E191 – Making Your Own Career With Duane Forrester

A special thanks to Duane for hopping on and talking with the guys and sharing his wisdom. The episode digs into the growth of digital marketing, carving out your path, avoiding getting stuck in your career and much more.

What’s Eating Duane Grape?

The alternative title was coined by Duane and really is how this episode came to be. The guys had planned to cover this in the coming months but when Duane went on a FB messenger rant to Dave it was easy for the guys to think – WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS NOW!

And that is what we did.

Sound Quality

We have sat on this episode for a few weeks as we tried to figure out a way to solve some of the sound issues. Eventually though Dave had to throw in the towel and just make the best of some weird thing that happened (lots of echoes, feedback, background, etc.).

So from Dave & Mat (and Duane) we apologize for the quality of sound this time around. The content was just too good not to share! Luckily, most of the episode is Duane so we made sure that he sounded awesome!

What Does Growth Look Like?

If you only know SEO, you can and will be stuck. Are you a T shaped marketer? If not you need to think beyond just Social, just Paid, just Email, just Technical SEO, just Organic Social, etc.

Are you worried about Core Web Vitals? Why are you suddenly caring now when you had a year? Why did you wait years to suddenly care about how fast your site is?

So you solve Site Speed. Do you think you will get a promotion? Will you get more head count? More budget? Did conversions increase? Did you drive more sales?

So you have something Deep for that T – now expand. Learn how the other teams work, the other marketing departments, the other departments and learn to work better with them and help them. If you want to move up, move beyond where you are – avoid Silos and get out there.

Leadership & Shout-outs

Some special shout-outs from the team during the show go to:

Do You Know the ROI?

Pay attention to what is driving leads, sales, and revenue. You have to be focused on UX, bounce rate, revenue, sales, all things money.

As Duane says (paraphrased) – you can’t throw that over the fence, you need to know what the impact of what you do is.

Intent & The User

If you take nothing else away from the episode take these things to do to help you move up in your career:

  • Worry about the user experience
  • Worry about the cost/revenue associated with projects
  • Worry about intent

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt  and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have you on another one of these business of digital podcast episodes. And today we definitely have a fun one for you deli Dave. Yes. So without further ado, I’m going to make you wait anymore.

We have a good friend of both of ours, Dwayne Forester. He is the vice president. Uh, industry insights with Yext and Dwayne, thank you so much for

Duane: [00:00:32] joining us. My friend, a gentlemen, always a pleasure to be here with you guys. Thank you. So

Matt Siltala: [00:00:38] we decided it happens every time we do something like this, but we decided we should probably start recording because like the last 30 minutes that we’ve been talking about, we’re like, Hey.

You know, most of that stuff would be good to have on our recording stuff. I want to jump into it. But, uh, before, before we do, uh, you know, I know I said that the whole VP of industry insights expert, if there’s anything else that you want people to know about you, Dwayne, um, feel free to jump in and just let us know.

And then we’ll just go from there.

Duane: [00:01:09] Okay. So look, I, you know, I, I’m not going to assume that that, uh, anyone recognizes my name. So I’ll give you guys a quick rundown. Um, hopefully this will give you a bit of a backstory and some of the, what I’m about to talk about or rant about might have a little bit context.

Um, I, uh, uh, started my career in gambling way back when, uh, worked for a gambling site in Canada. Um, ended up with Microsoft after that wrote a couple of books. Um, I, uh, launched webmaster tools when I was with Microsoft at being, um, you know, help the team with schema.org, that kind of stuff. Um, you know, conference speaker, all of that background, um, ended up running an agency for a little while, worked with Bruce Clay, uh, and then came over to Yext, uh, about four and a half years ago.

Now. And, um, have been on that rocket ship. Yeah, man. Yeah, it has been, I was there, I think it was like seven or eight months prior to the IPO and, um, it’s, uh, it’s been extraordinary since then. I have to say, yeah, it’s been amazing.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:17] Well, that’s awesome. And congrats all that night. You know, it’s something we were talking about before we really, um, started recording obviously, but, uh, It’s just for me.

Uh, one of the things, you know, I, I met you at conferences obviously long time ago and, uh, something that I had mentioned, you know, one of the things that when you start going to these conferences, you get a little bit, uh, you know, sometimes you hear some of the same stuff or whatever. And even as a speaker, like, you know, where you’re, you’re pigeonholed into certain things, but one of the things that I’ve always appreciated about you, and anytime I went to any of your, your.

You know, presentations or anything like that. I always got something from it. Cause you always had some new insight or some neat, um, you know, way to look at something. And so like, no matter what, even if it’s kind of in the same realm of what you usually talk about, it was one of those that I always looked forward to.

And so, uh, how my hats off to you for that. And so I guess I kind of, uh, you know, slingshots as Dave, uh, into what you wanted to talk about, but, uh, I guess we’ll just go from there.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:22] It wasn’t me. It was more like what’s eating. Yeah.

Duane: [00:03:29] This, this, this was, this was kind of funny,

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:31] you know, that will be titled

Duane: [00:03:34] what’s to what’s eating, going grape.

What it, you know, it’s eating Dwayne grapes, you know,

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:40] it’s like, I’m going to need a glass of wine. Maybe you still pretty early.

Matt Siltala: [00:03:44] You started it with like, no, everything’s fine. You let it brew for a few hours. Actually.

Duane: [00:03:52] It was funny. So the backstory for everybody listening, um, Dave ping me and he’s like, Hey, you know, we’re, we’ve got a podcast coming up.

