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#312: How Will AI Impact Blogging in 2024?

In today’s Blogger Genius Podcast episode, I’m diving deep into the future of blogging and online entrepreneurship in the face of the AI revolution. As we stand on the brink of 2024, the digital landscape is shifting beneath our feet, and I’m thrilled to share with you the wisdom of SEO expert Steve Wiideman.

How Will AI Impact Blogging in 2024?  | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

The AI Challenge: Growing Income in a Competitive World

As niche bloggers and digital entrepreneurs, we’re no strangers to change. But the rapid advancements in AI are bringing a new set of challenges—and opportunities—to our virtual doorsteps. With AI-generated content on the rise, new Google updates, and the impending phase-out of third-party cookies, many of us are wondering how to sustain and grow our income.

In this episode, I explore the potential of pivoting towards selling digital products and services directly to our audiences. Imagine setting up memberships, digital downloads, workshops, coaching sessions, and courses with ease. That’s where MiloTreeCart comes in—payment software I’m excited to introduce, complete with an exclusive life-deal of $349 for the first thousand VIP customers and a reassuring 30-day money-back guarantee.

Show Notes:

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Embracing Change with Steve Wiedemann

Steve Wiedemann, a seasoned SEO expert, joins us to share his invaluable insights. With experience spanning brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers, and big-name brands, Steve understands the necessity for businesses to evolve with the digital marketing landscape.

Beyond Google: A Fully Integrated Marketing Strategy

Steve’s enthusiasm for the changes in the search ecosystem is palpable, yet he acknowledges the nervousness that accompanies the rise of AI in digital marketing. His advice? Adopt a fully integrated marketing strategy that transcends Google’s search results. It’s about improving performance across all digital marketing mediums and maintaining a consistent brand message.

Solopreneur Strategies: Smart Investments and Social Presence

For the solopreneurs and small business owners among us, Steve offers sage advice. With limited budgets and time, it’s crucial to prioritize. Hiring experts for specific marketing channels, even for just a few hours a month, can make a significant difference. Collaborating with influencers and cultivating a strong social media presence are key steps to growing your audience and nurturing brand advocates.

Voice Search and AI: Staying Ahead in 2024

Voice search technologies are no longer a distant future—they’re here, and they’re reshaping how we interact with the digital world. Steve urges us to leverage platforms like Google Action Console and Alexa Skills to stay competitive.

The AI-Driven Environment: Tracking and Adapting

The conversation with Steve takes a deeper dive into the challenges of tracking keyword rankings in an AI-driven environment. He stresses the importance of direct engagement with brands through AI platforms and effective communication between developers and brand representatives.

Customer Journeys and Competitive Insights

Understanding customer journeys has never been more critical. Steve highlights the use of competitive insight tools to track how customers reach competitors’ websites. Breaking out of the traditional SEO bubble is essential, as is focusing on content that truly drives traffic.

Brand Consistency and Customer Sentiment

Brand consistency is paramount, and so is understanding customer sentiment. Monitoring feedback and reviews helps identify your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to differentiate your brand from competitors.

The Future of Advertising with AI and Voice Search

As we ponder the future of ad revenue, Steve predicts that ads will remain a fixture in search results. Bloggers must adapt to this evolving digital environment to stay relevant.

Looking Ahead: AR, VR, and the Future of AI

Steve leaves us with a thought-provoking prediction: the shift from traditional devices like phones to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) equipment. He envisions a future where we interact with digital content through wearable devices, such as AR glasses.

Final Thoughts

This episode with Steve Wiedemann has been a treasure trove of insights for any niche blogger looking to navigate the evolving digital marketing landscape. As we embrace AI and the changes it brings, let’s move forward with adaptation, experimentation, and a forward-thinking mindset. The future is bright for those ready to evolve.

Remember, The Blogger Genius podcast is here to guide you through these transformative times. Stay tuned for more episodes that empower you to thrive in the world of blogging and online entrepreneurship.

Other Related Blogger Genius Podcast episodes You’ll Enjoy:

MiloTreeCart, the Best Tool for Non-Techies to Sell Digital Products

I also want to introduce you to the MiloTreeCart, a tool designed for non-techies to sell digital products easily. It comes with features like fill-in-the-blank sales pages, check-out pages, a sales dashboard, upsells, and customer support. MiloTreeCart is currently available for a lifetime deal of $349 or three easy installments of $116.33.

How Will AI Impact Blogging in 2024?  | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Transcript: #312: How Will AI Impact Blogging and Online Entrepreneurship in 2024?

Jillian Leslie (00:00:00) – Hi, I’m Jillian, welcome to a brand new episode of The Blogger Genius Podcast. But before I launch in, I have a question for you. How are you planning to grow your income in 2024? With competition from AI content and ad revenue potentially declining due to the phase out of third party cookies? My advice? It’s time to pivot by selling your own digital products and services to your audience. And this is where my literary cart comes in. Imagine setting up unlimited memberships, digital downloads, workshops, coaching, and many courses in less than ten minutes. Milo Tree Cart isn’t just another tech tool, it’s the easiest you’ve ever used with real people behind it ready to help. And here’s the best part. For our first thousand, VIP customers were offering mileage regard for a one time lifetime deal of just 349. No recurring fees, and our customers often find it pays for itself after their first product launch. Then we’re going to a traditional subscription model. So get it now. Plus, we’re all about trust, so we offer a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee.

Jillian Leslie (00:01:12) – There’s absolutely no risk in giving it a try. Ready to explode your income in 2024? Visit Military.com and grab this exclusive offer. And here is a bonus purchase by the end of January, and we will get on a one hour coaching call. What I will help you come up with your strategy, share best practices, and show you how others are having tremendous success, and what could be better than getting a pair of fresh eyes on your business in 2024? Pause this episode, head over to Military.com and become one of our VIPs.

Announcer (00:01:52) – Welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast, brought to you by Milo Tree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie (00:01:59) – Hey, guys. Welcome back to the show. This is Jillian, and I have a mind blowing episode. Really fun today. I have Steve Weidman back on the show. He is an SEO. He is so excited about all of the changes that are happening in AI and how this is going to impact blogging and online entrepreneurship. And it’s funny because you’ll see me throughout the episode struggling to try to keep up with this new vision of the world.

