Embracing Marketing Mistakes

How to Navigate SEO and Online Reputation Management with Gerry White

February 27, 2024 Prohibition PR Season 1 Episode 23
How to Navigate SEO and Online Reputation Management with Gerry White
Embracing Marketing Mistakes
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Embracing Marketing Mistakes
How to Navigate SEO and Online Reputation Management with Gerry White
Feb 27, 2024 Season 1 Episode 23
Prohibition PR

Ever wondered how the digital marketing landscape continually evolves and what it takes to stay ahead? Prepare to gain invaluable insights as we sit down with Gerry White, the VP for Growth at Mirador, whose knowledge in SEO and analytics is extensive. From the juicy details of SEO controversies to the progression of a web design enthusiast to an industry-leading strategist, Gerry's stories will not only entertain but educate you on the nuances of an effective digital presence.

Diving headfirst into the world of online reputation management, we unpack strategies that can make or break a brand's online image. Gerry illuminates the significance of SEO, digital PR, and responsive customer feedback loops and the team discuss a cruise line company as a shocking case study. 

You'll learn how Mirador's innovative practices encourage positive customer interactions, and the clever use of tools to manage reviews and foster growth. Plus, we don't shy away from the darker side of SEO, discussing the ethical quandaries faced in the industry and sharing a few laughs over some digital marketing blunders that remind us to stay humble.

This conversation then takes a technical twist as we tackle how AI is revolutionizing content generation and the importance of maintaining a human touch amidst the rise of algorithms. Gerry imparts his wisdom on protecting your brand from the perils of negative SEO tactics and the importance of meticulous audience research for effective marketing. So, buckle up for a ride through the highs and lows of digital marketing, replete with anecdotal gold and strategies that will arm you for success in the digital arena.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how the digital marketing landscape continually evolves and what it takes to stay ahead? Prepare to gain invaluable insights as we sit down with Gerry White, the VP for Growth at Mirador, whose knowledge in SEO and analytics is extensive. From the juicy details of SEO controversies to the progression of a web design enthusiast to an industry-leading strategist, Gerry's stories will not only entertain but educate you on the nuances of an effective digital presence.

Diving headfirst into the world of online reputation management, we unpack strategies that can make or break a brand's online image. Gerry illuminates the significance of SEO, digital PR, and responsive customer feedback loops and the team discuss a cruise line company as a shocking case study. 

You'll learn how Mirador's innovative practices encourage positive customer interactions, and the clever use of tools to manage reviews and foster growth. Plus, we don't shy away from the darker side of SEO, discussing the ethical quandaries faced in the industry and sharing a few laughs over some digital marketing blunders that remind us to stay humble.

This conversation then takes a technical twist as we tackle how AI is revolutionizing content generation and the importance of maintaining a human touch amidst the rise of algorithms. Gerry imparts his wisdom on protecting your brand from the perils of negative SEO tactics and the importance of meticulous audience research for effective marketing. So, buckle up for a ride through the highs and lows of digital marketing, replete with anecdotal gold and strategies that will arm you for success in the digital arena.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

Follow Chris Norton:
X
TikTok
LinkedIn

Follow Will Ockenden:
X
LinkedIn

Follow The Show:
X
TikTok
YouTube

Speaker 2:

Welcome to socially unacceptable, from f**k up to fame, the marketing podcast that celebrates the professional mishaps, mistakes and misjudgments, while delivering valuable marketing and life lessons in the time it takes you to eat your lunch.

Speaker 1:

So, as a brand and you may not know the answer to this how do we influence the results of AI when someone's doing an AI search?

Speaker 3:

It's still the same kind of thing as before. It's still good SEO. It's still making sure you're right, clearly, it's making sure that all the pages are discoverable. But the question is, do you want your content to be in that space? And the best part about it is the fact that when you break the BBC homepage, which I don't recommend, the background is a clown on fire.

Speaker 4:

It's the test thing with this clown on fire, Is there black hat his 500 quid under the table, going on and the webmasters get their links that they want, even though there's no clever strategy, it is basically just cash.

Speaker 3:

Yes, for a lot of it.

Speaker 4:

Welcome to socially acceptable, the only podcast for marketers and comms professionals that celebrates the biggest fails and marketing mistakes and helps you learn practical lessons from other people's misfortune. Also, you can grow your brand quicker. I'm your host, chris Norton, and I've worked in PR and marketing for more than 25 years in more than seven agencies and a number of in-house roles. I've even taught public relations at a university. However, 13 years ago, I founded Prohibition to do PR differently, using customer insight at its core. Today, prohibition is one of the North's top 10 PR and social media agencies, turning over more than seven figures every year.

Speaker 4:

In this week's episode, we speak to Gerry White, who describes himself as an unconventional innovator. He's an experienced digital marketer specializing in SEO and analytics, particularly focused on the technical elements of a site's performance. He's also worked for the BBC, mcdonald's, weight Watchers, british Home Stores, gordon Ramsay, premier Inn and many, many more. More recently, he became the VP for Growth for Mirador, which he talks about quite a lot in the podcast. I think you're going to enjoy this episode, because we try not to go too technical, but we try to keep it interesting and practical, so you should be able to find quite a few things in here that are very interesting. I also thought that his fails were very interesting and worth the wait. So wait for them. So sit back, relax and let's get into this episode with Gerry White. Enjoy, okay, everybody. Welcome back to socially unacceptable. This week we are joined by Gerry White. Welcome to the show, Gerry Hi.

Speaker 1:

I'm glad to be here In person as well.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, in person.

Speaker 1:

Appreciate it, Thank you.

Speaker 3:

Gerry, I was up in Leeds and I kind of got the opportunity to see the offices Fantastic offices.

Speaker 4:

So you live down in Surrey We've just been discussing off air and you've got an office in Kirkstall, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I kind of work out the Salt Agency, so that's kind of over in the Kirkstall area. I'm trying to remember exactly where it is.

Speaker 4:

but my knowledge of Leeds is pretty terrible. Right, okay, and so tell us a little bit about your background and your specialisms.

Speaker 3:

Oh, okay, so many, many, many years ago I thought that I could become a web designer. It turns out that I'm absolutely terrible at web design. I became a developer turns out I'm pretty terrible at doing web development. Then I kind of got into kind of managing it. I kind of sold e-commerce websites, managed them, grew them, did kind of all the digital marketing side of it.

Speaker 3:

And then somehow I fell into kind of working for the government doing analytics work on site search, and then I kind of carried on kind of an analytics career for a couple of years and then SEO kind of grew as being a specialism and that was something I was doing a little bit on the side. And then I became kind of an SEO guy, occasionally dipping my feet back into the analytics world. So I was SEO for about five years and then I kind of joined the BBC doing something for them. And then I came back into the SEO world, kind of working for places like Just Eat, the takeaway company, loads of agencies and then finally now I'm kind of working for Mirador Local as their growth guy. But I've kind of worked for Norwegian supermarkets, Israeli podcast companies. I've basically done quite a lot over the past five, 10, 12 years.

Speaker 1:

It's going to be a wide-ranging conversation. So when growth you know I'm seeing this a lot in job titles at the moment. I'm a growth guy. I do growth. Can you explain that to our listeners? What growth means?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely so. I mean, the way I see it is basically you kind of take a service, so at the moment it's a software as a service. We kind of manage Google, my Business or Google Business Places now, basically at scale. So I'm kind of talking to large companies who want to kind of buy this as a service.

