Goldenhour 2024 23 min

How to Modernize Your SEO Strategy for Audience Development


The death of SEO has been greatly exaggerated – but the truth is that things have certainly gotten harder. We need to expand our understanding of SEO from a linear path to revenue, and into an important rented channel for audience development. In this workshop, John-Henry Scherck, Founder & CEO of Growth Plays, goes in depth on how to modernize our approach to SEO.



0:00

Hey everybody.

0:01

So, gonna start, I guess.

0:04

We're on just a little late 'cause of lunch,

0:06

but it's kind of a long one,

0:07

so I'm just gonna dive into it right now.

0:09

My name is John Henry Shirk.

0:10

I'm the CEO and founder of Growth Plays

0:11

where a B2B content strategy agency.

0:13

We typically work with like mid-stage

0:15

and late-stage SaaS companies and venture capital firms

0:18

to use SEO and content as a platform

0:20

for product marketing and demand gen and audience creation.

0:23

So, I am here to talk about SEO,

0:25

but I think when we think about SEO,

0:28

when we talk to content teams that are doing SEO,

0:30

they're not generally that excited about it.

0:31

They think the channel's pretty boring, pretty tactical.

0:34

It's not like, when you ask a content team,

0:36

like, what are you most excited about working on in this year?

0:38

They're not like, oh, keywords and meta tags.

0:41

Like, that is the last thing that they want to work in.

0:43

Generally, these companies view it as like a means to an end.

0:45

They want more traffic.

0:46

They know search has traffic,

0:47

so they're like, let's execute on the channel.

0:49

And I'd say, a lot of companies think the channel is antiquated,

0:52

and some folks would say that it's dying,

0:53

but I think if you view the channel as antiquated,

0:56

there's also getting from it aren't what they used to be.

0:58

It's more that the mindset and the approach

1:00

that you're taking to the channel is antiquated.

1:01

I want to go over sort of a new mindset shift

1:03

that we're seeing in search.

1:05

So, the one thing I can say about the channel is

1:07

that I think it's pretty risky.

1:08

Like, SEO does use own media,

1:11

but the distribution for SEO is 100% algorithmic,

1:13

and when you're playing on someone else's land,

1:16

there's inherent platform risk.

1:18

And this is a view of a website that was using generative AI

1:22

to spin up just a ton of content.

1:24

It was garbage.

1:25

It wasn't actually helpful.

1:26

Google figured out what they were doing,

1:27

and they turned their traffic off,

1:29

which was just under half a million visits a month,

1:31

pretty much overnight.

1:33

So, there is just inherent risk in the channel,

1:35

especially if you approach it with an older mindset

1:37

of just trying to sort of beat the system

1:39

instead of actually doing something that helps your buyer.

1:42

So, I got my start in SEO probably around like 2009.

1:45

I got into B2B SAS around like 2013, 2014,

1:49

and it was just a different game back then.

1:51

Then it was pretty easy to execute

1:54

because the expectations around content quality

1:56

were much lower, and it was a lot easier to win market share,

1:59

because there was just less companies competing

2:01

for the terms that we're all going for.

2:02

And it led to the system of like really predictable inputs

2:05

that led to measurable predictable outcomes.

2:07

Like, if we publish this article, we will get this traffic.

2:09

If we optimize this page, we will improve our ranking.

2:12

And it led to really like a cost benefit analysis

2:15

and direct attribution of what do we do

2:17

and what do we get out of it.

2:18

And it was also really effective at just ripping demos

2:20

out of the internet.

2:21

There was not as much SAS as there is today.

2:25

People were actively searching for solutions,

2:27

and I think the internet was less fragmented.

2:29

Like, there was less attention on social at this point in time.

2:32

And really, for any company looking to do SEO,

2:34

it was foolish to not invest in it.

2:36

I'd say every company I worked in

2:38

from executives to the board wanted to do better

2:41

and organic search, understood its value,

2:42

and knew it could be high ROI.

2:45

But I think a lot has changed.

2:47

So if we look at like where B2B SEO has been over the last decade,

2:51

in 2014, it was like, let's start it out.

2:54

We're seeing some progress.

2:55

And then a few years later, it's like, let's double down.

2:57

We're having a record-breaking year.

2:59

And then say, 2019's coming around.

3:01

More and more people are switching to SAS solutions.

