6 SEO Myths that just won’t go away.

SEO is a tricky business to begin with, and it isn’t helped by the amount of dis-information that is constantly published online.

Matt was recently asked about a few tactics that he through were done and buried, but alas! These myths were alive and well and being recommended by a professional SEO agency!

T. Osinubi joins Matt to work through some of these myths, as they attempt to explain the reasoning behind them, and whey they don’t work.  They make a few attempts to consider why these myths might be still alive, but in the end they do what they do best and provide common sense views about how to optimize and develop websites for rankings.

Show Notes:

[Article] Fast Company: The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare

[Article] Google Blog: MUM: A new AI milestone for understanding information

[Podcast] Endless Coffee Cup #43: Search Engine Algorithm Studies

[Podcast] Endless Coffee Cup #36: Don’t Go Chasing Algorithms


[00:00:00] Matt Bailey: Newspapers have been refined over decades of how they arrange, how they present, font sizes, and images, and, and how they present content. And so, we’re doing the same thing online, and each of those builds a contextual relevance together. And so, I think we’ve seen this be, not one element is going to push you over the top.

It’s all these things working together on a page to produce the context of the page and then all the pages together, they’re context producing the contents of your site together.

[00:00:55] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:01:20] Matt Bailey: Well, hello again, listener and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup. And I’ve got a returning guest with me today, so it’s going to be a great episode. Temitayo Osinubi otherwise known as T, thank you so much for coming back and being on the program.

[00:01:37] T Adeola Osinubi: My pleasure. Thanks so much. I do appreciate it. And it’s Temitayo, but you were close.

[00:01:41] Matt Bailey: Temitayo.

[00:01:42] T Adeola Osinubi: Very close. Temitayo. Like necktie. I used to wear a necktie just like prompt people, but then folks thought I wasn’t Muslim, and I was like, and, and it’s like, no, I’m not, and so it just became a whole thing. So, I stopped doing that, but yes, it’s Temitayo.

[00:01:54] Matt Bailey: Temitayo. Okay. Yeah, just the standard rules don’t apply. And, and I’m learning that. I’m like English is such a pathetic language with, let the rules only apply to certain situations, certain times. And, uh, yeah, you can’t, you can’t…

[00:02:10] T Adeola Osinubi: No worries. It’s funny because like over here, my name’s all exotic and whatnot, but in Nigeria where my father’s from, it’s like Bob Smith. It’s like, it’s a very common, like sort of white bread sort of name that it’s just like, you might as well call me Jeff. You know what I mean? It’s a very common name.

[00:02:28] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah. Well, that was, that was always one of our, our laughs, I remember it was whoever in university and that’s where I learned that, uh, you know, Giuseppe Verdi means Joe Green. That’s, that’s like, I love that. That is just, uh, a way to take such a, an amazing sounding name and just distill it down into, yeah, that’s what it means.

So, hey, T, the reason I brought you back on is because I thought it would be a great balance, you know, I’ve been in this for years and, and you saw my training videos when you were in training, and so you’re on the other end, where you had formal training in digital marketing, and I feel like my experience was making a lot of mistakes and learning from them.

So, and you talked about those as well, but I thought it’d be a great contrast with you and I talking about the myths that are persistent in SEO. Uh, one of the reasons for this is LinkedIn just came out with, uh, a survey of companies and HR managers, and I believe the number two most in demand position for the next few years is going to be digital marketing specialist.

[00:03:38] T Adeola Osinubi: I, I believe it. It’s, it’s hot right now. Um, the pandemic has really accelerated existing trends four to five years into the future. And companies, frankly, are playing catch up because they, they weren’t ready.

[00:03:53] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:03:53] T Adeola Osinubi: And, um, yeah, this, this isn’t going away anytime soon.

[00:03:57] Matt Bailey: Not at all. And so, we have students, like you’re working with students coming into the industry. We have a lot of people retraining from other industries and they’re seeing, you know, the money, the opportunities, and not just, I love digital marketing because it’s not just something you do as a job for somebody else. You can do it for yourself and turn your own business into quite a successful story.

[00:04:26] T Adeola Osinubi: Absolutely. And the thing about SEO in particular, or as I like to call it, the gift that keeps on giving.

[00:04:33] Matt Bailey: I love it.

[00:04:33] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, one of the, um, case studies I have my classes, um, read through and we discuss it in class, I’ll pop it in the chat for you. It’s this, uh, true story, scandalous story, um, about the war to sell you a mattress. And without going into the whole thing, I’ll let folks read the link and we can pop it in the show notes.

[00:04:55] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:04:55] T Adeola Osinubi: But this story demonstrates the value of SEO from a business perspective, um, and without spoiling everything too much, there, there was, you know, a blogger who had, it was in SEO, and captured the top spot.

And Casper decided they wanted that top spot. And so, of course the rest is a story of intrigue and deceit and subterfuge and all that good stuff, but it, it really demonstrates like from a business perspective, 1, how everything sort of, you know, can play out in terms of being an entrepreneur, digital marketing, content marketing, blah, blah, blah, but also the thing about SEO that’s unique to SEO is that, you know, with the exception of Google just changing something and slapping you down and just, you know, completely taking you out of the game, unlike other channels, you can’t really hijack or take over SEO in the same way…

[00:05:55] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:05:55] T Adeola Osinubi: …that you can do like a hashtag for example.

So, um, a perfect example, and for those who don’t know, because I’m a teacher and I want to make sure I’m, I’m using the correct terms. Hashtags are how things were originally indexed on Twitter. And then they eventually became an internet thing. So now hashtag whatever index is on Google and everything. It’s, it’s how things are indexed, right? The little number or pound sign.

And so, hashtags are all about volume at any given moment of time. However, many people are using that hashtag is what the hashtag is about. Well, because of that, you can do what’s called takeovers or hijack a hashtag if there’s enough volume to take something over. So, an example of that, a recent example from last year was #RBG, right?

So, #RBG normally stands for red, black, green, which are the flag colors for, you know, black Americans, black power, all that good stuff. Now, RBG is also the initials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So, when she died, all of a sudden you see #RBG, #RBG, #RBG, and it had nothing to do with red, black, green, it was instead referring to the deceased Supreme Court Justice. That is an example of a hashtag takeover or hijack.

Now, that was, it was completely organic. There, there was no malice or nothing like that, but the point being, the teaching lesson being that, you know, hashed, some, if there’s enough value and enough steam, someone can take a hashtag from you.

[00:07:28] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:07:28] T Adeola Osinubi: You can’t do that with SEO, with the exception of Google. Google can change the rules and do what they do, but somebody else, if you’ve done your job right and you have all the canonical and you have all of the, like, backend technical things together, that space is yours until you lose it.

[00:07:47] Matt Bailey: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:07:48] T Adeola Osinubi: So as long as you doing the things to not lose it, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re golden. And then, of course, they have to resort to subterfuge and intrigue, you know, federal lawsuits.

[00:07:58] Matt Bailey: Nice.

[00:07:59] T Adeola Osinubi: It, that, that thing reads, it’s a little long, so I won’t get, like, I actually made my class last night, I took 20 minutes of our class time. ‘Cause I teach for, um, Loyola, New Orleans, as well as Old Dominion and, uh, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and our classes are in the evening, they’re three and a half hours long and I took, uh, 20 minutes and make them read it. Uh, 25 minutes ’cause some people read a little slow.