Jillian Leslie (00:02:31) – You got to hear this. So without further delay, here is my interview with Steve Wiedemann. Steve, welcome back to the show.

Steve Wiideman (00:02:44) – Thank you so much for having me again. I’m super excited to hang out with you and geek out over all the cool things going on in digital marketing.

Jillian Leslie (00:02:51) – So I just like, vomited out to you all of my kind of concerns or thoughts about the world. And what’s so funny is you’re like, I’m so excited about all of this stuff.

Steve Wiideman (00:03:03) – We should call your husband back. He brought you a tea and have him give you a big hug and say, it’s going to be okay. I promise it’s all going to be okay.

Jillian Leslie (00:03:11) – So it it really is.

Jillian Leslie (00:03:12) – And by the way, so Steve, you’re an SEO expert and you typically work with do you work predominantly with like brick and mortar stores, online stores, kind of. Who is your ideal customer? Who hires you to help them with SEO?

Steve Wiideman (00:03:28) – I wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the brick and mortars.

Steve Wiideman (00:03:30) – I mean, I started my career as a freelancer, so I’m I’m fortunate to have had some amazing small business clients, but the majority of our clients at the moment are restaurant chains. Um, we have a major e-commerce brand that specializes in soaps and now in chocolates. Uh, we also have a coffee, uh, manufacturer that does coffee machines. So we, we do work in general with larger brands. Um, but, uh, but that hasn’t stopped us from, you know, taking the here and there smaller client or an attorney might be struggling with an issue and work with them for six months. Uh, we have an Hvac company that’s been with us, if you can believe it, since 2008. And they’ve just been amazing. And watching them grow and growing with them as part of, you know, uh, what we’ve been able to contribute from an organic standpoint. So, um, yeah, so that’s a little bit of kind of our base. But we’ve, we’ve had clients, um, you know, that are like Jacuzzi and public storage, and we get some really random ones.

Steve Wiideman (00:04:29) – We had a lightsaber client, too. That was really fun. And, you know, got to be nerds and do some brand immersion and have some, you know, Star Wars level lightsaber fights here in the office. So that’s.

Jillian Leslie (00:04:40) – So cool.

Jillian Leslie (00:04:41) – All right. So if I were to take your temperature on where we are today in terms of SEO, I, uh, and where you think we are going, even in just the next three months, six months, year, what are your what are you seeing and what are your overall thoughts about this?

Steve Wiideman (00:05:05) – Um, you use the word excited I think before it’s definitely what, what all of us are feeling. My my wife, you know, a little nervous. Like I’m reading all these things and, and I don’t know if people are going to be going to Google anymore. You know, you hear Dwayne Forrester at State of Search talking about how millennials in Alpha Gen Alpha are using TikTok to search more than Google. And you’re going, wow, the world is changing.

Steve Wiideman (00:05:29) – And and it’s exciting because we’ve been doing the same things just a little bit better every year for the good part of 15, 16 years. And now we get to learn some new things. Now we get to, as Dan would put it here in the office, roll with the punches and and see what’s happening and how how we evolve. Hey, if people are starting to use TikTok more, let’s let’s put our our neo hat on and, and wake up tomorrow and know how to optimize for TikTok search. Right. So I think I think the exciting moment is that we get to break free of doing what we’ve always done and being in our comfort zone and getting out and doing something new and unique and studying it and watching it. And I think that’s what the industry is doing. Everyone in the industry, they’re scratching their chins right now, watching and listening and experimenting and seeing what other CEOs are doing and what other, um, you know, digital marketers and email marketers are doing to see how it all plays together.

Steve Wiideman (00:06:24) – But I think if we look at our businesses holistically from a digital marketing standpoint, if we’ve done it right in 2024, by the end of the year, we’ll have a fully integrated marketing strategy that won’t be focused 95% on Google, right? Instead, it’s going to focus a little bit more on the different mediums that that all connects and tell a story. It’s going to be around social and email marketing and and more brand awareness, more relationships. I mean, if we’re talking about neural networks and LLMs, why aren’t we building those with our businesses instead of staying in our cubicles and just trying to hack Google for keywords?

Jillian Leslie (00:07:04) – So what do you mean? Let’s unpack that. What do you mean? First of all, LLMs like, will you just kind of explain what you’re what you’re saying? Oh, the layperson. And then I know it’s large learning models, but like, what does this mean in terms of stepping outside of Google. Right. And setting yourself up for success.

Steve Wiideman (00:07:25) – Yeah. And I think I think that’s that’s a good question especially.

Steve Wiideman (00:07:29) – And the answer I think the answer stems from the, the strangeness of the release of all sorts of Google ranking algorithms in the last month, I don’t know. If you’ve noticed that in court trials and everything, they’re just they’re sharing. Hey, do you know people click on your listing that’s going to help you rank. You know, we’ve been you know, this SEOs that have been saying that you can’t do that for years. It’s like, why why would all of this old kind of ranking secrets that we’ve been wanting to know about for years and years and years, just suddenly just everywhere because the search ecosystem is changing. Because because I write this artificial intelligence is is injecting itself into our lives, into our business, into our work. And, you know, I mentioned LMS like Bard and ChatGPT, you know, are now in a very, very important parts of our research and how we’re we’re trying to automate what we do. So, you know, if we’re if we’re now being, um, for if what we do is now being enhanced by AI, then we have to start thinking like AI.

Steve Wiideman (00:08:32) – And what is AI doing? What are these these these LMS doing is they’re they’re emulating human behavior. Right. That’s what they’re doing. And then they’re connecting the dots to be able to give you what you need to be successful. And so if we look at that and we say, well, let’s let’s not just let them emulate us, let me emulate them in what they’re doing and they’re connecting difference, um, different pieces of what they’ve learned to create something that’s going to help you be successful. So when I think about it, I’m like, well, now is the time to start connecting with all of those different verticals. You know, that that have something to do with digital marketing, but nothing really specifically to do with SEO and start creating those relationships, because those are the things that are going to that are going to help me drive referral traffic, brand awareness. I’m going to be on other people’s newsletters and, and, and email marketing. Um, you know, it’s it’s going to be more of a, again, an integrated marketing strategy as opposed to being myopic to, you know, the gods of Google search results.