3:03

And you're seeing record amounts of traffic each and every month.

3:06

And then 2020 happens.

3:08

And we're pretty much locked indoors.

3:10

But there's a lot of budget.

3:11

There's a lot of people looking to buy.

3:12

There's a ton of people in market.

3:14

And everyone is getting information online.

3:16

There's less in-person events.

3:18

So a lot more budget went to digital

3:20

and a lot more pipeline was created via digital.

3:23

And then 2022 happened.

3:25

And the traffic didn't go away, but the pipeline that usually

3:29

followed that traffic did.

3:31

And I'd say just the overall channel became less efficient

3:34

because there was reduction in budget, reduction in force.

3:37

There was contracts that contracted.

3:38

That was a little bit of a double speak.

3:40

But really, I think now we're looking at what's next.

3:45

What do we do?

3:45

How do we get back to where we were with the SEO channel?

3:50

And I think that there is a way to get back to where

3:52

we are with SEO.

3:53

But it's not going to be by doing more of the same tactics

3:55

that got us to where we are today.

3:56

We're kind of scratching our heads.

3:58

I think the future of SEO is really

4:00

using it to build an owned audience

4:03

so you can cut out the algorithm and just go direct.

4:06

So first, I just want to lay down some ground facts,

4:09

or some truths around SEO.

4:11

I do think we've kind of gotten greedy when it comes

4:13

to organic search.

4:15

And the reason why is because a lot of the folks that

4:17

want to invest in organic search way up in the company,

4:19

they're not in the trenches doing the work.

4:22

And they still view it in this like 2014 lens

4:24

of how content was cheap, acquiring traffic was cheap,

4:26

and converting it was fairly easy.

4:28

The cost of a paid click has gone way up for the same term

4:31

over the last 10 years.

4:32

Cost of ads through meta or LinkedIn, they've all gone up.

4:35

But we're all kind of viewing SEO as this nearly free

4:37

or almost free channel where we can do very minimal content

4:40

marketing and get a lot of traffic to convert it.

4:42

And this post from John Miller--

4:45

this is a really valuable post.

4:47

If you haven't read it, I'd check it out.

4:48

I may a little bitly link for it.

4:50

It basically talks about how the old playbook--

4:52

and it's something that AKI talked about on stage.

4:54

I think probably a lot of folks have talked about today--

4:56

the old playbook doesn't work anymore.

4:58

But there's a really interesting stat in here

5:00

from a think tank that basically,

5:01

out of your TAM, 5% of companies are in market.

5:05

And I think with your SEO traffic,

5:07

it's honestly like 5% of it is potentially looking to buy.

5:09

And that leaves the other 95% that

5:12

doesn't want to be converted into a sales cycle.

5:14

And most companies that we talk to before we start

5:17

working with them, they are typically viewing as just

5:19

a way to harvest hand-raisers.

5:20

And they ignore all the folks that aren't ready to talk to sales.

5:24

So some other things just to get out of the way,

5:26

if you are operating in an established market,

5:28

you need to be an established business.

5:30

The channel is too saturated to go after big competitive terms

5:33

now if you are a newer business.

5:35

This is a look at the search results for the term project

5:37

management software.

5:38

And the right is the amount of links

5:40

that point to those individual pages.

5:42

So the amount of links pointed to those pages--

5:44

I don't think there's anything under 220 on there--

5:48

that's more than most seed stage and some Series A companies

5:51

have pointing to their website entirely.

5:54

The idea of that you're going to catch up

5:55

to these saturated markets, it's not the right play.

5:58

It's not the right channel to attack.

6:00

We often tell companies to wait longer until they're more

6:02

mature, and they can layer on this type of performance

6:04

marketing onto a stronger brand.

6:06

However, if you're creating a new category

6:08

or operating an emerging market, SEO definitely still

6:10

makes sense.

6:11

This is a term internal developer portal.

6:13

It's like a Gartner paper that came out a year ago that literally

6:16

category was just created.

6:17

And if you look, there's a few outliers in there,

6:20

but there's things with one or two links pointed to the page.

6:22

That's something where you could take over that entire topic.

6:24

So there's still a lot of room for search,

6:27

but going after these established markets

6:28

doesn't really make sense.