I took 25 minutes, made them read it, and then we actually discussed it in class ’cause we were teaching SEO that night. I, I really want you to understand why I say SEO is the gift that keeps giving, and I want you to have context around it. So yeah. Fun topic, really looking forward to it.

[00:08:42] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And, and I’m with you. I mean, I, I started in SEO back in the late 90’s and that’s the thing. You work hard on a site for a couple of years, and then for decades you see the result and, and still, I look at the analytics of sites that have been actively marketing and doing SEO, Google by far, you know, or even just search engines, generally the amount of traffic it produces, the amount of direct results, uh, could just be tracked and it, and it never stops. It is just an amazing, uh, the quality, I think that the search engines have been doing a better job of delivering better quality visitors, uh, as they’ve been refining their algorithms.

[00:10:00] So, it, it’s not some of the problems we experienced early where you would get people coming, uh, for one topic, and, actually you brought it up with, with the RBG example, because I see this in SEO early is when companies wanted an acronym. And so, RBG was an acronym, and sometimes people who use an acronym frequently don’t realize that other people have the same letters, but it means something completely different.

You’ll love this. Early days, uh, I had a company say that, “Well, we want to rank number one for UPS.” And guess who they weren’t.

[00:10:09] T Adeola Osinubi: UPS.

[00:10:09] Matt Bailey: They weren’t UPS.

[00:10:12] T Adeola Osinubi: Of course.

[00:10:12] Matt Bailey: And they, and I found out, but here’s the thing. They made uninterruptible power supplies. And they wanted to rank for UPS and I’m trying to tell them, like, “You do realize there’s another company out there that uses the same acronym, and they have greater brand recognition because it’s a brand and not a product.” But…

[00:10:33] T Adeola Osinubi: Probably deeper pockets, the whole nine…

[00:10:36] Matt Bailey: Oh yeah. And I’m like, and, “I, I’m pretty sure they rank number one.” And I dealt with this the other day, just when acronyms are so unique to different organizations, and we tend to forget that they’ve got a life outside of what they are, and so, yeah, to your hashtag example, we see it in, in Google and, and SEO even. It’s great.

[00:10:55] T Adeola Osinubi: Not only that, but hashtag, not hashtags, but acronyms are, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? They’re esoteric to, to your point, they’re, they’re esoteric to that industry. And so, to someone who’s uninitiated, you start spouting all this alphabet soup and it’s like, “What in God’s name are you talking about?” Like, we know what we’re talking about and we can talk about, you know, SEO and PPC and, and SCM and, you know, click-through rates, and we can talk about, um, even if we want to talk about attribution, we can talk about MMA versus all this other stuff.

[00:11:30] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:11:31] T Adeola Osinubi: But it’s like to someone who’s like, “Why are they using the alphabet inappropriately? I don’t understand what, what, what all these letters mean.” So, you want to, you know, for the uninitiated, it, it makes sense to you, but for the uninitiated, that can be very intimidating.

[00:11:46] Matt Bailey: You’ll love this. I worked with a company and they tried to create a guidance on all the acronyms that they add. And they ended up giving up because different departments would not give up their acronym because it was the same as other departments, but it meant something completely different, but yet they would all use the acronym in their reports.

And so, if I am executive level, this acronym means this to that department, this ac-, and, and they couldn’t come up with guidance, it, it just created a big political mess and so they just stopped.

[00:12:16] T Adeola Osinubi: I believe it, I believe that wholeheartedly because actually one of the first, no, it was my first gig after, uh, graduating from Full Sail University, it only lasted briefly, but it was at SunTrust Bank in, uh, downtown Atlanta where I was at the time, and SunTrust is exactly what you just described.

Alphabet soup everywhere and coming in, I had, I had a very difficult time breaching that nomenclature because like you just summed it up. Everyone was speaking in code and they were using the same letters, but then with a different code. And it’s like, if you’re on your second day, you’re in this meeting trying to get up to speed and you’re like, “Why won’t they speak English?”

[00:13:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Exactly.

[00:13:02] T Adeola Osinubi: “What’s going on?”

[00:13:04] Matt Bailey: “I don’t know what anything means.” Great, great. Well, that’s like, that, so that’s one of the, I, I think it’s one of the fun parts of SEO is, is learning about different industries, learning what works there, but it, and the reason why I called you is, and I ran into this just the other day. I got a call from a client and they were asking because the SEO company they’re working with recommended that they changed the dates on all their articles in their blogs and bring the dates up to 2021.

Now, they’ve got articles going back over 10 years. And the editor is asking me, she says, “This just doesn’t sound right.” And I, I couldn’t believe my, I, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, that people are recommending this, and I did some investigation and found out that this advice is all over the place. It amazed me.

But her gut instinct was that this is unethical, because we wrote that article then, and we put a date on it. She’s thinking about her readers first, which I commended her. I said, “That is the right approach. You’re thinking about your readers. You’re thinking about journalistic integrity. And I would go with that, and I would not change the dates just because you think it’ll help on Google.” But I was amazed.

[00:14:31] T Adeola Osinubi: Not only that, but it’s just, those folks giving that type of advice is like, you’re, you’re giving up a decade’s worth of SEO juice. And like that, that makes, ’cause you’re not going to get those years back.

[00:14:45] Matt Bailey: No. No.

[00:14:45] T Adeola Osinubi: You know what I mean? And so, now there are ways to refresh content and you know, you dig around the Google Developers, developers.google.com, and they will give you best practices on, on what’s called “evergreen content.”

[00:14:59] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:14:59] T Adeola Osinubi: Um, but no, you, you, you don’t give up a decade’s worth of SEO juice just because of that. And it, and it’s one of those things where, and, and I’ll be honest, like, you know, ’cause I had, I was self-taught prior to going to Full Sail University, and at Full Sail University, that was the first time that I heard the term “Black Hat.”

[00:15:24] Matt Bailey: Oh, wow.

[00:15:24] T Adeola Osinubi: Up to that point, I had, I had never heard the term, because newsflash, Black Hats don’t call each other Black Hats.

[00:15:33] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:15:33] T Adeola Osinubi: They call each other “Gurus,” or “Mavens,” or “Ninjas,” or “Wizards”…

[00:15:37] Matt Bailey: “Rock Stars.”

[00:15:38] T Adeola Osinubi: …or “Rock Stars.” Right. They, they call each other all of these, you know, superfluous titles, but they don’t actually say, “Hey, I’m cheating.”

[00:15:47] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:15:47] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, when I was, I, and I’m not going to name names, ’cause this isn’t like a take-down show or anything like that. But, one of the things that Full Sail University did for me, was they broke me of a lot of bad habits that I didn’t know that I had. Because at the time I was introduced to them, it was just the “guru” telling me what to do.

[00:16:11] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:16:11] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, I, I, I was, you know, I drunk the Kool-Aid and did what I was instructed to do. And so, but it, after going through Full Sail was like, “Oh, you mean spoofing URLs is bad? Oh, oh, okay. That’s why I got that nasty email. Oh, that makes sense…”

[00:16:32] Matt Bailey: Wow. Wow.

[00:16:32] T Adeola Osinubi: You know what I mean?

[00:16:32] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:16:32] T Adeola Osinubi: I, I, I learned, like I had to unlearn as much as I learned, because, you know, you find yourself on Black Hat world or wherever, seedy part of the internet, but again, you don’t recognize it as such, because no one’s ever sat you down and said, “Hey buddy, let, let’s have, let’s have a talk about this.”