Uh, you know, there’s anything eating you and you, you know, you feel like you want to talk about something, let me know. And, um, I, you know, I’ll be honest, Dave, I want to say this was like a Friday or Saturday. That you got ahold of me. Here’s what I know. I was in my living room with my stereo on listening to some tunes.

So I was just in my happy place. Right. And so my immediate response was, yeah, no man. You know, I mean, I think everything’s going great. And that was it. And then about four hours later, I’m stabbing my phone screen. Do you want to know what really is eating me? dave.dot dot. And then like multiple layers of conversation ensued with me firing all these things that Dave brings me back and goes, yeah.

You know what? You should hop on the show on Thursday. Yeah. So this is where we find ourselves today, uh, talking about, um, Talking about some things. And for those who might not get the reference, I believe it was Johnny Depp who starred in what’s eating Gilbert grape. A movie. So it was, yeah. If folks didn’t get that reference of what’s eating, do I engrave, there you go.

It’s an eighties or maybe a nineties movie. Um, I’m not going to recommend it. I’m not going to non recommend it. I watched it. I enjoyed it. There you go. But let me tell you this it’s no top gun and that should tell you a little something about me.

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:28] Yeah. I sent the message. 1146 on a Friday, 9:46 AM on Saturday morning.

I get along messaging me. He like, no, I’m good. 

Duane: [00:05:41] yeah, apparently I’m not so good. So here we are. So what do you guys want to talk about?

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:49] I thought it was an interesting idea. And we had kind of, I don’t know if we’ve talked about it, talked about it. So when you said it, I was like, I had another idea for a different podcast and I was like done, we’re going to do it now and know Mr.

Matt’s going on vacation kind of sped up the process a little bit,

Duane: [00:06:08] Matt, Matt’s due for a break. He’s you know, he’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:10] going, he’s going on? He’s going out for a couple of days. I’m like, no, we need to record. So here we are. Um, I just thought it was interesting because as a former in-house SEO person who kind of got stuck at the company, just because there was, you know, but based on the team size, it’s like, I can manage a couple more people.

Maybe get a little bit more head count, maybe a little bit more, you know, um, budget. But there was not a lot of places to move and that happens. I think a lot of people at agencies, you know, there’s no path forward.

Duane: [00:06:42] Yeah. Yeah. It’s, um, you know, this, this topic is like near and dear to my heart, right? I mean, random people among the listening group will probably remember, um, Sambo.

Um, I started the salary survey there, way, way back. And, um, it was used for years. Um, I think maybe a version of it’s still floating around. Uh, I believe it’s the, I think it’s the direct mail association. Maybe that bought or took over Sambo or I think

Dave Rohrer: [00:07:11] they started working with the, um, the analytics team.


Duane: [00:07:15] Do you man? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Digital marketing and analytics. Yes. Yeah. Um, any event there’s the data’s still out there. And the big takeaway from this, I think is, um, you know, if you’ve got a career going on in digital, um, it’s really worth your while to go find this information. Even if the salary data is a couple of years out of date, you know, it’s progressed to a point where.

Coast to coast comparison city to city comparisons, uh, job title, the job title, like all of these different comparisons can be made. So that folks have a firmer understanding of the value that a role provides. Um, obviously experience matters. Um, but you know, in our prep, we were talking about this. I kind of created a bucket where I put a lot of folks and, you know, um, look, if you agree with me, you know what, that’s awesome.

Like, you know, hit me on Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever. Give me a high five. If you disagree with me, I’d like you to crap on Dave and Matt, uh, because I’m their guest on their show. Um, so the ideas I express are not necessarily my own, um, But, you know, I think there’s this bucket where we can put a lot of practitioners, um, of SEO and digital marketing.

Generally, look, if you’ve got like five years plus experience, you’re all in the same bucket. Sure. I’ve been doing this coming on 25 years. And I can probably talk to you about stuff you’ve never heard of. Right. Like, you know, um, very few listeners are probably going to remember the days of the dollar, a pixel advertising websites, where people would set them up hoping to make a million bucks.

If they just sold it, one person, maybe one person, exactly dollar website or whatever it was. Yeah, exactly. And, and at the time, given the state of SEO and linking and the value relative to ranking. There was an actual probable cause that it could be helpful. And so it made someone money. Um, now we look back on it and we just laugh at it.

Right. We’re just like, oh yeah. Wow. You know, um, however, you don’t need to know that in any practical sense today. You know, for those of us doing SEO at the time, it was a legitimate choice. Do we do this? Do we not do this? Do we participate? Do we not participate? Do we spend money or not? Um, but today it’s just a kind of funny anecdote from the history of the growth of an industry.

Um, and, and so I believe that if you’re, if you’ve been deep in the weeds of SEO and digital marketing over the last five years, you’ve caught the biggest, most recent changes. And assuming that you didn’t just buy a $19 course online to become an SEO expert, you actually have some, yeah, exactly. I’ll send you a link.

It’s gonna be an affiliate run dude, but that’s okay. You know? Um, so, you know, because look, most of us, and I know, you know, I can say this dramatic and say this for Dave. I know for myself, like we, we learned the hard way. Um, we had an interest. Will you express that interest? Someone at a company looked at us and said, wow, okay, that’s a foreign language.

You got it. It’s all you. And you, you then figured it out even more. Um, and, and I think that a lot of practitioners today are in that same boat. Um, I think the challenge, however, is, you know, Dave, to your point, like, what does growth look like? What does the future look like? Um, I don’t know about you guys, but my sense is that we’re seeing fewer high level jobs available for an SEO.