Speaker 3:

But to get in front of them we need to kind of make sure that we do all the classic things like SEO digital PR, classic PR, going to events, kind of speaking to people, and so growth in itself is one of those things, which is basically a lot of different things. Now I kind of had the opportunity to work for a lady called Jara Paolo, who is kind of like the specialist and she talks about kind of the theories and the really kind of nerdy side of it around it, which seems like growth loops and how to get retention and all of those bits and pieces. So at the moment we're kind of doing very simplistic approach, but if you kind of want to know more about it, basically listen to that lady. She's the lady that kind of really grew Skyscanner, so working for her at the Norwegian supermarket was incredibly informative for a year.

Speaker 4:

Wow, I mean, I've got some questions as well. So you're working for Mirador, right? Yeah, so they're like a Google my Business profile manager for like, if you've got, say, you're a supermarket and you've got like 300 stores, you need 300 Google my Business profiles, correct?

Speaker 3:

Correct, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 4:

Right, so I've got. I had a situation the other day, working in public relations, like we do. Obviously, clients ask us to look after their online reputation and my wife is looking at next August. Of course she is. She's looking for holidays and then she found a cruise company. Right, it was called. It was called. We could edit it out if this is dangerous. It was called, it's a fact. So I don't know. Norwegian Cruise Lines great, great, reputable cruise lining organization and we looked at the price of a holiday. It was like 10 nights in, you know, cruise around the Med never been on a cruise, by the way and thought, well, this is interesting. I will get back to you in a minute and it is cruise around.

Speaker 4:

The cruise around the Med Sounds great, about to pay the several thousands of pounds to take us all away. And we just thought, oh, we'll just check out TrustPilot Now. Bear in mind that all their boats are brand new. Their ships, sorry, are brand new. The TrustPilot ratings are 1.5.

Speaker 4:

I could get out my laptop now and show you I was stunned. I was like these guys need a digital PR agency or someone to manage, because and it wasn't just you know, like when you look at TrustPilot or you look at TripAdvisor, you usually take a. You take a view, don't you? Because you know that some people are normal and will say what a great holiday and some people are a bit critical. So they'll give a one star and five star and you take the law of averages this, 18 of them were negative.

Speaker 4:

Of the first 20, like one star, and I was like we can't pay that all that money, which is shocking for a company of that size. They were a huge organization. So my question is this back to your location and and reviews and things like that. Now I know that reviews have a big impact on your SEO ranking, particularly on your Google my Business ranking. So how you rank locally on the map and things. What do you guys do in that field and how do you manage the review side of things, because it's so important, isn't it?

Speaker 3:

Nid, absolutely is. So there's a couple of things that we do as a service. We have a tool which allows you to quickly, intelligently reply to them all, and that's one of the things that a lot of people don't do. So, you know, I'm curious as to what the replies were and what those reviews were. Actually having been to Norway, as I mentioned before, basically it's very cold out on the field, but that's another story altogether. But yeah, basically, why are they all getting the negative reviews and did they reply back to them? Because I think we're applying back to them.

Speaker 3:

You kind of go, oh, okay, this. You know, if they sort of turn around and say, actually we had this one problem on this one cruise, we really apologize for it, we'll make it up to you. You're more likely to kind of go, okay, that's kind of one problem on one cruise, and you know that's kind of fine. But if it's like all kind of different things and there's lots of different reasons for it, then that's kind of the question. But yeah, in terms of what we do, basically we kind of do recommend people, look at the reviews, reply to them, but you also help people to incentivize reviews as well.

Speaker 3:

So, for instance, I don't know about you, but normally if a company is really kind of annoyed me can remember a plumbing company in Leeds, but that's another story again and basically if they really give you a bad service, you're really likely to leave a bad review because you need to warn everybody else and you're also just really annoyed with them.

Speaker 3:

It's kind of a way in which you do it. It's kind of an old angry Yorkshire man approach, and if you're not encouraging reviews from people, you tend to find that the reviews look bad. So one of the things that we have got, for instance, is the ability to produce a QR code, and we were chatting away with a lady who kind of works for a charity shop, basically in Ireland, and we were talking about the fact that all of the stores should encourage people to leave a positive review because, weirdly enough, they're getting a lot of negative reviews for no reason other than the fact that people are unhappy with something they bought in a charity shop and are complaining that this wasn't as good as they thought it was going to be.

Speaker 1:

They've obviously misunderstood what a charity shop does. I know it's always quite good fun. So in de-centrifying reviews, ethically, where do we sit on that? What does that actually look like?

Speaker 3:

Probably use the wrong word. Instead of incentivize, I mean kind of encourage basically Positive reviews on both sides. Just on reviews, basically, if you encourage people to leave a review, they're really likely to leave a good, positive review. If somebody's just annoyed, they're really likely to leave a bad review. So encouraging people to leave a review is just something which works really, really well.

Speaker 1:

That's interesting. I mean, it comes about to customer experience, doesn't it? A happy customer will tell two people, an unhappy customer will tell 10 people. So it's all about, I suppose, encouraging reviews is one thing, but your offering, your customer service, has to also fulfill, doesn't it?

Speaker 4:

So you encourage them with the QR code or some sort of prompt to do it and any other incentives for positive reviews that you guys do.

Speaker 3:

I mean, we don't really do that much ourselves in that way. So we do the encouraging reviews there and we do that side of it, but we don't have schemes in place to get people to leave more reviews. I think it's important that basically if you've got any CRM program and you can tell your happier customers like if you send everybody a link on their first order and it says please leave a review it's a little bit jumping the gun, a bit Always do it on the third order. For instance, I've worked with a lot of when I've been not necessarily in my current role, but in other roles. We've been sending emails out and using pop-ups to say, hey, did you have a good time? Kind of leave us a great review. So after the order or somewhere like that. So that's when to leave the reviews. And I know for a while basically that like I stayed in a hotel on Saturday night in Birmingham, which seems strange when I'm up in Leeds, the glamour.

Speaker 3:

It was lovely Basically. I played a game afterwards and tweeted out is this a Norwegian prison cell or is it a hotel name? But it was a certain brand budget and it wasn't even that cheap. But basically, looking at it, it's like this is just really bad. So I did leave a bad review because it wasn't so great. But, I do have a policy that every time I leave a bad review, I leave two positive reviews.

Speaker 4:

Interesting Because you know the weight that Google will give to reviews. I mean, it was just shocked to me that such a huge brand had such negative reviews, and the strategy didn't seem to be a sound one. But anyway, okay, that's good.

Speaker 1:

So we've sort of touched on what Google likes there. So, at a bit more of a macro level, what is the state of SEO at the moment? You know, what is the current thinking, what's working? I mean a lot of the conversations we have. It's all about kind of I mean it's a bit of a jargony term online PR. It's all about getting kind of links. But a lot I mean this is one for you as well, chris A lot of the online PR we see is just about generating links. There's no consideration for reputation, for messaging, it's just random links to company web.

Speaker 4:

That's the two hats that we've in the two cap.