Steve Wiideman (00:09:33) – And, and if we have that mindset of, okay, well, where do I start? What do I what do I have to pay attention to start with just the very basic marketing mediums and go to an expert in each of those mediums from email marketing, affiliate marketing, um, you know, maybe even a little bit of referral marketing. Go to all those different channels, hire an expert and say, give me a 1 to 10 score. We call this our tactic utilization score. And it’s 1 to 10. And there’s one for every single digital marketing medium, maybe even broken down by some of the disciplines within those mediums or publishers, like in Google ads and Bing ads and, um, you know, all the different channels that we could be doing advertising on. And you get an expert and give me a score. How am I performing? Um, based on on your experience and, and doing an audit and review of what I’m doing in this area, and if they come back and say you’re about a four, great.

Steve Wiideman (00:10:25) – I’ve got six more points I can earn. Let’s put a roadmap together. Let’s get some people in to really help make this happen. And let’s schedule something with you again in six months or a year. And you can tell us if our scores improved. And you keep working until every single medium is at a ten out of ten. So what happens if there’s if there’s 7 or 8 different mediums and organics, one of them and you get a ten on your organic SEO score, but you’ve got zeros or twos on everything else. Your your aggregate score is going to suck. You’re still going to fail. So as a, as a digital marketing department or as a business owner CMO who’s, who’s working with digital marketers, you want to make sure that every channel is performing at its best. And more importantly, the person who’s your channel manager, your, you know, the the digital marketing director needs to make sure that there’s consistency between those different mediums. That means in your paid search, your your ad should say the same message that your organic copy that you’re sending them to has.

Steve Wiideman (00:11:24) – It should resonate with the social media profiles and and have a consistent theme and consistent colors and branding and and personality and narrative. All of that need to be consistent. Sometimes when you get different people working on those different, um, channels, you get a different narrative, you get a different voice, you get different advertising copy. So it’s really crucial, you know, to sit down as a, as a company and establish, you know, what is our, our brand narrative, who are our potential allies that we can connect to to help grow our business beyond just what we’re doing in SEO and be a part of their network and get them to be part of ours. So in a year from now, in 2024, we sit down and we go, wow, we’ve got, uh, you know, eight out of ten score across every medium. We’ve got brand and and voice and narrative consistency across all of them. And we’ve built relationships that are generating so much traffic and brand awareness for us that most of the searches that we’re getting now that are coming to our site are for, um, our brand name, not the non-branded queries, like a recipe that was, you know, what I used predominantly before the world changed in 2024.

Jillian Leslie (00:12:35) – Okay, now my audience, they are solopreneurs. Maybe they have a couple of. Vas. I mean, these are not people with enormous marketing budgets like big companies. So as you’re saying this, it’s like, this can sound overwhelming. I mean, it feels like my audience just got their stuff together to figure out keyword research, and you’re. And now that’s not totally true, because bloggers and small business owners do have to wear multiple hats. So it’s like we understand the importance of email. We understand Instagram probably in a much deeper way than, say, some of your clients do, because we are already on these different platforms. Yep. But how would you break this down? Because, I mean, yeah, if money were not a problem and time and the real issue is, is our person managing our Instagram account, uh, talking to the person who’s managing our TikTok, talking to, like, we don’t have that. Yeah. So what do you say to that person so that his or her brain doesn’t explode?

Steve Wiideman (00:13:44) – I would say if you’re if you’re wearing all the hats, you don’t have to worry as much about the, the consistency because you’re everything.

Steve Wiideman (00:13:50) – That’s the good news. And that maybe your competitive advantage over some of the larger brands that are, you know, so not doing that. Um, I do think I do think it’s still important to hire somebody who’s an expert, even for just a couple of hundred dollars. And maybe you only do one a month because you’ve got a limited budget in 12 months, you could have, uh, 12 different advertising marketing channels evaluated, you know, by by a consultant who can spend a couple hours with you. Start with that. Maybe the next year when things are doing even better and you’re making even more money, you can go next level and say, hey, do a full strategy for me, but start with just one a month. Get with an email marketing expert and say, can I buy two hours of your time? Um, you know, and let’s sit down. Let’s review everything I’m doing and you can give me some advice, um, that will propel you at least further than where you’ve been and give you some inspiration for how you continue to grow.

Steve Wiideman (00:14:41) – The next thing I see, you know, when you look at social media and in particular, and you look at at influencers and how influencers grow, if you pay attention to their behavior patterns, what they’re doing is they’re barnacles off of other influencers. So if you’re running social media for your your group, the first thing you should be doing is finding a list, whether you’re using spark or another tool. Um, that’s a really neat tool, by the way. It’s called spark, Toro, Toro. And find those influencers that are in your industry. You’re probably gonna have to start with ones that have around the same amount of followers as you, which would be really little in the beginning. Um, and you start doing these little collaborations. Hey, could we do a collaboration together? You know, do something on your channel, you do something on mine, and, you know, we’ll we’ll take some of this existing blog content we’ve been doing for the last decade, you know, and rehash it in a, in a quick little 30 60s short form content piece.

Steve Wiideman (00:15:33) – And then you build some more followers from their followers. They they get some from you, and then you go to the next one and the next one, and then you just keep going until your influencer level is at a level where some of the larger brands are at. And at that point, those brands in some cases are even pay you to do collabs because they want your visibility and your, your followers. Um, and when you when you get to be on their channel as a guess as a collab and they get to see what an amazing brand you are and what amazing things that you’re doing for your, your industry and for your community. Um, they’re going to fall in love with you and they’re going to subscribe, and you’re going to give them a call to action to do that, so that when you know the the, the short form content is over, um, they’ll, they’ll have some, some reason to want to find out how they can get more of you, whether it’s through your email marketing newsletter, maybe it’s just subscribing through your TikTok or your reels or your YouTube channel.