We’re seeing more high level jobs available for people with more competencies than just SEO. Um, I will talk about this variously, uh, conferences where I talk about, um, the T-shaped marketer and that whole concept. Um, I didn’t coin the term it’s existed before I started thinking about it, but it’s, I think it’s really important for people to think about their careers in terms of this.

So for me, my shape looks vaguely like a T. With we’ll call it a lot of patina at this point. So I have a deep competency in SEO general. Um, and then there would be technical SEO where I have somewhat of a deep con uh, competence. Other people have a deeper competence in that. Um, I’ve got PR, I’ve got content.

I’ve got paid search. I’ve got social, I’ve got paid social. I’ve got. You know, um, career management, I’ve got branding, I’ve got all of these other competencies that come from that top line that kind of dripped down. And it’s all of those pieces. That’s what people are looking for for senior roles. If you go just deep in something like technical SEO, you don’t have access to those senior roles that top sewed.

And so then. As Dave you were saying, we’re kind of at that point now where you’re saying like, do I want to get another head count once every two years? And that gives me a little more responsibility. So once every three years I get, you know, a 4% raise and this is what I want to do. And that’s great. As long as the program within a company continues to grow and pay dividends.

And now welcome to the pandemic where every program is the spotlight. So if you weren’t already able to double or triple revenues for a company with your SEO efforts, now companies are saying you have to save us. Everything depends on you. And we still need you to grow. No, you don’t get more head count.

Like it’s the same problem, right? It’s just now you got the responsibility. So, so there’s, there’s like there’s a whole lot around this. Um, you know, and, and I mean, I haven’t even leaned into the topics. Right. You know, if you’re listening to this podcast, raise your hand for me. If your main focus is around core web vitals.

Now I don’t even need to see that most of you are raising your hands. I know that’s the fact, my question is where the hell were you a year ago when this started. Why is everybody late to this party and only dealing with it now, and

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:25] three years ago, or five years ago when you should have been worried about it because of CRO.


Duane: [00:13:29] okay. Yeah. Let’s peel that onion then. Dave. Great. Let’s go to the next stinky layer, right? You could legitimately say that because if you follow what’s going on with core web vitals, it’s about usability. It’s, Google’s attempt to quantify the squishiness of human interactions. In a way that is trackable and measurable that they can then put standards around.

They’re not defacto standards, but they’re guidelines, they’re guard rails so that we can’t go off the track here. And we kind of need that because we’re left to our own devices. We create websites with ads that are one pixel by one pixel, and we sell them for a dollar, like that’s, that’s how an SEO his head works.

So, so we kind of do need some guard rails here, right? And it’s really important that that work gets done, but I don’t know that anyone’s career gets made doing that work. Now I will tell you this. I worked inside being the search engine for a long time, and I distinctly remember common core themes coming up across multiple meetings and multiple engineering groups.

And the common core theme was user intent. Searcher intent. Now I know Dave can talk about this. Matt can talk about this. A lot of us are focused on it. The engines have been focused on it since day one. And that’s the core that they’re wrapped around. So when you start thinking about user experience, which we heard them talking about a few years ago, then all of a sudden core web idols comes out and we see an entire community of practitioners switched to, I got to focus on core web vitals.

No. It’s you also have to focus on core web vitals. You’re still focusing on UX and don’t lose that thread because the minute you shift a gear inside your company, your company shifts that gear with you because you are leading that topic inside your company. That is your greater responsibility is to keep your company on track.

In an informal leadership way and it’s massively powerful right now, given this huge digital transformation brought on by COVID. So yeah, you might be bored with a lot of these topics cause you’ve been hearing about them for a while. It’s not about whether you’re bored or entertained. It’s about how well you’re connecting with consumers.

And for me, this is, this is everything. This is the only thing I wake up in the morning. And I said this to the guys before we started this, it’s like, You know, why am I still where I am? Because first off I love the direction the company’s going in. It lines up perfectly with everything I know and understand, but it allows me to do things that I think I’m good at, but I have a competency in, it allows me to help a lot of businesses because doing things at scale matters to me personally, as an individual.

Um, and, and so all of these things I can use my informal influence as a voice in my company. To help guide product development, program management and all of these areas. And my encouragement is for every single SEO, every other person that’s out there that’s, you know, kind of in the digital area to look at things that way from their perspective.

And I don’t care if you’re a social media manager. I don’t care if you’re, you know, on top of PPC paid search, whatever it doesn’t matter to me. Look, you’ve got your deep line on your T. The question is how do you expand to the sides of that and add the other competencies? And you can kind of do that by supporting other groups in your company.

I have a real big thistle in my ear here about siloing. We’ve been doing it for too long. We’re starting to see it’s problematic. It doesn’t help a business. And if you want to look at the businesses that are taking market share from the normal brands in search, they’re generally groups with smaller, tighter knit marketing teams that are not siloing activities.

So. All that has a knock on effect on data sharing on influence on campaign, focus on how you’re looking across your personas and how they line up. Being able to track differences in a personas behavior. They behave one way in a paid environment. They behave a different way when they’re researching organically and so on.

Like you don’t see that when you silo a program and, and you just say, well, look, SEO is going to be squishy and over here, and we wish you all the best. Paid have nuts and bolts dollars in, you know, cents ones and zeros. That’s it. And give them my report every morning and tell me what’s working. It’s it’s not, it’s not that clear anymore.

Um, bottom line is the consumer just wants to solve their problem. They want an answer to their question. They don’t want to know how you’re making the sausage. They just want the damn tasty sausage. So, so Matt, Dave, jump in here. God, I’m taking all the time and I know you guys got things to say. Uh,

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:19] I got, I got lots of things to say, but I ramble every two weeks, every two weeks, someone, the people listen after hear me ramble for a little while.