Um, and yeah, so I, I am of the firm belief that most Black Hats don’t actually know that they’re Black Hats. They’re, they’re, they’re just, they’re just doing what, whatever, you know, person told them to do, and then you have situations like you just described where they’re, they’re, you know, disseminating poor advice that they don’t recognize as such.

Right? Because it’s, it’s “working.” Well, it works, so because it, it works, I’m going to keep doing it and it’s like, we, we have to sit down and unpack that, like, “Okay, what’s the actual campaign goal, and what are we optimizing against, and what are we trying to accomplish?” Because, I mean, if you just use a, well, “I make money doing it.” You can make money selling coke, I mean, like, you can do anything to make money, like, like you gotta, you gotta have standards. Like you gotta, you gotta, you gotta do better than that. And so, yeah.

[00:17:45] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:17:46] T Adeola Osinubi: That’s why I’m really thankful for, you know, professionals like yourself, as well as the degree program that I went through because without that, you know, if we rewind the clock to 2004, oh man. It was, it was no man’s land…

[00:18:00] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:18:00] T Adeola Osinubi: …you know, at the time, and I, I, I didn’t know. You know what I mean? So, I was just as guilty as everybody else.

[00:18:06] Matt Bailey: There’s a method to that. And here’s what people have, I’d say in the past 10 years, I tell people the worst place to go look for advice on SEO is Google, because you are going to get 20 years of articles, and Google can’t distinguish, really, between what’s good advice and bad advice. What you’re getting is articles that are ranking because of algorithmic, you know, whatever, sifting.

And so, you’re going to get stuff from 10 years ago, you’re going to get stuff from a year ago. Anyone can publish anything. And if all you’re doing is reading what different people say, and you’re going to find areas that you’re comfortable with, it’s very easy to get sucked up into that, and, and look at SEO as, as more of just this technical puzzle that needs to be figured out.

So, when I started back in the 90’s, I’m building a website and I’m reading something about doorway pages. And I’m like, “Now, that sounds really interesting,” but here’s the problem. I have two hours to work on my website tonight.

Do I work on something that someone can see, or would I work on something that someone’s not going to see? And I know what they will see, that will help my rankings. And, and so for me, it was more of like this logical, if I make a doorway, it’s just for the search engine. If I make a page of content, well, that’s where the search engine and people, and that persuades them to do what I want.

So, I took a very, you know, kind of programmatic approach of, well, what do I want to accomplish? And that kind of kept me out of that, however, I will say, I played around with it, you know, but it was when I had time to do it. I’m like, “Let’s see, what, what does this do?”

[00:20:00] And I actually had a program that was doing it, and I didn’t even know it. Uh, at the time, I had a management program, and it just created these pages. Uh, I think it was about a year later I found them. It was like, “Whoa, where did, where did that come from?” And, uh, you can get caught up in this without even realizing it.

[00:20:05] T Adeola Osinubi: Yeah. It’s a slippery slope if ever there was one.

[00:20:08] Matt Bailey: But at the same time, I think there are agencies that I feel they need to do a better job of researching what’s legitimate strategies and what are not. I’m amazed at how many people have not read the Google guidelines, and started there. I’m absolutely amazed.

I, I remember, uh, probably about 10 years ago when I was actively speaking at conferences and I would ask SEOs, “How many of you read the Google guidelines?” Or even business owners. Very few. And so, when it came to being sold something or selling something, there was no point of reference as to, “Well, this is what Google says you should do.” And this is outside of the scope of that. I was really amazed at the, at the lack of awareness of that.

[00:20:53] T Adeola Osinubi: Yeah. It’s very unfortunate. And it’s one of those things, again, people are looking for quick answers, they’re looking for quick money, and they’re, they’re, sometimes they’re just looking to appease clients, but the, the flip side to that coin, is that, you know, with Black Hat specifically, everything’s fine until it isn’t.

[00:21:14] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:21:14] T Adeola Osinubi: And, of course, you have companies getting slapped down. Some big names have run into that. Um, some big names have gotten deindexed, or goo, or their Google penalties, like, uh, JCPenney, BMW, you had, ’cause they hired some agency. And, of course, the, there’s always nuance between the, the client agency sorta dynamic, especially when you’re dealing with a big company…

[00:21:38] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:21:38] T Adeola Osinubi: …like, uh, uh, BMW, or JCPenney, or Procter & Gamble, somebody like that, who, you know, won’t think twice about firing you. So, there’s a lot of pressure to perform. That, that stove is definitely hot, and you, you want to be careful with that.

[00:21:52] Matt Bailey: Well, you brought up something, uh, people looking for the, the quick way of doing SEO or getting results, and I think that’s one thing we, you know, we both learned. For those results that keep on giving, it takes a significant amount of time upfront.

I mean, do you run into that, that people think, you know, “Getting to the first page? Yeah. We just got to do a couple of things and we’re there.”

[00:22:12] T Adeola Osinubi: And people perpetuate that, right? They, they perpetuate that myth like, “Oh, I can, you know, there’s this program you can run called Traffic Geyser or whatever.” And that was an actual thing back in the day. I’m not going to say who did it, but Traffic Geyser was one of them, like, “Oh, we can just spit this out and get you on these things.”

And it’s like, yeah, no. Um, and then a, a bunch of just, again, if you are uninitiated, you have no way of knowing that. You know, you, you will hear folks talk about how H1 tags no longer matter and, and not to go too, too deep in the weeds, but H1 tags are your title tags…

[00:22:54] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:22:54] T Adeola Osinubi: …for your page, and it tells Google what the actual page is about. Now, the reason that some people think that H1 tags don’t matter, is that, you know, Google is all about providing the best experience for its searcher, right?

[00:23:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:23:13] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, there are times when, if, you know, certain information isn’t filled out or, um, let’s say you leave out your description, Google will make one for you.

[00:23:22] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:23:22] T Adeola Osinubi: Right? Now, so, you want to avoid that because you, you, you never want to put Google in a position of determining your fate. You always want to be the one to determine your fate.

[00:23:34] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:23:34] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, you want to be the one writing your descriptions, writing your, so, some people take that out of context and like, “Well, if Google will just insert things anyway, and do what they want, then nothing matters.”

Well, at the end of the day, H1 tags are semantic. They are. They’re semantic, which means, and semantic is, is just a term that says, like, how you speak, because at the end of the day, the web is text-based. Right? The web is largely text-based. That’s how it was originally incepted, and that’s how it sort of functions.

Now, it’s getting better at understanding, um, images and video, because, of course, it’s the time and age we live in now. Video is hot, IG’s all about images, you can’t post IG without an image. And so, it’s getting better at that sort of thing, but at its core, the internet is text-based, which means Google is text-based. So, we talk about texting, and writing, and speaking, and whatnot, that’s where semantics come in.

[00:24:39] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:24:39] T Adeola Osinubi: Um, but yeah, H1 tags are 100% semantic.

[00:24:43] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:24:43] T Adeola Osinubi: You need them. And just because Google will step in, in instances where, let’s just be frank, you’re, you’re, you’re not measuring up. That does not mean that no, nothing matters anymore. It means you’re not measuring up, and he needs it to fix the issue.

[00:25:01] Matt Bailey: It was so bad, we had to do it for you. I absolutely, I’m with you on the H1s, because, so, when I started in the industry, I have a journalism degree. And so, I looked at the newspaper, really as a template for how to build a webpage. That you have a headline, you’ve got your subheadings, which you group your, you know, it’s, it’s writing an outline, following the outline, utilizing H1 is the headline, H2 is the subheadings, H3s are like captions, and, and then, you know, I would use H4 for related content, or related links, and really, I just used the newspaper as a guide, and that’s how I learned about rankings is, you know, I just kind of reverse engineered what I was doing, and well, that makes sense.

