Don Mock 0:21
And we’re back episode 93. And we got a special guest today. We got our friend Michael joining us.
Michael Abernathy 0:25
What’s up everybody
Don Mock 0:26
Different than Mike because Mike has appeared on the podcast a few times. But it’s Michael, and you prefer to go by Michael Right?
Michael Abernathy 0:34
I prefer to go by Michael, different than Mike because there’s more letters in the name.
Don Mock 0:38
Yes, yes, I’m a mixed bag, I flip between Don and Donald’s all the time. You know, I feel like my name is so short in print, or like when I type it out or something like that. It’s only seven letters for the full, you know, first name, last name, right? That a lot of times I always do everything. Official, I guess written with the full name. But no one calls me Donald. You know What I mean? Like everybody calls me Don.
Michael Abernathy 1:03
That’s so funny. I know. When I was in college, so my first name is Andrew. And then when I was in college, all my teachers and all my friends called me, Andrew, because that’s What was on roll. And then whenever I go back home, everybody called me Michael. So when both groups mix, who’s Michael and who’s Andrew, and nobody knew
Don Mock 1:20
I had a really good friend of mine like that growing up. Adam, David Silverman, and everybody called him Dave, but half the people call them Dave and half people called him Adam, and it was like, What is your preferred name? Dude, you know, that type of thing. It’s pretty funny. So that’s a very southern thing, too. You know, it’s like, my name is this, but everybody calls me that. You know, that seems to be the you know, my name is Michael. But everybody calls me Griffin, you know, like, some random, but Ha, like, why don’t you just get named? You know like trip the third. You know What I mean, if you have the, you know, the you’re the third
Michael Abernathy 1:55
I met a guy named trip, and he was the third
Don Mock 1:59
Yeah. I mean, that’s pretty common. So anyway, nobody tuned in to listen to us pontificated about our names. I mean, that’s crazy. What we’re going to talk about today, Michael, what’s about to happen? Well,
Michael Abernathy 2:09
You talked about SEO. We can talk about SEO.
Don Mock 2:12
Yeah, let’s talk about SEO. I mean, it’s a hot button issue. We’ve got clients that hammer us all the time about, hey, my site ranking my this my that all sorts of technical stuff, you know, clients are getting smarter and smarter and more educated. You know, obviously, we talk to them. Some people see a lot of value in there other clients potentially don’t see any value in that for whatever reason, you know. So, SEO? Yeah. Ready, go.
Michael Abernathy 2:38
Cool, I think. Thanks. I think at the core, about SEO, so there’s also all the nerdy Google stuff, right? There’s all the code. There’s all the content strategy, all that stuff. But I think at the core, the main part about SEO is connecting. And it really leverages SEO out of everything that’s been done. So social is amazing. And it really is but SEO at the core of everything is probably one of the best leverages for connecting people Because it really utilizes the internet at its core, that’s What the internet was supposed to be is connection for people. And so SEO really is like, at core, just all about connection and all about passing information, which is What the internet was originally designed for.
Don Mock 3:21
Do you feel like Google these days? Because I mean, feels like Google owns the internet. I mean, they own Google. I mean, I know, we’ve got Bing, and we’ve got Yahoo, and whatever. But like, no one ever talks about that, you know, like, it’s really all about, you know, optimizing for Google, right? And when Google makes a shift, like, Oh, my God, we all run in scurry to, you know, do whatever Google tells us to do now, you know, but I guess do you think that from a Google perspective, you know, and, you know, your astute observation about connections, right. Google has changed a lot over the last, you know, 10-15 years, you know, and I’m very fond of saying that Google used to be our friend. And now Google is kind of our enemy to a certain extent, they’re a content thief, you know What I mean? Like, it used to be, I’m painting with a very broad brush here. But, you know, you used to ask Google a question, and they will go hey I think these are all the answers to your questions. Here’s a bunch of things that I think you might be interested in, you know, now they just poach the content off your page, put it on Google, under people also ask PAA and try to give you the answers there. And have you never actually leave Google? Right. It’s everything just within Google. Right.