Speaker 4:

We were discussing off air, like when I used to teach at the university, my graduates or the undergraduates would be going to do work experience, and some of them would be going out to work on all the agencies local to the leading university, and so they'd be going out and you know, we've got a good agency local agencies around here, including ourselves, obviously and I'd encourage them all to go out and get experience, and quite a few of them would end up going to the SEO agencies, but the difference between a traditional PR person, if you like, a comms professional and a digital PR team is digital PR is very objective, performance marketing focused, isn't it? It is, you know they'll speak to someone like yourself on the technical SEO guy and say where do you want the links, where is your page cluster, topic cluster, where do you want all these links to go, and then they'll create a campaign that is totally focused on links. What Will's touched on there, though, is we see the links are just not related to the bloody brand, so you might have it completely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the one we, it was one the other way, wasn't it? Yeah, I mean without naming names. Essentially it was an interiors brand which found out how much the McAllister's house in Home Alone would have cost in electricity per day in the 80s and nowadays, and it was something like $500 a day, now $50. Great idea actually. But two things I think. When I watch Home Alone, I don't think God, their electricity bill must be high. Also, when I think about electricity use, I don't necessarily think about an Interiors yeah, and if?

Speaker 1:

it was octopus energy or someone doing it, it would have been perfect. So anyway back to you. What is the state of SEO at the moment? What's working? What's the current thinking?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so links are always going to be popular. I mean, it's a challenge for any brand, basically because getting links is a challenge in itself and it's easier for the big brands to get more links. If you're the big brands, people are quite happy to link to you, but the smaller brands it's kind of a challenge and getting relevant links is the most important thing. Now you were basically saying about the fact that it's almost like totally off topic stuff. But that stuff, I'm saying it doesn't work. It's not that great. You really want things to be totally relevant. So if it's a relevant piece of media linking through to you so I'm trying to think examples off my head but you mentioned energy providers. So if it's an energy company talking about energy and linking to a energy provider, then it's really cool. But it doesn't necessarily work if it's completely off topic. I mean the best example.

Speaker 1:

So does Google make a judgment whether it's relevant or not. How does that work?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, there is this theory called topical authority and it's kind of a challenge there. Basically to fully understand that with Google is super smart and it kind of goes. This page is about boats, this page is about cruises. They're kind of topically aligned and if it's about holidays and similar bits of pieces, one of the things you'll probably see if you're an iPhone user. But basically for a Google user, you've got this kind of discovery feed and Google does this thing where it kind of groups everything together, applies topics to it all, and that's one way that you can sort of see this. So, for instance, if I look at Doctor who a lot, for instance, suddenly my discovery feed is full of Doctor who related bits and pieces, if it's.

Speaker 4:

It's like that on TikTok. It's just an algorithm, isn't it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly right, yeah, yeah. And so you get loads of that kind of thing. So Google has got an idea of what topics are about. But there's also this thing kind of the trust kind of level. So, for instance, my blog about. I don't have a blog, but if I had a blog, basically about something that was kind of like pet stores or something like that and it wasn't very interesting and it didn't have any links and it linked through to another one, the value of that wouldn't be as great as if the BBC links through to you. So we know the BBC is very trustworthy, so we like the BBC and we know that kind of links from the BBC. Even though they might not be as topical as some other source, those links kind of carry a huge amount of weight. So we want the big media ones, but we also kind of want the topical authorities. So we kind of want that blend of everything to make sure Google understands.

Speaker 1:

So links still super important then, but what? I'm hearing is, topicality and relevance is the key thing, and Gerry, do backhanders happen with links?

Speaker 4:

So, like the guy, I'm not saying I might name the nationals right. I'm not saying any of them, but is there Black Hat, his 500 quid under the table, going on and the webmasters get their links that they want, even though there's no clever strategy, it is basically just cash.

Speaker 3:

Yes, for a lot of it. But getting the media ones, getting the good ones, I mean there is A lot of agencies now say they will never buy links. They don't do that. They kind of do use digital PR, the same with everybody else, basically. But there is a lot going on that we know about and but this seems to be more international than the UK focus. In the UK we seem to be good boys, girls who don't buy links. We do it in the correct way. But I've been kind of working globally and Spain and other countries. Yeah, link buying, particularly in America, america is terrible for it. Basically, link buying is a big common practice and people value it based on their DAs and all sorts of which is domain authority, according to Moz.

Speaker 3:

You know, it's kind of a fantasy score almost which Very hard to police, I thought.

Speaker 1:

I mean, how's Google going to really place that manually, presumably?

Speaker 4:

And there's a big thing like because we've just done a site recently that we were working on and we were just waiting for all the pages to index right and it's really well done. It's well executed, great content. It's indexed Google's after three months. There's only, even, despite submitting the URL, the the site map.

Speaker 4:

The site map yeah that's it to site explore and everything multiple times. It's still only indexes the homepage because we upload. I think we indexed it when there was a big Google update, right, and apparently the AI thing has caused a real issue for Google trying to catch up with what's going on. So what's your theory around that at the moment?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so Google constantly releases updates and every time they name it something different Like the current one's the helpful content update and basically the great thing about.

Speaker 4:

AI. That's the snippets is it so?

Speaker 3:

no, the helpful content is. They kind of say content should be good. Basically I know that sounds like a thing that they've always kind of said, but they've kind of said it should now be. They've got a kind of list of criteria for it which, honestly, I should know off the top of my head. But the question is basically would you want to read this and I'm sure you guys have played with chat, GPT and various other bits and pieces I can spin up an article on a given topic in 10 seconds, publish it onto my blog post and, without checking it over, I'm sure it will be okay.

Speaker 3:

And I can do that at scale. And the problem is that if everybody on the internet is doing it at scale, suddenly every blog has gone from being one post a week to 100 posts a week to and at a certain point you can bypass that ability to have to kind of do anything. You can kind of go write all the content, create the images, do everything, publish it onto the internet On the click of a button. Basically, article spinning which is interesting because we've been doing this for years and years is just suddenly it's got accessible, cheap and really good, Like a lot of the time when I'm looking at articles.

Speaker 3:

I couldn't tell you if it was written by a human or if it's written by I sometimes, you know, because there's kind of giveaway telltale, but it's only because I've been staring at this kind of stuff for too long on some of the tests I've seen.

Speaker 4:

I talked about this on the episode that we've just published a few weeks ago and the. When we looked, we had data, looked at carefully and the AI so say you've got a regular, well written, human written blog, right, like you're working in PR and coms. Content marketing is our thing and we've used loads of content marketing tools. We write our own content now. That's not to say we're not using AI now as well. So you can use AI, but you're the stuff that you're talking about. Articles spinning has been going on since the days of the black hat seo person. Right, they spin an article automatically generated and you're right, they are the proper that they're the average of averages. The issue that I had when I looked at I saw the data was these articles, if they go on a real human side, do really well at the beginning and then suddenly Google spots that their AI and drop kicks them, gives them like a drop down.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. We've seen that repeatedly where basically people put a load of articles on and they was to eat graph, which kind of goes, look how well it's doing, and then you kind of, okay, how is it doing like a month later? And it often drops not always like we, for instance, at Meridaw local, we do kind of use AI to Not write the articles, but I kind of go I need to write an article on this, give me the 10 points, and then it'll kind of give me almost a brief to kind of write to.

Speaker 3:

And then I'll ask it to top and tail bits and pieces, and bits and pieces, and, and sometimes I'll chuck in a load of words, almost because I kind of have a brain freeze because I'm the world's worst writer. There's a colleague of mine who basically rewrites everything from my job old kind of. I want to write about how to get rid of bad reviews on Google, for instance. Yeah, something like that. Randomly, I just saw a guy called Keith who's left about 20 bad reviews for different companies and he keeps saying I didn't, keith isn't it.