And to your point, it’s text and newspapers have been refined over decades of how they arrange, how they present, font sizes, and images, and, and how they present content. And so, we’re doing the same thing online, and each of those builds a contextual relevance together. And so, I think we’ve seen this be, not one element is going to push you over the top. It’s all these things working together on a page to produce the context of the page, and then all the pages together, their context producing the contents of your site together.

You know, I, I, whenever I hear H1 tags going bye-bye, I’m like, you’re saying basically your headlines going goodbye. Now, that’s not, not the approach.

[00:26:38] T Adeola Osinubi: And if I had to hazard a guess, and I love the way that you broke that down about your journalism background and transferring that knowledge into a new field, I would guess that Google did the same thing.

So, the thing about Google, though, is that specifically when we talk about SEO, they don’t, they don’t give you a lot of love. I always tell my classes, like, you know, PPC is easy. SEO is hard. And what I mean by that is, you know, if you’re spending $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 or more per month with Google, you get a rep, you might get a few reps depending on your spin level, and it’s, it’s very similar to the relationship about, you know, I don’t know if you’re familiar with pharmaceutical sales, but they’ll bring you food…

[00:27:25] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yes.

[00:27:26] T Adeola Osinubi: …they’ll bring you all kind of swag, and I, I got all kind of cups, and scrunchy balls, and pins littered about, you know what I mean?

[00:27:34] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:27:35] T Adeola Osinubi: They’ll, they’ll give you whatever you want. Just keep those taps on, you know what I…

[00:27:38] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:27:38] T Adeola Osinubi: Keep, keep, keep spending that 20, 50, 100 grand a month, and we’ll, we’ll give you whatever you want. We’ll give you exclusive reports that you can’t pull on your own. We’ll, we’ll do all of that. But on the SEO side, they’re like, yeah, nah.

[00:27:53] Matt Bailey: No. They got nothing for ya.

[00:27:54] T Adeola Osinubi: Nah. Nah. Mum’s the word. Like we don’t, we don’t, we don’t assist with that.

[00:27:58] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[00:27:58] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, the reason that PPC is easy, SEO is hard, is because at the end of the day, SEO is reverse engineering.

[00:28:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:28:07] T Adeola Osinubi: You’re trying to figure out, like you did with your, you transferred your journalism skills, you’re trying to figure out, “Okay, in this context, what’s going to work the best?” And Google’s not going to help you with that because one, Google is so large and their algorithm is so sophisticated, it’s one of those things where no one human actually knows how the whole thing works.

[00:28:34] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:28:34] T Adeola Osinubi: Because you have all of these separate, and they, at any given time, there’s upwards of 100,000 optimizations being performed, right? Little, small, little itty-bitty tweaks, and there are some big ones that happen, but, you know, each branch can sort of do its thing for its region, and it all works together and builds upon itself and all that good stuff. So, um, they kind of really can’t, just because of how complex it is.

[00:28:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:00] T Adeola Osinubi: But yeah, they’re, they’re not going to help you at all with SEO. No love.

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[00:30:39] Matt Bailey: A couple months ago, I, I had another podcast where I had a couple people on talking about SEO studies, and they were talking about how so, number one, what are you comparing against? You don’t have a baseline. You are starting with an assumption. You’re looking at a very limited amount of data. You don’t know what the algorithm contains, and so you’re bringing your own bias saying, “I think,” and, and to use an example of another myth, “I think a high bounce rate affects your rankings.”

And so, they come with that preconceived idea. They look at the data that they have accumulated, which is an incredibly small amount, and they draw a conclusion. And so, they were warning people about these, these SEO studies, uh, because what, what are you using as a control? You can’t make this determination, and then, it may not be the same tomorrow.

So, it was a great conversation, but yeah, to your point, you can’t sit down and just, you know, with a piece of paper or whatever, a cell spreadsheet, you’re never going to figure this out. It, it, it’s more of, and that’s why he said, it’s that long game of what worked, and what did I do, and, and what did that affect, and how can I go about doing this? But I do keep the word from Google in the back of my mind, what’s best for my users? Because I time and time again, whenever I focus on that, it naturally works itself out.

Yeah, I want to jump, actually, I, I mentioned it. I have heard this probably five times in the past month, and that is a high bounce rate will affect your rankings. And every time I hear that, I just, internally, it just, inside just, ah, no, no. I have to explain to people, so let, let’s think about this a couple different ways. Number one, great example, I was working with a company, uh, they made, made a sugar substitute and they had a 99.5% bounce rate. Wow.

And it was all because of one page, and on that page was conversion tables. How many packets of the substitute do I need in a recipe for a quarter cup of sugar? And those were the searches being done, going to the conversion table page, and, and I was trying to tell the management of the company…

[00:33:04] T Adeola Osinubi: You gave them what they wanted.

[00:33:06] Matt Bailey: That’s success. That is exactly…

[00:33:07] T Adeola Osinubi: You gave them what they wanted, so they left.

[00:33:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah. That is a successful visit. And they’re like,” But they’re not doing anything.” I’m like, “Think about the person who’s doing this search. They’re probably in the kitchen, they’re on their phone, that, it’s already an interruption of what they are trying to do. This is not the task. This they need for the task.”

And so, again, it’s this thinking about the searcher and their, what are they trying to do? What are they trying to accomplish? Now, I’m, whenever I hear that, I’m saying, “So this company’s gonna get their rankings pooled because they have a high bounce rate? But they have a high success rate. And why would you penalize that?”

And so, I, I start with that example, but then also, I think there’s a misunderstanding of what they mean and what people actually are trying to talk about is, what, it’s called “pogo-sticking,” where you do a search on Google, I click on the first result and that has nothing to do, it, no. I go back to the Google results. Then I go to the next result. Now, no, that doesn’t have what I want. I go back.

So, I’m doing single page visits, write down the results, and I’m not finding what I want. That would be the bounce rate leading to lower rankings, but I would contend that it’s either Google’s fault for giving you irrelevant results, or it’s your fault because you didn’t use the right terms.

[00:34:33] T Adeola Osinubi: Right.

[00:34:33] Matt Bailey: So…

[00:34:34] T Adeola Osinubi: I would agree with that.

[00:34:35] Matt Bailey: So, to me, it’s a big myth because when you start thinking about situations or contexts beyond your immediate application, you start to see where it just kind of falls apart. How would you determine that?

[00:34:49] T Adeola Osinubi: Right. And not all pages are created equal, right?

[00:34:52] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:34:53] T Adeola Osinubi: There are some pages where you want people to, you know, have a long time on site, and read, and go to multiple pages, and others, it’s just like, give me what I want. I got what I want. Okay. I’m outta here. There are certain pages where you would expect to have a high bounce rate, like for example, a thank you page. Well, if they, if they, if they completed the checkout process and they hit the thank you page, what else is there to do?

[00:35:18] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:35:18] T Adeola Osinubi: So, then yeah, I’m gone. I’m outta here. And, yeah, there, there’s a lot to that and you did a very good job of explaining that, and I’m glad you brought up pogo-sticking, because earlier, and I meant to, uh, go down this rabbit hole a little bit further and I didn’t, but, um, Google, are you familiar with, uh, and this was really exciting. This, this came out on their blog just recently about Google MUM. Um, now Google MUM stands for, MUM stands for multitask unified model, right? Multitask unified model.