Steve Wiideman (00:16:27) – But either way, every month you’re going to be growing your audience and chipping away at it so that in a year or two years from now, you’ll have tens of thousands of followers and brand advocates, and you’ll get them involved in the things that you’re doing in a way that they’re doing the marketing for you because they enjoy what what you’ve put out to make them want to do it. And you’ve got to get really creative, but it’ll work. At some point, word of mouth will blow up so big that there’s going to be a line around your building. Or if you’re a food blogger, um, there’s going to be people that that are commenting and engaging in your content and leaving reviews on it. And the reviews are going to be important even in in the new generation of AI, where, where we’re untether ourselves from our mobile devices and using, um, augmented reality, you know, Meta and, um, and other ways to you’ve seen that the new devices that are coming out that you just pinned to your shirt now and.

Jillian Leslie (00:17:20) – That, um.

Steve Wiideman (00:17:21) – So as, as we start on tethering ourselves more phones and looking back at history and laughing at ourselves, walking around holding, you know, physical devices, um, you know, we’re we’re going to still show up in those results because you’re going to ask questions that that are usually modified by an adjective, such as, you know, best or better or, um, you’d mentioned, you know, specific food allergies or whatever, right? So you’re going to be using those types of, of, um, of things in your prompts, and Google’s going to give your brand more awareness and the results. It’s going to say, according to, you know, I found an article on such and such site that talks about that. Would you like to hear it? Great. Now our job is digital marketers is to figure out now that they’ve listened to, um, you know, search and they’ve heard our brand be mentioned. Right. How do we how do we then take that and get them to do something else? And I think, I think that’s where we’re mark up on some of the coding on our website.

Steve Wiideman (00:18:18) – It’s going to change. I think that’s where the Google Action Console and Alexa skills are going to start really coming into play again. You haven’t heard anything about them and probably years.

Jillian Leslie (00:18:28) – To explain what.

Jillian Leslie (00:18:29) – Those are.

Jillian Leslie (00:18:30) – Like.

Steve Wiideman (00:18:31) – So the Google Action Console is just a it’s literally just a platform where you can go into the Google Assistant and set up specific things you, um, want people to do with your brand. Maybe it’s make a purchase. Through that, the Google Assistant, maybe you have a question like maybe you’re going to ask, um, about tide and say, um, hey, talk to tied. I don’t want to kick off my device over here. Hey, talk to tied. Um, says, hey, welcome to tied. How can I help you? And and you’re you’re like, well, I have a question. Can I use two pods if I’ve got, um, in my laundry machine, if I’ve got a large load of laundry to do? Um, no, actually, you don’t want to do that because, you know, and it’ll talk to you and it’ll engage and interact in the same way that I will, but even better, because it’ll start being integrated with AI.

Steve Wiideman (00:19:15) – So it’s going to take your few prompts and your few answers, and it’s going to create something even better and more helpful for the user. So I would start by just creating that Google Actions Console and looking at the different ways that you can use it. If you sell products you know, you can look at in the action console for what kind of invocations that people are going to use to be able to ask to purchase things. Um, you can look at the different things that other brands are doing with, uh, with Google Assistant so you can get ahead of the game. Uh, Alexa, same thing. Get into those skills. Look at example Alexa skills, and you’ll see a ton of different ideas to draw inspiration on how you can leverage those things. So I would make sure in 2024 you’re at least getting in there and doing that. Because when when somebody does finally learn how to use those technologies, we haven’t had to because we’ve still been on our devices. But as we’re untethered ourselves with these, these new voice search, um, you know, technologies, um, they’re going to know when they, when they hear a brand.

Steve Wiideman (00:20:15) – Oh, I just heard about this brand on on the the Gemini. Gemini just said so-and-so had a really cool recipe. I want to find out more about them. Hey, hey, Google, talk to you. Uh, talk to Jillian’s blog, right? Or talk to me. Put the full name in and do whatever you want to do to try to connect with the brand. And then it says, hi, I’m so-and-so, how can we help you? And now, now you’re not just engaging with Gemini and with Bard and with ChatGPT. You’re engaging directly with the brand. And I don’t think I don’t think even with the larger brands we work with, the developers who are creating these things aren’t communicating to the to the brand folks on how they can train customers to use that. When you go in to target, you have no idea that target actually has a way that you can buy through Google Assistant and interact with them, because the people who developed it couldn’t communicate effectively to the folks that run target, uh, to tell people when they’re doing their advertising and they’re doing their ads, you know, to to actually use those invocations from their mobile device.

Steve Wiideman (00:21:16) – And they can order online and they can ask product questions. They can ask when something’s going to be in season or if they have a product in stock, all those kind of things exist. But again, the communication isn’t happening. Now. You as a small business can jump in there, start goofing around with it, and then start pulling those things in. So when when people do start doing those, those AI searches, um, they’re going to do that next iteration, at least in, you know, a year or two from now and you’ll have built everything all out and be ready for them, you know, and that’s, that’s, I think, something to start thinking about.

Jillian Leslie (00:21:47) – Okay. You are blowing my blow in my mind. So like, I haven’t even really kind of played this out. What I hear you saying. I want to make sure that I’m getting. This is. I was under the impression. That it’s like harder that like I’m going to kind of circumvent the brand.

Jillian Leslie (00:22:09) – I’m going to just type in and say, can I use like one tide pod or two? Right. And I would never interact with tide or, you know, whatever my question was. And what I hear you saying is, no, if you’re a brand that people know, then somebody’s going to say, I want to talk to tide and get that, you know, get the information from the company. Or get the information from the blogger, the influencer or whatever, or, you know, whatever it is, rather than just this amorphous AI that’s going to know.

Steve Wiideman (00:22:50) – And that’s what’s changed when you when you make a phone call and you get the phone prompt thing, what’s the first thing you think about? What button do I hit to talk to a real person?

Jillian Leslie (00:22:59) – Totally. Yes. Oh, that’s so interesting because I think that where I haven’t I don’t have clarity yet, is this idea of where AI is living and where humans and human products or brands are, or blogs or whatever are living.

Jillian Leslie (00:23:17) – That I’m thinking, oh, I go to AI for this or but maybe then I go to target.com for this. So but you’re saying they’re coming together?

