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The Evolution of Mobile Search Marketing with Cindy Krum

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Cindy Krum

Cindy Krum is a true pioneer in the field of search engine optimisation, with a career in digital marketing that traces back to 2003. As the Founder & CEO of MobileMoxie, she has been at the forefront of the industry’s evolution, particularly in the shift towards mobile-first strategies. Cindy's journey in the web industry began with building websites, but her foresight in recognising the potential of mobile SEO has firmly established her as an authoritative voice in this niche. Since 2005, she has been shaping the discourse around SEO, imparting her wisdom at various national and international events and contributing significantly to the digital marketing lexicon with concepts such as bidirectional annotation and the optimization of m.sites.

Under Cindy’s visionary leadership, MobileMoxie emerged as a game-changer in the digital marketing realm, especially with the seismic shift to mobile-first indexing around 2017-2018. Under her stewardship, MobileMoxie introduced the industry's first mobile-focused SEO toolset, revolutionising the way digital marketers approach mobile search and page analysis. These innovative tools, including the Page-oscope and the SERPerator, now exist as Chrome Extensions, making them accessible to a broader range of digital marketing professionals seeking to harness the power of mobile SEO.

Recognised as one of the top 10 most influential SEOs by The USA Today in 2022, Cindy's expertise and influence extend beyond the boardroom and the conference stage. She is a revered figure in the digital marketing and growth communities, lending her insights to respected publications such as PC World and Internet Retailer. Her thought leadership is sought after for her deep understanding of how technology, the Internet of Things, and search intersect with emerging trends like voice search and artificial intelligence.

Beyond her consultancy and speaking engagements, Cindy is also an accomplished author. Her book "Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are" serves as a testament to her extensive knowledge and stands as a guide for businesses looking to navigate the ever-changing mobile landscape. Translated into multiple languages, the book solidifies Cindy's role as a global influencer in the digital marketing industry, continually driving innovation and understanding at the crossroads of technology and consumer behaviour.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Cindy Krum

Watch the interview

(click on the 'cc' icon to view subtitles)

Listen to the podcast

(53 minutes long)

The unscripted questions Mark A Preston asked Cindy Krum

  • How did you start in the SEO industry, and when was that, Cindy?

  • What has your SEO career journey been like?

  • How does search differ between mobile and desktop?

  • How has user experience changed over time on mobile?

  • Have you seen the mobile SERP changing a lot?

  • Do you think that it is getting far harder to predict impact?

  • What is MobileMoxie?

  • Why is it important for SEOs to understand entities?

  • Do you think that Google is a lot better at predicting intent based on an entity?

  • What's your thoughts when it comes to keyword search volume?

  • Why is it important for SEOs to understand the meaning behind the words?

  • Why is the after sales journey of retargeting ads, all broken?

  • What should SEOs be doing to protect the future of service based businesses?

  • Are Google trying to understand the specific interests of a user?

  • Do you think that there will be less of a focus on keyword volume moving forward?

  • Why is it super important to get to the point with your content?

  • What's your thoughts on passage indexing?

  • Why is it important for SEOs to think beyond just Google?

  • What's your thoughts on the SEO checklist mindset?

  • How can SEOs predict the impact when the SERP is so varied and changing?

  • With predicting the impact from SEO getting harder, how can SEOs get buy-in from their CEO or CFO?

  • What do your SEO Chrome extensions do?

  • Can SEOs sign up for a free trial on MobileMoxie?

The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Cindy Krum

Mark A Preston: Welcome to the unscripted SEO interview podcast. Yes. It's 100% unscripted, 100 percent unrehearsed, 100% unedited, and 100% real. I'm your host, Mark A Preston. Our guest today is the founder and CEO of MobileMoxie and known as Mobile Marketing Evangelist. Please welcome Cindy Krum.

Cindy Krum: Hello. Hello.

Mark A Preston: For the people watching and listening to this who don't really know who you are, please could you give an overview of how you started in the industry and when it was and your journey from there to now?

