Ep 207: Why You Should Stop Doing SEO For Google Or Any Search Engine with Eli Schwartz

Are you doing the right SEO for your business? If you took too long to answer, then you might have a problem that you’re totally unaware of. 

This is a unique spin we haven’t all anticipated. Eli Schwartz joins me today in this exciting episode to take a deep dive into Product-Led SEO and he’s going to unmask the difference it can make to your business.

Eli Schwartz has more than ten years of experience working with top B2B and B2C businesses. He is the best-selling author of Product-Led SEO and an SEO expert and consultant. Some of the most popular websites on the internet have made millions of dollars because of Eli’s techniques. His clients include Shutterstock, Coinbase, WordPress, Blue Nile, Quora, and Zendesk. He has assisted them in implementing effective global SEO strategies.

We have covered what Product-Led SEO is and why you should use it even if you are a blogger. How to understand what your actual product is so that users can give them the most value?

We also discussed how you should actually create content not using SEO tools and save your time and money instead. Why everyone is doing link-building wrong? Why do all sites get spammy sites linking to them, is there a way to stop it?

Ultimately, Eli shared the direction he sees SEO as going in the future. How Google could get knocked off its perch as the largest search engine in the world?

Shift to Product-Led SEO and scale up your business. Check out this episode and smash the ‘Play’ button now!

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Episode Highlights

02:34 What is Product-Led SEO?

09:17 Why should you ignore the algorithm when doing SEO?

11:47 Focus on your Users when creating content!

19:47 Does site speed matter more than quality content?

22:16 Follow vs NO Follow links, which works best?

26:26 Give importance on the perceived authority of the users to the site

31:38 How do sites acquire spammy links?

35:20 Eli shared how SEO is going to evolve in the future

39:56 Where can you find Eli?

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

Product-led SEO is really thinking about who the user is for your business, and how they would use search to arrive at and interact with your business—and obviously figure out a way to pay your business.

➥ For Eli, links are important, but not as important as the quality of the content, or the quality of the product.

Eli’s SEO prediction, in the next few years, we’ll see a new search engine other than Google. So, it becomes more of a mindshare and market share problem.

About The Guest

Eli Schwartz is the bestselling author of Product-Led SEO and an SEO expert and consultant with more than a decade of experience working for leading B2B and B2C companies. Eli’s strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue for some of the internet’s top websites. He has helped clients like Shutterstock, Coinbase, WordPress, Blue Nile, Quora, and Zendesk execute highly successful global SEO strategies.

Connect with Eli Schwartz


Jaryd Krause (0:00)

What if everything you thought about SEO was actually wrong? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause host of the buying online businesses podcast and today I'm speaking with Eli Schwartz, who is the bestselling author of Product-led SEO and an SEO expert and consultant with more than a decade of experience working for leading b2b and b2c companies.

Eli's strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue for some of the most influential top websites online. He's helped clients like Shutterstock, Coinbase, WordPress, Blue Nile, Quora, and Zendesk excuted highly successful local SEO strategies for large brands. Now in this podcast episode, Eli, and I talk about what is Product-led SEO and why you should use Product-led SEO. Even if you own a content website and are a blogger, we also talk about how to understand what your actual product is, if you don't have E commerce, business or affiliate products, how you should be thinking about using and giving the user the most amount of value through your product, we also talk about how you should actually create content not using SEO tools.

In fact, don't use the SEO tools, don't do keyword research, save your money and time, and instead make a lot more money in traffic without those tools. It's a very eye-opening discussion that Eli and I have, we always talk about why everyone is doing link building wrong and how Link building is so 10 years ago, and what to think about differently in terms of PR and authority in a different way, not just metrics like Dr and different things like that. And then we open up the discussion to talk about the future of SEO and where Eli thinks the future s future of SEO is going and how Google could get knocked off its perch in the future being from being one of the largest search engines in the world and what there is to come and where he thinks we will be ranking and what we'll be ranking for in the future.

Now this is such a valuable episode. Guys, please understand, before you do dive into this episode, this is not the only way that I can help you for free. If you're looking at buying a business, I have my due diligence framework, which a lot of people have been raving about. People have used this to save millions of dollars and make millions of dollars and it takes the guesswork out of buying a business. You can get that at buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources. There are other awesome resources on that page as well.

Now let's dive into one of the most profound SEO podcasts that I have recorded that I know that you're absolutely going to love.

Welcome to the Buying Online Businesses podcast.

Eli Schwartz (2:36)

Great to be here. Thank you for having me, Jaryd.

Jaryd Krause (2:38)

I've got so many cool tangents that we can go down around SEO today. But you talk about Product-led SEO, you've got a book as well, around what is product SEO? I have a basic feeling of it, as you know, probably. I've researched it a bit. But yeah, I'd love you to explain to everybody listening what is Product-led SEO and why is it important?