Michael Abernathy 4:31
They want you to stay
Don Mock 4:32
Yeah I mean, do you think that with the way that they have been evolving? Do you think What you just said I think still holds true? And in regards to like, the connections or What What are your thoughts are on that? I guess,
Michael Abernathy 4:44
I think I think so. So Google, I definitely agree that Google wants everybody to stay on Google. Yeah. And I think to see that Google’s main priority is really user experience user answers, so all they care about is providing the best answer forever because that’s why you use Google because they give you the best answer
Don Mock 5:03
For sure, yeah, what’s this red spot on my knee? Where’s the closest pizza?
Michael Abernathy 5:09
Yes and now you’re a doctor.
Don Mock 5:10
Yeah, yeah. Well shout out to Dr. Perry. my doctor always says beware of Dr. Google is like, do not pay attention to Dr. Google, you don’t know. Like, yeah, that’s a valid valid point.
Michael Abernathy 5:22
Google’s great for some basic knowledge. But if you’re getting your doctorate. It’s so bad.
Don Mock 5:27
It’s like WebMD, all roads lead to death. You know What I mean? It’s like, Oh, I’ve got this bump on my thing. And it’s like, next thing you know, you’re on the Mayo Clinic, and you’re probably gonna die. It’s very extreme. It’s pretty funny that Dr. Google, I totally interrupted you, though. Keep going.
Michael Abernathy 5:40
No, it’s good. So I think going to the core, Google wants the best user experience. And so what’s happened over the past 10 years is internet is now flooded with so much information. I see them having a problem of actually sifting to bring up the best information that the user is looking for. So search intent matters so much. Why? And I think to the going back to where Google was 10 years ago, it used to be that you just put your top 10 keywords and stuff and then you’re on the first page. Now, Google has radically changed to where the quality of the content like how you’re answering the questions, why, why you’re asking certain questions, all these things in the content has radically changed, where that’s What they’re looking in. So much more. And they’re really still changing. Like every, you know, they have core updates every, you know, two, three months. Yeah. The whole algorithm changes.
Don Mock 6:31
Michael Abernathy 6:32
And it’s it’s constantly learning. I mean, I know that they’re not talking about AI, but they’re about to loose AI search into the world to do better. Here’s the crazy thing is they’ve been doing it for the past five years. It’s behind the scenes, they just haven’t been telling anybody. And, but it’s really going back to everything. I think that where Google’s at is all about user experience.
Don Mock 6:53
Yeah. Interesting. Sidenote, since I know we’ve talked about AI a lot on the on the pod. I read an interesting article just the other day, and god our crack team of research scientists, I can’t remember where it was, it was probably New York Times something like that, but it was like about how, you know, chat GPT. Right. And college professors. And so you know, it’s all over the place now. And how do we do Oh, my God, what’s happening and how, you know, and the premise of the article was, the more that it’s being used, the dumber it’s getting, it’s actually the machine learning has regressed. Right? And because people are hammering it constantly, right? And it’s only It only knows What it knows. Right. And to your point about the preponderance of information online, not all of that is correct. You know What I mean? Or, or it’s just misdirected information, like, oh, it’s serving up Dungeons and Dragons, you know, history for for battles. And you don’t even like like, it doesn’t know how to filter it. Right.
Michael Abernathy 7:50
No, there’s an article that actually wrote Is that What you’re referencing the article it actually wrote where it referenced Dungeons and Dragons lore in the article as a historical reference.
Don Mock 7:58
No, did you read an article about this?
