Edgar Griggs

Michelle Stinson Ross Gets Us Ready for the Rise of the SEO Undead

Michelle Stinson Ross, SEO UndeadThe SEO zombie apocalypse hit Rocks Digital this year and Michelle Stinson Ross is the instigator. Keep reading and find out why!

Are You Prepared for the SEO Zombie Apocalypse?

Michelle sees herself as more of a marketing specialist. From this perspective she wants business people to step away from hardcore SEO, and look more at what’s really going on. Look at search behavior trends, for example.

Why the zombie motif? We keep being told that SEO is dead, yet it keeps coming back as something important. Here’s what the experts have to say about SEO.

Voice search is changing the way users engage with search. They are dramatically moving away from the desktop experience. Users are moving towards tablets and smart devices.

~ Michael King

We are seeing more wearables, plus using the internet to keep track of what’s in your refrigerator.

These things are cool: WiFi, Bluetooth, and Google stuff. They do not rely on traditional websites to work.

~ Cindy Krum

SEO is no longer the silver bullet it used to be – now we have to work for what we get. Instead of simply waiting for the next algorithm, we need to focus on how people are interacting with things to find our stuff. Looking at how they are using the search engines via voice is exactly what’s needed now.

To reduce friction between the brand and how people want to use a product, machine language and AI needs to be understood through a lens of how people as human beings behave.

Queries are out; natural language is becoming more and more important.

~ Duane Forrester

Research is the key. Shift your time and effort away from keyword research and look more at user behavior – heat maps, device usage, page paths. The SEO got the person to the website, but what is the person doing once they get there? Do the keyword research but go further, and find out what people are doing when they get there.

Define your ideal customer. Take all of the data and really study it to know more about the actual person. Understand who your actual customers are.

Impact of Voice Search and Voice Enabled Devices

Devices that work toward understanding how people use the device are going to be ahead of the game.

~ Alan Bleiweiss

Again, stop obsessing about the algorithms and meta-tags. These things are starting to pass away.

Are the keyword rankings important? Yes, no, maybe.

In the old days, the search engines were no more sophisticated than a card catalog. It was just an index that you looked at. It made no judgments about the keywords that were in the catalog, which is why keyword algorithms were important back then.

Now the way that pages are presented to people has moved from a card catalog to a dialog. We are now interviewing search as an entity – like having a conversation with an expert. The technology has blazed past what we have been doing.

Voice search is changing the way SEO understands language. Needs to understand dialogue and context.

~ Andreea Cojocariu

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update – The algorithm changed so that it understands context. Example: “Who is the current President?” “Who is he married to?”

There is code in things called “speakable.” You can designate what text on a page should be used for “text to speech.” Basically, you can choose what part of your page will be given as a verbal response when someone asks for it.

~ Penda

Not necessarily transactional – I want to buy something. More like how to verbally read out something to people.

Need devices that can give out answers quickly to people.

~ Michael King

Take what we have been doing visually with mobile, and turn it into audio.

Google Actions in search can help to optimize for the user experience.

~ Cindy Krum

Control is an illusion. How people use and display what you have on your website is no longer under your control. You do still have influence.

Google algorithm timeline. Oldest February 2011 to 2016. They are getting tweaked more and more often. Matt Cutts could tell us a lot of what was going to happen. The current person is not able to give as much information since it is so much harder to predict.

 You must move faster, so there is a brave opportunity for those who are willing to step forward and take on the opportunity.

~ Duane Forrester

A long time ago, typing in something you would have typos; the results were very off. Now, when you say it, you get exactly what you are looking for since you don’t have “typos” when you speak.

Not only does it provide the answer to the question, it also gives other things you might be interested in. And the top written information is no longer something organic.

Takeaway – We are going towards speaking to a machine, and having it give us what we want, instead of a list of products ala Star Trek.

What do you do when someone is able to order what they want without ever having to go to your website? This is the question you must get prepared to answer in the near future.

msross @ gruenagency . com – send an email if you wish to get a copy of this presentation. You can visit their website here.

BONUS TIP: Hotjar and CrazyEgg – some of the best heat map programs that Michelle uses in-house.

Edgar Griggs

Edgar Griggs loves to learn about new technologies and high tech gadgets! You’ll find him at local events around the DFW Metroplex and sometimes blogging for websites like The Interestingly Cool Stuff Blog and his TrendHunter page at!

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