Eli Schwartz (3:01)

So the best way I want to shame Product-led SEO, which is a term I did not invent. But I definitely popularized by my writing a book on its best way of understanding product what SEO is to understand what is not Product-led SEO. So, it is not Product-led SEO is the way most websites do SEO today, which is they use a tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Keyword Planner, whatever, there's lots of keyword tools out there, they put their primary keyword into that tool it and it gives them a bunch of ideas about other keywords they should focus on.

And then they write a bunch of content towards that. A of lot of flaws with that approach towards SEO. But that's the way most people do SEO in general, what Product-led SEO is really thinking about who the user is for your business, and how they would use search to arrive at your business and to interact with your business and obviously figure out a way to pay your business because this is why we want them to be there.

And then to build an entire product offering around that common question is, well there's that doesn't make any sense. There's no product my search users would be looking for, well, then maybe you shouldn't be doing SEO. So, I don't think you should do SEO just because you can just because it exists just because a lot of people make money off it.

You should do SEO because there was a user at the end of it and product lead SEO is creating the thing the asset the widget, the offering the content, the video, whatever it is for that audience, not because a tool told you that audience uses a certain thing and therefore you're going to maybe even game the search engines but really I'm creating something for that search user that is specifically going to find me from that channel and not any other channel.

Jaryd Krause (4:37)

I love it. There’re so many things to unpack in here in this talking about not having a product what do you say to people that have a blog and they say look, I'm or they've got a goal right? So, their goal is their product, I guess would you say that's it like their goal is in that certain niche, their product is their goal, which is to help people and add value to their life.

Say for example, you know a Fire, financial independence, retire early, that niche. They might not have an actual product to sell, but they're giving value information. That's their goal. Would you say that's the product for a blower? Because some people listening may be like, I've got like a craft blog, but we don't sell crafts.

Eli Schwartz (5:15)

Just to be clear, that is the product. So, I think for that person, the product is I understand my user. And really, this is sort of a dirty word when it comes to marketing. But it's an important word when use right, which is personas, I understand my user. So, you said fire. So, who is fire? Well, fire is not a six-year-old, because they are not retiring early. Fire is not an 18-year-old, because that's ridiculous.

Maybe there's an 18-year-old, but it's probably ridiculous. Anyways, fire is not someone that is already rich. And it's not someone already independent. There's a very specific persona there. And when you do personas, it's not like figuring out the aspects. This is where marketing personas become a dirty word. It's not like oh, they drive this kind of car, or they use an iPhone, or an Android. None of that stuff matters. It's really like, what is my user look like? And what are they going to want to read? So, for that person, their product, of course, is their blog.

But what should be the like, what should they use to drive the way they talk to that user, it shouldn't be going to Sem rush, putting in the word fire, which is probably not a great word, because you get like fire extinguisher and putting in the word fire and then seeing what spits out.

It's really about talking to the users and saying, what is my particular take on fire that I can present to the users that want to hear it from me. So maybe my take on fire is I'm good, I'm good at investments. So then doesn't matter what the keyword tool says, right about how people doing fire should do improper mess me, maybe I'm, I'm very cheap, I really know how to like use paper towels until they fall apart in my hand.

Well, that's what my users want to know, for fire. So, like that is the product. And it's great that you're mentioning this because we're a lot of those sites that I mentioned, do the wrong SEO they screw up is if they're selling a different kind of product, but then they build a whole blog around contents. But that's not how they monetize it becomes like this parallel funnel, which is I get a bunch of people to find me on search engines, and then read my content.

But really, I sell e commerce. And that bridge never happens. They never go from like reading that content to buy an E commerce, you have to build it one in the same. So, it's a part of the funnel, again, for your listener that might be focused on blogs as content. They're monetizing with advertising and affiliate links more than likely. So as people read, they're part of that funnel, they read the content, and then they click an ad or they go over the affiliate.

They're not like, oh, wow, this was great reading. Now I need to go buy some stuff from another part of the website. Is that being the product, the product? Are the eyeballs.

Jaryd Krause (7:39)

The product is that piece of content that you want people to get. And I think people realize like, oh, yeah, just to get people to the page, once they're on the page, which is the product of the products good, they're going to consume that product, right?

And it's going to be so much better for your overall SEO profile, because you have lower bounce rate higher time on page and your metrics just go up, which means you're going to get more of an authority, right? What do you have to say about that?

Eli Schwartz (8:06)

I push back on that a little bit. I do think engagement is a metric. But you have to remember that Google is scientific at heart. So, everything that it's doing is algorithmic. And they have to use statistical significance.

So, at a site like Amazon, or, you know, target, either in America or in Australia, or those kinds of large sites, there are enough engagement metrics for them to definitively say, well, this website is better than some other website, where this category is really bad. Amazon's not good at this category, we're not going to show this category as much in search, because we know statistically significantly, that is not good.