Cindy Krum: Yeah, sure. So I've been doing SEO for a really long time. I've been speaking about SEOs and mobile SEO since about 2005. And before that I was doing, I was building websites. So yeah, I've been in the web industry and digital marketing since at least 2003, maybe even earlier than that. But now, we had the major shift that started in 2017, 2018, the shift to mobile first indexing. And that was a big deal before that I was helping people with something called from SEO called bi directional annotation or optimizing m.sites. Now I'm focused more on understanding and entities and explaining to SEOs how changes in technology and the kind of, Oh, I don't know. Internet of things and search will converge in the long run with voice. And those kinds of things and why entities are important. So the AI stuff fits in there, too. It's an interesting space.

Mark A Preston: It certainly is. And how do you see the mobile side of things different from how people search on desktop?

Cindy Krum: IT used to be more different than it is now. And it used to be that desktop was more than mobile. But of course, we know that switched in about 2015 2016. And now there's more mobile searches than desktop. So even though a lot of tools still focus on that desktop data because it's easier to get. The reality is that users are Experiencing mobile search results much more than they are desktop. And so that's changing user behavior. So it's not just the layout of the search result changes, which it does. Everything's stacked and the things that Google adds into a search result. Push regular results down much further, and that's much more impactful. But also things like how big the result is in a mobile search result, how much space it takes up, are there images, are there expanders, all of that. Can impact how much how many clicks you get because our fingers are naturally drawn to the interactivity and the pictures more so than just text. And that's especially true on mobile. So it's the results to change the layout changes. And also the propensity to click through and the user experience changes.

Mark A Preston: Regarding the user experience, how over time has the, has users changed with searching on mobiles?

Cindy Krum: It's a good question. I think It's less about users changing and more about Google changing what users are seeing, and that's changing the interaction. So I think that many industries are seeing, even when you see increasing rankings, more keywords in top positions, some industries are seeing decreasing clicks. And that's because the massive buildout of the knowledge graph, the massive buildout of people also ask. And other kinds of things that look better in a mobile search result, get more eyeballs and actually answer questions. And so people the result is people have been less likely to click.

Mark A Preston: Now, the other day I was doing a random search. For a local not a local business, but a local entity. And I'm just looking and it was just jumbled up. It was like, there was four ads at the top, then there was two organic, then there was the people all to us, then under that, there was the maps, then seven other. List organic listings. And it just seems though Google are testing lots of things at the moment on how the layout is and shifting things around a lot. What have you seen lately?

Cindy Krum: Absolutely. Things are jumbled. There's a lot of testing going on. But also, I think there's a like we need to start talking about the elephant in the room, which is that like search console and all of Google's reporting doesn't talk about these things that are included in the search results that push organic down. And most SEO tools don't either. And they just count the way Google wants us to count and so they say you're in position three or they say you're in position two and you think you know that what that means. Yeah. But you might not if you're below two or three ads in a map pack and an app pack or a map pack and people also ask or what have you, you think you know how much visibility traffic, whatever to expect, but it's very different. And like I said, those things that Google is adding in tend to be more interactive and get more clicks or they give the answer away. From the get go. The other thing that's happening a lot right now. And that no one's paying attention to is Google has really been going after Amazon in the e commerce space, adding what I call in product grids and like a map pack goes to the GMB, the Google My Business or the Google Business Profile. The product grids which are organized through Merchant Center. They land usually on a product knowledge graph. And so there's Google getting in between your listing and the click or the final click, right? And giving you ways to transact directly through Google or with competitors. So let's say you do a search for a lawnmower. You might have a product grid with a couple different lawnmowers from a couple different sellers. You click on one that you like, and when you get to the knowledge graph, it was sold by one company, but in the knowledge graph, that company is there, and so are their competitors, and maybe their competitor has a better price, or more star rankings or can deliver it today or what have you and so you have the opportunity slash risk of being hijacked your user getting hijacked on the way to try and click on your thing that your content ranked but still they can leak out because they get to the knowledge graph and then maybe they click elsewhere. Or they see a bad review and don't ever get to your site. And so how would you know that happened? That's there's not great tracking on any of that. If you're looking on in merchant center, you might have a sense for it, but you're definitely not going to get a sense for that in search console. And these things are hard to quantify because they come in packs of sometimes four, sometimes six, but sometimes there's multiple product packs in one result. So you'll have a blue link and then a four pack and then two blue links and then a six pack and And then a couple more organic and then another product grid. And so the product grid is happening three times in the result with a total of let's say 20 or 15 possible products for someone to click on. That's more results jammed into one Or more click opportunities jammed into the same amount of space, essentially. And so the clicks are, by their nature, just going to defray because you're spreading the clicks off more click opportunities.