And Matt ramble for a little while. No, I was just looking up. I think the very first mentor I ever had was actually a Canadian SEO person. And you probably know him, Mr. Campbell’s or there you go.

Duane: [00:18:39] Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:40] Awesome. I was a developer. And I was tired of some marketing product people telling us what to do on the website when they didn’t understand what it was doing.

Um, or how, how best we should do. And so I kind of raised my hand and walked over and I was like, Hey cam, can I start working on SEO from you with you? And he’s like, I can implement everything. I can come up with some ideas. I know you’ve got 50 other things. Right. And he was like, yes, cause I need some help.

Yep. And so then I became the, the part-time SCO part-time developer at that company. And I worked with him and then like a couple months later he left and someone else came in and took over PPC. But he was the first person that I kind of worked with that like. Was doing SEO.

Duane: [00:19:25] It was, and I went

Dave Rohrer: [00:19:27] developer saw the problem, but I also understand good.

Um, we, we used, uh, at the time, like Oracle and stored prox and like all sorts of stuff. And I already knew how the data looked and I knew what people were searching for and we didn’t have content. So I was like, well here, this is what we did. And we actually, um, Steve Kroll and I, who is over at beef found online right now.

That’s what it is agency. She and I basically created like a black. Black ops kind of sneaky thing. And I, we created, we wrote all the stored procedures. We wrote everything. I launched it. So that if you looked at the page, I used, um, CSS to hide that some things were not right to the product people. Yeah.

So that we could launch these pages. Yeah. I’m indexed. And then suddenly like a week or two later, we came out with a report and showed them that we built these pages. Don’t tell them. Launched them and oh, by the way, they’re all ranking really well. And they’re driving a ton of traffic and they’re like, the, one of the responses was I got was, oh, that’s awesome.

We were just talking with this manufacturer and they wanted some, they wanted some pages for ads, and now we’re going to put ads on those pages, like nothing about how we just created and solved this SEO problem. But, you know, we saw beyond all of that

Duane: [00:20:42] stuff. Well, and you know, Dave, I think that’s a really important point here, right?

This, this idea of seeing beyond. And, you know, I encourage everyone I talk to and I, you know, last year, um, I had in excess of 400 client meetings and, um, you know, on top of that, we’re another few hundred webinars and podcasts and just general engagements. Um, it was a really busy year and an overriding theme is exactly what you were just saying, right?

Is this see beyond, and I encourage folks look. You know, and Wikipedia, there are pages dedicated to mergers and acquisitions for all the big companies. You know, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, everybody go take a look at Google’s and keep, keep an eye on it. Book, market, watch it. You know, it doesn’t update frequently and it doesn’t get all of what’s going on, but whatever’s publicly available will show up on the page.

And when you look at the competencies of the businesses that are being acquired, you start to see a directional theme. That’s building. And it, it will, will help broaden that point of view of what your doing in context of this larger experience. Right? Um, like you have to ask yourselves if we know that screen sizes are getting smaller and that’s where people’s attention is going.

What happens to Google’s ad revenue stream 10 years from now when it’s not as simple as it is today with paid search advertising. Because they’re a public company, they have a financial responsibility to generate revenue for the shareholders. So obviously they have to solve for that problem. And they’re trying to figure out ways now to solve for that problem.

Okay. From now. So if you’re looking at what they’re doing now, by way of experimenting these ideas that we see rollout, and you then start to look at something like core web vitals. By all means get into minutia of core web vitals because it’s important. And look, if a search engine gives you a set of parameters and says, here’s a pass, here’s a fail.

I don’t know about you. But the SEO in me is still going to look at that and say, well, I want to pass all that to go, okay, there’s my work. Put all that in play. Tell your teams to get it done. Use that informally influenced to make Kings and Queens of other people in the company, make them the heroes in getting that work done through their teams.

Your boss will know you, you were the influence behind it. That’s not a problem, but then ultimately a part of your day has to be what’s next. And I don’t mean what comes after core web vitals. I mean, if we truly solve user experience, if a search engine can predict intent, what does that mean for the world of search?

And if search is the query. The content is the answer. How is this then going to effect the businesses and what they have to do? Like this is, this is where I spend all of my time thinking, right, is that 10 year out timeline. And then I come back and I look at clients and prospects and pretty much everybody.

And I try to understand like dinosaur. This one’s going to succeed. This one’s going to fail. You’re not going to move forward. I need to have a backroom conversation with this person because I know them. And this is a real problem. Like, like all of these things, because you’re trying to solve for something that’s tomorrow, but the space you are playing in the area you work within is working on the next generation of problems.

A decade, two decades from now. And if they’re solving all of that, dude, you’re a passenger and half of what you do is just lucky. If it lines up and like, luck is not a business plan, that’s not a strategy.

Dave Rohrer: [00:24:40] No, no. There’s, um, a quote to people and I’m not going to quote them. Exactly. But we’ve all kind of done it, but it’s always like just two people that I can always think back to that.

I’ve always said it and just said it repeatedly. Like, so Ray Hoffman, sugar Ray. I was always like, is this going to make me money?

Duane: [00:24:56] Yup. Exactly.

Dave Rohrer: [00:24:57] What as an SEO or a digital marketer, when you have five projects, you’ve got each of them touches, dev some touch, PR some touch products, some touch, you know, different teams in the end.

Is it going to make us more money? Is it going to make the company more money? Is it going to make my team branch division, you know, business line, whatever, more money and another person that always said something along the same lines as pity, PJ Fusco. And anytime we were talking with a client, it was like, so what.