But when it comes to a small blog, and you've built up authority, they're not going to say, well, it seems to me that your click through rate is just too low. It has to be within some sort of deviation of like all the other sites that get that number of clicks. And again, you have to have a lot of traffic in order to be able to say that. So, engagement in that sense might not be good. Now, again, at scale, do people go to your website and bounce right away?

Like for every click, that's probably enough data for Google to say well, there's something wrong on this website has been hacked, maybe we should remove it. But individually, each page probably doesn't factor that much into it.

Jaryd Krause (9:17)

Yeah, this you've got so much factors with SEO, right? You've got the algorithm that can help you rank and then you've got your competitors that can help you rank or be D rank and then you've got your what you control with your content. And I was going to ask this later down the line, but like, what's, what's your take on creating content, like focusing on content more so or your blend of content versus competitors versus this piece needs to be for Google?

Like how do you how do you explain that to somebody's like, some people what we alluded to before is like just using a SEO tool, and just plugging in some keywords and they're just trying to use two things which is Basically the competition and Google to get ranked, but they've missing out on the art and the so what do you what's your take on how you would teach people to blend that in a way that's positive for their product or goal?

Eli Schwartz (10:13)

I would almost say ignore the algorithm. And I blame a lot of people in the SEO industry. And I blame the search engines themselves for making SEO too opaque. And for people getting away with saying it's a black box, I can't really explain how this works. You just have to do it. There is no. there aren't really other marketing channels that are like this, where it's just like it's so Blackbox, you just have to do it. And I can't but you these are the directions you have to follow.

It's the best practice. And it's just it's other marketing channels. We focus on users, you know, that you're not creating stuff just for the algorithm, like imagine replacing the word Google with tick tock in this conversation and saying, how much content should you create for the TIC tock algorithm? That doesn't make any sense. So, let's say you game, the TIC tock tick tock algorithm for a second, users would say it's terrible. And then the algorithm figures out that's terrible to begin with, because it's all about the users.

Jaryd Krause (11:06)

So, whenever you first right, based on the users.

Eli Schwartz (11:11)

Exactly, not only our users first the algorithms are driven by the users. And again, not only our users first, and this is the part again, people miss with SEO users are the ones that pay you. So, if you're not creating for the users, but you sit, you figure out how to get algorithmic success, so say, you came up with a hack, where you're going to show up number one for a big term on Google, but you don't offer that product, you can't monetize that.

So really, by building for the users, you're building for your customers. So build for your customer, and then follow some best practices to make sure that algorithms understand it. But don't ignore the user and just build for the algorithm.

Jaryd Krause (11:46)

I love it a lot. So, somebody that has a blog, and they're thinking, Alright, I want to get rank, I want to get traffic from Google. But they're thinking about it the wrong way. They're thinking about how do I game? How do I play a game with Google and my competitors? Versus how do I create the right piece of content for my user? What would you say to somebody that's gone?

That is thinking and listening to this and saying, in their own head, I don't need to create for Google or to get play game against my competitors. I just need to create for my user, how do they go about working out what content to create? Do you have a formula? Do you have an ideology of them? Maybe, sitting in the shoes of a persona, and taking through the journey? I mean, that's something that would just come to my top of my head. Do you have a formula that would be beneficial to those people?

Eli Schwartz (12:36)

First of all, for those people, I we're going to give them some money for vacation, because they can likely get rid of their SEO agency and their SEO team. So, turn, stop spending that money. Because for if you just have a blog, there's very unlikely any technical SEO things you need to be doing and focusing on and spending money on.

A lot of times, SEO agencies might be spitting out like keyword ideas, you don't need that. They're giving you technical audits. Again, assuming most people built on a standard platform, like a WordPress, WordPress is really good for SEO. Right at the corners, there's maybe some problems, but again, good enough for SEO. Wix. Wix is a web hosting platform, they get a lot of flack for SEO issues. But for 95% of use cases, it's good enough.

And it's not like you're going to get penalized. There are some platforms, raw JavaScript that has a problem, but WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, they're all good enough. So, Shopify is also good enough, again, like assuming you're on any of these platforms, it's good enough. So, when needs to give you an SEO audit of like, all the things that are broken the platform, there may be some things that could be better. But those aren't going to add money into your pocket, like your site might be slightly slow, we can talk about Page Speed in a second doesn't matter, it's not going to have money in your pocket.

So, you likely don't need to do anything technical, if you've built a custom website yet, make sure that you get it audited, and there's things that you're not missing. But if you're using a common platform, probably good enough. So now, when it comes to content, most small businesses that are most bloggers that create blogs about content, they're passionate about something, they should write what they're passionate about, because they understand their users. So rather than going into a keyword tool and say, Well, what's a word that I have not tackled yet, and I'm just going to have to write some boring content on it.