Speaker 3:

It is Keith. Yeah, and he wrote basically I want to meet Keith there's a great story actually.

Speaker 1:

I don't know if anyone saw it, sorry to interrupt. It just got to me. Tripadvisor did a PR stunt and they looked at the top people who have left negative reviews and they're looking at who, who the real. You know Karen on the internet. They wanted to find out who the real name of Karen is and I think it was Keith, for a man is Keith and David, I think.

Speaker 3:

Well, keith has left about 20 reviews around leads actually, and basically saying one star didn't go. I'm kind of going like what, why did you leave one star and didn't go anyway? Basically back to the point. I'm going to go. I was writing this article out and basically kind of talking about you've got to get rid of these reviews. If you've got like loads of people leaving one star reviews and saying I didn't actually even go, why you can just tell Google to get rid of anyone started writing this article out and I kind of reread what I'd written and half of it was just garbage almost, because it was my brain kind of putting words into the page and you know, I then ask Google to sorry, chat, gpt or something similar, to kind of rewrite some of it and other pieces and it comes out heck of a lot better.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And then I give it to the editor, like a polish. Yeah, exactly, I mean, it's way better at writing I mean stuff than I am, but I kind of know what I want to write about, so I kind of put it into that and then I give it over to one of the content editors to kind of rewrite it and actually make it sound less like a bunch of words that Gerry is dumped.

Speaker 1:

So is that what your advice for listeners would be then? So you know, people are obviously looking at things like AI to create content for SEO, so proceed with caution. Is that the the message?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean my. My favorite article recently is do you know what a pot is? Do you make your own coffee?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So there's a great article on a mock a pot on a website and it's clearly written by AI and it's done. It's one of those made to kind of rank to then sell mock a pot switch Quite honestly, something that a lot of affiliates of Amazon do and I was looking over and it was told you at one point to put in hot water and then two seconds later, it's make sure you thought it was cold water and all of the information disagreed with itself. So it was clearly done by AI, kind of dumping stuff into it and it was a. It was a terrible, terrible article, but I mean it came up on my Google discovery feed so it kind of works. It probably got a lot of a lot of eyeballs and some people probably scan read it because no one actually reads and then they, then they basically went through and bought a mock a pot because they went this is a great way to kind of get an espresso which, despite the horrifically written article, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean what's amazing about that, though, is like there's all this shit that's being pumped out onto the internet, right, and we've referenced this before but when we mean, we'll first ever met in our first year of working together, we met the guy. We met the guys from the sock shop, their SEO team, and I was talking to the technical guy like yourself, technical SEO, and he was like, oh yeah, we write I think it was, 40 or 50 articles on socks a week.

Speaker 1:

It was insane, wasn't it? It was like how the flippin heck have you got time?

Speaker 4:

How can you come up with that many?

Speaker 1:

different concepts, the country's leading sockets, but so with AI, the other side of it, which intrigues me, you know, if I'm looking to search for something and I actually head to chat GPT rather than Google and I look at, you know, give me some top restaurants in London to go to, I get a recommendation. There's no attribution in terms of sources. You know, surely is this sending kind of ripples of panic through the SEO agent, the SEO industry?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, quite a bit actually, and part of it isn't chat GPT so much as it's Google itself. There's something coming out called Gemini no SGE. So Gemini I haven't really looked at so I really can't talk about it too much, but because Gemini came out when I was slightly hung over and people kind of talk about it, right, that's on my list to check out.

Speaker 4:

They've rolled Gemini out into Bard. Because Bard was an experiment, because Bard was a panic attack, because chat GPT was making Google look rubbish. They've rolled Gemini into Bard. So Gemini is making Bard cleverer and more accurate, based on what Will's just said about the fact that references are made up. So yeah, so what's the one that you're talking about, though?

Speaker 3:

SGE, which is basically where the results of the page are. So almost it is basically like chat GPT within Google, so you don't get the attribution, you don't get that kind of information back again. And this is something which I don't know a huge amount about at the moment because it's changing constantly. And this is the thing about SEO. Like for the last five years, every would kind of go and what does the next year hold? What's going to change? And it's almost nothing. And I remember doing a webinar with a guy called John O a year ago and we were talking about chat GPT when it was first coming out and it's not exciting, but you know, and in about 18 months everything will change. And it was almost like two months later everything started to change really rapidly. I hate to be the person that kind of tries to predict the future, because I have got it wrong so many times.

Speaker 2:

You didn't get it ago though. Oh yeah, it was, but you know, it's my job.

Speaker 3:

But basically with SGE it really will be that you will get much more chat GPT type results when you search for anything the Google can fill in and it might give you attribution and it might give you a link back. But will you follow the link if you've already got most of the answer within that?

Speaker 1:

So, as a brand and you may not know the answer to this how do we influence the results of AI when someone's doing an AI search?

Speaker 3:

It's still the same kind of thing as before.

Speaker 3:

It's still good SEO, it's still making sure you write clearly, it's making sure that all the pages are discoverable. But the question is do you want your content to be in that space so you can actually block off chat GPT type searches rather than all searches, and so you know if you've got a unique answer or a unique article? Do you want it to be called by a chat GPT Instead? Do you want it to kind of encourage people to come into your page and you get the traffic and you get the brand awareness? Everybody wants organic traffic for different reasons, but a lot of the time we just want it to basically make people aware of the brand. So it's when they are making a decision later on they come back to us and if Google's just taken all of our content, re-spending it and repurposing it, even if it's got a little bit of oh yeah, we got it from here, people don't necessarily see that as kind of a suitable enough brand kind of awareness exercise.

Speaker 4:

So something that's interested me is and I always get this wrong, eeat right, which is experience, expertise, something else Authority. Authority and trustworthiness right. So that is the fact that content is demonstrating experience, which is something that chat GPT and all the robots out there you can't beat as sorry guys. You need actual experience in the industry and you need to be doing the job. You can't they can't have real world experiences and Google is really giving extra weight, would you say. That's right. Google's giving extra weight to that type of content?

Speaker 3:

now, kind of is, but how do you demonstrate that to a bot? How do you tell Google? Yes, this is Chris. He's an expert on PR. I mean, google's brilliant at kind of piercing all this together. But I've got a friend I won't mention his name. He's been doing this kind of thing for a long time, but he's actually got an IMDB page where he's an actor on Hollyoaks and James Bond and all sorts of other bits pieces. It's a completely fake persona. And what's interesting is, you know, he's got another one which is like a dentist and all sorts of other bits pieces. You know, it's just a kind of fake.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, completely. Why has he done that? Um, it build links. You know digital PR people. They're the worst.

Speaker 1:

Um and you heard it here first.

Speaker 4:

I can feel 5,000 people clicking off this now.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we've lost half our list. It can be edited, no, but you know what I mean. Basically, it's you know, there's lots of stories about fake fake stuff. Oh, this was a big thing recently in search engine land. I think it was where somebody realized that a lot of these personas were fake and it is terrible. Oh yeah, it doesn't it.

Speaker 4:

It's black out, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely, is there a?