Steve Wiideman (00:23:27) – Right and think about so something as small as a product, if somebody is doing a search for, I don’t know, um, pottery supplies. Right. And they do a search with um Bard with that’s now, you know, assistant powered by Bard and they’re like, hey, hey Bard. Or, you know, whatever they decide to name it, maybe they’ll even name it Gemini. Who knows? Um, I need to buy pottery supplies, and I want it delivered by tomorrow. Great. I found, you know, I found three places. Um, you know, one of them for 1195. One for 12 and one for 15. Um, which one would you like to purchase? Well, I kind of want to go with the cheaper one, but can I get it tomorrow? And does the place have good reviews? Right.

Steve Wiideman (00:24:08) – And then then repeat back. Yes they do. Would you like to make a purchase through, um through them. Great. And then the business looks at their phone and they’re like, well, check it out. We just got a new order, you know, from somebody who, um, who did a search online. But it’s weird because I don’t see anything in my analytics, in Google Analytics or in Google Search Console, because that data is not available, because it was a voice search, you know, that that created it. So we’re going to lose a lot of that. And we need to stop. We’re addicted to it. And I’ve I have a client who every day looks at his keyword rankings, you know, and then he’ll he’ll use, you know, dozens of different tools. And my rankings are all over the place. What’s going on? And I said, you got to start getting used to it because search ecosystem search results have completely changed. I know, um, several folks at some of these conferences that we go to where CEOs are sharing their their latest and greatest and best of everything, um, they’re talking about examples and the refreshing the screen and showing how the search results are different every time.

Steve Wiideman (00:25:07) – And in the Google labs, right. Labs google.com if you’re not using that yet to test to see what your results are in the new generative AI, in the new, you know, ChatGPT type chat that’s within Google search results. You got to get in there and start goofing around, but you hit refresh and you get that generative AI. And then below that you’ll get some ads and then you’ll get organic results. And those organic results keep changing. They’re moving some videos up. They’re moving questions and answers up. Almost every single refresh is different. And and the types of results that are going to be above the fold in that generative AI will still have links in them, but there’s no way to track those. There’s no tracking tool that’s going to be able to tell you what ranks for what, because every time you perform a search and hit refresh, AI is is changing and giving you something a little bit different because they think that’s what you want or what you may want. So being able to track your keyword.

Jillian Leslie (00:26:01) – Position.

Jillian Leslie (00:26:02) – Like my search kind of thing, not your like not just kind of generic search.

Steve Wiideman (00:26:07) – Yep. And you’re seeing it already right? You’re already seeing it influenced by by um, you know, notes and personalization. And you know, they’re really bringing that social factor in many ways. Google is integrating their Google Discover. If you have an Android device device, you’ve probably seen it. Google discovers becoming part of Google search. And while you’re doing these searches, it’s making recommendations. And you can you can give it feedback. I like this, I don’t like this. I don’t like this brand, just like you might in TikTok. So you’re almost customizing what what you’re going to see in search results based on your behaviors in the search results. So while everything looks really consistent right now, in a year from now, you know, everyone’s search results could be completely different. So for us to track keyword rankings, you know.

Jillian Leslie (00:26:53) – It’s it doesn’t make.

Steve Wiideman (00:26:53) – It going to be ridiculous. We need to focus more on on the content that’s driving traffic and and the different mediums that are part of that and the journey that somebody takes when they finally get to that page, that that part of what we do in digital marketing is hard, and it is something you should absolutely go back to school for, even if just taking an online course or or going to, you know, LinkedIn’s learning program or to, um, you know, even even just maybe even, you know, some free online, you know, walk through tutorial.

Jillian Leslie (00:27:26) – Because.

Jillian Leslie (00:27:26) – What, um, what should people.

Jillian Leslie (00:27:28) – On, on analytics.

Steve Wiideman (00:27:29) – Or on digital analytics.

Jillian Leslie (00:27:31) – Did? Okay.

Steve Wiideman (00:27:31) – And being able to, to to do what we call attribution modeling and understanding where our customers are, because it could be we’ve got 100,000 eyeballs hitting us from Facebook, but they’re not getting to our site. Or maybe we we got seen by, you know, 200,000 people on a TikTok short, right? Or a TikTok, um, post. But but we don’t know that after the fact they’re going to X and then maybe they’re, you know, looking at, um, at another article site often, you know, where we don’t have any visibility there and we, we lose them from two different places that they found us where they’re interested. Then they go to an article site and we’re not there. So or a new site. So I think it’s really important to understand, you know, that the journey and where people are going and not just not just to us, but to the competition as well.

Steve Wiideman (00:28:20) – And there’s tools out there like like SimilarWeb, you know, and other competitive insight tools that you could use. To better understand how customers are getting to your competitors website, and then going back to your team and saying, are we doing this and better, you know? And let’s take a look at the top five competitors in our industry and start some tests in January. We’re going to do a little bit about what these folks are doing in February. We’re going to test a little bit about what these guys are doing, and we’re going to find what works for us in the mix. But what we’re not going to do is rest on our laurels and go back to our keyword tools, or just ask ChatGPT to give me an outline for a page that’s supposed to rank for, um, you know, uh, I don’t know, chili recipe. Instead, we’re going to think outside the box, look at what’s driving traffic to our competitors, and have a fully integrated digital marketing strategy and be able to track it back by by having an understanding of attribution.

Steve Wiideman (00:29:15) – And, you know, where all those other traffic sources are. So we have to break out of our SEO bubble.

Jillian Leslie (00:29:22) – I want to take a short break to mention our Milo Tree pop up app. Many of you use it. Many of you might have used it in the past. Social media and email are becoming even more important as we start to diversify, where we are able to get in front of people. Our pop up app works beautifully with Google. It will not slow your site down. It works with rap div and mediavine. So please, if you are ready to passively when you are sleeping, grow your social media followers on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, your email list and even set up custom pop ups. Head to Milo tree.com/pop up. That’s pop up. Sign up, get your first 30 days free, then it’s just $9 a month. After that, it has never been more important to take your social media followers and email subscribers seriously.

(00:30:27) – And now back to the show.

Jillian Leslie (00:30:33) – You built this career as an SEO and like, I feel like your job title is going away and you got to change it up with like, maybe digital marketing or something, but you know, I don’t. So you though, what is really nice about talking to you is I see your smile like you’re not freaked out. And of all people like, you know, I’m kind of like, with your wife, like, you know, but you’re an SEO, and you’re telling me the way we did SEO for a long time, you know, with little changes. Google. Google would announce something. You guys would all be like, what are they saying? And run some tests and try to understand this black box.