Yeah. If you’re putting something in a report, if you’re looking at something, so what, like literally asked those questions of every project. So what, and does this make us money?

Duane: [00:25:35] I can’t stress how important that is. Like I remember there has to have been a dozen or more cycles in the industry where we’ve all had these conversations around metrics because Google would give us some metrics in our reporting and then they’d take them away.

And there will be something else and we do this and then everyone was like, what are you focused on? I dunno, what are you focused on? Well, I’m focused on this. Well, I think this is really important and everybody’s back and forth and their analytics and everything else. And then you’d walk into a room full of SEOs.

And you’d say, who knows how much revenue is increased year over year at their company because of the work they’ve done. And every SEO would look at you and say, I don’t know, I just throw that over the fence. That’s not mine to worry about. And I’m sitting there thinking, no, it is yours to worry about. If you break up,

Dave Rohrer: [00:26:22] that’s how you get more budget

Duane: [00:26:23] and more head count.

You bring crap traffic to the website. It doesn’t matter that you brought a trillion crap clicks to your website. You’re not going to get rewards

Dave Rohrer: [00:26:31] unless you’re a publisher. And back in the day, you wanted to rank number one for Pam Anderson or Brittany Spears. You put that in your Metta titles

Duane: [00:26:38] and you know, spam jam.

Right? However, let’s be clear that that shit doesn’t work today. So if you are that type of publisher, Grab a clue shift gears, be realistic, listened to your SEO teams. They’re not telling you this because they’re drinking the Kool-Aid. They’re telling you this because they’re worried you’re going to drown like, like it’s, it’s very real that you have to be focused on the user experience on, you know, Google will tell you things like bounce rate is not a metric they use for, um, you know, ranking in any way.

Well, let me put it to you this way. Um, you’ve had, and the experience, every person who hears me say this understands this you’ve clicked on a link on Google. You’ve landed on the page. You’ve known intrinsically immediately because the human mind processes information very different than a computer, you know, immediately that where you’ve landed is not the answer to your question.

So you immediately go back knowing there’s a list of other things. Now, your mentality, your modality at that point. Is all about clicking on an answer because you asked a question and you’ve been trained that you click on something below and that click equals the solution to question. So you click on the next one and that one doesn’t meet your requirement.

Then you click on the third one. Oh. And you stay on that page. You may stay on that page because they actually answered your question. Or you may stay on that page because you’re fatigued. And you just don’t care as much about the detail of the answer, what you have done. However, is left a scorched earth behind you, where you have informed the search engine of your dissatisfaction with the first two attempts it gave you at answering that question.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that, you know, the bounce rate is a defacto ranking factor. I can’t say that that’s up to Google and bang. What I will say, this is this as an SEO, I pay very close attention to it because it’s an indication of satisfaction of the user. And if I know that the search engine is paying attention to the satisfaction of the searcher, you know, the same person, the same human being here with a different now working through a different verb.

Ultimately, I have to believe that if I continue to fail in engaging that person, the search engine will try someone ahead of me in the ranking. That is a natural thing to happen. So look, you can say that it’s not a defacto ranking signal. That’s fine. Not going to argue with you, but I am going to go off and try to solve that problem myself.

And I think it’s worth every resource I put into solving it because ultimately it’s about capturing that user. And if you want to capture that user, look just hack the experience. Google has trained. I like that.

Matt Siltala: [00:29:32] I liked that same drain at the experience. Well,

Duane: [00:29:34] think about this man. Google has trained how many generations of people now I like six or seven.

Okay. At this stage, we’ve gone from the us of the world who knew a world before Google, to kids who are now getting their first paychecks, who to them, the idea of no, Google is like, they that’s like our idea of know Kleenex. Like, how did you survive? Right. That was, that was a disgusting world. I never want to be a part of it.

Um, And, and so if Google is all about here’s the search box, I will give you a good answer. And they’re using natural language processing and machine learning and all of this to get the best answer forward. Why the hell aren’t you doing that on your website? Because Google is doing that in an attempt to keep people engaged with Google.

You need to do the same thing to keep up with Google, but to keep people engaged with you. And it comes down to answering the question. Being able to. If you don’t have the content, then you need the content. If the content is in the right format, then you need to change it. Yeah, I get it. It’s more work.

You know what? Don’t care. I’m your customer. Just looking for my answer. And if you answer me the way I want it, I’ll give you my money. How bad do you want my money? Because if you don’t want it, a competitor wants it. I’ll give it to them because guess what? They had some kid on their content team who did take that and make it a video, or they did take it and make it a bullet pointed list.

Oh. But Hey, every time you put bullet points up on something, you kill a kitten. Got it. Okay. Cute little statement. But really consumers respond to this stuff. How many

Dave Rohrer: [00:31:07] blog posts to be killing kittens then? Because I mean, every page now has bullets bullets. I know it’s, PowerPoint’s different, but

Matt Siltala: [00:31:17] I just want to point out you wanted me to reel you in.

I was so

Dave Rohrer: [00:31:22] I know. Well, and I think that’s actually a good thing. A good spot to reel Dwayne in as well, back to the T-shaped like how, one of my biggest problems when I went from in-house to trying to work at an agency, as they told me that I don’t have agency experience. And I was like, yeah, I am seven months.

And they were like, well, that’s not really a lot. They’re like, you’ve never worked at an agency. And I was like, bull Loney. I’ve worked in house for 10 years. I’ve had. CTO CFO, CEO, VP of marketing. I’ve had product people. I’ve had all of these different people from within different companies. My quote unquote boss, my quote unquote client.