Speaker 1:

PRs highly ethical. There's lots of kind of PRCAT. Ipr have a lot of. You know there's a lot of interest and commitment to ethics in PR.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Where does that sit with the SEO industry? I mean, I'm not suggesting you're, you're, you're, you're you're even more of your, even more of our listeners.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean there's a kind of combination there, basically like PR, good PR isn't cheap. I have vivid memories of kind of working with the PR teams when I was at Just Eat, when you know we kind of had to make sure that the PR issues that were happening were kind of managed effectively. And you know there was a lot of time investment and you know people basically stopping people from saying the wrong things, which was really really important. You know you've got multiple people in an organization who are very good at opening their mouths at the wrong moment and saying completely the wrong thing. I mean, when I did a lot of conference talks in bits of pieces when I was working at Just Eat, I had strict instructions that these are the only things I'm allowed to answer questions on.

Speaker 3:

Anything else could impact the share price in bits of pieces. So classic, proper good PR is expensive. Getting links for that client in the corner who doesn't want to pay very much money on a bit of pieces that's where the challenge comes in is like how cheap do your clients want to buy links for?

Speaker 1:

in effect, and is it?

Speaker 3:

cost to going cheap, I presume. Yeah, exactly, you get the dodgy fake personas and other bits and pieces and it's not. Let's just say I kind of like I'm not saying that it's always wrong, but there's a special line, you know, and warnings that Google, google. If it's talking about hairstyle products, it's one thing, but if it's talking about medical stuff, if it's talking about finance stuff, then that's where things become really complicated. Let's be honest, the worst people for doing the dodgy stuff are the payday loan type companies and the gambling companies, who are already in a morally questionable area. You've got your clients on the funding.

Speaker 3:

In what sorry, in the payday loan space. Okay cool, good Proceed All right.

Speaker 4:

I was trying to think of something funny to say that now we don't have any pay and we don't want any. Thank you very much. I don't want to do payday loans.

Speaker 3:

But yeah. So I mean you know people who are also questionably moral and also people who you don't necessarily want to link to. These are the people who will get the backlinks in a cheaper way.

Speaker 1:

That idea of links. This is circling backslide. You said you're a big brand, you're justy, you're delivery. You know people want to link to you, don't they? And you can understand why. If you're a challenger brand or a smaller brand, you know probably your creative is. You know you probably have to work a lot harder with your creative. How do you get the media and influences to link to you if you know if, naturally, people will always look to the bigger company? I mean, I sit on site calculator tick box, yeah, I mean that works.

Speaker 3:

Or you know how much money does the, the home alone house cost? You know those, the kind, of creativity. Yeah, yeah, I mean the classic one is is I mean that idea that how Home Alone House has been done many, many, many times? I mean, I think money supermarket worked out how much Batman's suit cost and it can be quite formulaic, that's.

Speaker 4:

that's why it's very fun. I think that's that's.

Speaker 1:

But it works. That's why it works, but it's in the media. I think the media should be more discerning, you know. They should see that it's just a but. They just want great content that people click on will.

Speaker 4:

If it's all about links and it links to a piece of content, a graphic or a calculator, and it's Batman broken into loads of different shapes, and what would be, what would cost? What then? People, people like that sort of stuff.

Speaker 1:

Hasn't the bar become uncomfortably low? I think we should demand more, shouldn't we?

Speaker 3:

You'd think that. But honestly, when journalists are kind of complaining, that you know digital PRs are spamming them with all these terrible stories and then you find the stories that they're actually publishing are way worse. Honestly, if you start to read a lot the local papers and what, what they're kind of pushing out, it's it's not always great stuff. So a lot of the stuff that digital PR people are turning into a story.

Speaker 4:

So, Gerry, I've got. I'm going to talk to you in a minute about something else about in that area, but this show is all about right. So socially acceptable is from fuck ups to fame. It is all about marketing fuck ups and that's really why people listen to our show. They like to hear Will and I fuck up and talk to other people about when not necessarily a fuck up or when something's not gone well, because everybody bakes themselves up about things that have gone well. So what is it? Is there a particular fuck up or two that you can think of in your job? That's that that you've learned from, and moments where you've gone, oh my god, that wasn't so much fun, but this is what happened.

Speaker 1:

I can see in your eyes. You've got a few.

Speaker 3:

So many. I'm just trying to hang which ones I could really safely talk about. Now my favorite I mean my first one was when I worked in. I was a marketing manager for a weird little place where I was told to work in a seller I wouldn't mention the brand, but it'll probably get edited out and you know they were an ethical investment company but I was working in this guy's basically seller and I got fired basically because I typed in 50 pounds instead of instead of 50p, basically for the pay per click stuff. So that's why I don't do pay per click anymore.

Speaker 4:

Oh, I think that the campaign was successful, right For 50 pound a click.

Speaker 1:

We've had somebody do it here with a few more zeros and leave an ad over the weekend. That was a difficult conversation.

Speaker 4:

Ours was a Facebook meta campaign and you know you have lifetime budget or daily budget. She put the lifetime budget in the daily budget and this was on a Friday, came in on Monday and she walked over to my desk in tears saying I fucked up, but it was.

Speaker 1:

it absolutely flew though the campaign and the client.

Speaker 4:

The client was buzzing and said actually, this campaign's gone so well. Well, we don't mind, We'll pay for this. Who's screen is fine?

Speaker 3:

Oh, so you're honest with the client. That's a lot of companies kind of just slip under the radar somehow.

Speaker 4:

But yeah, I've seen that happen to you, so carry on then.

Speaker 3:

But the one that I do like is I was working for a government office in Bristol and one of the things that I hadn't realized is that the training articles which weren't published were discoverable by search. And so suddenly we found that one guy who was a Doctor who fan had written loads of articles, demo articles, basically, while we were doing some testing and training, onto the website and we suddenly started like a newspaper was sort of said hang on, we've just discovered that you know, according to this, the government office of Southwest, based in Bristol, are planning a moon base invasion and there's Daleks and other places and it's. The question is are you able to like? Do you want to make a comment? And we're like delete, delete, delete, quick delete delete and deny.

Speaker 4:

How many articles of Doctor who are on this government website?

Speaker 3:

Weirdly enough, this guy is like one of those fan fiction authors. He's kind of quite a widely published guy.

Speaker 4:

I believe they're called.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I believe he is. Yeah, he's quite famous actually. So yeah, but when we sort of found all these articles out there and people were finding them and sharing them, of course it was like, oh you know, because we, we didn't get anyone to find them, basically, and they weren't supposed to be published, they were supposed to be just left in the system and they would kind of be deleted. And we just, yeah, so that was my fault. Project manager for a government office, kind of migration project no I.

Speaker 3:

To be honest, everyone found it hilarious and it kind of gave us a bit more information than we kind of wanted. But it wasn't that necessarily a problem publishing the wrong content.

Speaker 1:

That reminds me of once we again I'm not going to mention any brands, and this is in the, the, the many years ago it's a good job.

Speaker 4:

We got lawyers on this podcast.

Speaker 1:

One of our clients an intern was doing some social updates accidentally left the Instagram account plugged into her account, went out on the piss all weekend on a bot, a series of bottomless brunches and, via stories, documented her experiences as she got drunker and drunker on the client's Instagram account. Luckily, we spotted it after a couple of posts and got to remove it on.

Speaker 4:

not that many people saw it. It was fine, thankfully, and owned up.

Speaker 1:

I heard something about you breaking the entire BBC website. No no just the homepage, just the homepage on the. Bbc. No one reads that anyway.