Michael Abernathy 8:00
I totally read an article about this and chat GPT referenced Dungeons and Dragons
Don Mock 8:06
Yeah, it’s totally insane. Well, What I read just the other day, though, was like, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna bungle this whole thing. But it basically was along the lines of how to game the system and how to cheat, you know, AI, as you start, as more and more corporations start leveraging AI, right, like Google is right. And basically, What this hacker did was convince the AI that his name was the credit card number. And then because it couldn’t get the credit card, it was trying to break through the security. Right, right. And then it was okay, well, tell me What my name is. And then it basically spit out all the credit card information, you know, I mean, like, so yeah, you know, and that’s What I mean by like, the more it’s being used, the dumber and worse it’s getting, which I think is really interesting, because there’s just this mad dash for everyone to use it. And it’s like, wow, well, wait, hold on a second here. It’s not getting smarter. You know What I mean? Like, and the trajectory of Google has been one of intelligence, you know, it used to be, and again, I’m gonna I’m gonna screw this up. But in my, in my little opinion, it was like, Oh, my God, the internet. This is amazing. We’re searching, getting answers. Right, right. And then and this is probably another podcast, but then we started to localize the search, right? So What used to be like, Oh, Pizza Huts, I use this example all the time, right? Like, I’m searching for Pizza Hut, and it would just go brr. Here’s every single Pizza Hut ever all over the United States, you know? And then you’d go, oh, Pizza Hut, Atlanta, you know, I don’t need to know where the Pizza Huts are in Oklahoma you know. And so people would start to regionalize their own searches, right. And Google learned that, hey, we’re all doing that. And then it was like, hey, now we don’t need to do that anymore. Now it knows through unless your VPN of course, but like, now, it knows basically, where you’re coming from, you know What I mean? And it knows how to serve up searches for me here in Atlanta versus a pizza query in San Diego, for example, right? So it was getting smarter and smarter. And you know What I mean? So theoretically, Google is getting smarter, right? And then to your point, you know, it was it’s Not about stuffing keywords and gaming the system anymore. It’s about relevancy. And it’s starting to know, hey, 20 people asked this question. And we all went to these different places, but based on bounce rates, and I’m again, painting with a very, very broad brush here, but
Michael Abernathy 8:18
no, I mean, you know, you’re touching on all the points of what Google is.
Don Mock 10:15
Yeah, but it was like, okay, then it starts to know and rank. Oh, wow, hundreds of people asked the same question. But these are the sites that the people kept staying on and getting perceived value for the answer, right. So those start to organically rank up. And you know, so it’s, you know, Google is getting right, air quotes, smarter, right. And you’re saying, hey, every three months, they’re updating the algorithm and this and that, right. But all we keep seeing about AI is that it’s getting dumber and worse, which is fascinating. Right? So we’re at this weird, interesting, seesaw. Tipping Point. Right. Yeah. So anyway,
Michael Abernathy 10:50
No, you’re saying this, and I just had a conversation yesterday about how AI is not creating anything. Like literally had this conversation with somebody yesterday. It’s not creating anything. It’s scraping, you know, regurgitating
Don Mock 11:03
Scraping and regurgitating. That’s how I got through high school.
Michael Abernathy 11:06
No, seriously. But that’s I mean, that’s, that’s really how it is. And, and I’m not saying that. So AI is like machine learning. It learns as it goes. But it’s only based off the right answer in What you’re telling it the right answer is.
Don Mock 11:17
There’s also report that had created its own language or whatever I know. It’s like, oh, no one ever programmed anything. But there was one instance where it basically created its own foreign language. haven’t learned all these other languages, you know? Yeah. It’s crazy.
Michael Abernathy 11:28
It’s crazy. But it’s in so like, I see the problem, too, you know, creeping up to where you have just regurgitated information everywhere. And Google’s gonna have a hard time sifting through that. I think they’re already planning on trying to sift through all those things and all those issues
Don Mock 11:43
Well, I’ve been saying for 10 years, as you know, I read it on the internet. So it has to be true as a joke, right? I mean, knowing that, just because it’s on the internet, absolutely does not make it, you know, true whatsoever. In fact, maybe you should question it, you know, that type of thing. Right. So anyway, I feel like I pulled this off course with with sort of the AI stuff. So I mean, if we’re talking about the importance of SEO, right, well, you know, What, What are some highlights? I guess, that we sort of think about or What that we help clients, you know, if a potential client was listening to this podcast, like, what’s kind of a top? I’m sort of putting you on the spot here, but you’re our SEO guy. You know, What are we thinking? We need to Hey, you got to take into consideration these top three or five things or whatever
Michael Abernathy 12:26
Yeah, first. So I think going back to the connection point, and I’ll drill down from here, yeah, because at least a little higher up. I think, from the connection point, it’s going to go back down into people, when they start discovering content on your website, which is a primary like core of SEO, they automatically start developing trust, they automatically start developing a perception of you as an authority, or as somebody who is like, well versed in the subject matter, whatever is being taught, you know, talked about discussed. So those two in mind, are really important. Because the next thing is, is one of the key things about SEO is actually who you’re talking to, and What they’re looking for, and having a strategy based around those things. And I think from there, like all the technical stuff, it changes like keeping up with Google, but I mean, code is code code has changed since you know, forever ago, like C++ where now we’re in dotnet. framework, C sharp, whatever. Yeah. And I think the bigger thing to is about SEO with the highlights is, as you develop trust, you’re getting warm leads, you’re not getting somebody who’s cold calling you because they’ve read your stuff they’ve interacted with you, they know who you are. And that’s the bigger thing about SEO. Like I said, it’s, it’s really this point of connection, it’s not so much. It’s not so much. Oh, yeah, I’m just reading stuff. I’m popping up on the first page. Most people are paying What you’re selling, unless you’re like an electrician or a plumber. They’re going to read about you first. And they want to know about you. So content from there is key, too. So when you’re looking at content, and when if you have any questions or want to interrupt me, Don, please do
Don Mock 12:26
No, this is great. This is great.