[00:35:56] Matt Bailey: Oh no.

[00:35:56] T Adeola Osinubi: That is what MUM stands for. And it’s their probably most powerful AI yet, and it, as the name implies, it deals with multi-step sort of things. So, in the example you use, you know, the cooking that the measurement table was part of a recipe, which had multiple steps.

[00:36:21] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:36:21] T Adeola Osinubi: And something Google isn’t necessarily the best at, and this is AI in general, they’re not the best at sequences. So, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll give you what you asked for and try to decipher, decipher what you need in that context, but if you need it as part of a larger task, Google can’t really help you with that in the example…

[00:36:44] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:36:44] T Adeola Osinubi: …and I just popped it to you, um, in the chat for the show notes, the example that they use on MUM is like, say, okay. Let’s say you want to climb Mount Fuji in the fall, and, and you’ve already climbed some, a hike, rather, and you’ve already hiked other mountains.

Um, what do you need to know about hiking Mount Fuji in the fall? Well, if you ask an expert, the expert is gonna know all of the multiple factors involved in hiking at that time of year. Well, that’s the rainy season, which means you’re going to need a raincoat. And you’re also going to have to take into account this, and blah, blah, blah.

But if you just go to Google, what they found is, you’re going to pogo-stick a lot because it’s only going to give you, however you phrase it at that time. And it’s not going to be able to, to take into account the, the layers of that sequence and everything that has to go into giving you that answer. ‘Cause we, ’cause as humans, we tend to think simple questions should have simple answers. It’s not the way that works in real life. Some, sometimes…

[00:37:54] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:37:54] T Adeola Osinubi: …simple questions have very complex answers…

[00:37:57] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:37:57] T Adeola Osinubi: …like, “How do I fall in love?” Like, damn like, so, um, but MUM…

[00:38:05] Matt Bailey: You, go to Quora. That’s on Quora. There’s like three people who answered that already.

[00:38:09] T Adeola Osinubi: Exactly, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ll be fine. Um…

[00:38:11] Matt Bailey: Well, no, you make a great point because I’m trying to think, like the last time I made a family trip, I was coordinating dates of when we would travel, that, open dates of the Airbnb that we were looking at, which airport I should fly out of, or also which airport to fly into. I had to coordinate dates and prices and it was a simultaneous activity.

It was not a sequenced. It was, “Okay. I can go to this airport, this airport, this price, what’s the Airbnb?” And, and go back and forth, and yeah, there’s absolutely no way, you know, I’m really curious to see how this MUM is going to work out and present that, because honestly, even, I don’t even know what Google could bring to the table at, at, at this point, you know? We’ll see. Um, and will I trust Google enough to not use Airbnb and the airline and, and all those other areas, the, you know, are they going to try and use this to insert themselves into more industries? We’ll see.

[00:39:12] T Adeola Osinubi: I assume that they will, ’cause I don’t trust them, but I do trust them enough to try and ultimately serve the user, ’cause one of the things that I didn’t like a few years back, um, whereas, you know, no-click searches.

[00:39:28] Matt Bailey: Oh. Yeah.

[00:39:29] T Adeola Osinubi: Um, and a lot of folks don’t like no-click searches.

[00:39:30] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:39:31] T Adeola Osinubi: So, what a no-click search is, is if you ask a question with a quick answer, Google will just give you the answer. So, if you ask, “How many ounces are in a cup?” or if you ask, “Ok, how tall is Shaquille O’Neal?” or whatever, it’ll just tell you. Right? Well, that, that took a sledgehammer to a lot of folks’ conversion rates.

[00:39:53] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:39:53] T Adeola Osinubi: Because it’s like, folks didn’t have to click anymore. And Google’s stance was, “Isn’t that a better experience for the user?” Right? And it’s just something that all of the SEO’s just had to deal with.

[00:40:00] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:40:05] T Adeola Osinubi: So, while I, I absolutely, I have every expectation of them inserting themselves because that, that’s how they move. I also have faith in the fact that ultimately, they are trying to provide the most positive experience possible.

[00:40:22] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:40:23] T Adeola Osinubi: So, and we’ll see how that plays out.

[00:40:25] Matt Bailey: Yeah, that, that killed Wikipedia. Uh…

[00:40:28] T Adeola Osinubi: Yeah.

[00:40:28] Matt Bailey: ‘Cause I think most of those came from Wikipedia. I, that’s been my experience, so…

[00:40:33] T Adeola Osinubi: Yeah.

[00:40:33] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:40:34] T Adeola Osinubi: It just, it just drug a knife right across it’s throat and it was, it killed a lot of stuff. But, to your point, if, if, if all you need is that, then okay, you got it right there, but you didn’t even click. So, that made it really, really hard to prove your value internally…

[00:40:50] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:40:50] T Adeola Osinubi: …because I mean, let’s be frank. Like, like SEO is one of those things where, unlike paid search, it’s not like you get a dollar in and a dollar out.

[00:40:59] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:40:59] T Adeola Osinubi: You can invest in an SEO program, and not see any result for a year. But…

[00:41:06] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:41:06] T Adeola Osinubi: …it’s one of those things, once those pipes start flowing, I mean, you, you could be in good. The analogy I give is, um, and I stole this from one of Robert Kiyosaki’s book, I can’t remember which one, um, hauling buckets of water versus building a pipeline. Right?

[00:41:23] Matt Bailey: Great, great example.

[00:41:23] T Adeola Osinubi: If you haul buckets, if you’ve just run near, get the water, run back, um, that’s very easy to prove, and that’s quick, and it’s like, “Okay, I’ll haul this many buckets and blah, blah, blah,” versus bill, you know, dredging up things and laying pipe, and then you gotta do all these other stuff, and building codes, it takes a lot longer, but the great thing about building a pipeline, as opposed to hauling buckets, is that, you know, hauling buckets is a young man’s game. Like, you ain’t got but one back, you ain’t got but two spare knees, you know, once arthritis comes knocking, it’s like, then what? You know what I mean? And so, it is the truth.

[00:42:05] Matt Bailey: It is. It is.

[00:42:06] T Adeola Osinubi: And it’s like, you can only keep that up for so long.

[00:42:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah, you’re talking to someone who’s lost both his knees here, so yeah, absolutely. I’d got a laugh at that. That is such a great analogy. Such a great analogy. That is, exactly, because SEO starts by building frameworks. It, you know, it strips down. What’s the architecture? What are we building? So, we’re developing foundation, we’re creating, then, the framework, and then building out towards a goal. And I love it when people would be like, “Oh, what’s the ROI on this?” Like, for what? The next 10 years?

[00:42:43] T Adeola Osinubi: That’s the wrong question to, and, and, and, and it’s one of those things, I know we’re talking about SEO, but let’s, let’s, let’s pause.

[00:42:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:42:48] T Adeola Osinubi: Let’s double click on that real quick, because that’s one of the things that it, it, it, it sets my teeth on edge every time I hear it, because let’s talk about what ROI actually is. ROI is a accounting term used in finance.

[00:43:03] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:43:03] T Adeola Osinubi: So, what does that mean? In order for me to prove ROI, I need to have information not only about the sales, but I also need to have data about the cost. And if you don’t give me access to that, or if our program isn’t geared towards sales, then there’s no way for me to prove ROI.

[00:43:25] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[00:43:26] T Adeola Osinubi: So, your, your, your, so if our goal, let’s say the campaign goal is awareness, um, or perception, or brand or something like that.