6:30

And I think just the state of where SEO is today,

6:34

Google currently rewards content that

6:35

is similar to what already exists.

6:37

And it's also rewards brands that it already trusts.

6:40

It doesn't really like taking chances

6:41

on new ideas or new brands.

6:43

And it also likes giving people exactly what they want.

6:46

It doesn't like challenging the user

6:47

in time to think about something in a different way.

6:49

It's very big into instant gratification, feeding bias.

6:52

And the other thing that I'd say is just kind of a truth

6:54

about SEO is we're seeing less traffic for certain terms

6:57

that we've helped brands own year over year.

6:59

So the search results, the layout has changed.

7:01

There's less clicks coming to organic.

7:03

And this really goes to the mindset shift

7:06

that the value of a visit needs to go way up.

7:09

I think we're very cool with letting 98% of the traffic

7:12

bounce after not after getting their answer.

7:15

And we need to treat that traffic just as value

7:17

valueably as we treat a cost per click traffic from AdWords

7:20

or Meta or LinkedIn.

7:23

And this is a tool, talking about how it rewards everything

7:25

that's the same.

7:25

It's a tool called Clear Scope.

7:26

We use it a ton.

7:27

It's a great tool.

7:28

What I'll do is I'll go out and grab the first 30 articles

7:30

that rank in search, and it'll run them

7:32

through some really basic AI.

7:33

And it'll tell you the ideas that actually

7:35

exist in those top 30 articles.

7:37

And if you include those ideas in your content,

7:39

you will rank better because Google doesn't like taking

7:42

chances on new ideas.

7:44

And the thing is, though, is this

7:45

creates the C of same-ness problem,

7:47

where everything in the search results

7:48

looks the exact same.

7:49

And if you use this tool, it'll actually be like, hey,

7:50

you left some stuff out.

7:51

You've got to work this in.

7:52

So it is going to push you to create kind of like a carbon

7:55

copy of what else is out there.

7:57

And this is what's led to people basically being

8:00

dissatisfied with Google Search.

8:02

And I think that quote-- I'm not going to read it word

8:04

for word-- but it's basically about Google being

8:05

like a dying mall.

8:06

And how you go there, you don't know why you went there,

8:09

you're not getting what you want.

8:10

This is a post from Dimitri Breitani.

8:13

He talks about how he appends like Reddit or Stack Overflow

8:16

to the end of his search so he can go to a site he actually

8:18

trusts.

8:18

So I'm going to Google clearly read that post because now

8:21

we're seeing this discussions and forums thing pop up, which

8:23

mainly features Reddit, very high up in the search results.

8:27

So this is why we can't really have tools like ClearScope

8:31

because they push us to just do the lowest amount of investment

8:34

possible to get the maximum ROI at the stake of alienating

8:38

the user.

8:39

So my bet-- and where I'm kind of gearing my companies--

8:41

there's going to be a steady decline in the effectiveness

8:43

of traditional SEO.

8:44

And when I talk about traditional SEO,

8:46

I mean literally making a mishmash of whatever's

8:48

on the first page of Google, trying to carbon copy it,

8:50

and not really thinking about how can we help the user,

8:52

how can we help the buyer, how can we change how they think.

8:55

And I also think we're going to see less traditional SEO

8:57

traffic.

8:58

AI is absolutely going to change the way we all search.

9:01

And I think it will send less traffic to our sites over time.

9:04

And again, that's why I'm saying the value of the visit

9:06

is going to go up because the people who actually come

9:08

through to our websites are going to be much more engaged

9:10

than the folks who just want a quick definition.

9:12

So this is a look at traffic to OpenAI.

9:14

They did 1.8 billion visits according to similar web last month.

9:17

It's still really early for these tools.

9:20

Google did $85.5 billion.

9:22

So it's about 45x of the traffic right now,

9:25

longer time on site.

9:26

And Google is definitely sending more traffic.

9:27

I think OpenAI is working on sending more traffic.

9:29

They're not really there yet.

9:31

But regardless of how much traffic Google has,

9:33

if we're number one on a list of 10 blue links that all say

9:36

the same things, it's going to have diminishing returns

9:38

very quickly.

9:39

And consumers and buyers are going to get sick of it.

9:42

So if your content is the same as everyone else's,

9:44

it's not going to generate meaningful results for your business

9:46

because it's not meaningfully differentiated.