I’ve worked with dev. I worked in dev. I worked with writers. I’ve worked with all these different teams. So how mean working in house with all these different people. Have I not worked at quote unquote an agency. And they’re like, well, it’s totally different. By the way, I spent 10 years in house, 10 years agency, it’s the frickin same.

It doesn’t matter.

Duane: [00:32:20] It’s um, it’s less about, um, and, and look guys, I’m going to generalize in a major way. Okay. Because I’ve got a lot of friends who run some of the best agencies I have ever seen, and I would not put them in the bucket. I’m about to generalize, but far too many agencies are still in this bucket.

Where, where they’re not just super siloed, they are like the army. They don’t actually want you, if you have experience from another army because they want to break you down and build you up in their army. And so when you show up saying, I have agency experience, I have all of this experience to them.

What it means is you have to unlearn all that. Because I need you speaking my language. And to me, that’s always been a fundamental, flawed an agency that operates that way. It’s really problematic because your language isn’t the language of the industry. Your language is just your language, nothing more or less.

So you don’t want to call it core web vitals because that’s what Google calls it. I frankly don’t care. And nor does your client. But if you think you’re going to monetize, because you have some UX solution provisioning program, okay. Everyone else just calls it, fixing core web vitals. Great. You know, but, but if you’re trying to build your monetization around that, that is a waste of energy, in my opinion, that is not where the agency, you know, like I love agencies.

In fact, you talked about mentoring earlier, Dave, look. Bill Hart’s or was my guy back in the day. Okay. And people know who he is. And if you don’t know who he is, just go look them up. Right. Bill’s legend. And, um, the reality is that prior to bill, I hired an agency as an in-house SEO at my company. And I hired the agency and paid them more money because I told them right up front, I’m going to get you.

To go through and give me the audit and tell me what needs to be done. And then you were going to train me on why that matters. I’m going to pay you for your knowledge one time at a premium, and then you’re gone and they agreed to it. My boss has agreed to it because we wanted to build the competency inside our own company.

And what better way than to talk to an expert who does this for dozens of people every day, over and over again. Who sees it in real time, minute by minute, who sweats these details at the end of every day overnight. And the first thing every morning, those people are the muscle that you need to do things.

So I’m a huge proponent of in-house people in host teams, using agencies to help boost that muscle, to build that firepower for their program to deepen that bench strength. And along the way, you better be smart enough and your team better be smart enough to be learning along the way. Because man, digital marketing, you’re always, it’s all about learning.

Always constantly learning constantly. And it always shifts, you know? Uh, look, if people aren’t focused on something like site search today, and I know everybody rolls their eyes. When we still talk about that topic, track me down. I’ll change your mind on it. I assure you it’s where your money is right now.

And you don’t even realize it. Popular

Dave Rohrer: [00:35:45] stretching for your site because your content sucks or because they’re landing on the wrong

Duane: [00:35:48] page or, and this is what I’m talking about when I say hack the Google experience. Right? Look, if people know to go to Google to ask a question, because it gives them an answer.

What if you gave them a Google, like, experience on your own website? Well, when they landed there, they saw the answer to the question, but if they had more questions, the very first thing they saw was another question box, a search box where they just ask their question again. Imagine that. Where then you gave them the direct answer.

They didn’t leave your website and you got all the analytics behind it, the full query string, every individual query, all of that data that you can’t see in Google search console is now available to you where you now start to understand people’s intent. This is a massive thing. And look, you don’t have to take my word for it.

Right. Go talk to JP Sherman about it. Right? Like he gets this and it’s, it’s an amazing opportunity. For businesses and I just don’t see people taking advantage of it. They’re starting to, but it’s such a small percentage and it’s such an, it’s such an area of opportunity.

Dave Rohrer: [00:36:52] Well, there’s a simple thing. Like how many people have access to Google search console?

Usually just the SEO, right? Doesn’t the paid people look at it. Why doesn’t this? The

Duane: [00:37:00] content. Excellent. Exactly, exactly. And into the point here, Dave, look and take away that because you know what I could. I’m the SEO manager. You’re the PPC manager. I can complain that, you know, I don’t want to go do your work for you, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, don’t care.

What the internal politics are. One person needs to be responsible for creating a report that everybody sees and it pulls data from all of their dashboards. And the reason that you do this is so that everyone gets a look at it so that the SEO guy is looking at this going well. Google tells me, this is where everybody’s searching on this topic.

The paid search team tells me this is out of that topic group, where the conversions are happening. Those are really important. And within that conversion group, they’ve identified six phrases that are really high dollar. And so if we could lower the cost of that, that might be more beneficial to us overall.

Okay. That feels like a conversation with the content team now and with the core technical team to boost ranking of individual organic pages to help lower the cost of spend on those queries. I mean, like, these are things you can do when you unsilo your groups, because

Dave Rohrer: [00:38:10] number, yeah. The number of fortune 50, there was one where we sat down as the SEO agency and we got the paid team and the social team to actually sit down and talk.

And we got the paid team to sit down with the SEO team and we’re like, how have you never been in the same building? Right? Yes. Link building. Yeah. How have you never sat down and talked

Duane: [00:38:32] to each other? Yeah. Which doesn’t this happen

Dave Rohrer: [00:38:35] on the regular basis? Why don’t, why can’t we get that data?

Duane: [00:38:38] Look, social teams are your number one source for sentiment analysis before any third party tools or any of this other stuff.

Go talk to your social team. They’ll tell you what consumers are complaining about and what they’re liking that, because this is what keeps them up at night. For

Dave Rohrer: [00:38:54] me, the thing that ties us all together is if you are a, a social media person or a content person, or a person or an SEO person, and you want to move up, there’s only so many people in your team, you have to be able to understand at least at a high level, the other groups, depending on your company, you either have to know technical or paid or data or analytics or something.