They walk around looking at the world and get ideas for content they should create, and then create it. And if it works, great, if it doesn't work, write more content. So, you don't have to like go to this like place where you're now outsourcing a ton of content on Fiverr or Upwork. And getting people to create content based on some big list of keywords because you have to, you're creating content you're super passionate about and you can just pick up your phone and create a Google doc blog post because passionate about it.

That's where they should start. So, someone creates a blog because they're into fire. I'm sure the blog posts can flow off they’re their tongues and if they don't work for SEO, they work for social media, they don't work for SEO, that's potentially something that they sit down email and people are going to click into and engage with. If it doesn't work for any of these channels that maybe you're not passionate enough, you don't understand your audience enough. But the thing is, again, you're focusing on the user. And search is just going to be one of those channels that will find the content.

Jaryd Krause (15:18)

A lot of that is what we do with our podcasts here that we're in. It's very meta, what we're doing right now is we're creating for the user not optimizing this or thinking about Google first, and how do we fit this piece of content into the form of what Google wants? or YouTube or the podcast algorithm gods? It's more about how do we how do we ask the right questions and answer the questions in a way that people can understand and have that value for them first, and then if it's value, people will come.

Eli Schwartz (15:50)

Right exactly. I mean, these are tools like YouTube, there's, I just saw this tat, this status, like 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. So, you can't watch YouTube. It's not, it's not something you can do. So, the algorithms are tools to present us with the right stuff. And they're trying to mimic a librarian sitting there curating YouTube for you.

The same applies to Netflix, like, it's not possible in your lifetime to watch all on Netflix. So, the algorithm Netflix algorithm tries to serve you what you're interested in doing. Even if you do a search, they're trying to show you related things, if they don't have it. That's what they're there for. So, you're creating for the user, the most common user you have, and hopefully the algorithms fill in those gaps.

Jaryd Krause (16:29)

I love it. So, think about putting yourself in the persona of the user. And if I was to start a blog from scratch, which I would not do, because I'm all about buying businesses past that 90% failure rate.

But if I was to start from scratch, I would then sit myself say it's fishing, I would sit myself down in like, the seat of a saltwater fishing fisherman or Fisher person, and then work out what do I need to learn cradle the content for what I need to learn what sort of gear that I needed to get created the content for the gear? And then how do I evolve and grow? So, like, each different phase? Would you say that would be a beneficial task to do? Like, take it? Take your content approach that way? Yes.

Eli Schwartz (17:08)

So, there's two ways to do that. One is you find that persona, and sit down and talk to them and ask them what they're curious about. And the second is to look at online resources. So go to YouTube, look at what's being created. Look at the questions you have you watch a video and say, well, how would I do that for phishing, and then create the content with the has the gap that you noticed yourself? Not that a tool told you?

This site, and then another place, you can always read it look at like, Reddit is awesome. There are people that write 1000-word answers on Reddit and they don't get paid for it. So, use that, like learn from that. And then build content on it. Cora, the same thing. People ask questions and write really long answers, build content there. And then TikTok’s, another one, where the users are creating this content, like what did someone create around your vertical that you could just expand upon?

Jaryd Krause (17:54)

Yeah, expand upon or fill in the gaps, like you said before? Like they've got their take on it here. But where can you change it? And I think about it, like how you're speaking, is you're filling in the gaps where a lot of SEOs don't. And you've also got a bit of like, hey, no, this is wrong, a bit of controversy, which I think is really good for engagement and for value for helping people to have not just one opinion, and they, you know, deal with the blinkers on going down one path I want to talk with.

Eli Schwartz (18:23)

It helps for my own business that I'm a strategic consultants, and I don't get paid for throwing deliverables at people. So, if I got paid for like producing, like, audits and content plans, that maybe I would say everyone needs an audit and a content plan.

But my consulting is more geared towards how do you unlock a revenue channel and grow SEO? And if it doesn't, if there is not a revenue channel, because there's no SEO user, I can't advise against, someone should do that. Because I'll never realize that ROI. And then they just get annoyed, like, well, why do we bother? So, the first thing is, is there an SEO user, and for many businesses that aren't for B2B, that's not the way people shop on B2B.

They, they look for tools, they look for specific things. But search isn't the biggest driver of discovery for B2B for certainly, for anything very innovative search isn't the big driver, because it doesn't exist, no one knows to look for it. So there has to be an audience. And that's like, each business is its own business and its own audience and really figure out how SEO works for them. So just throwing deliverables because that's the best practice, I don't think is the best thing to do, like auditing a website, when again, in many cases, the website is probably fine. So again, is not the best thing to do.

So that's where the controversy comes. I'm not trying to just trash the entire SEO industry. So many people do such great things. But again, there are some people that just do deliverables for the sake of deliverables, and I'm not one of them.