9:48

The amount of times that I've sat in a room talking

9:50

about messaging and positioning and how we can differentiate

9:53

from competitors, hours and hours of my life,

9:55

the amount of time we've thought about how

9:57

to differentiate content is maybe like a 15-minute conversation

10:00

brands have on their own.

10:01

So we are all competing in a channel that

10:03

does reward sameness.

10:04

Google doesn't like taking chances

10:05

on wildly different ideas.

10:07

And because of that, we're afraid to stand out

10:10

and invest more in the channel.

10:11

We want to just do the lowest amount of investment possible

10:13

to get the highest ROI possible.

10:17

Guy used to work for, really an SEO.

10:18

Will Reynolds has this post on the C of sameness problem.

10:21

It is a phenomenal post.

10:22

I recommend you all read it if you are trying to execute on search.

10:25

They had a post that ranked for SEO RFP questions.

10:29

And Will looked at it.

10:30

And he's like, this is bullshit content.

10:33

And he changed the entire thing.

10:35

He made it about a post-AI world.

10:36

And he made it much better.

10:38

And they lost some rankings.

10:39

But the people who actually went and engaged with that content

10:41

were much more attracted to their brand,

10:44

interested in working with this company.

10:46

And they did actually get the rankings back.

10:47

They bucked the trend of just copying

10:49

else what is the search results, really thought about it

10:51

from a first principles perspective,

10:52

and made meaningfully better content that now stands out,

10:55

and does get more clicks, which is interesting,

10:57

kind of bucks the trend of everything being the same.

11:00

And there's a question that Will asks in his posts.

11:02

In his post, excuse me.

11:03

If you deleted your brand's SEO content from the web,

11:06

would anyone miss it?

11:07

And if the answer is no, you should really

11:10

think about why you're investing in the channel

11:11

and how much you're spending on it

11:12

and what you expect to get out of it.

11:14

Because if the same it everyone else is,

11:15

how are you going to benefit from it?

11:18

Modern buyers, they don't really want content written

11:20

by generalists and juniors.

11:21

And for some reason, whenever we start talking with a company

11:23

and we ask them, OK, who's going to start working on this content?

11:26

Who's going to own the channel?

11:27

We just hired this new person.

11:28

They know nothing about our industry.

11:30

We think this is a great thing for them to get trained up on.

11:32

And that's the exact opposite approach,

11:34

because I don't think you all want

11:35

to be reading things from generalists and juniors either.

11:37

You want to be learning from experts.

11:39

People want real firsthand experience

11:42

of how to operate and how to think about their market

11:45

and what to buy.

11:46

They don't want to hear basically cobbled together

11:48

search results from someone with an English degree

11:49

who's a year out of school.

11:51

So this is a post from a company based here in New York

11:54

called SuperBlox.

11:55

And they compete with a company called Retool.

11:57

And if you look at this post, if you actually read it,

12:00

the nuance and the understanding of the space is so clear.

12:04

And they have this competitive sort of grid.

12:08

And if you look at it, it's like not what's on G2 crowd.

12:10

It's not what's on software advice.

12:11

It's written by someone like Build API Endpoints with Workflows,

12:14

an intuitive visual builder for business logic.

12:16

It's someone who deeply knows the space.

12:18

Jesse, their product manager, actually wrote that post.

12:21

So it's the guy building the product who wrote that.

12:23

And this is what people actually want.

12:25

If you do search Retool alternative,

12:26

it ranks very highly for the post.

12:28

It is by far the best thing out there.

12:29

And it kind of blows everything else in the search results away.

12:33

So the thing that was SEO, I view it as a landing pad.

12:36

And if all you can do is send people to more SEO content,

12:40

like what is articles and best practices and listicles,

12:42

I don't think the channel is going to work for you very well.

12:45

There's this concept called barbecue content.

12:48

And I kind of view the two as complimentary, but very different.

12:52

So barbecue contents, like if you were at a barbecue

12:54

with a bunch of other marketers,

12:56

what would you actually be talking about?

12:57

And I'm guessing it's not like what is marketing,

12:59

or like marketing best practices.

13:01

It is like nuanced, complex ideas that don't align

13:05

to like a single keyword.

13:06

They're vague and complex and they need to be hashed out.

13:10

That's that barbecue content

13:11

which can't get algorithmic distribution.