Jillian Leslie (00:31:10) – Yep.

Jillian Leslie (00:31:11) – And then do more tests and do it the way you were doing it for years and now you’re going, oh no, let’s throw that playbook out. It’s a whole new playbook. And it seems more. I don’t know, like kind of Wild West.

Jillian Leslie (00:31:27) – Kind of like he is.

Jillian Leslie (00:31:29) – Like, whoa. But you.

Jillian Leslie (00:31:30) – Seem and it’s going to be for the next.

Steve Wiideman (00:31:32) – 3 to 5 years. It’s going to be a new wild, wild West. That’s what SEO was back in. You know, the early 2000. It was the wild, wild West. And now that search is different and it’s changed. And the way that people are consuming content in the way that I mentioned, the the millennials and or the the Gen Z’s and, and alphas are searching TikTok. So my, my my answer to my wife whenever you know, she says, aren’t you worried like why people aren’t going to stop searching where they search and how they search and how they want to interact with content once they find a result is going to change. And my job is to adapt to that. She goes, what are you going to do? I’m like, I don’t know yet. I’m going to watch. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna pay attention to to brands and what they’re doing. I’m going to listen to to peers and see the test that they’re doing and what they’re learning.

Steve Wiideman (00:32:16) – And just like I did in the early days of SEO, I’m going to document all of it and start creating my crazy checklists, you know, and start working through those checklists to make sure that I’m still able to appear when someone’s performing a search where the chat is going to show results, how I’m going to track it is going to change, and I’m going to watch how other people are tracking and and learn from it as I go. But I’m going to go into it with an open mind. I’m going to go into it like a clean sheet of paper, you know, ready to learn and ready to grow and ready to evolve and and also know that these changes haven’t all been implemented yet. And so we continue doing what we’re doing until what we’re doing is not working anymore, while learning all the new things that are happening so that we can adjust. And there’s going to be a little bit of a balance. I’m going to see a drop off here, but because I’ve been learning, I’m going to see an increase and I shouldn’t lose any business because I’m paying attention again to what the competition is doing and asking questions, asking really smart questions to, uh, LinkedIn groups, to Facebook groups, to slack groups and saying, hey, I’ve noticed that I don’t appear in the generative search results.

Steve Wiideman (00:33:17) – Any suggestions or advice on what I could do based on what you’ve been seeing? And you’re going to get a laundry list of ideas from other peers in the industry and other digital marketers to test to see if it makes a difference. Hey, I tested the, you know, the the featured snippet strategy to to try to get into the generative search results. And it actually worked. That was pretty cool. I had to do was create an H2 with a question and, you know, in a, in a paragraph that solves that under 375 characters or so. And now I got the featured snippet, and I look at the generative search results, and there’s my feature snippet right at the top. And right after the results I got like double placement. My visibility just doubled because I, you know, asked the question of how do I get myself to appear? And I solved it by using that whole featured answer, um, or feature snippet, uh, process. So yeah, it’s lots of questions.

Steve Wiideman (00:34:06) – Just go into it with an open mind and, um, you know, and and don’t don’t just drop everything you’re doing because it’s still working. It’s just going to continue to be less and less and less over time.

Jillian Leslie (00:34:18) – Now we talk about then the importance of branding. I mean, you touched on it when you said you need to have brand consistency. You need to have consistent messaging. You need to be in a variety of places and see where you’re getting that connection. You need to be able to communicate your brand. Because if I want to say reach out to somebody to do a collab, I need to know what I stand for. I need to know what I sell. I need to know what makes me different. So can you talk to that? Because a lot of bloggers or small business owners kind of, I don’t know, they’re they’re trying to find these like these wins where they don’t necessarily have to put their brand first.

Steve Wiideman (00:35:04) – Right? I think the easiest way is just just looking at sentiment about what people are saying about you and reviews, um, everybody should be getting a Google alert for their name, right? For their business name.

Steve Wiideman (00:35:15) – Hopefully everybody is doing this. If you’re not, make sure you do, because when your name is mentioned, you want to know what’s being said. You also want to look at at your competition, look at their reviews, their product reviews, their brand reviews, their Glassdoor reviews. Look at all of those different things and divide it into two categories. One of of things that they do really well that people are saying, oh, these guys are great because of this and and maybe even pull, I don’t know, ten competitors and run an aggregate run a pivot table to see what the common themes are. You know, hey, I’ve noticed. So you take all those different feedback and you have a column that says the theme of this feedback is better customer service. The theme of this feedback is fast delivery, right. You know, and right. And so you do that across ten competitors and you run a pivot table and you’re like, wow. The predominant theme here for all these brands is that people really like them because of one customer service to fast delivery.

Steve Wiideman (00:36:09) – And, you know, the sequence of things they like. The second list is going to be the things they don’t like. What are the things that really frustrating was it, you know, the fact that something showed up damaged? Was it, um, you know, that they didn’t like the, the CEO because he was, you know, a narcissist and crazy, right? Whatever it is. But those are the things that that the company then takes in. They have a little powwow and we say, here’s, here’s what we know we don’t want to ever do, because this is what’s hurting our competitors and we don’t want to we don’t want to be like our competitors. Let’s learn from their mistakes. Here are the things that their customers really like about them. And here’s our list, by the way, and here’s how it differs or aligns. Um, and we start with what people like about us first, because that’s our strength. You know, maybe maybe it’s I, you know, I get a lot of feedback on, on bedside manner when I’m on calls with clients.

Steve Wiideman (00:36:57) – Right. You know, you’re you’re not the best CEO in the world. We’ve been we’ve we’ve worked with some other really, really smart guys. But you’re really nice to work with and and I really enjoy the conversations and, and how organized you are. So I know we’re going to get the results we want and enjoy the process of doing it. And so that’s my that’s my strength. And so I work through that. And when I’m on sales pitches and so forth, I try my best to share that feedback from my clients and remind everyone, look, I’m I may not be the best in the industry, but, you know, one, I’ve I’ve got a proven track record. We’ve got, you know, exactly this percentage of success year over year for all of our clients on average. Oh, and here’s what our customers actually say about us that might resonate with you. Um, and that’s that’s what makes me stand out is, again, knowing my strengths, um, maybe even maybe even breaking the mold when you look at your competitors and what people don’t like about them, you know, if you’re an airline, you notice everyone’s complaining about the cost of baggage.