[00:43:36] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:43:36] T Adeola Osinubi: That is not an ROI goal.

[00:43:38] Matt Bailey: I hear ya.

[00:43:40] T Adeola Osinubi: Now, it brings value, like there’s value in being, just like, you know, having a billboard on the side of the road. There’s value in awareness campaigns. There’s value in brand awareness. There’s, there’s value to that. But if you’re looking for, I put $1 in, how many dollars did I get back? Well, how many people was in the car when they drove by? Like, like, how in God’s name would I know that, you know what I mean? And so, it’s just…

[00:44:07] Matt Bailey: Oh, I know. I know it. Keep on it. Yeah.

[00:44:10] T Adeola Osinubi: Uh, it, it’s one of those things where it’s like you’re, it’s called managing up when you’re dealing with, either internally with a boss or a client, you have to manage up and you have to respect the fact that listen, these are not dumb people. Let’s, let’s say that. And I want to be reverent to that. There is a reason why they are the EVP, the director, the VP, the CEO, whoever they would be.

That being said, we are in a very different space right now, and what you’re going to run into, is that oftentimes, you’re going to be the most sophisticated person in the room when it comes to this particular discipline.

[00:44:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:44:49] T Adeola Osinubi: And this is what I tell my students. And so, you have to respect the fact that they’re doing the best that they can and whatnot, but you have to stand firm on the fact that you are the subject matter expert, and there’s a reason why you’re in the room, and you, too, have the, the company’s best interest at heart. And you, you need to be able to really, like, walk them through why this isn’t the right question, that you’re, they’re not asking the right question ’cause they don’t know that.

[00:45:22] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:45:22] T Adeola Osinubi: They don’t know they’re not asking the right question.

[00:45:24] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:45:25] T Adeola Osinubi: And it’s, it, and again, I want to be respectful to that, because there, again, there’s a lot of value in pre-information age acumen, but it, it’s, it, it doesn’t always translate on a, like one for one basis. Does that make sense?

[00:45:41] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. This is why I made the transition out of agency work into training because even when I had the agency, I felt like 40% of our time was education. That we were constantly teaching people, you know, the ROI question, and, and it is, well, building a website and optimizing it is not a campaign.

You’re building an, a business asset. And if you were to go buy, uh, a large business asset of this value, you could depreciate it over five years. It’s the same way with your, your website. We’re building an asset here, and to recover is going to take some time, and then it will be a source of revenue.

And, and so just, yeah, but we spent most of our time training the people that we were working for, our, our clients. And that’s what turned me into going training full-time is just the demand for this information is not going away. It’s just going to increase more and more, and to your point when we started, and, and now it’s hit the accelerator. So, uh, teaching people, just even how to talk about SEO and what it is, uh, even after 20 some years, it’s still young. Most people, especially, you know, in management, they’re still trying to figure out what this thing is, uh, and get their arms around it.

[00:47:09] T Adeola Osinubi: For sure, like when I first went to, uh, get my degree in digital marketing, someone, and this hurt my feelings, um, but they, they were like, you know, “A degree in Facebook is stupid.” And they said that to me.

[00:47:22] Matt Bailey: Oh no.

[00:47:23] T Adeola Osinubi: Like, “A degree in Facebook is stupid.” Like, like, and even in the earlier days, it’s like, when you were getting clients, it’s like, some higher ups were like, “Oh wait, what, why would we pay somebody to pay off?

‘Cause, ’cause just because of what, how Facebook started, that it started only for college students, and a lot of senior leaders’ minds, that’s how they view it. As, as something, the kids do.

[00:47:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Right. Right.

[00:47:46] T Adeola Osinubi: You know what I mean? And even after the IPO and the billions of dollars, you still have a segment that just, it, you might as well be talking Yiddish to them, and they, they don’t understand it, but you have to get past that because at the end of the day, like it or not, when you talk about demographics, baby boomers control most of the wealth in this country, and baby boomers are the majority of senior leadership. And so, they’re the ones in these positions of power. And so, you can’t come in there, all tech bro, and condescending, like, like, “Check it out dude…

[00:48:22] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:48:23] T Adeola Osinubi: …just, just let me do my thing.” Like, that’s not gonna work.

[00:48:25] Matt Bailey: No. No.

[00:48:26] T Adeola Osinubi: It’s not gonna work.

[00:48:27] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:48:28] T Adeola Osinubi: Um, so, so yeah, education is everything. Education is everything.

[00:48:32] Matt Bailey: Well, and you’re bringing up a really good point, and this is something I don’t think gets talked about enough, and that is the soft skills of selling, and really just building rapport with people. I mean, you, you’ve been through this, I’ve been through this, that, you know, from the agency perspective, from working with people older than you, you need to learn how to sell, you need to learn how to be humble, you need to learn how to explain without making someone feel stupid.

Those skills are going to be just as important, if not more important than your SEO skills, because if you’re going to make money doing this, you’re selling to people, people who make the decisions. And so, your sales skills and your people skills are going to be more necessary than ever in order to do that.

[00:49:28] T Adeola Osinubi: And there, and there’s always, like I said, there’s a lot of value that can be gleaned from just the knowledge and the experience that they bring to the table. Like I, I tell folks all the time, like there’s a reason CVS or whoever can charge $5 million for a 32nd spot. You know what I mean? I get it that you only watch Netflix or whatever, but don’t think for a second that there’s not value there.

[00:50:00] And they were doing this before Netflix came along, because I, I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve overheard of just people saying, “TV’s dead, man. TV’s dead, and it’s always going to be over the top.” TV is $70 billion.

[00:50:11] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:50:11] T Adeola Osinubi: With a B.

[00:50:12] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:50:13] T Adeola Osinubi: And, and it’s been $70 billion for a while now. And is it declining? Yes, because the, you know, the demographics are aging, but TV has proven remarkably resilient, remarkably resilient. And if, if you can just be hum, like I said, be humble and say, “Okay, what can I learn from this? And how does it ladder up to business objectives?” ‘Cause if you can ladder up to a business objective that they care about, then you’re, you’re in there because frankly in terms of KPIs or whatever, ROI is just a low hanging fruit.

[00:50:48] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes.

[00:50:49] T Adeola Osinubi: Right? It’s the low hang, ’cause, ’cause it’s very straightforward. You have other business metrics that are less so, but that does not make them less important, it just means that they ladder up differently. And one of the things that, um, I recommend all of, in all of my classes, I don’t give a whole lot of homework, especially when it’s reading, ’cause you know, some of my class just frankly ain’t going to read it, but I tell them, like, one of the books you should get is called, “The Tyranny of Metrics.” And I love that book because “The Tyranny of Metrics,” the one sentence summary is, “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured, matters.”

[00:51:31] Matt Bailey: Right. I’ve heard that.

[00:51:32] T Adeola Osinubi: Right?

[00:51:33] Matt Bailey: It’s great.

[00:51:34] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, that, that’s the one sentence summary of the book, it’s like, focus on what matters, not trying to, you know, to use a phrase, teach to the test.

[00:51:44] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:51:45] T Adeola Osinubi: Like, so don’t, don’t teach to the test just so that you have a bunch of folks that can regurgitate information and pass the test, but can’t critically think their way out of a paper bag. Like that, that doesn’t, that’s of no benefit.

[00:51:58] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:51:58] T Adeola Osinubi: You know what I mean? They, they’ve “passed the test,” but they can only perform in very specific situations under very specific circumstances. If you throw them out in the wild, and it’s something that’s not on the test, they’re like, “Well, now what?” You know what I mean?