13:14

So you can use SEO to get people into this stuff,

13:16

the sticky stuff, the stuff people actually want to be reading

13:19

by harnessing algorithms.

13:20

But it's the SEO traffic on its own

13:22

is probably not going to close deals for you.

13:24

And the thing that I've realized after probably working with,

13:27

I'd say we probably worked with 150 SaaS companies

13:29

over the years, there is not,

13:31

specifically in high ACV accounts,

13:33

that's usually who we're helping work with,

13:35

or usually who we're working with.

13:36

For high ACV industries,

13:38

there typically are enough hand-raisers

13:39

for you to hit your number through organic search.

13:41

There's not enough people in market to make it work.

13:43

And even if you try and like jump-start it,

13:45

like if you're using a tool like Clearbit

13:47

and then outbound email everyone who touched

13:49

your high intent pages,

13:51

people are somewhat immune to these like demand-gen tactics

13:54

that are tried and true.

13:55

Like just like the effectiveness of outbound has gone way down.

13:58

I think the effectiveness of like standard DG tactics,

14:00

I've also gone way down across the board.

14:02

And if you're trying to squeeze demos

14:04

out of your top of funnel traffic right now,

14:07

it could work, but I don't think it's going to work much longer.

14:10

Like I really think things are changing.

14:12

And people just don't want to get in sales cycles.

14:14

Buyers want to remain anonymous longer and longer.

14:17

And if all you can do on your website

14:20

is either demo or bounce, people are going to bounce.

14:22

Like I, if I sign up to go on a demo

14:26

for anything for our company,

14:27

I know I'm going to buy it already.

14:29

I'm not like feeling it out.

14:30

I've done a ton of research online.

14:32

In the time I engage sales, I'm pretty much closed one.

14:35

Audience development can get you in front of your buyer

14:38

before they even know that they're problem aware.

14:41

And I want to talk about a company, Fanoa.

14:43

Fanoa is, it's possibly in the driest space

14:46

we've ever worked in.

14:47

Fanoa is indirect tax automation.

14:49

So if you are Uber and you've got drivers all over the world,

14:53

or if you're like any kind of marketplace really,

14:56

you have to send a bunch of forms

14:58

to the different countries that you're operating in

15:00

so they can tax the people appropriately.

15:02

Fanoa's content strategy is not boring though.

15:04

They harness sort of like three prongs.

15:06

They have breaking news, evergreen resources,

15:09

and they have a meme guy.

15:10

And the meme guy kind of like, he ties it all together.

15:12

So the breaking news, it's tax space, highly regulated,

15:15

new regulations come out.

15:16

So whenever there's something new,

15:18

like Romania, PostPones, it's e-invoicing fines,

15:20

or Belgian e-invoicing mandates,

15:22

set to go live at a certain date,

15:23

they publish that as quickly as possible.

15:25

They kind of operate,

15:26

not like a news organization,

15:27

but just like a feed of updates around tax regulations.

15:30

And they've got really good evergreen content

15:32

like this guide to doing business,

15:33

if you have for businesses with customers in Austria,

15:35

it goes over like the different rates,

15:36

the things they need to be accountable for,

15:38

the different like file formats,

15:39

they need to send the taxing information through.

15:41

They also have some like, I'd say more standard,

15:43

but legitimately helpful SEO content.

15:46

And one thing about Fanoa,

15:48

their actual tax experts wrote all the content.

15:51

So they have a team of tax experts

15:52

who are speaking about this stuff from first-hand knowledge,

15:54

and actually having to file these forms

15:55

and deal with these regulations

15:56

instead of just getting like farmed out to a junior.

15:59

And then they got Aiko.

16:00

And Aiko is a really cool dude.

16:04

He used to run tax technology at Uber.

16:07

He's now the director of tax technology at Fanoa.

16:09

And the thing about Aiko is he's legitimately funny.

16:13

And so I haven't seen Dune,

16:15

so I can't really tie this one together.

16:17

But if you look at his memes,

16:19

like they are so niche.

16:21

And yeah, it's like 140 engagements,

16:23

which is not like the most ever,

16:24

but they're Tamm is small.

16:27

And they are targeting a very specific audience

16:29

of indirect tax managers.

