHnZd"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/7077738af07752b509577291d6775c99bef2e4c4","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Todays episode is all about SaaS marketing, featuring real world examples of how SaaS products need to market themselves in 2019. Kevin Indig is a SaaS marketing specialist who joins us and offers sage advice while sharing his wisdom and expertise in the SaaS field.","duration_ms":2410057,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/3A4FxetPDdpMiNLEhBYtqU"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/3A4FxetPDdpMiNLEhBYtqU","html_description":"

Today’s episode is all about SaaS marketing,  featuring real world examples of how SaaS products need to market themselves in 2019. Kevin Indig is a SaaS marketing specialist who joins us and offers sage advice while sharing his wisdom and expertise in the SaaS field. 

\n\n\n\n

Content plays an important role when your brand has multiple products.

Kevn Indig

\n\n\n\n

About Kevin

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Show Notes

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"3A4FxetPDdpMiNLEhBYtqU","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"09 | Kevin Indig: SaaS Marketing and Review Sites","release_date":"2019-04-29","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:3A4FxetPDdpMiNLEhBYtqU"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/6633b48e44d53e41bca3dd0dd49cafaa21132619","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"On this episode of Digital Rage we speak to Brian Wood. Brian is a training consultant, author, developer, and father who tells us about how to stand out in a crowded market, launch courses online, and one of new favorite video tools from Adobe.","duration_ms":2079713,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/2rp3qnBPhXAX4uloxMikmx"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/2rp3qnBPhXAX4uloxMikmx","html_description":"
\"\"
Our co-host Matt Ramage scaring our guest Brian Wood at an AIGA conference.
\n\n\n\n

On this episode of Digital Rage we speak to Brian Wood. Brian is a training consultant, author, developer, and father who tells us about how to stand out in a crowded market, launch courses online, and one of new favorite video tools from Adobe.

\n\n\n\n

You have to be able to do more than just your one thing.

Brian Wood

\n\n\n\n

Show Notes

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Show Questions

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Show Links

\n\n\n\n","id":"2rp3qnBPhXAX4uloxMikmx","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"08 | Brian Wood: Public Speaking, Training and Tools","release_date":"2019-04-23","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:2rp3qnBPhXAX4uloxMikmx"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/582bb4248b32abb31933d64cd3454534d088fc96","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"On today’s show we have Pierre Zarokian, Founder of Submit Express and veteran search marketer. We get into SEO, reputation management, how the SEM industry has changed, and more!  More on Pierre: Website – Twitter – LinkedIn Reputation management is 10X SEO. Pierre Zarokian Show Highlights We asked Pierre the following questions: How did you...","duration_ms":1759425,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/7m1dCePlsYpBXWEc3wUm6N"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/7m1dCePlsYpBXWEc3wUm6N","html_description":"

On today’s show we have Pierre Zarokian, Founder of Submit Express and veteran search marketer. We get into SEO, reputation management, how the SEM industry has changed, and more! 

\n\n\n\n

More on Pierre: WebsiteTwitterLinkedIn

\n\n\n\n

Reputation management is 10X SEO.

Pierre Zarokian

\n\n\n\n

Show Highlights

\n\n\n\n

We asked Pierre the following questions:

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

More from the show:

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Show Links:

\n\n\n\n","id":"7m1dCePlsYpBXWEc3wUm6N","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"07 | Pierre Zarokian: SEO and Reputation Management","release_date":"2019-04-15","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:7m1dCePlsYpBXWEc3wUm6N"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/1fe285739b31100b1f576a99b919d775b8199884","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today's show features NO guests because we're too cool for school. ;) Jeff & Matt dive into topics that are top of mind in their agencies.","duration_ms":2176705,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1WYo2F2ZBw4Sut82fdozl7"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1WYo2F2ZBw4Sut82fdozl7","html_description":"

Today’s show features NO guests because we’re too cool for school. \"😉\"  Jeff & Matt dive into topics that are top of mind in their agencies.

\n\n\n\n (more…)","id":"1WYo2F2ZBw4Sut82fdozl7","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"06 Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Shop Talk","release_date":"2019-04-08","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1WYo2F2ZBw4Sut82fdozl7"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/6c74abdb5373ae49d8038de54d679cabb9a63932","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"On today's show we have Esteven Gamez, a social media marketing expert and founder of Keen Social. Lets get into it!","duration_ms":2186266,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1PPHPHunMjlpLJIoqhbVbA"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1PPHPHunMjlpLJIoqhbVbA","html_description":"

On today’s show we have Esteven Gamez, a social media marketing expert and founder of Keen Social. Lets get into it!

\n\n\n\n

We have this new experimental department that we’re just trying out; it’s called social media.

From interview in 2009

\n\n\n\n (more…)","id":"1PPHPHunMjlpLJIoqhbVbA","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"05 | Esteven Gamez: Social Media Marketing","release_date":"2019-04-01","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1PPHPHunMjlpLJIoqhbVbA"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/aff6805afaae6a04c55da1b0b487f61afca853b4","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today we have Neal St. Clair on the show who's the founder of East of Western. We dive deep into software, running an agency, and he asks the hosts some questions as well.","duration_ms":1801953,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/2iru5sNtChorRvCzOh7GP1"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/2iru5sNtChorRvCzOh7GP1","html_description":"

Today we have Neal St. Clair on the show who’s the founder of East of Western. We dive deep into software, running an agency, and he asks the hosts some questions as well. 