Michael Abernathy 12:35
But when you have content based around your services and education that content is so important, because it’s really tied into that trust factor with that client. It really is. And so content is actually one of the core things is content creation, and if you’re really going to run SEO now, Google really wants heavy content, they want all the on page stuff. They want all the links, but the core base of everything is really content. Yeah. quality of content.
Don Mock 14:23
Yeah, it’s interesting over the course of again, I’m old, I got you know, dinosaur shit on my shoes. I always joke. That just got us the explicit rating on this thing. But But it’s interesting in terms of, you know, well, you know, I love to think that I’m in the greatest generation of I had one foot firmly pre internet, right, right. Firmly pre connections, right and grew up old school, you know, you know, like just that type of stuff, right?
Michael Abernathy 14:55
You just pay phones and everything.
Don Mock 14:56
Yeah, exactly. And then you don’t have to memorize phone numbers. So imagine that You know, and then you know, hey, now and then post internet, which is great. I think it’s magical, right? So, you know, I do love to think that I have some perspective about things, right. But because of that, because I joke about how I’ve been doing this for such a long time. You know, I remember flash, I remember websites 1.0, I remember, you know, all the old school design and how digital design has sort of transformed with human behavior, right, and overlay that with Google’s, you know, dominance, I guess, right? In regards to how it runs our digital life. Right. It’s interesting, this podcast is kind of turning into a conversation about Google, which is kind of interesting, right. But you know,
Michael Abernathy 15:40
but it’s true. Like What Google controls in the amount of information they collect is crazy.
Don Mock 15:46
Well, it is insane to think about actually don’t want to think about it. But
Michael Abernathy 15:50
you don’t want to think about all the cultural changes that they are producing on us.
Don Mock 15:52
No, It’s very interesting. It’s very bizarre, right? But like websites, 1.0, right old school, CompuServe and chat, you know What I mean? And then we got into graphics, and web web design was awesome. It was like, Oh, my God, I go to this website. And I don’t know What it was an experience is, I guess, where I’m going with, right just to fast track this conversation. It’s an experience. And it was, I don’t know where the NAV is, I don’t know where any of these buttons take us. I have no idea what’s about to happen. But this brand is taking me on a journey. Right? And that was all the crazy flash stuff, right? And then we sort of got into this. Okay, we’ve got to have the nav over here, we got to have the nav, you know What I mean? You got to do this. And it’s all content above the fold. Right? Right. It was all so we had these lot of different pages, but not very deep, right? You know, is that kind of a toe and 26 different pools, right? Then we totally yo yoed? And said, no, no, no, no, no, don’t do that. We need less pages, we need five or six pages. And then you want to scroll, you know What I mean? You want all of this, and part of that was keyword stuffing. And part of that was the beginning of the phone, you know, right? It was oh we’re gonna scroll and scroll and scroll. And we’re gonna, you know, and, you know, I’m dovetailing into What you just said about how content is king, right? So we used to, we used to have, I have no, I’m going on a journey to wow, I’ve got a lot of content spread across all these different places than it was no, no, we’re gonna compartmentalize all that content onto just a few pages, right. And now we’re back to man, you got to you got to jam out a lot of content. You know, it’s not about the like five page website anymore. It’s mainly about the five page, the five nav buttons, you know What I mean? Yeah, and your core UX and things like that. But then it’s about, man, can you have hundreds of pages on the back end, just constantly updating content that Google wants to index and things like that? It’s pretty interesting to sort of how, you know, it’s transitioned over the years.