16:30

And if you look at what's in the comments,

16:34

it is like exactly the people they wanna be getting

16:36

in front of, and they love his memes.

16:38

They like, that is good.

16:41

Like head of the indirect tax director

16:42

at Activision Blizzard, Dream Account,

16:44

Wayfair, Dream Account.

16:46

And the other thing that he does is he distributes

16:48

the SEO content through his memes.

16:49

Love 40 Old Virgin, it's a great movie.

16:51

But he is able to use his audience to distribute content,

16:56

which I think is a lot more valuable

16:58

if you're familiar with SEO and like link building,

16:59

then like reaching out to someone and be like,

17:00

hey, I saw you wrote a blog and I've got a blog too.

17:02

And could you mention your blog and my blog?

17:04

This is way more modern.

17:06

And this is getting the content in front of the people

17:07

that they actually want to read it.

17:09

And this leads to kind of a flywheel

17:11

of their content getting amplified by the people

17:13

that they actually want reading it.

17:14

And all of this leads back to a newsletter

17:17

that ships out that newsworthy content.

17:19

So whenever there's a regulation change,

17:21

they let you know immediately.

17:23

So they get it out in search.

17:24

It does, so an example right here

17:26

about a rate change from Malaysia.

17:28

When they publish it, it ends up ranking pretty well

17:30

'cause they're usually first to market.

17:32

And the sites that they're competing with

17:33

are like a Malaysian government site

17:35

that's publishing on a PDF.

17:36

So the experience is much better.

17:38

But all of this leads to people signing up

17:40

for their newsletter and to unsubscribe from it,

17:43

they lose a really valuable news source

17:44

'cause the Malaysian government

17:45

does not have a newsletter about this.

17:47

So for subscribing to FANOA

17:50

and being a part of FANOA's audience

17:51

literally lets you be better at your job.

17:54

And that's the kind of value that we need to be creating.

17:56

So FANOA is using rented channels,

17:58

Search and Social, to build an audience of own tax professional.

18:02

Or excuse me, to build an owned audience

18:03

of indirect tax professionals.

18:04

And this is what I think the future of SEO really will be.

18:07

It's about leveraging a channel to build an owed audience

18:09

so you can skip the algorithm altogether

18:11

and just go direct and send them whatever you want.

18:13

Send them your barbecue content.

18:14

Send them your video content.

18:16

And not be reliant every month

18:17

on the algorithm not changing.

18:19

I firmly believe if the tax technology company can do this

18:23

that anyone can do this.

18:24

Tax is by far the most boring space I've worked in

18:26

and they are making it fun and interesting.

18:28

Some caveats though.

18:29

I think if you have to have something to say in order to do this,

18:33

like Aiko is very opinionated.

18:35

He knows the space, he is legit.

18:37

He's not just the mean guy.

18:38

He's also the director of tax technology.

18:41

And you also have someone say, like I don't think this approach

18:44

would have been effective.

18:45

It was the Fanoa brand account publishing all this.

18:47

Like it's a guy that you can relate with,

18:49

spend time with, build a pair of social relationships.

18:51

He has followers right now.

18:52

I don't think people really want to follow brands anymore.

18:54

I think you also need to have a library of own content

18:57

that isn't just SEO articles and gated webinars

18:59

and Gartner white papers.

19:01

There needs to be that barbecue content

19:02

that people can hang out with and enjoy and engage with and share.

19:06

And the other thing is like you have to be comfortable

19:07

not just immediately trying to get people that have signed up

19:10

for your newsletter into a sales cycle.

19:12

You have to let them chill out, marinade, hang out at the barbecue.

19:15

This isn't the death of SEO content,

19:19

no matter how many people online are saying it right now.

19:21

And I don't think it's the death of content at all.

19:23

But for content to get real engagement,

19:25

it needs to be worth your buyer's time.

19:26

And I think that is what Fanoa is doing.

19:28

Like they are actually making something

19:29

that people want to spend time with.

19:31

Because if they don't have it, they feel like they're missing out

19:33

and they feel like they're at risk.

19:35

And to stand out, I think we need to focus on a few things,

19:37

mainly authenticity and the tactical and the tactile.

19:40

I'll go with what that means in a second.

19:42

So it's really about actionable content.

19:44

So less of this, what is this concept?

19:46

And more like change how your audience operates

19:49

and how they go about their job, give them process.