\n\n\n\n

What I love the most is just building and developing. I think there’s nothing better than designs get approved, handed off, and I have sort of a clean slate to say, okay, let’s start building this thing

Neal St. Clair

\n\n\n\n (more…)","id":"2iru5sNtChorRvCzOh7GP1","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"04 | Neal St. Clair: CMS and LAMP Development","release_date":"2019-03-25","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:2iru5sNtChorRvCzOh7GP1"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/9f32cab67550bca4d4e97512140ea86ee2eff7af","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Tom Reynolds joins us today to talk Smarketing and Accessibility. Tom runs The Reynolds Group and specializes in working with manufacturers.","duration_ms":2787657,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/5pGTxkeC5tO5KkwF6uuH9T"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/5pGTxkeC5tO5KkwF6uuH9T","html_description":"

Tom Reynolds joins us today to talk Smarketing and Accessibility. Tom runs The Reynolds Group and specializes in working with manufacturers.

\n

More on Tom: WebsiteLinkedIn

\n

(more…)

","id":"5pGTxkeC5tO5KkwF6uuH9T","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"03 | Tom Reynolds: Smarketing","release_date":"2019-03-18","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:5pGTxkeC5tO5KkwF6uuH9T"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/c2350242bc5f3e9136dec7dbc11d0dc083a9fe09","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Today’s show features Jeremy Rivera, an SEO expert based out of Nashville. Jeremy lives and breathes SEO and works full time for Raven Tools and also does SEO in his free-time for companies. Jeremy’s figured out how to skip sleeping so he can work 24 hours a day. 😉 Jeremy Links: Website – Twitter –...","duration_ms":2197211,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/1GxnkJGShl8mwfjcDwI9TG"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/1GxnkJGShl8mwfjcDwI9TG","html_description":"

Today’s show features Jeremy Rivera, an SEO expert based out of Nashville. Jeremy lives and breathes SEO and works full time for Raven Tools and also does SEO in his free-time for companies. Jeremy’s figured out how to skip sleeping so he can work 24 hours a day. \"😉\"

\n

Jeremy Links: WebsiteTwitterSEO Tool

\n

(more…)

","id":"1GxnkJGShl8mwfjcDwI9TG","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"02 | Jeremy Rivera: The Current State of SEO","release_date":"2019-03-11","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:1GxnkJGShl8mwfjcDwI9TG"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/6de9582712e0c501859ffbb014a3dcb07facb171","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Welcome to the first episode of Digital Rage! On this show Matt Ramage & Jeff Byer talk shop at the virtual water cooler. You'll learn about industry news, tools being used, accessibility standards, overreach by Facebook & Google, and more!","duration_ms":1882201,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/2ZV79ZdgYy9WulgrteCzqj"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/2ZV79ZdgYy9WulgrteCzqj","html_description":"

Welcome to the first episode of Digital Rage! On this show Matt Ramage & Jeff Byer talk shop at the virtual water cooler. You’ll learn about industry news, tools being used, accessibility standards, overreach by Facebook & Google, and more!

\n

(more…)

","id":"2ZV79ZdgYy9WulgrteCzqj","images":[{"height":640,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/f18598722cf8f69dc4c9e2f60cb211de81306d60","width":640},{"height":300,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/8d8c8f0b5c33240394a41410a478f9ef965bde46","width":300},{"height":64,"url":"https://i.scdn.co/image/b89f1132a61f7fbf49ae30a219fb74bbd1969990","width":64}],"is_externally_hosted":false,"is_paywall_content":false,"is_playable":true,"language":"en-US","languages":["en-US"],"name":"01 | Matt Ramage and Jeff Byer: Water Cooler Chat","release_date":"2019-03-05","release_date_precision":"day","type":"episode","uri":"spotify:episode:2ZV79ZdgYy9WulgrteCzqj"},{"audio_preview_url":"https://p.scdn.co/mp3-preview/acfdcd9d06f6ddb5f3ba38314ce5ca3469852f37","content_type":"PODCAST_EPISODE","description":"Welcome to the Digital Rage Podcast. Jeff Byer and Matt Ramage are the hosts that bring you digital marketing and internet topics every week. We have interviews lined up with leaders in the industries of SEO, Social Media, Marketing, Design and more. Here is a little more information about us.","duration_ms":1387494,"explicit":false,"external_urls":{"spotify":"https://open.spotify.com/episode/2LYLqKWESZ9CQee9fZqxeA"},"href":"https://api.spotify.com/v1/episodes/2LYLqKWESZ9CQee9fZqxeA","html_description":"

Welcome to the Digital Rage Podcast. Jeff Byer and Matt Ramage are the hosts that bring you digital marketing and internet topics every week. We have interviews lined up with leaders in the industries of SEO, Social Media, Marketing, Design and more. Here is a little more information about us.

\n\n\n\n

About Matt Ramage

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

\n\n\n\n

About Jeff Byer

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n

Jeff Byer’s Interview with Voyage LA

\n\n\n\n

What is the Digital Rage Podcast about?

\n\n\n\n

DigitalRage.fm is a podcast about all things internet. From marketing to technology, we will discuss the latest topics and interview leaders in the industry.

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