Jaryd Krause (19:43)

Because that's their product and you need to follow the money. Yeah. You mentioned site speed before in You said we'd get to that with site speed. If its site's not loading as fast but it's adding value. Are you sort of saying that site speed is not something to Put time, effort and energy into what's your take on.

Eli Schwartz (20:02)

Everything I do with SEO with T cell logical approach to like how it matters in in Google's eyes. So, site speed is one of those things where Google is usually going to use some sort of baseline. And if you're much slower than the baseline, then they may remove you from mobile results only. But not you're not getting penalized, you're just being removed from those results. And it the baseline will vary.

So, if you're competing against the fastest ecommerce websites in the world, it's possible that for those results, you wouldn't be as visible again, only on those queries. As you're very fast competitors, I have never seen that to be the case. But that's more than likely something will happen. Now you have to be much, much slower than the baseline, should you invest in site speed. I think site speed is so important, because most people are on mobile phones.

Most people are in varied connections, whether it's slow Wi Fi, or slow mobile broadband, you want your website to load fast. So, they when they're trying to load it, it doesn't. They don't just cancel it and go somewhere else. That's why you optimize the site. But to make the page faster, and to make the site faster, because Google told you should. And you think you're going to get a bump in visibility, I wouldn't do that.

Because I don't think you can justify the ROI there are there was a company I was working with, they had an analytics script that ran on millions of websites around the world. And one of those big agencies that get paid on deliverables, told them that the first six months of their project with them was going to be helping them improve their Page Speed. And he asked me what I thought, and this is how I won the business.

I told them, they run an analytics script on millions of websites around the world, they have to be fast like that is that's a core business thing. Are they going like if they're slow, they lose business. Or now if they invested in their case, it'd be millions of dollars to make their actual marketing website faster. If they made their marketing website faster, because it was already decently fast. I didn't think they would get an annual ROI from that.

So that's the way of approaching it. If you're on a really slow shared hosting server, probably it's not great for users. Should you move it? Yes. Because it's better for users. If you move it, will you see more visibility from Google? Very unlikely.

Jaryd Krause (22:08)

Yeah. It's coming back to the first principle of the user, not the not Google. That's awesome. Here's one that's going to be an interesting one about links follow links versus no follow links. I know that this is thinking about Google. But if we were to put ourselves in the in the shoes of the user, where's the value and follow links versus no follow links?

Eli Schwartz (22:33)

I'm going to answer that question in a little bit of unexpected way. By saying, I don't know that you even need the links. Okay. It is something that was a very important differentiator for Google 23 years ago, when other search engines existed. And Google use links to understand the relative authority of a piece of content versus another piece of content, another website.

And they approached it from a scholarly standpoint, which is, if you're a Harvard, then and you produce some paper on a cure for cancer, and everyone referenced it, it's likely very authoritative. Google doesn't have to know that you're Harvard, they just have no other people reference to it. If you're not Harvard, and no one referenced it, Google doesn't have to know that you're not Harvard, they just have to know no reference to it. So therefore, the content itself, even if it says the same thing as Harvard, is less important.

So that's how they brought Lincoln now it's 2022, almost 2023, we're so past that, aside from the fact that there's all this AI Google can do. This, this idea of get a link means it's authoritative, also taught everyone that goes by it. So, figure out how to give you a good link and follow versus no follow versus no follow, I think came out in like 2008. So that's an innovation that came out 14 years ago, Google's well beyond that, to the way Google looks at the web is they look at all sorts of signals.

Engagement may be one of them, but they look at all sorts of signals to look at quality. They're almost not controversy. But just all the news around AI content. Google can also do reverse AI content, they could look at the quality of the content and say,is this high level? Is this answering the query the user for years, Google has had within Advanced Search results where you could say I want grade level the content, I want this to be good for a primary school student. I want this to be good for like an academic researcher.

So, they already recognize that level of content. So that's always been in the algorithm. Now I'm sure now it's far advanced. To answer your question. I don't really think you necessarily need links. Now. Links are important, but not as important as the quality of the content, the quality of the product.

So, when it comes to link building, I always recommend that people work with PR agencies, and there's some great PR agencies that I love and anybody reaches out, I'm happy to point you in the right direction, where they're great at getting visibility towards the product and towards the website and towards the products that the website has, from a link perspective.

But if the links don't count, those links are from a from a search standpoint, those links are still things that people are going to click on and become aware of. One of the things that people got you when it comes to like Link building is they create all these worthless websites that no one reads but somehow have perceived high domain authority. That doesn't help anybody because Google knows no one reads it, they can see that, right, they can look at the level of content. So, despite the fact that you think it's a valuable link, Google likely doesn't count in the algorithm.

Now, if you get a link on, say, a Forbes, which no one will know, like how Google values that link, because Forbes has been known to possibly have less stringent requirements and getting a link doesn't matter. It's still Forbes, and you still get to put on your website, as recommended by Forbes. So, you still get to share that on your social media and say, hey, look out for upset about us.