19:52

And the ability to actually follow something end to end

19:55

to improve how their business is running.

19:56

Lean into firsthand experience from people

19:58

who really know what they're talking about

19:59

versus farming it out to those junior person on the team.

20:02

I also left this out of here, but tools.

20:04

Things that actually help people analyze, assess,

20:07

get information for free, and then entertain and inform.

20:10

And I think there's some misconceptions

20:14

about how modern buyers search.

20:15

And I realize not everyone and every company

20:17

would be cool with this.

20:18

But I would recommend if you are selling into a buyer like

20:22

yourself, like you if you are selling Martec,

20:24

go through your Chrome for the last 30 days

20:25

and look at what you search for.

20:26

If you're selling it into accounting professionals,

20:29

look at what the finance team is searching for.

20:31

So this is a look at some searches from my search history.

20:34

So I was trying to turn a transcript into a text file.

20:38

Old Google Analytics data is getting deleted,

20:40

so I was looking for how to save it down.

20:42

I was working on some indexations stuff,

20:43

so I wanted to test robots.txt file.

20:45

I was looking at accessibility issues.

20:47

I wanted a checklist for small business tax deductions.

20:50

And I was trying to set up user ID tracking

20:53

and web flow with GA4.

20:55

Like that is very jobs to be done.

20:57

It's not like what is marketing or link building best

20:59

practices.

21:00

It's like how do I actually do the work?

21:02

And there are some things that I've

21:03

searched for that are more informational.

21:05

And it's things that are in emerging categories,

21:07

like rag versus context window or model poisoning,

21:10

which are two-generative AI ideas.

21:11

Or what is a WABN, which is a way

21:14

to do taxation with international contractors.

21:17

So those are things like if there was a newsletter

21:18

around how marketers can harness AI

21:20

or how to better manage freelancers across the globe,

21:23

or how to better manage company IT

21:25

because I do that as well, that's all stuff

21:28

that I'm not ready to buy.

21:29

I'm not looking to buy at all, but if someone can consistently

21:32

provide value, I will follow along with them for the long term.

21:35

And triples is best.

21:38

But does this matter if Google is going

21:40

to shift to a generative AI interface?

21:42

Or let's say Google loses market share

21:44

to open AI in perplexity.

21:46

Those models still have to feed off of original content.

21:50

They're not publishers.

21:50

They're not creating their own stuff.

21:52

And if you are willing to be meaningfully different,

21:55

if you are willing to have your own ideas,

21:56

if you're willing to buck the trend,

21:57

the model is not just going to regurgitate it and not cite you

22:00

because the models don't want to take risk.

22:01

They want to point back to where they're going.

22:03

They're working on it right now.

22:04

They're citing more links.

22:05

But the idea that all of our ideas are going to be taken,

22:08

it's just fear-mongering, at least in my opinion.

22:11

So if we answer questions differently,

22:13

if we create meaningfully different content,

22:15

Google's not going to be comfortable copying our ideas.

22:18

And I think what is really at risk--

22:19

I remember when I was a director of sales

22:21

at a former SEO agency, we got a call one day from a company,

22:25

and Google had started putting time zones.

22:27

What time is it in this city when it's this time in this city?

22:29

And they were like, how do we get this back?

22:31

Like, we are not.

22:32

Like, we are done.

22:33

And I think for anything where it's just very deterministic,

22:36

where it's like, how do you boil an egg?

22:38

How do you tie a tie?

22:39

That is stuff that I do think is at risk.

22:40

I do think Google will own those results

22:42

because it's very obvious how to do those things.

22:45

But for anything like how to staff for a GTM function,

22:48

or how to fix things in Marketo, or how to unfuck sales force,

22:52

that is stuff that Google's not going to feel comfortable doing

22:56

because it's complex and it's probabilistic.

22:58

So I think for a lot of the actual meaningful content,

23:00

not just the definition of content, we're safe.

23:03

So there is going to be a new bar for B2B content.

23:06

And it's that it's going to have to be so damn good

23:08

that it encourages a cult-like following of people

23:10

who want to subscribe to you and follow you

23:13

because they get value out of what you provide.

23:15

And they will keep coming to you direct versus going back

23:18

to search to answer all of their questions.

23:21

Thank you all.

23:22

[APPLAUSE]

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