[00:52:15] Matt Bailey: Yes. Absolutely.

[00:52:15] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, it’s, it’s, it’s just, yeah.

[00:52:17] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. That is so, so good. I, I love that. And, yeah, I’m going to put a link to that book in the notes as well, because I think that is a, a great way, because even teaching analytics, you know, the, where I start is, “Well, what do you want to do? Let’s define the question first before we just, let’s, before we even open analytics, what are we trying to do?”

And because most people, they open it up, they freeze, they have no idea, and there’s so much. Well, yeah. What do you want? And, and it starts with questions, critical thinking, leading the process through, “Here’s my goal. Here’s how I’m going to accomplish it.” Well, you’ve just built a framework, and with that, we can measure.

So that’s, I, I love that. I love that. That is a great, great example. Let me ask, so what’s another myth? We, we have, we’ve gone, we’ve gone so far off and, and, but we’re still hitting myths ’cause I think a lot of this, we’re, we’re getting into bigger myths of selling SEO or rationalizing it. So, I love it. Uh, but what’s something you see still popping up that we should watch out for?

[00:53:21] T Adeola Osinubi: Something I see that has a lot of staying power, and it’s actually very disconcerting is link farms. So, or, or poor backlinking strategy. So, just to define terms, a backlink is, let’s say that, you know, Matt writes a blog article about my business and he links to my site. He just provided me with a backlink because it links back to my site. Backlinks are a ranking factor, and we know that this is a ranking factor. That being said, the quality of the link matters a whole bunch more…

[00:53:59] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:54:00] T Adeola Osinubi: …than the quantity. So, something that is again, black hat, is what are called link farms, where you, you just spin up a bunch of low-quality trash sites that just are specifically for the purposes of linking to other sites. They don’t add any value, they don’t really, you know, do anything outside of that, with the, with the rationale being, “Okay, if I get all of these incoming links, then that should boost up my score.” And Google is way, they’re hip to that game.

[00:54:34] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[00:54:34] T Adeola Osinubi: That’s an old school, black hat tactic, and it just doesn’t bear fruit anymore. I, uh, and I write about this in my book, in my second book. Was it my first book? My second book. I wrote about this in my second book, where at the time, this has to be, when was this? 2009, 2010.

I was the, um, wholesaling chairperson for the, uh, GDREIA sub-group, so GDREIA, I know it sounds like a venereal disease. It’s not. Um, GDREIA stands for the, “Greater Dayton Real Estate Investor Association.” So, the acronym is REIA, R E I A stands for, “Real Estate Investor Association.” And I was in the, you know, Greater Dayton area…

[00:55:14] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:55:14] T Adeola Osinubi: So, GDREIA. Anyway, they bring in this hot shot consultant from Baltimore, who’s um, you know, gets everybody on page one and blah, blah, blah, and he submits a bid to do some digital marketing for GDREIA, and at the time I had, no, this was in 2012.

[00:55:35] Matt Bailey: Ah.

[00:55:36] T Adeola Osinubi: I had just started my, uh, degree program at Full Sail, so it was around 2012, 2013. And so, because, you know, I was matriculating through the thing, they had me take a look at it, and this man put a link farm right there in the big, like, like it had an illustration and everything.

[00:55:54] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:55:54] T Adeola Osinubi: Like, like, yeah, we’re going to link here…

[00:55:55] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:55:55] T Adeola Osinubi: …and link there, and like, and I’m like, “What in the what?” And, and so of course I was a chairperson, I was not on the board, so I, I could give a recommendation, but I did not have any decision-making authority, but I made it very clear to them, like, “Yeah, I, I, I cannot in good confidence recommend this strategy because this is, you know, blah, blah, blah.”

[00:56:19] Matt Bailey: Good. Good.

[00:56:19] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, they ended up taking my recommendation and they did not retain his services thankfully, but yeah, you have actual agencies out here doing, and, and it’s one of those things where, and again, not being disparaging toward my elders ’cause I would never do that, but at the time, the board member of GDREIA were, you know, they were AARP members. Let’s put it that way.

And so, they didn’t know, ’cause, ’cause they were going to do it. They were a hundred percent going to do it until I was like, “No, we’re not doing this.” And they’re like, “Oh, okay.” You know? And it’s, it’s uh, so yeah, quantity over, quality over quantity. One link from the New York Times or wherever is exponentially…

[00:57:09] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:57:10] T Adeola Osinubi: …more valuable than a bazillion links from whomever, and it all goes back to the fundamentals of SEO. It’s relationship building.

[00:57:21] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:57:21] T Adeola Osinubi: It’s providing value over time. Being someone worthy of writing about like, like what are you actually trying to do? Um, so yeah, that’s one I wish would go the way of the dinosaur, but it, it has proven peskily…

[00:57:39] Matt Bailey: Oh, it’s got legs.

[00:57:40] T Adeola Osinubi: Peskily a word? I don’t think peskily is a word. It’s pestering. Um, anyway, it’s more resilient…

[00:57:46] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:57:46] T Adeola Osinubi: …than it should be. And it pesters me.

[00:57:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah. That’s what I said, it’s got legs for some reason. And, and to actually boldly put it into a proposal, uh, just blows my mind. So, whenever I see proposals, whenever I talk to people about the SEO, if your strategy is not marketing, and by marketing, I mean PR, uh, getting mentions in publishing, in magazines, in newspapers, industry articles, if, if that’s not part of your SEO package, they put in link building.

And I’m trying to help people understand that link building, there is an essential development piece to that, where you want to make sure, yeah, name, address, phone number, all line up in all the places where you’re cited. That anyone who links to you is linking to the correct domain. And, and I sit, there are just basics, but then above that, it’s marketing, it’s PR. That is what will build high quality long lasting great links that will impact you. It’s not this link prospecting or link building.

When I see that, it’s like a big red flag, and, but again, it’s, when business owners, like you were saying, how else would they know? They don’t deal with this every day, and so it just, “Well, I guess it’s one of those things,” you know, “that I don’t understand, but we’re paying them to do it.” So, it, I think it’s going to be around for a little while longer, but we’ll see. I mean, the message of, you know, one high-quality beats thousands or millions of low-quality, you would think that would be a great message to get out there. But, uh, it seems to have a hard time.

[00:59:27] T Adeola Osinubi: And, and a lot of it is just, again, I think that the, the industry is very young, and it’s unfortunately one of those growing pains that is, is, is proving more troublesome than we thought it’d be, because I, my hope, anyway, is that once we reach a more mature state, and, and folks sorta get out of that, that this will go away because another one that, that is just very resilient that I hate is keyword stuffing.

[01:00:00] So, keyword stuffing is just cramming in as much keywords as, as, as humanly possible with the hope that if you just repeat the word a lot, that you’ll rank highly. And what folks used to do, and again, I was guilty of this in the past, like, before I saw the light and came over to the good side, but I, um, you, what you would do is, you would take these keywords, and you would, you know, dump them in the footer or, or some place, and then let’s say the footer was black. And then you’d also turn the text of the words black so it’s black on black, and so you can’t see it. So, a human, if the human being goes to the site and see, well I say black ’cause it’s in the dark, you can’t see anything, but you, you get my point.

[01:00:43] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Absolutely.