So, there's value in getting that link, even if Google doesn't value it. So that's my approach towards link building, which is get publicity get people to talk about your website and link to your website. You don't know which of those links’ matters. So don't focus on metrics like domain authority, and things like that focus on the link and the visibility and awareness.

Jaryd Krause 26:00


Eli Schwartz (26:03)

So, the actually, I can't answer the follow versus no follow. Go after the no follow links. Wikipedia is still no follow up. So getting a no follow link from Wikipedia is far better from a traffic standpoint than a follow up link from like, some website created just for links.

Jaryd Krause (26:21)

Like a PBN site or something silly. Exactly. I'm way I think about it, as you've explained, this is don't look at a link metric. Look at the authority or perceived authority that a user would have about who Forbes is or who Harvard is, and there, their overall brand. And the feeling that they create in the in the world, but somebody looks at like, oh, that's Harvard, or that's Forbes, rather than like the metrics of what it has.

Because the user, I guess, is going to feel a bit better off have more feel like they've got more that piece of content that that's linking to has more authority, because the feeling they have not the metric that they can see all forms must have a high dr. This must be valuable.

They're not thinking about that. Right? So, they're probably going wow, this is like Stanford, or Harvard said, this is worth reading. They're going to read it not because of that, because standards are not the not like old standards, but a DR of like this or Harvard's got a Dr. Of that, right.

Eli Schwartz (27:26)

And just to like, put some an example behind this. I spent a lot of my SEO career at Survey Monkey. On three occasions, we got links from whitehouse.gov, they didn't do anything for us. Actually, the first time it kind of did, but then it went away as Google Events in 2008. We got a link; I think it mattered. But I don't really know for sure. But in 2012, we got a link and in 2016, we got a link didn't do anything for us at all.

And the reason I think that these links didn't do anything is because Google looked at the White House, which had like, I don't know, Dr. Of 99. It's the White House and said, White House, he is not an authority on Survey Content. This is not where this is not an authority on anything. No one is like, I'm going to wake up in the morning and see what sort of press release the White House put out. Let's see what Donald Trump patches.

No one even went there to see what Donald Trump had to say you went to Twitter, right? Which as no TRL? Yeah. So that's the way Google looked at this thing. So, Google, again, they may say, Oh, wow, that's a Dr. 99. Doesn't matter, no authority, or they may look at something and say that's a Dr. Six. But wow, is that authoritative in the space that link matters? We don't know. So, since we don't know, let's go with what we do know, which is, what's the brand?

What's the visibility of this? What how many people are likely going to be reading this and clicking and going over? Like, one of the things that like websites have done as they try to monetize links, is they create so much content, it's impossible for anyone to read insider.com became one of those sites, I don't know how valuable a link from insider.com is for anything whatsoever, if no one's going to read it, and Google is going to ignore it. So, focus on visibility.

Jaryd Krause (29:01)

visibility. For example, if somebody has a fishing blog, they could go to all these different fishing blogs with Hi Dr. But there might be a fisher person. And I don't know if he's famous over in the States, but was famous over here in Australia. His name is Rex hunt, very famous fisherman, and was on TV and all this sort of stuff, and probably didn't have the biggest website.

But if he was to link to say, hey, check out this, this fishing blog that Jaryd has, it would have way more perceived authority and value and people would probably read it longer and put more weight into it, because they know Rex, as opposed to his link.

And it's also in that space. People think highly about Forbes, or highly about Harvard has to be relevant within the niche as well, right?

Eli Schwartz (29:52)

Sort of what I would say is, I'll use Forbes as an example. So, there's an agency I know that they can offer to facilitate. If someone to get into Forbes, let's say that costs, you know, just throw a price on there, I think there's probably more than it would cause. But let's say it costs $3,600. American. Okay, so it's that's expensive $3,600 For a single link in Forbes, sounds expensive.

Now, what would you pay per month to have the Forbes logo on your website and say, as seen in Forbes, and you can have it for three years? Wouldn't that be worth $100? per month? Yes. Right. So that's a better way of looking at, say, this link cost me $3,600, I highly doubt you can ever prove that that single link drove enough SEO visibility, if you counted as rankings, which, again, are almost impossible to know, which then turned into convergence while traffic and then conversions be almost impossible to know.

But if you put the Forbes logo on your website and say that as seen in Forbes for a mere price of $100 per month, and let's say you're looking for investment dollars, and you say Forbes called us the best website of 2022. And then maybe you're looking for two partners, and you're looking for customers, and in your pitch deck, you say were the were a top ranked website, according to Forbes, that's a whole different story. $3,600 looks cheap.

