With us today is Steve Myers, SEO Director for Results Driven Marketing, LLC, in Wynnewood, PA. Myers, a 10-year veteran of the search industry, has recently launched a column titled “Doctor Digital,” a monthly piece that looks to explain the ever-changing and highly technical world of search engines to small business owners. His first article discusses “Does SEO Really Work?”
NewsWorld: Thank you for being here to talk with us today.
Myers: Thanks for having me.
NewsWorld: So, Doctor Digital? What’s that all about?
Myers: [Laughs] Well, it’s a nickname my boss gave me. After I got hired, he started asking me questions all the time. Part of it was to verify I knew what I was talking about, but mostly it was to learn how to do what I do. After a while, he started calling me Doctor Digital because I was always prescribing a solution to a problem.
NewsWorld: Ah, ok. And now you’re doing a column?
Myers: Yeah. I’m surprised it took me this long to make what is an obvious leap. I’m constantly being asked questions about SEO and digital marketing. And these questions are what a lot of other people are asking.
Keep in mind there’s a ton of information out there already. You have an SEO question, you type it into Google you will find thousands of answers on Google already.
NewsWorld: So aren’t you afraid that you’ll just be lost in that crowd?
Myers: That’s why I focus my column on the user, specifically a small business owner. So much of the content out there is made for my colleagues and professionals and developers and people with a lot of technical experience. But when you’re just a business owner that has heard you “need” SEO but don’t know what it is actually going to do for you, the searches you do don’t help you much.
NewsWorld: Ah, ok.
Myers: So like, I’m a huge fan of Star Talk Radio podcast with Neil Degrasse-Tyson. But I’m not an astrophysicist. What has me hooked on that pod is that it is so accessible to me and my interests, even if I don’t have the technical expertise or mathematical acumen to do the equations the guests can do.
That’s what the SEO world needs right now. Some content for people that aren’t pros or insiders. But that is still valuable in helping them understand how very vital SEO is to a business. To their business.
NewsWorld: Let’s talk about that. How vital is SEO?
Myers: Uh, I’m going to shoot myself in the foot now. Not as vital as everyone thinks. [Laughter]
NewsWorld: What do you mean?
Myers: Google and other search engines are getting very savvy, very refined. A few years back I always felt there was a disconnect between the message.
Wait, let me back up.
Ok, so Google is a search engine. It provides you answers to questions.
I always say to anyone who will listen, never forget that basic functionality of the tool.
So the core message Google gives people who ask can be boiled down to this: Write good content. They essentially say if you want to be found online with Google, write the best content and you’ll get there.
SEO spins its entire existence out of that. It’s just a service that tries to make the content look like it’s the best, so a search engine like Google lists that URL in the results.
NewsWorld: So …
Myers: So jumping back ahead, I used to think that was too simple an answer. That Google was saying that, but still a lot of tactics and strategies were being used that could circumvent those tactics. But this year, and moving forward I’m seeing Google make strides to really get things headed toward that point. Where you don’t need SEO as a specific service, per se. You just need to write good content.
NewsWorld: You’re writing yourself out of job?
Myers: Yeah, no. SEO is not dead. And it’s not dying even. It’s just changing. For me, I have a long history in the content world.
NewsWorld: That’s right. You didn’t start out as a web professional.
Myers: Nope. I’m a former news editor, comic book creator, and graphic designer. I found this career because as the world moved to an online platform, all of the things I did for a living could exist online.
It’s why I can understand what Google says when it suggests that the answer to everything is to make good content.
Want to rank? Write a really good article that answers the questions searchers have. Then promote that article so that others see it and if they agree, they’ll start linking or sharing to it because of its quality. That builds trust in your content and Google sees that trust and viola, you now rank. Because you made good content.
SEO isn’t dying. It’s just changing. And it’s changing back into what I used to do for a living in the print world.
NewsWorld: How is it changing?
Myers: Google’s pushed out some major algorithm updates this year which we’ve seen have a very big impact on search results.
NewsWorld: What are some of these Google algorithm changes and what were the implications?
Myers: This year Google has pushed out 3 separate core algorithm updates. But they’re all very related and are being dubbed “the medic update” by my colleagues in the industry.
Without jumping right down the rabbit hole, this update had a big impact on how Google shows results for websites that give out advice for your life or lifestyle, or websites that ask you to pay for services — dubbed YMYL sites, or “your money or your life.”
This is having a huge impact on the websites I and many colleagues handle because small businesses fall into that sector very firmly. Are you a plumber? You ask for money. An urgent care facility? You give advice on peoples’ health.
In fact, the healthcare aspect of these updates is why they’re being nicknamed the “medic update.” These changes drastically affected websites that give out health advice.
But to explain this in the simplest terms, this entire shift from Google is designed to do what I’ve been talking about already: To put the focus on writing good content.
Google wants to present results that are quality and trustworthy. That’s why things changed so much this year with that kind of content. These sites are pushing content regarding your wallet or your lifestyle, so Google is trying to use the power of its algorithm to ensure the results it shows you are good results from sources it trusts.
That’s the implication for me. That Google is ever-evolving, but the core concept remains the same. Write good content. That’s why SEO isn’t dead to me. It’s just changing into what I always thought it was in the first place.
NewsWorld: Well thank you for taking time with us. And I can’t wait to read more from you in your Doctor Digital column.