[01:00:43] T Adeola Osinubi: It, it’s going to be the same color of the page. So, you, you’ve, you’ve dumped all this text on the page, and let’s say it’s, you know, fuchsia, turquoise, whatever, and you turn the thing turquoise as well, it’s not going to show up, but the, the bots crawling can still see it. The keyword stuffing, that needs to go away.

[01:01:06] Matt Bailey: Oh, I got, so I got to tell you about keyword stuffing and, and kind of what kept me away from that. Uh, first of all, it was one of those things that you’re like, “This just doesn’t sound right.” But then, so one of my friends who was very technically savvy, but he had impaired vision, and he uses a screen reader. And one day he calls me over, he’s like, “You, I want you to see this. I know you’re building websites and things like that. I want you to see this and hear it.”

I go over there, and he, and he loads a page up that was doing exactly what you said. They had the text the same color as the background. He uses a screen reader, and screen reader reads the text regardless of whether or not, and it’s the thing, it reads the text that’s in the code.

And as soon as he did that, it was just, you know, my jaw was on the floor, just, wow, that is terrible. And all of a sudden, I’m realizing, but this is what the search engine sees. And there’s no context to it. It’s just lists of words, and, when you stuff like that. And so, you know, I, I’ve, uh, recorded that and played that for other people.

Just, it’s like, “If you’re stuffing, this is what your vision impaired users will hear, who use screen readers, this is what search engines will see.” And my contention, well, especially now, you, you know, with some of these updates, yeah, it’s going to lower your rankings because it’s over-optimization. And yeah, I’m amazed that stuffing is still around.

I mean, we did that in the 90s. It was, because, and, and that’s the thing, people believed that there was a magical keyword density. That if I had the word on the page a certain amount of times, it would hit a certain percentage, and that would immediately put me in the top rankings. Uh, to which I always asked, “Well, what if everyone is using the same percentage?” I believe it was like 5.3% on AltaVista or something like that. So, that’s a, it’s a bit of trivia there. I think we can take and, and apply that however you will.

[01:03:15] T Adeola Osinubi: Yeah. And I’m, but I’m glad you brought that up because, and this is something that I tell my classes, the Americans with Disability Act, ADA, if your site complies to the best practices for optimizing for someone who’s visually impaired or someone like Stephen Hawking, or, like, you’re automatically, like, hitting the best practices that you’re going to find on whatever.

[01:03:39] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[01:03:39] T Adeola Osinubi: So, I always tell people, if, if, if you optimize for the least of us, then by definition, you’re going to be on the top tier. I’m not saying best, but you’re going to be in the top tier because a lot of folks don’t do that, because this isn’t necessarily a, a like, bad SEO, uh, well, it kinda is, but probably one of the, the most low hanging fruit is like, folks don’t fill out their own text and they don’t fill out their meta descriptions.

So, meta description, metadata is data about data. Right? And so, that’s the alt text for an image, because as we said before, the web is largely text-based. Um, with Google MUM, it’s getting better at that because Google MUM is multimodal, which means it can understand images and texts, uh, and videos, but at, at its base, Google can’t understand images. You have to tell Google what’s in the image. Now, it’s getting better at that, but it, at its base, again, it’s a text-based sort of thing.

[01:04:39] Matt Bailey: Right.

[01:04:39] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, fill out your, uh, alt text, fill out your description, do your H1, all that good stuff, and if you do that, then someone like your friend whose vision impaired that, will tell, “Okay, this is a picture of a dog,” or, “This is a picture of a dog chasing a Frisbee,” or something like that. And again, low hanging fruit. This, this is not like earth-shattering…

[01:05:04] Matt Bailey: Right? Right? No.

[01:05:05] T Adeola Osinubi: …sort of stuff, but it’s just, people don’t do it.

[01:05:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:05:08] T Adeola Osinubi: People don’t do it. It’s, it’s kind of like flossing, even if you’re a dentist. Like, flossing fixes a lot of stuff and keeps you good, but people just flat don’t do it.

[01:05:17] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[01:05:17] T Adeola Osinubi: And so, that, then you get cavities, now you got dentures and what not, and you ain’t got no teeth, and, when you’re 50, because it’s like, “Floss. All I need you to do is floss. That’s it. Literally floss your teeth. Okay?” Now I’ll say the same. Fill out your alt texts.

[01:05:33] Matt Bailey: That’s great. I have to wonder how many of these, I would call them shortcuts. How many of these shortcuts are because you didn’t do it properly in the first place? You didn’t build a good structure. You didn’t build a good plan. And because of that, you don’t have good H1s, you don’t have good H2s, you don’t have good content organization, you don’t have good design, you don’t have a good call to action, and so, because of that, because of that, you’re not ranking well.

And so, I think there’s a lot of these other activities that people employ because they didn’t focus, you know, the, the most part of their time on the most important elements. And so, now it has to be fixed with all these other things that maybe tries to fix that technically or through some tricks or something rather than doing it right the first time.

[01:06:27] T Adeola Osinubi: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It really is. It, it’s said, it’s cliche, but the older I get, the older, the more I come to realize that cliches are cliches for a reason. Like, like there, there’s a, “there” there, there’s a reason why this saying or ism came to be.

[01:06:45] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[01:06:46] T Adeola Osinubi: Right?

[01:06:46] Matt Bailey: I heard it the other day, it was a little different, it was, uh, you know, three hours of troubleshooting saved me 15 minutes of reading the instructions. Uh…

[01:06:55] T Adeola Osinubi: I like that. I like that. That’s hilarious. Oh, I’m, I’m going to steal that. I’ll give you credit twice, then it’s mine.

[01:07:01] Matt Bailey: I, it was a meme. I, it was a meme. I, I can’t take responsibility for that, but it was, it was, it was exactly, and it was in the context of coding, too. So, it was just like, yeah, okay, yeah, I get it.

Hey, T, this has been, uh, it’s been a great, great time. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed here. I enjoy talking with you so much. It’s a, it’s been a blast.

[01:07:24] T Adeola Osinubi: My pleasure, and thanks so much for having me. I always get so much out of our conversations, and looking forward to the next one.

[01:07:30] Matt Bailey: Same here. I love what you bring and, you know, working with kids and, uh, teaching, you’ve got some great experiences and, uh, love it as well on my side. So, yes, we will be following up. Uh, T, real quick, like I always give everyone, where can they find you?

[01:07:48] T Adeola Osinubi: Best place for me is on LinkedIn. I will put my LinkedIn description link into the, uh, give it to Matt to put in the description ’cause it is quite the tongue twister if you’re not from Nigeria, but yeah, LinkedIn is the best place for me, as well as stemwhispers.com.

[01:08:07] Matt Bailey: And I’ll give you a plug, too, check out T’s book “Straight Outta Context.” Uh, great, great book, uh, for explaining just the value of education and learning about just what we’re talking about today, digital marketing and SEO. T, thanks again. This has been a real pleasure.

[01:08:22] T Adeola Osinubi: Pleasure was all mine. Thank you so much.

[01:08:24] Matt Bailey: Hey listener, thank you, also, for tuning in, listening to another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup, hope to see you next time. And as always, have a great cup of coffee as you’re listening to the program, be sure to drop us a line, a comment, a rating, everything you do helps out so that we can get the word out about how to do quality online marketing. Thanks again.

Featured Guest:

T Adeola Osinubi

Marketer | Educator | Author | Speaker

LinkedIn profile:  T. Adeola Osinubi | LinkedIn

Website: STEM Whisperers

Book: Straight Outta Context

Listen to T. Osinubi on an earlier episode:

Endless Coffee Cup: “Straight Outta Context”

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