Mark A Preston: It's a wild scenario that's out there and I think it's trying to predict impact is going harder and harder with things constantly changing.

Cindy Krum: Just trying to predict it, trying to report on it. I don't see any of the top tools. Talking about how are we counting when there's a product grid? Do we do it like chapter and verse like row one, this is position five, row one, position three is that how we're doing it? Or is it, anyone even thinking about it? Or are we just counting this oh, it's just another like people also ask, just pretend it's not there, and that's ludicrous. Because Whether you're there or not matters, and if you're not there, and you're just below it, that matters a lot.

Mark A Preston: Certainly. Regarding Mobile Moxie, please could you explain what it is?

Cindy Krum: Mobile Moxie is the company that I started in about 2008, because Mobile SEO seemed important, and no one was really talking about it. And so I decided to start talking about it. And at the time, mobile SEO was quite different from traditional SEO. Now they've converged more. But then I'm focusing on more the way Google thinks of mobile compared to the way most people do. And for a while, I've been saying that Google thinks about mobile as more about being portable than about being device oriented. And so when they launched mobile first indexing, they talked about the mobile crawler, but immediately I said no this really seems like it's about entities and entity understanding. And why would you like. If it's about crawling, why didn't they call it mobile first crawling instead of mobile first indexing? And what it was it was about entities and reorganizing the index based around entities rather than based around countries and domains. They got rid of the country separations and tried to get rid of the language separations. And When you understand something at an entity level, it's language agnostic. And so keywords from every language can describe it. And that means Google can understand things in a very much more holistic way and a faster way. They can take what they know about this topic from all the languages and be like, ah, I see, I really understand this or these things don't match. Maybe this entity is understood differently in that place than this place. And they can get a really comprehensive understanding of the world. And it seems like that's what was going on. And The way I take mobile in mobile first indexing was that it was making the entities and the entity concepts movable, portable, exportable three dimensional. It was making them real and modular rather than static and stuck in this. instance, associated with this domain and what have you where it was saying, we know what this is in this country. Let's cross apply that over there too. Cause we know, these, this translates this way. So it's probably at least related, so mobile in that interpretation of the word is more about the portability of information and the cross application and understand of understanding.

Mark A Preston: There's been a lot of talk more recently about the entities and everything, but it's not something new. The, it's always been there. I just feel as though Google's got better understanding the entities surrounding things.

Cindy Krum: It's been there since Hummingbird. Hummingbird was the first algorithm update that Google launched to try and understand entities and understand semantics. That's what people have agreed on in terms of what Google has said about how their algorithms work. But Hummingbird was more focused on local and it was trying to understand discrete businesses and Concepts related to businesses, but it wasn't in by any means as broad. As the way it eventually rolled out in mobile first indexing. So you're right. This concept for a long time was really hard for SEOs to latch on to because keyword research has been the core of the beginning of every SEO projects. Since, since the beginning of SEO and saying yes, keywords are important, but there's something before keywords and SEOs were mind blown. Like how is there something before keywords? There's nothing before keywords. But there is.

Mark A Preston: Do you think it's they have to change the mindset in the industry where they're not just looking at keywords and data and search traffic and all this, but they have to understand words themselves. They have to understand what people are searching, but the meanings behind things rather than this tool says this keyword gets so many searches per month, so we'll write something about that keyword.

Cindy Krum: Yeah, and and that's why at the same time that entities became a buzzword in the SEO industry, so did intent, right? Because we were getting to what was just below the keywords, which is understanding, right? And understanding a keyword is different from having a keyword. And understanding a keyword means that you get. signals about intent. And now what Google's trying to do with their mum update or their mum system is string these entity plus intent groupings together into a story or a journey is what they call it and say, okay, if someone starts here, then they're most likely next step is going to be this. And we can start planning for that. And potentially surfacing things or preferencing things that meet that need faster. And I think That's an important change. It's not gotten a lot of attention. But it's also important that Google is looking at journeys in a very cross device way. So trying to group my behaviour that's related to a specific topic between my phone and my Google Home Hub or Nest Hub and my desktop and my laptop and saying she's logged in all these places and she did this here and that there and we think she's going to finally go buy those shoes at this store that she looked up yesterday. Maybe she needs the directions or maybe it's time to show a coupon or I think that's where Google wants to get.