Speaker 3:

Actually millions of people do. But my job basically was personalization, so I was working with them to try and encourage more and more people to personalize the homepage and this basically meant that we had a big box which said you know, if you put in your, your location will give you the web or information for where you are, and all sorts of bits and pieces. And what then happened was the fact that this meant going a bit nerdy, but basically it broke the CDN and it was weird that we struggled to really kind of get the website back up. And the best part about it is the fact that when you break the BBC homepage which I don't recommend the background is a clown on fire.

Speaker 2:

It's a test thing with this clown on fire.

Speaker 3:

That's terrifying.

Speaker 4:

It was really it was really terrifying.

Speaker 3:

It was this kind of test image thing that somebody had put somewhere, and the best part about it is, after we fixed the homepage, I'd basically documented the fact that the, the broken page, the 500 page, had broken links on it and this clown on fire and all of its pieces, you know. After we fixed it, we then struggled to figure out exactly where the clown was.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, you didn't know where the clown was.

Speaker 3:

No, we didn't know whether the burning clown was an evil clown.

Speaker 1:

That just yeah.

Speaker 3:

No, it's, it's the test card image with the clown with the thing, but I'm thinking behind her.

Speaker 4:

it's got the clown from Stephen King's no but do you remember the BBC when the BBC used to go off? And now don't? Maybe people, listeners of a certain age, will remember this, because my producer, the generation Z, will have no clue what I'm talking about. But when the BBC signal used to go off for the test signal, it used to be the play school.

Speaker 3:

That's exactly it. That's the one.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and it used to make that noise and it would say we'll be back in a bit.

Speaker 1:

Do you remember that Exactly? Doesn't even know what a television is, do you? You just watched your phone the whole time, don't you?

Speaker 4:

He's too busy in TikTok.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

So you never tracked it down then you never tracked this.

Speaker 3:

I want to say it wasn't my job and it sounds like a bit of a cop out and I hate it when people say it isn't my job, but generally I had no skills, no idea how it was all working. I mean, when I was there, basically part of my job was to help them replace the site search and who was using it, where they were using it, and it was one of those things that was so integrated into it. And BBC is a bit of an interesting thing. I mean, one of the things you can find is a web page on the BBC from the Millennium, so basically the year 2000. And if you ever find that page I can share it afterwards. But basically, if you ever find that page, it's brilliant. It's about 80 kilobytes in total. It looks like it wasn't designed for a modern mobile phone. Let's just say that.

Speaker 1:

And did you get a call from the director general of the BBC wanting your head on a stick?

Speaker 3:

It wasn't quite like that. I'm sure someone else got told off for it, but it was fixed in the day.

Speaker 1:

So you broke it and it fucked off and left someone else to deal with it. I wouldn't say I broke it.

Speaker 3:

It wasn't my fault that it broke, so it's fine, okay.

Speaker 4:

So did you? Just literally the website went down, Did you get a message? And then the image of the clown came up and everybody started panicking and running around in circles.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly yeah. It was like how do we get this fixed up?

Speaker 1:

Which is the appropriate behavior if you broke the BBC home page.

Speaker 4:

Oh my God, can you imagine your heart?

Speaker 1:

That is a stressful day right there, that's some good fuck ups. Thank you for that. Wasn't expecting some of those.

Speaker 4:

That was good. So I want to revert back to the SEO, then, and I want to talk to you about negative SEO. So this is something that you know people working in content marketing and fair enough if you know about this, but I wasn't aware of negative SEO until very recently and I'm going to share something on the podcast that we've not talked about before. So in March, you know, prohibition PR's website, you know we come out top 10, top three, top for a lot of terms for what we, you know, people, search for in terms of public relations, content marketing and social media, right in the UK that's. We do quite well on it because we've got great content and we've optimized it and we know what we're doing. Now that was all fine.

Speaker 4:

And then in March, our content we just fell off Google entirely, like we couldn't find us anywhere other than just by direct. We weren't on any searches anymore. Traffic went down by well, it just wasn't any traffic and we had to do an investigation. And the investigation we found we had to get a technical team of SEOs involved, and quite a few, because it was not an easy thing to find was we had we'd gone from 5,000 backlinks, all natural, and you know, if you look at our backlink profile to 1.7 million some Chinese, some Casino, some Sex sites, some all of which, none of which we knew about some old ink into pages that didn't exist on our site.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and it was all a ploy by another. I don't know who you are. If you're out there, fuck you. But anyway, and it took us I don't know how long to analyze what that was and get rid of those nasty links. In fact, it's taken six months to recover, which was a painful experience for me, but I've learned a lot about negative SEO and how to clean it up. So if anyone's suffering from that, drop us a line, because we've dealt with it ourselves and we can deal with it. And now we're back to where we pretty much where we were, but we lost six months. Yeah, what's your experience of negative SEO? Because the guides that we were working with said they've only ever seen it in Casino and like the dodge sex toy industries and industries that are just a little bit on the edge. You know not in what we do, so it was unusual.

Speaker 3:

What I have seen a lot of is people exploiting bugs in WordPress. I don't know if prohibition is on a WordPress site.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it is.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so sometimes you can actually create a link which will almost create a fake page which kind of creates something which will then then you can kind of almost create a link back from it. So there's all sorts of WordPress exploits that people have done. So it might have not been negative SEO. In the same way it might have been a exploit of WordPress and I've seen that a lot over the time. One of my more recent clients I won't mention their names, but basically they they were ranking for a lot of kind of interesting terms like Dubai, core girls and all sorts of other bits pieces when I was looking at it and that was because, of it I was looking at in the In the professional sense, yeah In the

Speaker 2:

professional sense yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Basically in this in Google search console. Okay, and my, when I was there basically looking at kind of why, what is going?

Speaker 4:

on here, Dubai core girls a bit unusual Is it, I wouldn't know.

Speaker 3:

But basically this site started ranking for a lot of these weird terms because they had kind of the ability to use user generated kind of content on it. And so quite quickly I was like, right, we just need to basically get rid of all of this, because all these links coming in and creating this and you know. So we kind of quickly got rid of that and quickly.

Speaker 4:

How fast is quickly?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I just basically blocked off it or all of those pages in the robotstxt kind of file. Yeah, we did that and it kept Google kept ignoring. Yeah, that's, that's kind of interesting.

Speaker 1:

It's Google's not as good as you think. Oh no, stop Just ignore.

Speaker 4:

You tell Google ignore these files, ignore these pages. They don't exist. Okay, google has acknowledged it. Next day it's failed. Yeah, and it's like what we've told you to ignore it. That's why it took six months.

Speaker 3:

Google is a kind of a strange beast who pretends that they care about the little. I'm going to get myself in trouble here.

Speaker 4:

Apologies to anybody at Google Brackets.

Speaker 3:

Allegedly they kind of say that they love the small guy. But you know, if something goes wrong they don't give the small guy any support. There's been a lot of cases where you know a small company.

Speaker 3:

I mean, like I say, one of the things that we do is Google my business kind of management it's now called Google business place, by the way, gbp, which is a terrible acronym for any anything you want to kind of search for. We were sort of saying about this earlier. Basically Google keep renaming everything and it means that everybody's confused about stuff. But anyway, back to negative PR.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Negative SEO yeah yeah.

Speaker 3:

I mean, there's a lot of ways in which people will do kind of strange and dodgy things. The other thing you can do is replicate a site really, really quickly and your content.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, duplicate yeah.