Steve Wiideman (00:37:54) – Be the one that doesn’t charge for baggage.

Jillian Leslie (00:37:56) – Yes, yes, yes.

Jillian Leslie (00:37:58) – Okay, here’s a question. I’m a blogger, let’s say, and I’ve been relying on ad revenue. What’s that world looking like as we move forward?

Steve Wiideman (00:38:08) – So the ads are still going to show up in the chat results for sure. Um, how they’re going to be on the voice search.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:14) – Is going to get.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:15) – Interesting. I’m a blogger and I show ads on my site and I’m making.

Steve Wiideman (00:38:19) – You talk about your advertising something. Okay. So so yeah, you know, in the past, ads have always been kind of frowned on by Google in general, even though most of the ads are their ads.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:31) – You know.

Steve Wiideman (00:38:31) – It’s so silly that they’ve got this policy. Hey, if you have a lot of ads on your website, especially.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:35) – Above the fold.

Steve Wiideman (00:38:36) – We’re going to demote you. Yeah. Like, hey, hey, idiots. This this is your ad I’m showing you gave me the code. Uh, but, uh, so I get that, um, how how I think it’s going to change from a voice standpoint.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:48) – Yeah. And by the way.

Jillian Leslie (00:38:50) – Before we I have to I have to interrupt for one second. You believe that as we move into this world of AI, we are not going to be on our phones long term.

Steve Wiideman (00:39:01) – Yeah, I think phones are going to go away.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:03) – You think phones.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:03) – Are going to go away?

Steve Wiideman (00:39:05) – The physical device that you hold in. Yeah.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:07) – For sure. You think we’re going to be wearing glasses? A pen I think.

Steve Wiideman (00:39:10) – That the AR and the, um, even some of the VR equipment, when you’re at home and you want to watch some HD content and everyone in the living room wants to watch something different, we’re.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:20) – All going to be wearing.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:21) – Our.

Jillian Leslie (00:39:21) – Goggles at some.

Steve Wiideman (00:39:22) – Point. I see it happening already. I see, I see the growth. I don’t know what the actual sales numbers are, but, you know, Apple. Um, sorry. Yeah. Apple selling their stuff super fast. Everyone’s excited about it and interested in it. Gamers love it, you know? And you know, if there’s a mic and you can talk and ask questions.

Steve Wiideman (00:39:38) – And Apple has been has been reaching out to consultants to get advice on search and AI and how they can leverage it with Apple Spotlight search. I’ve seen, you know, requests in my own inbox for, you know, those those types of, of, um, you know, consultations where they want to talk to search experts. So Apple search could actually finally be coming, you know, and and part of that is going to be because of all the, um, headgear and so forth. And it’s not it might not even be headgear like the, the new device. I can’t remember the name of it now. It’s like enhance or something. Um, and you, you basically just pin it to your, your shirt. And when you want to view something because you talk to it, you just put your hand out and it beams whatever it is on your hand to be able to interact and do what you need to do there with Gemini, if you watch the video that just came out yesterday, Gemini was actually, um, the Google Gemini was actually watching, uh, a Google rep draw on a piece of paper and it said, oh, you’re drawing a duck.

Steve Wiideman (00:40:36) – And it said, um, uh, a blue duck. That’s uncommon. And then it shows the the rubber duck next door. He goes, oh, that’s a rubber duck, probably made of rubber or something else. So it’s actually watching the person doing what they’re doing and, and telling them and interpreting, you know, what’s going on visually through a camera lens. So, so yeah, I do feel like at some points, you know, we’re going to get to a place where we’re just not going to walk around carrying a heavy device anymore. You know, that we’re going to have, you know, different ways to consume content that doesn’t require us running into light poles anymore. Right?

Jillian Leslie (00:41:09) – Wow. And and with bad posture.

Jillian Leslie (00:41:12) – Because. Right. Yeah.

Jillian Leslie (00:41:13) – Like hunched over.

Jillian Leslie (00:41:14) – You know, especially.

Steve Wiideman (00:41:16) – At the dinner table. Oh my God, oh my God. My kid brings a phone to the dinner table. It’s yeah. It gets ugly.

Jillian Leslie (00:41:22) – Yeah okay. Because that’s so interesting.

Jillian Leslie (00:41:25) – So it’s not like again like this whole model is completely shifting. Yeah. And what I’m hearing you’re saying, you say is I should be my own brand that is known for something. I love your idea of looking at your competitors. What are they known for? Like where is the gap in the market that I can fill? That is my what I’m going to call special sauce that I can articulate. I need to be selling products and services, not just, say, having an actual blog. Like, are people going to have like, I have this very large screen that I’m looking at you on. Is that going away? I know that within the goggles you can see or screen. So will I no longer need like am I going to be going? Are there is our web pages going away?

Steve Wiideman (00:42:19) – It’s it’s possible. I don’t think it’s going to go away for the next probably 5 to 10 years. But it’s possible that, that we’re going to look at that web content, you know, a completely different way.

Steve Wiideman (00:42:30) – Um, again, because people aren’t going to want to have to go sit behind a laptop and click and do things. And because of AI and with the with the help of AI, we’re going to be able to do all sorts of amazing things, um, while interacting with them. But we still we still want to shop and still see things. There’s still a visual component of what we want to do. We can’t just say, yeah, order me a blue sweatshirt. It sounds really nice, even though you haven’t looked at it. Exactly. So I think I think there’s always going to be a visual component. But how it’s going to play out with AR and VR and new devices, um, I think it’s it’s the unknown. It’s it’s really interesting, but I’m not worried about any of it yet because it’s all, like I said, just chin scratching stuff. Right now we’re just watching and we’re observing. But when you when you do see, when you do see your traffic starting to go down, that’s the point of of actualization that you should have of, of okay, now I need to figure out how I’m going to adapt, you know, to this change and what kind of things I’m going to test to make sure that I’m still appearing in generative search results and in voice search results.