Mark A Preston: Very personalized journey that I think it's gotten better. There's many a times where I've been looking at something and next thing, you seem to be on a journey towards it. And I think one of the things I've spotted though, is You've been on that journey, you bought the product, but then you still get thrown back to the journey as though you still want to buy it even though you bought that product.

Cindy Krum: Oh, so you're talking about like retargeting ads?

Mark A Preston: Yeah, retargeting ads, plus the actual, especially on mobile, going through and what in personalization around things. It just seems to be that. The journey up to sales is really good. Then after sales, it's Oh where are we to put you now? What would you show you?

Cindy Krum: Yeah. And so the retargeting of ads and the ads that kind of follow you around, that's less, that may be Google, but it's less about Google and more about just how advertisers run their ad campaigns. And kind of the inability to reconcile things like when you convert offline, the digital world doesn't know about it yet. So yeah, that's going to be a difficult problem to solve and even more difficult is, when we lose all third party cookies. And then either the ads are just going to be not targeted and definitely not follow you around or you're going to have to opt in and then they might be even worse. That'll be interesting to see. But yeah, I think that the story or the journey that Is it's going to be critical to Google's next moves, whatever they are. And I think that's part of why we had this massive migration of everyone into G a four instead of updating universal analytics. They had to start over and that's partially to address the privacy concerns and the cookie concerns, but also to improve attribution that's cross channel and cross device because if Google can't prove the case with meaningful attribution that for their ads and even organic traffic, if they can't show that people How That what people are doing as marketers is working, even if it's a multi step process, then they're going to lose their funding. They're going to lose their base business model. So they've got to adapt. And that's why this was a horrible transition. I think for many people, not to say that Google didn't do a good job in the transition. I think they didn't do a great job. Maybe I think they were, they launched GA4 before it was ready. And it still feels like it's not ready. And it's still, is messing up everyone's metrics or many people's metrics. So I think that the transition and the product are both flawed right now. And that's a big threat to them in terms of are they going to be able to. Do what they need to do to continue to prove that they're the best digital marketing option for advertisers. And stuff like that. So that's all very interesting. And we're at this interesting kind of inflection point with AI, where again like Google, to be innovative and cool and lead the pack, but they're, they know where there's bread is buttered. And I think their bread is buttered moron. E commerce and making things that are really trackable. And so while the SEO is we're all focusing on S G E. And barred. I think Google is intentionally launching all of these shopping packs or product packs. That go through. Remember the Google product knowledge graph and all of that is easier for Google to track because they own it all. Like when they keep you in their ecosystem, they can funnel that all to GA4 better than the real world. So they're trying to quietly put more and more things in an ecosystem that they control, so that they can prove the. The profitability, think about YouTube videos and all of this consolidation that's happening around YouTube with YouTube TV and YouTube music. And now podcasts is getting rolled into that. And all of the entertainment space is getting put into this behemoth product that now works almost like a cable provider used to. If you're casting from your phone, you're getting TV ads, just like that, that could have just as easily run on a. Cable TV network. It's sometimes very sophisticated stuff. And all that's happening and not being commented on because everyone's looking at the new shiny thing.

Mark A Preston: Yes, there's certainly a new shiny thing syndrome going on. I think there always has been. I think it's better to focus on this new shiny thing than tackle reality and the problem itself in the background. Like for service based businesses. How are, what do SEOs that's working with service based businesses need to start thinking about to protect those businesses for like the future?