Speaker 3:

Steal all the content and often you'll find that the traffic, google get confused to which site should be the canonical, the kind of primary source of the traffic, and it's quite painful just how much this can carry on. So there's lots of ways in which negative SEO can happen. In fact, before we, when we were kind of off air, I mentioned that I kind of organized a honest panel with not black hat but kind of people known black hat.

Speaker 2:

SEO.

Speaker 3:

And the ways in which people will say oh you know, if this happens or that happens, you could do all sorts of bits and pieces.

Speaker 3:

And when I was at Just Eat this is probably something I can say about now One of the things that we found was that somebody had replicated their site in France and they had put on it let's just say dodgy God seem to be talking about call girls a lot but let's just say kind of dodgy supplier services that we didn't want.

Speaker 3:

And when we were looking at it, I mean, the first thing I did was I spoke to the lawyers, because the one thing I have learned over my time is always speak to the lawyers before you do anything spoke to the lawyers and basically said to them look, you know, one of the things I can do is they've copied our Google Tag Manager code, which, if you don't know what Google Tag Manager is, it's where you can kind of implement Google Analytics and other bits and pieces into sites. But one advantage is it's just a JavaScript injector, so I could kind of go I will put some JavaScript on it and just no index the site. So quite quickly I found a site that had kind of replicated Just Eat's kind of layout and other bits pieces. It was a business risk for us, but the fact that I could like no index it in seconds was great. So there's lots of ways in which people technical people, can do kind of weird things.

Speaker 4:

How would someone completely copy Just Eat's website? That's ridiculous.

Speaker 3:

I have no idea about that one, but it was kind of one of those fun ones which was in fact it was called Alaresto, in France that's. I think it meant no hang on, maybe it's, it is.

Speaker 3:

Alaresto basically was the old brand name for it. So because Just Eat has websites all around the world which made it quite fun for me to learn about different cultures, different kind of how people ordered food around the world. So you know, curry's not popular in some countries, sushi's not popular in others, but everyone seems to like pizza around the world, like no country doesn't seem to like pizza.

Speaker 1:

Universal food.

Speaker 4:

Have you got a particular campaign that you've worked on, that you've been really, really proud of, that you'd like to share with the listeners?

Speaker 3:

No thanks about it harder. That'll make the highlight real.

Speaker 3:

Now I've worked on so many, I mean a lot of the time my role has been more on the technical side of it and I mean, I remember at one point when I was working at Just Eat I kind of rebuilt some pages and we've got some brand pages in which we'd never done before because we were we never really did the big brands before that and we kind of built out some pages for KFC and we were actually outranking KFC for all like the terms like KFC, takeaway and bits and pieces. And the reason why is because of the fact that we were targeting these terms which we did the keyword research, and KFC never kind of mentioned things like takeaway and its copy and it didn't really want to kind of talk about certain terms.

Speaker 1:

It wasn't kind of how it was labelled. That'll be done to their brand because they don't want to be lumped in with other fast food takeaway, even though the reality is that's what it is Exactly. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So we basically got a huge amount of traffic. The slightly funding from a digital PR point of view was the fact that we got links back to this page from the sun, the telegraph, the times. Other times I might be making that up, but lots of major news publishers covered the fact that Just Eat was now delivering KFC Slow news day Weird.

Speaker 3:

But the weird thing was they'd all copied the same link which they'd taken from Twitter, which meant that they'd got a UTM parameter which said that we couldn't tell any of the traffic coming through from it all. But there's a social team in the corner, kind of going, but it says all the traffic comes in from social.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, what are we doing? I've just thought of a PR campaign. Anyone listening can have this one For Just Eat. How much was the McAllister's order? A load of pizza, don't they in Home Alone. How much was that pizza then? How much is it now? You?

Speaker 4:

can have that one, ladies and gentlemen, you can see why we'll be leaving the business next week. Creative powerhouse right there. I was going to ask a question. Well, if you don't mind asking, so, what are the sort of three biggest mistakes in SEO that you see now when you see businesses just totally fucking up their SEO?

Speaker 3:

They just don't think about SEO. I mean, it's one of those classic things. Do you know how many businesses seem to be going under after they do a migration? They kind of say, oh yeah, we're going to consolidate our brand or we're going to change the main name. We're going to do this.

Speaker 3:

And I use a tool called Cysterix a lot and you see the kind of the graph of them before and the graph of them afterwards and you go, wow, you've just lost all of that traffic. What on earth happened? A lot of the time you speak to the SEO guy who kind of left the business, got fired or whatever, and maybe the business even went bust. But you speak to them and they're like, yeah, they sort of told us like a week before or two weeks before they were doing it and this happened and they didn't kind of value it enough. And it just feels like a lot of the time, the testing and the actual, the grinding part of it, the kind of the part where you actually put in the work and look at everything that's never quite done, and it just feels really painful.

Speaker 4:

When a 301 direct redirect just sort that out.

Speaker 3:

You tend so, but you need a lot of them and you need the same content. You need to make sure the new platforms got the equivalent pages.

Speaker 1:

It's just a lot of work in theory, it's like relocating your bricks and mortar out of.

Speaker 4:

Mongolia and expecting people to still come in, and even when you do a 301 and you follow the best practice of doing it, you still lose quite a bit of your traffic.

Speaker 3:

Candy. Yeah, it's strange, I've done perfect or in my opinion we've done perfect migrations and everything came out absolutely perfect. I've done same perfect migration and we lose 20% because we don't know. Basically, we're looking at it kind of going what has dropped down, but there's so much more to it than it sounds like, for instance, mapping all the backlinks that you've got. So if all the backlinks learned on a 404 page or it comes in and your categories now are going through to an empty category page, there's a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to kind of do. And it's surprising how often kind of they have a deadline, that kind of go, we're going to do it on this date and it's like, well, it's not ready, we haven't, you haven't got these pages or you haven't got this type of content that matches this kind of need, and so it happens. So so often, basically, and there's always kind of a. We call them hippo. Do you know what the expression hippo?

Speaker 4:

No, go on.

Speaker 3:

Highest page person's opinion is basically where somebody makes a decision. It's not always based on data, it's not always based on advice, but for some reason the hippo in the room kind of makes a decision and that actually links with some of the themes we were talking on the last episode with Katie Tucker.

Speaker 1:

Wasn't it about the problem of ego when it comes to making decisions? And often the data, the insight will just be thrown to one side and ego takes over and a decision's made regardless and despite the consequences. Final question from me, quite a punchy one growth. You know a lot of our listeners will be interested in growth and whatever shape or form that takes. What three things do they need to be spending their time on?

Speaker 3:

The big one that I think people don't do enough of is audience research. It's like, you know, I kind of go right, we're selling Mirador, Mirador local. Who we're selling it to? And I think initially I was like people like me, you know tech, SEO, people who want to buy it. But then the more I kind of look into it, the more I find they're nothing like me and it's trying to find. It's the marketing manager, Sometimes it's a social media manager, Sometimes it's somebody who just wouldn't expect. And me kind of selling to the same people like me is always the bad thing and I think it's always the same way. I've worked for so many companies where you kind of start to have that conversation about who you think the customer is and who the customer actually is and the two often are kind of misaligned. Why people buy certain services, why people buy things. It's it's kind of that, that part of it, which is really really interesting.

Speaker 1:

You are not your customer, which is something Katie spoke about a lot.