So that's the way I would really position link building, which is PR building visibility building and measured like that. Rather than say, well, I got a Dr. Ad link. And oh, no, it's lost, no, like it's a no follow. Really like you're in that article. Even if the link dropped out HTML link dropped out, but your name is still in there, you're still using that logo?

Jaryd Krause (31:29)

it's definitely a really good social proof to use in all, even if you're on a sales call, or whatnot. I have an interesting one. Now that I was speaking to a link builder a couple of episodes ago, and we're talking about spammy links. That's why of why sites get a lot of spammy links to them.

And it's just, you know, because we look at a lot of websites, and we see a lot of links, like sites of looking at buying, so many of them have not very valuable links. Do you have an ideology of why so many sites get so many spammy links?

Like they just acquired just these non-valuable links to them? And you can either go disavow them or not. But do you have any theory on why this would happen?

Eli Schwartz (32:14)

I because I think that there are people that believe that spammy links are valuable. So, they create these websites, which you can buy a link for a PBN. But in order to fake the appropriate like proper behavior, they're linking out to other websites that don't pay them. What I would say on that is I live in the Bay Area, and right near the Google campus, and about six times per day, I see a self-driving car created by Google.

And because I'm obsessed with these kinds of things, and obsessed with Google and AI, I always like to see how they the AI works. So, the other day, I cut off a Google car to see how quickly it would stop. I followed a Google car for like, 30 minutes to watch it making left turns, which is really hard. I'm sorry you're in Australia.

Jaryd Krause (32:56)

No, I used to live in America.

Eli Schwartz (33:00)

So, I don't know. Okay, but for the audience, a left turn on a right-side driving country is really hard to do from an AI standpoint, and in a left side driving country, right turn, right. So, like, exactly do you have to think all the things asked to do and that's fascinating.

So, you think about like, all those calculations like, well is, is that person texting? Are they going to slow down? Or for me? When I cut off the Google car, Google's going to have to google that to decide if they were going to change lanes, which is really cool. Be like, is this person going so slow? That's going to mess with my driving. Now I need to move over.

Like, those are complicated decisions. Now you think like, oh, well, you have links, and it's a Dr. Ad link. And Google's like I'm just going to trust the Dr. Ad. Wow, this is money, right? So, the if you think about the AI under the hood, again, self-driving and Google search are totally different animals, obviously. Right, but it's in the same building. And if they can drive cars with that level of AI, can't they apply that level of AI to like, their core business of like, search and all that.

And even on that Semrush, I think has a new tool where you can look at like, the link profile of a website and see how many bad links are and see the PBS Semrush invented that they don't get to see under the hood of the algorithms, if they can, if they can do that. Google has algorithms that they probably had for 20 years that can do the exact same thing.

Jaryd Krause (34:23)

So, SEM Rush is saying SEM rush have a tool where you can identify PBN links just quite easily.

Eli Schwartz (34:30)

So, if you're a human doing a PBN link back, like just finding PBN. So, you look at like a website, you throw it into Semrush, you turn the HF stone to majestic, and it tells you the links that link to that website. And from there, you check the links of the links. And that's how you argue the whole pyramid.

So, Semrush just has that tool, which like this website, links to that and gets linked from here and gets linked from there. And there's your pyramid, and they find it and Google which probably has the best crawlers in the world, and has been obviously been crawling the longest like me They may not be the best, but they have been doing this thing longer than everyone else. They can see these results.

Jaryd Krause (35:05)

I'll put a link to SEM rush on affiliate of SEM rush just as a disclaimer for everybody but yeah, check that out in SEM rush. That's really cool because I have some training on how to identify PBN links when people buying sites, I want to shift gears to the future of SEO talking about how smart Google is and you know, self-driving car, what they can do under the one roof with a with a four search engine, you know, large one of the largest companies in the world, how do you feel SEO is going to evolve in terms of how we start searching for things and how we start using the Internet things?

And the reason I ask this, this is how can people with online businesses prepare and sort of get ready for some of the cool things that are coming in terms of different types of content, we're going to create how we can rank that content or how we can interact with sites? I don't know that could be, you know, talking about Metaverse stuff or whatnot. But it's a can of worms to go down. But I'm curious.

Eli Schwartz (35:59)

So, I think that the definition of SEO has gone through a transformation, many people haven't transformed, and they haven't progressed. So, there are a lot of people doing SEO that are doing SEO the same way they did 20 years ago, or at least 10 years ago. But then good the god, the Google Panda algorithm has been out for more than 10 years. So, to do SEO, the same way you did 10 years ago. Makes no sense. So, you really have to see, like, transform the role of SEO, which is optimizing a website for search with search ever changing.

It's like saying that car mechanics, who fixed cars 30 years ago, when they didn't have a ton of technology, they, they don't exist anymore, and they just can't fix it, the cars because they only know how to like do spark plugs and mechanical things. But now there's all these electronics, so their job has changed. So that's the way I see SEO is like, you will always need someone to optimize websites, it just the rules. And the way to do so change as the platform changes.