Cindy Krum: I, people tease me and have for years, but I am. bullish about voice search. I think that it's just not what they envision as voice search, but it's a real thing. In terms of asking assistance. To find the nearest plumber that's still open. If you have emergency plumbing problem or find the nearest locksmith or If it's those kinds of services, I think that's going to be huge. In terms of if Google can get the results to work and to understand voices well enough to filter things or to track history well enough to say do you want you called this plumber last time? Do you want to call them again? So I think Looking out for that, or at least staying aware of it and playing with the Google assistant devices and especially the ones with screens. Google made a big play this year at Google I O that was related to their chrome tablets. And or is it pixel tablets? Can't remember which one. But what it was the tablet automatically comes with a docking system and when the tablet's docked it becomes a Nest Hub. And so it becomes your assistant. So whenever it's charging, whenever you set it down to charge, it becomes a digital assistant that you can ask voice queries, you can use as your TV, you can use as your radio. And all you can use is your game system. So it's like, why would you buy the other devices if you're a college kid? If you can have a computer tablet TV game system and all of that all in one or all through YouTube and Google by just paying, your 10 here and your 10 their monthly fees to YouTube and game stuff and whatever. I think the younger generations might be much more open to that. If you think about like minimalism and all of the things that are, van life, whatever trendy tiny houses like they don't have time for all of those devices and that the kids don't have the money. And so I think there will be. I think Google's banking on that shift eventually happening where more and more things happen digitally controlled by voice in the cloud. And if I say, okay, device, turn the lights on or okay change the temperature SEOs don't think of that as a search, but Google does, because remember, Google has to know your context and know who you are, where you are, like temperature, where, like you could be in this house or that house, or turn on music, like which music do you want? This room or that room like it's on a much more micro level. And so they've got to search the entire world that they know about, even the entire world that they know about you, which could still be large, right? Maybe you tend to hang out in these five places that all have voice controlled stereo or lights or whatever they have to be like, okay. Where is he? He's in one of these two places, but he said bedroom, and only this one has a bedroom, so let's play the music there, or let's turn those lights on, right? That is a search, it's just not a search for textual information that has a website associated with it, it's a search of an even larger database. Does that make sense?

Mark A Preston: Yeah, it certainly does. I'm gonna say it's Google's trying to understand you as a person as well, in what you do to try and serve you better. It's not like before where You know, we could more or less guarantee that when we got ranked in position two, then everyone sees you're in position two, no matter what, where they are.

Cindy Krum: And without third party cookies that know exactly you, all of the advertisers, including Google, are going to be using these much larger, like data sets and cohorts. to be like, this person is in these 18 cohorts or these 18 user groups. And she likes dogs, but she also likes technology. And also likes learning about AI and that's maybe a small group but it's still based on these larger anonymized groups. And so they say, we're going to show ads based on the larger anonymized group and we're not going to identify her, but we're going to say, There's a person and she's part of these kind of anonymized group sets. And that seems like how Google's going to have to go forward. And so using new ways of getting to know a person and know their context might help Google stay at the cutting edge of ad targeting. And of course, that's all subject. I'm not a privacy expert. That could. All change that could change from country to country. Or I'll leave it open that I might be mischaracterizing it. But I think if I were Google, that's what I would be looking at in terms of how do I get to know people without using third party cookies? And how do I leverage my knowledge of them without using third party cookies or without compromising privacy?

Mark A Preston: So how do you see SEOs conducting research in the future? They got, say they got a new client, they don't have access to all their customers yet. Where should they start? What should they be thinking about in the, especially with the mobile. Side of things.

Cindy Krum: I think it's going to be less on the SEO is hopefully to do that kind of research and more on the companies to have a really strong idea of who their customers are and profiling their customers. And even when third party cookies are limited, you can use what you know about how a user interacts with your app and interacts with your website and you can use that. You just can't resell it. So hopefully custom companies are going to start to really hone in on their existing customer base and do a better job serving them. I'm sure that's what Google would say that they want.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. So do you think there's going to be less Focus on keyword search volume.

Cindy Krum: Yes, maybe. I think that if Google could push things the way that they would want, they would push Companies to do a better job engaging their existing customers both pre and post sale, because what you were saying about once you buy something the internet starts to fail you on that pro that purchase or it just annoys you. And I think There may be more opportunity for post sale support and engagement, because that's the other thing, if you look at what does the younger generation care about? They care about, more about the environment, minimizing waste, less cap, consumerism and stuff like that. So it's like you bought this top two years ago. How do you style it with the, the newest trends, those kinds of things. You can giggle, but I think that might be actually a huge opportunity or even just follow up care for something like I bought camping grill. And had to assemble it myself and ha, was assembling it and had a screw in one hand and a screwdriver in the other and it's reaching at a weird angle and something wasn't fitting together properly. And I yelled to my Google home hub Get me a video for how to, attach the ignition on the blah, blah, blah grill. Did it bring up a video that shows me the assembly process or that shows me at least like this part of the assembly process? That would be even better, if it had the assembly process and then the bookmark and Google could surface that bookmark of that video, that would be great, but the video didn't exist in the first place. So long term support of what's sold by giving the engaging videos of, assembly, how to fix, how to troubleshoot for, physical technical products for soft products, clothing and stuff like that, how to restyle, how to, update, stuff like that. Maybe. I think there's room for that. More in the future than there ever has been, I think. What do you think?