Speaker 4:

Okay, so audience research we got you on the show because we spoke to Chris Simmons and he recommended that you come on the show and he was right to say that. So, good, good tip, if you, if you were us, who's the next person you'd interview for this podcast to find out about their marketing fuck ups and failures?

Speaker 3:

The person who I think I've heard the best recently is somebody called Nata and Natalina High. She's the kind of web psychologist person and I remember listening to loads of bits and pieces from years ago. She seems to have disappeared a bit, so it might be a challenge. I think she's doing art stuff now.

Speaker 4:

Natalina High.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, okay web psychologist Understanding. She did a great presentation that I saw once about why people click on listicles and things like that. I mean I'm there kind of going, I'd never do that. And ten minutes later I'm kind of going oh, I just need to know what number six is on that list. But yeah, so, and the other person is a Jono Alderson. He is a unique character Up the road in York so he probably could come into the office, talks a hundred miles an hour, has an opinion on everything and yeah, he's a bit like me but slightly more.

Speaker 4:

Then what's, john, I do?

Speaker 3:

um, he does tech, seo stuff okay completely differently. So he used to work for a WordPress and various big companies and other bits pieces. I've done a load of bits and pieces with him and he's very into Vikings.

Speaker 4:

Okay, vikings, you've time. There's a lot of Norwegian Vikings.

Speaker 1:

So, Gerry, do you know our listeners know where they can find out more about you and where they can connect with you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, if you Google me, I'll come up.

Speaker 1:

Gerry White SEO Is that the internet movie database, and no, no, no, no.

Speaker 3:

Unfortunately, there is a guy that outranks me at the moment, but basically if just type in Gerry SEO or Gerry White SEO, I come up connect with in LinkedIn. You want to know more about Mirador local? It's mirador local comm. And yeah, I'm usually found on Twitter kind of ranting about why flights Problems or why my internet isn't working or something like that.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic, that's how I use Twitter just to complain Much, much to Chris's tonight. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 4:

Right, thank you very much. Thanks for coming on the show, Gerry.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was great yeah nice one, so that one was a little bit different, wasn't it very, very in-depth, very, very technical? Yeah, what did you make of it?

Speaker 4:

I think he had some fascinating points. The negative SEO thing is an area that I'm really interested in because of what's happened to us and he had some interesting points on the Reverse chat GPT style, the way that he I was talking to the Zach about this and he had a different take on how he used chat GPT. He was using it once he'd written the article to then like add spruce to it, whereas you know the way that we recommend to our team or to a client's or whatever is to, is to use it, is to use it as a first draft and then add the Eat e at. You know the authority and the trust in that article. So add your bits of experience at the bits that you know. You look events you've been to, the things that demonstrate, so I thought, demonstrate you like your own human behavior. So I thought what he said was interesting because it's not how we would do it Very candid as well, which I liked.

Speaker 1:

I think it's worth saying we do know some very, very talented, very, very Ethical SEO people.

Speaker 4:

There's loads. Yeah, there's loads joking, as in any profession.

Speaker 1:

Yeah there's a, there's a, there's a minority that perhaps are a little bit black hat. Um, I'll be honest.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you didn't have. He wasn't very positive about digital PR, and there's some very good ones of them out there as well. There is.

Speaker 1:

I'll be honest, I'm still not that clear on what a growth specialist does. It seems. It seems like a new fangled marketing term that I'm seeing a lot of and I know it. There's elements of SEO, there's elements of market insight and research from what I get. What do you make of that?

Speaker 4:

I Think he's about we growth specialist. It felt like he's growing, is growing the mirror door brand, so Google local listings or whatever it's called now GBP, or it was the new reference he gave Um. I think he's more about growing that brand and he's using his technical SEO experience to do that, which which means I mean I should have asked him what, what are the key strategies to SEO? You asked him what the trends are, but I felt like Do this old, does the old thing still worked, or all the things that we've done before still work, or is it just still on page?

Speaker 1:

get your own page Correct and then just do digital PR to get links the the links issue I found really fascinating and I'll be interested in what the benchmark is. I'm having chatted with a few SEO agencies. They said something like 25 to 30 percent of all their media coverage will have a link.

Speaker 1:

Yeah actually benchmarked one of our clients where we've got, you know, a huge amount of media coverage over the year. You know two 300 plus pieces, and we've got about 60 percent links, yeah, which which which I found really interesting. We're not actually asking for those links either.

Speaker 1:

No the, the journalists is obviously then Compelled to link to the brand page and I'll be honest, the brand isn't massive, it's not hugely well known. So I was quite, I was quite interested to hear that, but I suppose it's about. What I did find encouraging is, when it comes to Digital PR, ultimately it comes down to having a cracking idea and executing it really well. You know, the big brands are always going to be linked to, so the, the PR, always.

Speaker 4:

No, I don't think you. Just because you're Coca-Cola, you don't get a million links to you.

Speaker 1:

But you're more likely to get. A link is easy. Journalist is more likely to link, I suppose. Yeah getting a backhander. The point is creativity is so important and that that should be so important, and you do see some great, super creative digital PR campaigns out there. You see a lot of shit as well, but that's we get.

Speaker 4:

We get pitched a lot and just like, why is that relevant to? To me, I thought you the example that we discussed in the pod was is a good one. You know the McAllister's household that had no relevance to an interior brand, what so ever. It was about electrical prices and I think I shared on Twitter and linked insane, is this the worst? Is this the worst pitch of everything? Not that the work was terrible like the. There was sound execution of research in there and it made sense for an electrical brand, not for, not for the interiors brand that it was for. It was very weird.

Speaker 1:

I think there is a danger in digital PR and in PR and and creative, the creative sector as a whole in being too formulaic, and I think we should challenge ourselves to be, to be better, and and the bar should be set higher, shouldn't it?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, creativity is king still, but I do think a well executed research program for a digital PR campaign, if it's well researched and there is a solid idea behind it, it can work really, really well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think, if you think back to a few years ago in PR, quite a few years, ten years ago, the default tactic used to be let's do a consumer survey, let's ask a thousand consumers what they think about XYZ, and a while ago that worked, didn't it? And then it stopped working and PR people had to challenge themselves to think differently. And I think that's where we're at again with these kind of reports into XY or Z that we're seeing a lot of at the moment.

Speaker 4:

Well, thank you for listening to socially unacceptable. Do drop us a line and drop us a DM on Twitter or in LinkedIn or wherever. Wherever you follow us, you can make sure you subscribe to us. Click the subscribe button, because we appreciate every subscription that we get. We're also available on YouTube, so check us out on YouTube, if you're just listening into the audio version, and we'll see you in the next episode.

Speaker 1:

A current furthest reaching listener. Southern Yemen, really no.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for listening to socially unacceptable. Please remember to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a five-star review. Don't forget to follow us on social media on Instagram, tiktok and LinkedIn at prohibition PR and Twitter at socially UA. We would love to hear some of your career fuckups. We can share them on the show. For more information on the show, search prohibition PR and your search engine and click on podcast. Until next time, please keep pushing the boundaries and embracing the socially unacceptable.

Marketing Mishaps and SEO Insights
Effective Online Reputation Management Strategies
State of SEO and Link Building
The Impact of AI on SEO
Ethics in PR and SEO
SEO and Website Mishaps
Negative SEO and Technical Strategies
SEO Mistakes and Audience Research