And if you can speak to that team and you understand how they work. And, you know, at least the high level, you don’t need to know, you know, what AI and which filters in which settings and you know, everything for, you know, paid right. If you can’t speak to it and you don’t understand how they work together, how can you manage it?

Matt Siltala: [00:39:35] No, I love this more than anything because I have a daughter that’s about to, well, she was a year away from graduating, uh, Arizona state and, uh, sure. Her, her degree is in, you know, graphical design. You know, uh, anyway, graphic, a surprise prize, but we do, but, um, shock. Yeah, but what’s neat about it is because, you know, in the course of her studies, she’s really, she’s realized that she loves technical writing.

I mean, who loves technical writing, whatever, but, um, she does and she’s freaking good at it. And she was saying, well, I, you know, did I make a mistake or this or that? And I help. And I tried to help her understand. And this goes to exactly what the two of you are saying is. This is the kind of stuff that’s going to help you be a better marketer.

I mean, you’re, you’re understanding the SEO, you’re understanding the graphic team and what they need to do with all the intent and everything that we’re talking about. Then you’re understanding that technical writing and how to, how to write it out. And anyway, it’s just, it’s just kind of more of a verification of, yes, you’re doing the right thing and I’ve had this conversation and it’s just crazy.

We recently had this conversation, but it goes exactly to what you guys are saying. And I love

Duane: [00:40:44] it. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s an amazing thing. Um, I just like, it’s funny. Um, there’s a there’s um, somebody who used to work with Bruce Clay, Minnie Weinstein, um, Mindy’s known in the industry. She’s a professor for grand canyon university.

Now she teaches marketing and she recently had me come in to talk about digital marketing. And what’s fascinating to me is how little actual education people are being given. In terms of what to do, what to focus on competencies to grow and what actual career opportunities exist. Like some of the stuff that

Matt Siltala: [00:41:25] she tells me that she learns, like you would, you would pass out.

I know you would pass out if you heard some of this stuff.

Duane: [00:41:34] Oh yeah, no, I, cause I speak at universities and their instructors. Tell me things. And I’m like, no, I’m sorry. Show me the book. And the book that they’re referencing is printed a decade ago and talks about the things that we know that are factual and accurate today as, as I hypothetical things in our future.

And I’m like, okay, yeah. Um, Hmm. And there’s a curriculum. So they have, the student has to follow the book, write the test and show the knowledge. And yet. You know, this is, you know, back to you, Dave, where it’s like, right. But that experience doesn’t matter because you’re going to come out of university knowing shit, that’s pointless.

And, and I’m like, you know, look, you can learn this on your own, right? Like you, I think that those programs are still a good starting point, but let’s be clear. Let’s have everyone understand. It’s a starting point. It’s, you know, there’s so much. Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:42:33] Yeah. There’s a, there’s a reason I download every stupid social app, you know, is still working on getting me to install and keep took talk, um, install some video games on my, my seven year old has, and I will put a try it again, but like understanding how they work and how they can help your SEO, how they can help your PPC, how they can work together.

I don’t have to know the, the. Minutiae and in and outs of Instagram and tick talk and everything else. But when the social teams at a large company are talking as the SEO, I want to be in that room as a fly for when I hear something and I, you know, or the PR talking about something and I’m like, wait, why are you putting another, why, why are you putting that content on a third party site?

Yeah, cause we’re going to do this. No, no, no, no, no, no. Bring it over here. We got it. Yep. Yep. Give it to me. I’ll find the resources. We will get it on our site. Cause I want the links

Duane: [00:43:24] that are going to come from that.

Matt Siltala: [00:43:26] If you don’t notice

Dave Rohrer: [00:43:27] it there, you don’t know to raise your hand. You can’t get in that room.

You miss so many opportunities.

Duane: [00:43:32] A

Matt Siltala: [00:43:32] hundred percent. No, this is just going to give Dwayne more firepower with this whole tick tock thing that you’re talking about, Dave, but just, just remember, just remember, okay. During this pandemic. You know, good. A friend of mine started a restaurant. They actually launched the restaurant in February of 2020 talking about the worst time to launch a restaurant right before the pandemic.

But anyway, Um, I told them, I was like, yes, absolutely. Let’s see what we can do on Tik TOK. And they just started doing Tik TOK videos about just the, the method that they do with their dove. They have a special kind of dotes, kind of like an Indian fry bread, but it’s a scone. Anyway, they did it, they put it out there and they created this video and it has received so many views.

Dwayne, it is insane that even got in front of like an influencer that came all the way from far over Phoenix. All the way it was seriously, probably like an hour away came to their restaurant, did their own tic-tac video on it and told everyone how amazing it was. And it’s probably part of the reason that they’ve actually been profitable this last year.

And it was because of a, of a, you know, Hey Matt, do you think I ought to give any, you know, time or whatever the word I’m looking for? Not to put any effort into tick-tock. Absolutely.

Duane: [00:44:49] And, but you know what, so that’s. Great example. Um, you guys know this, I’ve been crone about Tik TOK for years now, and the reality is tic talks just the platform of the moment, right?

There’ll be another one in five years. They’ll be another one, five years after that. All of these things again, think forward. All of these things are following the next generation of consumer. They’re trying to predate. The next generation consumer at just the right moment, because I never went where my parents were interested in something.