So, SEO of next year, is going to be slightly different because there are improvements in the in the platform like we're going to see more videos show up on search, we're going to see more interactive content show up in search, we're going to see Google giving more AI and responses, which are like Featured Snippets, or just quick responses, SEO s to optimize for all of those things. Because that's part of the job getting more traffic to the website, we're also going to see platforms change.

My prediction is in the next few years, we'll see a new search engine other than Google, because search is not as hard as it used to be. So, it becomes more of a mindshare and market share problem. And companies like Amazon, a lot of people are always logged in Amazon. So, could Amazon start offering search? Very possibly they have these echo devices, which already search on. So, could they get you to start searching more with on Amazon or echo or maybe in the Amazon app on your phone? Or could Apple launch a search engine? Well, right now Google pays them to get all that traffic from the spotlight.

But maybe Apple decides there's more money to be made by building their own search engine and monetizing ads. Will it be as good as Google? Probably not Google Apple Maps isn't as good as Google. But it's good enough, right? Or last one that it could really do this is Facebook, Facebook will obviously go through some sort of pivot, as meta, there's the meta thing doesn't seem to be working as planned for them.

Search is something they can do they have all these users on facebook.com. They have users on Instagram, and they have users on WhatsApp, they have users like anything else you're going to create, could they start getting those users to look for things and then monetize that with the same as every app? Very possibly, again, will it be as good as Google? Probably not.

But will it be good enough? Yes. Right. So, like there are anywhere from two to 10% of people in the world that use bing.com. For search, their lives aren't markedly different than those other people that use Google like they, they some of these people even think they're using Google. But regardless, like they find the information we're looking for, so Facebook's search engine will be good enough. So that's what I think really the job of SEO is to optimize websites for those for the search channel, regardless of what the platform is.

Jaryd Krause (39:09)

So, you're predicting different platforms. And then if that's the case, what we mentioned at the start of the start of the chat is like just optimize this is where people can really get unstuck, right? If they've just optimized everything for Google.

And then Google goes down the drain, and then Facebook comes out. And that's like, they've got nothing optimized for Facebook. But if they were optimized for the user, it's going to be better. It's going to be good for any platform that comes out.

Eli Schwartz (39:34)

Absolutely. Even if you're again, if your role is bringing traffic to websites from search, tick tock right now is all video. Is it possible tick tock could have a text search? Yes. And then what do you do in that case, their algorithm is gone be different. So, like there would that becomes a challenge. So how do you build for the search channel? The best way to do it in a fragmented search environment built for the user.

Jaryd Krause (39:54)

is the first. It's a good way to sign off. Eli, you started a podcast and I think a lot launched about a month ago time recording. So, it's probably a few months in, what's it called? Where can people go to check it out? What's you know, what's it called? What's it about?

Eli Schwartz (40:07)

So, we launched a podcast with Kevin in Deck, who is a SEO influencer. We have a podcast called the contrarian Marketing Podcast, actually, as well. Okay, well, so Kevin's, you can link to him in the show notes. Kevin, I launched his podcast betray Marketing Podcast, where we take different takes on marketing topics. So, like a recent one we did was on AI content, whether it's a tool or a toy, we talked about building personal brands.

So rather than agreeing on something, we're disagreeing on it to try to really flesh out the topics. I'm loving it, because I love being guests on podcast. Thank you, Jaryd for having me. It gives me an opportunity to basically be on a podcast every week. So that's great. Other than I also love shares, I did write a book called Product-led SEO, you start at the beginning of the episode, but that for most people listening to this podcast, that can be the only money you ever need to spend on SEO.

So, it's cheap, right? Go on Amazon, find the cheapest version, buy a used copy, I don't care, I don't make money from it anyways. So, buy, buy and read it and decide that you probably don't need to spend as much time, money and effort on SEO as others might have told you.

Jaryd Krause (41:14)

A lot of guys check all that stuff out in the show notes. There'll be links to book, podcast, all the stuff there. So, check it out. Again, Eli, thank you so much for coming on everybody that is listening. Thank you for listening. If you own a business, or you're about to own a business, go back and re listen to this.

There’re so many golden nuggets in it. Also, if you know somebody who owns an online business, do them a massive favor and share this podcast episode with them. Yes, it helps Eli and I help more people as well. But specifically, this is such a valuable episode.

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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

Resource Links:

➥ Buying Online Businesses Website – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com

➥ Download the Due Diligence Framework – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources/

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Mangools (SEO tool) – https://bit.ly/3wV4hLc

Surfer SEO (SEO tool for content writing) – https://bit.ly/3X0jZiD

Page Optimizer Pro (SEO tool for optimising web pages) – https://bit.ly/3wQCzin

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