It’s super interesting. What it was to What it is now.
Yeah. Yeah. And then from from a search perspective, excuse me. You know, I like, you know, we often talk to clients about the buying cycle, right? You were talking about trust, right. It’s, it’s search. I love to get your thoughts on this too, as our as our expert here. For the people for the 10s of people that are listening to this.
Michael Abernathy 18:07
Hello, 10s of people.
Don Mock 18:08
it is, you know, different businesses, I think, require Search Engine Optimization from a different perspective. And I think that relates to the buying cycle. And Here’s What I mean by that. There’s a, you mentioned electricians, and that, you know, it’s like, Oh, my God, my toilet blew up, and I need somebody immediately, and I don’t have a referral, boom, there’s an immediate buying site, right? Then there’s the like, I always say, the airplane tickets, like, Hey, I’m snooping or I just need to get to San Diego, as cheap as possible on these dates. You know, I don’t want to connect, you know, like, yeah, and there’s that sort of buying cycle. Then there’s the buying cycle of services, kind of like us, where you, you go out you snoop around, you see who’s out there. You compare it, you know, you go and you you, you read you build that trust, as, as you mentioned, Michael, right, then you kind of go away, and then you come back and then you go away. It’s a longer sort of cycle. Right? I mean, do you have any thoughts, I guess, related to sort of the buying cycle and the trust factor as it relates to different businesses for search?
Michael Abernathy 19:06
I totally do. So I think it’s the industry you’re in. So like, for instance, like lawyers, yeah. Think about lawyers. Everybody who calls them their life is on fire. I’m in trouble.
Don Mock 19:15
Yeah, I’m in trouble. Something bad happened.
Michael Abernathy 19:17
I need help immediately. And so as a result, the buying cycle for attorneys is really short. And the way that it happens is Do you know, a lawyer, you ask all their friends, if they don’t? What are the reviews? And then who pops up first? And those are who gets all the phone calls? And then you have
Don Mock 19:33
We have a lawyer as a client, actually, which is interesting.
Michael Abernathy 19:35
Oh, that’s really interesting.
Don Mock 19:36
Yeah, we do a lot of ads for them anyway, keep going.
Michael Abernathy 19:38
But, but I think that I think that with, with the other industries, like if you’re like, let’s just take us for instance, like, you know, a large part of, you know, our core, our core offering is, you know, graphic design. And so, the buying cycle for that’s different because there’s not normally a fire associated with that. And so there’s research they they are looking For a partner, they want to be able to know that whoever is helping them is going to be able to take their ideas and translate what’s happening. And make it into reality. They want, they want things that are different. And so the whole cycle around that. And sometimes, because of all the tool sets, you also get people who want to tinker and see if they can figure things out themselves. And so as a result, they gotta go through all this all this learning process of like, I don’t want to do this.
Don Mock 20:24
Yeah, Canva kinda sucks.
Michael Abernathy 20:28
Yeah, Canva kinda sucks. And then who can I trust to do this.
Don Mock 20:32
Exactly. All right. I mean, it’s all really valid. Good points. I mean, I think this has been, we’re at about 20 minutes. So I’m just looking at the clock. So I think this has been a great sort of little introductory aspect to SEO. I’d love to do another podcast talk about the localization of SEO, local SEO matters. If you’re cool with that.
Michael Abernathy 20:52
I’m totally cool. I thought that maybe we could do like a web 3.0 conversation, because that’s coming to that’s like right around the corner with all this stuff.
Don Mock 21:00
Yeah, that can be super fun. Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do it. All right. Well, normally, this is when I ask Rob, where can everybody find us? But you know, Do you want to sit in for Rob or Cuyler on this one?
Michael Abernathy 21:12
I sure can.
Don Mock 21:12
Alright where can everybody find us, Michael?
Michael Abernathy 21:14
Hey, if you guys want to go to www.mocktheagency.com We’re all over the interwebs as Rob says, and also @mocktheagency for all the socials. And really hit us up and if you guys ever want to hear something, or like everyone’s talking about certain subject, please leave some comments because we love y’all.
Don Mock 21:31
Well said. Thanks. We’ll chat with you next time everybody. You did great man. Here. Play the outro it’s the yellow one. This one. There we go. Yeah,
Michael Abernathy 21:40
See you guys.