I went to what I was interested in. If I had kids, they would not be on tech talk. Because I’m on Tik TOK. They certainly wouldn’t be on Facebook because that’s what, where grandma and mom and dad are like. Yeah. You know? And, and so, as, as cute as these things are like, let’s not lose sight of the fact here that there’s data to be extracted from this.

Right? If your kids are pathologically allergic to Facebook and your company is advertising on Facebook, Then you’re essentially saying those consumers are not, you’re not interested in those consumers, which might be okay when those consumers are sucking out of your wallet to spend the dollars, because the business knows it’s only one wallet and you go get the money from you.

If not your kid, the problem with that is it’s rather short-sighted because. At some point, Matt says to his daughter, hands off my wallet, go get your own job. And then she shows up as a fully fledged human being saying, I’ve got a paycheck and I want to spend it. And a business is like, here I am. And she’s like, I don’t hear anyone because I’m not on Facebook.

And there’s no advertising over here on likey or on Tik TOK yet. And this is really cool. Oh, look. There’s a bakery over here. That’s doing this cool thing with this dope. This is kind of awesome. And then all of a sudden that bakery is wondering why they’ve got so many online orders just exploding. Yup.

Matt Siltala: [00:46:58] So, so beautifully laid

Duane: [00:47:01] out. Yeah. Huge fan of this, this idea of look forward, you will see where this path is leading and that allows you to better understand exactly how to put yourself on the path of intent for the consumer. Then, you know, what message to put in front of them to attract them to you. If you’re just going to look, if you’re just going to sit there and do keyword research and then say, well, here are the top 10 keywords.

We need to go write content for it. Uh, you know, maybe you do, but I’m thinking you got better ways to spend your time.

Matt Siltala: [00:47:32] Well, just that it makes me think back to our pathway and journey, even as an agency and like, you know, um, just with just in a sites alone, like I. In, in my spaces heyday. If anyone were to tell you, this site would go away and become irrelevant, everyone would have laughed at your face.

And I just look at how that’s going. Like dig.com was the biggest thing since sliced bread that probably launched so many businesses and people that, that I knew back in the day. I mean, you get a front page of Digg, used to brag about taking the server down and this and that. And, you know, just like this evolution that goes to exactly what you’re saying.

And it just makes me think of. Yes, that’s right. And, and you have to be forward thinking. You have to be thinking that even beyond like, you know, how are we going to get my kids, kids get, you know, like, what is the next tick-tock, what is the next thing? And so maybe that’s a good segue and I don’t know, Dave, if you have a, you know, one, uh, we need to get close to wrapping this one up, but, uh, maybe that’s a good segue into, you know, final thoughts.

Dave Rohrer: [00:48:33] I think it is one last trip. We, we knew we were going to go over, but yeah,

Duane: [00:48:41] that’s okay.

Dave Rohrer: [00:48:43] My extra time. Yeah. I think if someone is looking, whether they’re a junior person or even a small manager or managing a manager of a small team, what Dwayne, have you seen from talking to all those companies, do you think is one, maybe two things that people just don’t think to do or that.

Could set themselves apart or set themselves up to advance beyond their, their vertical, their, their little silo and niche.

Duane: [00:49:12] Yeah. So a couple of things, one, um, make sure you establish relationships with all of your peers in the other areas of responsibility. And look, I can’t stress this enough by people coffee, take them out for a slice of pizza, have a group lunch.

It may feel weird. It might feel forced. Yeah. Like, look, but you got to do it, right. This is basic relationship building. And there’s a reason you want to do it. It’s because you are going to leach knowledge from these people for your own benefit. So you’re not being altruistic. It will pay dividends to the company, but really it’s about building a better network for yourself and being able to understand.

A bigger impact to the company. So I’m going to challenge people to do two things. One don’t think small, if you’re a small business, don’t think at the scale of your small business, think at the scale of Google, Microsoft of every big company, think at that scale, it’s not necessarily a clickable to your day-to-day work, but the thinking we’ll train you on how to approach problems differently than you normally would.

That will uncover opportunities. The second thing is establish all those relationships, and I know you’re a smaller company, even a mid-sized company, you probably know all these people. That’s fine. Make sure you actually get to know them because you want them freely sharing their knowledge the same way you freely share your knowledge about the, the expertise they have.

That is when you’re able to then support their ideas in management meetings and help them get their goals. Move forward. You show that you’re that type of person in a company, not only where will your peers support your ideas, but all of your bosses will see that and will literally be thinking that is a leader of people that can have a big impact for you.

Matt Siltala: [00:51:06] I love it. Awesome. Any final thoughts, Dave?

Dave Rohrer: [00:51:09] I agree. Yeah. If, if you’re, if you don’t know. Those people that are equal to you, or one level higher across the other product marketing, you know, different sub teams. If it’s at an agency, if you don’t know from other offices and stuff, you’re, you will be forever siloed and you’re going to be stuck there

Duane: [00:51:28] a hundred percent

Matt Siltala: [00:51:30] where very good.

Well, Dwayne, I do appreciate you taking carbon out this huge amount of time, uh, and, uh, chatting with us. So I really do appreciate it, sir. And this has been fascinating and. And one of the, in my opinion, one of the best episodes we’ve done. So thank you, sir.

Duane: [00:51:46] Wow. You guys need to raise your bar. Come on. You literally had, you’re saying the highlight was a ranting Canadian.

Come on. We can do better. We’ve had those before

Dave Rohrer: [00:52:01] we had Rob on beforeMatt Siltala: [00:52:05] anyway, welfare for Duane Forrester with Yext and. Uh, they roll with Northside metrics. I met Sylvia with avalanche media and we thank you guys for joining us and we will catch you on the next episode.