Mark A Preston: I was going to say, but it's, for me, I've always been in the mindset, maybe I'm just old or just, been in this industry a long time, but just give the audience, not even the audience, the customers, the real people just understand what they want and give and solve it and give them what they want without going on and on about this thing that they don't really care about. And I think that I mean for we need to get to the point. People don't want us read two thousand words of waffle. They just want to know something. Just get to the point. Does a video show me how to.

Cindy Krum: I think Google was really trying to do that when they launched passage indexing, which is something that I had seen happening for a long time. And I called it Fraggles, which was where Fraggle is the word fragment plus handle. So handles like a jump link on a page where you are clicking on a link from a search result. And it was not just getting you to the page, but getting you just a portion of the page that had. The answer to that particular question. Same thing is happening with YouTube right now. They get all of the text and they break it into logical chapters. And that used to be something you had to manually do, but now Google is doing it for you with a a seek kind of thing. That's basically it's getting transcripts for your whole thing whether you add transcripts or not, Google has it in its brain and it's. It's doing that and it is trying to find the right piece. And that helps with them. They say it's a different system, but that helps conceptually with them being able to do people also ask being able to have featured snippets, but also being able to answer a question when it's a voice only interaction. The worst experience ever would be a Google Home Hub trying to read you the entirety of a web page when all you want is one paragraph. Why do you think passages is so important to Google? Yeah, it's to surface the right piece, the right section of the page on a computer, but it's even more important when there's not a computer for someone to skim with.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, it's just with the whole video and all these platforms and people are searching differently as we go along, the SEOs should be broadening their mindset to all these other things like YouTube and video and, TikTok or whatever, wherever the customers are, It's not just about written text to get ranked for a keyword on Google.

Cindy Krum: It hasn't been for years but some SEOs still think like that. And it's, most SEOs sit at their laptop or their computer while they're working. So they're doing test searches there and they're taking it for granted that most users aren't searching on a desktop or they're not searching on that biggest screen. And so I think being more realistic about what is the real use case in the search and what is the real experience from the search is important. And so things like you asked about, like search volume, is that still important? And how does that fit in? I think in Google's ideal world, Maybe search volume is a thing just to get like trends or seasonality, but the idea that you rank number, this is a term, there's 20, 000 searches for it a day and you rank number one, so voila, you're gonna get 19,000 of those searches. That's just not realistic. And, to some degree it never was, but because that's even more and more true as the algorithm gets better at understanding intent. If the algorithm, Google says that they don't personalize search results but they will hyper localize search results down to like your house or, at least you and your neighbor's house. Like they can hyper localize to the point where not to say that they necessarily do in most search results, but they could. They wouldn't right now, probably because it takes too much processing power to do that. The return is not good enough, but maybe they'll figure out that the return is good enough on some queries, right? If you're I don't know, a block away from a gas station and you're searching for that gas station, like you're lost and you can't find it and you can't see it and that gas station happens to be paying for an ad, then the ROI of showing the ad right at the very top so it can't be missed to get you the directions of the, walk around the corner and you'll see it could be really high compared to if you're not that close. Oh, I don't want to go that far. The are so I'm not gonna bother clicking on that ad. I'll click on something else. I don't know. There's just there's so many the three like the three dimensionality that we talked about with entity indexing. I think it's true. Now that we have this kind of deeper, richer understanding of the world or that Google has a deeper, richer understanding of the world gives them more levers to pull and push algorithmically all the time and play with so that they can tweak advertiser ROI, which is what they care about much more than SEO. I think they can tweak that in ways that keeps them cutting edge. And better than their competitors.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, there's still a lot of SEO as I speak to and when I'm in training sessions and everything, you are very much still in the SEO checklist mindset. Yeah, it's kind of book. I'm trying to, move them on. It's not, it's not like that, every single business and every single customer, they all, it's all different and like understanding. But how can we move as an industry? Over to this, it's not even a new world. It's just like the same and it's just Google's just getting better at understanding what's happening a lot more now, but from an industry perspective, it's just easier for them to say I can do X, Y, Z over and it'll work.