Steve Wiideman (00:43:29) – Um, talk to experts and consultants, get into those AI chat groups and, and, you know, SEO chat groups and just ask a lot of questions. Um, I think that’s that’s even just five minutes a day of doing that. That little exercise should be all that takes to make sure that you’re staying aware of and and at least knowing and having some ideas of what you’re going to do so that you’re just not looking back in 12 months saying, man, I feel like I just lost my business over the last year. Everything just went away. That’s because you you are afraid of all this new change. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it, have fun with it, and nerd out. And. And if you’re still like, you know what? I’m too old for this. I’m done. I’m 50 and I don’t want to have to deal with it. Bring in a college student, a marketing college student, and say, hey, would you like to do an internship and work with me to make sure that I’m keeping up to date with all the ways that people are going to find and and interact with my business online.

Steve Wiideman (00:44:27) – As Google search results start to produce less and less and less traffic for me, you know, and then let them that that younger, passionate, you know, excited, um, intern come in and help get it going for you and then bring in someone to audit them and say, how are they doing? What are they doing, doing better.

Jillian Leslie (00:44:44) – You know, to to kind of wrap up, where is the role of me as a human? Um. In my business in this future because again, I’m wearing goggles and I’ve got a pin and I got, you know, I got all this stuff and, and and we’re talking about I need to also be, let’s say, right in front of my brand. So how do I think about me as a human building a business with all this stuff that isn’t real?

Steve Wiideman (00:45:19) – I think. I think there’s two sides of it. You as as a consumer, I think your your standpoint is now I can I can live my life and do the things I want to do, because I’m not going to have to spend as much time staring at a screen.

Steve Wiideman (00:45:36) – So hopefully you’re going to get your life back. And that’s the exciting part of AI. Um, and I think you as a, as a business owner, right, is as a, as a human in that area, you’re going to be a problem solver. You’re going to find out what it is that really eats up your customers, and you’re going to solve all those problems for them through audio content and video content, the way that they’re going to be consuming it. And TikTok and reels is the older generation start going away and the alphas start taking over. They’re going to be using these these video type content. And it’s unfortunate because it does. Um, I’m sure there’s there’s an impact to, um, intellectual capabilities and just consuming short form content. I hope we don’t become Idiocracy, but the reality is this is how they get through a day. This is how they find things. This is how they they prefer to interact with other human beings now. So us as business owners, we’re going to solve all their problems.

Steve Wiideman (00:46:32) – We’re going to, you know, listen to what they’re saying. We’re going to create a huge marketing calendar for the next three months. I can’t tell you a year because the the ecosystem changes every three months. Now I feel like. So for the next three months, here’s the content we’re going to create. And in month three, um, we’re going to start creating the content, uh, roadmap for the next quarter based on what we’ve learned from the first month and what we’ve learned from the competitors who’ve been getting more traffic, I think that’s how we’re going to handle it is in these bite sized chunks and kind of an agile manner of just taking everything three months at a time, watching what works, watching what competitors are doing and then adjusting. And that’s probably the the states of the wild, wild West for the next, you know, 2 to 5 years until there’s standards, until there’s an MOT, until there’s, you know, best practices because none of that exists yet. It’s just to watch and learn and just work in very small, bite sized chunks, um, you know, and just keep asking questions.

Jillian Leslie (00:47:32) – And one last question for you. What is so exciting about this for you?

Steve Wiideman (00:47:38) – Well, like I mention, it’s it’s it’s giving us the opportunity to get more time with our family, to see the world, to travel more. Have you noticed that, by the way, when you’re consuming content in this travel content, these places are getting crowded, people are traveling, they’re seeing the world more than they ever have. And a lot of that is because AI is enabled that because the pandemic gave a lot of liberty to folks that had to go to a cubicle that don’t have to anymore. So I am excited because I’m going to be able to, you know, be working on a book or content somewhere amazing in the world. When my kids go off to school next year, and I’m super excited to, you know, be at a cafe, um, hanging out with my wife, who’s probably going to be looking at a map and figuring out where we’re going to go next. And, and just as a human being, being a human being and living in the world, not being part of of capitalism, but instead, you know, being part of a bigger picture of how we’re, you know, working together to create something amazing.

Jillian Leslie (00:48:37) – Wow, that is a great note to to close on. And it’s very optimistic because I think you can get kind of like freaked out. So I really like that. And I feel like as we are entering into this new year, that’s a nice sentiment. So I have to say, Steve, thank you for showing up. And and I, of course, want you back because I feel like you’re my fortune teller. You know, you’re showing me the future.

Steve Wiideman (00:49:12) – If anything, I think I’m just. Just trying to, like everyone, adapt to the things that are going on and and feeling feeling good about it and not not, you know, having that kind of scarcity mentality. Instead, the abundance mentality of all the new things that are available to help us live better lives and, you know, to market our brands. So I’m very, very excited about it.

Jillian Leslie (00:49:35) – Wow. Well, I just have to say, thank you so much for coming back on the show.

Steve Wiideman (00:49:40) – Thanks for having me.

Steve Wiideman (00:49:41) – This has been great.

Jillian Leslie (00:49:42) – I hope you guys like this episode. As you could tell, there were moments where I was shocked and had to reorient myself in terms of what the world might look like. I think my biggest takeaway is that we aren’t going to be able to rely on the strategies that have worked for us in the past, that no one really knows what the future is going to look like. But the more creative we can be in terms of getting in front of the right people, selling solutions to people’s problems, working with people in our own niches or in complementary niches, like it’s going to be really interesting to see how the next year or five years pans out. And I like that Steve is excited because I feel like sometimes I need to get grounded by people who are excited because I can spin off into lots of crazy stories in my head. If you are not following me on Instagram, I’m doing a lot over there as I am trying new things. Please follow me over there Milo Tree and if you do and message me, I will happily follow you back.

Jillian Leslie (00:50:56) – If you are ready to start selling digital downloads, which by the way, I’m seeing people have tremendous success creating with AI. Or if you’re wanting to host a workshop, a membership, coaching courses, please get on a call with me. It’s a free 20 minute call. Just go to Milo tree.com/meet because I would love to meet you and I will see you here again next week.

How Will AI Impact Blogging in 2024?  | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

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