Cindy Krum: Yeah, so I think that there's always room for checklists are especially great for junior employees at a big agency where there's not someone who's got the breadth of knowledge to be doing the big thinking and sitting with checklists are great for limiting errors, for instance, on a website, like limiting potential technical errors and say, Okay, do we have a canonical tag? Do we have schema? That's all great. And that stuff does help. But if you want to take the thing is, if everyone in your industry is doing all that stuff then what's going to differentiate you from them. And you've got to assume that over time the table stakes are going to change. And it's not just having a good title tag and an H1 tag that's going to win the day anymore. Everyone's leveling up. Google is, and so is everyone else. And the checklists have their place and, basic SEO. And technical SEO checklists definitely are still a valuable, but you've got to realize that is the bare. A lot of the things that can be expressed in a checklist are the bare minimum, and they're getting you from position 50 to position 20, not position one, and even still, if you're in position one I tend to believe like position one isn't a guarantee of anything either, because it still could be halfway down the page. And so being realistic and actually looking at a real search result and going, Oh, like position one is way down there where position seven used to be, what's all this stuff. And how can we have some kind of representation here? And that, that might mean that as SEOs, we say, Hey, this query has lots of paid ads and it always does. And they're always really good. And they all have ad extensions with calls and maps and apps and all this other stuff and the likelihood of someone getting past all those ads and past this people also ask and the knowledge graph and all that pretty low, like the only let's say there's a knowledge graph and it's always there, which is not the case. Sometimes knowledge graphs come and go, let's say it's always there. The likelihood of seeing your position one ranking below knowledge graph, not as good as seeing a paid that's above it.

Mark A Preston: I was going to say, but I speak to quite a lot of like head of SEOs and who's, who's basically fighting to get resource. And they, they finding it a lot harder to try and predict outcomes nowadays. In order to get the buying, and everything and the stages it's like before you could say based on past experience, we can do this and likelihood is we're going to get this sort of impact. But moving forward, a lot of things are constantly changing online and a lot of things are constantly evolving. And even like with the mobile, things jumbling around all the time. I think trying to predict things to get buy in from the CFO when they want to know, is okay, if I give you 50 grand. What impacts it going to generate, and all that side. So as far as high level SEO and getting buying and everything, how do you see that evolving, moving forward?

Cindy Krum: It's interesting because I agree, but what you're saying is actually. very much in Google's best interest, right? The harder they are to predict the better we make our websites, just trying to figure it out. But also there's an interesting aspect to the way you describe it that makes me, reminds me of the what is it, the, non standard reward paradigm like a slot machine. Like sometimes we do this and it works jackpot and then sometimes we do the exact same thing and it doesn't and that's what keeps people addicted and trying. It's it almost sounds nefarious in that light. Yeah, I think there's not going to be as many guarantees and that's why everything's getting more difficult. And I think that's not an accident. The game is getting harder and people, the people complaining about it aren't, we can complain about it for a little while, but it's not going to get us to the top.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I think moving forward, there will be an element of, CFOs, CEOs, just let's try something to see if it works a lot more, just like your traditional, off. Off page PR and things like that, and I think that everything's become, trackable and it's we wanna see the stats. We want, we spent money here. We wanna see what's happened. Why has that not happened when it worked before? I think it's just going to be because things that. Always evolving. How search is displayed is always changing. So we can't truly start predicting things, and we have to say move with the times, and at this moment, this is what's happening, and it might not be moving forward.

Cindy Krum: Yeah, and it's more like regular marketing. Like you said, like TV and radio, you never knew what the response rate was going to be previously. You could only guess. And so digital marketing is just getting less about knowing all the tricks and more about being a good marketer. That's what Google would say, I would imagine.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I think that's what they've been trying to get to for years. It's just trying, just marketing, the thing is, rather than trying to manipulate things for Google to think you're doing this. Just do the thing right, that's just I described it as I Described myself as well. I've never really truly Seen myself as a true SEO. I've just done things That gains positive impact for businesses. And it just so happens Google likes what I've been doing. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. On that side the time is rocking on and is there anything that we haven't covered yet that you believe is really important for people to understand?

Cindy Krum: The only other thing I would mention is that you asked about my company. We do have a tool set that helps you visualize search results from anywhere in the world on mobile and desktop, on different size phones, different operating systems. And I did that specifically because I wanted to see how search results and knowledge graph and people also ask we're changing, not just from country to country but from one location in a country to another from iOS to Android from large phone to big phone from new phone to old phone. And they do change on all of those dimensions, as well as just things like language settings. And I would guess Google's going to get more aggressive about changing things towards time of day. If you search for let's say American Eagle, this is an example I give a lot. American Eagle in the U.S. is a bird, but also a store, right? A clothing store. If you search for American Eagle, past 9pm when shops are closed, maybe they lean more towards Wikipedia, about the bird, or stuff like that. There's so many dimensions that can change the result of a search result that Google hasn't even tapped into for organic. So I think it's important. I made those tools so that people can test their free versions of them. There are chrome plugins to play with. So I just would encourage people if you're if you think you know what's going on, but you can't explain something that's happening in your analytics, then you need to be looking at real search results. And the problem is that whatever is showing up in my query today is not necessarily what was there yesterday. So one of the talks I've been using. Giving shows something where a site maintained a position one on a huge query for a long time, but with like in search console, the orange line stays right around position one, but clicks and impressions fall off like that. And then they come back. What happened? Google had a time boxed knowledge graph because the query was football and it was the World Cup and during the World Cup Google re understood the word query for football to mean FIFA, not The game football. And so while they had been showing a small knowledge graph with, game rules and stuff like that, that anyone who played the game might want during the World Cup, they re understood the query to mean FIFA, and they showed a two mile long knowledge graph that had videos and expanders and all that stuff, right? And then it went away. Now, if I only noticed that after it's gone away, how am I going to know what happened over time? daily weekly or monthly to just say just to not to, we're not trying to overanalyze it. We just want to give you a reality check because once yesterday's happened, you can't go back and see what did it look like for real. And some of the tools out there do give you a small visual, but it usually doesn't include all the stuff. And it's usually straight from Google's API, which they've said. Outwardly, like Google said, they muck with API. So it's not a perfect representation. But on my tools, you're getting what a real phone would get.

Mark A Preston: Yeah that, do you know what? That's so interesting. And yeah, people don't usually SEOs don't usually think in that way. It's all one dimensional, what time of day, what's happening in the world, what's going on, that kind of approach. So your tool, where can people find or sign up to your tool?

Cindy Krum: They can get the plugins to try the tools from the Chrome plugin score store. They're called the separator is one of them. And the pagescope does essentially the same thing. But it looks at a page like a landing page on your site, your competitor's site, whatever. And in the paid tools that captures the code. So you can compare, if you have dev teams that go rogue and make changes without asking permission, which I know I do I capture now a record of rendered and unrendered code. For mobile and desktop for all the key landing pages So I well if the schema if all of a sudden we tank on our schema stuff then I know to go and look is the schema still there? No, okay When did it fall out of the code? Oh here, and I can say who made this update, okay screwed something up, and so we can actually get more accountability and relatability. So the two tools are the Pagescope and the Serperator. If you search for those words, they're made up. So I rank number one for them because it's easy to rank for a word that you make up. And the, either the Chrome plugin or my actual tools on mobilemoxy. com will show up.

Mark A Preston: Wonderful. And on that note, Where can people find you, and what sort of conversations would you like to have?

Cindy Krum: Let's see, I am still a staunch holdout on Twitter. I hope that it comes back to its previous glory. So I'm @Suzzicks on Twitter, S U Z I C K S. And that's where I'm easiest to reach. So connect with me there. I also, we offer expert consulting of all different levels. I work with huge companies around the world, but also sometimes small companies. And I love solving hard problems. I love investigating and finding answers that other people can't find. So if you're stuck instead of throwing up your hands and being like we'll never know. If you really want to know that's where I'm great to pull in.

Mark A Preston: And on that note many thanks for joining us.

Cindy Krum: Yes, thanks.

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